The world of bread machines is definitely one full of potential so it’s going to be easy to find the best bread maker for you. Finding the best bread maker for your household, whether it’s just for your use or for the entire family, is highly important.
Eating amazing bread, freshly made whenever you want, is a joy.
More than that, a bread machine can make perfect dough that you can use however you want.
Whether you want to make pizza or pastries or any other recipe, some of the work is taken care of. That machine is there to share your burden.
Thirdly, you can even make jam.
For all of the above, first, you need the get the best bread maker for you. Thankfully, I get the chance to help you choose an awesome appliance.
It’s not hard at all. Just keep on reading and you’ll see.
1. Basic: Oster CKSTBRTW20
When I mention that the Oster CKSTBRTW20 is a basic bread machine, you should immediately assume that this is also one of the most affordable best bread makers. There are 12 settings that cover everything might need, except the gluten-free cycle. But you can still adapt gluten-free recipes on the basic cycle. You get 3 loaf sizes: 1, 1.5, and 2 pounds, which is great for single people as well as for those who have larger families. It’s also the lightest bread makers, one of the smallest. Just put it in a cupboard if you don’t use it often.
2. Affordable Gluten-Free: Hamilton Beach Bread Maker 29882
If you want great quality, affordable price, and a great bread machine that has a gluten-free cycle, then check out this Hamilton Beach. It’s very good.
3. Best Value: Cuisinart Bread Maker
Cuisinart has a pretty affordable price tag and a best bread machine that is quite complex. The quality is great and you get 12 settings that include the gluten-free cycle among them. There are 3 loaf sizes – 1, 1.5, and 2 pounds and the machine beeps 6 times when it’s time to remove the kneading paddle. It’s an interesting feature if you want to avoid the hole at the base of the loaf that forms when the dough is baked with the kneading paddle inside. I’m not bothered by it but I know a lot of people who are. This machine has found a simple solution to that problem.
4. Overall Best: Zojirushi Virtuoso
The Zojirushi Virtuoso is an impressive best bread maker with 15 cycles that can make all kinds of loaves, including gluten-free. Unlike the above 3 machines that bake horizontal loaves, the Virtuoso actually bakes rectangular loaves. Zojirushi is the only manufacturer that has managed to deliver the rectangular shape, the one that everyone is used to. It’s also easier to cut for sandwich bread. The crust is also the best and, even though this is a complex bread machine, the control panel is quite easy to use. Nothing to complain about.
Top 5 Best Bread Makers of 2021
There’s no universal best bread maker machine.
Everyone has their own preferences and expectations. What’s good for me might not be at the same standard for you.
I’ve narrowed the choice to 5 models.
All the 5 units are really great, making and baking really delicious loaves every time.
The choice it’s not going to be easy but I hope my reviews will help you with that.
These are just a starting point. It will give you an idea on what you need and what you are looking for.
The models have a lot of characteristics, functions, and features in common.
With so many similarities, you’re going to have to rely on the small differences.
One easy way to make a choice is based on your budget.
If you have a limited budget, that’s perfectly fine because you can find an affordable best bread maker for as little as $50.
Or for just a bit more you can get a machine that even has a gluten-free cycle, like the Hamilton Beach Programmable Bread Machine.
If you have more money to spend, you can choose a fancier one, with more functions.
The most important aspect is that even a cheap best bread maker makes delicious loaves every time.
That’s what matters, you won’t be let down by its performance.
I’ve also written a post on tips for choosing a great bread maker, you should check it out if you want more info.
1. Oster CKSTBRTW20 Expressbake Breadmaker: The Most Affordable Best Bread Maker
There’s no other way around it:
If you are on a low budget, this is the obvious best choice.
It’s really perfect if you’re on a budget and for one good reason: it makes awesome loaves and dough.
The recipes included in the user manual are plenty and they will show that even though this is a cheap unit, it’s also surprisingly good.
There are 3 loaf sizes: 1, 1.5, and 2 pounds.
