Sunbeam 3916 2-Slice Toaster

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I wanted to experience Yesteryear--So I got My 'Cheap' Little Toaster!

Aug 10, 2007 (Updated Aug 10, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Very Good

  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Ease of Cleaning:
  • Style:

Pros:Nostalgic Art-Deco looks, Inexpensive, Toasts Well

Cons:Cheap imitation of the original Sunbeam T-9 model

The Bottom Line: Go ahead, buy it--it's a feel-good toaster. It may be a cheap imitation, but it's inexpensive and it toasts well.


I'm keeping My Little Toaster--I love it in spite of its flaws!

First of all--read the instruction booklet before you use the toaster. You must wipe down and dry the toaster with a soft, clean cloth before the first use.

Ultimately--Sunbeam Heritage T-9 reproduction toaster is the perfect size for one or two people. It toasts. It has Art-Deco looks. It's cheap but inexpensive. I would purchase again.

I couldn't find a toaster to view, touch and examine before I made this online purchase. I bought this T-9 Sunbeam reproduction for it's nostalgic, Art-Deco looks and hoped it would 'toast' for me.

***I would have paid $100+ for this toaster if its materials and workmanship were equal to its predecessor, because I wanted an Art-Deco Sunbeam to go with my decor--and to bring warm, childhood memories to mind every morning.***

From a distance it fools you into thinking it's the real thing--sort of. I am a picky and detail-oriented person, so my review may seem harsh, but I will tell it as I see it. I didn't really expect a top-quality product--the price didn't lead me to think I would receive one--but I am still disappointed with the materials and workmanship.

Materials and workmanship: POOR.

1. The online pictures are deceiving; they make the toaster look better made. The little Sunbeam is made in China with cheap materials; the plastic parts are not cut smoothly and have stringy slivers all around; the plastic doesn't lie snugly to the metal housing--there are some gaps. The black handles, levers, nesting and cord are made of cheap, thin, smelly, soft, shiny low-quality plastic; they are NOT made of the beautifully polished, hefty, hard, durable Bakelite material of which the Mother T-9 Sunbeam was made. I fear we may have a melting problem in the future. What a disappointment.
2. The stainless-steel housing is so thin that the hallmark, embossed, T-9 Art-Deco design has ALMOST cut through the steel on the front. I knew that the toaster was not high-polished chrome plated--but I bought it anyway because it was so very CUTE and nostalgic. It is VERY thin and lightweight; it is not the heavyweight toaster of yesteryear.
3. The 'jewel' indicator light is plastic, not glass, but is charming anyway.
4. The 'stay-cool' housing will stay cool with ONE toasting (except for the top which naturally heats up to untouchable levels). After three toastings in a row--DO NOT TOUCH the housing above the mid-level.
5. The crumb tray is minuscule and all the crumbs fall out to the counter in spite of it--annoying--and then you STILL have to empty the tray and shake the toaster upside own--after it cools. Remember, I'm picky.
6. It stinks. Use sound judgment and follow the instructions before the first use. Expect the little toaster to stink with the first few tryouts (without bread)--open a window--let it air-out. I hope the plastic parts will stop giving off the usual China-plastic stench. I may have to discard the toaster if it continues to emit the odor--it actually makes me ill. It seems that China uses some low-melt plasticizers that make some people ill. If you can't go inside a Dollar Store or Harbor Freight Tool shop without developing a nauseating headache then this toaster may make you as sick as does a new China-made shower curtain. I think the toaster will mellow out in a few days--I just got it yesterday and it already smells less 'plastic-stinky.'
7. The cord is a shorty and it is impossible to 'store' it under the toaster as is suggested. The cord is very obstinate! Perhaps you will have better success. I guess with a lot of effort, I could force it to wrap if I needed to store it--but I keep it on the counter--and will use it daily. The cord will not lie nicely on the counter between toastings--arghh--it's too lightweight.

FYI:

1. As with ALL toasters, you should not operate the toaster under the upper cupboards if there is not a 12-inch clearance; it would pose a fire hazard (so says the instruction booklet.) When we bought this old house over 20 years ago, there was fire damage under the cupboard from a toaster--be careful--never leave a toaster operating unattended.
2. Naturally, the stainless-steel housing will need CONSTANT polishing to rid it of the inevitable smudges from buttery fingers--that's to be understood--it has no miracle anti-smudge feature. LOL Keep plastic wrappers AWAY from the toaster, because--we don't want to be TOO nostalgic!
3. Don't assume your toaster's elements are malfunctioning if you notice the inside elements are not glowing as cherry-red as the outside elements glow. This is a good thing. Your toast would black-char on one side if the inside elements glowed cherry.

Toasting ability, operation: VERY GOOD.

TEST: Bread-combo of one 5.25" X 4" slice of Franz semi-whole-grain Western Hazelnut and one 4" X 4" slice of semi-whole-grain Vita-Bee. I planned on two LIGHTLY toasted, but crisp slices of toast. Success! How nice, this little machine perfectly toasted two different types of bread at the same time!

1. The little Sunbeam toaster accepted the 4" X 4" slice perfectly but would not accept the Franz slice except on its side. Because of the 5.25" length I needed to flip the Franz slice and go for a second toasting. I used setting 2 (twice) to get the desired result with this bread combo since I knew I'd have to flip the Franz slice. Both slices were beautifully toasted; but one side of each slice (the inside surface) was slightly more browned.
2. I think this toaster performed well with two slices. However, with one slice of Vita-Bee bread--and the other slot empty, the slice will only need setting 2 with one toasting--one slice gets more heat because ALL the elements still come on.
3. The inside elements, although they look barely 'on' will ALWAYS brown slightly more--regardless of setting or number of slices. Big deal, no problem. I don't know if setting 7 will ever be used in this household. We don't like black, hard, dry toast--some people do though.
4. Vita-Bee (with cracked and whole grain) and Franz Western Hazelnut (with copious nuts and whole grain)--are medium-hearty breads. 100% ALL whole wheat with cracked wheat would be interesting to toast--I would imagine it would take a little more heat. You MUST experiment to discover the proper formula for your bread and your browning preferences. Someone else will likely report on their success/failure with bagels, Texas toast, burger buns, Sunbeam-style (4'' X 4") white bread, English muffins, homemade bread and unglazed/unfilled pastries. I should imagine the white bread would need one toasting on setting 1 for a very-light toast.
5. The instructions with the toaster give no insight on settings. The re-heat and defrost features have not been used yet; I think they will be very nice features and I expect they will work well. I will update in the future IF I have any problems with those features. Otherwise, consider them acceptable--but give me a couple of weeks before I update.

Advice:

Go ahead, buy it--it's a feel-good toaster. It may be a cheap imitation, but it's inexpensive and it toasts well. It's My Little Toaster now!


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): $35 /$0 S&H

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