A toaster from 1949 is still smarter than any sold today

hapless · 9 days ago

They bury the lede in the last fucking paragraph. The reason this toaster is immensely better than the toaster you have at home is very, very simple: this toaster's 1949 price would be hundreds of dollars in 2021 terms.

You can still buy really, truly excellent toasters made for industrial/commercial use, or for the homes of the very rich, and they're quite a lot better than the trash people keep in their houses. And they cost a lot more, too. Last time I checked, a commercial 2-slice toaster was in the $300-$400 range.

This is true for lots of home appliances. My favorite example is the Kitchenaid mixer. The modern mixers are very thoroughly "value engineered" to keep the price down. If you want to buy an original "Kitchenaid," like they made in the 1930s, you can call up Hobart and buy a miniature mixer. And it will cost you ~$2,000 in 2021, just as it did in 1935.

You can have the good toaster, the good mixer, etc, but it sure looks like people don't actually want that. The pattern of product offerings in your average store suggests people want something affordable, and it doesn't particularly matter whether it is good at its job.

throwawaylinux · 9 days ago

> They bury the lede in the last fucking paragraph. The reason this toaster is immensely better than the toaster you have at home is very, very simple: this toaster's 1949 price would be hundreds of dollars in 2021 terms.

From the article it seemed that it's better because it has a radiant temperature sensor rather than a simple timer. Unless you're disputing that and saying it's good for some other reason that would cost a lot of money, a temperature sensor and little control system for it would not cost hundreds of dollars to make today.

EDIT: The problem seems to be that regular consumer appliances seem to have raced to the bottom in the past 30 years or so. It's not that a significantly better toaster would cost hundreds of dollars more, it's that it would cost a few dollars more. The high end things that are 10x the price seem to be priced that way mostly because there is not a strong mid range market, or maybe they compete on gimmicks rather than basics. Because you don't need a $300 powder coated steel toaster with an a glass oven door and 5 cooking regimes including steaming that was mentioned in the article (https://us.balmuda.com/collections/toaster) to get the functionality and robustness of their simple 1940s sunbeam toaster.

philliphaydon · 9 days ago

Watching the video with the article I'm truely amazed at the engineering involved in this. In some ways it's so simple, in other ways its crazy complex. Without the timer and automatic io of the toast, I think it would be expensive to manufacture. The internal design might be harder to automate to keep cost down.

I think*

ksec · 5 days ago

Having used the Balmuda toaster, I am willing to bet it is better than the 1940s sunbeam toaster.

IshKebab · 9 days ago

Basically all toasters use temperature to stop rather than time. Am I missing something?

I actually looked for a timer based toaster for ages and couldn't find one.

Tagbert · 9 days ago

Some toasters have a simple timer circuit that releases an electromagnet to trigger the toast to pop up. There is usually a resister to adjust darkness that controls how long the timer runs.

The cheapest toasters apply current to a bimetallic strip that heats up and bends away from the contact causing the heating to stop and the toast to pop up. These are variable due to ambient temperature and because the bimetallic strip is still warm if you do a second batch of toast and will trigger too soon.

These are both indirect proxies for doneness of the toast, not a direct measure like the toaster featured in the article.

throwawaylinux · 8 days ago

I don't know, I'm just going by the article and youtube video referenced.

From the article: and it’s got a mechanical thermostat inside that stops your bread toasting when it’s toasted and ready, NOT after some arbitrary amount of time.

From the video: Modern toasters operate based on a timer...

jonahx · 9 days ago

> and it doesn't particularly matter whether it is good at its job.

I would amend that to: "it doesn't matter whether it excels at its job, as long as it's good enough." And those modern, cheap toasters are good enough.

AussieWog93 · 9 days ago

>You can have the good toaster, the good mixer, etc, but it sure looks like people don't actually want that. The pattern of product offerings in your average store suggests people want something affordable, and it doesn't particularly matter whether it is good at its job.

I've always wondered if we could fix this through legislation that forces manufacturers of consumer goods to provide an estimate of product lifetime according to some agreed standard - the same way that manufacturers of large appliances have to provide information about energy and water use.