And 4 crust settings: light, medium, dark, and rapid.
The 12 preprogrammed settings are: basic (white), whole wheat, French, sweet, Expressbake 1.5, Expressbake 2.0, quick (no yeast, backing soda is an alternative), European, dough/pasta, bagel dough, jam, and bake.
I’d say this is a pretty satisfactory list.
The Expressbake 1.5 and Expressbake 2.0 settings are going to have a white loaf ready for you in just 58 minutes. That’s the completion time for both sizes.
On the other hand,
The white basic setting will need 3:25 minutes for completion.
It’s really amazing that you can make tasty bread in less than an hour.
To understand just how great this setting is, I will remind you that the rapid setting only reduces by an hour the completion time for the whole wheat or the white basic or the French cycles.
But the white bread made using the basic cycle is much more delicious than the one made and baked under the Expressbake cycles.
One disadvantage for the Oster CKSTBRTW20 Expressbake is that it doesn’t have a gluten-free menu.
Other than that, I don’t have much to complain about.
There’s no gluten-free setting.
This Oster best bread machine is basic but so good and long-lasting.
Great for loaves and dough.
I’ve also written an in-depth review for the Oster CKSTBRTW20, you can read it here.
2. Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker: The Veteran
The Panasonic SD-YD250 is one of the oldest machines on the market.
That doesn’t stop it from being one of the best.
It has stood the test of time and it has gathered a small crowd of pleased users around the globe.
Even I own a Panasonic bread maker, a slightly different model but it has a lot in common with this one.
Mine doesn’t have a yeast dispenser but I don’t understand the practicality of having one so, it’s all good.
A fruit&nuts dispenser would have been a lot more helpful.
It’s quite impressive that even though more than 10 years have passed, the SD-YD250 is still one of the front leaders and a preferred choice for many.
It also shows that once you buy a best bread maker, you won’t need to go shopping for another one for many years.
I know that to be true from personal experience.
The first thing that you’re going to notice is the lack of a viewing window.
It has been replaced by the yeast dispenser. The machine takes the necessary yeast corresponding to each setting whenever the time comes and the right quantity that is needed.
There are 3 loaf sizes up to 2.5 pounds and 3 crusts: light, medium, and dark.
The 12 preprogrammed settings are: basic, whole wheat, multigrain, French, pizza dough, bake only, bake, bake rapid, bake sandwich, bake raisin, dough, and dough raisin.
The basic bake takes 4 hours until completion, while the bake rapid only needs 1 hr 55 min.
As you can see, this one doesn’t have a gluten-free setting either.
And it’s one of the few that doesn’t have a jam setting.
The Panasonic SD-YD250 is a medium-priced best bread maker and it’s worth every penny simply because:
- it makes good dough
- an excellent loaf with good evenness and crust
- delicious whole wheat loaves
- and it has 40 recipes in the user manual to get you started
It operated quietly, too. It’s one of the quietest models out there.
For more info, check out this Panasonic SD-YD 250 review.
3. Cuisinart CBK-100 2-Pound Programmable Breadmaker: Medium-Priced and with Gluten-Free Setting Bread Maker
The Cuisinart CBK-100 is downright impressive.
It’s affordable, around the medium-priced tag, and it makes awesome loaves, even gluten-free ones.
It also has some additional features, like the 6 beeps that will let you know you when it’s totally safe to remove the kneading paddle.
It’s a really smart feature and pretty helpful because that way you can avoid having that whole at the base of the loaf.
I would be thrilled if my bread machine would have those 6 beeps.
Since it doesn’t, I leave the kneading paddle in all throughout the rise and the bake phases.
If you want to remove it and you don’t have a unit that lets you know when you can do it, you just have to wait for the kneading phase to be over.
Once the kneading is done, the paddle has no more functional purpose.
Other features are the stay-cool handles, but the base of the baking pan is still going to be really hot, and the power back up feature.
