Bread Toaster vs. Sandwich Maker: What’s the Difference Really?

Sandwich makers and toasters are popular electric appliances used to prepare breakfasts and snacks. Although they have different structural designs, both appliances can safely crispen your bread. So, aside from their appearance, do bread toasters and sandwich makers have any other significant differences?

The primary difference between a bread toaster and a sandwich maker is versatility. A sandwich maker uses ceramic plates to cook a range of foods including sandwiches, waffles, and meats. Alternatively, a bread toaster relies on radiant heat and is only capable of browning plain bread slices.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the main differences between sandwich makers and bread toasters, and discuss their features in further detail. 

How Do Sandwich Makers and Toasters Compare?

Although bread toasters and sandwich makers are compact kitchen appliances that perform similar functions, they have several significant differences, such as design, cooking features, and overall versatility, that could determine how you prepare your morning breakfast. 

Sandwich Maker vs. Toaster: Versatility 

A sandwich maker is hands down more versatile than a toaster. With a sandwich maker, you can prepare plain toast, a sandwich, or any variation of snack that can fit inside the device. Most sandwich maker aficionados often swear by putting the handy device to multiple uses.

Instead of using bread as the main (and only) ingredient, a sandwich maker allows you to prepare other types of snacks like pancakes and waffles, provided they can be prepared without the need to roast or boil. 

Compared to sandwich makers, toasters aren’t versatile and won’t give you much flexibility when preparing breakfast. Put simply, toasters are primarily designed to brown slices of bread or bagels by exposing them to radiant heat. If your intention is to create a sandwich, then you can only do it manually after you’ve toasted your slices.  

Sandwich Maker vs. Toaster: Function 

A sandwich maker is designed to compress bread slices and cook the fillings inside of the sandwich. These devices usually come with built-in plates that allow users to prepare different types of sandwiches. Sandwich makers also come with hinges that hold the shutter and the bottom parts in place. 

On the other hand, toasters don’t come with shutters and mostly feature a compact design that allows for the dropping of bread slices into slots located at the top. Toasters usually have levers (located on the side) that are pressed down to lower the bread and activate the heating elements. A series of pushbuttons, a knob, or a lever usually help adjust the duration of a toasting cycle and determine the degree of the browning. 

Sandwich Maker vs. Toaster: Cost-Effectiveness

Unfortunately, sandwich makers can only prepare a limited number of sandwiches at a time. Most sandwich makers can prepare two to four sandwiches simultaneously, which can prove challenging for large families. This means one might need to get more than one sandwich maker to accommodate the breakfast needs of a large family. 

Additionally, the need to prepare several sandwiches means the sandwich maker might end up increasing your overall electricity consumption. 

The toaster trumps the sandwich maker when it comes to cost-effectiveness. This is because toasters can prepare several slices of bread simultaneously, thus saving time and resources. However, a toaster’s ability to brown multiple slices of bread depends on the model you choose, as some can toast up to 6 slices at the same time. 

Sandwich Maker vs.Toaster: Preparation Speed

If you want a device that’ll whip you a quick breakfast toast, then the toaster is your best bet. With a toaster, you’ll only need to dip your slices inside the device, input your preferred settings and allow the toaster to do the rest. The toasting cycle greatly depends on how browned you want your slices. 

Unfortunately, you cannot rely on a sandwich maker when you want to prepare quick breakfasts. First, you’ll need to prepare your ingredients, which can take a considerable amount of time (depending on recipe). After preparation, you’ll also need to give the ingredients enough time to cook inside the sandwich maker. This means that while in a hurry, a sandwich maker is usually not the best option. 

The Advantages of Sandwich Makers

A sandwich maker is an electronic device used to prepare closed sandwiches. In addition to sandwiches, the compact appliance can cook waffles, puffs, and pancakes. This explains why some models come with interchangeable plates to allow users to prepare their delicacies of choice. 

A sandwich maker is primarily characterized by its two heating plates that perform the role of clamping the sandwich once inserted. Conventional sandwich makers usually prepare two to four sandwiches. But due to its versatility, it can also perform the role of a toaster and brown slices of bread.   

Sandwich Makers Prepare Quick Meals

Preparing sandwiches is easy and pretty straightforward when using a sandwich maker. The only thing you need to do to prepare your ingredients is to carefully insert them between the bread slices.

Then place the sandwich in the sandwich maker and allow the device to do the rest. The ease of sandwich preparation that comes with sandwich makers makes them a convenient device to have at home. 

They’re Great for Beginners

You don’t need to be a professional chef or cooking enthusiast to use a sandwich maker. Even the most advanced models are pretty easy to use. Most sandwich makers feature a simplistic design and come with a user manual to guide you on correct usage; their easy-to-use nature makes them ideal for first-time owners. 

Sandwich Makers Are Multipurpose

A sandwich maker will allow you to play around with many recipes to prepare the ideal sandwich. This gives you the freedom to express your creativity during breakfast as you can put several ingredients without the fear of damaging the device.

Unlike toasters that are designed to brown slices of bread, you can also use sandwich makers to grill steaks, cook waffles, prepare pancakes, and toast bread, among many other functions. 

Some Models Come With Advanced Settings

Although sandwich makers aren’t known to come with complicated features, some models feature advanced settings that make sandwich preparation a breeze.

For instance, some smart sandwich toasters come with LED lights that indicate when the sandwich is ready. Other models allow you to regulate the heat used in sandwich preparation, thus giving you greater control when preparing your different recipes. 

