≪ Go to our review of Toasters

Hands-on Gear Review

KitchenAid 4-Slice Long Slot with High Lift Lever Review

Price:   $130 List | $79.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Relatively good bagel toasting performance, aesthetically pleasing
Cons:  Expensive, oddly placed controls
Bottom line:  Interesting design, but relatively poor overall performance
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 
Manufacturer:   KitchenAid

Our Verdict

The KitchenAid has sleek aesthetics, and its long slots allow it to make four slices of toast at a time. It also is able to handle bagels fairly well for a traditional slot model. However, we found its controls to be somewhat odd, requiring some getting used to, and it was one of the worst performers in both our bread toasting and frozen food toasting test. Additionally, it comes with a pretty hefty price tag, so there are plenty of options available that offer a better value.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Toasters of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Tuesday
October 25, 2016

Share:

Performance Comparison


The graph below compares the KitchenAid's overall performance in our testing (shown in blue) to the other models we evaluated.


Here we further discuss the KitchenAid's performance in each one of our individual tests.

Bread Toasting Quality


As with all the models we tested the KitchenAid made decent toast during our testing, but it had more inconsistencies than most. When toasting a single slice in a slot it tended to burn edges. As with the other long slot model we tested, the Breville Die-Cast, this problem was mostly solved when toasting 2 slices in each slot. So if you're using the the KitchenAid to toast 2 slices of bread, we suggest you put both of them in the same slot and leave the other slot empty. It also often toasted the tops of slices a bit more than the bottoms, and left the area adjacent to the bottom crust quite light. It had some issues with consistency across sides of toast as well, often toasting one side much darker than the other. These issues left the KitchenAid with the lowest score of 5 out of 10 in our bread toasting test, putting it far behind the top performing Oster Jelly Bean and Smeg 2-Slice, which scored 9.

During our testing the KitchenAid tended to leave white spots near the bottom crust and toast one side more than the other. It also often burned one vertical crust  but this problem can mostly be avoided by toasting two slices in a single slot.
During our testing the KitchenAid tended to leave white spots near the bottom crust and toast one side more than the other. It also often burned one vertical crust, but this problem can mostly be avoided by toasting two slices in a single slot.

Ease of Use


The KitchenAid has our favorite crumb tray. It is spring loaded and clicks in and out with a light press, making it the easiest to remove of all the models we tested. The controls on the KitchenAid feel high quality and are easy to use. The shade knob clicks into each individual setting and the lever is smooth both when depressing and lifting it. However, we feel that the placement of these controls is flawed. The shade knob and mode buttons are on what we would think of as the side of the toaster, the long side, and the lever is on what we would think of as the front, the short side. This configuration seems to lend itself to placing the slots parallel to the edge of the counter. This may work well in some kitchens, but we found it disorienting and odd to use in our testing area.

The KitchenAid's controls and lever are on different sides of the toaster  making it awkward to orient on most countertops.
The KitchenAid's controls and lever are on different sides of the toaster, making it awkward to orient on most countertops.

While we liked the KitchenAid's interface, it lost points for its odd control placement. We gave it an average score of 5 out of 10 in our ease of use testing. This puts it well ahead of the low score of 3, but distant from the top score of 8.

Bagel Toasting Quality


Though we were generally disappointed with how the traditional slot models we tested made bagels, the KitchenAid was one of the better performers. It had the common problem of toasting half of the bagel slice more than the other, but to a lesser degree than most other models. It also reliably left the backsides of bagels untoasted when bagel mode was engaged. This earned it a 7 out of 10 in our bagel toasting test, still far of from the Smeg's perfect 10 but well ahead of the low score of 3. We feel that if you want good bagel you're going to be much happier with a toaster oven. However, if you're really looking to make bagels in a traditional slot model, the top performing KRUPS Breakfast Set does so slightly better than the KitchenAid, and at a much lower price.

The KitchenAid was one of the better bagel makers in our testing. It left the backside untoasted  and only showed some slight inconsistencies toasting the face.
The KitchenAid was one of the better bagel makers in our testing. It left the backside untoasted, and only showed some slight inconsistencies toasting the face.

Frozen Food/Defrosting Quality


We were surprised at the KitchenAid's poor performance in our defrosting tests, especially considering that its defrost setting utilizes a multi-stage thaw then toast method. It really struggled with frozen bread. Even on higher shade settings it turned frozen bread into extremely light toast. Despite barley toasting frozen bread, the defrost setting tended to leave numerous scorch marks on frozen waffles during our testing. This unpredictability of the defrost function earned the KitchenAid one of the lower scores on our defrosting test. It received a 4 out of 10 in a metric whose scores fell between 3 and 8.

The KitchenAid's defrost setting left some scorch marks on frozen waffles  but barely toasted frozen bread.
The KitchenAid's defrost setting left some scorch marks on frozen waffles, but barely toasted frozen bread.

Value


The KitchenAid received some of the worst scores from our bread and frozen food toasting tests, and was not a pleasure to use. Despite its admirable performance in bagel toasting we feel the $130 list price makes the KitchenAid a poor value.


Conclusion


We didn't find enough redeeming qualities to justify the KitchenAid's high price. If you're going to spend that much on a toaster you'd be much better off with the OXO On or, if you really want a long slot, spending a little extra and getting the Breville Die-Cast. We feel the only reason to go with the Kitchen is if you're enamored with its aesthetics.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

  • Share this article:
You Might Also Like

Where to Buy?

Seller Price sort asc Shipping Cost Visit
Amazonon sale
$79.99  -  38% off! Check Site see it

Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help TechGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


 
Where to Buy?

*You help support TechGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.

Follow Us

Unbiased.