A bread machine is the fastest, most delicious way to put fresh bread on your table. A bread maker puts an end to the aggravation of buying “fresh” bread at a supermarket, only to sit down for dinner and discover that the bread’s already gotten hard. You can bake your own bread to order (or set the machine’s timer to have it ready whenever you need it) – fresh, piping hot, yummy, and with that indescribably wonderful freshly baked-smell.
Just as importantly, homemade bread is healthier.
- You can use heart-healthy ingredients instead of the trans fats commonly used in store-baked bread.
- You can avoid the “empty calories” of high-fructose corn syrup, which is often used as a flavoring agent by commercial bakers.
- You don’t need to add the artificial ingredients and preservatives that markets put into their bread to extend its shelf life.
- You’re free to use healthier whole-grain flour and add other ingredients to boost nutritional value while skipping the ones which could trigger allergies.
One more argument for owning a bread maker: cost. A homemade loaf costs about 50% less to make than the price that supermarkets or bakeries charge for their “fresh” bread. It doesn’t take long for the machine to pay for itself – and quickly begins saving you a ton of money every time you use it.
Oh – and did I mention that homemade bread tastes better than supermarket bread, too? There are a number of criteria to consider when choosing the right bread maker for your kitchen, and I’ve compiled a complete buying guide to walk you through the process. However, many of you have probably owned at least one of these fabulous machines, or have already done your research, meaning you’re ready to see my recommendations and top choices. So…
Comparison And Rating Of Best Bread Machine 2020:
|Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Bread Machine||99%|
|Breville BBM800XL Bread Machine||96%|
|Oster 2-Pound Bread Machine||92%|
|Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Bread Machine||88%|
|Cuisinart CBK-200 Convection Bread Machine||85%|
FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO LEARN MORE:
Click here to read about the functions, features, bells-and-whistles to look for in a bread maker.
FOR THOSE WHO ARE READY TO SHOP:
Please read on.
I’ve reviewed dozens of the very best machines on the market, in order to put together the definitive top five bread makers list.
All five are outstanding, but each one is also the best choice for a specific purpose or user – such as the best machine for gluten-free bread, or the best bread maker for someone on a budget – so I’ve highlighted those categories in my reviews as well. You’ll also see a list of honorable mentions for the units that came in just below my top-ranked models.
Let’s get started with my list of the best bread machines for your kitchen.
1. Zojirushi BB-CEC2 Bread Machine
The Zojirushi BB-CEC20 is the all-purpose best bread maker on the market. It’s missing a few specialty goodies which some advanced bakers might want, but it’s packed with the features that will make things easy for those using one of these machines for the first time. They’re also the features that more seasoned “veterans” need most. For the price, it’s a great choice.
Key features of the BB-CEC20:
- Rectangular loaf (traditional style), dual blades
- Ten pre-programmed settings with memory function, three crust colors
- Quick baking cycle – 2 hours maximum
- 13-hour delay timer
- Large viewing window, auto-shutoff
Bread making is pretty much foolproof with this Zojirushi model. The two blades provide extremely effective kneading for your dough, which means it will rise higher as it bakes. The pre-programmed settings are the ones most commonly needed to make almost all types of bread and other items. The 13-hour timer lets you set the machine to bake while you’re asleep or at work. And you don’t have to do a thing once you turn the unit on (although you can certainly watch the bread rise through the large viewing window if you’d like).
The biggest advantage to this Zojirushi machine is its ease of use, with a simple-to-understand LED control panel that removes all the guesswork. Close behind, though, is the variety of bread and other foods you can make. The BB-CEC20 is ideal for white bread, of course, but it’s also great for wheat and rye bread thanks to those settings’ extended kneading time. It bakes terrific artisan bread as well, and the three crust settings allow you to choose exactly how soft or crunchy you like your loaf. There’s also a sourdough starter setting, plus options to make delicious cakes, strawberry jam, and even homemade meatloaf.
The BB-CEC20 has a compact design, allowing you to maximize the use of your counter space. The nonstick baking pan is easy to clean, as is the rest of the machine, and it has most of the bells and whistles you’d want including a quick bake cycle, delay timer, auto shutoff, and even a ten-minute power failure backup. This Zojirushi comes with an instructional DVD and recipe booklet to get you started.
