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Love the smell of freshly baked bread in the morning?
The good news is that you don’t have to be an experienced baker to enjoy delicious fresh homemade bread every morning.
There are several excellent bread making machines that are, quite literally, ‘set and forget’. By following the instructions and sourcing the right ingredients, you can produce a loaf to rival even the finest local artisan bakeries.
Below we have produced a buyer’s guide to the very best bread maker machines in 2018.
- 1 A Guide to the Best Bread Maker Machines in 2018
- 2 Comparison Table of Popular Bread Makers
- 3 Best Bread Machines FAQ
A Guide to the Best Bread Maker Machines in 2018
In this guide you will find a collection of what we consider the machines offering the best value, as well as those with the best features.
Whether you are launching your own home bakery, or looking for a budget bread maker, or the perfect holiday gift, there are some great machines that are worth considering.
Our Criteria for Finding the Best Bread Makers
Before we go in to detail, let’s first go over the criteria for what you should be looking for in a good machine.
In other words… what separates a good bread maker from a waste of money?
Quality of Loaf
The primary concern for anybody investing in a bread machine:
How good is the bread that it makes?
For obvious reasons, we are not interested in machines that produce lower quality bread than we could buy in a store.
Another factor that can affect the quality (or appearance) of a loaf is the machine’s kneading paddle.
Is it removable?
Does it stick to the bread?
Some machines come with kneading paddles that are notorious for ripping large holes in the base of the loaf, whilst others have paddles that can be removed before cooking.
This is something we have considered with our recommendations.
Variety of Settings
Generally a good thing, right?
French, gluten-free, quick bread… what sort of bread do you like?
If you want the flexibility of testing many different loaves, it’s best to choose a machine that has the options built-in. Trust us, it’s a LOT easier than going off-piste.
Thankfully, these days, bread machines are piling on the settings to the point where we are spoiled for choice. All of the featured machines below are well equipped.
What good is a bread machine that occasionally produces high quality loaves — but also spits out baked monstrosities turned down as ‘a little bit harsh’ by the local soup kitchen?
Making bread is a sloooooow process.
It can take several hours.
‘Unpredictable’ is thus not a quality that we look for in our bread makers!
Closely tied to reliability, the best rated bread makers are popular for the convenience they provide.
Enjoy waking up to the aroma of a freshly baked loaf?
Well, you have two options:
Get up in the middle of the night to prep your breakfast…
Or choose an automatic bread machine that comes with a delay timer.
We know which option we prefer!
Manufacturers are getting better and better at bundling convenience in to their bread machines.
Indeed, the rise of ‘smart’ kitchen devices has us very excited to meet the bread machines of the future.
Value Adding Extras
The fanciest bread makers come with some lovely value adding extras.
In short: they can bake more than just bread.
The best machines are capable of producing dough, cakes, pasta or even jams.
If your only interest is in making the best quality loaves, then you probably aren’t sold on the idea of paying more for a machine that can mix homemade jam. But many of us will appreciate those versatile machines with additional utility beyond making bread.
Likewise, if you are concerned about kitchen appliances piling up and gathering dust, you might want to consider a bread maker that is multi-purpose.
You will be enticed to use it more often.
Weight and Size
The last factors we’ve considered are weight and size.
Make no mistake, some of these bread machines are counter hogs.
If you are working in a small space, you probably don’t want to commit your last remaining slice of worktop to a gigantic home bakery.
Or maybe you do?
As you’d expect, the size of the machine is correlated to the size of loaves it can produce. If you have a family of toast fiends to feed, you might want to consider one of the heavy duty machines capable of producing 2.5 lb loaves (or even 3 lb loaves).
Keep in mind that some bread makers are better than others at making larger loaves.
We’ll discuss this in detail with our buyer’s guide below.
