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BELLA 13991 Classic vs Hamilton Beach 26031 Side-by-Side Comparison

Matthew Lee
Matthew Lee
Reviewer
Nguyen Ntk
Nguyen Ntk
Visual Specialist
Reviewed
Tested Using Methodology v1.1
Updated Jan 13, 2023
Tested Using Methodology v1.1
Updated Jan 13, 2023
The BELLA rotating waffle maker with its glossy, metallic baking chamber positioned next to its instruction manual and shipping box.
The silver Hamilton Beach 26031 Belgian waffle maker presented on a table alongside the user manual and its shipping box.

Our Verdict

7.1
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    7.0/10
  • Design (20%)
    7.8/10
  • Ease of Use (30%)
    6.8/10
8.3
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    6.9/10
  • Design (20%)
    9.7/10
  • Ease of Use (30%)
    9.7/10

The Hamilton Beach 26031, being the pricier and more premium model out of the pair, has a lot more to offer than the Bella 13991 Classic.

Namely, its design—made from high-quality materials like stainless steel and ceramic—is more eye-catching. The Hamilton Beach 26031 is better in terms of performance, too. Across two waffle recipes, its final waffles were always tastier than the ones made by the Bella 13991.

Sure, the Bella 13991 Classic also enjoys a stainless steel design that is polished to a mirror-like finish. However, its build quality is nowhere near as good as the Hamilton Beach. Our inspection showed the Bella 13991 Classic (at least the unit we received) to be shoddily built with loose hinges, scratches, and dents all over.

But despite not doing well on many fronts, the Bella 13991 Classic’s pricing is hard to beat. It will still be a good purchase if you’re shopping on a budget with some caveats attached. Nevertheless, we highly recommend you splurge on the Hamilton Beach 26031, if possible.

Not Great, Not Terrible

Bella Rotating Waffle Maker’s Performance

Hamilton Beach 26031 Waffle Maker’s Performance: Almost Excellent
7.0
Performance Scores
  • Self-Mixed Recipe (50%)6.9/10
  • Birch Benders Mix (50%)7.2/10
6.9
Performance Scores
  • Self-Mixed Recipe (50%)6.8/10
  • Birch Benders Mix (50%)7.1/10
6.9

Self-Mixed Recipe

6.8
BELLA 13991 Classic Self-Mixed Recipe Video
The top crust of a waffle baked for 7 minutes using our self-mixed recipe, coloration ranges from very dark brown in certain spots to light brown.
The bottom crust of a waffle baked for 7 minutes using our self-mixed recipe, coloration ranges from very dark brown to light brown.
The cross section of a waffle baked for 7 minutes using our self-mixed recipe, revealing the core with air bubbles and cavities inside.
A waffle baked for 7 minutes being torn down the middle by hands in order to test it for consistency and texture.
Color: 6.25
35% * 6.25 = 2.2
Texture: 6
25% * 6 = 1.5
Taste: 8
40% * 8 = 3.2
  • Heat Level: Maximum
  • Cooking Time: 7 minutes

The coloration was decent despite the waffle’s wells looking slightly burnt, and some spots on the crust looked undercooked. It received only a passable grade due to having a low aeration rate. Fortunately, it picked up the slack with its tastiness.

Color (6.25) — 35%

  • Color tone: Very dark brown - Light brown (both)
  • Color distribution: Even

The crust was a bit dark, but there were no signs of charring. Dark spots mostly focused within the wells of the waffle. Outside the wells, the waffle mostly had a pretty light brown color.

But since it was darker than ideal, we couldn’t give it a higher score than a “good” 6.25.

Texture (6) — 25%

  • Texture: Mediocre
  • Aeration level: Medium; air bubbles have begun filling the interior of the waffle. However, their sizes were small, and their numbers were few.

Air bubbles have begun to fill the interior of the waffle. Unfortunately, they haven’t developed to their full sizes just yet. All the bubbles we saw were small, concentrating mostly near the crust, while the core of the waffle was dense.

Taste (8) — 40%

  • Flavor: Sweet with a buttery aftertaste
  • Mouthfeel: Slightly mushy

Our chef rated the waffle highly, citing its sweet flavor and buttery aftertaste. And though the mouthfeel was a bit underwhelming, it didn’t seriously affect the waffle’s quality.

Hamilton Beach 26031 Self-Made Recipe Video
The dark brown top of a waffle cooked by the Hamilton Beach 26031 waffle maker in 5 minutes.
The mottled, dark brown bottom of a waffle cooked by the Hamilton Beach 26031 waffle maker in 5 minutes.
The interior of the 5-minute waffle cooked by the Hamilton Beach 26031 is shown, revealing large air cavities.
The waffle made by the Hamilton Beach 26031 in 5-minute is torn up by hands to test for consistency and texture.
Color: 6.3
35% * 6.3 = 2.2
Texture: 7
25% * 7 = 1.8
Taste: 7
40% * 7 = 2.8
  • Heat Level: Between 1 and 2
  • Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Right away, we assessed the color of the waffle to be fairly disappointing. The color distribution was uneven, with light and dark spots mingling randomly on the crust. Texturally, the waffle was also unremarkable. The aeration rate was minimal, resulting in a rather dense waffle. But scoring picked up slightly in the taste department. Our chef rated the Hamilton Beach’s waffle sufficiently tasty for breakfasts and other light meals.

