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KitchenAid 4-Slice Long Slot with High Lift Lever Review

Interesting design, but relatively poor overall performance
KitchenAid 4-Slice Long Slot with High Lift Lever
Credit: KitchenAid
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Price:   $130 List
Pros:  Relatively good bagel toasting performance, aesthetically pleasing
Cons:  Expensive, oddly placed controls
Manufacturer:   KitchenAid
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Jan 26, 2022
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52
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 16
  • Bread Toasting Quality - 35% 5.0
  • Ease of Use - 35% 5.0
  • Bagel Toasting Quality - 15% 7.0
  • Frozen Food - 15% 4.0

Our Verdict

The KitchenAid has sleek aesthetics for a toaster, and its long slots allow it to make four slices of toast at a time. It also is able to handle bagels fairly well for a traditional slot model. However, we found its controls to be somewhat odd, requiring some getting used to, and it was one of the worst performers in both our bread toasting and frozen food toasting test. Additionally, it comes with a pretty hefty price tag, so there are plenty of options (including toaster ovens) available that offer a better value for kitchen appliance.

Editor's Note: This toaster review includes more information about which toasters we would buy. This update occurred on January 26, 2022.

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Pros Relatively good bagel toasting performance, aesthetically pleasingStrong toasting, small storage, easy to use, budget friendly, good strudelBudget-friendly, easy-to-use, great strudelsInexpensive, toasts 4 slices at once, toasts bagels evenlyGood toast, decent bagels, inexpensive
Cons Expensive, oddly placed controlsMediocre bagels, wafflesSubpar bagel toastingNo specific bagel mode, toasting can be slightly inconsistent overallHard to clean crumb tray
Bottom Line Interesting design, but relatively poor overall performanceIt may not be the most aesthetic, but this toaster is compact, practical, and budget-friendly for its high performanceAn easy-to-use toaster that is also easy on the wallet, and great for strudel lovers, but not for bagel loversThe best option we've found for people seeking a 4-slice or long-slot model on the cheapA good, inexpensive option that does just about everything well
Rating Categories KitchenAid 4-Slice... Cuisinart CPT-122 Oster 2 Slice Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 Black+Decker TR3500SD
Bread Toasting Quality (35%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Ease of Use (35%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Bagel Toasting Quality (15%)
7.0
5.0
5.0
9.0
7.0
Frozen Food (15%)
4.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Specs KitchenAid 4-Slice... Cuisinart CPT-122 Oster 2 Slice Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 Black+Decker TR3500SD
Weight 6.3 lbs. 3.7 lbs. 3.5 lbs. 6.4 lbs. 2.7 lbs.
Dimensions (L x W x H) 7.8" x 16.5" x 7.8" 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 Long Standard Standard Long Standard
Available with Long Slot? Yes No No Yes No
Available in 4 slot? No No No No Yes
Color/Finish Options Contour Silver, Empire Red, Onyx Black White, Red, Black Gray Black Plastic/Stainless Stainless Steel
Exterior Housing Material Painted Metal Plastic Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Stainless Steel
End of Cycle Indicator Beep None None None None

Our Analysis and Test Results

Here we further discuss the KitchenAid's performance in each of our tests.

Performance Comparison



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.

KitchenAid 4-Slice Long Slot with High Lift Lever toaster - during our testing the kitchenaid tended to leave white spots near...
During our testing the KitchenAid tended to leave white spots near the bottom crust and toast one side more than the other. It also often burned one vertical crust, but this problem can mostly be avoided by toasting two slices in a single slot.
Credit: Steven Tata

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.

KitchenAid 4-Slice Long Slot with High Lift Lever toaster - the kitchenaid's controls and lever are on different sides of the...
The KitchenAid's controls and lever are on different sides of the toaster, making it awkward to orient on most countertops.
Credit: Katherine Elliott

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.

KitchenAid 4-Slice Long Slot with High Lift Lever toaster - the kitchenaid was one of the better bagel makers in our testing. it...
The KitchenAid was one of the better bagel makers in our testing. It left the backside untoasted, and only showed some slight inconsistencies toasting the face.
Credit: Steven Tata

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.

KitchenAid 4-Slice Long Slot with High Lift Lever toaster - the kitchenaid's defrost setting left some scorch marks on frozen...
The KitchenAid's defrost setting left some scorch marks on frozen waffles, but barely toasted frozen bread.
Credit: Steven Tata

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.

KitchenAid 4-Slice Long Slot with High Lift Lever toaster
Credit: Katherine Elliott

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.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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