The type of bread maker an individual chooses to purchase largely depends on his or her preferences for baking, as well as how much he wants to spend. Bread makers range in price, getting more expensive as additional features are added, such as delayed baking, quick bake cycles, or alarms to add additional ingredients, among others. Some factors to consider when buying a bread maker are the size of the machine and where it will be stored; whether it cooks vertical or horizontal loaves of bread; and what features are included.
In general, whether a bread maker creates a vertical or horizontal loaf is not a large issue unless the appearance of the bread is a big deal. Many of the less expensive bread makers cook vertical loaves, which simply look like tall loaves of bread with rounded tops. Selecting a bread maker that includes a removable bread pan will make it easier to remove the loaf of bread once it is cooked, as well as to wash the pan in the sink.
Consider the size of the appliance as well. Whether it will be left out on the counter all the time or put away in the cupboard, a bread machine will have a fairly large footprint. Only purchase a bread maker that produces the amount of bread the family will actually eat, otherwise it is a waste.
Smaller machines might be a good option for couples, or people with small kitchens and who only want to make small, fairly basic loaves of bread. The baking cycle might be shorter on a smaller machine as well. Larger machines might be a better option for people with large families, or who want to make more complex loaves of bread, such as with additional mix-in ingredients, or other things such as pizza dough. Some bread machines will sound various alarms throughout the baking cycle to indicate when additional ingredients should be added. Most will automatically shut off at the end of the baking cycle, but some will also include a "keep warm" feature.
A bread maker with a delayed start can be a good way to wake up to fresh bread in the morning. These can be programmed the night before, and will switch on to bake the bread in the early morning. These models too tend to be more expensive, but it is worth it to many people to wake up to fresh baked bread. Reading reviews of specific models online can be another good way to narrow down the ideal product.