This page was updated in November 2020.
We’re pretty accustomed to making bread by hand, so we were a little sceptical about a machine that replaces our own kneading, proving, knocking back and shaping. We were quickly converted.
Breadmakers are easy to use, take only a few minutes of preparation and can be left to create magical results, with no human intervention required and no additives.
Our testing proved you don’t need to spend all your dough to get a good loaf and more functions don’t necessarily equate to a better machine.
Best breadmakers at a glance
- Best overall breadmaker: Panasonic SD-ZX2522 automatic breadmaker, £209.99
- Best basic breadmaker: Lakeland Digital breadmaker, £99.99
- Best budget breadmaker: Russell Hobbs 23620 Fast Bake breadmaker, £64.99
- Best value breadmaker: Morphy Richards 502001 Homebake breadmaker, £75.98
- Best for ease of use: Tower T1105 breadmaker, £99.99
- Best multi-tasker: Gastroback breadmaker £119.90
- Best lightweight breadmaker: Klarstein Brotilde family breadmaker, £89.99
- Best for multiple settings: Sage the Custom Loaf™ breadmaker, £199
Do I need a breadmaker?
There is so much to love about the manual bread-making process; the cookery experience for many is therapeutic, and it is a great way to control what is in your bread, especially if you have concerns about additives.
But what if you love fresh bread, but a busy schedule leaves little time for mixing, kneading, shaping, and baking your own? In that case, a breadmaker is for you. Plus, buy a machine with a timer, and the bread will be ready and waiting for you in the morning; all you have to do is switch on the kettle, and the house smells amazing.
How does a breadmaker work?
The making of bread in a breadmaker is essentially the same across all models. According to the recipe, the basic ingredients of flour, water, and yeast, plus other ingredients, are added to the bread pan in the machine in a specific order and varying quantities.
In some machines, you can choose a loaf size, crust colour – and press start. The machine then springs into action, kneading, resting, rising, and baking.
How much is a breadmaker?
The cost can vary quite widely from a compact breadmaker with a limited number of programmes to an all singing all dancing large, family-sized machine, expect to pay from £60 up to £300.
The best breadmakers to buy
Read on to discover which breadmaker to buy. For over 400 buyer’s guides, visit our product reviews section to read reviews of everything from stand mixers and food processors to best toasters and chopping boards.
1. Panasonic SD-ZX2522 automatic breadmaker – best overall breadmaker
- Available from: Argos (£209.99)
The Panasonic SD-ZX2522 is a staggeringly good machine with 37 programmes – ranging across bread, doughs, pasta, jam and gluten-free, to name but a few. Plus it offers three loaf sizes and crust colours.
We loved the separate yeast dispenser and automatic fruit and seed dispenser in the lid, meaning the machine can be set up to do its thing day or night without needing attendance.
Even the accessories on this machine are impressive, with tall lidded cups and a one-gram measuring spoon for sourdough starters.
If this machine had a viewing window, then it would have ticked every box for the perfect breadmaker, but even as it is, it is close. Read our full Panasonic breadmaker review.
2. Lakeland Digital breadmaker – best basic breadmaker
- Available from: Lakeland (£99.99)
For an easy-to-use, good all-round breadmaker, you can’t go wrong with this one from Lakeland, with an impressive 12 pre-programmed recipes for bread, pizza dough, gluten-free loaves and cake in a range of sizes and crust colours.
There’s a generous viewing window to keep an eye on how a bake is progressing, plus a control panel with a clear LED screen and simple, straightforward touch buttons. And, the bread it makes is delicious. All of this for under £100 – it’s no wonder we like this machine. Read our full Lakeland breadmaker review.
3. Russell Hobbs 23620 Fast Bake breadmaker – best budget breadmaker
The Russell Hobbs breadmaker may have been the smallest machine we tested, but its size did not impede any of its many features – it can even make an impressive large 1kg family-sized loaf.
With its soft curved lines and shiny black casing, it’s a machine you’d happily leave out on the worktop when not in use.
There are 12 pre-programmed recipes, and most come in three sizes with three crust colours, plus two fast bakes which will have a loaf of bread out of the pan and cooling in under an hour. Read our full Russell Hobbs breadmaker review.
4. Morphy Richards 502001 Homebake breadmaker – best value breadmaker
The Morphy Richards Homebake breadmaker is a tall, lovely-looking machine. It has gently curving sides which help to reduce its overall footprint, useful if space is an issue.
There is a clear, large viewing window and 14 programmes, from the basic white loaf through to cakes, jam, gluten-free bread and even yogurt.
The instruction book was the best on the test – it was easy to follow, making this machine a doddle to use. We had a small issue with the folding paddle, but otherwise there is very little not to like. Read our full Morphy Richards breadmaker review.
