There are few aromas we find as comforting as that of freshly baked, homemade bread—no wonder baking sourdough and other carb-y dishes became such a trendy hobby once COVID-19 hit. If you want to jump on the bread making bandwagon but aren’t sure where to start, consider scooping up a prized kitchen appliance (read: the very best bread maker) to give you a leg up. Read on for our favorites.

The 13 Best Bread Makers at a Glance

But First, What Does a Bread Maker Actually Do?

Before we start talking about the best bread makers that money can buy, you might be wondering why you would want one to begin with. Glad you asked: The number one reason to consider investing in a bread maker is convenience. These handy machines are designed to do the lion’s share of the work without compromising the quality of your homemade loaf. Bread makers are outfitted with a paddle that will knead the dough for you with the press of a button—a convenience that’s particularly appealing if baking a loaf of fresh bread isn’t just a one-off project for you. (Fact: Once you start making bread at home, it’s hard to go back to the store-bought stuff.) In other words, your hands will thank you for investing in this time-saving tool (and sparing them carpal tunnel syndrome).

Another neat thing about bread makers is that they take the mess out of baking bread: Just dump the ingredients into the machine and voila—the work is done, and your kitchen is so clean, it’s like flour never even happened.

Finally, many bread makers boast an automatic timer, a set-it-and-forget-it function that allows you to start your bread at bedtime and wake up to a beautiful, golden-brown loaf in the morning. The takeaway? You don’t absolutely knead one (sorry, we had to), but a bread maker will ensure your newfound hobby is hassle-free.

RELATED: Bread Baking for Beginners: Everything You Should Know (Including 18 Easy Bread Recipes to Try ASAP)

Amazon

1. KBS Pro Stainless Steel Programmable Bread Machine

Best overall

Loaf size: 1, 1½ and 2 pounds

Settings: 17 automatic bread settings and 3 crust settings

Home bakers give glowing reviews to the KBS Pro—a sleek, stainless steel number with a viewing window and all the bells and whistles. This machine boasts a super quiet AC motor and dual heating tubes for maximum efficiency, and fans say it does a bang-up job of gently kneading dough for superior gluten formation and a consistently tasty finished product. This puppy also comes with a non-stick ceramic pan that ensures even baking and easy clean-up, while preventing chemicals from leaching into your bread. The KBS Pro can produce loaves up to two pounds, but thanks to its adjustable capacity, you can successfully whip up a smaller loaf as well. The 17 automatic settings can tackle any type of dough—including gluten-free and whole wheat recipes—and the fruit and nut dispenser makes it easy to create something fancy for a special occasion (or, you know, a Tuesday). Plus, the 15-hour timer means you don’t have to schedule your day around baking a loaf of bread.

Pros:

  • User-friendly
  • Quiet
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • No alert to indicate when it’s time to remove the paddle
  • Paddle can get stuck after baking unless oiled

$130 at Amazon

Amazon

2. Cuisinart CBK-110 Compact Automatic Bread maker

Best compact

Loaf size: 1, 1 ½ and 2 pounds

Settings: 12 pre-programmed settings and 3 crust settings

If you’re looking for a bread maker that doesn’t take up too much real estate on your kitchen counter, the Cuisinart is an excellent option. Don’t be fooled by its compact size, though—this machine can do quite a lot. The Cuisinart compact bread maker has 12 menu options, so you can make everything from artisan breads to cakes and pizzas. Best of all, users report that this machine is a breeze to clean, thanks to the removable, non-stick kneading pan and paddle, and couldn’t be easier to operate. This one also boasts a viewing window, digital display, 13-hour delay-start timer and audible alerts to indicate when it’s time to take out the paddle and, most importantly, when your beautiful loaf of bread is ready to slice and serve.