As it stands, it's really hard for the consumer to know whether or not the $1000 coffee machine is actually better quality than the $500 one, or whether they're just milking a fancy brand name and relying on FUD.

jschwartzi · 9 days ago

I want legislation that the manufacturer has to publish, online and in a conspicuous place, full board-level schematics, parts lists, and service notes for household appliances no later than the day after the first unit of a model goes out of warranty. Or that such documents are placed prominently in the packaging the product arrives in and that installers are required by law to provide it to the customer. You can sell something that breaks in 3 years but you have to give me the documents I need to repair it including the logic board. My biggest fear in getting a new washer/dryer is that it starts my wife and I on the same junk treadmill everyone else is on.

grkvlt · 9 days ago

how do you imagine this working for the manufacturers of, e.g. hardware security modules? in fact, for any product, the manufacter can just claim the product consists of one 'part' and the service notes state 'obtain new part', adjusting for whatever level of granularity/number of parts they feel is optimal, unless you want to get into a game of definitions and semantics that will always be incomplete and incorrect and unenforceable...

Aeolun · 9 days ago

> My biggest fear in getting a new washer/dryer is that it starts my wife and I on the same junk treadmill everyone else is on.

In my experience, the more expensive washers/driers (e.g. >$1000) are actually higher quality and last 5 times longer than the cheap, or even mid range ones.

gambiting · 9 days ago

>>I've always wondered if we could fix this through legislation that forces manufacturers of consumer goods to provide an estimate of product lifetime according to some agreed standard

We can, but again, I feel like a lot of customers don't want that. Even here on HN I hear people saying that well, if I want to buy a $200 washing machine that falls apart in 3 years, then it should be my god given right to do so. If consumers want better appliances then they can just buy them without the need for regulation.

I don't really agree with that mindset, but I think it's common enough to prevent the change you're talking about.

jakub_g · 9 days ago

> if I want to buy a $200 washing machine that falls apart in 3 years, then it should be my god given right to do so

The $200 unrepairable washing machine has a massive negative externality for the planet. Most people don't think in those terms (especially when the budget is tight, or they are landlords and just need to put checkmark items in the apartment), that's why we should have strong regulations to prevent mass-creation of electro crap.

Regulation is good, because it sets a baseline. W/o regulation it's race to the bottom so if company X does something better but it's $50 more expensive, the cheaper company Y. If you have baseline, they both will figure out a $250 machine which is better. Companies who can't create durable items do not have god given right to exist and sell crap which harms the planet.

Thankfully EU has been working on this recently, and will require the vendors to offer N years of spare parts availability.

> If consumers want better appliances then they can just buy them without the need for regulation.

See above. I have a low-repairability fridge whose rubber-magnet got old. Fix? Replace whole door, which costs as much as the new fridge. I don't think my landlord was taking weeks to research repairability and warranty rules for the fridge, because why would they? The law should provide reasonable defaults.

I do hope we'll move towards fewer long-lived models with good repairability, even if it costs more short-term, than 7 new fridge model each years with half-life of 2 years. It's nuts.

Another thing we have in EU is power-hungriness of devices (they get labeled prominently A, B, C, D, E). IMO should be the same with warranty / spare parts availability length: One year = E, ten years = A etc.

AussieWog93 · 9 days ago

I'm not arguing that we ban washing machines that break in 3 years, just that they're properly labelled.

grkvlt · 9 days ago

> legislation that forces manufacturers of consumer goods to provide an estimate of product lifetime according to some agreed standard

isn't this exactly what a guarantee or warranty is? we have this now, where the manufacturer is legally obligated to provide a device that performs/operates/works according to the published specification for at least that long. of course, it doesn't work since consumers will then complain about 'planned obsolescence' when products actually live up to these estimates...

UncleMeat · 9 days ago

Cheap toasters today don’t have a shorter lifetime than this one. In fact, they have fewer moving parts.

truculent · 8 days ago

This would make more sense if manufacturing hadn’t improved in that time. But isn’t it reasonable to expect the price of these items to have reduced over the past 100 years?

hapless · 6 days ago

How, exactly, has anything improved in manufacturing?