The BB-CEC20 only makes two-pound loaves, which won’t be enough if you want to feed six or more hungry family members or guests, and maybe too much bread for a couple’s homemade breakfast. Two pounds is just about right for most families, however, and later on, I’ll discuss alternatives that make larger and smaller loaves, plus some that let you choose a different-sized loaf for each bake.
One other disadvantage: this is not the machine for you if you regularly make seeded or nut bread since it doesn’t have an automatic dispenser built-in. I’ll be highlighting bread makers that are ideal for that purpose in a bit.
2. Breville BBM800XL Bread Machine
The BBM800XL custom loaf bread maker is sleek and fits with almost any décor. That’s not the primary reason I rank it at #2, though. This machine from one of the nation’s best kitchen appliance manufacturers is amazingly versatile, and it will allow you to make specialty bread that rivals those found at the best upscale baker.
Here are the high points of this Breville model:
- Four selectable loaf sizes
- Automatic nut and fruit dispenser
- Collapsible kneading paddle for mixing
- Smart LCD screen + progress indicator
- 13 automatic settings, 3 crust colors
As you’ve undoubtedly discovered, this is one of the bread machines I was talking about when I mentioned fruit and nut bread; the BBM800XL’s automatic nut and fruit dispenser adds your choice of ingredients automatically and at the proper time in the baking process. And for those who follow a gluten-free diet, this unit has a dedicated gluten-free setting that eliminates unnecessary rising cycles and bakes the loaf for the proper amount of time – crucial for proper gluten-free baking. There are 13 settings in all, including yeast-free, and custom programming is supported.
There are two other noteworthy features on the Breville that you won’t find on the Zojirushi. First, there is a collapsible kneading paddle. It folds down out of the dough before the baking cycle starts, and pretty much eliminates the telltale “hole” in the bottom of the loaf which is commonly seen in bread baked in consumer machines; the bread can be removed effortlessly when it’s done, and the collapsible feature makes cleaning the paddle a snap. Second, you’re able to select the size of your loaf with the BBM800XL, which lets you choose between one-pound, 1½-pound, two pound and 2½-pound loaves.
The BBM800XL’s ability to make perfect fruit and nut bread, plus its dedicated gluten-free setting, give it a huge advantage over most competitors – at least for bakers who want or need either of those capabilities. Add the flexibility when it comes to loaf size, and there are obviously several significant advantages over the Zojirushi.
I can’t definitively say that the collapsible paddle is an advantage since it seems that 50% of bread maker users love the feature and the other half hate it. If you’re in the first half, though, it’s definitely an advantage (although you’ll find there’s still a hole at the bottom of your loaf, just a smaller-than-usual one).
The big disadvantage for some bakers is that the BBM800XL doesn’t have a dedicated setting to make artisan bread, which has become extremely popular in recent years. And if you’re one of those bakers who prefer dual, stationary blades instead of collapsible paddles, the Breville is not the bread maker for you.
Other issues to be aware of: this is a somewhat noisy machine, and the fruit and nut dispenser can be touchy. Some of the fruits or nuts may stick in the corners of the dispenser instead of being released into the dough, and you may find the door to the dispenser doesn’t open properly after you’ve used the machine for a while.
3. Oster 2-Pound Express Bake Bread Maker
If you’re looking for a bread maker that’s not going to take up much space on your counter – and certainly won’t bust your budget – the Oster 2-pound Express Bake is your machine. This model prepares delicious large loaves for about one-fourth the price of the Zojirushi or Breville, and it still has many of the features you’ll find on the more-expensive machines:
- Makes 1½ or 2-pound rectangular loaves
- 12 programmed settings, 3 crust settings
- Express bake settings
- 13-hour programmable baking timer
- Large LCD display
This Oster unit isn’t a stunner when it comes to design, but its minimalist look will fit nicely in most kitchens while saving significant space. Don’t be fooled by the name, either; the machine’s express bake settings do let you prepare a loaf in about an hour, but there are also “normal” settings that will actually prepare better-tasting bread over a longer period of time. There are pre-programmed settings for all of the usual types of loaves including white, wheat, bagels, French and European; the machine can also handle baking and jam-making duties.
