A bread maker takes away the hard work and hassle of making homemade bread for you, and in some cases it can be cheaper than buying a bread from the supermarket. You will also know exactly what is in each loaf, your home will smell amazing and you will wake up to delicious freshly baked bread.
But not every bread maker is able to bake delicious bread. In our tests, we discovered bread makers that produce sunken, misshapen loaves with a dense, heavy texture.
There are a number of bread maker brands to choose from including Andrew James, Kenwood, Morphy Richards, Panasonic, and Sage. Argos and Lakeland also sell private label versions, as do Aldi and Lidl (mostly limited-time offers).
Video: How to Buy the Best Bread Maker
How much do I have to expect for a bread maker?
We found good bread makers for £ 60 or less, but when you spend close to £ 100 you get a more stylish bread maker packed with programs and features. The bread makers, which really overshadow the rest in our tests, usually cost more than € 100.
The most reliable brands of bread makers and those that bake the best bread also usually cost more than £ 100. So if you are serious about baking bread, then a decent, reliable bread maker is a good investment, because the best models will reliably become a daily bread for years.
Keep an eye out for breadmaker promotions and online deals as it is possible to find the best breadmakers on sale.
If you are new to bread making and want to try it out before spending a lot of dough on a top notch bread maker, it is possible to get a decent bread maker for around £ 40. But it will be a lot easier and the results won’t be as good as a Best Buy bread maker – to get the best model for your budget, use oursto see which cheap bread makers impressed and which to avoid.
Check out our list ofto see our top picks.
Best Buy bread maker
There’s no point buying a bread maker if it doesn’t bake the bread really well, and we’ve seen some big differences and mixed results between models.
A Best Buy bread maker will bake white and whole grain breads with evenly thick, golden crusts that look good enough to eat, and the inside of the bread is light and airy and tastes delicious.
But we’ve also seen many bread makers that make dense loaves of bread with large holes, sunken tips, gnarled, thick, and burnt crusts and leave the ingredients unmixed.
So before you buy, take a look at which bread makers performed well enough in our tests to become one of ours.
Size and weight of the bread maker
Chances are you’ll want your bread maker to be on your countertop all the time as it’s easily accessible when you need to bake a loaf. So be sure to check the size, which can vary widely, and whether you have room for where you want to store it. If you have cabinets at eye level, check to see if the lid opens when you want to place your bread maker underneath.
Also think about the weight. Do you need to pull it out of its normal seat or move it around a lot? If so, look for a lighter model – some weigh less than 5kg while others weigh over 6kg.
Functions of the bread maker: what to look out for
Features can add up the price of a bread maker, so let’s take a look at which features are worth paying more for.
All bread makers have a non-stick coated pan with a kneading paddle for baking the bread. With many bread makers, the kneading paddle can stay in the bread while baking. This means that your bread will have a small hole in the bottom of the loaf when you take it out.
In our tests, we found that the paddle on some bread makers sticks to the bread much more often than others, leaving a bigger and more unsightly hole than necessary. To do this, we rate every bread maker we have tested – so look for a bread maker with four stars or more for the “kneading paddle” rating.
If you hate the thought of holes in your bread, you can look for a bread maker with a collapsible paddle. But even this will not completely solve the problem and is not always necessary.
Viewing window and control panel
If you’re a curious baker, opt for a breadmaker with a viewing window so you can keep an eye on the progress of your bread. Also, some bread makers make noises when the bread is being baked or when it is time to add more ingredients. This feature is well worth looking for if you want to be notified when the bread is ready or if you need to add something to the recipe.
Control panels vary from model to model, but it’s worth looking for one that is neat and easy to read so that programming doesn’t become a chore. When we test bread makers, we consider ease of use and cleaning in our reviews – there is no point for a bread maker to bake great bread if it’s so tedious to use that you end up banning it in the closet.
Bread maker accessories
Most bread makers should come with accessories such as measuring cups and spoons. Bread baking is an exact science when it comes to measuring ingredients. So if the bread maker you buy doesn’t come with it, it’s worth buying something as bread makers require accurate measurements to avoid disaster breads.
Bread baking time and quick baking
Bread makers often tell how long it takes to bake different types of bread. So when buying, think about how long you will actually need to use your bread maker. We also test the baking time of a loaf in our laboratory, ourscan tell you if a model’s baking time is about average or slower than expected.
If you’re always short on time, it’s worth looking for a quick bake setting, as it can bake white bread in less than an hour. But across the board, these breads are never as good as one baked on the default setting.
Baking settings of the bread maker
Bread makers can make simple white, brown and wholemeal breads, although not always equally well. In our tests, we let each bread maker bake several white and whole grain breads to see how well it handles different types of bread and how consistent the results are. Some struggle with one variety and shine with the other when baking. If you mainly want to make one type of bread, then check our reviews before buying.
Most bread makers have options for changing the size of the loaf, the type of flour used, and the thickness and darkness of the crust. Although sometimes these functions only apply to baking white bread, check to see if you want to bake other types of bread.
Many bread makers also have a delay time setting, which means that you can set the bread maker to bake for you in advance. So you have fresh bread ready for you in the morning or after an eventful day. We test how well any bread maker bakes white bread with the delay setting so you know if it’s a good choice for a fresh morning sandwich.
It’s also worth noting that the kneading and mixing process can be noisy. So take a look in our test reports to see whether a bread maker is annoyingly loud.
Some bread makers also have a setting for making rye or other types of bread. If you are a fan of adventurous bread-making, an automatic dispenser model is a good choice. This is because you don’t have to wait to add extra ingredients like dried fruit or nuts manually as it will do it for you.
Gluten-free and wheat-free bread
Many bread makers have a gluten-free setting that you can use to make gluten-free bread using special bread mixes or the included recipes. Many also contain other recipes, such as wheat-free bread. Pay attention if you have any special dietary needs.
Making dough, cakes, pasta or jam
It’s not just bread that you can make in a bread maker. Most are equipped with additional settings to knead pasta and regular dough to roll it out, shape and cook it, turn fruit and the other raw ingredients into jam, and pre-mix ingredients with a “bake-only” setting into one to bake (rectangular) cakes.
Most bread makers are versatile enough to make a wide variety of items, but do your research before buying – oursdescribe the capabilities of each bread maker.
Keep in mind that the bread maker doesn’t do everything for you – for example, you need to mix the cake ingredients first. You can click to learn more about the different ones .