Is a £90 toasted sandwich maker really better than one costing £20?

The perfect toasted sandwich is the lunch of champions... but how much do you really need to spend to make one?

Is a Breville toasted sandwich maker the best?
(Image credit: Breville)

There's nothing like a good toasted sandwich – crisp on the outside and oozing in the middle, it's the perfect lunch. But finding a toasted sandwich maker that crisps up the outside of your toastie, keeps the filling contained and is easy to clean, can be tough. In fact, one Real Homes staffer even makes her toasties in a frying pan after years of trying, and failing, to find the perfect machine. As part of the Real Homes Show, our online TV show, we've put three toasted sandwich makers to the test to reveal which works best and how much you really need to spend.

For the best prices on sandwich toasters, take a look at our best sandwich toaster buying guide. 

The contenders

Do you need spend £90 on a toasted sandwich maker or is one costing £20 just as good?

(Image credit: Salter, Breville, Cuisinart)
  • Salter Deep Fill Sandwich Toaster – a bargain sandwich toaster that promises to make two perfect toasties in four minutes with easy-to-clean non-stick plates. RRP £20 on Amazon.
  • Breville Deep Fill Two-slice Sandwich Toaster – a mid-range product from the inventors of the toasted sandwich maker. Has a ceramic coating for easy cleaning and 20 per cent faster grilling, plus adjustable temperature. RRP £30 on Amazon.
  • Cuisinart 2-in-1 Grill and Sandwich Maker – a multi-purpose product with changeable plates for grilling or making toasties. Floating hinges mean it adjusts to the thickness of the contents and the heat is adjustable. RRP £89.99 at Lakeland.

The results

We wanted to know how quickly the toasted sandwich makers heated up, how evenly they cooked cooked, how well the filling was contained, and how easy they were to clean.

1. Speed of heating up

When your stomach is grumbling, the last thing you want is to be waiting around for a toasted sandwich maker to heat up. We plugged all of the machines in at the same time and the first to be ready, which is signalled by a light, was the bargain Salter machine (£20), followed by the Breville (£30) and Cuisinart (£90).

Winner = If you're in a hurry, the Salter Deep Fill Sandwich Toaster is the quickest to heat up

2. Cooking and crispiness

The only toasted sandwich maker in our test that promised to cook within a certain time was the Salter machine (£20), which claimed to cook two toasties in four minutes. To keep the test fair, we let all four machines get up to temperature and then popped two toasties (beans and cheese, in case you're wondering) in for four minutes. 

Unfortunately, the Salter left the toasties a little undercooked after four minutes. The mid-priced Breville (£30) crisped the sandwiches up perfectly but did leave the top crust, which stuck out of the machine, a little soft. 

The clear winner for evenness and crispiness was the Cuisinart (£90), which created perfectly toasted capsules of yumminess. It's worth noting that both the Breville and Cuisinart have adjustable temperature controls – perfect if you like your toasties extra crispy.

Winner = There's no denying that the £90 Cuisinart 2-in-1 Grill and Sandwich Maker produced the most evenly cooked toasties.

3. Keeping the filling contained

There's nothing worse that a toastie where the filling leaks out and scalds you before you've even managed to take a bite. All three machines claimed to seal in the filling and have non-stick coatings, so you won't tear the toastie when taking it out. The non-stick coatings worked a treat and we had no problem removing our lunch from any of the machines, using a plastic spatula to make sure we didn't damage the coating, of course. 

The Breville Deep Fill (£30) and Cuisnart 2-in-1 (£90) both sealed the toasties perfectly, with no sign of the filling leaking. Unfortunately, the Salter Deep Fill (£20) didn't seal the sandwich quite as well as we found some of the beans had leaked out onto the plates during cooking.

Joint winners = Both the Breville Deep Fill Two-slice Sandwich Toaster and Cuisinart 2-in-1 Grill and Sandwich Maker produced perfectly sealed toasties.

4. Ease of cleaning

However careful you are, there will be a time when you over-fill your toasties and some filling leaks out onto the plates. And even if you do manage to keep it contained, you'll still need to clean the plates after every use – so which is easiest to keep sparkling?

Salter Deep Fill (£20)Breville Deep Fill (£30)Cuisinart 2-in-1 (£90)
Removable platesNoYesYes
Dishwasher safeNoNoYes

The winner = Being able to pop the plates of the Cuisinart 2-in-1 Grill and Sandwich Maker in the dishwasher makes it a winner.

Which should you choose?

  • It's a bargain at less than £20, but we'd only recommend the Salter Deep Fill Sandwich Toaster if you prefer your toasties less crispy.
  • For all-round performance and value-for-money, the Breville Deep Fill Two-slice Sandwich Toaster is a great choice. It grills well, keeps the filling contained and is easy to clean, which makes it great value for month.
  • If you'll use the grill function, which can be used for everything from steaks to vegetables, then the Cuisinart 2-in-1 Grill and Sandwich Maker is worth the almost £90 investment. It produced the best toastie and is easy to clean, but it's only worth the money if you'll actually use the grill function, too.