We’ve put 16 bread makers to the test in our first large-scale test of bread makers for more than five years, and uncovered four new Best Buys – with one brand standing head and shoulders above the rest.
This brand scooped all the top spots in our tests. Its bread makers turn out consistently excellent loaves, all while being easy to use and clean. And with 85% of owners in our latest brand survey saying they wouldn’t hesitate to buy the same brand again, it’s clearly ticking all the right boxes.
Not all the bread makers we tested proved so appealin, though. One brand’s bread makers took a tumble in the ratings against the competition, and some disappointing models turned out dense, doughy and downright ugly loaves.
Best bread makers for 2018 – find out which models we recommend.
Bread maker features – and what they’ll cost you
Spending a little more on your bread maker can get you some extra features, but these are only worth paying for if you’re likely to use them. Many models now have a gluten-free setting, but you’ll need to look harder to find one that can also make sourdough.
The Andrew James Fresh Bake Digital bread maker (£75) and the Panasonic Automatic SD-2511KXC bread maker (£109) both have a sourdough setting and benefit from an automatic dispenser that can add fruit, nuts and seeds to the mixture at just the right time – which means you don’t have to hover around in the kitchen waiting to add them manually.
The Argos Cookworks bread maker (698/2799) is a steal at just £45. This cheap bread maker lacks a gluten-free setting, but it does have a viewing window, so you can check on your loaf as it cooks, and a delayed-start option that allows you to bake your bread overnight – handy if you want to wake up to the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread.
At the other end of the scale is the Heston Blumenthal-endorsed Sage Custom Loaf Pro BBM800BSS at £250. This one has plenty of frills for the hi-tech baker, including a collapsible kneading paddle. This neat contraption could put an end to the problem of how to extract the paddle from your loaf without tearing a pesky hole in the bottom. The Custom Loaf Pro also has more than 60 programs on the menu, and an automatic fruit and nut dispenser.
Bread maker reviews – compare all the latest models and find the best for you.
Why bake your own bread?
Firstly, a bread maker will do all the hard work for you – so there’s no arm-aching kneading or hunting around for somewhere warm enough to use as a proving drawer.
And if the delicious aroma and satisfaction of creating your own food isn’t enough to tempt you, the fact that you can control exactly what goes into your loaf could be of interest. Not only can you avoid additives, but you can also experiment with different flavours and flours. You could even save money on buying expensive ‘free-from’ breads at the supermarket.
For tips and advice on experimenting with flavours and recipes, see our guide to getting the most out of your bread maker.
Latest bread maker reviews
Here’s the full list of the bread makers we’ve just tested. Any older models that are still widely available have been retested, so it’s easy to compare all the widely available models you’ll have to choose from in the shops today. Click on the individual links to go straight to the review:
- Andrew James AJ000640 Fresh Bake Digital – £75
- Argos Cookworks Bread Maker 698/2799 – £45
- Kenwood Bread Maker BM260 – £95
- Kenwood Bread Machine BM450 – £100
- Lakeland Bread Maker Plus 17892 – £135
- Lakeland White Compact 1lb Daily Loaf 16147 – £65
- Morphy Richards Manual Bread Maker 48326 – £74
- Morphy Richards 48281 Multi-use Fastbake – £55
- Panasonic SD-2500 – £88
- Panasonic SD-2501– £99
- Panasonic Automatic SD-2511KXC – £109
- Panasonic SD-ZX2502 – £140
- Panasonic SD-ZX2522BXC – £240
- Russell Hobbs 23620 Compact Bread Maker – £60
- Sage Custom Loaf Pro BBM800BSS – £250
- Tower Digital Bread Maker T11001 – £60
Prices correct as of 26 January 2018.