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The best bread makers to buy in 2023

Fill your home with that delicious just-baked smell with our pick of the best bread makers

Bread is one of life’s simple pleasures, and with one of the best bread makers in your kitchen, you can enjoy it whenever the mood takes you. Imagine it: the smell of a freshly baked loaf, with its golden crust and warm dough waiting for you at the touch of a button.

The beauty of owning a bread maker doesn’t just lie in the taste and experience: it can be a real money saver as well. You can expect to pay just over half the cost of a similarly sized shop-bought loaf, or even more if you’re experimenting with nuts, seeds or gluten-free flour. Better still, you take control of what ingredients you use, for a preservative-free loaf that you know you’re going to love.

Below, we’ve put together a short buying guide on finding your ideal breadmaker, followed by a selection of what we consider to be the best bread makers after testing and tasting. However, if you already have an idea of what you want, our at a glance list will take you straight through to buy our favourites.

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Best bread maker: At a glance

How to choose the best bread maker for you

How do I use a bread maker?

No matter which bread maker you choose, the baking process will be similar. Add the ingredients to the bread pan, put the bread pan in the bread maker and choose the appropriate programme, such as white or wholemeal. The baking process will then take between three and five hours, depending on the model. Once it’s done, you will need to put the loaf on a wire rack to cool before you cut into it, otherwise it will be too soft and you’ll end up with a mess of a loaf.

All bread makers also let you specify a time delay, so you can measure out your ingredients the night before, then specify in what amount of time you need your loaf to be ready (usually to the nearest ten minutes). For example, you can put your ingredients in the pan at 11pm, set the timer for eight hours, and your loaf will be ready at 7am.

The ingredients needed for a loaf of bread vary between bread makers, but usually consist of flour, salt, sugar, oil or butter, water, bread-machine yeast and sometimes skimmed milk powder. All of these ingredients can be found in most supermarkets. A minority of bread makers require vitamin C tablets, which you’ll probably need to order online.

Bear in mind that you’ll need to buy special “strong” flour to make bread. Supermarket own-brand strong flour is fine for white loaves, but you may have to use expensive branded “very strong” flour to get a decent wholemeal loaf from some bread makers. Our reviews mention if very strong flour is needed.

Which extra ingredients should I consider?

Before buying, you should consider whether you would like to bake speciality loaves, such as raisin or sultana breads, as some bread makers make this easier than others. The extra ingredients required in such loaves need to be added after the baking cycle has started. Some bread makers will stop and beep when they need you to pour in your raisins, but this means you have to be there at the right time.

Fancier models have an automatic dispenser, which you can fill up before you start the bake. This will then dump the ingredients in at the right point in the cycle, to help you get the perfect fruit loaf. If you’re going to be baking such loaves more than occasionally, you’ll certainly appreciate having an automatic dispenser.

Can I customise my bake?

You can change the way your loaf turns out by altering the balance of ingredients, but the very fanciest bread makers take this a step further, by letting you set custom baking programmes. If your bread maker has this feature, you can choose how long you want each stage of the baking cycle to be, from resting to kneading to rising and baking. You can then store these programmes as a preset.

Some machines have five presets, and some can store up to nine. If you’re serious about baking and want to tweak each recipe to perfection, look for a bread maker that lets you fiddle around with the built-in recipes.

What size bread maker do I need?

One major consideration is the volume of the bread pan. If you consume an entire loaf in just a few days, then you should consider getting a maker with a 2lb tin. However, if you’re a household of just one or two, you can look at smalle options, ideally a bread maker with a 1 or 1.5lb bread pan. It’s also worth remembering that your own homemade bread won’t have preservatives like a shop bought loaf, so it will have a shorter lifespan and will need to be consumed quicker.

The other main consideration is the bread maker’s physical size. Before you buy, make sure you have enough space on your kitchen worktop or enough space to store the breadmaker. If you’re lacking in space, there are a selection of more compact models available.

