The world of toasters just got a little weirder. Research firm IDC released a report predicting that 2012 will be the year when companies start making kitchen appliances that can Tweet and send us notifications via the web; this will include toasters.
Until that happens, it might seem we must settle with convention. But not so fast! There are plenty of zany spins on the plain ol' pop-up that will put the fun back into making toast.
9. Vintage Sunbeam Chrome Elevator Toaster
This classic gadget once roamed the kitchen landscape 50 or more years ago, but was eventually replaced with newer, sleeker designs. But vintage stuff is making a comeback, this one is an obligatory must-have for the nostalgia types. One can be snatched from Ebay for about $50.
8. Roastie Toaster
Designed by Mateusz Glowka from the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland, this stylish toaster is a transparent ball with heating elements that surround the piece of toast like a ferris wheel. The sphere design traps the heat, thus reducing toasting time and saving energy consumption. Sadly, it can only toast one piece of bread at a time. Still a concept, but maybe you can ask Mr. Glowka for one.
7. Smile Cooking Toaster
Who doesn't wake up grumpy? Well maybe this toaster will put a smile on your face. Not only is this toaster transparent, but it's compact. Similar to a hair straightener, designer Xu Yan Xiang utilizes electric-heating nano-membrane technology to leave cheery impression of a smiley face on your morning breakfast. Another design concept not available in the retail world, maybe you can make it happen with a small donation.
6. Jesus Toaster
No this isn't a simulacrum of Jesus Christ on toast, it's a toaster that burns the image of your lord and savior into your breakfast. It's made by Burnt Impressions in Vermont and they also make other designs, like a cannabis leaf toaster and you can even have them customize an etching for your toaster. Other than the cool etchings, it's just a regular toaster. Customized toaster etchings cost about $35.
5. The Little Brick Oven That Could
Israeli designer Adi Zaffran gets back to basics with this toaster made simply out of wood, rebar rods and a cinder block--seriously. Simple and elegant in design, it looks like something you can build yourself. Technically a pita bread toaster, Zaffran was inspired by Thomas Thwaites, founder of The Toaster Project who set out to build a consumer-grade toaster.
4. The Handheld Toaster
Have you ever loved toasters so much that you wish you can take one with you? Now you can take one with you wherever you go with a handheld toaster by Kim Been. It looks like a butter knife and features a graphic user interface that shows you how well the bread is toasted. This design concept looks like it would take a few minutes to toast your bread and you may go hungry waiting. Still a cool idea because you can take it with you.
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3. The Folding Toaster
If you can't decide what you want to eat for breakfast, let the Nostalgia Electrics Egg and Muffin Toaster help you decide. A non-stick griddle folds out from the side of the toaster and can reach temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Contains a removable drip tray for easy cleaning. College students: this device is perfect for your dorm room. Costs about $30.
2. Breville Radio Toaster
Brevill, a United Kingdom-based kitchen appliance company, has finally combined a radio and a toaster. The Breville VTT296 is an AM/FM radio with 10 station storage, plug in MP3 capabilities, a digital display, variable width and browning control, a removable crumb tray, illuminated buttons and an antenna. It's also lightweight, weighing less than four and half pounds. Retails at about $80.
1. The 3-in-1 Breakfast Maker
This impressive gadget is all you need in your kitchen, anything more and you're turning into Susy homemaker. Complete with a four-cup coffeemaker, six-liter toaster oven and removable non-stick hot plate all in one unit, this kitchen-in-a-can costs $50 from Nostalgia. Takes you back to the '70s with a nice retro style.