Product Type: Tefal toasters
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Raise a Toast to my Toaster!
Tefal Avanti Deluxe
Member Name: jo1976
Tefal Avanti Deluxe
Date: 18/03/12, updated on 27/06/13 (128 review reads)
Advantages: Toasts evenly and consistently, accommodates different sizes of bread and other items, robust
Disadvantages: Stainless steel sides can attract dirt, crumb trays are small and shallow
I'm not the kind of person who replaces electrical items unnecessarily, so our toaster has been a fixture in our household for around four or five years now and will continue to be used until it gives up the ghost. This is no mean feat considering that we are a family of five and, between us, make toast on pretty much a daily basis - if not at several points during the day- so this toaster has certainly been put through its paces. This Tefal Avanti Deluxe was originally purchased from Argos for around the £30 mark, which was supposedly a big reduction on the full recommended retail price at the time.
Given the size of our household, this four slice toaster is perfect for our everyday needs. The two sides of the toaster can be operated independently, helping to avoid wasting electricity if only two slices of toast are needed at any one time. More importantly, the two sides have separate browning controls, helping to avoid any arguments if one member of the family prefers their toast slightly browner to the other.
The toaster itself is a fairly timeless design which manages to mix classic style with contemporary finish, thanks to the combination of the predominantly black exterior and the stainless style elements at the top and sides. Despite its age, the toaster doesn't look dated at all, which can be an issue with some more 'up to the minute' designs and colours. The fairly neutral colour black and silver scheme is pretty unobtrusive, so should fit into any style of kitchen, whether modern or traditional in design. Being a four slice version, it is fairly large and does take up a fair amount of room on the worktop. I do find that the gentle sloping design of the top helps to soften its appearance a little but this is still a fairly bulky design. Fortunately, the back of the toaster is flat, unlike the curved design of the rest of the machine, meaning that this can be positioned right up against a wall to minimise the space that this needs to take up. Realistically, this is going to be out on display permanently so I much prefer to invest slightly more in this kind of toaster to the cheaper, plastic versions that are available.
Using the toaster is pretty straightforward and self-explanatory. All of the levers and dials are logically positioned and easily accessible at the front of the machine, so there is no need to fiddle around the sides for anything. The features of this model are fairly standard so the front isn't overly cluttered with unnecessary buttons or controls. The main levers are simply those that lower the bread into the toasting position and the handy lifting mechanisms which raise up toasted items so that they can be removed more easily. This feature is particularly useful for small items such as crumpets and tea-cakes. The other settings (including a reheat feature, cancel and frozen bread setting) are accessed using one of the three buttons which are labelled with easy to recognise symbols. Surprisingly, none of the labels or dials are showing signs of wear and none have ever stuck or refused to perform.
Crucially, the four slots are very generously proportioned with the inner 'cages' narrowing once the sliding konb is depressed to accommodate different thicknesses of bread easily and ensure an even toasting. The slots are perfectly adequate for most sizes and brands of pre-packed bread and can even manage thickly sliced homemade bread 'door stops' and crumpets. We tend to use Warburtons or Hovis sliced loaves and the results are pretty consistent and even, with the level of browning dependent on the setting used. The browning dial ranges from one to six, offering the full spectrum from warm bread through to charred ash so should suit everybody's tastes. A common complaint with cheaper toasters is that the slot isn't quite deep enough to ensure that a standard slice of bread is toasted completely. Here, the toaster copes well with any standard sized slice. If any part of the bread ever remains untoasted, it's barely noticeable and certainly not enough of an issue to warrant complaint. This is also quite a powerful toaster so it produces my toast very quickly - which is crucial during those chaotic school mornings!
On a practical level, the toaster features quite a lengthy lead connected to the plug which offers a small amount of flexibility in terms of siting this. The toaster also boasts two individual crumb trays positioned under each half of the toaster, designed to aid cleaning. I must confess that emptying and cleaning my toaster is not particularly high on my list of priorities. On the rare occasions that I do get around to emptying crumbs, I find the very shallow and small crumb trays to be pretty ineffectual, leading to stray crumbs escaping everywhere. Realistically, I would say that the toaster would have to be emptied at least every couple of weeks or so, based on daily use, to avoid the crumb trays becoming over full although I'm still not convinced that the design is particularly practical. I just go for the old-fashioned method of banging this upside down over the sink to remove all the excess crumbs and this hasn't affected performance at all. I do find that the stainless steel aspects can get grubby after a while but this cleans up incredibly well with a damp microfibre cloth and a bit of elbow grease. It's surprising just how quickly this toaster looks as good as new.
As this is a fairly old model now, I'm not sure how readily available this specific model is. Fortunately, Tefal have continued to manufacture other Avanti toasters which appear only slightly different to this version. The Tefal Avanti 532718, for example, costs just under £50 from Argos and is very similar in terms of specifications, features and design. The only noticeable difference is that the sides on this newer version are now black. This should be an improvement on the original stainless steel sides which were prone to marks and grease build up.
I've certainly experienced excellent value for money with my original Avanti toaster which is still going strong after at least four years of almost daily usage. When this toaster is toast, I would certainly consider replacing it with a similar Avanti model and would wholeheartedly recommend other consumers do the same.
Summary: A robust and reliable toaster