Pros:

  • Space-saving, compact design
  • Easy to operate and clean

Cons:

  • Some users report better results with 1 and 1½ pound loaves

$110 at Amazon

Amazon

3. Oster Expressbake Bread maker

Best for speed

Loaf size: up to 2 pounds

Settings: 12 bread settings and 3 crust settings

Sometimes you need a fresh-baked loaf of bread stat. Good news, friends: This Oster bread maker has got you covered. This compact machine boasts an “Expressbake” feature that promises a fully-baked loaf in less than an hour, but it performs well when you’re not in a hurry, too: A 13-hour delay-start time and a Keep Warm function promise fresh bread pretty much any time. This guy has 12 pre-programmed settings, so it can produce all the standard bread maker menu options—pizza dough, jam and basic loaves to name a few—and a handy alert will let you know when it’s time to add any desired mix-ins. (Hello, olive bread.) That said, buyers should know that it doesn’t have a gluten-free setting—though users report the regular bread setting works just fine with gluten-free flour—and some say its small size works best for slightly smaller loaves, despite its two-pound capacity. Bottom line: This isn’t the Mercedes Benz of bread makers, but the Oster is a budget-friendly option for getting the job done...and fast.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective
  • Quick baking time
  • Compact, lightweight design

Cons:

  • Less durable and louder than other more expensive options
  • No gluten-free setting

$80 at Amazon

Amazon

4. Hamilton Beach Digital Bread Maker

Best for gluten-free baking

Loaf size: 1 ½ and 2 pounds

Settings: 12 bread settings and 3 crust settings

If you’re in the market for a bread machine that won’t break the bank, the Hamilton Beach digital bread maker might be just the ticket. This model is particularly noteworthy because of its versatility: Use it to make French bread, whole grain or gluten-free loaves, pizza dough, marmalade and even cakes and quick breads. (While some users report that the machine struggles to properly mix certain doughs, such as whole grain, bakers give the gluten-free setting rave reviews in particular.) As for additional features, this machine has an audible alert to let you know when to toss fruits and nuts into your dough, easy-to-clean parts (which are non-stick and dishwasher-safe, BTW) and a 13-hour delay-start timer for when you want to prep now and bake later. Best of all, the lightweight design boasts non-slip feet—you know, so the motor won’t make it bounce right off your kitchen counter. (Yep, that’s a thing.)

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Lightweight
  • Gluten-free setting delivers the goods

Cons:

  • Some recipes from the included book require tweaking
  • Less thorough at kneading and mixing

$70 at Amazon

Amazon

5. Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Bread Maker

Most splurge-worthy

Loaf size: 2 pounds

Settings: 15 pre-programmed settings and 3 crust settings

As the steep price tag suggests, this bread maker is one seriously high-end piece of equipment...but what gives the Zojirushi its edge over the competition? For starters, this bread machine has dual heating elements (top and bottom) to facilitate even baking and browning—and they’re powerful enough to produce a scrumptious, full-size loaf in just under two-and-a-half hours when the rapid function has been selected—as well as dual kneading paddles that work the dough to perfection. This option also has an extra-large LCD display that’s exceedingly easy to use (meaning you won’t need to crack any complicated codes or call customer service just to figure out what all the buttons are for). Overall, users report that this bread maker is quiet, easy to clean and incredibly consistent when it comes to churning out high-quality, nicely shaped loaves of bread.

Pros:

  • High performing dual heater and paddle technology
  • Rapid function for quick baking
  • Easy to operate and ultra quiet

Cons:

  • Expensive

$340 at Amazon

Bed Bath & Beyond

6. Breville The Custom Loaf Bread Maker

Best for families

Loaf size: 1, 1½, 2 and 2½ pounds

Settings: 13 automatic settings, 9 custom settings and 3 crust settings

This thoughtfully designed bread maker features an automatic fruit and nut dispenser, an intuitive LCD interface with a progress indicator that computes baking time and temperature, a delay-start timer and a collapsible kneading paddle (so you don’t have to worry about a pesky hole in your loaf when the baking process is done). Plus, its extra-large capacity boasts the ability to bake four different loaf sizes, ranging from small to family size, and users say this one won’t walk off your counter, either. (Phew!) Most importantly, the 13 pre-programmed settings produce excellent breads—fans say the crusty French bread loaf is to die for—as well as pastas and other yeast-free options. This one has healthy and diet-friendly options (gluten-free, whole wheat) and manual settings to boot.

