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How Many Watts Does a Toaster Use?

A collage of electric toasters.

The warm piece of toast with melted butter and jam was not always a staple in the U.S. Most people likely remember their parents or grandparents toasting bread for the family at breakfast time. The history of the toaster goes back much further than your parents or your grandparents’ days.  

Modern toasters that use electricity to operate are likely to be a concern for people who want to save on their electric bills. How many watts does a toaster use when you toast bread, bagels, or English muffins? Does it matter what type of toaster I own when considering the watts? Do toasters still use electricity when not in use? These are just a few of the questions that people want to know about toasters. 

History of the Toaster

Old toaster with a bread attached to eat.

Do not give grandma or grandpa credit for inventing the toaster. The ancient Egyptians get credit for making the first toaster. Cooking Indoor explains that the Egyptians made the first closed toaster around 3,000 B.C.  

Perhaps it was by accident, or maybe by experimentation, that they discovered that dough rises if you let it sit for a while. We do not know how long they let it sit before using the dough. The Egyptians also discovered that toasting their dough prevented mold growth. You might ask, “Just how long did they leave dough to sit for mold to grow on it?” The ancient Romans adopted the toaster into their society years after the Egyptians.  

The Latin word for toast means to scorch or to burn. They may not have meant to “burn” it in the sense that we think of it when considering the possibility of having burnt toast.

The toaster underwent a series of upgrades through the years, and continues to experience its journey of modernization. Some early updates to the toaster were likely not very safe upgrades to the small appliance.


The Modern Toaster

An old model of a toaster on a white background.

Purchase a toaster from nearly any big box store, discount store, or department store for a reasonable price. There are budget-friendly two-slice toasters, and more modern models, such as the models with LCD touch display, multiple shade settings, and multiple time functions. 

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Toasters typically use infrared radiation to heat bread, bagels or muffins. Look inside a toaster and you will likely see the coils light up to bright red after you push down a lever. Technology toasts the bread to your desired setting. 

Nichrome wire, an alloy of nickel and chromium, wraps back and forth across a mica sheet that is inside your toaster. The proper spacing of the nichrome wire provides an easy way for bread or your favorite toaster breakfast pastry to toast evenly so that you enjoy properly heated and toasted bread, muffins, and pastries.  

The spring action in the toaster allows your bread or pastry to pop up when it is toasted to the desired setting. 

How Many Watts Does a Toaster Use?

A modern oven toaster and a cup of tea.

Several toaster manufacturers today create toasters for use in the home that have energy-efficient features. The toasters used today likely use fewer amps than the toasters from past generations.  

The Powerall indicates that, on average, a two-slice toaster uses between 800 and 1,500 watts. The average value is 1,120 and 1,200 watts. A four-slice toaster uses between 1,100 and 2,500 watts. The average value for a four-slice toaster is between 1,400 and 1,500 watts.  

Toasters made by different manufacturers, or different models made by the same manufacturer, may use a different number of watts, compared to other models. Consider a Hommater two-slice wide slot toaster. It uses 750 watts.

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Now consider a Seedeem two-slice toaster with an LCD display. It uses 900 watts.

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Toasters that have slots to toast four slices of bread or pastries typically use more watts than the two-slice toaster. One example is that a Proctor Silex four slice toaster with extra wide slots and “cool touch walls” uses 1,300 watts.

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Some Other Ways to Save Electricity on Your Toaster

An oven toaster with money.

Several toaster manufacturers today create toasters for use in the home that have energy-efficient features. The toasters that have the energy-efficient features may cost more at the store. Consider the savings once you bring the toaster home and start using it, compared to the cost of using your old toaster. The toasters used today likely use fewer watts than the toasters from past generations.

There is one important way to save electricity when you have a toaster. Do you leave your toaster plugged in when it is not in use? Did you know that the toaster continues to use electricity? Reheat Suite points out that the savings may only be a few cents a day. Think about the savings when you multiply those few cents times 365 days a year.  

You pay more on your electricity bill if you do not unplug your toaster after each use. The term for leaving your toaster, or any electrical appliance, plugged in when it is not in use is called the “phantom load,” or the “energy vampire.” 

The U.S. Department of Energy explains that when there is a phantom load, it “will increase the appliance’s energy consumption a few watt-hours.” Avoid the added watt hours by unplugging your toaster. Enjoy the long life of your toaster and the reduced watt hours when you unplug it when it is not in use.