You might be thinking this is a joke, but believe it or not, there is a toaster on the market for just under $500. Would you buy it? While your first instinct might be along the lines of ‘no way’, there is some interesting features around repairability to consider.
What do you think, worth considering or waste of money?
Our Russell Hobbs toaster, whose performance is better than the $500 ones, currently retails for $60. Our model is about 25 years old (still available today with slight cosmetic changes) and hasn’t missed a beat over its life. It is relatively easy to clean and does what we need. The only issue is the plastic knob which plunges the bread into the toaster broke after many years of use. A simple timber knob was made to replace it and it is possibly better than the original plastic one.
I am unsure where Choice gets the life of toasters. We have a range of toasters in our business - primary criteria for purchases is to take slices of home baked bread. We find even the cheapest toasters last many years more than Choice lifespan estimates … and these toasters are potentially abused at the hands of others in our accommodation.
Also, are these companies going to be around in 50 years and providing the same level of support. I don’t have the confidence they will as they might price themselves out of the market.
I would have to live for over 200 years (assuming ours died tomorrow - touch wood - and every subsequent lasting about the same time), for a $500 toaster to be a financial proposition (assuming the $500 toaster lasts a lifetime).
Absolutely not. $500? It’s a ridiculously expensive way to get your toast. My current toaster cost $25 some 6 years ago and it seems like it will last quite a few more, since I only have toast occasionally.
Hi, the $500 toaster is a bit over the top but if you think that extravagant then check out the prices for the Smeg Dolce & Gabbana - “Sicily is my Love” - 2 Slice Toaster retailing at just a dollar short of $900 at Harvey Norman and David Jones. Similarly priced electric kettles as well.
The Australian Mining Industry and the exceptionally well funded representative organisations would likely agree. Every consumer investment in a $10 toaster represents an investment in the export of Australian resources iron ore, coal, copper, nickel etc. Further benefits are recognised internationally by the many foreign investors in our mineral wealth depletion industry and the employment it brings. There’s the added value of the labour and industry of the overseas manufacturer. Back home in Oz our labour also benefits through the income derived, and the ability to purchase back what we’ve sold at 10 times its value out of the ground.
(Excuse any attempt at humour or sarcasm falling short of expectations.)
Whether Gerry Hervey has a similar outlook, the answer may be found -
In the mid 1960s, the legendary Sunbeam Toastermatic TA-40 cost around $28, or the equivalent of $450 now. It was a popular wedding gift at the time.
I’ve mentioned in another thread somewhere that we have one acquired years ago via eBay, and it still works just fine. Even the chrome looks almost new.
If someone was still making that exact model and selling at $450, I’d buy it.
So, yes, I would spend nearly $500.
The manufacturing standards and processes in the early days had a genuine lifetime and quality focus.
I wonder how the weight of the T40 compares with a cheap 2 slice pop-up manufactured more recently?
There was a model T35 in the family home for decades, heavily used. It had later in life several elements fail when replacements were still available (mica squares in the middle and round coils on the ends?). Ultimately something failed with the timer/temperature control. I recollect this relied on a primitive analogue bimetallic device that progressively moved as it heated up over time. It required time between batches of toast to cool sufficiently to reset to the same starting point. Hence repeatability was never quite assured. The toast magically self lowered into the toaster and reappeared when done - mostly. No motors, no computer chips, no high tech. EMP reliable.
But … would you buy a newly released $450 toaster model with no endurance record yet, and believe it’d be as robust as your TA-40 has turned out to be, ie trust the manufacturer’s claims that it’ll be repairable indefinitely?
CHOICE reviews always prove that price is not a guarantee of quality for just about anything that’s being tested.
@Gaby’s summary of the CHOICE article that started this thread seems to me to bear that out. Regardless of how physically robust and repairable the two ~$500 toasters may prove eventually to be, neither seems to do a good job of just being a reliable, easy to use, everyday toaster.
I might add one little point, the idea of parts being available well into future is attractive but whether they will be and whether the price will be sensible is as hard to guess as whether the models mentioned will be as durable as they ought to be.
By the time many average homemakers had $500 to spare for a simple toaster they wouldn’t have enough lifetime left themselves to get the benefit!
I’d consider buying one (if my currently 30+ years old cheapie died) if it was less than $200, otherwise I’d take a punt on a couple of cheaper ones lasting the rest of my lifetime.
Smeg retro toaster: Cost nearly $300 and didn’t toast particularly well. Lasted three years before burning out. Replaced with under $100 toaster that works well. As far as I’m concerned Smeg is not recommended