There's something therapeutic about kneading bread, but all the prepping and waiting and rising aren't always what you want to go through when you want some warm, fresh bread on a busy day. Fortunately, many trustworthy home-appliance brands like Cuisinart, Panasonic, Breville and others make top-of-the-line bread machines that take all the heavy lifting out of baking up a nice crusty loaf.
But the best bread machines are just as varied as the types and flavors of bread you might enjoy. That's why it's important to consider performance and the helpful features you'll get the most use out of. What makes a bread machine the best? You'll appreciate one that delivers consistent performance, has easy-to-understand instructions, features intuitive controls and an operates quietly. And you'll also want to think about the number of servings from each loaf, loaf shape and the types of bread you plan to make. We've rounded up the best bread machines for every baker to help you find the design that's right for your needs.
Best Overall: Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker
If you plan to make a variety of bread, consider the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker, which offers the versatility you'll need to make a multitude of loaves. The double kneading blades and dual heaters on the lid and bottom of the unit create even results every time. The rapid setting lets you have a two-pound loaf ready in less than 150 minutes.
Best Value: Oster Expressbake Breadmaker
Don't let the budget-friendly price tag on the Oster Expressbake Breadmaker deceive you. This value-packed option has tons of useful features, including 12 bread settings, three crust settings and a two-pound loaf capacity. It has an ExpressBake setting for anyone looking for bread in less than an hour and a 13-hour programmable timer so that you can have fresh bread whenever you want it.
Best for Beginners: T-Fal Actibread Bread Machine
If you're new to making your own bread, consider the T-Fal Actibread bread machine. It's easy to use, no matter the bread type. It also makes pasta, jam and cakes. It offers three loaf sizes, three crust settings and an easy-to-read digital display. Program it to delay start for up to 15 hours. The machine keeps the loaf warm automatically until ready to serve.
Best for Mix-ins: Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker
Getting fancy with your bread making requires a machine capable of handling the extras. That's one of the areas where Breville's Custom Loaf Bread Maker shines. It gives you the freedom to indulge your creative whims with mix-ins thanks to the automatic dispenser that releases fruit, nuts and other ingredients at the right time during the dough kneading phase so that everything is mixed evenly throughout.
Best Multitasker: Hamilton Beach Artisan and Gluten-Free Bread Maker
Despite its relatively low price tag, the Hamilton Beach Artisan and Gluten-Free Bread Maker delivers hardworking versatility. Hone your craft as a bread maker without breaking a sweat. This bread machine has 14 programmed cycles, three loaf sizes and three crust settings. You can bake everything from country white bread to focaccia and beyond. Gluten-free, whole-grain or artisan — you're only limited by your own imagination.
Best Quality: Cuisinart Convection Bread Maker
The Cuisinart Convection Bread Maker has a built-in fan that circulates heat for even, fast cooking. With 680 watts of power, 16 programmed menu options and a 12-hour delayed start, this bread machine offers stellar versatility. You can make more than 100 different types of dough, bread, jam and cakes — all with fast, even results.
Best Programmable: Breadman Professional Bread Maker
Are you looking for bakery-quality results? The Breadman Professional Bread Maker makes it easy to bake bread like a pro with 14 preprogrammed settings to make your favorite bread and dough in three sizes. It also has a one-hour keep warm option, 15-hour delayed start and a mix-in dispenser to make specialty bread with ease.
Best for Oversized Loaves: Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker
Family baking is easier with the Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker, a large-capacity bread maker that makes loaves in three sizes, up to 2.5 pounds. It doesn't have a viewing window, which enables increased heat reflection for an improved crust, efficient rising and gorgeous color. It also has an automatic yeast dispenser that releases the perfect dose at the right time for ideal results.
Best for Small Loaves: Zojirushi Programmable Mini Breadmaker
If you're making small-batch loaves or baking just for one or two people, you might not need a large capacity machine. The Zojirushi Mini Breadmaker is ideal for smaller households with its one-pound loaf capacity. The quick cycle lets you have a loaf ready within two hours and the 13-hour delay timer adds even more versatility for baking breads of all kinds.
Best for Gluten-free: Panasonic SD-YR2500 Bread Maker
Gluten-free baking can be tricky, but not with the Panasonic SD-YR2500 Bread Maker with its gluten-free mode, which is one of eight preset functions on this versatile appliance. It evenly bakes gluten-free loaves to golden perfection with two crust settings. It also has options to make traditional bread, pasta and pizza.