This is the first budget-friendly toasters we've come across that makes truly good bagels. The Amazon Basics KT-3680 is also a very reasonably priced model. This is a revelation for bagel lovers, as previously the best options were to spend more on a toaster oven or get the expensive Smeg 2 Slice. If you're looking for great bagels on a budget, and don't want a toaster oven, look no further. It does have some minor drawbacks, like a tendency to burn frozen waffles and a finicky crumb tray. However, these annoyances are easier to overlook when you consider how little you had to spend for this kitchen appliance.Editor's Note: The Amazon Basics was updated on May 18, 2022, with the latest info on how this product compared to other toasters added to our lineup.
Amazon Basics KT-3680 Review
Pros: Good toasting, inexpensive
Cons: Mediocre defrosting, poor cleaning access
Compare to Similar Products
Amazon Basics KT-3680
|Price||$26 List||$30 List|
$29.95 at Amazon
$39.99 at Amazon
$34.99 at Amazon
$27.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Good toasting, inexpensive||Strong toasting, small storage, easy to use, budget friendly, good strudel||Budget-friendly, easy-to-use, great strudels||Inexpensive, toasts 4 slices at once, toasts bagels evenly||Good toast, decent bagels, inexpensive|
|Cons||Mediocre defrosting, poor cleaning access||Mediocre bagels, waffles||Subpar bagel toasting||No specific bagel mode, toasting can be slightly inconsistent overall||Hard to clean crumb tray|
|Bottom Line||This toaster delivers the best bagels you can get at such a low price||It may not be the most aesthetic, but this toaster is compact, practical, and budget-friendly for its high performance||An easy-to-use toaster that is also easy on the wallet, and great for strudel lovers, but not for bagel lovers||The best option we've found for people seeking a 4-slice or long-slot model on the cheap||A good, inexpensive option that does just about everything well|
|Rating Categories||Amazon Basics KT-3680||Cuisinart CPT-122||Oster 2 Slice||Elite Gourmet ECT-3100||Black+Decker TR3500SD|
|Bread Toasting Quality (35%)|
|Ease of Use (35%)|
|Bagel Toasting Quality (15%)|
|Frozen Food (15%)|
|Specs||Amazon Basics KT-3680||Cuisinart CPT-122||Oster 2 Slice||Elite Gourmet ECT-3100||Black+Decker TR3500SD|
|Weight||2.5 lbs.||3.7 lbs.||3.5 lbs.||6.4 lbs.||2.7 lbs.|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||10.7" x 6.4" x 7.6"||6.5" x 11" x 7.2"||11.7" x 6.9" x 7.3"||14.7" x 7.1" x 7.7"||10.0" x 6.5" x 7.4"|
|Standard / Long Slot||Standard||Standard||Standard||Long||Standard|
|Available with Long Slot?||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Available in 4 slot?||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Color/Finish Options||Black Plastic/Stainless||White, Red, Black||Gray||Black Plastic/Stainless||Stainless Steel|
|Exterior Housing Material||Plastic||Plastic||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
|End of Cycle Indicator||None||None||None||None||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Amazon Basics KT-3680 offers impressive bread and bagel toasting performance and won't empty your wallet. If you care about bagels, this is one of the few traditional toasters that can make a good one. In our testing, the Amazon Basics KT-3680 performed very well where it mattered (bread and bagel toasting) but fell a bit short when it came to user-friendliness and frozen pastry toasting.
The Amazon Basics KT-3680 was one of the above-average bread toasters in our testing. The toast that this model makes is nearly perfect. It is uniform across the faces and between each side of the toast. They only lack a little browning at the center of each slice and slight under-toasting in a narrow strip along with the crust. The top-performing products in our test lineup are able to deal with these problem areas more effectively, but we doubt that most consumers wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
Ease of Use
This metric is one area where the Amazon Basics KT-3680 is a bit lacking. It performed poorly in our testing. The crumb tray and interface are less than stellar. It doesn't slide out easily, requiring finagling to remove, often resulting in a mess. As this isn't an everyday task, it's not too much of an issue but certainly less than ideal.
The interface is easy to understand and has light-up indicators, so you know which settings are selected. However, the buttons are a bit flimsy, and the toaster is very light, so sometimes the unit will slide when you press a button. Again, this isn't a huge inconvenience, but it lacks the feel of better-built models.
Bagel Toasting Quality
This test metric is where the Amazon Basics KT-3680 shines, especially given its low price. It is dollar for dollar the best bagel toasting machine we've found. The bagels we enjoyed from the Amazon Basics KT-3680 had well-toasted cut-sides with only a few hits of over-browning here and there and slightly warm but still soft and doughy backsides. Occasionally, if the bagels were on the skinny side, the backsides would get somewhat toasted, but not to the degree that it ruined the classic crunchy/chewy bagel juxtaposition.
Compared to more similarly priced models, the bagels we made with the Amazon Basics KT-3680 are significantly better.
Frozen Food/Defrosting Toasting Quality
Frozen foods are the one thing that the Amazon Basics KT-3680 had some trouble prepping. Most of the frozen pastries we prepped in the Amazon Basics KT-3680, like frozen waffles and strudels, ended up being toasted much more on one side than the other. Frozen bread faced a similar fate when made in this model. It seems that the 'frozen' mode doesn't allow a slow enough defrosting cycle, so the pastries end up toasting very unevenly. To be fair, they are generally still tasty but certainly not the perfect golden brown pastries most would hope for.
If frozen waffles are your thing, this is not the machine for you.
Should You Buy the Amazon Basics KT-3680?
Considering that the Amazon Basics KT-3680 makes some of the best bagels and toast we've had, for most people, it's one of the best deals around. If the only things on your toaster checklist are good toast and good bagels, this is the best value around. If frozen pastries and aesthetics make their way onto your checklist as well, there are better options available.
What Other Toaster Should You Consider?
If budget is your concern, it is hard to find a better choice than the Amazon Basics. It truly does what a toaster should for a reasonable price. However, if your goal is either a sharp-looking appliance or the best toast and bagels you can get at home, and your budget is bigger, then the Smeg 2-Slice is the one for you with top scores in most metrics and an overall score significantly higher than even the closest competitor.
— Benjamin Hickok and Steven Tata
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