How we test bread makers

The best way to test a breadmaker is to make a fresh loaf – and that’s exactly what we do. In fact, we make several. Whether the maker has a smattering of basic settings for white and wholewheat bread, or goes further with specific additional features for seeded and gluten-free loaves, we test every setting to help you decide which breadmaker best suits your needs. As well as testing each loaf setting, we also use any additional settings each model has, such as different crust types, proofing, kneading or even jam-making.

As well as assessing the quality of each loaf, we also consider appearance and functionality. Compact bread makers are best for smaller kitchens, but might lack some of the more extensive features you would get from a larger model. A maker with lots of settings might be trickier to get to grips with, but you’ll have more options if you like to make lots of different kinds of bread. Finally, we consider value for money – is that simple, budget breadmaker enough for your needs, or could you benefit from splashing out? In this roundup, we consider every option to ensure there’s something for everyone.

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The best bread makers you can buy in 2023

1. Russell Hobbs 23620 Compact Breadmaker: The best budget compact bread maker

Price: £100 | Buy now from Amazon

This dinky little breadmaker is perfect for small households and kitchens. Whether you want a classic white loaf, gluten-free bread or a nutritious wholemeal baguette, this breadmaker can handle it. Overall, there are 12 settings, three loaf sizes and three crust settings packed into this budget baker. With so many functions, it’s never been easier to create a truly custom loaf, sweet bread or pizza dough.

If you’re in a hurry, the quick bake option whips up a classic loaf in just 55 minutes. Taking it slow? There’s also a 13-hour delay timer, so you can enjoy fresh bread first thing or even as you’re finishing up your workday. This affordable bread maker is a great buy if you’re voyaging into the world of bread making for the first time but don’t want to spend a fortune on something overly technical.

Key specs – Fruit and nut dispenser: No; Number of programmes: 12; Colour: Black, White; Size: 29cm x 32.2cm x 30cm

2. Lakeland Touchscreen Bread Maker: Easiest to use bread maker

Price: £150 | Buy now from Lakeland

If counter space is a precious commodity in your kitchen, investing in a multi-function appliance can free up some room without impeding your culinary pursuits. Lakeland’s Touchscreen Bread Maker and More is one such multi-purpose machine, with several preset functions for baking different loaves, as well as options for baking cakes and making jam or yoghurt. You can follow the progress of whatever function you choose with just a glance, thanks to the large and easy-to-use LED touchscreen.

The bread pan has a capacity of 1.5kg and comes with two kneading blades, allowing you to choose your preferred loaf size – either 1kg, 1.25kg or 1.5kg. Once baked, the machine will automatically keep your loaf warm for 60 minutes after the programme finishes, so if you forget to check right away you won’t miss out on your loaf. Another great feature is the Delay Start, which allows you to set a time to start baking, meaning you can prep the loaf the night before, and wake up to the alluring smell of freshly baked bread.

Read our full Lakeland Touchscreen Bread Maker review

Key specs Fruit and nut dispenser: No; Number of programmes: 12; Colour: Silver and black; Size: 44cm x 26cm x 30cm

Buy now from Lakeland

3. Sage The Custom Loaf: The best premium bread maker

Price: £249 | Buy now from John Lewis

If money isn’t a big worry and you want a bread maker that lets you take as much control as possible – short of actually making the dough yourself and popping it in the oven – then this celebrity-chef-endorsed machine from Sage could be just the thing. Heston is famed for his more complex recipes and the Sage certainly has a little of that, letting you tweak its recipes or create whole new ones using the large screen and twisting knob.

It has a collapsing paddle, so you’re not left with a big hole in the bottom of your loaf, which is clever, although the results aren’t radically different to other models. The loaves I made from the recipes came out well, although they were lower, like bakery loaves, rather than tall sandwich loaves as you might be used to. Still, with the ability to almost endlessly tinker to match its programmes to your ingredients and preferences, the Custom Loaf will certainly appeal to some.

