One Side Of Toaster Not Working? (try this)

If your morning breakfast ritual has been scuppered by a faulty toaster you’re probably not feeling too bright. And if you’re reading this article it’s safe to assume that one side of your toaster isn’t working. There’s a good chance it’s something serious enough to warrant buying a new toaster but it could just as easily have an easy fix.

A Word About Safety

Before you start opening the toaster up to check on any of the faults identified below, always disconnect the toaster from the mains. If you’re not confident in your abilities to fix an electrical appliance, don’t even open it up. Call an expert or just replace the toaster with a nice new one with a warranty.

But before you run out and start splashing the cash, there are a few things worth checking, you never know it might be a simple fix. The first thing to do is operate the toaster with no bread inside. Then you can see if both sides glow red or not.

Reasons One Side Of The Toaster Isn’t Working


If there’s no red glow on one side, it’s probably a break in the nichrome wire. As the name might have suggested, nichrome is an alloy made from nickel and chromium. It covers a brittle ceramic/mica-like block and is connected to an electrical circuit that runs power along the circuit until the toast reaches the required colour/level of cookedness, and then cuts out.

Break In The Nichrome Wire

If there is a break in the nichrome, the circuit will be broken and no power will run through that side of the toaster. With luck, there will be enough excess wire for you to just twist together thus reconnecting the circuit and allowing the power to flow again. If not in all honesty it’s probably time to ditch the toaster and buy a new one.

It is possible to buy nichrome wire and it’s relatively inexpensive too but it’s a pain to fit and for around £2 to £3 more you could replace the toaster without any hassle of repairing and worrying about what’s going to break next. If you did want to go down the repair route, just link the new nichrome to an existing piece and complete the circuit. Job Done!

Faulty Power Supply

We don’t mean a fault in the main power supply, just to the half that’s not working. If this is the problem it’s probably best left to an expert as messing with electrics can be a dangerous sport to take part in.

Lever Latch Loose

It could be that your slice of bread won’t stay down inside the toaster, if this is the issue, it’s probably the latch that holds the lever down is faulty. It could be gummed up with crumbs, the electromagnet could have lost its magnetism, or the lever latch is broken.

bread for toasting

Power Setting Too Low

As each side has its own control for brownness (how cooked the toast is), it could just be that side is set too low to activate the heating element.

Insufficient Contact Connection

Right by the toasting lever, there’s an electrical contact which can become carbonised due to arcing of electricity. This is usually caused by ill fitting contacts and is usually due to a poor manufacture. This will cause the element to not receive enough electricity to power the element and cook the bread. Using an emery board, gently remove the carbon and the contacts will soon be clear enough to work again.

Mains Plug Cable Frayed

You would think that a mains cable issue would affect the whole toaster but it often materialises as a one sided fault. To remedy this you’ll need to replace the mains cable, or if you’re not confident playing with electrics, buy a new toaster.

Browning Dial Fault

The dial that you set for the degree of burn you like on your bread could have developed a fault. The most likely cause is breadcrumbs creating a blockage. To fix this you’ll need to take the toaster apart and see if there are any crumbs affecting the mechanism.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my toaster only toast one side?

If your toaster is only toasting one side, it could be the nichrome wire is damaged or there might be a problem with the browning dial.

Can toaster elements be repaired?

Most toaster elements are constructed using nichrome wire wrapped around a ceramic/mica block. If there is a break in the nichrome wire it can usually be repaired. If your toaster element is of a different construction then you may have to replace the whole element rather than being able to repair it.

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