The 13-hour timer, viewing door and intuitive LCD screen display/control panel are nice features for a budget machine. But more to the point, the bread you’ll bake in the Oster will be far superior to the loaves available at the market, even though they may not come out as evenly-baked or quite as tasty as those produced by pricier models. For the price, it’s a steal.
This is a small machine, half the size and half the weight of my two top choices. That’s a major advantage for people with limited kitchen space – that is to say, almost all of us. And the low price and the high-quality bread the Oster turns out are additional advantages which don’t require further explanation.
The other advantage that appeals to those of us who don’t have a lot of spare time – again, most of us – is the fact that you can quick-bake a 1½-pound or two-pound loaf of fresh bread in about an hour. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the 13-hour timer and have even tastier bread ready for you when you get home from a busy day at work.
You can manually make gluten-free products in the Oster Express Bake, but there is not a dedicated setting for gluten-free bread which makes the process more complicated and tricky. Needless to say, there’s also no way to automatically add nuts or fruit to the dough; you have to do that manually as well.
There are usually two other prices to pay for a smaller, lighter, less-expensive appliance: stability and durability. That’s the case with this Oster as well. You may find it “walking” along the counter a bit, and it’s not as well-built as the Zojirushi or Breville. Even so, those on a budget will likely find those sacrifices well worth making to have a quality bread machine in their kitchen.
4. Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Bread Machine
The versatile Breville I reviewed earlier is capable of baking one-pound loaves, but you’re always going to get better results from a machine designed to make only one specific size, like this unit. The BB-HAC10 is much smaller than the two-pound capacity Zojirushi BB-CEC20 that’s #1 on my list, but the one-pound loaves it bakes are almost as delicious, and the machine takes up much less counter space. This model is perfect for a couple or someone living on their own. Here’s what you’ll find:
- Makes one-pound rectangular loaves
- 10 programmed settings, 3 crust settings
- Express bake settings
- 13-hour programmable baking timer
- An LCD display with push-button controls
This model only uses one stationary blade and the control panel isn’t as intuitive as the one on its big brother, yet it has almost all of the same functionality including a quick-bake cycle and a pasta dough cycle, three selectable crust colors, and a 13-hour timer. The only thing I really missed was an artisan bread setting, but you can’t have everything in a smaller machine, and the BB-HAC10 is priced at about $100 lower than the larger Zojirushi.
Size and taste. It’s definitely less convenient (and more expensive) to have to bake a two-pound loaf when all you need is a pound of bread, and the BB-HAC10 is the perfect size for small, yummy loaves of all types. The machine’s small footprint is a big advantage, too – not to mention its lower price.
There’s only one blade in this Zojirushi so the loaf doesn’t get quite as tall or fluffy as with the larger option; there are also no settings for artisan, gluten-free or other more exotic bread. The crust settings are also a bit touchy to get right, too.
5. Cuisinart CBK-200 Convection Bread Machine
Just as with a convection oven, a convection bread maker theoretically creates a better final product, because the fan keeps temperatures even for consistent baking and faster bakes. I’ve found that it’s not as big an advantage for a bread machine as it is for an oven; the bread that comes out of this Cuisinart is very good, but not good enough to move the CBK-200 higher in my rankings. That being said, this model still makes delicious bread with shorter baking times that most competitors require. Here are the key features:
- Makes 1, 1½ or 2-pound rectangular loaves
- 16 programmed settings, 3 crust settings
- Convection fan for shorter baking times
- 12-hour programmable baking timer
- LCD display
There’s a lot to like: you can make three different sized loaves, there are 16 presets including dedicated gluten-free, artisan and low-carb settings, and it’s priced well below my two top bread machine choices. As you might guess, that means no automatic nut/fruit dispenser (but there’s an audio alert when the dough is ready for mix-ins) and just one blade; the control panel is also quite confusing. Those are small issues, though, because the Cuisinart makes great bread more quickly than non-convection models.
Tasty bread, shorter bake times and a very reasonable price are all arguments in favor of the CBK-200. It’s also a smaller unit than most competitors that can make two-pound loaves, yet it has almost all of the features you’ll find on those bigger models.
This Cuisinart only has one (retractable) blade, and it really will take a while to get used to the confusing controls. This boxy, stainless-steel machine is also, surprisingly, less attractive than most of the other appliances the company makes.
6. Honorable Bread Maker Mentions:
Hamilton Beach Programmable: This model has such a sleek design that it even impressed a friend of mine who is an artist. It has twelve settings, two kneading paddles, a delay timer, a non-stick pan that allows for easy clean-up, and a gluten-free setting. It can make either 1½- or 2-pound loaves and the price is extremely attractive, making this a breadmaker that just missed the top five. Check the latest price.
T-Fal PF311E: Here’s another model that lets you bake gluten-free bread with dedicated settings, in addition to 14 other preprogrammed settings and the ability to choose between three loaf sizes. The T-Fal is a modern-looking appliance in brushed stainless steel and black, although the control panel takes some time to learn. The keep-warm feature is a nice touch, too. Check the latest price.
Sunbeam 5891: It’s not as fully-featured or powerful as some of our other runners-up, but this Sunbeam turns out nice bread at a great price. 12 programs (no gluten-free, though), 3 crust settings and a 13-hour timer give you most of the control you need to make bread at home quickly and easily, and the non-stick pan helps with cleanup. Check the latest price.
Kuissential Programmable: This is another budget-friendly machine with no extraordinary bells or whistles, except for the automatic fruit and nut dispenser. You’ll find everything you need for everyday use, though, including 13 settings, a choice between one- and 1½-pound loaves, and a small footprint to save counter space. Check the latest price.
SKG Electric 2LB: The SKG bread machine is more expensive than most of my honorable mention choices, but that’s because there are a whopping 19 preprogrammed settings (which include gluten-free) and three loaf size options. For a small machine, the bread comes out surprisingly evenly-cooked and yummy, and there’s a keep-warm function as well. Check the latest price.
Panasonic SD-YD250: You don’t normally think of Panasonic when you think of bread makers, but this all-white model with a timed yeast dispenser can make nice-looking, delicious loaves as large as 2½ pounds for a price that’s well below most competitors with that capacity. There aren’t a ton of settings, but the size and performance are very good for the price. Check the latest price.
Breadman BK1050S: You won’t find many bread machines that will make a two-pound loaf and have a collapsible paddle for well under a hundred bucks. The Breadman stands out for that reason, as well as for its artisan, low-carb and gluten-free programs. It’s not as sturdy or well-built as its higher-priced competitors, but it does the job just fine and it’s a steal. Check the latest price.
Zojirushi BB-PAC20: My final runner-up is another Zojirushi, and it isn’t in the top five simply because it’s the most expensive bread maker I’ve reviewed. It’s a fabulous two-pound machine, though, with all of the bells and whistles any home baker could want; the name of the model is the “Home Bakery Virtuoso,” and that’s not a stretch. If you want to spend a lot of money on a bread machine, this is the one. Check the latest price.
Bonus: Best Bread Machine Cookbooks
Most bread makers come with a small recipe booklet, but chances are that you’ll be looking to expand your repertoire after you’ve gained a little experience. Once you reach that point, I recommend these cookbooks:
Oster Expressbake Bread Machine Cookbook by Julia Martins
The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger
Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine by Annalise Roberts
Bread Machine Buying Guide
Bread machines are red hot appliances right now, with everyone from foodies to the Food Network singing their praises – and they’re not wrong. A bread maker is one of the few appliance purchases home cooks hardly ever regret.
Here are some of my favorite reasons to have one of these machines in your kitchen:
- Create fresh bread – Whenever you want, you can put fresh bread on your table. You don’t have to head to your local supermarket and scavenge through the “fresh” bread section to find whatever might be left. Instead, you create your own warm, delicious bread for any meal of the day. I know I don’t have to tell you how great it is to have the smell of fresh bread wafting through your kitchen and home, either.
- Saving time – A huge advantage is that you can set your bread machine to do its work while you prepare the rest of the meal, do some housework or just watch TV while the bread is baking. The units need little to no supervision, and you can even set most machines to bake bread for breakfast while you sleep, or to have a warm loaf ready for you when you get home from work.
- Fresh bread, no mess – Instead of going to the store and buying a loaf of bread that may sit on your countertop and go bad, leaving a bunch of crumbs behind, you can create your own loaf with virtually no mess. Most bread pans are non-stick so you can take them out of the machine and put them right into the dishwasher for cleaning, and since they stay in the machine until you want to clean them, you also don’t have to worry about crumbs all over your counter, either.