Comparison Table of Popular Bread Makers
For your convenience, here is a comparison table of the best bread makers that we have featured:
|Oster 2-Pound Expressbake Bread Machine CKSTBRTW20||2.0 lb. loaf capacity|
13 x 13.8 x 14.1 in
Very good; slight performance drop on larger 2 lb loaf setting.
|Expressbake cycle makes bread in just 60 minutes.||Budget Range|
|Panasonic SD-YD250||2.5 lb. loaf capacity|
13.5 x 14 x 9 in
Very good: consistent and reliable.
The machine detects the optimal settings based on your selected cycle.
|Can bake large 2.5 lb loaves.|
Automatically dispenses yeast at the correct moment during mixing.
|Cuisinart CBK-100||2 lb. loaf capacity|
12.25 x 18 x 15 in
Good, particularly for those using the gluten-free cycle.
Not quite as 'artisan' as its sister CBK-200 machine.
|Machine will alert you when it's time to add extras such as nuts and seeds, raisins, dried fruits, etc.||Budget Range|
|Zojirushi BB-PAC20||2 lb. loaf capacity|
10.5 x 18 x 13 in
Excellent quality bread.
Machine performs will across all bread cycles.
|Removable lid comes with an extra heater to provide the perfect consistent bake.|
Dual blades to knead the dough thoroughly.
|Breville BBM800XL||2.5 lb. loaf capacity|
16.4 x 9.6 x 13.3 in
Excellent quality bread.
Machine produces a custom loaf to your exact requirements.
|Unique collapsible kneading paddle for beautiful looking loaves.|
Automatic fruit and nut dispenser.
Smart LCD Screen and dial settings are the best we have ever seen in a bread maker.
Made out of stainless steel.
Now, let’s take a look at what each machine brings to the table…
Oster 2-Pound Expressbake Bread Machine CKSTBRTW20
The Oster 2-Pound Expressbake is one of the bestselling bread makers in the world today.
The CKSTBRTW20 model comes with several popular cycles catering to a number of different breads, including Basic, Quick, Whole Wheat, Dough, Sweet, and more.
It has a 2 lb maximum loaf size and at just 8 lbs in total weight is one of the most compact and portable bread makers in its category.
This machine will appeal to both the impatient and the very patient.
The Expressbake feature allows for a loaf to be baked in around an hour. However, if you are looking for a machine that can deliver the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread in the morning, the Oster Breadmaker also has a 13 hour delay timer that will put the machine to work while you’re still in bed.
And it does all of this at a remarkably low price.
The flagship Expressbake option gives you the chance to make a loaf of bread in just 60 minutes. If you thought bread making had to take hours… well, not anymore!
12 bread settings and 3 crust settings makes for a variety of breads, dough and jams.
The product is designed for ease of use. A large see-through window lets you spy on how your bread is cooking. The machine is non-stick with a removable lid to ensure easy cleaning.
Low, low price.
Whilst the machine provides phenomenal value, there are numerous reports that its non-stick surface may deteriorate after extensive use.
The recipe book that comes with the machine is nowhere near as useful as the many recipes available online.
A 2 lb loaf will push the machine to its outer limits and the quality is generally not as good as the smaller 1.5 lb loaves.
Want to see the Oster Expressbake at work?
Here’s a video from Rich Davis making a French Countryside Loaf with the Oster 2 lb ExpressBake Breadmaker:
Our Verdict on the Oster 2-Pound Expressbake:
When you see the price of this machine, your first impression will be: “I guess they must be skimping on quality.”
To say that the Oster Expressbake is a budget bread maker would do a disservice to the high quality loaves it can produce.
Yes, the machine does have slight reliability issues baking 2 lb loaves. But for smaller sizes, this is a remarkably capable bread maker that crams a ton of useful features in to a machine that it both lightweight and easy to use.
If you aren’t sure if breadmaking is the hobby for you, this is a great machine to try first.
Likewise, if you want a bread maker that saves you money on the cost of buying bread in-store, without requiring a large upfront investment, the Oster Expressbake is a winner.
Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker with Yeast Dispenser
Panasonic has carved out a stellar reputation for high quality bread makers over the years.
The SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker represents one of the best mid-range bread machines on the market in 2018.
