If you love the taste of freshly baked bread, you’ve probably considered buying a breadmaker. Having the option to make your own bread at home is also very convenient if you have special dietary requirements or allergies, as your control over the ingredients means you can be confident about what you’re eating.

If you’re a less than experienced baker, however, the prospect of baking your own bread can seem daunting. With so many bread maker machines on the market providing a wealth of features, selecting the best machine for your novice needs may feel overwhelming.

Luckily for you, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ve reviewed five of the most user-friendly bread makers for beginners so you can start to enjoy delicious homemade bread in no time.

  • Horizontal pan
  • Dual top/bottom heaters
  • Double kneading blades
  • Special diet programs
  • Three programmable memory courses
  • LCD display
  • 1-year warranty

  • 12 settings
  • Large digital display
  • <13-hour delay timer
  • Three crust options
  • Dishwasher-safe bread pan
  • 1-year warranty

  • Two pound capacity
  • 12 baking programs
  • Three crust options
  • Express bake setting
  • <13-hour delay timer
  • LCD display
  • 1-year warranty

  • 12 baking functions
  • Three crust settings
  • 1.5 or 2 lb loaves
  • Delay bake timer
  • LCD display screen
  • 1-year warranty

  • 19 automatic bake programs
  • Three loaf size options
  • Three crust options
  • <15-hour delay timer
  • Keep warm mode
  • 2-year warranty


Zojirushi is one of the biggest names in home bread baking, and the Virtuoso Plus is an extremely popular model for both beginners and experienced bakers alike. With its long horizontal shaped bread pan, the Virtuoso Plus bakes loaves that are much closer to traditional, long-shaped loaves. This is ideal if you are looking for regular shaped bread slices for use in toasters and sandwiches.

This bread maker is renowned for its special diet programs, making it extremely easy for beginners to bake bread suitable for special dietary requirements without having to go through trial and error experimentation. Homemade salt-free bread, gluten-free bread, sugar-free bread, and even vegan bread can all be easily made with no prior experience necessary. What’s more, the Virtuoso Plus also has three programmable functions, so you can store your own custom bake settings as you progress and try out new ideas.

In terms of performance, the Virtuoso Plus is well ahead of the competition, thanks to its dual kneading blades that optimize the process for lighter, tastier bread. The dual top and bottom heater ensure that your loaf is evenly baked all-round, while the three crust settings allow you to choose between a light, medium, or dark crust. The only area where the Zojirushi lags behind other models is its rapid bake program, which takes almost two-and-a-half hours. Accordingly, if you’re looking for a fast bread maker, this isn’t the one to go for. The only other issue is that there is no alarm before the baking cycle starts, so you won’t get a reminder when it’s time to add any extra ingredients.

Pros

  • Horizontal pan shape.
  • Dual top and bottom heaters.
  • Double kneading blades.
  • Special diet programs.
  • Three programmable memory courses.

Cons

  • No alarm before baking cycle starts.
  • Rapid programs considerably longer than other models.


If you’re just getting started home bread baking, then the Hamilton Beach HomeBaker makes a great first choice. It’s a fairly inexpensive, low price bread maker packed with features useful to both the beginner and experienced baker.

You can easily choose from 12 baking settings which are clearly visible on the large digital display, including a gluten-free setting, French style bread setting, express settings and various others. This range of programs is ideal for beginners as there are plenty of useful, basic bread baking settings as well as other functions that you can try once you’re more confident. There is also the option to choose your crust baking setting, with a choice between light, medium, or dark so you can bake your bread exactly how you like it most.

Another important feature is the 13-hour delay timer, enabling you to add your ingredients and to set the bread maker to start at a later time. This means you can have freshly made bread ready whenever you need it, without the hassle. Likewise, the dishwasher-safe pan also adds to the convenience of this bread maker as it cuts back on your time spent washing up. On the downside, this model wobbles or vibrates while it is working and can be quite noisy on the counter during the mixing phase. This doesn’t affect the quality of the results, but may get irritating if you’re sensitive to noise.

