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No, the dial on a toaster does not indicate minutes, like viral video claims

A viral Instagram post claims the dial on most toasters measures minutes but it actually indicates the shade of brownness a slice of toast can reach.

Toasters have been a kitchen staple for nearly 100 years. Most toasters sit on kitchen countertops and crisp slices of bread, bagels, and other tasty toastable treats every day. But getting a toaster to reach a person’s preferred level of “toasty-ness,” or shade of brownness is not an easy feat. 

VERIFY viewer Amanda recently saw a viral Instagram post that claims the numbered dial on the toaster represents minutes of toast time instead of the level of “toasty-ness,” or brownness.

THE QUESTION

Do the numbers on a toaster dial indicate minutes?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

No, the numbers on a toaster dial do not indicate minutes. 

WHAT WE FOUND

Popular toaster manufacturers KitchenAid, Cuisinart, and DeLonghi say the dials on their toasters are timers, but the numbers don’t represent minutes. Instead, the numbers on the dial represent preset intervals based on how long each toaster maker estimates it will take to get a slice of toast to a certain level of brownness or shade. 

Cuisinart’s Metal Classic 4-Slice Toaster has a “browning control” setting that features a rotary dial that lets you pick how brown your toast will be. Its six browning levels toast from light to dark. Browning control settings 1-2 will make a light shade of toast, settings 3-4 will make a medium shade of toast, and settings 5-6 will make a dark shade of toast, according to the user manual

One of DeLonghi’s toasters also features a browning control dial that helps users achieve their toast’s desired browning. Many KitchenAid toasters also come with up to seven shade settings, so a person can get light toast, dark toast, and every shade in between.

Daniil Nikitichev, Ph.D., a biomedical engineer and senior research associate at University College London, explains on the university’s website that the dial on most toasters regulates how much electricity goes through the switch so that “once a specific voltage is reached, the circuit cuts off and toast is ready.” 

“A lower number on the dial equates to a higher current with more heat running through the circuit, this triggers the off switch sooner, so the bread is toasted less,” Nikitichev said. 

More from VERIFY: Yes, your toaster uses electricity even when you're not using it

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