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|Bottom Line||Overall this toaster brings to the table a strong performance, is compact, and budget-friendly||Great for lovers of strudels, easy-to-use, affordable, but could do better on bagels||Impressive performance at a low prices makes this a compelling 4-slice model||At the lower end of quality, but a budget-friendly option that works||Not a bad budget option, but certainly not the best budget toaster|
|Rating Categories||Cuisinart CPT-122||Oster 2 Slice||Elite Gourmet ECT-3100||Black+Decker 2-Slic...||Black+Decker TR3500SD|
|Bread Toasting Quality (35%)|
|Ease of Use (35%)|
|Bagel Toasting Quality (15%)|
|Frozen Food (15%)|
|Specs||Cuisinart CPT-122||Oster 2 Slice||Elite Gourmet ECT-3100||Black+Decker 2-Slic...||Black+Decker TR3500SD|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||6.5" x 11" x 7.2"||11.7" x 6.9" x 7.3"||14.7" x 7.1" x 7.7"||7.3" x 12" x 8"||10" x 6.5" x 7.4"|
|Available with Long Slot?||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Available in 4 slot?||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Color/Finish Options||White, Red, Black||Gray||Black Plastic/Stainless||Black||Stainless Steel|
|Exterior Housing Material||Plastic||stainless steel||Stainless Steel||Plastic||Stainless Steel|
|End of Cycle Indicator||None||None||None||None||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Cuisinart CPT-122 offers consumers strong toasting performance and a small footprint. This easy-to-use and inexpensive machine performed well across a large number of our tests. This model did nothing but impress when working with toast and frozen foods. It only failed to be exceptional in our bagel tests and struggled a little bit with frozen waffles. While there are better models and appliances to handle bagels and waffles specifically, like a toaster oven, few if any appliances can match the dollar-for-dollar performance of this super easy-to-use machine. Overall great performance and a budget-friendly price tag made this model one of our top choices.
The Cuisinart CPT-122 was one of the most impressive bread toasters in our product lineup. It performed exceptionally well across different heat settings and very narrowly missed out on being the best product we tested for the category.
On the lightest setting, the Cuisinart CPT-122 did not produce a perfectly even spread of heat. Instead, it created areas of each slice with more warmth and crispier textures than in other areas. However, it did produce the classic golden coloration across the entire slice of bread and was still enjoyable to consume.
With the medium heat setting selected, the CPT-122 created a mostly even, dark gold-colored piece of toast that was almost perfectly heated, with a minor exception. A single corner received more heat than the rest of the slice, keeping it from being totally uniform in warmth. The medium heat setting repeated this performance across multiple cycles and consistently made an impressive, almost uniformly golden slice of toast.
The Cuisinart was also able to repeat consistent toasting performance across multiple cycles on the highest heat setting. Again, the result was an almost perfectly evenly heated piece of toast, but with a deep brown surface, instead of the golden one — perfect for toast lovers who enjoy a little more crunch and deeper toasting.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is another metric where the Cuisinart performed very well. In our ease of use tests, we evaluated and scored crumb tray access, the ease of cleaning, user interface, and the external surface temperature of the toasters during a cook cycle.
The Cuisinart CPT 122 incorporates a removable crumb tray at the back of the toaster, which follows conventional toaster designs. Just like most conventional toasters, the tray located at the back of the device requires pulling the toaster away from a wall or rotating for access. Once accessible, it was easy to remove and empty and above average in that regard.
Our ease of use tests extended to whether or not appliances became warm or even hot to the touch. Fortunately for our testers and consumers, the Cuisinart does a great job insulating the exterior surface from the heating elements inside. The body of the toaster was ever so slightly warm to the touch and felt just a little bit warmer than room temperature, staying much cooler than other models we tested.
Consumers will have no problems using the CPT-122. Seven heat settings controlled by a numbered dial make selecting your heat preference simple and straightforward. An easy lever activates the toaster when pulled down, and a small extra lift of the lever makes extraction at the end of the cook cycle easy.
The Cuisinart CPT-122 also makes selections for bagels, defrosting, reheating, and canceling super easy with large buttons. A light next to each button indicates the selection. All of the toasters functions are clear, practical, easy to use, and maintain an overall clean and sleek appearance that would look good on many countertops that prefer an antique-looking design rather than a modern one.
For all the reasons mentioned above, the Cuisinart CPT-122 performed exceptionally well in our ease of use test metric.
Bagel Toasting Quality
Unfortunately for bagel lovers, bagel toasting was one of the few test metrics where the Cuisinart CPT-122 was a bit lacking compared to the other appliances we tested. It maintained a mediocre performance across multiple bagel cook cycles.
In the first round of testing, the Cuisinart produced bagels that were generally golden to golden-brown in color, and they were noticeably toasted and warmed but also left a lot to be desired. Despite the wide range of golden colors, the texture was different than that of a bagel straight from the bag.
During our second cycle of testing, bagels resulted in a range of coloration from light gold to a deep brown and again had an uneven heat distribution. Although the bagels in our tests were never underdone, nor were they ever burnt, they were consistently underwhelming. While our testers don't expect a standard toaster to perform like the top-rated toaster oven, the Cuisinart failed to do as well as many of the other models we tested.
Frozen Food/Defrosting Toasting Quality
The Cuisinart CPT 122 defrosted and toasted frozen foods as good or better than many other appliances, including more premium and expensive options. Its overall performance was mostly impressive, but its waffle performance was less than amazing.
The Cuisinart CPT-122 struggled in our first frozen food test, waffles. It produced waffles that were completely unevenly cooked, nearly burning one side while the opposite remained undercooked at the edges. The waffles were never soft or cold, but the textures were inconsistent and uneven.
After a disappointing performance in our waffle tests, we moved on to frozen bread, where the Cuisinart proved it can handle frozen food items. The toast produced had an attractive, fairly even golden coloration, a lovely crispy texture, and an even distribution of warmth.
When it came down to testing strudel preparation performance, the Cuisinart CPT 122 was impressive. The finished strudels had an ideal crispy, almost crunchy texture, with a perfectly warmed center, and perfectly warmed edges. This is a feat only accomplished by only some appliances. So, if you want an all-around, above-average toaster capable of making the perfect strudel, then look no further than the Cuisinart.
Should You Buy the Cuisinart CPT 122?
The Cuisinart CPT 122 is one of the best deals around for the well-rounded performance it delivers, especially compared to its peers, and rightfully earned one of our top choices. However, if bagels are your preferred toasted snack or frozen waffles are your go-to breakfast option, then this may not be the best choice for you. Or you may just be more interested in a toaster oven.
What Other Toaster Should You Consider?
If you intend to use your toaster for bagels or frozen waffles and are willing to spend a few more bucks, consider either the Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 or the Breville Bit More 2 Slice. If you have a more restrictive budget and want a great bagel, then take a serious look at the Amazon Basics KT-3680.If you are willing and able to pay a premium for all-around premium performance, then there isn't a better toaster than the Smeg 2 Slice, which is our current favorite, and a very deserving purchase.