Best Bread Maker

We spent over 36 hours researching and testing 15 different brands of bread makers and found that ease of use, ease of cleaning, and performance were most important. The Zojirushi Bread Maker scored well above the other bread makers we tested in all categories and is our top pick. This bread maker produces a traditional 2 pound loaf of bread that is rectangular in shape. There is a 13 hour timer delay so you can get the unit set up and pre-set the time you want to start making the bread. The convenient, quick baking cycle will produce a loaf of delicious bread in two hours.


15 mins to read
47 products considered
15 products reviewed
36 hours reviewing

Top 10 Bread Makers

PictureMakerCapacity
(Pounds)
Preset
Menus

Zojirushi
2.0010

Panasonic
2.5013

Oster
2.0012

Cuisinart
2.0012

Hamilton Beach
2.0012

Breadman
2.008

Sunbeam
2.0012

Zojirushi 20
2.0010

Cuisinart 200
2.0016

Zojirushi 10
1.0010

1. Zojirushi

Best Overall Bread Maker

5/5 Product Rating
The Zojirushi BB PAC20 Bread Maker is a top pick because it offers a traditional rectangular 2 pound loaf of bread and has unique features giving the bread a fresh bakery taste. The unit comes with dual kneading blades which provides a higher rise to the dough and ensures the dough kneading is efficient and thorough. It also has a built in heater at the top of the unit to provide even cooking and a perfect crust every time you bake.

There is a 13 hour timer delay with the Zojirushi allowing you to add the ingredients and set the time you want the bread to be finished. You can wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread first thing in the morning or time it so when you come home from work, fresh bread is just coming out of the bread maker. In addition to the delay timer you are able to add ingredients like fruit or nuts later in the cycle.There is also a quick baking cycle that can prepare a loaf of bread in about 2 hours. The quick cycle will produce a denser bread as it will not have the same number of rising and kneading cycles and will bake at a higher temperature.

The Zojirushi BB PAC20 Bread Makeris easy to use and has an LCD control panel that makes menu options simple. Choose from three different crust options and 10 pre-programmed settings for the perfect loaf. You can bake basic white bread, wheat bread, gluten free bread, dough that is kneaded and then left for you to shape and bake in the oven. You can also make quick breads without yeast, like zucchini bread, jam, cakes, sour dough starter, and even homemade foods like a meatloaf.

This Bread Maker comes in a stylish design of black and stainless steel and will fit with any kitchen decor. The loaf pan is made from a nonstick material that makes clean up quick and easy. The unit is compact enough to fit on your countertop or can be easily stored in your kitchen cabinets. The dimensions are 13X18X10.5. The Zojirushi BB PAC20 comes with a measuring spoon, measuring cup, recipes, and a removable pan, for easy cleaning.

Customers love that the bread maker is so versatile. It can make nearly any type of bread in the bread maker, dough can be prepared and then shaped for uses like pizza dough, cinnamon rolls and other baked delights. The unit is also versatile enough to cook baked foods that come in loaf form, like a meatloaf, and liquids like fresh jams. Customers also love the quality of the unit and the customer service that is available if issues do arise. The only downside is the price, but if you use it regularly in place of store bought or bakery breads, it will have saved you hundreds in a short period of time.

Sarah Lytle

2. Panasonic

Best Overall Bread Maker – Runner Up

4.8/5 Product Rating
The Panasonic SD YD250 Bread Makerhas been awarded the Good housekeeping Seal of Approval. The unit stands out because it gives you the option of making three different size loafs and it has an automatic yeast dispenser, which ensures the yeast is added at the correct time during the kneading and rising process.

Bread can be made in a 1 pound, 2 pound or 2 ½ pound loaf size. This allows you to make the size loaf needed for different occasions. The bread maker also has preprogrammed settings for white, French, whole wheat, multigrain and quick breads, like banana bread. You can also choose the darkness of the crust selecting either light, medium or dark, depending on your preferences. This unit is ideal for making different kinds of bread. Whether you want a quick bread in about an hour, or a bread with fruit added in just before the bread begins baking. The machine comes with tested recipes and settings to make all of your favorite breads.

The yeast is held in a separate dispenser and is automatically added at the correct time during the kneading process to ensure it is activated and the dough will get the highest rise. The motor has 550 watts of power to perfectly bake fresh homemade bread without any of the work. If you want to make pizza dough, croissants, or artisan breads there is a setting that will mix the dough without baking it. This feature provides an extensive amount of versatility with the bread maker. Quick bread and mixes can also be made using only the bake setting without the kneading and rising cycles.

