Last month I had been off work due to suffering disk damage in my lower back and sitting around at home was finding myself struggling for something that I fancied eating due to the sheer amounts of pain I was in! Sitting in pain one day I suddenly thought to myself that I fancied a toastie... then it hit me how much I liked them and how I hadnt got round to buying a toastie maker when I moved into my own home last year... so a quick look through the argos catalogue on my phone I soon reserved the cheapest one in there (I was at the end of my pay month after all!) and arranged for it to be picked up.
The sandwich toaster comes packaged in a narrow square cardboard box with the image of the sandwich toaster on the front decorated in blue colours in the background. It also tells you this is from the Argos Cookworks range and is a 2 slice sandwich toaster. Down the sides of the box you are advised the toasting plates are non stick coated, the device is thermostatically controlled and that there is a pilot light.
Upon opening the box the sandwich toaster is protected between two mouldings made out of polystyrene and when I took the toaster out I seen that there was no damage caused between transit or in store.
The device itself is quite straight forward to use in the sense that there is no settings to play around with like some of the more expensive ones but its one you need to keep your eye on because of this. Inside there is an instruction book which gives you more information on use and highlighted on the front is the warning never to leave unattended due to the lack of settings. The cable and plug is around 1m long so you need to find a space for this near a socket.
In terms of appearance it doesn't look cheap and horrible like a lot of other basic products you see from the likes of Argos - and its mainly black in colour and partially silver in an oval shape on the top displaying the range name over the top. To place your sandwichs inside you simply open by the handle and lift up - on the handle there is a clip to fasten to the bottom to keep the plates as close together for better toasting. The inside plates are coated in black and indented to hold the shakes of your sandwichs inside with curving to toast each sandwich in two diagnol halves. On the top of the toaster sure enough there is a light and when the toaster is plugged into the wall it lights up red whilst its warming up and changes to green to signal its ready for you to place the sandwichs inside.
As per instructions before placing in the sandwichs you are advised to grease up the insides to stop the bread and fillings sticking. For this you can use cooking oil or butter. I, personally always smear some butter on to a kitchen roll and rub all over the plates. One thing I will note is the two seperate sandwich plates are quite small and you do need to cut all the crusts off to get a sandwich to reasonably fit in. I usually use medium bread and I can't even close the lid properly doing this, so thin bread would be the best thing to use with this device and I wouldnt recommend thick bread no matter what the instructions tell you.
My first experiance trying this out ended up with a rubbish soggy looking toastie and I instantly thought what a mistake in buying this but then as I got more experiance using this I found I needed to leave it in the device longer than what the instructions were advising. The booklet tells you 2-3 minutes is suffient but I was finding it was taking a good 5-10 minutes to get a nice crispy toastie otherwise the toastie will become soggy and rip. As time went on, I have been finding on every occasion that some parts of the sandwich are not being toasted as well as other parts meaning I have to open the toaster up half way through and turn it upside down to another position so that it starts cooking the other parts it missed. Another issue for me would be no matter how careful you are with little fillings you are putting inside to avoid an angry mess, the fillings always spill out over the side (in my case, cheese) and due to the design the fillings will get stuck in the hideaway bits and can be very difficult to clean. You are almost afraid to clean it thinking you will scrape off the non stick coating but the best tool for me has been a toothbrush which I use for cleaning.
I have heard no noise from this device ever apart from the first couple of times of use I detected a crackling noise which worried me at first but the instructions tell you this is completely normal. I have had this over a month now and has not let me down in terms of reliability and the scratch resistant coating is still there regardless of how many times we have had use out of it recently!
In all its a great little bargain if you ever found yourself in a position like I was where you just wanted a toasted sandwich at a decent price... However I fear this purchase will soon be getting stashed away, back in its box and pushed to the back of a cupboard for years to come. The reason being, as much as I enjoy toasties I feel quite limited to what I can do with this product in the sense that you can only have suitable sized sandwichs due to its lack of space inside and I believe a panini maker would have better use in my household.