In fact, it’s been one of the most popular machines since its launch way back in the early 2000s, a testament of the excellent design and features that have proven to be far ahead of their time.
The SD-YD250 fits the bill as a bread maker for the whole family. It can bake loaves up to 2.5 lbs, and it does so with excellent consistency. The machine has settings for white, whole wheat, multigrain, French, quick breads/cakes; a variety of different crust types (light, medium, dark), as well as supporting both rapid baking times and those who wish to make use of a 13 hour delay timer.
The automatic yeast dispenser takes away much of the trial and error (and frustration) reported by first time bakers. Timing issues, no more!
Good quality bread, no matter whether you are going for white, whole wheat, multigrain, or French. The machine detects the optimal settings based on your requirements… and does the rest for you.
It’s packed with features designed to make your life easier: from the non-stick pan to the useful timer that alerts you when to add raisins or nuts if you are baking a particular bread.
It is quieter than some newer models — worth noting if you sleep next to the kitchen!
The rapid bake option (the SD-YD250’s fastest cycle) takes just under 2 hours, which is almost twice as long as the Oster Expressbake. For those in a rush.
Panasonic’s customer service could do with some improvements. Many users report a love for the SD-YD250 right up to ‘the moment it dies’ — with tales of difficulties getting solid support thereafter.
At a chunky 13.8 x 13 x 14.1 inches and 15 lbs, the SD-YD250 is a counter hog.
Here is a live unboxing, demo and review of the Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Machine, courtesy of the British Texan YouTube channel:
Our Verdict on the Panasonic SD-YD250 Bread Maker:
For over 13 years, the Panasonic SD-YD250 has been introducing people to the delights of freshly baked bread at home with good quality loaves at a mid-market price.
This machine is stacked with features that cover just about every type of bread you would want to make: and many that you probably never will.
With an automatic yeast dispenser, easy-to-grasp settings, and solid performance across all loaf types, the Panasonic Bread Maker does an excellent job of ensuring anybody (with enough counter space!) can enjoy delicious bread with very little work.
Cuisinart CBK-100 2 lb Bread Maker
Second only to Oster’s Expressbake machine in the sales charts over recent years, the Cuisinart CBK-100 Bread Maker bakes loaves in 1 lb, 1.5 lb or 2 lb sizes.
It is the slightly cheaper sister model of the CBK-200, which comes with some additional settings and is capable of producing some truly ‘artisan’ bread.
So, why are we recommending the CBK-100 ahead of the CBK-200?
Truth be told, they are both fantastic bread makers worthy of a place on this list.
We are recommending the CBK-100 first and foremost because it is around 50% cheaper than the CBK-200 without sacrificing any core features.
The CBK-200 has additional bread settings (16 vs 11), as well as an alternating heating and cooling process that is capable of producing some mouthwatering textures. This is the main difference; so you can decide for yourself if it’s a clincher and pay extra for the CBK-200 if necessary.
For most customers, the Cuisinart CBK-100 will tick all of the requirements of a modern bread maker.
It has all the versatility that you’d expect from a modern bread maker, including programs for: basic/white, French/Italian, wholewheat, sweet bread, gluten free, packaged mix, cake/quick bread, dough, pasta dough, jams, bake-only mode, and rapid bake.
Comes with a removable paddle to save that familiar crater in the bottom of the loaf. The machine will beep when it is ready for removal.
The machine will also alert you through beeping if you require mix-ins added such as nuts and seeds, raisins, dried fruits, shredded cheeses, chocolate morsels, etc.
Strong performer compared to other budget machines for gluten free bread making.
It’s another large machine at 18 x 12.2 x 15 inches, and weighing over 18 lbs. If you are short on space, you may wish you’d checked the size specifications when it arrives on your doorstep!
The pan scratches easily and the non-stick coating is not particularly durable.
