Best Bread Makers of 2018

Angela Parkinson ·
Home & Appliance Editor
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We've been reviewing the best bread makers since 2014, finding the top options for those who want to skip grocery store bread and get something fresh and wholesome. We recommend the Panasonic SD-YD250, a compact machine that makes a large loaf of bread quickly and easily. You can use a preset timer that allows you to add ingredients and prep up to 13 hours ahead of time, so you can wake up to fresh bread or come home from work to a just-baked loaf. In addition, it has a variety of settings – gluten-free, rapid-bake, pizza dough and a few crust colors. 

Best Overall
Panasonic SD-YD250
The price is relatively low but you still get some nice extras, including a clear digital display and an automatic dispenser that releases yeast at the best time for a better bread.
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Best Value
This is a reasonably priced option at slightly less than $70 and, despite the lower cost, still gives you features such as delay start and express bake, which means you can enjoy hot, fresh bread in less than an hour.
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Best for Gluten-Free Bread
Cuisinart CBK-100
This goes beyond the work-arounds found on some units to give you an actual gluten-free setting, and the bake-only cycle lets you be more hands-on with your dough, if you want.
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Best Overall
The Panasonic SD-YD250 is a compact machine designed to be easy to use. There is a simple interface with just five buttons and a digital display that leaves little room for confusion.
You can find this bread maker for less than $100, but it still has some useful extras. With some bread makers, you must add yeast with the rest of the ingredients. However, the Panasonic SD-YD250 has an automatic yeast dispenser that releases it at just the right time, which is useful if you set the machine’s delay timer to start baking a few hours after you add the ingredients – leaving yeast to just sit in the other ingredients for hours on end can make it less effective. If you want bread as soon as possible, you can use the Bake Rapid setting and get basic multigrain or French bread quickly. This model also prepares pizza dough, so you can skip the delivery guy. This machine allows you a lot of control. You can select the loaf size – medium, large or extra-large. And you choose the type of crust you prefer – light, medium or dark. The nonstick pan and handle are designed to make cleanup simple and quick.
  • An automatic dispenser releases yeast at just the right time.
  • The Bake Rapid setting means you can make bread in a hurry.
  • You can specify loaf size and crust type.
  • There is not a specific gluten-free setting on this machine.
  • This machine cooks vertically, so its loaves don’t look like familiar store-bought bread.
  • This machine has just one kneading paddle – some units have two for thorough mixing.
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Best Value
This Oster model costs just under $70, but still offers numerous helpful features. It can make a 2-pound loaf and has a delay timer, so you can put the ingredients in and wake up to freshly baked bread in the morning.
The window on the top is a nice touch that allows you to watch as the machine bakes your bread. The bread maker’s controls are straightforward, and a digital display lets you know each stage of the bread-making process. There is even an express bake option if you want bread in less than an hour. The machine's nine settings help you prepare the type of bread you want. While there is not a specific gluten-free setting, you can get similar results by using the whole-grain button – though Oster's own customer support recommends looking at a different machine if you want to make a lot of gluten-free loaves. This machine can make many types of bread, including French breads, pizza dough and breads with fruit, even though it is also one of the more affordable models we evaluated.
  • The price is budget-friendly.
  • A built-in window allows you to watch the machine make your bread.
  • You can make many types of bread, including pizza dough and French bread.
  • Other machines can make slightly larger loaves than this one.
  • This bread maker has just one paddle.
  • There is no specific setting for gluten-free bread.
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Best for Gluten-Free Bread
A gluten-free diet that includes homemade bread may seem like a strange idea, but there are a few bread makers on the market that have work-arounds for making gluten-free bread.
Not all of them have a specific setting for gluten-free, but the Cuisinart CBK-100 does. It also has settings for French, whole wheat, sweet, packaged mix and pizza dough, so you can make a lot more than just basic bread. You can also choose from three crust colors and three loaf sizes. A delay-start timer means you can add ingredients and set them to automatically start baking hours later. The machine makes the bread for you whenever you choose – up to 13 hours later. You can also opt to do more of the prep work if you like, with the bake-only option. The kneading paddle and other parts are removable for easy cleaning, and a power failure backup means your bread-making cycle can continue even after a power outage.
  • This machine has a specific gluten-free setting.
  • You can make several breads – French, whole wheat, sweet, packaged mix and pizza dough.
  • The machine lets you select from three crust colors and three loaf sizes.
  • This one takes up a fair amount of counter space.
  • The CBK-100 is relatively tall, making it difficult to see the digital display.
  • It has a loud alarm, which cannot be silenced, to signal when to remove the paddle.
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Most Settings
The Breville BBM800KL is a high-quality, user-friendly bread maker that’s fully programmable, and it has 13 automatic settings. It also provides four loaf sizes and three options for crust color.
The Breville is more expensive than most bread makers we reviewed, but it also has much more capability. This machine is only 9.6 inches long, but it can make a loaf of bread weighing up to 2.5 pounds. You can choose from multiple preprogrammed settings or manually input preferences for the machine’s preheat, knead, rise, punch-down, bake and warming phases. There’s even a delay timer of up to 13 hours. This bread maker has a blue LCD display, rubber feet and a collapsible paddle. The collapsible paddle is especially nice because it prevents the hole that can be left over by the kneading paddle. The Breville has a nut and fruit compartment that holds extra ingredients until it’s time to add them. It also has an oven light button and viewing window.
  • Has a collapsible paddle and 13 automatic settings
  • Costs more than most bread makers
$249.99Best Buy
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Best for Whole Grain Bread
The Hamilton Beach HomeBaker is a high-quality bread maker at a midrange price. Its programming menu is easy to use, and it has specialty settings for whole grain, gluten-free, French and sweet breads. You can also make pizza and roll dough, as well as jam and cake.
When you need to add ingredients mid-cycle, the HomeBaker beeps to tell you it’s time. It comes with two paddles, which is nice if you want to make a second loaf while the first paddle is being washed. The machine has 12 program cycles and three crust settings. It can bake loaves from 1.5 to 2.5 pounds, and it has a delay timer. It also has an express option for faster baking, but loaves made with this feature are smaller and have thicker crusts than regular loaves. This bread machine’s interior baking pan has a handle that makes it easier to remove bread from the unit. The Homebaker’s outer housing is plastic, with a silver base and rubber feet.
  • Has multiple specialty settings
  • Bulkier than average
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Why Trust Us? 

