I have found that John Lewis usually make reliable home appliances but have had some issues with this toaster and it is only just over a year old. It's a fairly middle range 2 slot toaster retailing at £34.95 and is on the whole cheaper than most 'brand' toasters. It is made of brushed stainless steel and is rectangular in shape with slightly rounded edges and the slots are on top of the toaster like most others. On the side in black plastic are the lever for operating it as a temperature dial and different settings for different bread types. The design is by and large classic for a toaster and given how ugly some others can be is relatively stylish. It's mains operated and the plug and lead it comes with are decent in length (probably around 60cm) although I personally could have done with it being a bit longer. In terms of functioning, the slots themselves are wide meaning most things fit in. Gone are the days of crumpets stuck in the grill bit as they fit easily with room to spare here. As does thickly cut bread. I have found the temperature dial easy to use and does actually vary the speed and amount at which things toast. The settings buttons are superfluous in my opinion and although I have tried them I find they seem to do very little in the way of actually making a difference. More of a gimmick for me and therefore unnecessary. Toasting time is about average and coverage, in the beginning, was even. The issue I have had of late is that about half the time it is now only toasting one side of the bread, leaving the other totally untouched. Other times it works fine. It's disappointing to have this fault after only owning it for just over a year. I would have expected it to last longer before finding these problems. That said, it does come with a 2 year warranty so we can return it, but it's a nuisance. The toaster comes with a crumb tray so cleaning is relatively easy and the tray is easy to use - it slides out easily so you don't spill the crumbs everywhere while trying to get it out. Unfortunately, there is no material to prevent the toaster heating up so in a similar way to a metal kettle, it can get quite hot if touched while toasting, therefore it might be best to keep it away from young children. If we hadn't had the problem with it only toasting one side (I've checked and it doesn't have a 'one side' function so we couldn't have switched it on accidentally) I would likely have given this higher marks but as such it falls down. Perhaps it's an issue with this batch as I have found John Lewis usually produce excellent quality items but as it is, I can't recommend.
I had for a long time relied on a little plastic white toaster purchased for under a tenner whilst a student. However, just under a year ago as part of my 'growing up' I decided it was time for a 'real' toaster and so popped to John Lewis and ended up coming home with the CPT160U. The look: This is an unobtrusive toaster - classic shape, average size (around 25cm by 19cm by 19cm) in a brushed stainless steel with a black plastic dial plus 4 black buttons and a lever for lowering the toast. The functionality: It only takes 2 slices of bread, which is fine for me but if you have a big family you might want something bigger. The slots are wide enough for bagels, which is a bonus. It has button options of 'reheat' and 'defrost' that I have never needed but I can see could be useful and the usual dial to choose how 'well done' you want your toast. There is a metal tray to catch crumbs which pulls out from the narrow end. It also has the built-in feature of not allowing bread to be lowered unless it is plugged in and turned on - a definite plus as it stops you coming back 5 minutes later wondering why your bread is still bread-like rather than toasted. Bread is evenly toasted all over and 'basic toast' is done in an acceptably short time. Overall: With its classic looks, good functionality, ease of cleaning and thus far good build quality I would recommend this toaster without hesitating.
Short name: John Lewis CPT160U