Many users report a learning curve attached to this machine, even when following the recipes that came with the introductory booklet. You have to ensure you are purchasing the best quality ingredients or the resulting loaf will be affected. Probably not the best machine if you are planning to skimp on the quality of what gets put inside it…
Here’s a demo video of the Cuisinart CBK-100 2 lb Bread Maker in action:
Our Verdict on the Cuisinart CBK-100 2 lb Bread Maker:
We were torn between recommending the CBK-100 or the CBK-200.
Ultimately we sided with the cheaper model that offers the majority of the same features at a much lower price.
If you are interested in the best that Cuisinart has to offer with additional settings for low carb and artisan dough, the CBK-200 is definitely worth a shot. All things considered, it produces a more evenly baked final loaf.
For everybody else, the CBK-100 offers one of the best entry-level bread makers on the market.
Take note: this is a big machine.
We’d have to recommend the similar but much smaller Oster Expressbake if kitchen space is an issue. However, those users specifically looking for a gluten free bread maker may prefer the CBK-100, which has a solid reputation for its gluten free cycle.
Additional features like the 13 hour delay timer and the rapid bake cycle (which requires rapid rise yeast) are worthy of a mention.
This is a great ‘all rounder’ of a bread maker.
Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker
If you are looking for a top-of-the-range home bakery option, the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 is a machine that bakes bread to die for.
Zojirushi bread makers are known for their high-quality, high-performance, long-lasting shelf life.
The Japanese manufacturer has carved a reputation for excellence over the course of 100 years. These products are not the cheapest. Indeed, the BB-PAC20 is one of the most expensive bread makers on the market.
That is because it’s about as good as it gets for a home breadmaking machine.
Baking traditional loaves up to 2 lbs in size, the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 is packed with all the essential options you will need — including organic and gluten-free settings — but it’s the quality of each loaf that will impress you most.
The Zojirushi BB-PAC20 is marketed as a ‘home bakery’ for good reason.
It delivers some of the best homemade bread of any automatic machine we’ve seen in the last 15 years.
Ten standard settings known for excellent quality, including: Basic, Basic Wheat, Basic Dough, Quick, Quick Wheat, Quick Dough, Jam, Cake, Sour Dough Starter, and Home Made. Throw in the crust settings; light, medium or dark; and you have a wealth of options available.
Every inch of the BB-PAC20 is designed for the perfect bake — that includes the removable lid which comes with an additional heater to produce a consistent loaf.
Comes with dual kneading blades to knead the dough thoroughly.
It’s Zojirushi. Enough said. The Japanese-made BB-PAC20 is a strong, durable, top-of-the-line bread maker that will attract jealous stares in your kitchen.
Some users report that the standard settings on each bread cycle are too short to produce ‘light’ loaves. This is personal preference, but using the BB-PAC20’s custom settings is a good alternative (although it will naturally introduce greater scope for baking miscalculations).
It’s not cheap. You’re paying for one of the best bread makers in the world.
Below is a demonstration of the Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker BB-PAC20, which the company describes as their most technologically advanced breadmaker to date:
Our Verdict on the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker:
As you can probably tell, we are big fans of the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 bread maker.
We believe this is one of the best bread machines money can buy.
We’ve had nothing but positive experiences using the machine — give or take a couple of baking accidents that were (most likely…) due to our own miscalculations with sub-standard ingredients.
A few extra features to note:
The BB-PAC20 comes with the standard 13 hour delay timer for anybody who wants to wake up to fresh bread in the morning. It’s reasonably quiet, but at 10.5 x 18 x 13 inches and a whopping 22 lbs of rugged steel, it’s unlikely to go unnoticed on your kitchen counter.
This Zojirushi machine also comes with a see-through panel — so feel free to sit back, watch your loaf bake, and salivate like a famished lunatic.
A highly recommended machine!
Breville BBM800XL Custom Loaf Bread Maker
Breville claims that the BBM800XL Custom Loaf Bread Maker is the smartest bread maker ever.
Well, if a custom loaf is what you are looking for, few machines compare to the genius of the BBM800XL.
This is about as good as it’s going to get without pursuing an impromptu crash-course in actual baking.