The Panasonic SD YD250 Bread Maker is programmable and features a digital LCD display that makes bread setting selection to your specifications easy. Just select the type of bread, type of crust and when you would like your fresh bread to be ready. Then the machine will work its magic and you can enjoy fresh baked bread with no kneading required.

One other unique feature with the Panasonic bread machine is that it does not have a viewing window. This allows for great heat consistency and results in more even cooking. Thefinished bread has an even crust color. The machine also contains a micro-processor which makes adjustments during the cooking process resulting in excellent bread consistently even when temperatures, altitudes and other conditions vary.

The non-stick baking pan is easy to clean and creates simple loaf removal. There is also a handle for easy removal from the bread maker, though the handle does get hot during the cooking process. There is the convenience of being able to delay the cooking start by as much as 13 hours. This will allow you to start bread in the morning and come home to freshly baked loaf, or start a loaf before you go to bed and have freshly baked bread in the morning.

With the bread maker comes a measuring cup, a kneading blade, a top loading lid that locks while the bread is baking. For safety there is a power interruption feature that will resume the bread making process even after a power outage of 10 minutes or less. The white color goes with any kitchen décor and the compact design will fit on any countertop. The Panasonic SD YD250bread maker comes with a one year warranty.

Customers love the consistency of the bread and the versatility of the machine. The ability to make all kinds of bread, pizza dough, quick mixes along with traditional white and wheat bread is a big plus. The maker is very easy to use and comes with a recipe book with over 50 tested recipes for new owners to try out. Making bread has never been easier. Some customers comment that the machine is not extremely quiet and you can hear the machine when the kneading process is taking place.

Sarah Lytle

3. Oster

Best Budget Bread Maker

5/5 Product Rating
The Oster-CKSTBRTW20-2-Pound-Expressbake Bread Maker will bake a 2 pound loaf of bread in the traditional bread maker fashion. This machine also has an Expressbake® feature which can produce freshly baked bread in less than an hour. In addition to that there are 9 pre-programmed settings to choose from. You can bake white, wheat, French and sweet breads. There are also settings for quick breads, jams, European artisan breads, and a setting that will prepare dough. Dough can then be used to make bagels, pretzels or other breads which can be formed and baked in the oven. For breads that need nuts and fruit added later in the cycle, there is a feature that will prompt you to add these ingredients before the final bake.

Choose from three crust settings depending on your preferences. You can have a dark, medium or light crust. The LCD display is easy to read and adjust to meet your specifications based on the recipe you have chosen. The bread maker also comes with a 13 hour timer, which allows you to utilize a delay start. Put all the ingredients into the machine, select the bread you want to bake, and the time you want the bread to be ready. Then let the machine do all of the kneading, rising and baking for you. You end up with freshly baked bread with no chemicals or preservatives, for your family to enjoy.

Walking into your home after a long day of work to the aroma of fresh baked bread is a great way to start any evening. Want freshly baked cinnamon rolls in the morning. Set the machine to a dough setting and just roll out and bake when you wake up.

The Oster-CKSTBRTW20-2-Pound-Expressbake Bread Maker is a compact size, only 14X14X13 inches. The loaf is a vertical loaf and can be a 1 pound, 1.5 pound or 2 pound loaf to meet your specific bread baking needs. Along with the machine and motor is an aluminum loaf pan that has nonstick features for easy removal of the bread and easy clean up. The pan also has a kneading paddle and a handle for easy removal. The white exterior will stay cool during cooking. On the top of the Oster bread maker is a large glass window so you can watch the bread rise and see what stage the bread is in.

In addition to the machine a measuring cup and measuring spoon are included. The instruction manual is easy to follow and includes starter recipes that you can use as you become familiar with making bread at home with a bread maker.

Customers love the number of features that are available for the price. The Oster-CKSTBRTW20-2-Pound-Expressbake Bread Maker has features that are included in more expensive machines while still being very economical. The Oster brand is known for its quality products and good customer service that customers have come to rely on.

