If you’re into home bread making or you are thinking about picking up one of these, our breadmaker buying guide will help you find the best breadmaker for your needs. We have also conducted a side-by-side comparison of breadmakers in our test labs, see the results in our breadmaker review (member content).
Have a question about breadmakers? Ask us in the comments below.
an old Breville - now retired but kept as a backup
two older Panasonic SD-200 (no longer available new)
a Sunbeam BM7850
a Panasonic SD-2501
which we use for our business.
The Panasonic bread machines produce a good, even loaf. The Sunbeam loaf is slightly wider and longer (not as high), and while the colour isn’t as even as the Panasonic, the loaves turn out okay (but not as good as the Panasonic). The Sunbeam bread machine is about $50-100 cheaper.
I wouldn’t buy a Breville again as the loaves aren’t as good as the Sunbeam and substantially inferior to the Panasonic. We replaced the Breville with a Panasonic, and would definitely buy a Panasonic again.
Some tips. …
don’t use the quick bake/turbo functions. The loaves are smaller and denser as they don’t have the same time to rise as the normal baking cycle.
Consider buying a second hand one. On Marketplace/Gumtree they appear regularly. I suspect they are bought to be used, and sold when the enthusiasm dwindles.
Not all bread mixes are equal if you decide to use a mix over buying individual ingredients. Try different ones until you find one that makes a good loaf in the bread machine you purchased.
If you want fresh bread for breakfast, use the delay start and get the bread machine ready before going to bed.
Get an electric knife. The fresh loaves are difficult to slice and an electric knife makes it a lot easier. Slicing racks/guides can also be bought as an accessory, and might be worth considering as well.
The base of the bread has a hole from the paddle. Some remove the paddle adter needing to minimise the hole…we don’t do this but it is possible.
Hope this helps.
Edit. The two older Panasonic machines have baked over 1000+ loaves over the years. The new Panasonic about 50 loaves so far and the Sunbeam would be around 100 loaves thus far. We replaced a old Panasonic (where the drive failed and due to age, couldn’t get spares and is now kept for spares) with the Sunbeam, and the Breville more recently with a new Panasonic. Using the Sunbeam for a while proved the Panasonic is a superior baking machine and hopefully will last as long as the others. The non-stick in the newer Panasonics seems better than older models, and other brands. Time will tell if it continues to be as good.
Another note, the Panasonic baking tins are far more solid than the Sunbeam and Breville ones. The Breville has many dints from its long use making loaf removal more difficult. The Sunbeam has a few minor dints, but hasn’t impacted much on the tin. The Breville and Sunbeam are made using pressed/folded metal, while the Panasonic is a cast tin (with thicker walls). If you tend to bump or drop things, then go for one with a far more substantial tin…like the Panasonic.
Edit (10/01/22). Last week the Sunbeam BM7850 died. The control panel illuminates, but buttons are unresponsive. Searching online, it appears a common fault when the bread machine ages and it can’t be repaired. One for the bin after about 150 loaves, one pizza dough and making blackberry jam. Hopped online and managed to find a old working Panasonic SD-2501 nearby for $20. Has baked 3 loaves in our kitchen in the first week, to add to those of the previous owner. If it lasts a year, it will have been a bargain. Based on the other two Panasonic SD-2501 we have, no reason why it shouldn’t.
Totally agree. A bread maker can only work the ingredients we add, a light and fluffy loaf will depend mostly on the right flour and yeast, and a few other tips.
Make sure you can make a good loaf of bread by hand. Use the bread maker to make your life easier
Hi and welcome to this forum. I would take the recommendation of Choice review on the best bread maker. So far nearly all the products Choice have recommended, for me, have turned out to be excellent. Have fun making your own delicious breads. Incidentally you can also make sweet fruity buns and even pizza dough.
I have a Kambrook KBM300. It is OK, was cheap and makes an acceptable loaf.
The shape of the tin dictates the shape of the loaf. The Kambrook is somewhat rounded, to aid mixing and slices look odd. It can do up to a 900g loaf, but sometime the mixture rises so much it sticks to the lid. The bread maker can be used for a range of cooking - jam, pizza dough, cakes - but is limited to 220 degrees C. Cakes are OK but a bit dark on the crust.