For many years, Japanese brand Zojirushi has had the luxury breadmaker market cornered with its high-tech super-reliable machines (like the BB-PAC20 above). Panasonic, too, has gotten a lot of traction with mid-range bread makers ($100-$150).
However, with the BBM800XL Custom Loaf Bread Maker released in 2012, Breville has staked a major claim for best home bread maker in the world today.
Let’s take a look:
Comes with a unique collapsible kneading paddle. If you’ve owned a cheap bread maker with a fixed kneading paddle, or even one of the shoddier removable versions, you’ll appreciate that nothing ruins a beautiful loaf quite like a gigantic crater in its base. With the Breville BBM800XL’s collapsible paddle, there are no such issues.
Industry-leading automation and convenience. Yes, the BBM800XL has an automatic timer with a 13 hour delay, and yes it will wait until ingredients are at the correct temperature before mixing. But another great addition is the automatic fruit and nut dispenser which is also compatible with the timer. Most timers only allow for basic bread cycles, but not this one. The Breville will automatically add fruit and nuts in to your mix at the exact moment that is conducive to a delicious, tasty, well-baked loaf.
Flawless performance across all loaf sizes: 1 pound, 1.5 pound, 2 pound and 2.5 pound. Many bread makers say they can handle any loaf up to 2 lbs but the quality will vary considerably. This machine produces divine bread for just about any requirement, thanks to the next key feature…
It’s stunningly customisable. The clue is in the name; Custom Loaf Bread Maker. Whilst there are plenty of preset recipes that deliver mouthwatering loaves, you can just as easily head off-piste and come up with your own formulas that produce bread just the way you like it.
The 800 has an interior light which is very useful for keeping an eye on the bread as it bakes.
It’s loud. We’ve seen a few people claim that this is a quiet machine… well, not in our kitchen.
The dough tends to bounce around the machine, which in turn can bounce the machine around your worktop. At 17 lbs, it’s lighter than the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 but that’s still a lot of stainless steel to have dancing around the counter. Keep away from the edges!
It is expensive. Like the BB-PAC20, you are paying for a quality bread maker.
Our Verdict on the Breville BBM800XL Custom Loaf Bread Maker:
There is fierce debate between Breville and Zojirushi customers over which company produces the better luxury bread maker.
Indeed, it’s practically impossible to talk about Breville’s 800 Custom Loaf Bread Maker without comparing it to the Zo BB-PAC20 — in part because they are both so similarly priced.
The truth is, both machines make fantastic bread and while there are several differences (and advantages to each), it is a matter of personal taste which you will prefer.
In terms of features and settings, the Custom Loaf Bread Maker might just be marginally ahead. But for pure loaf quality, the BB-PAC20 Home Bakery just edges it.
(We can barely decide. And if you have either of these machines, you probably won’t care.)
The Breville BBM800XL is a genuinely excellent bread maker.
Best Bread Machines FAQ
That wraps up our list of the best bread maker machines in 2018.
We’ll add to it if/when we find any brand new machines that deserve a mention.
If you feel like we’ve missed a good one, or your bread maker definitely beats the rest… we want to hear about it!
Leave us a comment below.
In this final section, we’re going to address some of your frequently asked questions (FAQs), along with some miscellaneous questions related to the models featured in our list.
Why Get a Bread Maker?
For most people, there is no shortage of bread available at the local bakery, or in nearby grocery stores. It’s not like bread is difficult to source, right?
So why get a bread machine if so much high quality bread is readily available?
There are a few good reasons:
1. It lets you choose the exact ingredients that go in to a loaf.
This applies to any form of home baking.
One of the things you will notice about the bread that comes out of a home bread maker is that it doesn’t last as long as long as the bread that is purchased at a grocery store.
Why is that?
Homemade bread has a shorter life cycle because it isn’t packed with preservatives and additives designed to keep the loaf on the shelf a few days longer.
One of the best reasons to get a bread maker is thus to have access to healthy bread made out of quality ingredients that aren’t tampered with in the name of profit.
