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Pangea Darth Vader Toaster Review

Price:   $50 List | $39.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Whimsical, nostalgic
Cons:  Can't fit bagels, poor defrosting performance, controls hard to use
Bottom line:  Great conversation piece, but offers poor performance and may try to create a galactic empire
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Pangea

Our Verdict

There are many reasons not to buy Darth Toaster. It's an average performer in bread toasting, it can't fit bagels in its slots, and it's not the easiest model to use. If you have a significant other that doesn't like Star Wars, then you probably don't technically have permission to buy this model. But if you're just drawn to it, if you are enticed by the undeniable twinkle in Darth's eye, if you cannot resist the pull to the dark side, then, well, you cannot escape your destiny.

Need to complete your imperial toast arsenal?
Pangea also makes a Star Wars Stormtrooper Toaster. It's a great addition to any Star Wars fan's countertop, though it is susceptible to jedi mind tricks..


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

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Performance Comparisons


The chart below shows how Darth Toaster fared overall in our testing. Chin up Mr. Vader, you'll get 'em next time.


Below detail how poorly Darth did in all of our individual tests, and why you shouldn't care because Star Wars is awesome.

Bread Toasting Quality


Darth actually produces amazing evenness in toasting across the face of the bread, as if it were sliced with a red hot light saber. Mr. Vader lost a lot of points due to unevenness across the two sides of the toast. This is not the result of Darth Toaster being as clumsy or random as a blaster, however, it's a deliberate choice. Darth has a metal plate on one side of each slot that burns the Star Wars logo onto one side of each slice of toast, resulting in very different toasting levels on each side of the bread. In addition to elevating the whimsy of your breakfast routine, it is incredibly fitting that Darth's toast would have a light side and a dark side. Speaking of, that is exactly what Darth's shade knob is labeled; dark side and light side. Now we know that throughout this review we've been railing about how evenness of toasting across both sides of the bread is an indication of quality, but in this case the difference is only in your mind. To enjoy toast from this toaster you must unlearn what you have learned.

Darth actually toasts quite evenly across the face of toast  with just a few light spots near the crust. However  its Star Wars brand makes it very uneven across sides.
Darth actually toasts quite evenly across the face of toast, with just a few light spots near the crust. However, its Star Wars brand makes it very uneven across sides.

Ease of Use


Darth received one of our worst ease of use scores. Its shade knob is actually on the back of the body, so you have to flip it around to see what shade setting you're currently using. Or you could just display the back of Darth's helmet on your countertop. But c'mon, if you buy Darth Toaster it's clearly so Vader can wield his imposing gaze over your kitchen. Also, the shade knob only has two labels, light side and dark side, and doesn't click into any settings in between. This makes it hard to dial in your preferred setting. The crumb tray is a bit flimsy and somewhat difficult to remove. We're sure anyone who buys Darth is going to use the force to overcome these obstacles, so we probably didn't really need to mention them.

Darth's controls being on the back of the unit make it a bit harder to use  as whimsical as they may be.
Darth's controls being on the back of the unit make it a bit harder to use, as whimsical as they may be.

Bagel Toasting Quality


Darth, unfortunately, outright failed our bagel toasting test, as its toasting slots are not wide enough to accommodate a bagel. I guess when Palpatine designed Vader's helmet he was more concerned with creating a menacing look than accommodating bagels. While we're on the subject, do you really want bagels? Aren't they a little carb heavy for a training padawan? You should probably opt for a high protein breakfast. Have Aunt Beru pour you some blue bantha milk, we hear it's a superfood.

Darth staring disapprovingly at our copious consumption of carbohydrates.
Darth staring disapprovingly at our copious consumption of carbohydrates.

Frozen Food/Defrosting Toasting Quality


Darth is the only model we tested that did not have a defrosting function, which resulted in some uneven toasting of frozen goods and, accordingly, low scores. However, we're assuming a force sensitive being like you doesn't want some microchip using a fancy algorithm to figure out how to toast your waffle. So turn off that targeting computer and toast that waffle by the seat of your pants. It will be just like shooting womp rats in your T-16 back home.

Darth's lack of a defrosting setting meant it often toasted frozen items fairly light.
Darth's lack of a defrosting setting meant it often toasted frozen items fairly light.

Value


Darth, like all the models we tested, is able to produce decent toast. However, it struggles with frozen goods, flat out can't handle bagels, and its control placement is a bit annoying. With a list price of $50 it's not a huge investment, and some may be happy paying that for an acceptable toaster that brings some Star Wars novelty to the kitchen. However, our Best Buy Award winner, the Oster Jelly Bean, offers better performance in all areas at a list price that is $15 less. Sorry Mr. Vader.

Can't you just hear the labored  mechanical breathing?
Can't you just hear the labored, mechanical breathing?

Conclusion


If you're looking for high quality in any area, then Darth is not the choice for you. It just doesn't perform well enough in any metric to justify buying it over the Oster Jelly Bean. However, if you're enamored with the idea of having a sith lord, well, lord over your kitchen, you're not too fussy about toasting quality, and you don't care about toasting bagels, then by all means go with Mr. Vader. He will produce decent toast that will delight all but the most demanding palates. If you don't believe us, well, we find your lack of faith disturbing.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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