Whether you're operating a small coffee shop or a bustling breakfast buffet, this guide will help you pick out the toaster that best suits your needs!
Picking the Right Toaster
There are several main questions you will want to ask yourself when purchasing a new toaster, and there are three types of commercial toasters to choose from; pop-up, conveyor, and bun grilling toasters. See how they stack up against your needs and narrow down your search in our point-by-point comparison!
What will it toast? Great for bread and English muffins. Some will accommodate bagel halves and thicker items like Texas toast, but not all.
How much can it toast? About 50 - 500 slices per hour.
How much space will it take up? Uses the smallest amount of counter space; most will be under 13" wide x 14" deep.
What electrical requirements do I need? Most are 120V. Some heavy duty models need a 208/240V connection.
What will it toast? Bread, bagels, English muffins, and even specialty breads. All conveyor toasters have a specific product opening; just make sure that what you're toasting will fit through that space.
How much can it toast? Anywhere from 300 to over 1600 slices per hour.
How much space will it take up? Can range from about 15" to 24" wide and 18" to 26" deep.
What electrical requirements do I need? Lower-production models can fit a standard 120V connection. If you're looking above 500 slices / hour, you'll probably need a heavier-duty connection, like 208 / 240V.
What will it toast? Designed for bun halves, sub rolls, and similar items, but can also take bagels, toast, etc. It can toast dry or use a butter coating and griddle plate to caramelize the product, rather than truly "toasting". We offer models that automatically adjust to different product sizes.
How much can it toast? 800 to over 1600 slices per hour.
How much space will it take up? These tend to be bigger than the other types, ranging from about 22" to 25" wide and 12" to 18" deep. Because they have a vertical feed chute, they can be as tall as 31".
What electrical requirements do I need? By and large, you're looking at a 208V or 240V connection, although 120V models do exist.
Toast Production Factors:
The ranges above will give you a good idea of what a toaster is capable of producing, but you'll also want to take these factors into account as they will ultimately affect your toaster's output:
What you're toasting: If you do a lot of bagel halves or larger, specialty breads, you will usually see lower production than if you're just toasting bread slices.
How you're toasting: Just like your toaster at home, it's going to take longer to make a darker, crispy piece of toast than a lighter, softer piece, and longer production time means lower output.
Commercial Pop-Up Toasters
A "big brother" to the toasters found in most homes, commercial pop-up toasters work by lowering the bread/bagel slices into a heating chamber, where the product is toasted using heating elements. They can't compete with a conveyor toaster in sheer output and they are basically limited to toasting bread, bagels, and similar items, but a pop-up is a perfect solution for small diners, coffee shops, and other areas with relatively small demands.
Things to Consider:
1.) Product Opening: Most toasters will have 2 or 4 slots and will give you the slot size, so you can tell if your most commonly-used items will fit. Some models also feature two different slot sizes, so you can toast bread in one side and Texas Toast or bagels in the other.
2.) Heat Control: Generally speaking, the operating temperature for a pop-up toaster cannot be adjusted. Also bear in mind that some toasters only have heating elements on one side, which is great for one sided toasting and bagels, but if you want double sided toasting, you'll need heating elements on either side of the slot.
3.) Toasting Time: A timer is the most common way to control this on a pop-up toaster. A longer toasting time results in a darker, crisper finished product while a shorter time makes it lighter and softer.
4.) Usage: Pop-up toasters can be divided into three basic categories when it comes to usage:
Light Duty: These are great for very small volume applications that produce around 80 slices or less per hour. If they are consistently pushed beyond what they're designed to do, they may burn out quicker.
Standard Duty: A standard duty toaster can handle a higher volume of toast, anywhere from 80 to 150 slices per hour, and some come with a few added convenience features.
Heavy Duty: A heavy duty toaster is ideal for applications that do a fair amount of toasting (anywhere from 150 to 500 slices per hour) but don't really need a conveyor toaster. They generally feature more durable frames and heavier duty heating elements to help them stand up to more frequent use.
These units are designed for higher output and a wider range of breads than a commercial pop-up toaster. The product is loaded into a feed area in the front of the unit, and is drawn back into the heating chamber using a conveyor belt. After being toasted by heating elements located above and below the belt, it falls down a slanted chute into a collection area. If you operate a breakfast buffet, catering business, or a busy restaurant, this is probably the way to go.
Things to Consider:
1.) Product Opening: Conveyor toasters all come with a specific opening size ranging from about 1 1/2" to 3". You'll want to look at all the items you could potentially be toasting and make sure they'll fit through that opening before making a final purchase.
2.) Heat Control: Some toasters allow you to control the temperature of the top and bottom elements independently or even turn one off. This lets you toast on only one side, if you so desire.
3.) Toasting Time: The toasting time and the color / texture of the final product is determined by conveyor speed. Speed it up to achieve lighter toasting, and slow it down for a darker appearance.
1.) Stacking Kit: A stacking kit will let you put two conveyor toasters together, for even greater production capacity while saving space.
2.) Wall Mount Kit: For limited counter space, some manufacturers offer kits that let you mount their toasters to the wall.
Bun Grilling Toasters
A bun grill toaster works in a similar way to a conveyor toaster but uses a griddle plate instead of heating elements, and lets you toast dry or apply butter to caramelize the bread for a richer taste. The operator coats the product in butter using a roller mechanism, and then loads it onto the vertical feed chute on top of the unit. It gets drawn down onto the griddle plate and falls into a collection area, toasted to perfection.
A bun griller can toast all the same things as a conveyor toaster and more, and it can match it in terms of slice output so it really boils down to what you want to toast and how you want your products toasted. If you're a high volume sandwich shop or cafeteria who wants to give the house burger or sandwich a boost with a buttered, toasted bun, this is probably the machine for you. If you just need to toast a lot of bagels for the breakfast line, a conveyor toaster might be the better choice.
Things to Consider:
1.) Dry vs. Wet Toasting: A roller mechanism lets you butter the bread for wet toasting. If you'd like to toast products dry (no butter), these units require the use of Teflon sheets, which usually ship with the product. We also offer replacement sheets.
2.) Product Opening: Most of these models feature a self-adjusting conveyor system, so whether toasting bagels or buns, it will adjust accordingly.
3.) Heat Control: The griddle plate on these toasters can be adjusted to the desired temperature using a thermostatic control.
4.) Toasting Time: This is usually determined by the gear setting on a bun griller. Different gears correspond with different toasting times (22 second, 35 second, 55 second, etc.). Use these settings and the griddle temperature to achieve the desired texture.