The CPT-160 received average scores across the board in our toaster testing. If it matches the aesthetics of your kitchen appliances perfectly then it's a good choice, as it offers reasonable performance at a reasonable price. In any other circumstances, however, there are other models (or even a toaster oven) that provide better performance at or below the same price.Editor's Note: This review was updated to include additional information regarding our favorite toasters on January 26, 2022.
Cuisinart CPT-160 Review
Pros: Simple and familiar interface, classic aesthetics
Cons: Relatively poor bread toasting and defrosting performance
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$49.95 at Amazon
$29.95 at Amazon
|Check Price at Amazon||$40 List|
$34.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Simple and familiar interface, classic aesthetics||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||Relatively poor bread toasting and defrosting performance||Mediocre bagels, waffles||Subpar bagel toasting||No specific bagel mode, toasting can be slightly inconsistent overall||Hard to clean crumb tray|
|Bottom Line||Clean, modern aesthetic, but generally below average performance||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||Cuisinart CPT-160||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||Cuisinart CPT-160||Cuisinart CPT-122||Oster 2 Slice||Elite Gourmet ECT-3100||Black+Decker TR3500SD|
|Weight||3.5 lbs.||3.7 lbs.||3.5 lbs.||6.4 lbs.||2.7 lbs.|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||10.8" x 7.2" x 7.2"||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?||Yes||No||No||No||Yes|
|Color/Finish Options||Stainless Steel||White, Red, Black||Gray||Black Plastic/Stainless||Stainless Steel|
|Exterior Housing Material||Stainless Steel||Plastic||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
|End of Cycle Indicator||None||None||None||None||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Below we expound upon the CPT-160's performance in our tests compared to the toaster competition.
Bread Toasting Quality
Like all the models we tested, the CPT-160 made respectable slices of toast but with significantly more inconsistencies than most other models. It scored low in this metric, falling well behind the top-performing Smeg. It made toast with conspicuous white areas near the crust and often charred one vertical side while leaving the other reasonably light. While most people wouldn't scoff at this toast, its inconsistencies were evident enough that even the less finicky toast eaters would notice them. The last thing you want is picky Aunt Bertha complaining about her toast when she comes over for breakfast.
Ease of Use
The CPT-160 has fairly basic, intuitive controls. Its mode buttons have adjacent lights that turn on when pressed, making it clear which mode is currently selected. The shade knob is continuous and doesn't click into each setting, so it is a bit more challenging to choose the same setting each time. The lever feels a bit flimsy to use, and the unit doesn't have much weight. Rubber feet prevent sliding when pressing buttons, but lifting the lever to pull smaller items out of the slot tends to lift the entire toaster rather than just the stubborn English muffin. It has a very wide and easy-to-clean crumb tray, but the tray removes from the back of the unit, which is a bit of a bother.
Bagel Toasting Quality
The CPT-160 shared common bagel toasting issues with many of the other models in our test. It often toasted one half of each bagel slice a few shades darker than the other. Some cycles produced inconsistencies across slices, toasting one piece much more than the other. The bagel mode does not turn off the outside elements, leaving the backsides of bagels toasted rather than in their ideal warm and gooey state. All of this translated into an average score for the group.
Frozen Food/Defrosting Quality
This model's defrost mode takes frozen goods and slowly warms and thaws them before ramping up to full toasting temperature. Generally, we found that models using this technique performed much better in our frozen food tests. While the CPT-160 performed acceptably in our tests, it did not perform as well as other models that utilize this technique. It struggled to make even toast from frozen bread, churning out slices with large white splotches. Even on higher shade settings, the defrost function toasted frozen waffles on the light side, but they were toasted all the way through. This relatively poor frozen bread and mediocre frozen waffle performance earned the CPT-160 a lower score in our defrosting test.
Should You Buy the CPT-160?
The CPT-160 is a basic toaster that provides basic functionality at its core. With its reasonably low price, few people will find it a dissatisfying purchase, but there are certainly better options and better values to be found.
What Other Toaster Should You Consider?
This Cuisinart is kind of cute, but that is all it seems to excel at. The Amazon Basics KT-3680 is less expensive and scored significantly better during testing for both bagel and toast quality, making it our toaster of choice if budget is a concern or you want a basic model that gets the job done. If your goal is the best of the best or you want something that looks a little bit different, then the Smeg 2-Slice is the toaster of choice with top marks for toast and bagel quality and drop-dead good looks.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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