Read our full Sage by Heston Blumenthal: The Custom Loaf review

Key specsFruit and nut dispenser: Yes; Number of programmes: 68; Colour: Stainless steel; Size: 35.2cm x 24.8cm x 39.9cm; Time to make standard medium white loaf: 3hrs 5mins

Buy now from John Lewis

4. Morphy Richards Fastbake Cooltouch Breadmaker: The best bread maker under £100

Price: £75 | Buy now from Argos

Who says that you have to spend a lot of money to get a decent bread maker? Okay, it’s not the prettiest bread maker we’ve ever seen, but for the price, we can forgive its looks.

Fortunately, the Fastbake more than makes up for its lack of looks by turning out an excellent white loaf quickly. I struggled a little to make it work as well with wholemeal loaves, but if you primarily want high-quality white bread, it does the job brilliantly.

The controls are a little fiddly and wobbly, illustrating the cheaper build quality of this machine. There’s a viewing window, so you can see how your loaf is getting on, but you’ll need a torch as the baking chamber is not illuminated. Even so, provided you mostly want to make white loaves, the low cost of the Fastbake makes this exceptional value and well worth buying. If you want to experiment with other loaves, check out one of the other bread makers on this page.

Read our full Morphy Richards Fastbake Cooltouch review

Key specs – Fruit and nut dispenser: No; Number of programmes: 29; Colour: White; Size: Time to make standard medium white loaf: 2hrs 53mins

Buy now from Argos

5. Salter EK4189 Digital Bread Maker: The best bread maker for seasoned users

Price: £70 | Buy now from G Craggs

If you’re well-acquainted with bread makers and are looking for something with plenty of customisation, Salter’s EK4189 bread maker is ideal. There are 15 different settings for bread making, including options for wholewheat, gluten-free, sweet bread and French loaves. There’s also a setting that kneads and proves dough for you – perfect if you’re making lots of loaves and want to give your arms a rest.

In testing, the machines fastbake, basic and wholewheat settings all produced a soft loaf with a crusty exterior, while the dough setting kneaded and proved our dough to soft, pillowy perfection. Unusually, this machine doesn’t come with any recipes and there aren’t instructions in the box. You’ll need to download them from the Salter website but we’ve also included them here if you want to skip the middle-man.

As the instructions aren’t the clearest, it’s probably best to steer clear if this is your first ever breadmaker. If you’re familiar with how they work though, some simple googling will unearth a number of recipes that work perfectly with the machine.

Key specsFruit and nut dispenser: No; Number of programmes: 15; Colour: White; Size: 29.9cm x 28.2cm x 40.7cm; Time to make standard medium white loaf: 3hrs

Buy now from G Craggs

6. Panasonic Fully Automatic Breadmaker: The best bread maker for gluten-free bread

Price: £210 | Buy now from Argos

Do you want a fully automatic bread maker that can whip up a stellar gluten-free, brioche or whole wheat loaf? The Panasonic fully automatic bread maker offers users just that, with its impressive feature set and 32 automatic programs, including four for gluten-free loaves. These give you the option to delve into baking nearly any type of bread you fancy, whether you’re celiac, a sourdough lover or just want to experiment with unusual flavours.

The loaf size isn’t huge, with a maximum weight of 0.6kg (or 1.32lb in old money) – just a fraction smaller than your standard shop loaf. However, you do get the choice of three crust settings, as well as automatic yeast and nut/raisin dispensers. They conveniently add your extra ingredients when needed and eliminate the need for you to worry about adding yeast at the right time. What’s more, this model has a 13 hour delay timer, so you can have your loaf ready to go when you first wake up.

It’s not just bread that’s on the menu, either. To give the Panasonic more value for money, you can dive into the manual settings to make your own cakes, pizza dough and even jam. Oh, and if you’re new to making gluten-free bread, be sure to check out Panasonic’s gluten-free bread recipes page.

Key specsFruit and nut dispenser: Yes; Number of programmes: 32; Colour: Gun metal; Size: 36.2cm x 39.5cm x 25.2cm; Time to make standard medium white loaf: 1hr 55mins

Buy now from Argos

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