The cost of making your morning toast

Have you ever looked inside a toaster and seen those glowing-hot wires? You can be forgiven for thinking that must take a phenomenal amount of electricity, but the truth is… it’s costing you mere cents. In this article, Canstar Blue takes a closer look at how much your morning toast might be adding to your energy expenses.

How much does it cost to use the toaster?

Cooking with a 2-slice toaster will cost between 0.41c and 0.5c per minute, while using a 4-slice toaster will cost 0.67c to 1.1c per minute. Assuming the standard piece of bread takes 1-3 minutes to cook, the average cost of making toast will be around 0.4c to 3c.

Most 2-slice toasters have a power of 850W, but ‘high-power’ toasters and toasters with wide slots can consume up to 300W more energy. On the other hand, 4-slice toasters consume considerably more electricity, usually ranging between 1400W and 2300W.

How much it costs you to make a piece of toast depends on your toasters wattage, as well as how long you cook your toast to get that desired crunchiness. Of course it will also depend on the price you pay for your electricity. In the below tables, we assume a usage rate of 28.7c/kWh.

2-slice toaster electricity cost: Wattage of toaster and time it’s used for

850W 900W 950W 1000W 1050W
30 secs 0.21c 0.22c 0.23c 0.24c 0.25c
1 min 0.41c 0.43c 0.45c 0.48c 0.50c
2 min 0.82c 0.86c 0.91c 0.96c 1.00c
3 min 1.23c 1.29c 1.36c 1.44c 1.51c
4 min 1.64c 1.72c 1.82c 1.91c 2.01c
5 min 2.05c 2.15c 2.27c 2.39c 2.51c
Annual cost* $4.49 $4.71 $4.96 $5.26 $5.51

*Assumes toaster used three minutes per day, 365 days a year.

4-slice toaster electricity cost: Wattage of toaster and time it’s used for

1400W 1500W 1700W 1850W 2000W 2300W
30 secs 0.35c 0.36c 0.41c 0.44c 0.48c 0.55c
1 min 0.67c 0.72c 0.81c 0.88c 0.96c 1.1c
2 min 1.34c 1.44c 1.63c 1.77c 1.91c 2.2c
3 min 2.01c 2.15c 2.44c 2.65c 2.87c 3.3c
4 min 2.68c 2.87c 3.25c 3.54c 3.83c 4.4c
5 min 3.35c 3.59c 4.07c 4.42c 4.78c 5.5c
Annual cost* $7.33 $7.68 $8.90 $9.69 $10.48 $12.04

*Assumes toaster used three minutes per day, 365 days a year.

Bear in mind that a toaster with higher wattage will cook faster and more evenly than a similar model with fewer watts. That means while low watt toasters consume less electricity at any one moment, it will take longer to toast, cancelling out any potential savings.

Also consider that if your toaster is used by two, three or even four people each day, the above costs will be significantly increased.

What does the dial on the toaster do?

There are two common theories: The first is that this dial controls the heat of the toaster. The second is that it adjusts time, with the numbers around the dial representing minutes.

retro-toasterWell, both are incorrect, albeit the second theory is slightly closer. The toaster dial does control temperature, but the numbers do not represent minutes. These numbers are instead an arbitrary period of time that varies across different toaster models. Confused? Let us elaborate.

When you pull the lever down on a toaster, it stretches back two curled strips of metal. The pieces of metal will slowly begin curling again until it triggers the component that makes the toast pop up. The dial on a toaster adjusts how far these metal strips must curl to activate the trigger.

So while increasing the dial will increase the toasting time, the amount it increases depends on your toaster. That’s what makes finding the right toaster settings so tricky.

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