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At first glance, the T-fal Classic Avante (starting at $30, Amazon) is a tempting cheap toaster option. It boasts attractive and unique styling with a slanted front that makes for easy oversight and extraction of items like muffins and bagels. The T-fal Classic Avante also offers a range useful features, including cord storage and a carrying handle; cool-touch exterior; a high-lift lever; wide, self-adjusting toast slots; a pull-out crumb tray; six browning levels; bagel and reheat options; and cancel and anti-jam functions.
The T-fal Classic Avante has its share of fans -- and a large contingent of detractors. T-fal Classic Avante reviews on Amazon are mixed: some users really like the toaster - particularly the sloped styling -- while others criticize the uneven toasting and slots that are too small for larger slices of bread. According to a review on Overstock, the heating elements around the edges get hotter than those in the middle, and one consumer post on Amazon gripes about having to double-toast an English muffin, which then emerges with charred bottoms and barely toasted tops. Another user review on Amazon warns against setting the browning level beyond 2.5, but a review on Nextag says toast burns no matter which setting you choose. Users also grumble about poor build quality, and one mentions a lift handle that broke shortly after purchase.
While these issues may be acceptable for a cheaper toaster, models priced at the upper end of the Cheapism range should provide better performance. Eye-catching looks are no substitute for functionality.