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I love toast... hate toasters, but I love toast, which causes a few twists and turns when it comes to browning my bread in the mornings.
So why do I hate toasters then? I can hear Bob asking.
Well, it's not really a personal hatred, it's more that I think toasters hate me as every time I get one it decides to break down on me quicker than Usain Bolt running for the bus. Over the years I have lost count of how many toasters I had, used and broken, some cheap and cheerful, bought in a toast emergency. Others being a little more pricey. But all have gone the same way in the end, leaving me with no toaster and a lot of white bread, which is not good for my toast craving family.
One toaster that I have used in the passed, which, sadly, went the same way as most other toasters I have had, was a toaster called the Prestige 54006 toaster.
* What does this look like...?
It looks like any other toaster really, having a rectangular shape with two slots in the top and a lever, two buttons and a dial on the side. The main body is a lovely light black... or a very dark grey... colour with a wide line of silver along the controls, over the slots and down the other side, giving the toaster a rather nice look. The entire unit standing at about 335mm long by 200mm wide and about 225mm high
Apparently it comes in a few colours, grey, dodgy white and a rather bright red colour, with the one I had being a black colour which I bought to match things in my kitchen.
There is a crumb tray that is one the bottom, with a little handle so you can drag the tray out without having to much hassle.
Also on the bottom there are four little feet which give the toaster the lift it needs off the worktop that it sits on.
Inside the slots there lies what looks like a wire bracket type mesh, which is what the bread rests on so it doesn't fall through the toaster. This wire type mesh is what allows the variable width option, which simply means that when the bread is put into the slots the 'wire type mesh' is wide. Then, when you lower the lever and the bread goes into the slots, the 'wire type mesh' closes in on itself so that it traps the bread without gripping it too hard. This way you can put different thicknesses of bread into the toaster, even crumpets and such things.
* How do you work it..?
It's a toaster and should be used in exactly the same manner. Pop in the bread, what ever size you want, to a point that is. Then slide down the lever, making sure it is plugged in, other wise the lever will not stay down and will just keep popping up.
When the bread is locked down inside the unit you just wait until the elements have done its job. The time spent in the slots is controlled using the dial on the side, which has numbers 1 - 6 around it, with number one being the least time, giving you, well, giving you warm bread, whilst number 6 leaves your bread in a lot longer and could no doubt set you smoke alarm off.
Once that's done the toast should pop right up and you're ready to take it out of the 'grips', slapping on the butter and what ever spread you want to add on top of that.
At the end of the day the bread is toasted by the elements that heat up each side of the bread at one time, two sets of elements in each slot. These elements are really just wires that cover the sides of the slots, getting very hot and glow orange, which in turn browns the bread until the slot pops up. The time it spends in the slots depends on the number you have set the dial on. The lower the number the less time the bread spends inside the slots.
* And cleaning..?
All this one needs is a wipe over with a damp cloth, or multi surface wipe, as long as it's not to wet that is.
Do not drop it into a bowl full of water as this will cause no end of damage to the electrics, plus, if it's still plugged in, you could electrocute yourself, which is not a good idea.
The only other cleaning process needed is the emptying of the crumb tray, which takes a second, and this tray can be washed, although it's not really necessary as the crumbs don't tend to wedge onto the tray to badly.
* What makes it special..?
Nothing really. It has the same functions as any other toaster. Slots on the top for the bread to go in, controls on the side to handle the toasting itself. A crumb tray to try and catch as many crumbs as possible and a lever that helps you get the toast out when it's done.
So for a toaster it's nothing special. It's your basic toaster that can handle two slices of bread at a time.
It has what in the trade is called a variable browning function, which just means that there is a control knob on the machine that lets you keep the bread inside the toaster for different lengths of time, allowing you to have a choice of how brown you want the bread.
Then there's the high lift function, which means that you can lift the lever slightly higher so that you can get the toast out of the toaster a lot easier, saving burning your fingers on the elements.
And not forgetting the variable width function, which sounds very technical but just means that when you slide the lever down, the little 'bread cradler inside the machine closes in and gently grips the bread, no matter how thick or thin the bread is.
* My opinion...
As I said, I love toast, and so does my family really, which is probably why we, as a family, go through so many toasters, and more bread than Warburtons themselves, and over the years I've had my fair share of toaster. Some good, some bad but all coming to a sticky end due to either over use or, what the kids claim to be 'accidents'.
This toaster was one of the good ones whilst it lasted, making toast exactly how I wanted, just right.
Sadly though, as with many of my toasters, the first sign of failure was when the elements inside the unit became spasmodic, some glowing, others flickering, whilst some just gave up the ghost totally.
