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
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 is both one of the most effective and one of the least expensive 4-slice toasters we've come across, making it great for families shopping on a 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 fairly consistent across the faces.
Oddly the middle of the toaster seems to be a bit colder than the edges, so each piece of bread tended to have one slightly darker half and one slightly 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 to be distracting to our overall toast eating experience.
Finally, the includied 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 fairly easy and straightforward to use, but lacks some of the extra user friendly touches that some other models have.
The interface of the Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 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 surface of the toaster also stays at a relatively mild temperature, even when running multiple cycles in a row.
What the toaster lacks in its user experience is the ability to check in on the toast mid cycle and then resume the cycle if it doesn't look quite done, a specific bagel setting, or the ability to save different settings — all options that some of the more expensive models offer. However, for many people those extra features may be superfluous, so their absence is certainly not a knock against the Elite Gourmet ECT-3100.
Bagel Toasting Quality
This is one area where many slot toaster tend to struggle, but where the Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 did surprisingly well given its low price tag.
Bagels tend to be quite difficult 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 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 fairly 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.
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.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell