Baking bread is an art as well as a science, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. As long as you follow the same procedure, you’ll always get the same outcome, and owning a bread maker makes it ridiculously easy to get delicious results every time.
As an additional bonus, home-baked bread is healthier, tastier and far more varied and interesting than what you’re probably used to. Assuming you get into the habit of using your bread maker frequently, it can even save you money.
The first step, of course, is to figure out what kind of machine will improve your life the most. As you’ll soon see, you have plenty of options at your disposal, so take your time and try to imagine what owning each of these ten top-rated bread machines would be like.
Good: The Virtuoso Plus performs very well using any of the pre-programmed settings, but also gives you a great deal of manual control when you need it.
Not so good: It costs more than many people will want to pay, and home users don’t always need something as powerful as this.
Bottom Line: Few people will choose this as their first bread maker, but demanding users will appreciate its versatility. No other bread maker gives this much control.
Good: Very easy to use yet capable of producing a wide range of bread types, this will work well for the busy home cook.
Not so good: Though it has many nice features, some bread machines that are nearly as capable cost less.
Bottom Line: The Breville strikes a good balance between user-friendliness and functionality. It’s well worth the price for families who use it to its full potential.
Good: Compact, inexpensive and very easy to operate, this is a great entry-level bread machine from a reliable brand.
Not so good: Once you get the hang of baking, you may well feel cramped by the limitations it imposes on you.
Bottom Line: If you’re new to bread makers and don’t have a big family to feed, this is a great buy. It’s a breeze to use and does well at preparing basic breads.
Good: Capable of producing delectable bread and much besides, this KBS can almost be called a multi-function appliance.
Not so good: Though the 17 preset programs should work in most situations, it’s too bad that this bread maker doesn’t allow any custom deviation from them.
Bottom Line: A high-quality product at a good price, this constitutes a solid choice if a compact bread maker doesn’t appeal to you.
Good: Very simple to use, this bread machine is designed to make several kinds of gluten-free baking easier.
Not so good: With only a limited program selection and no way of setting your own cycle times and temperatures, the T-Fal will leave experienced cooks frustrated.
Bottom Line: Though there are cheaper options out there, someone who’s sensitive to gluten and short on time will enjoy having this at their disposal.
Good: An attractive price stacks up very well to this machine’s performance and feature set.
Not so good: Falling somewhere between entry-level and premium bread makers, it seems like a few corners were cut to keep the cost down.
Bottom Line: If you’re not looking for total perfection and aren’t all that interested in learning how to bake, this is a solid choice.
Good: Built to Zojirushi’s high standards, this bread machine gives stellar results and can be expected to last.
Not so good: This otherwise excellent machine is burdened with a control panel that’s unreasonably difficult to program.
Bottom Line: In terms of performance, this bread maker is a step below the Virtuoso Plus and a step above the Breville, making it the golden mean for some.
Good: Inexpensive and with an average number of functions, this will serve you well as long as you don’t expect too much from it.
Not so good: It’s much larger and heavier than you would expect from a basic bread maker, and this isn’t reflected in its performance and features.
Bottom Line: You generally get what you pay for, and in this case this means mediocre rising performance and a somewhat stubby-looking loaf of bread.
Good: Simple controls combined with an elegant appearance count in this compact machine’s favor.
Not so good: Instead of showing the time remaining on a cycle, this bread machine communicates using a series of loud beeps.
Bottom Line: Though the unmutable buzzer is annoying, this machine produces good bread without demanding any effort or skill.
Good: With all the features you’d expect from a straightforward bread maker, this Hamilton Beach product is also robust and durable.
Not so good: The addition of a few user-defined programs and perhaps a more intuitive control panel would have been welcome.
Bottom Line: This is a good choice if you need something fairly small without some of the limitations of a compact bread maker.