As a rule of thumb, any time you see a Phillips head or Pozidrive screw, you are looking at a product that was assembled by hand, the way things were done 100 years ago.. If that seems prohibitively expensive for the product you are holding in your hand, well, that is why manufacturing has fled the USA. It's hard to make a $10 toaster if your workers demand reasonable wages.

A Hobart mini-mixer is still made more or less the same way it was in 1935, out of rather similar input components and materials, and it is still assembled in the USA.

We can make electronics a lot cheaper than we did in 1935 (transistors are lots cheaper than valves aka vacuum tubes!) but we can't do that for an electric motor, or for the chassis, or the various tools that attach. Those are all very similar to their 1935 versions.

34679 · 9 days ago

I think this says more about the decreased purchasing power of the average US household than it does about what people want. The Venn diagram of what a person wants and what they can afford is rarely a circle.

xadhominemx · 9 days ago

> I think this says more about the decreased purchasing power of the average US household

What does it say about that?

fuzzfactor · 8 days ago

Compared to the way it was during the lifetime of this model from a major company offering all price points, there is no longer a sizable enough percentage of Americans able to afford supporting this level of quality/superior-engineering for production to have continued past a certain year.

cuddlybacon · 9 days ago

Since everyone is mentioning Technology Connections (he deserves it, great channel), I want to bring up this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiS27feX8o0

To me, this really shows the sad direction smart appliances have gone in. I would love to see that smart appliances would have continued to evolve in this direction. I don't like the current state of smart appliances, but going back to the absolute basic seems like an over-reaction to me.

ASalazarMX · 9 days ago

I wanted to automate my house, but the results convinced me that starting from the absolute basics and growing from it is the best approach. It's more environmentally friendly too.

The only smart devices left are some smart bulbs, and I'm waiting for them to fail before replacing them with regular LEDs. Nothing beats the reliability and energy/resource savings of plain locks and buttons.

Nextgrid · 9 days ago

A smart home can be reliable, useful and environmentally friendly (if we consider potential energy savings). You just won't get there with consumer-grade solutions. Pretty much every consumer-grade tech nowadays is designed to generate "engagement" and collect data; the actual "useful" work it does is only the bare-minimum needed to convince you to buy the product and "engage" with it.

If you look beyond the consumer-grade trash, you can get somewhere nice with $500 if you go the DIY route with modules/relays supporting open protocols and Home Assistant, or if you have several thousands to spare check out higher-end solutions such as Crestron.

Any good system will be completely self-contained, not rely on the internet, and provided the hardware is maintained should last essentially forever.

droopyEyelids · 9 days ago

Crestron may be as good as humanity can do for home automation, but it's the way to madness with proprietary development tools, security vulnerabilities, and hardware that still isn't up to infrastructure reliability levels.

Someone · 9 days ago

> A smart home can be reliable, useful and environmentally friendly.

Unless you have free spare electricity, I think it’s very difficult for smart electric lighting to be environmentally friendly. The controllers simply need too much standby power.

For example, https://eprel.ec.europa.eu/screen/product/lightsources/84743... is a 5W IKEA lamp that uses 0,3W when powered off. So, the lamp itself uses 4,7W, and you can leave that light on for about 1½ hour every day for the power that the controller uses. Said otherwise, you currently have to have such a light on longer than needed for 1½ hour every day to make up for the energy use of the controller. Add in energy used to make the controller and it gets worse.

There are days where I accidentally leave on a light for 1½ hours, but that’s nowhere near the average over all my lamps over a year.

Smart lights give you convenience. They won’t help saving the environment.

pklee · 9 days ago

That was an awesome video. Thank you for sharing !!

compsciphd · 9 days ago

without watching the video, just based on the description. is this the smart microwave one?

cuddlybacon · 5 days ago

It's the smart microwave!

pickledish · 10 days ago

His whole channel (called Technology Connections) is probably my favorite one on YouTube, can’t recommend it enough! My favorites are his series on refrigeration and heat pumps, for example this one:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=7J52mDjZzto

Edit: to clarify, this article is based on an old Technology Connections video, and the creator of that video has lots more!

DiabloD3 · 10 days ago

Technology Connections is hands down one of my favorite Youtube channels.

Another guy worth mentioning that tickles the brain cells in a similar way is Isaac Arthur: a guy that breaks down science fiction into science fact, and explores what we could actually do someday in the future, and pokes fun at the stuff that will probably never happen but has become familiar tropes anyways.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZFipeZtQM5CKUjx6grh54g

If you want another down to earth (ahem) channel that also explores tech, there's Tech Ingredients who has done crazy things like build the ultimate (and certainly weirdest) speakers, his own epoxy, his own thermal paste, his own whiskey with his own still, his own compressorless fridge and AC, his own rocket motors....

https://www.youtube.com/user/TechIngredients

anamexis · 9 days ago

Thanks, I wasn't aware of those two!

Riffing on those, I can also recommend DIY Perks. He makes pretty stunning electronics projects. https://www.youtube.com/c/DIYPerks

Laforet · 9 days ago

I might just come forward and recommend NighthawkInLight. He does not upload as frequently as some of the other channels mentioned here but his videos tend to have a much higher production value for some just as interesting topics of science and technology.

https://youtube.com/c/Nighthawkinlight

zem · 9 days ago

Isaac Arthur is almost certainly a pseudonym paying homage to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke

freemint · 9 days ago

Would be but is surprisingly not.

netizen-936824 · 10 days ago

Seconded, I learned a ton about A/V systems from him. He has excellent technical content. Learning about how the old electromechanical juke boxes worked was fascinating.

I can also recommend Applied Science. He explains the concepts behind numerous concepts and applies them to a home project in his garage. Such project include: Home made electron microscope Chemical glass strengthening Robotic cookie maker Creating X-Rays Messing around with supercritical CO2

https://m.youtube.com/c/AppliedScience/videos

He does all sorts of random shit and it is absolutely wonderful

Groxx · 9 days ago

Applied Science is amazing, +1 highly recommended. Well, to both.

progre · 9 days ago

His videos is an amazing demonstration of a general scientific engineering process: "At the 84:th attempt I started to see some promising results..."

myself248 · 9 days ago

For A/V stuff, I went looking for an understanding of how color works in video systems, and ran across this gem from Captain Disillusion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTKP0Y9MVus

His whole channel is great, though there's not a ton there, it makes sense given the staggering amount of work that goes into the visualizations of each one.

barbazoo · 10 days ago

Love his channel! My favourite videos are the ones about dishwashers.

garaetjjte · 9 days ago

CED saga for me.

ASalazarMX · 9 days ago

He won me with the video about why hurricane lamps look like they do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tURHTuKHBZs

a012 · 10 days ago

I watched a few videos from his channel and always amazed/wondered how can he has so many vintage items and deep knowledge of/around them. I really enjoy his presentation skill and sense of humour.

beervirus · 9 days ago

The jokes are painfully corny. But everything else about his channel is gold.

kelnos · 8 days ago

I'm a pretty corny person, so I enjoy them. Not laugh-out-loud funny, but at least smile-worthy.

I do really enjoy his presentation style, and the technical content is well-written and fascinating.

dang · 9 days ago

Past related threads:

The Classic Sunbeam Radiant Control Toaster (2006) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23723112 - July 2020 (47 comments)

How to design a good toaster with lessons from the 1940s [video] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23363646 - May 2020 (17 comments)

An Antique Toaster That's Better Than Today’s [video] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21164014 - Oct 2019 (232 comments)

Also slightly related:

Toaster Central: Antique and Vintage Toasters and Waffle Irons - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21432144 - Nov 2019 (7 comments)

JoshGlazebrook · 9 days ago

Honestly, I searched for a great toaster after going through a few cheap ones and I always came back to this Japanese "steam" toaster. - https://us.balmuda.com/products/balmuda-the-toaster

$300 for a toaster seems insane, but it honestly is worth it. You fill the little 5cc "cup" with water and pour it in, and it uses steam to lock in moisture and then toast. Toast (and honestly everything else) comes out perfectly crisp all over and the inside stays moist.

late2part · 9 days ago

I have this and the Mitsubishi T0-ST-1T. Both are good. Neither are great. I miss my Breville, it seemed more consistently better than good.

rob74 · 9 days ago

I can contribute another simple example of a kitchen appliance that didn't necessarily get smarter: the cooking plate! Remember the good old cookers with rotary switches? Those actually had up to seven different stages of heating (see schematic here http://www.herd.josefscholz.de/7Takt/img16.gif)! While the new digital ones are... digital - i.e. they switch the plate on and off repeatedly to produce different amounts of heat, but that depends on the pot/pan/whatever you put on it to store the heat while the plate is off. So a definite step backward if you ask me...

Gigachad · 9 days ago

The digital touch screen ones won because they are so much easier to clean. A current model induction stove is a completely flat sheet of glass. You spray some chemical on it and give it a wipe down and its done. No pulling knobs off, working between gaps, etc.

And on the switching behavior, I believe that is more related to just how induction cooking works rather than the way you control it. The values on the control panel are not exact anyway, you are always going to have to get a feel for how they work for your setup.

I moved from a house with an induction stove to a classic gas stove and its an absolute nightmare. Cooks slower and takes 50x the effort to clean.

schrijver · 6 days ago

> The digital touch screen ones won because they are so much easier to clean. A current model induction stove is a completely flat sheet of glass.

For sure it’s easier to clean, but on the ones I’ve used I find the “buttons” very fidgety because of this flat design. I’d sacrifice some ease in cleaning for the tactile feedback of mechanical buttons or ideally a (stepped) dial.

AussieWog93 · 9 days ago

To be fair, they do have gas stoves with inductive touch panels now. Only thing to clean are the grills themselves.

Gigachad · 9 days ago

The knobs are part of it but the actual grill bits are by far the worst. I don't understand why gas stoves are so popular when you have to pull them to bits and scrub down after every use if you don't want them looking like crap. While induction is faster and takes a 20 second spray and wipe.

bmicraft · 9 days ago

At least from my experience my induction stove does not seem to have this problem, which kinda makes sense if you think about it: It already has to switch on/off many times per second to induce current, so it can just skip some cycles.

I suppose as induction slowly wins over resistive heating this will become a non issue once again.

ericbarrett · 9 days ago

I really loved my induction range and miss it, having moved back to gas. It could bring an 8 quart pot of water to a rolling boil in two minutes flat.

howLongHowLong · 9 days ago

Isn't it much more efficient to use pwm than resistors to adjust energy in that fashion?

bryanrasmussen · 9 days ago

Not to mention the digital ones are more prone to failure.

Gigachad · 9 days ago

Are they? Is this studied? I have never heard of one failing and know many people with them.

Spooky23 · 9 days ago

The controllers fail all of the time. Many of them don’t fare well around high heat, and sometimes the capacitive panels delaminate or otherwise fail. Replacement is usually expensive. The failure point of analog controls was usually the trivially replaceable knob.

Appliance makers do a ton of reliability engineering to deliver predictable failure rates. Barring atypical screwups and bad design, major appliances tend to fall off a cliff about a year after the expiry of their extended warranty (usually 4-6 years)

bryanrasmussen · 9 days ago

by cooking plate I mean the cooking plates in the normally sold induction stovetop, in those of course the failure is generally not on the cooking plate but the stovetop itself but that doesn't matter, once the stovetop goes you can't use a plate because it's all one big integrated appliance.

So anyway I bought a slightly above medium priced one a few years ago, and it has failed about 5 times. When we had the guy out to fix it he said that it was a common problem that the part where you have to push to start a particular plate cooking can fail to register a push anymore and as a general rule if one of the 'buttons' couldn't be pushed none of them could be pushed because after all they aren't really buttons.

I asked why is it continually failing he said oh sometimes there is some underlying electrical issue, but I think we have everything fixed now.

Anyway after the fifth breakdown in a couple years it has been going pretty good for a year now.

Now of course since an induction stovetop is one big piece, there are fewer parts that can fail. So maybe there actually is a higher failure on analog stoves, but I remember every time I had a failure on my analog stoves it was only one piece that failed, and sometimes it was easy to make it work again, like a broken knob, or it was only a partial failure like that cooking plate doesn't get as hot as it used to. When my current stovetop fails, it is all failed.