- Not just white bread – One of the reasons I love bread makers is that they make much more than white (or wheat) bread. Many machines will make artisan bread, nut bread, fruit bread, and European bread, with your choice of crust color. You can also create pizza dough, different types of jams, pastries and even cake in many models.
- Better taste and freshness – Freshness is crucial to the taste of a loaf of bread. It’s no secret that most supermarkets don’t put bread onto the shelf immediately after it’s been baked, and while the loaves sit on the shelf air is getting into the bag, turning the bread hard. Diving into a loaf right after it comes out of the machine ensures freshness and great taste, and the “keep warm” options on some models let you wait a bit before you enjoy your fresh, hot bread.
- Money-saving – I’ve already discussed this earlier in the article, but it costs 50% less to bake a loaf of bread at home instead of buying one at the store. Over the life of the bread machine, you’ll save a ton of money by doing it yourself. Remember to prolong the life of your bread by keeping it in a bread box.
- Simple to master – Baking settings are already programmed into the machine, so all you need to do is find your recipe, add the necessary ingredients, hit a button or two, and you’re done. A few machines have a slight learning curve, but for the most part, a bread maker is a set-and-forget appliance.
Finally, while this isn’t necessarily a reason for every reader to own a bread machine, those who must follow a special diet will find that a bread maker is a godsend. More and more people are searching for gluten-free food options these days, and gluten-free bread can be difficult to find and expensive. But many modern machines come with the option for gluten-free creations and whole-wheat options. And even if your machine doesn’t have a dedicated gluten-free setting, you can use virtually any bread maker to make delicious gluten-free bread with a little extra work.
Before you purchase a bread machine, there are a few important issues to consider:
- The size of your family and how much bread they normally eat
- How often the machine will be used
- If you need a bread maker that can easily handle dietary restrictions
- How much counter space is available for the machine
- Your budget
The reasons for these considerations should be obvious; I’ll be spelling out some of the options you’ll have as we move through this buying guide.
Key Bread Machine Features
Once you have a good idea of your requirements, you can compare the features of different models to determine which bread maker best matches your needs.
- Preprogrammed settings – bread makers have anywhere from a few presets to as many as 20. The more settings, the more likely it is that the types of bread you’ll want to bake can be easily accommodated, but you should be sure that a machine will make any specialty bread or other items that are important to you (artisan bread, pizza dough, jam) before purchasing it.
- Collapsible and removable kneading paddles – collapsible kneading paddles are not always removable, but the feature ensures that they won’t be “baked” into your bread. This means the loaf of bread can be easily removed from the pan and won’t have a huge hole at the bottom. Some people don’t like collapsible paddles, though, because they believe the feature compromises the quality of the loaf. Either way, paddles that are removable allow you to clean them with ease.
- Crust color settings – Nearly all bread machines let you choose between light, medium, and dark crust colors. If you are pickier than that, a few models provide additional choices. You can make the crust taste just like it would if you’d have baked in a bread cloche!
- Gluten-free setting – We’ve talked about this several times, but a gluten-free option will save a lot of time and effort for those with dietary restrictions. This setting automatically optimizes the way the gluten-free dough is prepared and baked and is a lot easier than trying to figure out gluten-free baking on your own.
- Express option – This option allows you to make bread and other items in 1-2 hours, depending on the machine. It’s a great convenience for those whose schedule is always packed, but not as important for those with the time to plan ahead – since bread that’s prepared with normal machine cycles will be tastier and have a better consistency.
Here are some of the common questions that people ask, which I haven’t addressed yet:
Best Bread Machine FAQs
Is a more expensive bread machine a better machine?
Not necessarily. In most cases, the higher price is based on a large number of preprogrammed settings, features like manually programmable cycles or bread/nut dispensers, or larger-than-average size. The quality of the machine – and the quality of the bread it will turn out – are better judged by the reputation of the manufacturer than the price tag.
Are bread machines safe?
When it comes to electronics and electrical safety, they’re completely safe as long as they’ve been made by a reputable company and have UL or other appropriate certifications. The issue you may want to consider, though, is the bread pan. Teflon pans can release toxic gases if heated to temperatures higher than 500°, which shouldn’t be a problem with bread makers. But if you want to be 100% sure, look for a stainless steel baking pan instead.
Which yeast to use?