The 12 preprogrammed settings are: basic, French/Italian, whole wheat, sweet, gluten-free, packet mix, cake, dough, pasta dough, jam, bake-only, and rapid bake.
The Recipe Booklet is full of fantastic and mouth-watering recipes.
It will be a while until you try all of them.
The basic white bread is ready from start to finish in 3 hours.
It’s one of the fastest best bread machines.
Even though this is a really affordable machine, I can even call it pretty cheap, it has the gluten-free cycle.
You can make gluten-free bread with the Cuisinart CBK-100 2-Pound Programmable Breadmaker.
If you want to know more about this fantastic best bread maker, read my Cuisinart CBK-100 review.
4. Zojirushi BB-PDC20BA Home Bakery Virtuoso: High Quality and Perfection
The Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso is one of the most expensive bread machines on the market but, judging by the raving reviews, it’s kind of worthy.
Just as long as you can easily afford it.
At the moment, it’s the best bread maker on the market.
Quite complex, well built, beautifully designed, with an easy control panel, and great durability,
It succeeds in making good loaves under any setting and very nice dough.
From all these five machines, this is the only best bread maker that has dual kneading blades.
Being dual, it means that the dough is going to rise higher than what we see in singular kneading machines.
The dual kneading system is good news for those that eat loaves made with wheat flour or rye or rice or pumpernickel, etc.
Basically, it’s fantastic for making and baking loaves made with any type of flour that doesn’t have such a high concentration in gluten.
With the two blades, the dough should rise higher.
If you want a cheaper machine and you want your whole wheat cycle to make nicely risen breads, use vital wheat gluten to give it a boost.
Let’s see what other features justify the fact that this is the most expensive bread machine from the all 5 reviewed in this post.
Well, first thing first:
The loaf is rectangular.
The Virtuoso is pretty much different than any other machine on the market, except it’s cheaper alternative the Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme.
All the other 4 make and bake horizontally shaped loaves.
The rectangular-shaped bread looks much better in the eyes of many people because it very much resembles what one would bake in an oven.
There’s one loaf size: 2 pounds.
If you’re all by yourself, the only one eating homemade bread, then a 2-pound bread can last you for 3 days.
If you store it properly, it will still be delicious even after 3 or 4 days.
I know that from personal experience.
There are 3 crust options: light, medium, and dark.
If you want the perfect browned crust, I think this is it.
You’ve found your baker.
That’s thanks to its revolutionizing heater, placed in the lid.
The control panel is really modern and beautiful.
The Virtuoso has 15 settings: white, whole wheat, European, multigrain, gluten free, salt free, sugar free, vegan, rapid white, rapid whole wheat, dough, sourdough starter, cake, jam, and homemade.
The Homemade Course is the one that enables users to program their own favorite 3 recipes and transform them into 3 cycles.
That’s the novelty brought by more expensive best bread makers, like the Zojirushi Virtuoso: customization.
It’s a vast array of settings, everything has been included to suit everyone’s tastes and desires.
The user manual includes gluten-free recipes, as well.
You can try a variety, there are enough options to keep you busy for a long time.
There’s also a power failure feature.
There’s also no nut/fruit dispenser.
You can also read my Zojirushi review if you are interested in more detailed info on this expensive best bread machine.
One more thing:
The Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Home Bakery 1-Pound-Loaf is a cheaper smaller alternative to the Zojirushi Virtuoso, it only bakes 1 pound loaves, other than that it’s incredible and just as complex.
Plus, it’s a small bread machine that can be easily stored away, it eves has a handle so that you can transport it.
The Zojirushi BB-HAC10 is also one of the best bread makers at the moment and that’s why I also wanted to include it in this post.
5. Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker: The Smartest Expensive Best Bread Maker
We’ve seen one of the cheapest best bread makers, now let’s see one of the most expensive ones.
It’s cheaper than the above Zojirushi Virtuoso.
This unit is something like the Einstein of bread machines
But there is another model that is the direct competitor for the Breville Custom Loaf.
I reviewed it above.