Sandwich Makers Are Portable 

Sandwich makers are among the most compact kitchen appliances. Their relatively small sizes mean they’re highly portable, making them useful devices for carrying on road trips and camping sites (provided you have an electrical source). Additionally, sandwich makers also come in different sizes, allowing you to choose extra small or large units depending on personal preferences. 

How To Use Sandwich Makers

Sandwich makers are known to be among the easiest kitchen appliances to use because you can create elaborate dishes with one simple device.

Below are steps you can observe when looking to prepare tasty breakfast snacks with your sandwich maker. 

  1. Prepare your sandwich. To save on energy and time, it’s highly advisable to prepare the ingredients of your sandwich earlier on before turning on the sandwich maker. Therefore, start by preparing your ingredients and proceed to the next step once done.
  2. Prepare your sandwich maker. Another important (but mostly forgotten) step is to prepare the sandwich maker by dusting off the surfaces and wiping the plates with a soft clean cloth. This should make the plates hygienic enough to hold your sandwich. 
  3. Plug in the device and allow it to heat up. After wiping and cleaning the surface of your sandwich maker, the next step is to plug it in and allow it to heat up. Most modern sandwich makers will come with indicator lights to notify you when the internal temperatures are high enough, so keep an eye for that! 
  4. Oil the surfaces. If you didn’t butter the top and bottom parts of your sandwich, then it’s best to grease up the surface of your sandwich maker. Apply a small amount of your preferred oil to the lower and upper plates. 
  5. Insert the sandwich. Insert your sandwich inside the well lubricated sandwich maker and close the device. Ensure the sandwiches fit well and that the sandwich maker is tightly closed. 
  6. Wait for the indicator to go on. If your sandwich maker comes with an indicator light, then you should wait until it goes on to signal that your sandwich is ready. You’ll have to check manually after 3-5 minutes if your sandwich maker lacks an indicator light. 
  7. Remove the sandwich and clean up the device. Once the indicator light goes on, you should remove the sandwich immediately to avoid burning the surface (and ruining the recipe). Use a spatula or wooden spoon to remove the sandwich before allowing the sandwich maker to cool. Clean the device well using a damp cloth before storing it away. 

The Advantages of Toasters

A toaster is a compact electric appliance designed to expose slices of bread to radiant heat, browning them in the process to become toasts. Toasters come in different shapes and sizes, with each model coming with its unique features. 

Although toasters aren’t as versatile as most cooking appliances, they do help brown bread, transforming dull slices into crisp, goldy slices. Most modern toasters come with stainless steel bodies and also feature motorized lifts that automatically lower and raise the slices. 

Toasters Offer Fast Breakfast Solutions

Toasters are handy cooking devices that make breakfast preparation fast and easy. With toasters, you don’t need to prepare any ingredients. Several slices of bread are all you need to whip up crisp and delicious pieces of toast. 

They’re Convenient and Simple

Toasters are among the easiest cooking appliances to use. They usually come with simplistic designs characterized by clear controls and motorized lifts. Some modern toasters also feature LCD displays that indicate how long your toasts will take before they pop up. 

Many Designs Come With Additional Features

From simple touchpad systems to crumb trays, modern toasters leave nothing to chance when it comes to usability. Most manufacturers have become increasingly reliant on technology, taking advantage of the advancements to make the devices safer and more effective.

Some toasters allow users to choose between browning options, meaning you can choose to have your toast soft, light gold, crispy, or even in burnt condition. 

Advanced Toasters Can Toast Several Slices at Once

Toasters make great additions to the kitchen setup due to their ability to simultaneously prepare several bread slices. Some toasters can toast four to six slices simultaneously, thus allowing you to prepare breakfast for medium or even large-sized families. This is because the slices take a little amount of time to toast, which in turn allows for the toasting of other slices. 

How To Use Toasters 

Similar to sandwich makers, toasters are easy to use as they don’t require any professional skill or experience to operate. Their settings can quickly be adjusted depending on how toasted you like your bread, and retrieving the finished toast from the device is simple.

Below is a brief explanation of the steps to observe when using toasters. 

  1. Prepare the toaster. The first step when using compact countertop appliances like toasters should always be wiping them up, especially when stored for a long time. Turn the toaster on once satisfied that you’ve removed both dirt and dust from the surface. 
  2. Slide in your slices. Unlike a sandwich maker that requires you to place the sandwich in the plates, toasters function using slots, in which users must slide bread slices before choosing settings preferences. 
  3. Choose your preferred settings: Most toasters usually come with an adjustment knob at the front that allows you to choose your preferred browning level. When using a toaster for the first time, it’s advisable to choose a medium browning setting of 2-3, to see how the toaster darkens the toast. You can then choose a higher setting if you aren’t pleased with the current level. 
  4. Start the toasting cycle. On most toasters, you’ll need to pull the lever towards the bottom to kickstart the browning process. Ideally, your toast should be ready in about two to three minutes, depending on your preferred darkness settings. If your toaster comes with a timer, then you’ll be notified when your toast is ready. 
  5. Remove the slices and wipe the toaster. After the toasting cycle is complete, carefully remove the slices from the slots, taking care not to burn yourself. As a good rule of thumb, you should never remove the slices using metallic objects as you can get electrocuted. Allow the toaster to cool before wiping it with a dry cloth before storing it away. 

Wrapping Up

Sandwich makers and toasters are useful electric appliances that make wonderful additions to any kitchen. Although similar to some extent, these two devices perform different functions, which explains why they come with varying features. 

The sandwich maker is highly versatile as it allows you to prepare various sandwich recipes without fear of damaging the device. On the other hand, toasters have limited functions as all you can do is brown your bread or bagel.