Russell Hobbs Retro 4 Slice Toaster review

The Russell Hobbs Retro 21691 Classic Noir 4-Slice Toaster is an affordable toaster that toasts in record time

Russell Hobbs Retro 4 Slice Toaster
(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)
T3 Verdict

The Russell Hobbs Retro 4-Slice Toaster – also known as the 21691 Classic Noir – toasts quickly and will make breakfast a breeze for a big family. It may not have all the bells and whistles – no bagel setting! – but at such a great price, you can hardly grumble.

Reasons to buy
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    Toasts in under two minutes

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    Attractive retro design

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    Stylish countdown timer display

Reasons to avoid
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    Rather large for small worktops

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    Buttons on side are awkward to reach

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    Uneven browning at times

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Here's a Russell Hobbs Retro 4-Slice Toaster Review that's as quick as the toaster itself is: a practical and stylish toaster that will save you time and make you smile. It's among the best toasters around, in it's very reasonable bracket.

Whether you enjoy perfectly, dark browned bread to lightly-toasted bagels, we all have our favourite toasting preference. Throw in one of the  best toasters, and you’re guaranteed crisp and delicious bread at all times. But, if you’re one to eat copious amounts of toast or run a big household, you’re probably in need of a great, 4-slice toaster.  

Cue the Russell Hobbs Retro 21691 Classic Noir 4-Slice Toaster. A great option for families, not only does it save you toasting time and sandwich making, but it looks the part with its attractive, on-trend, retro design and colour.

Russell Hobbs is one of the country’s reputable, domestic appliance brands, and remain a firm favourite in many kitchens. And while the Russell Hobbs Retro Toaster may not have all the fancy bells and whistles of the more premium brands, it does promise reliability. 

So, armed with my baked goods, I will now take a closer look at this Retro Toaster…

Russell Hobbs Retro 4 Slice Toaster: price and availability

Russell Hobbs Retro 21691 Classic Noir 4-Slice Toaster – its full title – is reasonably priced at £84.99 and available from UK major retailers. In the US, it’s priced at $99.99. 

Alas, this model is unavailable for those living in Australia.

Russell Hobbs Retro 4 Slice Toaster: design and build

As with most 4-slice toasters, the Russell Hobbs Retro is chunky in size and can take up quite a bit of space. So you might want to clear some space if you have a compact or cluttered countertop.

Perhaps the key feature here is its eye-catching, retro design with chrome controls and streamlined finish. It has a neat, timer countdown, gauge display on the front to see when your toast will be ready. The other controls such as the browning lever (1-6), ‘eject’, ‘defrost’ and ‘warming’ buttons are located on the right-hand side of the toaster.

Russell Hobbs Retro 4 Slice Toaster

Don't touch that dial: it's the timer

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)

It’s worth noting that these controls are a little awkward to see or reach easily. So bear in mind when positioning the toaster on your countertop, especially under low-hanging cabinetry. Having said that, it’s pretty straightforward to use with no fancy gizmos or buttons to figure out. The two, pull-out crumb trays at the rear of the toaster are easy to clean and maintain.

What’s more, the Russell Hobbs Retro 21691 toaster is available in several tasteful. colours including cream, red and white so you can match your kitchen's style.

Russell Hobbs Retro 4 Slice Toaster: performance

Russell Hobbs Retro 4 Slice Toaster

The slots are nice and wide

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)

For those who prefer tasty toast in a hurry, you’ll definitely enjoy the Russell Hobbs Retro 21691 Classic Noir 4-Slice Toaster. Not only does it offer four slices at once (it’s in the name), but it delivers an incredibly, quick performance. In fact, it took over one minute to toast all slices, which is less time than most standard toasters.

I begin with my standard, bread slices, setting the lever to 5. However, this resulted in an over-done offering, which wasn’t to my preference. On my next attempt, I set the lever to 3.5, keeping an eye on the handy, countdown gauge. This time, my slices came out a lovely medium-brown, with a delicious, crunchy texture.

The slots are around 3cm wide, so can accommodate thick slices, sourdough or hand-cut bread. However, it does come up short for the longer-sized, artisan loafs or pittas. 

There were a few cases of uneven browning on some bread slices, but this didn’t take away the fact that it produces great tasting toast, crumpets and muffins. What’s more, the lift-and-look mechanism came in handy when checking the browning progress.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t have a bagel setting, which you would expect on a toaster of this spec. The Warm function worked wonders, especially when I had to head into a meeting of the Zoom kind, and returned to some crunchy, warm toast as opposed to dry and tasteless.

Other than uneven browning, the only downside was the control panel being slightly difficult to reach at times. This meant I had to move the toaster towards the edge of the worktop just to see clearly. Having said that, if you’re willing to compromise this fancy, style feature for tasty toast, it shouldn’t become a major bugbear.

Russell Hobbs Retro 4 Slice Toaster: verdict

Russell Hobbs Retro 4 Slice Toaster

Yes, there is also a 2-slice version

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)

If you have a family of bread lovers or simply like the appeal of an affordable, retro 4-slice toaster, the Russell Hobbs Retro 21691 toaster is a good choice. It toasts quickly, so you don’t have to wait too long for your brunch. Plus, the stylish countdown gauge is a great indication to let you know when it will be ready. 

It doesn’t have a bagel setting, and browning could be more even at times, but on the whole it produces delicious-tasting toast. Which is quite an important quality in a toaster, I feel.

Cynthia Lawrence

Cynthia Lawrence is a freelance lifestyle journalist and digital editor for national publications. She also has a rather unhealthy obsession for Homes & Interiors, and loves a good bargain.