Sarah Lytle

Bread Maker Comparison


Zojirushi
View

Panasonic
View

Oster
View

Cuisinart
View

Hamilton Beach
View

Breadman
View

Sunbeam
View

Zojirushi 20
View

Cuisinart 200
View

Zojirushi 10
View
ColorBlack
/Silver
WhiteWhiteChromeBlackWhiteWhiteBlackChromeWhite
Bread
Capacity
(Pounds)
2.002.502.002.002.002.002.002.002.001.00
Material

Stainless
Steel

PlasticPlasticStainless
Steel
PlasticPlasticPlasticPlasticStainless
Steel
Plastic
Dimensions
(Inches)

10.50 x 18.00 x 13.0013.50 x 14.00 x 9.0013.80 x 13.00 x 14.1012.25 x 18.00 x 15.0016.38 x 12.38 x 12.7513.50 x 12.20 x 13.5010.00 x 15.00 x 13.0013.56 x 12.81 x 18.8812.00 x 16.50 x 10.2511.00 x 8.00 x 12.00
Wattage700550500650500700600700680700
Delay Timer
(Hours)
13131313131313131213
Preset
Menus
1013121212812101610
Weight
(Pounds)
22.0815.4012.1018.2012.7512.1018.6020.0016.0015.00
Warranty
(Years)
1113311131

 

Bread Maker Buying Guide

Bread Maker Reviews

What is a Bread Maker?

Bread Maker1Fresh baked bread is one of life’s simple pleasures. The trouble with making fresh bread is that it takes hours of kneading, rising, punching down, kneading and rising again. The all-day process, is not something many people have time for with today’s busy lifestyles.

The bread maker comes along and is a temperature controlled machine that kneads, rests, kneads and rests until the bread is ready to bake. The temperature on the machine will adjust for each cycle allowing you to add the ingredients, set the bread maker and return hours later to a fresh loaf of bread. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

How Does It Work?

The bread maker is designed to bake bread automatically. The cycles for kneading and risingwill operate based on the type of bread you are making. Each type of bread has different requirements and cycles. The motor will begin on a very low temperature setting to help activate the yeast and create the best rise for the dough. Then the baking time will adjust based on the type of bread and the crust color selected. Some bread machines will stop after the kneading and rise cycles to allow you to shape and use the dough for other items like bagels, pizza, or pretzels. Other bread makers also allow for a bake only cycle which can be used for non-yeast breads like banana or zucchini bread.

Parts to a Bread Maker

Bread makers have a very simple design with three basic parts. There is an oven (motor and heating elements), a bread pan and a kneading paddle.

The kneading paddle will mix the ingredients on a specific schedule depending on the type of bread being made. It is important that the paddle be large enough to get all of the ingredients incorporated evenly for the best tasting and lightest possible bread. The one downside to home bread makers is that the paddle ends up in the bottom of the loaf when the bread has finished cooking. For this reason the paddles are generally as small as possible. Some consumers take the time to remove the paddle from the bread dough before it starts baking, which eliminates the paddle in the finished loaf.

Paddles generally have a nonstick coating to prevent the bread from sticking to the paddle. It is not difficult to remove and is very easy to clean.

Bread Pan. The loaf pan with either be vertical or horizontal and will come with a non-stick coating. This provides for easy removal of the finished loaf, as well as easy cleaning. Most bread maker pans and paddles are hand wash only, but with the nonstick coating the clean-up is a snap. The most common loaf size is a 2 pound loaf, though some bread pans offer as large as a 2.5 pound option and as small as a 1 pound loaf.

Motor, heating unit. Bread making is very temperature sensitive. The bread making machines will provide low temperatures during the kneading and rise cycles which speed the rising of the dough. Then the baking cycle temperature will depend on the type of bread you are making. For express cycles the bread s baked at a higher temperature than traditional bread and will result in a harder crust and denser bread than the longer cycles.

Why Consumers Love Bread Makers

Healthy and Nutritious Option. As healthy foods like organic fruits and vegetables and free range meats become more available, consumers are paying more attention to what goes into the food you eat. What better way to control these ingredients than by making your own bread.

A bread maker gives you complete control over the ingredients that are used. You can create delicious foods without any artificial colors or preservatives. Use the flour of your choice and then add ingredients your family loves. There is so much creativity that can be found with breads and bread products that your family will never get bored eating the same foods every day.

Homemade bread can be an essential part to eating a balanced diet and controlling the fiber and nutrients your family consumes. Fresh bread can be high in fiber and low in fat providing a healthy and delicious part of your meals.

Convenience. For those who love fresh bread but do not have the time to knead, let rise, knead and let rise for several hours, a bread maker is the perfect solution. There are recipe books written specifically for bread machines and most machines come with basic recipes to get you started.

Bread Maker2Simplicity. Bread makers are very simple to operate. Just add the ingredients, choose your bread and set the machine. It will do the rest. Several hours later you have fresh baked bread for your family to enjoy. It doesn’t get much easier than that to enjoy healthy homemade bread.

