Cuisinart's entry into the leverless game, the CPT-420, provided reasonable performance across the board in our testing. It is not quite the flashy thoroughbred that you would expect a model with all the trappings of the latest technology to be. Instead, it is a dependable workhorse that will get the job done, but won't be showered with flowers in the winner's circle. It does not provide a function that allows you to easily peek at your toast mid-cycle, which is standard on other leverless models. Therefore the leverless technology feels a bit more gimmicky in this instance, rather than adding any sort of functionality.
Cuisinart Touch to Toast Leverless 2-Slice CPT-420 Review
Pros: Relatively good bagel toasting and defrosting performance
Cons: Does not fully utilize leverless technology
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Read on for more details on how the CPT-420 performed in each one of our individual tests.
Bread Toasting Quality
The CPT-420 scored a 5 out of 10 in our bread toasting test, sharing the bottom spot with the KitchenAid. It churns out toast that is fairly even across the face and between both sides. It lost some points for tending to under toast the area above the bottom crust, but where it really lost points was its consistency between cycles. Sometimes the high setting would produce fairly dark toast, while other times it made pieces that looked decidedly medium. This cycle inconsistency never resulted in burnt toast, but it did make it much more difficult to get the toast you were hoping for on the first go around. So while the CPT-420 can produce a fairly good piece of toast, it takes a few games of Russian roulette to get your preferred slice. We felt this warranted a score far below the top performing Oster Jelly Bean, which scored an 8 and consistently produced similar slices of toast when keeping the shade setting constant.
Ease of Use
The CPT-420 has a decent amount of weight to it, imparting a feeling of quality to its user experience. The controls are easy to use. The shade is selected via a digital readout, meaning you can select the exact same setting time after time. That same readout displays a bar graph that counts down to the completion of the cycle. The crumb tray is high quality, but we would prefer that it remove from the front rather than the back. It can get a bit tiresome having to pull it out from the wall in order to access the crumb tray. The motorized elevator is smooth and quiet, but we were disappointed that it didn't offer a function to check on your toast mid-cycle like the Breville.
Ultimately the CPT-420 took home an average score of 5 out of 10 from our ease of use testing. While the countdown meter and predictable shade settings were nice, it just didn't seem to fully utilize its leverless technology. We feel that a function allowing you to take a mid-cycle peak at your toast, like those of the Breville, would have improved the CPT-420's user experience significantly. Without it the CPT-420 felt a bit like a normal toaster trying to wow the crowd with new technology that didn't actually add any value.
Bagel Toasting Quality
No model we tested excelled in bagel toasting, except for the perfect scoring Smeg. Our testing yielded scores from 3 to 10. The CPT-420 did do relatively well in this test, scoring an above average 6 out of 10. It was able to toast the face of bagels quite evenly, with just a few light patches coming through. It lost the top spot because it's bagel mode left the backsides of bagels just ever so toasted, cutting into the doughy:crunchy ratio we were looking for in bagels. Overall, if you really want to make bagels in a traditional slot toaster, the CPT-420 isn't a terrible choice. However, we think you'll be much much happier with the bagels that come out of a toaster oven.
Frozen Food/Defrosting Toasting Quality
Similar to the other cuisinart model we tested, the CPT-160, the CPT-420's defrost setting slowly thaws frozen items before upping the power and moving to full toasting temperature. However, we saw better results in our testing from the CPT-420 than from the CPT-160. The CPT-420 made fairly decent toast out of frozen bread, tending to leave only small underdone areas near the bottom corner crusts. It also made nice crispy waffles with only a few spots of over browning and no scorching. This performance garnered a score of 6 out of 10 in our defrosting test. The top scorer in this metric, the Oster Jelly Bean scored an 8, the worst performing model scored a 3. This put the CPT-420 towards the front of the group in defrosting performance, but with a noticeable separation from the best performers.
At a list price of $80 the CPT-420 is the cheapest leverless model we tested, though it lacked some of the panache of the more expensive models. The Oster Jelly Bean offered better performance in our testing listing for only $35, which feels like a much better value to us.
The CPT-420 is reliable and will adequately handle all of your toasting needs. However, it was outperformed in our tests by cheaper levered models, and we feel the more expensive leverless models are actually a better value. If you're enamored with leverless technology and want to find it at the cheapest possible price you will be happy with the CPT-420, but in all other circumstances there are better options available.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata