Black+Decker TR3500SD Review
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|Pros||Good toast, decent bagels, 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 toasting, inexpensive|
|Cons||Hard to clean crumb tray||Mediocre bagels, waffles||Subpar bagel toasting||No specific bagel mode, toasting can be slightly inconsistent overall||Mediocre defrosting, poor cleaning access|
|Bottom Line||A good, inexpensive option that does just about everything well||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||This toaster delivers the best bagels you can get at such a low price|
|Rating Categories||Black+Decker TR3500SD||Cuisinart CPT-122||Oster 2 Slice||Elite Gourmet ECT-3100||Amazon Basics KT-3680|
|Bread Toasting Quality (35%)|
|Ease of Use (35%)|
|Bagel Toasting Quality (15%)|
|Frozen Food (15%)|
|Specs||Black+Decker TR3500SD||Cuisinart CPT-122||Oster 2 Slice||Elite Gourmet ECT-3100||Amazon Basics KT-3680|
|Weight||2.7 lbs.||3.7 lbs.||3.5 lbs.||6.4 lbs.||2.5 lbs.|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||10.0" x 6.5" x 7.4"||6.5" x 11" x 7.2"||11.7" x 6.9" x 7.3"||14.7" x 7.1" x 7.7"||10.7" x 6.4" x 7.6"|
|Standard / Long Slot||Standard||Standard||Standard||Long||Standard|
|Available with Long Slot?||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Available in 4 slot?||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Color/Finish Options||Stainless Steel||White, Red, Black||Gray||Black Plastic/Stainless||Black Plastic/Stainless|
|Exterior Housing Material||Stainless Steel||Plastic||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Plastic|
|End of Cycle Indicator||None||None||None||None||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Black+Decker TR3500SD has all the functions you need in a favorite toaster: backlit buttons, bagel and defrost modes, and quick heating elements. The one place it falls short is its trap door-style crumb tray, which can be a bit of a pain to empty. Overall, the Black+Decker TR3500SD did quite well in our testing but fell a bit short of the performances exhibited by the best products we tested.
Bread Toasting Quality
Bread toasting is likely the most essential aspect of performance for most people, and the Black+Decker TR3500SD did quite well in our testing. This result was above average and just a bit behind the top scorers.
The TR3500SD was able to get nice, even crispiness across the entire face of the bread, resulting in a delightfully crunchy toast. However, each piece also had some seemingly random hot spots that were crunchier than the rest. This irregularity didn't affect the taste too much, but it wasn't quite as impressive as the toast that some of the best models could produce.
Ease of Use
Black+Decker nailed the interface but fumbled a bit on the crumb tray, resulting in average ease of use performance. We felt that this flaw made it harder to clean. As crumbs tend to pile up quickly, it is better to have a toaster where one can easily slide the crumb tray out for quick dumping and cleaning.
The shade knob and buttons on this machine feel solid and supple. Buttons are conveniently backlit and make it clear which mode is selected. Our only complaint is the crumb tray, which uses a less than ideal hinged trapdoor design. It requires lifting the entire toaster to remove crumbs rather than just sliding out.
Bagel Toasting Quality
We were pleasantly surprised with the TR3500SD's bagel toasting performance. The backsides of bagels made with this machine were slightly warm but still soft and gooey, just the way they should be. The front side was toasted well with no burned spots, but one side tended to be much darker. We'd put these bagels on the right side of acceptable, but certainly short of incredible.
The TR3500SD again performed quite well in our frozen food testing, putting it just behind the top models.
The defrost function worked quite well, thawing all of the frozen pastries all the way through before actually toasting them. Like its toasting performance, it did produce random hotspots in frozen pastries, leaving some bites much crunchier than others. It did a bit better with frozen waffles, getting most of the ridges just a bit brown and leaving the pockets on the fluffier side.
Should You Buy the TR3500SD?
Overall, the TR3500SD is quite good for a toaster with a list price that is easy on the wallet. This model provides great performance given its low price, but we do not recommend it as there are better-performing toasters that are also affordable.
What Other Toaster Should You Consider?
If all you need is a great piece of toast and price is an issue, the Cuisinart CPT-122 creates impressive toast and does a better job while remaining cost-effective. It even makes better bagels, but it is harder to clean and use than the TR3500SD.
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