But whilst it worked it worked well, making me and my family happy with our daily fix of toast... with a lot of different toppings to go on them.
Using it was as easy as using any other toaster, and I've used a lot of them in my time.
The controls on the side are simple to understand. As I said a couple of buttons, the cancel on the left and the defrost on the right, with the dial in the centre, or just below centre, which has the numbers around it so you know how long the bread is going to be inside the slots.
Once I'd figured out the perfect number setting this made toast exactly as I like it, although the more toast I made in one sitting the lower I had to set the dial as the elements warmed up quicker the longer they are on.
What I mean by that is that the first drop of bread means that the elements take a few seconds to come to temperature, with the next lots of bread lowering needing less time as the elements have already found their temperature.
It looks quite good too, which is why I bought it in the first place, with the colour matching my kitchen, almost. The sides are a lovely light black... or a very dark grey... colouring, although a little dull in texture rather than a shiny finish, which didn't really go with my tiles fully but looked ok from a distance.
I rather liked the feel of buttons, which may sound a little on the 'bunny boiler' side, but what I mean by that is that the buttons have a rather lovely little 'notchy' feel to them instead of being smooth, which makes them easier to press without my finger slipping off accidentally.
The lever itself is a good size too, allowing easy sliding for the bread to go in and then lift it up when the unit finishes toasting and pops it up.
I have to mention a couple of downsides, although they're not really downsides really.
Firstly, the walls of the toaster can get quite warm, hot in fact, so do be careful when handling the machine when it's being used.
And the fact that it only has two slots, which means that it can only take two slices of bread at a time, which is no good for those larger families who all eat toast at the same time. In fact, on some days in my home this was a bit of a nuisance when we all wanted toast at the same time, but, more often than not, we tend to make toast at different times, sort of when we want it and not all at once.
After a while. Quite a while to be honest, although I don't recall the exact length of time, but it was quite a while. But after a while the inevitable began to happen, the elements inside the slots decided to go on a mad bender.
These elements were ok at first, as with all my toasters, but once one lot started to fade the rest were close behind them, causing patches of hot and cold, brown, white and light black... or a very dark grey... spots on the bread as it tried to toast.
Once this started happening I knew from experience that it was time to look out for a new toaster, which I did, which meant that this one was sent to the big electrical heaven in the sky... or more the local recycling depot... (or tip to give it it's real name)... may this rest in peace..
* And the cost of this toaster..?
This little bread warmer sells for about £30, which is about right for a toaster these days.
* Would I recommend this one..?
I would have to say yes on that count as it is a nice looking, compact toaster that does exactly what it is supposed to do, and it does it quite well indeed. That is until the elements begin to fail, which is nothing new with toasters and me.
This was our old toaster that we had for around 2-3 years before it got replaced due to old age. Nowadays it lives in the cupboard but it was a pretty good toaster in its day. We got it for about £35 on offer although it currently costs £45-48 from Amazon. It also comes with a 2 year guarantee.
--- The Look ---
This is a stylish and good-looking toaster and looked quite impressive in the kitchen. It comes in three colours; bright red, almond (an off-white or light beige colour) and grey which is the one we have. It has black plastic sides and buttons which contrast with a shiny silver stainless steel strip in the centre, making it look quite high-quality. The two slots for holding the bread are located at the top, the slider that lowers the bread is at the side with a defrost button on the left, a cancel button on the right and a knob numbered 1-6 underneath. The dimensions measure 33.3 x 22.6 x 20.3 cm allowing it fit nicely on the worktop with plenty of space to spare.
--- Features ---
The best features of this toaster are centred on the two slots which hold the bread slices. They are not only deep but the width can be adjusted according to the thickness of the bread and to accommodate smaller items such as bagels or crumpets. We have really chunky homemade bread and this toaster had no problem fitting the slices in. In addition a high-lifting slider allows small slices to be easily removed from the slots without touching the hot metal. The electronic variable browning control lets you control how burnt you want the toast from 1 (very lightly toasted) up to 6 (dark brown). This function worked really well - setting it on "2" gave me a lovely light brown slice every morning. The defrost setting lets you toast bread from frozen and the mid-cycle cancel button lets you cancel at any time.
--- Usage ---
The toaster worked really well while we had it and always toasted really evenly. The toast pops up automatically once done but the only problem was that it took quite ages to toast - not great if you are in a rush in the morning - but apart from that it was great. It is very easy to keep clean - I just give mine a quick wipe with a damp cloth and empty the removable crumb tray at the bottom every so often.
--- Summary ---
Overall this was a functional and efficient toaster. It always gave evenly toasted slices and looked great in the kitchen until it eventually stopped working after 3 years. I would recommend it.