The Revolution InstaGLO R180 Toaster is smart, but overpriced

A toaster is a staple kitchen appliance. For $20, you can buy a simple device to toast bread, English muffins, or bagels. Whether you prefer your breakfast lightly toasted or nearly burnt, toasting bread to the perfect degree often takes some trial and error. Sometimes that means finding out your toast is starting to burn on the edges and it’s time to press cancel before your meal is ruined completely. But once you find the perfect setting, when you switch to a different type of food — from toast to bagels, for example — you have to adjust the settings from the beginning.

The Revolution InstaGLO R180 Toaster claims to eliminate this entire process and toast your bread perfectly, every time, no matter the thickness or consistency. According to Revolution Cooking, the company that produces the toaster, the $350 device is able to do this by using different algorithms that will “adjust the heat intensity and placement based on the bread selection.” But, while that may sound intriguing, it’s hard to tell if this feature actually makes the toasting process easier, and whether it’s worth the extra cost.

How does the Revolution InstaGLO R180 Toaster work?

The first thing you’ll probably notice when you use this toaster is that there’s no lever or any button on this device. It’s all done through the touch screen. You select what you’d like to toast — whether it’s bread, a bagel, or a Pop-Tart — and to what degree you want it to be toasted. Once you press start, the toaster will automatically lower your bread into the device and the screen will display how far along the bread is in the toasting process.

To initiate the process, you first choose between five choices of food you’d like to toast: a bagel, waffle, pastry, English muffin, or just regular bread. Then you select between three options: fresh, frozen, or reheat. And finally, you choose between seven different toasting degrees, and the touchscreen shows you an image of what each one looks like, from lightly toasted to almost burnt.

The toaster reaches full heat within two seconds, making the toasting process much quicker than usual. While you can expect your bread to be toasted faster, I found it was still easy to burn the bread. The smart sensors — an advertised feature of this toaster — did not prevent the bread from burning, and there wasn’t a “smart” way to stop the toasting process once the bread was already burning. I smelled that the bread was burnt and pressed cancel. It also doesn’t necessarily toast bread evenly. I tried toasting a smaller bagel and found that one side was more heavily toasted than the other.

The Revolution InstaGLO R180 is much faster than standard toasters.

The Revolution InstaGLO R180 is much faster than standard toasters.
Credit: Revolution Cooking

Will the Revolution InstaGLO R180 Toaster fit in your kitchen?

The other thing you’ll likely notice after setting this device on your kitchen counter is that this toaster is larger than most two-slice toasters. The appliance measures 8.4 x 11.6 x 6.1 inches. Compare that with a basic two-slice $30 toaster from Amazon, at 7.56 x 10.7 x 6.42 inches. Though it might not seem like an issue, when you have limited countertop space, every inch counts.

One interesting accessory is the Panini Press for Revolution InstaGLO Toasters (an additional $79.95). The device slides into the toaster and presses your sandwich and is meant to replace a griddle, countertop press or flying pan. Still, you might run into some issues. For example, you can only use this device on the right slot. So if you’re making paninis for yourself and another person, they’ll have to be made separately and the first one won’t be as warm once the second is done.

Add to cart?

Whether or not the Revolution InstaGLO R180 Toaster actually makes your life easier really depends on how much you value speed (this toaster does work faster than others) and a touch screen with adjustable settings.

The main feature of this smart toaster is that it can toast bread to various degrees and can toast many different types of bread and pastries consistently. It also does all this more quickly than an average toaster. But it falls short in providing enough “smart” features to justify the cost.

A smart teapot, for example, comes with the ability to brew loose leaf tea in the pot, boil and simmer soup, and even make porridge. That’s much more than any standard teapot could do, which is simply boil water. But this toaster doesn’t offer that many more features than a regular toaster does, or let you do something you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. You have the ability to choose different toasting settings and modes, but realistically, you could likely achieve the same thing by messing around with the dial on your standard toaster. The main standout feature on the Revolution InstaGLO R180 is its touchscreen, and as helpful as touchscreens can be for other devices, it didn’t strike me as particularly necessary for a toaster.

Overall, it’s hard to justify spending $350 on a toaster when you can buy a device that does practically the same thing for a tenth of the cost, only without the touchscreen.

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