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Russell Hobbs 23620 Compact Breadmaker review: a small but mighty kitchen gadget

After a bread maker but don't want a big, bulky appliance taking over your kitchen worktop? The Russell Hobbs Compact model may be the one for you.

By Natasha Gregson | Last updated Jun 16, 2023

Russell Hobbs breadmaker

Overall star rating: 5/5

Price on writing: £82 | Buy now from Amazon

It's pretty hard to beat the taste and smell of fresh, homemade bread, particularly on a warm summer's morning. The drudgery of kneading dough by hand can be a little off-putting however, particularly for time-poor parents. Luckily, that's where the best bread maker can come in; choose the right one you'll soon be enjoying delicious bakes with minimal effort.

There are many different bread makers on the market, but not all are created equally, so you want to make sure you're splashing the cash on something that will actually make your life easier. To help, we consulted with our discerning army of Mumsnet users to find out which gadgets they've tried, tested and loved after extensive use. After all, who better to give their verdict on the top bread makers than the real parents who have put them through their paces with the wear and tear of family life?

Sarah is a keen baker and mum to two boys who love to bake with her. She's owned the Russell Hobbs 23620 Compact Breadmaker for over a year now, and it gets used by the family to make fresh bread around three times a week. Read on to find out how Sarah rated this small but mighty bread maker.

Plus, for more time-saving gadgets, we've also been on a quest to find the best slow cooker and best air fryer, as recommended by Mumsnet users.

Our verdict at a glance

What we like

  • Compact size

  • 55-minute fast bake option

  • Has a gluten-free setting

  • Features a viewing window

  • Very intuitive to use

  • Easy to clean

  • Relatively affordable compared to some models

  • Great loaf quality

  • Choice of three loaf sizes and crust colours

What we don't like

  • Doesn't have a fruit and nut dispenser

  • Not as many settings as some bread makers

Russell Hobbs 23620 Compact Breadmaker summary: what is it?

Russell Hobbs bread maker

While Panasonic is the brand that usually reigns supreme in the wonderful world of bread makers, this small Russell Hobbs model is certainly not to be sniffed at. Retailing at a relatively budget-friendly price (£82), it offers 12 settings and can tackle everything from bread and cakes to jam.

While it may not offer as much versatility compared to more high-tech models (the Panasonic SD-YR2540, for example, has 32 settings but will set you back about £200), we think it's a decent choice for the price. There's even a 55-minute speedy setting and the ability to make gluten-free bread, too.

Related: Get inspired with Mumsnetters' best cookbooks


The clue is in the name: one of the standout features that sets the Russell Hobbs 23620 Compact apart from its competition is its small size. Measuring up at 32.2 x 29 x 30cm, it's considerably smaller than a lot of our other best bread maker picks. This makes it ideal if cupboard space is at a premium and you're already struggling to slot things in amongst your food processor and other kitchen gadgets, or just if you don't want a big, bulky machine dominating the kitchen sides.

"It has a great design. I love it and it's so compact compared to other bread makers," Sarah reported. She was also thrilled with the viewing window: "I love the fact that I can view my bread baking. It's so helpful." It's a nice feature, and something lacking from Panasonic bread makers, giving this gadget extra brownie points on the design front.

"I love the fact it is compact and the digital settings are easy"

The other main design feature to note is the intuitive control panel, with clear icons depicting the crust colour and size choice buttons, and a handy menu of numbered settings, so you can confidently select the option you require. It's also pretty easy on the eye too; we think the black, glossy finish is a sleek look that will suit most kitchens.

Related: Shave time off cooking with our guide to the best pressure cookers

Performance: how was it to use?

Bread from Russell Hobbs bread maker

Sarah rated the Russell Hobbs 23620 as very easy to set up. Her first impressions were that the bread maker was "amazing. [I was] very impressed and wished I had bought one sooner."

She was also thrilled with how easy it was to use, and remarked that the instructions were clear and simple to understand: "It has a choice of 12 programmes including: white bread, french bread, wholewheat, quick bread, sweet bread, gluten-free, dough and bake. There are three loaf size and crust colour options, and it's super easy to use - even my teenage son and elderly mum can use it as it makes life easy by mixing, kneading, proofing, and then baking it.

"I have a lot of chronic health conditions and I am also autistic with ADHD and I can use it myself. The window to view the bread is so helpful, as is the timer, especially for me with ADHD as I forget that things are cooking." One thing to note, however, is that it doesn't feature an automatic fruit and nut dispenser, so you will need to do this manually.

"I just I wish I had bought it sooner as it's so easy to use and clean"

It's not just its compact size that's a selling point for this Russell Hobbs bread maker; it also features an impressive fast bake option that allows you to whip up a tasty loaf in just 55 minutes. "I love the fast setting when we are in a rush and in need of bread quickly. It also tells you when to add ingredients and you can set it up to bake overnight if you want, too," Sarah reported. There is a slight noise when it's operating, but she didn't find it too loud and described it as a "gentle, subtle hum".

As for the results it produces, Sarah was a big fan: "Amazing quality and very tasty. The quality of the loaf it produces is exceptional; it looks super impressive and smells so good, even as it is cooking." She also described the taste as "superb".

When you're done and ready to tuck into your fresh loaf, cleaning up is easy - both the kneading blade and bread pan are dishwasher safe, too, for minimal fuss.

Related: Discover the best Tupperware for leftovers according to Mumsnetters

Our verdict

If you're in the market for a bread maker but don't want to break the bank, the Russell Hobbs 23620 Compact is definitely worth considering. Priced at a wallet-friendly £82, it offers "very good value for money", according to our tester Sarah. It may not have the same range of features as pricier models, but it still impresses with its 12 settings. Plus, it even has a gluten-free setting for those with dietary limitations.

However, the real standout feature of this bread maker is its small size compared to other brands, perfect for those tight on counter or cupboard space. But that doesn't mean it sacrifices on quality or ease of use though; Sarah was thrilled with how intuitive it was to operate, and how tasty the loaves it produced were. She also loved the viewing window to check in on her bread rising - it's a feature some other bread makers lack. And while it doesn't have an automatic nut and seed dispenser, we think that's a minor inconvenience considering its other merits.

Key specs

  • Dimensions: 29D x 32.2W x 30H cm

  • Weight: 4.3kg

  • Programmes: 12

  • Delay function: Yes

  • Viewing window: Yes

  • Fruit and nut dispenser: No

  • Crust choices: Three

  • Size choices: Three

  • Power: 660W

How we tested

We consulted with our Voices panel to find out more about the bread makers Mumsnetters love. After all, if anyone can give honest advice on the best gadgets that really work for family life, it's the parents who have tested these products through vigorous, long-term use.

Once we compiled a shortlist of the bread makers Mumsnetters recommended, we then interviewed our tester, Sarah, to get her insights into how she found the Russell Hobbs 23620 Compact Breadmaker after over a year of regular use. We asked her all about her experiences with bread maker, including the ease of use and cleaning, versatility, design, and how tasty the results were. Through using real, independent Mumsnet users for reviews, we ensure we get honest opinions and feedback from people just like you.

For more kitchen gadgets that Mumsnetters love, don't miss our guides to the best deep fat fryers and top multi-cookers.