***~WHY WE HAVE A NEW TOASTER~***
I have just recently moved home from university to my dad's new house. He has invested in lots of new kitchen appliances to match in with the new decor. One new appliance was this Dualit 2 slice cream toaster. I have to admit it is a really stunning design for a toaster and I never thought those words would ever come out of my mouth to describe a toaster. It is cream rimmed with curved edges at the top. The middle part of the toaster is silver. This toaster is not like your bog standard toaster because it costs way over the £50.00 bracket at £94.99. To me I would never spend that sort of money on a toaster even if I had the money to. However, my dad did in one of his spur of the moment decisions online at Barnitts Home & Garden. When I went onto Amazon to check prices I noticed they had a newer version to this one that was slightly differently design for £59.54 but my dad was adamant that he preferred this design despite it being older. Frankly I think he did not want to admit that he should have shopped around for prices and saved himself £40.00. Now this leads us to why this lovely looking cream toaster is now perched on one of our kitchen work surfaces.
***~A FEW ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES~***
However, there is a BUT and a rather large BUT at that. The toaster unfortunately like many other cheaper toasters is very difficult to actually get the toast or hot cross bun out of the toaster. For me this makes the toaster very annoying especially for the price paid for it. At the front of the toaster is a black and silver handle to propel the toast upwards once it is toasted. However, for a hot cross bun or smaller pieces of toast this does not push it up enough to take it out. So I end up having to burn my fingers on the silver outlined edge of the toaster which is not much fun. So this is a really big disappointment for me and I watch my dad having the exact same problem with it but he will never say that it annoys him - or not just yet because it is a relatively new purchase. In addition to this the apparently the toaster is advertised to say that this lever can propel out small items in the toaster very easily. However, as I have just mentioned this is not the case so in my opinion this is false advertising. On the other hand, the fact that it has a lever to propel the toast manually rather than the toast popping up by itself means that the toast is kept warm until it is taken out which is good if you are getting out the butter and a plate etc.
Another point that continues to annoy me about the toaster is that it only toasts two bits of toast at a time, but for a toaster over £90.00 it really should be toasting four pieces at a time. However, this would have cost £133.99!! Which is truly ridiculous!
Nevertheless there are of course some positives about this extremely expensive appliance. Firstly you can control whether the toaster is going to toast just one slice of toast or two by switching a button. This makes sense because there is no point having both sides of the toaster toasting if one side is not required. Another plus point is that the toaster has a mechanical timer that you can twist for up to 3.5 minutes however, I have never used past 1.5 minutes and that was for a crumpet. There is also a crumb tray at the bottom of the toaster which means that it can be simply removed to throw away crumbs meaning that they will not continue to burn in the toaster when you toast more and more items.
There is also apparently another advantage to this toaster which we are yet to establish because it is so complicated which includes an adjustable inner wire guard to grip toast. We really should try to understand how this works since this could potentially solve our problem of getting our hands burnt trying to get toast out. I like some men (I will not stereotype) do not read manuals so it is very unlikely that my dad or I will ever figure it out.
***~DIMENSIONS OF THE TOASTER~***
23cm by 23cm
***~THE COLOURS THE TOASTER COMES IN~***
This toaster comes in several different finishes such as, matte, polished and metallic. As well as many different colours such as, black, cream, blue, green, pink, yellow, red, silver and different pastel colours. So there are colours to suit everybody's kitchen.
***~GUARANTEE WITH THE TOASTER~***
Another plus that my dad keeps pointing out is that apparently Dualit will repair the toaster for you if it ever breaks, so you never chuck a Dualit toaster away. However, it does not state that this is free of charge so I am sure a fee would apply to this. Dualit also give a two year guarantee with the toaster.
Overall it is a stunning looking toaster however, I think from what I have described there were a few rather major disappointments with it. Therefore, I would suggest paying less for a toaster and not investing in one at this price that is not perfect unfortunately. However, if you have quite a funky kitchen in a bright colour it will certainly look the part even if it does burn the tips of your fingers when you use it!
Don't get me wrong, I'm not normally in the habit of spending more on a toaster than I need to. Over the past fourteen years since I left home, I have owned a total of six toasters before this one, and every single one was a budget version from one of the supermarkets. I have never had huge complaints with any of these, after all toast is toast, right?
Well.....toast is toast but I can tell you now that all toasters are not created equal. This two-slice offering from Dualit was my dream toaster for a couple of years (though the design has modified slightly) - one for the wedding list, as I didn't see myself justifying the purchase price. It was only in a fit of wild abandon, brought on by actually earning a bonus despite the recession, that I randomly decided to actually buy it - as a treat to myself for being old!
It's beautiful. Its chunky in design and feels substantial, yet is actually compact and takes up very little surface space. It's lovely and heavy, like a prestige car door! I feel a warm glow every time I look at it, let alone make toast with it, probably due to the "spendorphins" brought on by its cost! Its funny how owning just one or two really high quality items can make a bog-standard fitted kitchen look really quite swanky - this does the trick nicely. It's available in pink, cream and silver. I chose the cream version as I'm hoping it will match with all my future kitchens as well as the current one!