A case in point I bought a small portable two cooking plate analog stove at the same time I bought the more modern induction one. One of the cooking plates got broken some years back but the other still works. We also need it to make espresso as the pot is too light to register on the induction stovetop.

on edit: must be tired, changed in case of point to a case in point.

maltalex · 10 days ago

Re-making these toasters is probably a great idea for a kickstarter.

jws · 10 days ago

But maybe redesign it so the coils can’t be live even when it is off. Because you can’t stop humans from using forks.

I grew up with one of these and was going to get an old one and refurbish it, but I live with too many hairless apes that would stick a fork or knife in to retrieve their undersized bread. Maybe if I put on a polarized plug, and check all the outlets in the kitchen to make sure they are wired correctly…

kllrnohj · 9 days ago

The same YouTuber has a video guide on how to update the wiring to make it safe in the way you want. Complete with grounding the body: https://youtu.be/2vcdbtAca0Y

maltalex · 10 days ago

Of course. The original sunbeam probably could not have been even made or sold today due to safety standards.

throwanem · 9 days ago

Sure it could. It'd just need a polarized, grounded plug with the ground strap tied to the body.

throwaway0a5e · 9 days ago

Non issue. The device is so simple the Chinese will have no problem knocking it off with acceptable fit and finish. From there it's a simple matter of slapping a UL sticker on it (and I mean that in the most literal sense).

deeg · 10 days ago

Yeah, my question after reading this is why can't I buy a modern version of this toaster? Would it be too expensive? Just seems odd.

Gigachad · 9 days ago

Because the current toasters work perfectly fine and are a tiny fraction of the complexity. Anyone who wants better toast than what the toaster makes will just butter and cook the bread on a grill.

varelse · 9 days ago

Seems like a PID could do all this and more personally. I suspect someone kickstarts exactly that in short order and then I buy one down the road after it ends up in e-tail because I never got that PID espresso maker so no more kickstarters for me.

blibble · 9 days ago

there's a lot of clever stuff in there that would make modern regulators nervous

suspect making it compliant with modern electrical standards would be cost prohibitive

agileAlligator · 9 days ago

Lots of people still use the Sunbeam to this date. All you need to do is replace the wiring and the plug with safer modern versions so that it is up to electrocution safety standards.

nikcub · 9 days ago

If you want a modern-built classic style toaster check the Dualit[0]

Only problem is they've been sold out for a while now in a lot of places

[0] https://www.dualit.com/products/classic-toasters

systemvoltage · 9 days ago

This actually applies to a lot of old tech and old software. The idea that old == bad is permanently seared into the brains of people. Thanks to marketing. There should be a good balance between trying out new things (new JS frameworks!) and then if it doesn't work, STOP. Modern society is moving towards criticism == bad, which leads to things like Youtube removing dislike visibility and inability to challenge ideas in a corporate setting (someone might just get offended by criticism).

My hope and expectation for society is to balance experimentation and criticism. We need both in equal amounts. A good analogy that I keep is gradient descend algorithm - if we get stuck in a local optima, unless we undo things, there is no way to improve (This is criticism). At the same time, if we don't allow picking new directions, improvement is hopeless (This is experimentation).

oblio · 10 days ago

It's remarkably difficult to find something as automated at it.

This should be super cheap and ubiquitous tech but apparently it isn't. Most of the other stuff uses electronics and does more but is actually dumber as an overall device.

For example many can set a target duration or target temperature but because they don't take into account the bread temperature they don't defrost as well.

balaji1 · 9 days ago

This toaster was expensive when it launched, but could be considered worth the money since it would last for a long time and it seems to have a good resale price even today.

On the other hand, today it is hard to buy simple things of good quality on Amazon - example 100% cotton or 100% woolen clothes. And it would be harder in a physical superstore like Target or Walmart.

crooked-v · 9 days ago

You might appreciate the BuyItForLife subreddit. The ad hoc nature can make it hard to find stuff, but the posts are generally all direct testimonial by people who have had a given item for an extended period of time.