I remove the paddle before the last rise (no more mixing cycles), scrape down the sides, lid, and replace the dough, evenly formed for the final rise & bake. It still ends up with a hole in the bottom. The non-stick has worn on the paddle due to use and it now tends to tear a large hole. Sometimes I make the dough in the machine and put it in a loaf tin for its final rise and bake in the oven.
Light & Fluffy - There are a few tricks, but you will have to experiment.
More yeast makes the bread rise with a lighter more open texture. Avoid “rapid rise” yeast.
A Bread Improver eg Wallaby by Laucke, helps strengthen the framework of the bread resulting in a loaf that is lighter in texture, higher in volume and more stable. Ascorbic acid is what does the trick, so you can substitute Vitamin C powder or crushed tablet (unflavoured).
Flour should be 11% protein or higher (check the nutrition table).
I would recommend the Kambrook as cheap, long lived and reliable. The down sides are: the size is limited, cockroaches love it and I have some small ones now entombed in the “sealed” LCD display (it gets a good wash before use), the paddle is becoming less non-stick with use, it would be more versatile if the temperature or time could be changed eg 180C/45min for cakes - you are limited to set programs.
This applies to all the machines I have had - five over the years if memory serves. In my experience the pan and the paddle are the bits that wear. When I first got one I expected the motor to wear out first but it hasn’t happened. In one case the pan was scored by the paddle and it was replaced under warranty.
I have bought new paddles or pans several times, one pan cracked around the spindle and would leak. If you use it regularly the pan/paddle is unlikely to last more than about 5 years. The pans are horridly expensive compared to the full machine and the paddles are not cheap. But that is the appliance spare parts industry for you.
I moved your query to the related topic about bread makers. It appears Choice has tested neither but the open content buying guide (click the following to go to the related post with links) might be useful.
Perhaps additional replies will be forthcoming.
An anecdotal resource that might be helpful is
Keep in mind productreview is not a test nor are the posts tests so it is important to distil what individual posts are about - operation, quality, service, non-delivery, etc to look for patterns.
I can recommend a Panasonic machine as we have four, three SD200s and a SD-2501 (see photo). We have also had a Sunbeam BM7850 and old Breville machine. Haven’t used a Kambrook, but think it is likely to be similar to the Breville. Neither the Sunbeam or Breville make a loaf as good as the Panasonics.
If you plan to buy a breadmaker, I suggest to look out for a second hand model. Breadmakers are an appliance which are often with good intentions to use regularly, but fall by the wayside for many users. As they are a reasonable size appliance, they are often sold second hand at considerable discount. For example, an older working SD200 can be bought for as little as $20. SD2501 is under $100. We have bought second hand ones in the past and they are still working well.
Our Panasonics have baked 100s of loaves and still going strong. We use each one on average every two days.
The second hand Sunbeam we had stopped working after about 100-150 loaves. It had a circuit board fault commonly found by many users and not fixable.
The only issue in three years has been a belt drive which failed on a SD200. Spares are buyable but we decided to buy a replacement second hand one and use the other for spares.
I agree. I started baking bread soon after the start of the pandemic, first using instant yeast and modern no-knead methods and gradually working my way up to full sourdough. I found that there is no need to make it complicated. It takes literally a minute to mix the dry ingredients, another couple of minutes to mix in the wet ingredients and then you mainly let time do the kneading, which also develops the flavour. Sure, there is a learning curve getting experience with different flours, hydration rates, gluten development, ambient temperatures and fermentation times, but that is part of the pleasure of baking your own, and personally I can see no reason to use a bread machine except maybe for energy savings over a conventional oven. If you want anything other than a tin loaf, e.g. a boule, batard, baguette or ciabatta, you have to use an oven anyway - the machine is only good for the initial mixing and then you have to clean it. I’m reminded of a comment from an former work colleague in relation to another unrelated domestic appliance: “invented by a man to make money”, which, as a man, makes me laugh, but is true. If you don’t want the work, minimal as it is, just save the money on a machine and support your local bakery instead.