Toasters often get overlooked in the kitchen. Counter space, being the limited creature that it is, has room for only so many appliances. While this may bode well for strong multitaskers like toaster ovens, regular toasters often get left out in the cold. (Or at least left in the back of the cupboard.)
The KitchenAid Pro Line Toaster ($299) aims to elevate the once-grand appliance back out from under the counter. Sensing that there is only one direction to go but up, the toaster rises to new heights by incorporating a motorized lifting mechanism. Not afraid to dunk below the surface, the gadget also senses when bread is placed in the slots and automatically lowers the slices to initiate toasting.
Despite their diminishing numbers, or perhaps because of it, higher-end features in toasters have a market. Here, the body features heavy-duty die-cast aluminum construction and, of course, the slots are wide enough for thick-sliced breads or bagels. A defrost function is helpful for dealing with frozen goods, while an LED timer displays toasting progress. Additionally (and this is perhaps the neatest feature of all), the toaster has a keep-warm setting that automatically kicks in after the bread has been toasted, keeping the item butter-ready for up to 3 minutes -- because sometimes in the rush of the morning, even the toast itself can get overlooked.