Pros

  • 12 baking settings
  • Large digital display
  • Up to 13-hour delay timer
  • Three crust settings
  • Dishwasher-safe pan

Cons

  • Rattles during mixing phase

Ideal for beginners with families to feed, the easy-to-use Oster Expressbake bread maker has a generous two-pound capacity. With twelve programs and three crust darkness settings, you can bake your bread just how your family likes it. One of the main advantages of this bread maker is its Express setting that bakes fresh bread in under one hour. You can also use this mode to create homemade doughs for family pizza night.

The Oster Expressbake also has a 13-hour delay timer feature so you can wake up to, or come home to, the smell of freshly baked bread. Simply place your ingredients inside the bread maker and set the timer accordingly. The large control panel with LCD display is clear and simple, while the touch buttons make it easy to select your program and start the machine.

During the kneading stage, however, this bread maker can get rather noisy. It also has a tendency to move around when the paddles are turning, so a little caution is needed to make sure it doesn’t wander too far. You could resolve this by wedging it in place on your counter, or placing an unbreakable, heavy object on top. Despite these issues, it’s a good basic model that is simple to use for complete beginners.

Pros

  • Two pound loaf capacity
  • 12 programs
  • Three crust settings
  • Express setting
  • 13-hour delay timer

Cons

  • May move around during kneading
  • Noisy

This bread maker by Sunbeam is a popular choice with beginners. It has 12 preset functions that include standard white, whole-grain and sweet bread, among others. There isn’t a specific gluten-free program, and while you can of course simply use gluten-free dough on any of the programs, this might be a drawback for beginner bakers who are looking for a quick and easy way to bake homemade gluten-free bread.

The Sunbeam features a convenient delay timer of up to 13 hours, making for a highly convenient way to organize your baking so that you can have freshly baked bread ready when you want. With a one-and-a-half to two pound loaf capacity, this model is ideal for larger households or smaller ones that enjoy a lot of bread. With three crust settings, you can bake your loaf exactly how you like it.

If you have a small kitchen, note that this bread maker does have a rather large footprint. If you don’t expect to be baking often, you may be better off with a smaller model. On the whole, though, this is a good budget bread maker, with easy to use touch button controls and an LCD display that lets you know which stage of the baking process is currently underway. This is helpful to have when you don’t have much experience as it gives you a better idea of the process and time frame.

Pros

  • 12 functions
  • Three crust settings
  • Choice of 1.5 or 2 lb loaves
  • Delay timer
  • LCD display panel

Cons

  • Large footprint
  • No specific gluten-free program

The SKG Automatic Bread Machine is a good choice for ambitious beginners who have high expectations and is suitable for any size household and ideal if you enjoy entertaining. This maker gives you the flexibility to bake a one pound loaf for at home or a two pound loaf for when you’re expecting guests. The convenient 15-hour delay timer is also an extremely useful function, allowing you to set your bread maker to start the process at a convenient time. There is also a choice of three different crust settings to customize your loaf to your desires.

With an incredible 19 automatic programs, there’s certainly plenty of choice for beginners. There are also easy-to-follow recipes included for each program, making this model a great way to get started making bread at home. Options range from French to basic, whole-wheat, and gluten-free. There is even a yogurt setting, as well as jam, dough and cornbread programs, features that make this bread maker stand out from the more basic models. While it can cost more than the most basic bread makers, it offers more choice and flexibility. The only real drawback to this model is the lid: its hinge doesn’t seem quite as durable as many of the metal ones found on other bread makers. Provided you use it carefully and verify that the lid is securely closed, though, this should not detract from this bread maker’s performance.

Pros

  • 19 automatic programs
  • Three loaf sizes
  • Three crust colors
  • 15-hour delay timer

Cons

  • Plastic lid hinge is flimsy

Comparison Chart

FEATURESHamilton Beach HomeBakerOster ExpressbakeSunbeam Programmable Bread MakerSKG Automatic Bread MachineZojirushi Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker
LCD Screen
Pre-Program Recipes
Gluten Free OptionXX
Multiple Crust Options
Express BakeXX
Delay Timer
Dishwasher Safe PanXXXX
Weight (lbs)15.228 18.68.5924
Warranty1-year1-year1-year2-year1-year

Buyer’s Guide:

Best Easy To Use Bread Makers

To help you to choose the best bread maker, we’ve compiled this handy bread maker buying guide for beginners. Read on to find out what you need to look out for in a bread maker and how using a bread maker can save you time and effort.

