Nothing beats a slice of delicious, hot, homemade bread, but who has time for baking it? You do, with the right bread machine! We reviewed the top-selling and highest rated bread machines available to bring you this list of our favorites.
Best Overall: Zojirushi BB-PAC20
The best bread maker in our reviews doesn’t come cheap, but it’s well worth the investment if you intend to use it frequently, or if you’re craving versatility.
The Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso bakes consistently fabulous loaves of bread up to 2 pounds. It facilitates even heating and allows for gluten free baking as well as a number of other types of courses including dough, pasta, and more.
This bread machine offers numerous options for customization, which means you can make your loaves exactly the way you like them. The Zojirushi has 10 pre-programmed settings and lets you save up to 3 custom settings. A quick baking cycle bakes bread in just over 2 hours, and it includes a delay start so you can time your baked goods perfectly.
A few things to note: this is not a compact unit. It’s heavy and takes up quite a bit of space because it bakes large loaves. It also lacks an ingredient dispenser (a feature available on some other high-end machines) which means you must add everything manually. Most users find that this isn’t that big of an issue, however. So if you have the space and the budget, this one is definitely worth your attention.
Best on a Budget: Oster Expressbake
This best-selling bread maker from Oster comes with an affordable price tag, making it very appealing to anyone who is new to bread making, or who just wants to buy on a budget.
Like the more expensive Zojirushi, the Expressbake can accommodate up to a 2 pound loaf, so it’s a great bargain for a substantially sized loaf. The express setting gets you a hot loaf of bread in an hour and it includes a 13 hour timer for easy programming.
With 12 settings, 3 crust settings, and a “warm” setting, the Oster provides exceptional value given the price and the included features. The LCD screen is fairly intuitive, and it’s easy to clean.
This machine has more negative reviews than our top pick, which should be expected given the price. The main complaints have to do with the bread being too light or falling, and with the instability of the machine at times. It’s a trade off that comes with spending less, but it’s still a great value.
Best Compact: Zojirushi BB-HAC10
You’d be right in guessing that this other Zojirushi bread machine isn’t cheap — it’s just how this high-end brand is. There are more affordable options (the Oster, above, is also pretty compact), but this is just such a great machine if you’re in the market for a compact version that we have to call it the best.
As with any of the Zojuirushi products, the Home Bakery Mini is highly versatile and produces delicious baked goods. It is smaller in loaf size (1 pound) but still gives you options like cookie and pasta dough. It is also easy to move around and store, with a useful carrying handle and a lightweight design.
Part of the tradeoff in opting for a smaller size is a lower number of settings and customization options. Even so, there are still plenty of features that make it worth the money, and the compact size is super easy to store.
Also Worth Considering
Here are a few other bread makers that don’t top our particular list but are definitely worth a look if the ones we’ve already talked about aren’t what you’re looking for.
In the top 10 best sellers on Amazon comes this handy bread maker, which boasts a high overall rating from customers and an affordable price tag. It is known for being beginner friendly, with easy to use features and interface.
The SKG has 19 automatic programs, 3 loaf sizes and crust colors, and a delay timer that goes up to 15 hours. It’s relatively compact, but that also means that the loaves are tall. There aren’t any common issues that customers report experiencing other than the occasional faulty device. Overall this is a great value with plenty of options to keep any bread lover happy.
Sunbeam is one of the most trusted names in bread makers, and this one is a well-loved and affordable machine. It creates 1.5 or 2 pound loaves and can handle a variety of dough types. It has 12 functions and 3 shade options, offering optimal versatility for an incredible price.
The main potential issues with this machine is longevity. Some customers experience issues after the warranty period (1 year). However, given the low price, it seems reasonable that this isn’t going to last for many years. Even with those issues, this is an excellent bread maker — and many do actually have it for several years!
How Do Bread Machines Work?
If you’re new to the world of bread makers, here is a bit of info so you know what you’re getting into with one of these machines.
The bread machine takes the work out of baking. It takes care of the process of mixing, allowing the dough to rise, and so forth, so you simply add your ingredients to the machine and wait patiently for it to bake.
Some machines have ingredient dispensers for additional things like nuts or seeds; other machines require you add them at a particular time or layer the ingredients in a certain way. For beginners, most machines are going to be just fine. But if you know you want to make a specific type of bread or a variety of breads, it’s worth your time to do a little research about the one you’re interested in.
Many of today’s models of bread machines offer settings for specific breads — even gluten-free! Even without the specific settings, most of the best machines can handle gluten free or other special diets, you might just have to follow a few extra steps or learn certain settings.
Each bread machine will have its own steps and settings, but any of the instruction manuals will tell you exactly what to do. The technology of today’s bread makers is pretty great, and most of them will be very easy to use. In any case, all you really have to do is add ingredients, push the right buttons, and wait!