1 pound, 1.5, 2, and 2.5 pounds are the 4 loaf sizes and the 3 crust options are light, medium, and dark.
The 2 and the 2.5 pounds loaves are the most delicious.
The Breville Custom Loaf has the most modern display.
It takes a while to get used to it, so, if you don’t have the time to practice and you want something simpler, a cheaper model would be best.
I know for sure that my mother would love to put the time in and discover everything that this best bread maker can do.
On the other hand, others might not like it so much since bread machines have been created to make our life simpler.
Instead, this Breville best bread maker requires a bit of study and a bit of patience.
There are a few buttons that are not common to other machines:
- weight/temp button
- beeper button that mutes the sound alerts if you don’t need any of them
- light button for shading some light on the baking chamber
- modify button for customizing the time and temperature for all the phases (preheat, knead, rise, punch-down, bake, and keep warm)
- and the select push-dial button
But the LCD backlit panel is not the best part.
The best thing about Breville Custom Loaf is the fact that it offers 9 customization options.
You can transform up to 9 of your favorite recipes into preprogrammed settings.
It also comes with its 14 preprogrammed cycles: custom (the name for the 9 customization recipes), basic, basic rapid, whole wheat, whole wheat rapid, gluten-free, crusty loaf, sweet, yeast-free, dough-bread, dough-pizza, dough-pasta, bake only, and jam.
Other features are:
- the collapsible paddle that automatically collapses so that the loaf can have a smaller whole at the base once it’s all done and baked
- nut/fruit dispenser
- and Power Failure Protection
Don’t overfill the dispenser because it won’t function.
However, there have been some complaints from current users that the collapsible paddle doesn’t actually collapses all the time.
If that happens, you have the option to remove the paddle altogether.
The machine beeps to let you know when it’s time to do that, before the “rise 3” phase.
This is also a pretty silent best bread maker, as compared to the Zojirushi model, which is regarded by some users as being too loud.
There are 46 recipes included in the user manual and they all sound delicious.
There are so many things and features going on that I advise you to read my in-depth Breville Custom Loaf review if you’re thinking of getting this one.
6 Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Bread Maker for You
3. Preprogrammed Menus
5. Loaf size
6. Completion Time
Let’s start with the money.
It’s the obvious feature that differentiates all the 5 models.
My tip for you is to spend the exact sum that’s comfortable for you.
It can be anything from $50 to $300 or more.
That’s enough range so that everyone can be satisfied.
The Oster CKSTBRTW20 is the cheapest.
It’s incredibly affordable and really amazing for the price. It makes delicious breads and dough.
Immediately after that, comes the Hamilton Beach Programmable Bread Machine. It’s the cheapest bread maker with a gluten-free cycle.
The last two reviewed units are the most expensive.
They’re more modern, more sophisticated, with more choices and unique features.
If you have a more substantial budget, they’re totally worthy of their price.
The surprise among the 5 best bread makers is the Cuisinart CBK-100.
It’s a surprising unit because it has such an affordable price, while offering so many options and features to its users.
There are some common accessories and you’re going to get them whether you decide to get one of the models suggested by me or whether you buy another one.
- double-ended measuring spoon – teaspoon and tablespoon
- measuring cup for measuring liquid and dry ingredients but for the dry ingredients you can also use a kitchen/digital scale for increased accuracy (it’s just what I do)
- nonstick pan – be careful not to scratch it because the loaf will have problems coming off if the pan is scratched, a few shakes will no longer be enough
- kneading paddle – the Zojirushi Virtuoso has two paddles or a dual kneading system, as it’s also called, and the Breville Custom Loaf comes with a collapsible paddle and a fixed one. The other 3 have just one paddle
- viewing window, with the exception of the Panasonic SD-YD 250, which has a yeast dispenser where the small window should have been but I don’t see it as a big loss
- control panel, which turns to be more sophisticated and not as straight-forward for the most expensive best bread machines
- user manual, where the recipes for the preprogrammed settings are also included
- and a 1 year warranty, with the exception of the Cuisinart that offers a 3-year warranty
The above are common accessories.