Pros:

  • Collapsible paddle
  • User-friendly interface
  • Large capacity

Cons:

  • Large size takes up considerable counter space
  • Collapsible paddle can be hard to clean

Buy It ($300)

Walmart

7. Cuisinart CBK-200 Convection Bread maker

Best convection

Loaf size: 1, 1½ and 2 pounds

Settings: 16 pre-programmed settings and 3 crust settings

Think of this one as a beefed-up cousin to the Cuisinart CBK-110 (see above)—and with 16 different settings, it can do everything from low-carb loaves to decadent cakes. For bread lovers, though, the artisan bread option—a setting that puts your dough through several long, slow rises to achieve a scrumptious rustic crust and chewy interior—is where it’s at. But no matter which setting you choose, the finished product is sure to benefit from the unique convection feature, which circulates air and eliminates hot spots that result in uneven baking and browning. This machine also boasts a useful pause feature, so you can make adjustments as needed during the mixing process (users say the unit is a cinch to clean, too). Bonus: The removable lid on this bad boy features a viewing window, so you can work up an appetite by watching the magic in real time. (But give the rapid cycle or “last minute loaf” settings a whirl if you’re short on time.)

Pros:

  • Convection-style heat for consistent baking
  • Pause feature (in case you want to tweak your dough)
  • Streamlined design is easy to use and easy on the eyes

Cons:

  • Larger size means less counter space
  • Some users complain about noisiness

Buy It ($130)

Amazon

8. Breadman Professional Bread Maker

Best programmable

Loaf size: 1, 1½ and 2 pounds

Settings: 14 bread settings and 3 crust settings

Flexibility is king with this 14-option bread maker, which allows users to adjust the settings to their liking while offering the opportunity to bake a whole host of things, including pizza dough, artisan bread and gluten-free goods. Rapid bake options are among the numerous settings on offer, and an automatic fruit and nut dispenser means you can walk away from your loaf knowing all the trimmings will be added at just the right time. Oh, and there’s also a collapsible paddle so your bread doesn’t suffer unnecessary puncture wounds. Bottom line: The combination of customizable settings and even-heating technology ensures a good outcome and, although this appliance takes up quite a bit of space, it looks nice enough that you won’t mind too much.

Pros:

  • Bakes evenly
  • Automatic fruit and nut dispenser
  • Adjustable settings and loaf size

Cons:

  • Bulky
  • Digital display and viewing window are difficult to see due to height of the unit

$130 at Amazon

Amazon

9. Secura Programmable Bread Maker Machine

Best for beginners

Loaf size: Up to 2.2 pounds

Settings: 19 pre-programmed settings and 3 crust settings

Users report that the Secura bread maker produces excellent results with bread, pasta dough and everything in between (which is a lot, given that it has a whopping 19 menu options). Fans of this appliance also say that it’s easy to clean (i.e., wipe it down and you’re done) and boasts a sturdy construction with straightforward controls. There’s no automatic fruit and nut dispenser on this one, but it will give you a loud beep when the time is right, and the 15-hour delay-start timer and 1-hour warm function provide plenty of flexibility. Folks also say the bread pan is a winner—producing evenly browned loaves that don’t stick to the bottom.

Pros:

  • High-quality non-stick bread pan for even baking
  • Versatile
  • User-friendly settings

Cons:

  • Users complain the recipe book leaves something to be desired and the ingredient measurements are hard to convert without a food scale

$98 at Amazon

Amazon

10. Amazon Basics 2-Pound Non-Stick Bread Making Machine

Most affordable

Loaf size: up to 2 pounds

Settings: 14 cook settings, 3 crust settings

If bread making is new to you, there's no need to spend an arm and a leg on a bread making machine right out the gate. Get your feet wet first with this reasonably priced pick instead. It automatically mixes, kneads, rises and bakes up to a two-pound loaf with minimal help from the baker. Our favorite setting is the ExpressBake function, which bakes bread in less than 90 minutes. Not only can you choose how toasty you want the crust, but you can also opt to make pizza dough, gluten-free breads, jams, cakes and even yogurt. An LCD display and simple button controls will ease you seamlessly into your new hobby.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Minimal shaking due to rubber feet
  • Lower price than most bread makers

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say included recipes are unreliable
  • Some reviewers say it's noisier than other models
  • Lower quality accessories and dough paddle

$60 at Amazon

Amazon

11. Dash Everyday Stainless Steel Bread Maker

Prettiest bread maker

Loaf size: up to 1½ pounds

Settings: 7 bread settings, 3 crust settings

If you have limited counter space, a bread maker may seem out of the question. This smaller machine may be just the compromise you're looking for. Not only is it lightweight and more compact than other models, but it also comes in three different colors that will match your kitchen perfectly (though we're very partial to the Aqua number). Pre-programmed modes for French, whole wheat, fast, sweet, artisan and gluten-free loaves make them a breeze to bake, and the 13-hour delay start feature allows you to bake bread overnight. This appliance can also tackle cake and jam, and it features an automatic filling dispenser that adds toppings and mix-ins while the bread bakes. Even better, there are separate knead and bake functions, so you can use the machine to knead the dough if you'd prefer to bake it in the oven.