Versatility. Today’s bread makers can make many different types of breads. The more versatile the machine the higher the price tag. Health conscious consumers can create fresh whole wheat bread, honey wheat bread and even gluten free options, knowing exactly what has been added. In addition to traditional breads some machines allow you to create a dough that can be shaped and baked in the oven. Others offer the ability to make quick breads that do not need kneading and rising, only baking. Still others offer the ability to make other foods like jams and meatloaf in their bread makers, creating a very versatile appliance.

Common Features of Bread Makers

Non Stick Pans. Most bread machines come with a non-stick pan. This provides easy removal of the bread when it is finished along with easy clean up. Often both the paddles for kneading and the pan are made with a nonstick coating. If the coating begins to peel it is important to replace the bread pan, as the peeling material will get in the bread. To prevent peeling do not use metal utensils on the bread pan. Only use plastic or silicone.

Size of the Pan. Bread makers will make loafs of bread that are measured by the pound. It will make a 1, 1.5, 2 or 2.5 pound loaf. For a small family of 2 or 3 a one or one and a half pound loaf should be adequate depending on how much bread your family eats. For families of 4 or more the 2 or 2.5 pound loafs will be a better fit as far as the size of the finished loaf. The larger capacity bread makers will also be larger the overall size of the bread maker, though most units are compact enough to leave on the countertop. If you get a larger capacity bread maker, some units allow you to create smaller loaf sizes.

Horizontal versus vertical. The taste will be the same with either shape. Some consumers really want the horizontal loafs because it has more crust over the surface of the bread and looks similar to store bought breads. The vertical units will take up less counter space.

Delay Starts. Many bread makers offer a delay start. This allows you to add the ingredients, but not start the bread making right away. You can set the timer for the end of the day or even to be finished first thing in the morning. This feature increases the flexibility of making bread and timers can often delay the start for up to 13 hours. Express breads cannot utilize the delay start option.

Rapid Bake. For those who do not plan well, the rapid bake feature can provide bread in one to three hours depending on the unit. Since light and airy bread requires a series of kneading and rising, the express options will produce denser bread. If you come home and have a taste for fresh baked bread, being able to have homemade bread in an hour or so, makes this feature both popular and useful for many families.

Crust Color. Nearly all bread makers give you the option of selecting whether you want light or dark crust. Many have three options which include a medium crust.

Bread Maker3Microprocessors are found on higher end models. Theprocessor will adjust the baking temperature based on the bread and the environment. It will make automatic adjustments for higher altitudes, room temperatures and other factors. This creates more precision during the baking process and will produce bread like it came from a bakery.

Convection baking has become a buzzword in cooking. This process uses air circulation to create more even heat distribution. Some higher end units offer convection as either a setting option or as the primary baking method.

Pre-ProgrammedSettings. Each bread maker will have a selection of breads it is designed to bake. This may be the most important feature for consumers. Knowing what your family enjoys and what breads you want to make may be a deciding factor as to which bread maker is right for you. Common settings that are found on most bread makers include the white (or basic), French bread and wheat bread options. From there menus can include quick breads, dough only, bake only, artisan breads and gluten free options. For those who will be doing a lot of baking, the more options create a much more versatile machine.

Conclusion

Bread makers are a very popular appliance because they take all of the work out of making homemade bread. If you haven’t used a bread maker, or haven’t used one in a number of years, it is time to give it a try. The newer models create loaves of bread that are light and delicious. They provide a healthy way to give your family fiber without all of the salt and sugar found in store bought bread products.

Families love the ability to control the ingredients and to be able to start the machine and return home after a long day of work to the smell of fresh baked bread. There is nothing better than slathering jelly on a slice of homemade bread. It makes everything feel right with the world.

Begin to enjoy this comfort food in a healthy way, by using a bread maker to create foods that your entire family will ask for over and over. Determine which breads your family enjoys the most and how often you will be using the machine. Then choose the bread maker with the necessary features to create years of enjoyment.

Resources

  1. Zojirushi BB PAC20 Bread Maker Image: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/
  2. Zojirushi BB PAC20 Bread Maker: http://www.zojirushi.com/
  3. Panasonic SD YD250 Bread Maker Image: http://ecx.images-amazon.com
  4. Panasonic SD YD250 Bread Maker: http://shop.panasonic.com/
  5. Oster-CKSTBRTW20-2-Pound-Expressbake Bread Maker Image: http://ecx.images-amazon.com
  6. Oster-CKSTBRTW20-2-Pound-Expressbake Bread Maker: http://www.oster.com/