2. The homemade alternative, making bread by hand, is time consuming and difficult.
Of course, you don’t need a bread machine to make bread at home.
Many baking purists will argue that you can’t possibly match the quality of a hand-crafted loaf. And they’re right. But it’s not easy for a baking novice to turn out delicious bread.
If you want the alluring smell of a freshly baked loaf to fill your house without the chore of learning to bake from scratch, bread machines are the perfect middle ground.
3. The best bread makers will save you money.
All of the bread machines featured above are capable of saving you money so long as you buy quality ingredients (the more in bulk, the better).
The average loaf of bread will probably cost around $1.80 to $2.80 depending on where you live.
By sourcing the best value flour, milk, yeast, etc… it’s possible to knock anywhere from 30-60% off the price of each loaf.
If your family eats a lot of bread, the economics of owning a bread machine make perfect sense. The machine will pay for itself in around 2-6 months.
Unless, that is, you go for one of the luxury models, like a Zo or Breville, which require larger upfront investments ($200+) for a machine that delivers super high quality bread.
To answer the question: why buy a bread maker?
Well… if you really love homemade bread, but don’t have the time to bake from scratch, the machines are cheap enough to merit buying several times over.
This is a machine you can use every day.
What Bread Maker is Best For Gluten Free?
All of the machines listed above do a good job producing of gluten-free loaves, but if we had to choose our favorite it would be either the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Virtuoso Breadmaker or the Breville BBM800XL.
For a cheaper machine known for good quality baking on the gluten-free cycle, you might also consider the Cuisinart CBK-100.
There’s no such thing as good gluten-free bread that didn’t start with a high quality gluten-free flour. Your chosen ingredients make all the difference.
Do Bread Makers Produce Healthy Bread?
It depends what ingredients you load in to your bread maker!
We get this question all the time and the truth is that a bread machine is merely a tool.
You decide what type of bread you want it to bake.
That said, we think it’s unlikely many readers will be rushing to add preservatives and additives in to their mixes. So, most bread makers will tend to produce healthier bread than you buy in-store.
Which Bread Maker Makes The Largest Loaf?
Our recommended bread machines featured above max out at 2.5 lb loaves.
If you need an even bigger loaf, consider the Black & Decker B6000C Deluxe 3-Pound Bread Maker.
As the name suggests, it can handle 3 lb loaves and does a reasonable job on this setting.
How Much Electricity Does a Bread Maker Use?
Some readers are concerned that taking advantage of the 13 hour delay timer might result in a bump to the electricity bill.
Or they are intrigued by how much money they’d save cutting out the oven in favor of a smaller kitchen appliance.
Well, the latest bread machines are getting better and better at conserving power. 20 hours of baking per month is roughly comparable to the electricity used by a coffee machine (with daily use).
In both cases, this is considerably lower than the electricity used baking loaves individually in an oven.
Bread machines will always be cheaper than oven baking as they use far less electricity.
The only way to make the costs comparable would be to bake multiple loaves in the oven and then freeze them for future use.
MeanyGoat has a good analysis on the electricity usage of bread machines.
The analysis found that one quick bake cycle used 0.35KWH of electricity, roughly equivalent to 3-5 cents in real money terms. This compared to around 8.5 cents using a conventional oven (12,000 Watts). In other words, the bread machine was over 200% cheaper than using an oven to bake bread.
If you’re going to be super frugal, and you have a reduced tariff, then baking at night will save you a couple of extra cents.
Do Bread Machines Save Money?
In keeping with the stats on electricity usage and ingredients cost, yes:
A bread maker absolutely will save you money.
The average priced machine will pay for itself in 2-6 months depending on usage.
Which Bread Maker Is Best?
For incredible value, we say the Oster 2-Pound Expressbake.
We’ll let you be the ultimate judge.
What is your favorite bread machine?
Do you own more than one? Have you had good or bad experiences with any of the models mentioned in this post?
Let us know your best bread maker reviews, experiences and recommendations in the comments below.