Pros: Cool to touch, wide slots for bagels
Cons: Doesn't toast evenly, consistently or to desired darkness
We had a toaster that was given to us as a wedding present 13 years ago, and it was working just fine. Then, for some reason, my mother-in-law presented me with the Toastmaster Cool Touch wide slot toaster for Christmas. She said she bought it because she knew how much I love bagels (I never eat bagels, my kids never eat them, but once in a great while, my husband does). Oh well.
My dad was getting an apartment near his job, so my husband suggested we give him our old reliable toaster and use this nice new one from his mom. Okay, that's great, help out my folks setting up a second little home, no problem.
This toaster does have nice wide slots for those rare occasions we actually toast a bagel or English muffin. They fit well and come out easily.
And it really is a "cool touch" toaster. The outside does not get hot at all. I have to admit, my old toaster was sometimes a bit warm when I was toasting bread.
My model can toast 4 pieces at a time, with a setting control for each set of two slices. But my old toaster did this just fine.
Toasting bread in this toaster is a real hit or miss thing. I like my toast fairly light, and so does my one son. My husband likes his dark. Well, we can get his toast nice and dark (or, in my opinion, burnt to a crisp), but we cannot get lightly toasted bread. I have tried all the different settings. What I get is one of the following:
toast that is not toasted, simply warm to the touch but still pure white and soft, or
toast that is not too dark on one side, but not toasted at all on the other side, or
toast that is too dark for my son to accept
Further, the toast is not evenly toasted across the same side. The middle may be more browned than the outer edges, or just some "spots" will be much lighter or darker.
After a while, I just gave up on adjusting the settings. However, I found that without changing the settings, my toast would come out toasted a bit different each time. Sometimes it would be much darker, other times lighter. The setting does not toast consistently, so even if I had found a setting that made the toast the way my son likes it, the next time I toasted, it wouldn't work. I know the settings were not changed, because I made toast for my toddler, and two minutes later my five year old wanted toast, too, but using the same slots and same loaf of bread, the toast came out much darker.
Another thing I noticed is that it takes longer to toast bread with this toaster than my old one, and the toast that comes out is much hotter. Maybe the cool touch factor causes this.
When cleaning crumbs out of the toaster, each set of two slots has its own crumb catcher on the bottom. I think this is a pain, because if I am cleaning the crumbs from the bottom of the toaster, I want to clean the whole toaster, not simply one half. I have to open up both crumb catchers to clean it, then close two of them. My old toaster had just one large crumb catcher on the bottom, and I simply pushed the button, dumped the crumbs and pushed it shut. On this one, I have to slide open two crumb catchers, dump the crumbs, then try to close both of them back up. On mine, the crumb catcher on one side sticks a bit and I have occasionally discovered that it was not closed right when I move the toaster to clean my counters.
All in all, I wish I could give my dad this toaster and get my old one back. We have used it for 6 months and I still can't get it to work consistently. I will probably donate it to charity at the next pickup and buy a new one.