KitchenAid 4-Slice Long Slot with High Lift Lever Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
Here we further discuss the KitchenAid's performance in each of our tests.
Bread Toasting Quality
As with all the models we tested the KitchenAid made decent toast during our testing, but it had more inconsistencies than most. It tended to burn edges when toasting a single slice in a slot. As with the other long slot model we tested, the Breville Die-Cast 4-Slice Long Slot, this problem was mostly solved when toasting 2 slices in each slot. So if you're using the KitchenAid to toast 2 slices of bread, we suggest you put both of them in the same slot and leave the other slot empty. It often toasted the tops of slices slightly more than the bottoms and left the area adjacent to the bottom crust relatively light. It had some issues with consistency across sides of toast, often toasting one side much darker than the other. These issues left the KitchenAid with the lowest score in our bread toasting test, putting it far behind the top-performing options.
Ease of Use
The KitchenAid has our favorite crumb tray. It is spring-loaded and clicks in and out with a light press, making it the easiest to remove of all the models we tested. The controls on the KitchenAid feel high quality and are easy to use. The shade knob clicks into each setting, and the lever is smooth both when depressing and lifting it. However, we feel that the placement of these controls is flawed. The shade knob and mode buttons are on what we would think of as the side of the toaster, the long side, and the lever is on what we would think of as the front, the short side. This configuration seems to lend itself to placing the slots parallel to the counter's edge. This may work well in some kitchens, but we found it disorienting and odd to use in our testing area.
While we liked the KitchenAid's interface, it lost points for its odd control placement. We gave it an average score in our ease of use testing. This performance puts it well ahead of the low score but distant from the top score.
Bagel Toasting Quality
Though we were generally disappointed with how the traditional slot models we tested made bagels, the KitchenAid was one of the better performers. It had the common problem of toasting half of the bagel slice more than the other, but to a lesser degree than most other models. It also reliably left the backsides of bagels untoasted when bagel mode was engaged. We feel that if you want good bagel you're going to be much happier with a toaster oven. However, if you're looking to make bagels in a traditional slot model, the top-performing Krups Breakfast Set does so slightly better than the KitchenAid, and at a much lower price.
Frozen Food/Defrosting Quality
We were surprised at KitchenAid's poor performance in our defrosting tests, especially considering its defrost setting utilizes a multi-stage thaw than the toasting method. It really struggled with frozen bread. Even on higher shade settings, it turned frozen bread into extremely light toast. Despite barely toasting frozen bread, the defrost setting tended to leave numerous scorch marks on frozen waffles during our testing. This unpredictability of the defrost function earned the KitchenAid one of the lower scores on our defrosting test.
Should You Buy the KitchenAid?
We didn't find enough redeeming qualities to justify the KitchenAid's high price. We feel the only reason to go with the Kitchen is if you're enamored with its aesthetics. The KitchenAid received some of the worst scores from our bread and frozen food toasting tests and was not a pleasure to use. Despite its admirable performance in bagel toasting, we feel the $130 list price makes the KitchenAid a poor value overall.
What Other Toaster Should You Consider?
If you have the money for the KitchenAid, you might be better served spending a bit more for the higher-performing Smeg that earned top-ranking status and has a similar price. This toaster is the best for toast and bagels, and in our opinion, it's even better looking than this KitchenAid. If budget is a concern, the Amazon Basics KT-3680 is the better choice with similar performance for toasting, but it isn't as easy to use. The budget-friendly price makes this lacking acceptable to most. If you need a long slot model or something that can toast four ordinary slices at a time, then the Breville Die-Cast 4-Slice Long Slot is a good choice with a high rank and lower price; it offers better performance overall but slightly less impressive bagel toasting capabilities.
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