JetAlone · 9 days ago

Imagine if we had testers who take a bunch of products with them into a space apartments moving at relativistic speeds, and when ready to retire they can tell us how their products fared during their lifetime... Corporate monasticism, sacrificing one working life a month or so to create an index that helps punish corporations for poor durability...

josephcsible · 9 days ago

Doesn't relativity work the other way around? Wouldn't less time pass for them if you did that?

MaurizioPz · 9 days ago

there's a movie for that, but I think it would be a spoiler to name it

silisili · 9 days ago

Serious question - do most folks still own toasters today? They just seem so... specifically single function and take up counterspace. In my house, we have a sandwich press which we use for 4 or less pieces of toast at a time. And of course it doubles as a press for paninis or cubanos, too. And you never have to worry about unevenness, as it's just two hot plates basically.

If cooking a lot of toast for a get together or really large meal, just throw them in the oven.

I haven't owned a toaster as an adult, so I'm really curious how popular they are these days.

jmisavage · 9 days ago

I've had the same toaster for the better part of 15 years now I don't think its any weirder than owning a dedicated sandwich press. It's usually a set it and forget it kinda of item that doesn't take long to do its job.

silisili · 9 days ago

I don't think it's weird at all, it was really a question out of curiosity and not meant as an insult or anything.

stagger87 · 9 days ago

A quick search would have told you something like 80 percent of households own toasters.

41b696ef1113 · 9 days ago

I am struggling to think of anyone I know who does not own a toaster.

The no name toaster I own falls into the good-enough category where I have never considered that an alternative technology could offer X% improvement that it would make transitioning worthwhile. Toaster oven could potentially provide more utility (pizzas, garlic bread, etc) at a higher initial investment, more counter space, and potentially less good at toasting bagels.

exhilaration · 9 days ago

Toaster oven FTW, it's probably our most used appliance. Get one with the convection setting and it'll beat any air fryer too [1].

[1] Wirecutter review: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-air-fryer/

Nition · 9 days ago

Funnily enough, convection toaster ovens are rebranding their same old models as being air friers now. Because of course an air fryer is just a weirdly shaped convection toaster oven in the first place.

silisili · 9 days ago

See that I understand, very versatile choice. Would you day it works better than a fullsize convection oven, or about the same?

exhilaration · 9 days ago

I didn't even know there were full size convection ovens! We've got the toaster oven and a gas oven, I would say they work about the same, it's just so much more efficient to use the electric toaster oven (assuming what you're trying to cook fits in there).

maxlybbert · 9 days ago

I tried to make do without a toaster when I first lived on my own, because I didn’t care enough about toast to get one.

Except, originally, I didn’t get anything else that could make toast, so if I wanted toast, I used a dry frying pan. And, probably because I didn’t have a toaster, I wanted toast a lot more often than I expected I would.

I eventually got a toaster oven, but I almost never used it for anything other than toast. I have a toaster now, twenty years later, and while I realize it’s silly from one point of view, I know it’s not the silliest thing I own.

silisili · 9 days ago

> Except, originally, I didn’t get anything else that could make toast, so if I wanted toast, I used a dry frying pan

This made me laugh out loud. Ever so often my wife decides to reorganize and put everything away, and me being too lazy to dig everything out, resort to making toast that way in a dry cast iron skillet. Not sure about yours, but mine rarely turned out right. Usually burned the raised edges and left the middle underdone.

Tagbert · 8 days ago

Not to mention that that method uses many times as much energy as just using a toaster.

maxlybbert · 9 days ago

I never got the hang of it. If there’s a trick, I didn’t stumble across it.

mobjack · 9 days ago

I recently bought a toaster for the first time as an adult and started eating a lot more bread as a result.

Other toasting methods work, but they could take longer to set up and you have to monitor the progress along the way.

With a toaster, it is set it and forget with a single button press.

sgtnoodle · 9 days ago

We have a toaster oven. It accommodates any size bread, and works well for frozen meals that aren't worth heating up the main oven for. I also make sourdough bread, and those slices would be hard to fit into a toaster.