A great-looking toaster, the Smeg 2 Slice Toaster delivers in both speed and power efficiency
Number of slots: 2, Reheat mode: Yes, Defrost mode: Yes, Bagel mode: Yes, Muffin rack: No.
Smeg is well known for its retro design on larger appliances, so it’s no surprise to find the same influences and attention to detail here on the imaginatively-named 2 Slice Toaster. As its name implies, we’re looking at the two-slice model here, which costs £100, but it’s also available in a four-slice version (our preferred size) for £130. However, with prices similar to that of the mighty Dualit NewGen, so can it live up to expectations.
This is a great-looking toaster. Personally, I wish Smeg would tone down the branding, but this chrome version is quite something. You can see your whole kitchen reflected in its curvaceous shell, though you will have to give it a quick buffing every now and then to keep it looking its best. If that sounds like an effort, then there are six other colours available to choose from.
It’s not all looks, either. For starters, the outer casing is really sturdy with absolutely no flex, and simply tapping it tells you this is a thicker sheet of steel than what you’ll find in most other designs. The lever feels robust and pops up with pleasing speed and force. Below that is a big stop button, around which is the browning control dial.
The action of the dial is a little sloppy compared to the rest of the design, it clicks as you turn it, but not with any conviction. The dial goes from one to six, but if you turn it right down there’s a reheat mode as well. On either side of the dial, you’ll find frozen bread and bagel mode buttons that illuminate when pressed, with the latter just toasting one side so the other is left soft and doughy as intended. Around the back is the crumb tray, which pops in and out with a satisfying click.
As mentioned above, the Smeg also comes in a four-slice version. While most four-slice toasters these days have four individual slots (essentially a pair of two-slice toasters sat side-by-side), the Smeg has a more traditional design with just two longer slots.
On the upside, you can toast a whole pitta bread or long slices of bread taken from round loafs without having to turn them round halfway through. On the downside, there’s only one browning control, so a proper, four-slot toaster can be more efficient if you’re making a lot of toast for various people with different tastes.
The Smeg toaster impressed me with its speed and power efficiency. Toasting two slices of thick white Hovis took an impressive two minutes and two seconds. That’s approaching Dualit speeds, and puts it among the fastest toasters I’ve ever tested. Speed usually means lots of power, but the Smeg drew just 0.031kWh. Again, that’s up there with the best toasters I’ve ever seen.
This combination is remarkable, and I had to retest it a number of times just to make sure the meter was displaying correctly. The toast itself is pretty good, too. It’s not the most consistently browned I’ve seen from one side to the other, but it was crisp, hot right through, and a pleasure to eat.
The slots are among the widest I’ve seen on either a two-slot or a four-slot toaster, and they rank among the longest as well. Of course, if you need to toast really big slices of bread, you’ve always got the option of bigger slots on the four-slice version.
I’ll admit that I thought Smeg’s 2 Slice Toaster was going to be an exercise in style over substance, partly because it simply looks so good, but I have to eat ‘humble toast’ on this occasion, as this is truly a brilliant toaster. It’s fast, power efficient, well made and has all the features you’d want.
At £100 for the two-slice, and £130 for the four-slice, it’s admittedly more expensive than most toasters, but both models are still less than a ‘proper’ Dualit NewGen. The extra long slots of the four-slice are another big bonus, and we’re looking to get a sample of that variant to test as soon as possible. The two-slice version tested here, however, is a worthy winner of our Best Buy award. Buy Now from Amazon.
|Number of slots||2|
|Toast lift height||55mm|
|Additional lift height?||N/A|
|Crumb tray||Single, rear|
|Cool to touch?||Yes|
|Warranty||One year RTB|