You should use dry yeast and not instant yeast in a bread maker, in order to ensure proper rising and the best bread. Instant yeast may cause your loaf to rise too quickly or too high. Your owner’s manual or the cookbook that comes with the machine will have recommendations you can follow.
How should I put ingredients into the machine?
You’ll want to start with any liquids you’ll be using, and then add the flour. After that, you can add other dry ingredients like milk powder, seasonings, sugar, salt or flavorings.
How do I store yeast for my bread?
It’s important that you store yeast properly before using it to make bread. If your yeast is unopened, you must store it in a cool, dry place. Exposure to oxygen will decrease the performance of the yeast when it’s time to bake.
Can I add fresh ingredients midway when using a delay timer?
This is a very bad idea. Fresh ingredients like eggs and milk added in the middle of the process can lead to the growth of bacteria – and food poisoning will definitely ruin your dining experience. Be sure to keep fresh ingredients refrigerated until they’re used, too.
Can I add nuts or fruits?
Many machines have a dedicated nut and fruit container for this purpose; it opens and releases the ingredients at the proper time in the baking cycle. If your machine doesn’t have this feature you can stop the cycle to add nuts or fruit, but the right time to do that depends on your recipe and getting an even mix can be difficult. If you plan on using these ingredients regularly, a bread maker with a nut/fruit dispenser is the best choice.
How easy are bread machines to use?
They aren’t difficult at all. The newest of bakers can use most models with ease; even those with complicated control panels only take a few run-throughs to master.
How long does it take to make bread in a machine?
This varies by model, but expect a full cycle to run anywhere from three to four hours. Many models come with a “quick bake” option, which allows you to bake a slightly-less-delicious loaf in as little as an hour.
Parts of a Bread Machine
When shopping for a bread maker, you’ll see the various components described in reviews or in the manufacturers’ write-ups. Here’s a quick glossary of the key terms.
Bread pan – this is where you place the ingredients and make the dough. If you have a machine that uses a dispenser unit for fruits and nuts, those ingredients are dumped into the bread pan at the appropriate time.
Kneading paddles – At the bottom of the bread pan, you’ll find built-in or removable paddles that mix and knead the dough. They take all of the hard work out of baking bread at home, since you don’t have to knead the dough by hand. Removable ones are (obviously) easier to clean, and some paddles will “collapse” into the base of the machine after their work in the process is done. I’ve discussed the pros and cons of collapsible paddles several times, so there’s no need to go into it again; some people love them, others hate them.
LCD screen/settings buttons – Higher-end bread makers have all of their controls built into LCD touch screens, while most machines have a combination of an LCD display and push buttons used to set the bread style, crust style, timer, and other options.
Viewing window – Most (but not all) bread makers have a viewing window for you to physically check on your bread without open the lid since introducing room-temperature air into the unit disturbs the baking process. In most cases, you really won’t need to check anything once you’ve set and turned on the machine, but it’s definitely fun to watch the bread rise.
How We Choose the Best Bread Makers?
I’ve been baking bread in-home machines for quite a while, so I have an advantage when testing them and writing reviews: I know what I’m looking for. Here’s a cheat sheet for you to follow so we’re on the same page as you read my reviews.
Quality of Bread
What could be more important? (Other than safety, of course.) I place the greatest weight on the finished product – taste, consistency of bake, crust quality, smell and the visual appeal of the loaf.
Quality of Machine
In a nutshell, I don’t list any bread maker in my rankings if it isn’t well-built.
Variety of Bread
While many machines are somewhat limited in the types of bread they can make, many others can make anything from whole-wheat and artisan bread, to cinnamon-raisin bread and dinner rolls. A large number can also bake mouth-watering goodies like strawberry jam and chocolate cakes.
I don’t downgrade a machine’s quality ranking if it has limited versatility, but I make sure to identify the types of loaves each model can bake. That way you can judge whether it’s the right bread maker for your purposes.
Not all features are created equal. It’s wonderful if a machine allows you to design your own customized baking programs, but that’s simply not a feature that most bakers need. On the other hand, features like the number and variety of preprogrammed settings (including a gluten-free setting), large loaf capacity, advanced baking timers, stay-warm capability, automated nut/fruit containers, and safety shutoffs are all important features to look for, and I try to identify them all in my reviews.