5. Tower T1105 breadmaker – best for ease of use
The Tower breadmaker is a professional-looking machine with its sturdy stainless-steel casing, good-sized viewing window and straightforward, uncomplicated touch panel on the lid. It has 19 pre-programmed recipes, which vary from bread (including gluten-free and sourdough), to cakes, jam and yogurt.
If that isn’t enough, there’s also a detachable fruit and seed dispenser which clips neatly into the lid when needed. It is a little noisier than some, but nothing that would stop you from loving this machine and the delicious bread it produces. Read our full Tower breadmaker review.
6. Gastroback breadmaker – best multi-tasker
- Available from Amazon (£119.90)
The Gastroback breadmaker is an admirable machine, and even though a little pricier than most we tested, delivers well with 18 pre-programmed recipes for white and wholemeal bread, gluten-free loaves, plus yogurt and jam.
There are, however, a few surprises. This is the only maker to offer a defrost programme, a rice bread recipe and unbelievably an ice cream making function – which does require buying an attachment. The Gastroback is well made, and one we predict could last for many years with careful use. Read our full Gastroback breadmaker review.
7. Klarstein Brotilde family breadmaker – best lightweight breadmaker
This reasonably-priced, compact, stainless steel breadmaker comes with features found on higher priced machines, including 14 pre-set programmes, a delay timer and an integrated fruit and seed dispenser.
The control panel is a blend of six touch buttons and a rotary button for the timer, and there’s a good viewing window. The instruction book and wobbly lid did let it down slightly. Even so, the machine does make very good bread. Read our full Klarstein breadmaker review.
8. Sage the Custom Loaf™ breadmaker – best for multiple settings
Sage the Custom Loaf™ breadmaker is a supremely handsome-looking machine, with a wonderful, high-quality stainless steel casing. It will look good in any kitchen, but you’ll need a large one – this is the biggest machine we tested.
It has a good range of pre-programmed recipes and an exciting custom function for those who like to experiment, plus several unique features, including a handy light to see how your bread is coming along and a collapsible paddle for kneading the bread. Read our full Sage the Custom Loaf™ breadmaker review.
Breadmaker features to look for
A timer function
An essential in making the breadmaker more useful by waking up or coming home to a freshly baked loaf.
Useful if in mid-cycle there is a power loss or the machine is accidentally switched off, as it will pick up on where it left off – within a reasonable time frame.
Loaf size and crust colour
Add versatility and variety to your baking.
For those with dietary restrictions.
These expand the repertoire of the machine with pasta, pizza doughs, French sticks, or to bake your loaf in a conventional oven for more of a home-baked look.
Yogurt, sourdough starters, jam functions add even more usefulness.
Viewing windows, separate yeast or nut and seed dispensers are handy but not essential.
Top tips for using a breadmaker
If you have never used a breadmaker before, or are used older models, here are a few tips for that perfect loaf.
- Bread-making is an exact science, so measure carefully and closely follow the instructions with the machine, adding the ingredients to the pan in the correct order. Each model of breadmaker is carefully calibrated electronically, so too much or little of any ingredient, or them added in the wrong order, will throw off the recipe.
- Use the flour as stated in the recipe; strong bread flour cannot be substituted with plain.
- Keep yeast and salt separate. The recipe will always indicate the order of ingredients, the salt will be earlier on, and yeast usually at the end (or from its own dispenser). Never add the two together as the salt will kill the yeast and the bread will not rise.
- Always put the finished loaf onto a rack to cool down to stop the loaf going soggy.
- Machine-made bread does not have any of the additives, stabilisers or improvers used in commercial production so does not keep as long as shop-bought. To keep the bread fresh, pop it into a large plastic bag and squeeze out the air, fasten tightly and it will keep for a few days, after which it is great for toast. It also freezes well once cooled completely.
How we tested breadmakers
We reviewed a representative sample of bread machines and scored them against the following criteria.
Quality of loaf: we wanted an even rise, great texture, appearance and, to state the obvious, a delicious taste.
Ease of use: we preferred machines that had easy-to-use functionality and display. A viewing window was a bonus.
Versatility: a good range of bread types was essential and other baking options a plus.
Easy-to-follow instructions: there’s not much to using a bread maker, but if you get it wrong, the machine can quickly be left to gather dust. Simple, clear guidelines were important.
Broad recipe selection: we marked up machines with a good range of recipes. You may want to get creative after a while, but a good starting selection was essential.
Each individual machine will come with its own instruction manual and recommended recipes, but our easy white loaf recipe can be made in a bread machine.
More advice on buying kitchen equipment…
Bread recipes and tips
This review was last updated in November 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at email@example.com.
Do you have a breadmaker or do you prefer to go back to basics and trust your natural instinct? We’d like to hear your thoughts…