Sometimes, comparing models from the same manufacturer is an exercise in futility. They’re typically designed to appeal to different people, who usually balance price and features.
But that’s exactly the point in a head to head comparison between the Cuisinart CBK-100 and the Cuisinart CBK-200. You want to know whether the extra features justify the extra expense. So, how do those two models compare? Is the CBK-200 worth more? Let’s see…
|Delay Timer||up to 13 hrs||up to 12 hrs|
|LCD Control Panel|
|Loaf Size||3 options||3 options|
|Crust Control||3 options||3 options|
|Custom Baking Cycles|
|Rapid Bake Program|
|White Bread Program|
|Whole Wheat Bread Program|
|Gluten Free Bread Program|
|Low Carb Bread Program|
|Dough Maker Program|
|Accessories||measuring cup & spoon||measuring cup & spoon|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||14.5" x 7.5" x 12.5"||16 1/2" x 10 1/4" x 12"|
|Weight||22 lbs||14 lbs|
|Where to buy?||Best Price||Best Price|
The CBK-200 is a bit larger than the CBK-100. The CBK-100 measures 12.5″ high x 14.5″ wide x 7.5″ deep and the CBK-200 16.5″ x 10.25″ x 12″. Yet, the larger unit offers only the same maximum loaf size: 2 lbs. Both will make smaller ones of 1 lb or 1.5 lbs. So why consume the extra counter space?
Each offers a very similar look – a retro, stainless steel exterior with black trim, side vents, and handles. Neither comes out with a clear advantage here but the look is pretty pedestrian. So, I personally would prefer a smaller appliance. Why announce to the world an unattractive design?
Still, fairness dictates acknowledging that looks are a matter of personal taste and tastes differ. I have to admit that the handles are very useful. If you don’t like the look you can easily store the bread maker away between baking sessions. Thanks to a moderate weight that’s pretty easy to do.
One thing that is terrific about the looks on each of these models is the menu option panel. In both models it’s well laid out and easy to read. The LCD panel has a series of indicators around the rim – for size, crust color, and so forth – that are foolproof.
Pre-Programmed Program Options
Here, the differences between the CBK-100 and the CBK-200 start to reveal themselves. The CBK-100 offers 12 pre-programmed cycles, the CBK-200 has 16. Listing them all would be tedious but both sets are highly useful.
There’s the usual Basic/White, French/Italian, and other ‘ordinary’ selections. One less ordinary is Whole Wheat. True, that’s commonly listed on bread makers but not all can really handle it. Both these Cuisinart models do and very well.
Better still are the specialty items like Gluten Free (great for your sensitive friends and worth trying yourself even if you’re not). That’s a more difficult recipe/bake to get right and these units both do a fine job.
The additional selections offered by the CBK-200 could justify at least part of the price difference, at least for some buyers. The CBK-200′s Artisan Dough option calls out to be tried. If you love specialty breads – and that’s a big reason all by itself to buy a bread making machine – this lets you indulge your passion.
The Low Carb selection on the CBK-200 is another useful addition. This style of bread is particularly tricky to make well, even in a regular oven. Low-sugar, low-fat recipes simply don’t behave the same as the basic white or wheat. Having a pre-set bake cycle takes the complexity out of the process for bakers with less experience.
Then we come to what is usually called “Rapid Bake”. That’s what it’s labeled on the CBK-100. On the CBK-200 it’s named “Last Minute Loaf”. Why Cuisinart felt the need to use two different descriptions for the same option is a mystery, but there it is.
Despite the many similarities of both models, selecting those options is definitely easier on the CBK-200. That’s also true of every other control.
Whether selecting a baking cycle or just hitting start, the raised buttons of the CBK-200 are more pleasant to use, at least for me. We’re all familiar with electronic controls and touchpads by now. But even this fan of the iPad can appreciate old-fashioned physical buttons.
They’re prominent, firm without being too hard, and you simply can’t mistake what does what. Clearly labeled and intelligently placed, they say and do exactly what you expect. If you want to Stop or Pause your bake it’s super easy.
The CBK-200 separates the Start and Stop buttons, too. The CBK-100 has the usual single, flat button you have to toggle then watch for the light. Nice.
The increased ease of use of the CBK-200 is even more pronounced with the Delay Start timer control. Each model can be set a dozen hours ahead, which is pretty standard. But each has the same design drawback; you have to increment up or down through a + and – toggle. However, like its other buttons, the CBK-200′s are raised (and painted black) so it’s easier to see and press. Not a deal maker/breaker either way but a difference that would influence this buyer, for sure.
The Convection Fan
A much larger difference between these two bread makers is the CBK-200′s convection fan feature. When used, that ensures a very even temperature around the interior.
Nearly all bread makers, the CBK-200 included, have a heating element at the bottom. They compensate for that ‘hotspot’ by having very reflective interiors, which does a pretty good job of keeping the heat well distributed. But the convection fan on the CBK-200 does help. It produces an extra crisp, golden-brown crust that is just very difficult to achieve without that feature.
The Cuisinart CBK-200 offers additional pre-programmed baking cycles over the Cuisinart CBK-100. It has raised buttons and a convection fan that will appeal to some buyers who use their bread makers frequently. Whether that justifies a price premium of around $30 over the smaller CBK-100 has to be, of course, a personal decision.