Pros:

  • Looks pretty on your kitchen counter
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Has many of the same features as bigger, pricier machines

Cons:

  • Makes a smaller loaf than most two-pound capacity machines
  • Some reviewers don't recommend this machine for gluten-free bread

$120 at Amazon

Amazon

12. Pohl Schmitt Stainless Steel Bread Machine Bread Maker

Best for nut and fruit breads

Loaf size: 1 pound, 1.4 pounds, 2.2 pounds

Settings: 6 bread settings, 3 crust settings

If you love using ingredients like raisins, pistachios, sunflower seeds and cranberries in bread, look no further than this machine. Not only does it have a nut dispenser so you can add nuts and dried fruit easily at any time, but the bread maker will also beep when it's time to add your mix-ins. With 14 settings in total, this baby can tackle grain bread, French bread, quick bread, cake, yogurt, jam and more. Oh, and the 15-hour delay timer allows you to wake up to freshly baked bread, while the Keep Warm function will keep your loaf nice and toasty for up to an hour if it isn't removed once it's baked.

Pros:

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Alerts you when to add nuts, fruits and mix-ins
  • Reviewers say it's great for gluten-free breads

Cons:

  • No heating element above the bread
  • Some reviewers report multiple failed recipes

$110 at Amazon

Walmart

13. MOOSOO MB70 Bread maker Machine

Runner-up, best compact

Loaf Size: up to 2 pounds

Settings: 19 pre-programmed settings and 3 crust settings

This aesthetically pleasing stainless steel machine features a heat-proof construction (good news if you’ve got curious kids around) and manual setting options, in addition to the 19 pre-programmed ones for the more hands-on home baker. This one also has a small footprint and lightweight design, so it’s especially practical if you’re short on kitchen space, as well as a 15-hour delay-start timer and warm function for convenience. Owners of the MooSoo bread maker also say the non-stick bread bucket lives up to its easy-to-clean promise.

Pros:

  • Small size saves counter space
  • Easy to clean
  • Heat-proof construction

Cons:

  • Some users say the kneading and mixing isn’t the most thorough

Buy It ($99)

Tips for Buying a Bread Maker

In case you're still on the fence or can't decide on a model, here are a few key points to consider when shopping for a bread making machine:

1. Machine Size

Take your spare storage and counter space into account. While larger machines typically have a ton of settings and additional capabilities, they're also bulky and can be a hassle to store when not in use. If you're cool with smaller loaves or don't plan to use your bread maker frequently, a more compact machine is likely a better fit.

2. Loaf Capacity

Many machines bake up to two-pound loaves, but if you're only going to be feeding one or two people, a smaller machine will work just fine. (You wouldn't want to make a whole loaf only to let half of it go stale, right?) You should also consider the wattage your kitchen can support, since larger capacity machines usually require more power.

You should also take into account the machine's shape and design. Vertical bread makers typically take up less space and are more affordable, but you may need to slice your loaves an odd way to make them the right size for sandwiches or the toaster. Horizontal bread makers don't really have this problem, since they usually contain a standard loaf pan inside. They also tend to bake the bread more evenly than vertical machines, which usually don't have a heating element on top.

3. Pre-Programmed Settings

Ask yourself what you'll be using your bread maker for most often. Gluten-free bread? French bread? Quick bread? Whole-wheat bread? You should also opt for one that has various crust settings, which allow you to choose how dark you want the crust of your loaf to be. If you'd like to bake bread in minimal time, find a bread making machine that has a quick bake setting. If you'd like to bake bread overnight and wake up to a freshly baked loaf, opt for one with a delay-start timer.

4. Accessories

The most important of them all is kneading paddles, which are used to knead the dough before it bakes. Two paddles are ideal, but some cheaper machines only include one. Some machines keep the paddles in place while the bread bakes, meaning that once it's done, the paddle will leave a hole behind in the loaf. If that bothers you, you'll want to settle on a bread maker that has removable or collapsible paddles.

RELATED: The 41 Best Bread Recipes That Don't Require a Sourdough Starter

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