Should you ever, under any circumstances, pay $100 for a toaster? Cuisinart thinks so -- especially if it's the CPT-440, one of the most expensive toasters the brand offers.
The CPT-440 offers a classy-looking stainless-steel build and leverless, "touch-to-toast" design for a toasting experience that truly does feel high-end. That, coupled with consistent performance in our tests, makes the CPT-440 a very good toaster -- but that doesn't make it a very good value, not with so many cheaper alternatives out there that offer similar features, decent designs of their own and strong reviews from people who just want their toaster to, you know, toast things.
The CPT-440 looks and feels luxurious, and as toasters go, it does a great job. But, it's still just a toaster. It toasts. Whether or not you actually care to upgrade your "toasting experience" is up to you, but should you give in to the urge to splurge, you can at least rest assured that the CPT-440 will yield satisfying results.
Design and features
All in all, I think Cuisinart's got a good-looking toaster here. The brushed stainless-steel build feels appropriately high end, and the combination of blue, backlit LCD screens and a leverless design give it a classy, futuristic sheen.
Make no bones about it, though, this is still a toaster. You'll still drop bread in and wait for toast to come out. You've still got the same tried-and-true wired heating element inside. If you're hoping your money will buy you something new and exciting, you'll be disappointed -- Cuisinart isn't re-inventing the wheel.
The CPT-440 lets you select the level of doneness on a seven-point scale, and also comes with the usual presets: bagels, frozen items, and a reheat function. You'll still be able to set the desired level of doneness for each preset, too.
With your settings locked in, the leverless design will have you press the "toast" button to start toasting. As your food toasts, a series of bars on the LCD screen will gradually disappear to give you a visual cue as to how much longer the cycle needs to run.
That leverless bit is really the only feature that even comes close to setting this toaster apart from its cheaper competitors. When you press the button, the CPT-440 will gently lower whatever you're toasting down into the toaster, a bit like Han Solo getting lowered down into his carbonite bath. At the end of the cycle, the toast will gently rise back up. It's a silly thing, but it definitely had us oohing and aahing a little bit the first few times we tested it out.
The practical benefit of this approach is that there's no spring-loaded mechanism to break, and also no getting startled at the end of a toast cycle. One downside, though: without a lever, there's no way to give your toast that extra little lift to help you grab it out at the end. For the most part, I didn't have any trouble snatching stuff out without burning my fingers, but still, it's one of those little things you might end up missing.
If you aren't sold on the leverless design, you should know that Cuisinart sells the same toaster with levers (and without the toast elevator) for a little less. If you don't have many mouths to feed, there are 2-slice versions of both designs that will also save you some money.