Bread makers have been around now for a good thirty years. The first manufacturer of them was Panasonic but there are a vast number of companies who manufacture them these days such as Morphy Richards, Sharp and Kenwood. Each offer different functions and settings that also for different types of bread to be made, sometimes making it difficult to find the best bread maker for you.
When buying a bread maker you should consider buying one from a well known brand. These companies often have quality standards in place that are above and beyond what is required by law.
The other advantage is that these companies as they are large are able to source the components cheaply and as such provide a high quality bread maker for a reasonable cost.
As mentioned each has different features so it is best to ask yourself what kind of bread you want to make and what size to start. Bread makers have various settings to selecting the size of loaf that is to be made, the largest I have seen being 1.5Kg which is quite a hefty loaf.
Many of these machines give the option to create different types of bread such as seeded, brown, nutty, fruit. They all come with recipes for the making of these breads as well although you can get more from the internet. Generally the more expensive machines will offer a greater variety of breads.
Following on the types of breads, many of the top end machines will come with indicators that will let you know when to add each ingredient to the mix. It's like being the baker but without the hard work.
Many machines will also let you choose the type of crust you want some people like thick crusts and some none at all so be sure you choose a machine that can create the right crust for you.
Amongst other things the best bread maker can create cakes and jams in addition to having a programmable timer which will let you set it to bake the bread so it will be ready when you get up in the morning.