The Panasonic SD-YD250 and the SD-RD250 bread makers are, in some respects, pretty much the same and in other ways very different. But that bland statement is completely unhelpful, so let’s dig down into the details to explore which one might be better for home baking chefs.
|Automatic Dispenser||Yeast||Dry Ingredients (Fruit, Nuts, Herbs,...)|
|LCD Control Panel|
|Delay Timer||up to 13 hrs||up to 13 hrs|
|Loaf Size||3 options||2 options|
|Crust Control||3 options||2 options|
|Custom Baking Cycles|
|Quick Baking Cycle|
|White Bread Program|
|Whole Wheat Bread Program||30% allowed|
|Gluten Free Bread Program|
|Multigrain Bread Program|
|French Bread Program|
|Dough Maker Program|
|Accessories||measuring cup & spoon||measuring cup & spoon|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||13 3/8" x 9 1/16" x 14"||11 1/8" x 12 13/16" x 14 9/16"|
|Weight||15 lbs||15 lbs|
|Where to buy?||Best Price||Best Price|
One thing that’s pretty bland about the SD-YD250 and the SD-RD250, apart from the names, is their appearance. They’re both pretty dull looking. True, bread makers in general aren’t always the sexiest looking kitchen appliances but these are boring even by that scale.
Unless you look carefully you might not know which model you’re looking at. Both come only in white with little trim or other decoration or color offsets. Apart from the similar color scheme, neither model has a viewing window – an unfortunate lack the way I use a bread making machine.
Fortunately, they’re both much better than they look where it counts.
Each hits a mid-range sweet spot for size. The SD-YD250 measures 13 3/8″ wide by 14″ high by 9 1/16″ deep and weighs 15 lbs. For comparison, the SD-RD250 is a slightly different shape: 11 1/8″ by 12 13/16″ by 14 9/16″, weighing the same 15 lbs. The difference likely isn’t enough to sway anyone and both are small enough to fit comfortably on many counters.
However, the pan inside the SD-RD250 is a little different from that in the SD-YD250. The latter has a non-stick coating that certainly works well, but the newer model (the SD-RD250) is coated with a diamond-fluorine compound. It provides not just a non-stick surface but one that’s hard enough to resist well the inevitable scraping bread making pans receive.
Yeast Dispenser vs Fruit/Nut Dispenser
Each model has a dispenser on the top, but the SD-YD250 is for automatic inclusion of yeast during the baking cycle. The one on the SD-RD250 is for automatically folding in nuts, fruits and other dry ingredients. It holds up to about 150 g (5.3 oz).
In each case, the auto-release dispenser eliminates the need to set a timer to come back and add ingredients during the baking cycle. That feature would definitely make a difference in my kitchen, though it would be nice to have a model that does both.
In my case, the yeast adder is a little more helpful but if you make lots of recipes with fruits or nuts you’ll naturally prefer the SD-RD250. The SD-RD250 isn’t perfect about preventing the fruit from clumping together or sticking to the dispenser. A little flour will help keep the fruits from sticking together and can also make clean up a little easier. That said, the cup is removable and not hard to clean.
Selections aside, the whole system could not be easier to use. Both models’ LCDs have large, clear characters and icons; they’re a cinch to read even without my glasses. The buttons and menu style on each model is virtually foolproof – which is saying something in my case.
Personally, I prefer the layout on the SD-RD250 a bit more than the SD-YD250’s style, but that really does come down to a matter of taste. Functionally, there’s no difference and neither is at all confusing or hard to decipher.
One note about both models, however. While both displays are easy to read it’s a little unfortunate that neither differs from what you might have seen 10 years ago.
That’s not surprising in the case of the SD-YD250; it was first offered about then. Though, in its defense, it’s still one of the bestselling breadmaking machines on Amazon, #1 as I write this. But for the newer SD-RD250 it’s too bad Panasonic hasn’t incorporated any of the technology from the touchpad ‘revolution’. Still, one could reasonably argue that’s true of many, many bread makers that are otherwise pretty impressive.
Features and Menu Controls
There are more similarities, but with a few interesting differences, in how you operate either of these Panasonic bread makers, too.
Both models offer a row of simple to use buttons along the base of the LCD display. One button lets you set the Timer for starting the baking cycle up to 13 hours ahead. If you like to add your ingredients then take off for work or errands for a long time this is a great feature. More or less standard on bread machines but I use it all the time.
The buttons also let you easily select the loaf size desired. The SD-YD250 will bake anything from a 2.5 lb loaf down to 1.5 lb (or less, if you add less ingredients, of course). Oddly, in the case of the SD-RD250 you get only two sizes: Medium or Extra Large. The SD-YD250 offers three.
Also odd, the RD-SD250 offers only two Crust Types: Light or Dark. Most models offer three. Why the limitation is anybody’s guess. The cost of manufacturing to add a third is negligible so maybe Panasonic just reasoned that simplicity was preferable.
Both models offer a variety of bread types. However, in the case of the SD-RD250 it doesn’t accommodate 100% whole wheat. If that’s a must and the SD-YD250 does not meet your needs, look for another bread maker brand.
On the one hand, neither the Panasonic SD-YD250 nor the SD-RD250 will dazzle first-time buyers with its looks or features. On the other hand, no one could reasonably complain about how either works. Both are ultra-simple to use and have a decently varied set of choices. Both are super reliable, housing good materials and are well made.
The biggest difference between the two models, apart from when the designs were first offered, is the dispenser. The one in the SD-YD250 is intended for adding yeast with the other ingredients, dropping it into the dough at the right moment automatically. The one offered with the SD-RD250 is used to add nuts or fruit in a similar way.
However, the Panasonic SD-RD250 bread maker is a little more expensive than the SD-YD250, probably because it’s newer and owing to the different dispenser. If you don’t frequently use nuts or fruit in your bread recipe, you might want to go with the less expensive SD-YD250.