Need to know
- Our kitchen experts tested 13 current models from brands such as Panasonic, Breville, Sunbeam and Kmart to find the best and worst breadmakers
- We evaluate key factors including how well each breadmaker makes various types of loaves from scratch compared with a premix, and how easy they are to use
- Become a CHOICE member to access our full reviews and ratings
A breadmaker is one of those appliances that could either be the best thing you ever bought because you use it every day – or one you use a couple of times before relegating it to the back of the cupboard to gather dust alongside your ice-cream maker.
Is it cheaper to buy bread or make it in a bread machine? Our experts say it's probably cheaper just to pick up a loaf from the shops. But does it mean you have complete control over what goes into your loaf – and will it fill your home with the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread? Definitely. Could your oven do pretty much the same thing as a breadmaker? Well, in some ways, yes.
If you have a breadmaker on your Christmas list, or you're thinking of picking one up in the Boxing Day sales, we recommend you read our expert advice on whether you should buy one, and how you to buy the best for you.
But if you definitely want a breadmaker, here are three models that failed to rise to the occasion when we tested them.
Sunbeam BM4500: Not the worst breadmaker in the world, but there are better ones out there.
CHOICE Expert Rating: 69%
Multigrain bread made from premix score: 70%
Ease of use score: 63%
A score of 69% certainly isn't the worst we've ever given a kitchen appliance in our CHOICE labs. But there are cheaper breadmakers in our test that outperformed this one from Sunbeam (including one from the same brand).
It received a score of just 70% for making a one-kilogram loaf of multigrain from a premix, whereas our top-performing models score 100%. But our testers did have some positive things to note, such as fairly comprehensive instructions and a good-sized viewing window.
There are cheaper breadmakers in our test that outperformed this one
However, it also falls down on making rye bread (with a score of 65%) and on overall ease of use (63%). It's also quite noisy when making and kneading bread.
CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair says, "This model has a mostly stainless steel exterior, which means it takes much more effort to keep it looking clean and shiny. It also has a relatively long processing time – it may take a few trials to get the best results."
Smith & Nobel Multifunction SNBM420: Budget-friendly, but let down by poor ease of use.
CHOICE Expert Rating: 70%
Multigrain bread made from premix score: 85%
Ease of use score: 60%
Like many of the machines we tested, this model has a variety of pre-set programs (12) and three loaf sizes.
It's also one of the cheaper models we looked at. It scores well on making multigrain bread from premix (80%) but was far less impressive when making multigrain bread from scratch: it scored just 60% when our experts assessed the finished product on criteria such as crust colour, shape, grain distribution and crumb texture.
It has a small viewing window, which means you're unable to view the bread while it's cooking
It also scored poorly for ease of use. Our testers noted that it has a small viewing window, which means you're unable to view the bread while it's cooking, there's no fruit and nut dispenser, and you can't remove the lid, which can make the unit tricky to clean. It's also very noisy during the mixing and kneading process.
Breville the Baker's Oven BBM100: Outperformed by a Kmart model less than half the price.
CHOICE Expert Rating: 71%
Multigrain bread made from premix score: 65%
Ease of use score: 72%
We tested four Breville breadmakers (including one Breville multicooker with a breadmaker function). This is one of their cheaper models, which also scored the lowest of the bunch. It was even outscored by the Kmart breadmaker that costs less than half the price.
It's a relatively light unit, so it's easier than some models we tested to lift in and out of the cupboard. But it scores just 65% for the multigrain loaf made from premix. Our testers also said it was noisy when mixing and kneading, there's no cord storage, and the paddle can be difficult to remove from the bread pan tin.
It's important to select a breadmaker that comes with informative, detailed instructions, as this will really help set you up for successFiona Mair, CHOICE kitchen expert
The Breville Bread Baker, a similarly priced model that includes an automatic fruit and nut dispenser, scored marginally higher. But our testers say there are a couple of better performing models out there for this price.
Fiona says: "The Breville breadmakers do come with comprehensive instructions with key diagrams and recipes with detailed amounts for all loaf sizes.
"When choosing a breadmaker, it's important to select one that comes with informative, detailed instructions, as this will really help set you up for success."
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.