Other than that, one unit has a yeast dispenser, while another has a nut & fruit automatic dispenser.
3. Preprogrammed Menus
The common preprogrammed menus are:
- basic (white bread) for which you should use bread flour and active dry yeast, you can also use all purpose flour if it has a high concentration of gluten
- whole wheat for wheat/rye/barley/pumpernickel/rice etc., flours that have a lower concentration of gluten
- French/Italian/European, the name depends from model to model, these being loaves that have a lower quantity of sugar and fat
- sweet for loaves with a higher dosage of sugar/fats/protein and, obviously, calories
- rapid/quick under which the baking time is usually reduced by an hour
- dough for bread, pizza, pasta, and under this setting user manuals also offer recipes that can be finished in a conventional oven
- bake for cakes and other pastries
- and jam
These are the basic ones but, as you’ll see, there are bread makers that offer additional preprogrammed settings as well, like the gluten-free setting or the yeast free.
Some also offer the possibility to customize your favorite recipes and transform them into cycles. Those who offer customization are also the most expensive.
You will find all the needed information about the cycles and in which order to add the ingredients and much more in the user manual.
It’s very important to read it thoroughly.
Even the most affordable best bread maker includes plenty of recipes for each preprogrammed setting.
Many of them sound absolutely delicious.
Probably the most surprising recipe is that for meatloaf, which you can actually make with the help of the Zojirushi Virtuoso. You don’t have to do much, it’s quite simple and unexpected.
This is definitely not the most important tip to be taken into consideration when choosing which one is the best bread maker for you.
The thing is:
If the recipes are too few, you can simply buy a cookbook.
It’s not expensive and it has hundreds of recipes that work with any brand.
The only thing to remember is that you have to add the ingredients in the order that your user manual specifies.
There’s a preset order for adding the liquids, fats, dry ingredients, and the yeast/baking powder/baking soda.
Adjust the recipe to that order specified by your user manual and you’re ready to go.
You can experiment as much as you want.
5. Loaf Size
The loaf size varies.
There are units that offer two sizes (1.5 and 2 pounds).
Others that offer 3 sizes (1, 1.5, and 2 pounds).
My bread maker also offers 3 sizes, M, L, and XL. I use the L one, which corresponds to a 2-pound loaf.
The Breville Custom Loaf is the only one that offers 4 sizes: 1, 1.5, 2, and 2.5 pounds.
There is also the 13 hour delay timer and the 3 crusts choice: light, medium, and dark.
Medium is the way to go for me.
6. Completion Time
This is another tip that might interest some of you when it comes to shopping for the right model.
For example, my bread maker makes and bakes a white loaf in 4 hours, while the basic dough is ready in 2hr 20 min.
On the other hand,
The pizza dough is ready in just 45 minutes, while my previous machine needed 1hr and a half for that.
The average time for the basic cycle seems to be 3:30 hours, while they are units that are all done in 3 hours.
It’s not extremely important because that’s a time in which you don’t have to do anything at all so it doesn’t take a single second from your personal time.
And even if you need 2 loaves per day you still have plenty of time.
You can use the delay timer to have one ready in the morning and then make one during the day.
Just remember that each machine must rest for 20 minutes up to an hour before it can be used a second time.
You cannot use it right after.
Bonus: the noise factor
Those are 6 of the most important criteria that characterize a bread maker.
Some machines are a lot noisier than others.
My current model can be barely heard even when I’m in the kitchen.
However, others can be heard even through the wall.
I’ve had both types.
I’ve tried to include this information when reviewing each of the 5 best bread maker models.
I assume some of you are interested, especially if you live in a smaller space, like I do.
If you also want some tips on properly using a machine, you can read my post on how to use a bread maker. It’s really helpful.
That’s about it.
All being said, what’s your favorite best bread maker or which one would you like to see in your kitchen?