We've been singling out reviews of the 10 best bread machines since 2014, analyzing the attributes and features that make them most likely to benefit your household on a long-term basis. We search the marketplace for the most popular and best-reviewed machines and then compile and report our findings. 

How We Researched 

We've spent hours looking at product manuals and reading customer and professional reviews to find the best options on the market. We also visited the appliance sections at popular department stores and spoke with customer service representatives about what to look for in a quality bread machine. We specifically sought out bread makers in a wide price range and found good options even at the lower price points. Whether you are replacing, upgrading or buying your first bread maker, we’ve evaluated one that should work for you. 

Things to Consider When Choosing a Bread Maker

Vertical-loaf machines affect texture, though not overall quality or flavor – they can leave a denser texture at one end of the loaf. If that would bother you, it is worth noting whether the bread machine cooks a vertical loaf or a horizontal loaf. Horizontal loaves are more like the ones you buy in the store, and most people prefer them. They generally have lighter, fluffier bread at the top of the loaf with a more dense section on the bottom half.

Bread makers can vary drastically when it comes to the size of loaves they produce. Since fresh bread does not have the preservatives found in store-bought bread, it goes bad more quickly. Make sure the machine makes the size of loaf appropriate for your household.

Bread machines have specific settings for different types of breads, including French, wheat, fruit, pizza dough and others. You should make sure the one you purchase can produce your favorites. It could be worth finding out whether it has a gluten-free setting, for instance.

We reviewed bread makers ranging in price from under $60 to almost $260. Most people can expect to spend under $100 for a machine that meets their needs, but bread makers with specialty features generally cost more. Machines with higher-quality outer housings are also more expensive.

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