I have a confession to make: I’ve been making toast in a microwave since the early days of the pandemic. That was before the appropriately-named Revolution Cooking R180 smart toaster allowed me to do a 180 when it came to how I heat up bread.
There's a bright 6.5-inch touchscreen embedded into the front of this cutting-edge kitchen appliance, displaying visual presets that, on command, are ready to singe my toast, English muffins, bagels, waffles, and classic Pop Tarts. I indulged in all of these foods – for the sake of proper testing, of course.
There are no knobs on the Revolution R180, so you’re not left guessing the browning settings with an unintuitive plastic dial. Instead, seven levels are displayed on the touchscreen along with realistic photos of how dark your bread will end up being. You can also set the state of your carb-filled food – frozen, fresh or reheat – and this smart toaster adjusts the timing accordingly.
The operation is slick: hit the 'Start' button on the touchscreen (there's no traditional lever here) and the auto glide bays lower (and eventually lift) your toast with such buttery smoothness that you'd swear the butter was already applied. There's a countdown timer, speedily racing to 0 by the tenth of a second (toast doesn't get more exciting than this, folks) telling you when your bread will surface.
This smart toaster uses 'custom toasting algorithms,' according to the tech-focused marketing of Revolution Cooking. While that sounds overblown (at least they didn't claim this toaster contains AI), the company's InstaGlo heating coils did provide even toasting on every type of bread I tried. Was it truly the 'algorithms'? I'll bite.
Sometimes it's the little things that convinced me that this is a good boujie buy: the reheat option is especially convenient if you are making, say, a tuna sandwich, and heat up frozen bread as step one (big mistake), and your toast just sits there cooling for a bit. Reheat allowed me to warm up the bread without playing guessing games with an old-school dial. I also appreciated the removable bread crumb tray and the occasional screen notifications telling me it's time to dispose of the crumbs.
Here's where we throw the caution flag: the Revolution R180 costs anywhere from $249 to $299, depending on whether or not it's on sale. It is something you'll use likely use everyday, surely, but that's excessive when name-brand toasters cost $50 to $60 sans the touchscreen and smooth operation.
The Revolution R180 now the fanciest small appliance in my tiny kitchen, dethroning my voice-activated simplehuman trash can. But while I personally appreciate having the compact design in my space-deprived apartment, others may wish for a four-bay toaster to heat up four slices of bread at once.
The two bays are not the widest either, so I often had to push down the larger halves of bagel slice to make sure it was heated all the way around. It wasn’t difficult to give my oversized New York bagel a light downward nudge, and I never had to pry the bagel from the bay on the way up, or resort to sticking my fingers inside like I did when I grew up with older toasters. But I’d rather not do that at all on a $250 toaster.
There's no WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity onboard – so you won't be able to control this toaster from your smartphone, or with Alexa/Google Assistant/Siri voice commands. It's all operated from the touchscreen.
That isn't a letdown from a remote control standpoint, but I found that during the shift to daylight savings time, the otherwise likable clock on the idle screen didn't adjust automatically, even though the date is a part of this screen, too. WiFi would have fixed this and maybe given the toaster more widget-filled smarts.
The Revolution R180 is the smartest toaster you can buy, and the only one that isn't a bulky oven. It's also one of the most expensive when it's not on sale during Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This one's meant for early adopters who are tired of faulty or uninspiring toasters.
You can get cheaper, fully-functional toasters on Amazon (opens in new tab) right now. But no toaster says 'tech elite' quite like the Revolution R180. It takes the guessing game out of heating toast, even if it'll make your wallet burn too.
Should you buy the Revolution Cooking R180 Smart Toaster?
Buy it if...
You want a smart toaster in your smart kitchen
Style matters to you, and so does having cutting-edge tech in every nook and cranny of your kitchen. The R180 will look nice next to your Air Fryer, Rice Cooker, Instant Pot and Juicer. Toast is finally getting its due (without getting overdone).
You're so tired of toasters that just don't work
It's reasonable to splurge on the R180 if you're sick and tired of sinking money into traditional toasters that go kaput after a few months or years. This at least is a durable investment.
Don't buy it if...
You don't have money to burn
The R180 is expensive even when it's on sale. If you're on a budget and you need a toaster, you can find cheaper options aplenty. This smart toaster is a luxury gadget that not everyone can afford.
You want a 4-slice toaster
Large families with chaos-filled kitchens every morning might find this 2-slice toaster limiting. It's incredibly fast, but sometimes the entire gang wants to use the toaster on demand.