Bread makers provide a completely automated bread making process. Depending upon the program that you select they go through a number of steps to produce freshly made bread to your specifications. These include: 

  1. Mixing – the bread maker paddles turn inside the pan to mix all of the ingredients together. This preliminary stage results in the creation of your bread dough.
  2. Kneading – kneading the dough is essential. The bread maker motor powers the paddle or paddles forcefully through the dough. The kneading process is what makes your bread light and airy.
  3. Rising – your bread machine gives the kneaded dough the necessary amount of time and the right conditions for it to rise. This allows the yeast to get to work, resulting in bread that has tiny bubbles for a pleasant, light texture.
  4. Baking – after rising, your bread maker will heat up to become a mini oven and bake your loaf for the correct amount of time. When it’s done all you’ll need to do is carefully remove the pan and tip out your steaming hot bread on to a wire rack to cool.

If you want to bake your own bread but aren't quite sure how to go about it, then using a bread maker is an excellent way to get started. Here’s some of the main benefits of using a bread maker for those new to baking.

Ease of Use

Bread makers are extremely easy to use: once you’ve measured out your ingredients, it really is as simple as hitting a button and then coming back later to enjoy your freshly baked bread. There are no complex techniques to learn, no aching hands, and little to no cleaning up required. Nearly all bread makers come with a starter list of easy-to-bake loaves that are optimized for that particular model. This takes out some of the trial and error that beginners struggle with when trying to adapt recipes.

Saves Time

Kneading by hand takes time, time you could spend doing other tasks or even being elsewhere. Using a bread maker will help free up this time, so you can spend it how you want to. As the whole process is automated, you won’t have to worry about what to do when, or learning any complex techniques. Simply add the ingredients and get on with your day.

Less Effort

Let’s face it: traditional bread making is not easy. Not only do you need to put in the effort and energy into kneading your dough, you also need know how long to proof it, when it will be ready to bake, what temperature to bake it on, for how long and so on. Once you’ve got this figured out after much trial and error, then you’ll have to do the same over for any different type of bread you want to try to make. Compare all of this effort to simply placing your ingredients in your bread maker and pressing a button, and it becomes clear how much simpler a bread maker can be.

Convenience

Using a bread maker means you can have fresh bread when you choose thanks to the delayed start timer on most good bread makers. If you want freshly baked bread at breakfast, simply set up your machine before going to bed. Without a bread maker, you’re going to need to get up at least four hours earlier to get your bread ready for breakfast time. Same goes for evening baking, unless you want to stay up well into the small hours, use a bread maker to come home to fresh bread for your evening meal. 

When you’re considering purchasing a bread maker there are plenty of features that you’ll need to bear in mind. Some will be more important than others, so think carefully about what you really need and which features you’re most likely to use.

Capacity

Busy households with larger numbers will go through bread more quickly and will benefit from a bread maker with a larger capacity. If you are in a couple or live alone, then purchasing a smaller capacity bread maker will prevent you from having to dispose of leftover bread that is no longer fresh. 

Some machines can produce more than one size loaf, which can be practical for smaller households who also often entertain family and friends. Larger households can also benefit from having the choice of making smaller loaves of speciality bread that aren't intended for the whole family. You should look for a bread maker that has the capacity for your average requirements and household size. 

Pan Shape

If you’re new to bread making, it may come as a surprise to find that a lot of bread makers have longer, vertical shaped loaves rather than the standard horizontal types you tend to find in stores. This does not impact upon the taste, but it can bother those who are looking to slice and make standard sized sandwiches. If you strongly prefer a horizontal loaf, then pay attention to the pan size when you’re looking for a bread maker. Check out the exact dimensions as the photos can often be deceiving depending on the angle at which they are taken.

Settings

Even basic bread makers come with a range of programs and settings, but nearly all will have standard settings such as dough, white, whole-wheat and sweet. Depending upon your preferences and dietary requirements, it’s worth checking these pre-programmed options. Before purchasing take time to see what settings are available and which ones you actually think you’ll use. 

