Breadmakers review 2007

If there’s no bakery nearby, why not make your own bread?
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  • Updated:9 Jul 2007


What to buy

  • PANASONIC SD-251 # - $249
  • BREVILLE BB290 - $170
  • SUNBEAM BM2100 (see note below) - $100

Note: the SUNBEAM BM2100 is only recommended if you want a cheap, no-frills machine that does the basics well. This model got good scores for making white bread and costs just $100, but it isn’t as easy to use as the others.

# The PANASONIC SD-251 has been discontinued.

One factor in your choice could be whether you want a traditional horizontal loaf or are happy with a vertical shape (the risen crust is on a short rather than a long side).

Most of the tested breadmakers have a horizontal pan, but two of the three in the What to buy list (BREVILLE and SUNBEAM) deliver a vertical loaf. See the features table for details.

What about the rest?

  • The BREVILLE BB420, GEORGE FOREMAN and PANASONIC SD-253 are all at the high end of the price range ($250–$289) but don’t make bread as well as the similarly priced PANASONIC SD-251 and the cheaper BREVILLE BB290 in the What to buy list. The PANASONIC SD-253 has a good range of programs, though.
  • While the $199 SUNBEAM BM7800 is easy to use and has a good range of programs, it got only average scores for baking.
  • Being cheap ($100) and easy to use probably won't compensate for the BREVILLE BB280 having the equal-lowest scores for making white bread - both from scratch and from a premix. The SUNBEAM BM2100 in the What to buy list is a better choice if you want to keep to this lower price point.

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Results tables

Brand / model (in rank order) Overall score (%) White bread score (%) Premix score (%) Fruit distribution score (%) Ease of use score (%) Price ($)
# Panasonic SD-251 82 80 85 100 73 249
Breville BB290 79 80 75 100 73 170
Breville BB420 72 75 65 100 67 250
George Foreman GFBM1000 72 60 80 80 73 250
Sunbeam BM2100 70 70 75 80 60 100
Sunbeam BM7800 69 60 70 80 73 199
# Panasonic SD-253 67 55 75 100 60 289
Breville BB280 66 55 65 80 73 100


  Features Specifications
Brand / model
(in rank order)
Progress indicator Power failure protection Automatic fruit dispenser Removable lid Viewing window Shape of loaf Loaf colour options Loaf size options Dimensions (W x D x H, cm) Contact
# Panasonic SD-251 Horizontal Light, medium, dark Medium, large, extra-large 34 x 27 x 34 132 600
Breville BB290 Vertical Light, medium, dark 750 g, 1 kg 23 x 35 x 33 1300 139 798
Breville BB420 Horizontal Light, medium, dark 750 g, 1 kg, 1.25 kg 40 x 26 x 33 1300 139 798
George Foreman GFBM1000 Horizontal Light, medium, dark 500 g, 750 g, 1.5 kg 41 x 26 x 32 1800 427 842
Sunbeam BM2100 Vertical None 750 g 26 x 35 x 29 1800 025 059
Sunbeam BM7800 Horizontal Light, medium, dark 750 g, 1.0 kg, 1.25/1.5 kg 43 x 28 x 33 1800 025 059
# Panasonic SD-253 Horizontal Light, medium, dark Medium, large, extra-large 34 x 27 x 37 132 600
Breville BB280 Horizontal Light, medium, dark 750 g, 1 kg 28 x 38 x 28 1300 139 798

Table notes

# Both PANASONIC models are discontinued.

The overall score is made up of:

  • White bread made from ingredients - 30%
  • White bread made from a premix - 30%
  • Fruit distribution - 10%
  • Ease of use - 30%

Features and programs: For more information on these, see What to look for.

How we tested

  • CHOICE’s home economist made loaves of white bread from ingredients, according to the basic recipe provided with each machine. She also made white bread from a premix.
  • She visually assessed the loaves for the evenness of crust colour, the uniformity of mixing, shape of the loaf, crust texture and even distribution of small bubbles throughout the loaf.
  • She made raisin loaf according to the manufacturer’s recipe and assessed it for the distribution of fruit and whether the fruit was chopped, which can happen if the fruit is added too early or kneaded too harshly.
  • To assess ease of use she looked at how easy the tin is to remove and place back into the shaft and whether the models have easy-to-use controls and settings. She also checked if they have a digital display and progress indicator, and if they’re easy to wipe over and disassemble for cleaning.