The Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 is a reasonably priced 4-slice toaster that manages to make good toast, nice frozen pastries, and fantastic bagels. If you have a family that requires lots of toast to be made quickly in the morning and you're on a budget, this could be the perfect toaster for you. Sure it lacks some of the bells and whistles of many of the more expensive models on the market, but it does all you need and then some for quite a wallet-friendly price. To boot, it has a built-in warming rack for heating up croissants and other pastries, and its classic metal styling easily fits into most kitchen decors and other kitchen appliances.Editor's Note: This Elite Gourmet review includes new sections designed to help readers make a final buying decision that is best for their budget. This product review was updated on January 26, 2022.
Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 Review
Pros: Inexpensive, toasts 4 slices at once, toasts bagels evenly
Cons: No specific bagel mode, toasting can be slightly inconsistent overall
Manufacturer: Elite Gourmet
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|Pros||Inexpensive, toasts 4 slices at once, toasts bagels evenly||Strong toasting, small storage, easy to use, budget friendly, good strudel||Budget-friendly, easy-to-use, great strudels||Good toast, decent bagels, inexpensive||Good toasting, inexpensive|
|Cons||No specific bagel mode, toasting can be slightly inconsistent overall||Mediocre bagels, waffles||Subpar bagel toasting||Hard to clean crumb tray||Mediocre defrosting, poor cleaning access|
|Bottom Line||The best option we've found for people seeking a 4-slice or long-slot model on the cheap||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||A good, inexpensive option that does just about everything well||This toaster delivers the best bagels you can get at such a low price|
|Rating Categories||Elite Gourmet ECT-3100||Cuisinart CPT-122||Oster 2 Slice||Black+Decker TR3500SD||Amazon Basics KT-3680|
|Bread Toasting Quality (35%)|
|Ease of Use (35%)|
|Bagel Toasting Quality (15%)|
|Frozen Food (15%)|
|Specs||Elite Gourmet ECT-3100||Cuisinart CPT-122||Oster 2 Slice||Black+Decker TR3500SD||Amazon Basics KT-3680|
|Weight||6.4 lbs.||3.7 lbs.||3.5 lbs.||2.7 lbs.||2.5 lbs.|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||14.7" x 7.1" x 7.7"||6.5" x 11" x 7.2"||11.7" x 6.9" x 7.3"||10.0" x 6.5" x 7.4"||10.7" x 6.4" x 7.6"|
|Standard / Long Slot||Long||Standard||Standard||Standard||Standard|
|Available with Long Slot?||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Available in 4 slot?||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Color/Finish Options||Black Plastic/Stainless||White, Red, Black||Gray||Stainless Steel||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 Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 is one of the most effective and least expensive 4-slice toasters we've come across, making it great for families shopping on a limited kitchen appliance budget.
Bread Toasting Quality
In our bread toasting tests, the Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 did quite well. In general, the toast was evenly browned on both sides and was pretty consistent across the faces.
Oddly, the middle of the toaster seems a bit colder than the edges, so each piece of bread tended to have one slightly darker half and one somewhat lighter half. However, these minor inconsistencies didn't affect our enjoyment of said toast. Additionally, if you end up toasting just a single slice of bread and putting it in the middle of one of the slots, as the manufacturer suggests, that toast often has darker ends and a lighter spot in the middle. Again, we didn't find that inconsistency distracting our overall toast eating experience.
Finally, the included warming rack for croissants and other pastries is simple, works well, and makes you feel downright fancy when using it.
Ease of Use
The Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 is relatively straightforward to use but lacks some of the extra user-friendly touches that some other models have.
The Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 interface is simple — a dial to select the shade setting, two buttons for the defrost and reheat functions, a button to cancel the cycle, and a lever to start everything off. The crumb tray slides out so you can empty it without moving the actual toaster. In our experience, the toaster surface stays at a relatively mild temperature, even when running consecutive cycles.
What the toaster lacks in user experience is the ability to check on the toast mid-cycle and resume the cycle if it isn't done, a bagel setting, or the ability to save settings — all options on some of the more expensive models. However, those extra features may be superfluous for many people, so their absence is not a knock against the Elite Gourmet ECT-3100.
Bagel Toasting Quality
This metric is one area where many slot toasters tend to struggle (giving toaster ovens a leg up), but where the Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 did surprisingly well given its low price tag.
Bagels tend to be quite challenging to toast evenly, and the Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 managed to do that quite well in our testing. The one flaw is that it doesn't have a bagel setting. In most models, the bagel setting turns one side of each slot down a bit so you can toast the face of the bagel while keeping the backside still a bit gooey. This function isn't an option with the Elite Gourmet ECT-3100.
Frozen Food Defrosting Quality
The Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 did well on most of our frozen food tests but struggled a bit when it came to more unique items like frozen toaster pastries.
The Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 handled both frozen bread and frozen waffles beautifully in our tests, completely thawing each and then imbuing a reasonably even and crispy browning across their faces. Frozen toaster pastries, however, were another story. Many of these pastries started to borderline burn around the edges while the centers were still quite gooey.
Should You Buy the Elite Gourmet ECT-3100?
It would be hard to find a 4-slice toaster that performed as well as the Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 for less. Therefore, we think it's a great value for those who need a 4-slice and/or long-slot toaster. The Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 is both one of the best and least expensive long-slot 4-slice toasters we've tested.
What Other Toaster Should You Consider?
If you don't need four slots or long slots, then the Elite may not be the best appliance for you. The Amazon Basics KT-3680 is less expensive and earned similar results for toast quality and better bagel toasting results in our tests. Why spend more if you don't need to? If bagels or good basic toast is your goal, we like the Amazon. If you want the absolute best, then the Smeg 2-Slice is the option to consider with impressive toast and bagels and an unbelievably cool aesthetic.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell
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