As previously noted its horrendous to clean and my cleaning toothbrush has definetely seen better days! Taking into account this is supposed to be a bargain product I think the designers should of allowed more space inside the toastie maker to allow for overspills inside so it will not end up melting over the sides and making a big mess of my kitchen counter!
... and the fact that it doesn't toast evenly really gets to me as its so hard trying to flip a scorching hot toastie on the device to the other side...
For the likes of my household and similar (mine consists of me and my daughter) this is a decent size toastie maker but for larger families there are bigger ones which will meet the demand more... however for the above reasons I wouldn't recommend this to anyone but am giving it 2 stars instead of 1 because its not completely useless.
This is currently available in Argos for £9.89
When we moved house a couple of years ago, my boyfriend's aunty brought us a sandwich toaster from Argos as a house warming present. I have never used one of these before so was really excited to try it out. The one she purchased was the Cookworks 2 Slice Sandwich Toaster from Argos.
The title of the product is actually a little misleading, when it says two slice, it actually makes 2 toasties using 4 slices of bread.
To use, the sandwich maker, simple plug into the wall, close the lid and wait for it to warm up. When the sandwich maker is plugged in, a red light will come on, once it has warmed up enough and ready to use, this will change to green.
The instructions included with the product are quite detailed but to ensure the product doesn't stick to the hot plate within the sandwich maker and also to make sure the sandwich goes nice and crispy is to spread a nice layer of butter or margarine to one side of the bread and then place one slice on each of the plates (butter side down). Then add a filling of your choice (I normally have cheese and something as all the cheese melts inside - yum), then place the final slice of bread on top (butter side up). Close the lid and wait for the sandwiches to toast. After around 5-7 minutes (depending on how well done you want them), the toasties are ready to eat.
I word of warning though, the first time I used, as soon as they were cooked, I took a large bite and nearly burnt my tongue off - the filling gets really got, especially if you like putting baked beans inside like I do. I would also give the toasties a few minutes to cool down, if Lauren is having some with us, I always pierce the top of the sandwiches a couple of times to let some of the hot air escape too.
Once of the main advantages I have found with this is that is has introduced vegetables and salad into Laurens diet without her really knowing. If I give her tomato, she would never eat it however if I make a toastie of cheese, beans and tomato, she gobbles it down. I have also put cucumber, onion peppers in, although it might not sound nice to me, she loves them so I find this great at making sure she gets her 5 a day.
I have found that larger bread can sometimes be a little too big for the sandwich maker, sometimes I have had to trim slightly, also, if I use really thick bread and loads of filling, it can be quite hard to close the clasp on the lid - if this does happen, I just close the lid, wait for it to cook a few minutes and then the clasp seems to close ok.
Cleaning the product is really easy, just unplug and wait for it to cool down (the plates get really hot so they do take around 10 minutes to cool down completely. Once cool, I just wipe clean with a damp cloth and any burnt cheese etc comes off really easily.
As this was a present, I haven't been cheeky as asked how much it was however after a quick search online, I can see that this retails for , it is part of the Cookworks range which I believe is exclusive to Argos so not available from any other retailer (unless EBay or similar sites). It is available to purchase both in store or online (with the additional charge of delivery), what I do like about Argos is that you can check stock availability at your local store and if they have it, reserve the item until close of play the following working day meaning you don't have to have a wasted journey.
The only downside of the product is that it only makes 2 toasties at a time which means I cannot make enough to feed all three of us at once, and by the time my next ones are cooked, my hubby as already eaten all of his. Argos do however do a version which makes 4 toasties at a time, which retails for around £20 so if you are looking to buy one for family use, I would recommend purchasing this one.
As with most electrical products, this comes with a 1 years guarantee - although we have had ours a couple of years now, it gets used at least once a week and never experienced any problems at all.
Overall, I would recommend this sandwich toaster, there are loads more expensive models on the market but as far as I can see, this does a good enough job so why pay more. I would give the sandwich toaster 5 out of 5 stars.
Thanks for reading.