Timer

Fancy waking up to the smell (and taste) of freshly baked bread? How about coming home to a warm, just-baked loaf? When you purchase a bread maker with a timer you can simply add your ingredients and set it to a delayed start so that your bread will be ready when you are. 

Crust Color

If you prefer light, soft crusts or have a strong preference for crusty, well baked loaves, then you should look for a bread maker that offers you a choice of crust settings. Settings ranging from light to dark are generally available on most models.

Dishwasher-Safe

Not all bread makers come with a dishwasher-safe pan, but it is an advantageous feature as it makes cleaning up after your bread making even easier.

Replacements Parts Availability

When you’re looking for a bread maker, check out the availability of replacement parts such as a new pan and paddles. With time, these parts tend to wear out, so it makes sense to check whether or not these spares are readily available rather than having to buy a new machine unnecessarily.

The Best Bread Makers For Those Who Can't Bake

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Multiple bake settings
  • Convenient delay timers
  • Choice of crusts
  • Some models offer express baking
  • Enjoy fresh, delicious breads at home
  • May offer gluten free options

Cons

  • Can be noisy
  • Not always easy to clean
  • Some models wobble on the counter when in use

Whether you’re looking for your first bread maker or your fifth, you probably have plenty of bread maker questions. Check out our list of frequently asked need-to-know bread maker questions.

  • Are bread makers expensive to run?
  • Bread makers do not cost a lot to run in terms of electrical costs. Your average bread maker will probably be a 600-700 watt appliance, and the total cost per use will depend upon the setting you’re using. If you’re using a bread maker to save costs, you can make great savings by bulk buying inexpensive ingredients for healthier yet cheaper bread. On the other hand, some people use their bread maker to make more expensive, luxurious bread with premium ingredients. With a bread maker you’re free to decide how much, or how little, you spend on your loaf.
  • Are bread makers healthy?
  • Yes, using a bread maker gives you complete control over which ingredients you use and consume. This means you can cut out additives, preservatives, and trans fats while making bread that is actually good for you. You can also adapt your homemade bread to suit your dietary requirements and preferences.
  • Are bread makers noisy?
  • All bread makers make some noise. In order to effectively knead the dough they need a powerful motor to turn the paddles. Some, though, are noisier than others. Light weight models may even jump around a little, which can add to noise levels. Bear in mind that during the rising stages and baking, they are virtually silent. In short, bread makers can be noisy, but it’s not for the full duration of the cycle. The majority are pretty much on a par with the noise level produced by other kitchen appliances.
  • How long do bread maker loaves last?
  • Your homemade, preservative-free bread will need to be used up much more quickly than your typical store-bought, preservative-stuffed loaf, although most households have no problem consuming it all straightaway! If you have any leftover homemade bread, place it in a sealed plastic bag and store it in a cool, dark location for up to three days. Just make sure it has cooled thoroughly before storing it.
  • Can I wash the bread pan in the dishwasher?
  • Some bread makers have dishwasher-safe bread pans. If this is important to you, it’s always best to double check your model beforehand to make sure. If you’re planning on making another loaf straightaway, though, you may want to just quickly rinse it out by hand. Bread maker pans generally feature a non-stick coating and are usually easy to wipe clean.

Final Thoughts

Baking homemade bread became incredibly easy when the bread maker was introduced, and today the market is filled with some really fantastic options for those who want the treat of a fresh loaf with the push of a button. It can be difficult finding the best easy-to-use bread maker that provides all of the functions that you need, but after reviewing the above models, our top pick the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus.

The price tag is undoubtedly substantial, but thanks to its dual kneading blades and dual heating elements, this model gives consistently good results with every bake. It is ideal for beginners and includes so many speciality healthy programs that you so you can start enjoying bread that’s suitable for your dietary requirements immediately.

That said, if you’re looking for a budget beginner’s bread maker, we recommend the Hamilton Beach HomeBaker. This model still has plenty of useful functions and essential programs at a low price. Complete with a delayed-start timer, crust settings and a large digital display, the HomeBaker is a great choice if you want to try out home bread baking without the commitment of spending a large sum of money.

Further Reading

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