It’s time to have a fair fight on price, and these two machines average about $160 each. Let’s see who comes out on top.
The assumption we always make is that we get more when we pay more. But when you have two bread machines at the same price you have to wonder which is best? There’s good news and bad news with both of these machines, but that really depends on what’s important to you and what you’re trying to achieve.
There are also some head-scratching “fails” with both of these machines that you should consider as well.
Both of these machines will do a good job with a basic loaf of bread and dough. Where the Delonghi has an edge is with gluten free and whole wheat settings. The Panasonic has only 5 bread settings and is not designed for the multiple kneading and rising cycle that more complex breads like 100% whole wheat and gluten free require.
Head Scratch 1
Just about every bread machine has a window in the lid that lets you observe your progress through a cycle. Sometimes you want to make sure the mixing and kneading is working in case you need to spoon some flour from the corners or add a splash of water or flour to get the dough ball right.
It’s easy to do with the DeLonghi not only because it has a viewing window in the lid, but because it also has an internal light you can activate. A great feature and unique in the bread machine world.
Conversely, the Panasonic does not have a viewing window in the lid. This is also unique in the bread machine world. It’s the only bread machine we’ve reviewed to date that doesn’t have this fundamental feature. Their argument is that if provides a better and well sealed baking environment. It’s true that you don’t want to lift the lid during rising and baking cycles, but the mixing and kneading cycles often need to be assessed and all are best done without lifting the lid. Panasonic does not give you that option.
Head Scratch 2
Any bread machine comes with an instruction book. Some are very good. Some are not. The Panasonic instruction book is good. The DeLonghi instruction book has a problem. All of the ingredients for any recipe are in dry and wet measures based on the metric system or in dry weights. We did an article to help our friends convert measures, but if you don’t have a scale or read this article it’s hard to figure out how to bake anything with the DeLonghi instruction book.
There are also complaints about Delonghi’s communication about the 15 cycles on the machine. There is a small instruction book attached to the machine for these cycles, but many people have complained they when it’s lost you have no reference for the cycles.
Unique Features One on One
- Let’s start with price. These two bread machines are essentially the same price at around $160. For the money you’re pretty much getting the same set of features on a fundamental level, although the DeLonghi has the convection oven feature and the Panasonic does not have a viewing window in the lid.
- Both feature a standard, 1-year limited warranty.
- From a support standpoint people are generally pleased with DeLohngi and dissatisfied with Panasonic support. If you like making a lot of phone calls to support lines you probably should go with Delonghi.
- Settings are a surprising departure from what you would expect from two similar machines. The DeLonghi lists 15 settings while the Panasonic only lists five. If you’re looking for variety in your settings you have a definite advantage with DeLonghi. Especially for whole wheat and gluten free. Panasonic can bake up to 30% whole wheat but many owners say that it does not effectively bake 100% whole wheat.
- Both offer a fruit and nut hopper and bake a vertical loaf.
- They both feature a collapsible paddle that’s supposed to contract resulting in a smaller hole in the bottom of the loaf. Owners of both machines have had problems with their paddles failing to collapse during the baking cycle.
- According the specifications on amazon.com the DeLonghi bread machine makes either a 1, 1.5 or 2 pound loaf. The Panasonic SD-RD250 is a 550-watt automatic bread maker and also makes a 1, 1.5, or 2 pound loaf although they neglect to mention the 1.5 pound loaf and simply refer to a large and extra large loaf. For the record, any recipe for a 1.5 loaf would work in the Panasonic.
If I had to pick between the two I would go with the DeLonghi because of its number of settings, the lighted lid and convection oven feature, plus it’s good support team. Just make sure you understand how to converts weights and measures from their instruction book.