This toaster doesn't have ridiculous amounts of features. It has insulated walls so you don't burn your hands, and adjustable slots (up to 28mm) for cooking muffins, accomodating sandwich bags etc. There is no hi-lift though, which makes it a pain for small items. It takes only around a minute and a half to produce hot toast, which is super-quick, far quicker than any of the other toasters I've ever had. This is because its actually designed for commercial use. I didn't choose it because it can make 60 odd slices of toast an hour, but it can, without conking out. For this reason I am anticipating this appliance will last me for years to come!
Which brings me to how this appliance has changed my view on mortality. I have realised that having rubbish disposable toasters never mattered to me in the past because then I thought I would live forever, so nothing else was permanent. This offering from Dualit actually has me thinking it could well outlast me, and the surprising thing is, the thought doesn't scare me, it actually makes me quite proud to have chosen it! I must be getting old.....
I got mine for £99 online, including delivery. You can pay more - up to £150 in the shops, so if you do decide to splash out make sure you have a god look around first.
Overall, this is an expensive toaster, but its a design classic that is built to last for years. Which makes it pretty good value in my eyes!
I know, I know, I know! £100 for a toaster is madness. I know that's what you're thinking. It is, isn't it?
Well, if you are, you've obviously never used a Dualit Toaster. These are the toasters that are used in the trade (the catering trade - not some sort of surreal toast trade... although if there is one...!) so they can withstand some heavy duty punishment.
There is a cheaper version of the Dualit but that does not have the solidity of the the Vario or the other catering standard toasters. You can generally tell the catering type Dualits by the knob at the front which is used to bring the bread up.
Dualits are made to last. As such, there's very little to them that can go wrong. There is no spring-loaded ejector system, for instance, and the timer just clicks along until it's done. The lever lets you take a look at how well the toast is doing without the elements switching off (you have no idea how good this is until you try it!) and the elements themselves are user replaceable.
Oh and it looks very cool too!
The thing is, though, that when you're faced with a choice of a £10 toaster or a £100 toaster, the chances are you'll stick with the £10 on the basis that you can chuck it when it goes wrong and all you've lost is a tenner. But with a Dualit, it just goes on and on. I've even known these to be passed down in families - they can last decades quite happily.
This really is a classic toaster and, as unlikely as it sounds, worth every penny of the £100 or so that it will cost. It will serve you well.
This is a serious toaster. For the sort of money you are being asked for, then it has to be. Don't buy it without first going to a store and handling one. It's satisfyingly heavy.
Most of the other stuff on sale now is flimsy. Not only that, but when something goes wrong on the standard cheapie toaster, for example a heating element, and you try to take it apart to fix it, there's a limit to how far you can go. Stage one with your average imported toaster (yes, read the label underneath - many English and Continental names now import from China) is to have specialist security screwdriver bits to hand. Stage two is to realize that you have to do some metal bending to get the element out. Stage three is to find out that new elements are not supplied, and stage four is to go out looking for a new toaster.
Back to the Dualit. New element? No problem. Fix it in about a quarter of an hour. The instruction manual is only too pleased to show you how.
It's a wonderfully simple toaster. You turn it on, put the toast in and set the timer. After two minutes or so, the timer stops. Your toast is ready. It doesn't ping to say so. It doesn't pop up (that's another thing that goes wrong on modern toasters, especially those where the retaining catch is linked to the power). The Dualit simply stops cooking. But because it hasn't popped up, it keeps your toast warm for a little bit longer. It cooks evenly. To extract your toast, there is a simple pivot lever, which itself is satisfying weighted.
One other clever but simple thing - there's a switch to use if you only want to make one slice of toast. Without that, you would waste some electricity and shorten the life of the unused element.
Cleaning is straightforward. There is a crumb tray underneath. And for a really thorough job, you can take it apart - you can actually see the screws that hold it together.
Ok, it's quite old fashioned to look at, and it costs a lot (typically about £90). I think it looks fantastic, and I reckon this is a toaster for life. I like it so much that I've run out of butter!
UPDATE after 15 months. Would you believe it, one element did go. It was still under guarantee, so when I took it to the supplier (Comet, I think), rather than just give me a new element, they took the toaster and told me to take a new one from off the shelf. Did so gladly, and there have been no problems at all. It still makes great toast, by the way, and still looks fantastic!
UPDATE Shrove Tuesday, 2010
Now you'll be lucky to get this for much under £100
The Ultimate Hand Made Toaster / Sandwich cages can be inserted into any slot / The Dualit Vario Toaster combines simplicity and sophistication perfectly / With extra wide 28mm slots to accommodate a Sandwich Cage and the award winning ProHeat elements, a patented design which increases toasting efficiency & element longevity, every toaster has a removable crumb tray and an adjustable rear foot / Manually operated the Dualit toaster features switches to control the degree of browning and an ejector system which means that the toast does not pop up but stays warm until the ejector lever is pushed up / Short name: Dualit 2024