Color (35%) —6.3/10

  • Color result: Dark brown (Both)
  • Color distribution: Even

Both sides have roughly the same color shading. However, as a whole, both sides have uneven coloration. We noticed one side of the waffle tends to be more cooked than the rest of the waffle to the point of having a dark brown tone. Fortunately, this discolored patch wasn’t so cooked that it’s charred.

Dark spots tend to concentrate inside the wells of the waffle, too, giving the waffle a mottled appearance.

Texture (25%) — 7/10

  • Texture: Excellent
  • Aeration level: High, the interior was filled with large air cavities

The waffle’s interior doesn’t aerate well. Cutting it open, we observed the core to have a very dense structure with few air bubbles. The result is a sub-par waffle with a mushy texture rather than a soft, fluffy consistency like we hoped.

Taste (40%) — 7/10

  • Flavor: Sweet with hints of bitterness at charred spots
  • Mouthfeel: Soft, dry at charred spots

The taste was great, according to our chef. The Hamilton Beach 26031 was able to bring out the full flavor profile of the recipe. The waffle was buttery and sweet, with a hint of saltiness. Unfortunately, our chef assessed that it hadn't reached the point of being "restaurant-quality". Still, it will suffice for people wanting to cook quick breakfasts with this waffle maker.

7.2

Birch Benders Mix

7.1
BELLA 13991 Classic Birch Benders Mix Video
The golden top crust of a waffle baked for 8 minutes using a batter made from the Birch Benders mix.
The golden bottom crust of a waffle baked for 8 minutes using a batter made from the Birch Benders mix.
The cross-section of a waffle baked for 8 minutes, revealing its internal core filled with air bubbles and air cavities.
A waffle baked for 8 minutes being torn down the middle by hand to test it for its consistency and texture.
Color: 8
35% * 8 = 2.8
Texture: 7.8
25% * 7.8 = 1.9
Taste: 6
40% * 6 = 2.4
  • Heat Level: Maximum
  • Cooking Time: 8 minutes

In this test, the Bella waffle maker did a slightly better job, but not by a lot. 

Coloration is visibly improved with a more even, prettier coloration. Unfortunately, because the waffle is peppered with air pockets, it has several discolored spots. The texture is decent, but its aeration level is still low, resulting in a mushy texture. The mushy texture is one of the reasons why our chef didn't give the waffle a high score on the taste test.

Color (8/10) — 35%

  • Color tone: Light gold (Both)
  • Color distribution: Even

The crust on both sides of the waffle maker had a beautiful golden-brown color. On the crust were large formations of air bubbles, which had a pale yellow color of undercooked batter. Besides ruining the overall look of the waffle, they also messed with the color palette.

Texture (7.8/10) — 25%

  • Texture: Good
  • Aeration level: Medium; air bubbles have begun to develop, but they haven’t reached their maximum sizes

The waffle has filled out well with a thick, soft interior. It has a medium aeration rate, evidenced by the many tiny air bubbles within its core. The bubbles were in the process of forming and expanding, but the aeration process was cut short before it could reach completion. Thus, while the waffle was soft and spongy, it was still too moist on the inside to receive a higher score.

Taste (6/10) — 40%

  • Flavor: Sweet and slightly savory, cloying in undercooked parts
  • Mouthfeel: Soft and spongy for the most parts, mushy in certain spots

As a whole, the waffle’s flavor profile was decent. It had the signature sweet and slightly savory taste of the Birch Benders mix. However, certain parts of the waffle were undercooked and gave it an off-putting cloying taste, which negatively impacted its scoring on this test.

Hamilton Beach 26031 Birch Benders Mix Video
The light gold top of a waffle cooked by the Hamilton Beach 26031 waffle maker in 6 minutes using the Birch Benders mix.
The light gold bottom of a waffle cooked by the Hamilton Beach 26031 waffle maker in 6 minutes using the Birch Benders mix.
A close-up of the interior of the waffle cooked by the Hamilton Beach 26031 in 6 minutes, filled with air bubbles and small cavities.
The 6-minute waffle of the Hamilton Beach 26031 is torn in half by hands to test for the consistency and texture.
Color: 6.5
35% * 6.5 = 2.3
Texture: 6.5
25% * 6.5 = 1.6
Taste: 8
40% * 8 = 3.2
  • Heat Level: Between 1 and 2
  • Cooking Time: 5 minutes

The coloration of the waffle made using the Birch Benders mix was a very light gold tone, giving it an undercooked-looking appearance. And indeed, the interior wasn’t as developed as the last waffle made in the test with the self-made recipe. However, our chef rated this waffle to be tastier overall.

Color (35%) — 6.5/10

  • Color result: Very light gold (Both)
  • Color distribution: Uneven

At these optimal conditions, the pre-made mix gave us a more attractively colored waffle than did our self-made recipe. It had a nicer blonde tone that looked much more inviting. However, the color uniformity isn’t as good as we had hoped. The waffle maker was unable to maintain an even color throughout — one half looked lighter than the other.

Texture (25%) — 6.5/10

  • Texture: Mediocre
  • Aeration level: Medium, air bubbles could be seen, but haven’t fully bloomed to their full sizes

Texture was significantly improved compared to the waffle produced using our self-made batter. The inside of the waffle appeared well-developed, with air bubbles filling out the waffle’s structure. That resulted in a very soft and pliable waffle. However, it wasn’t aerated enough to hide the slight mushy texture.

Taste (40%) — 8/10

  • Flavor: Sweet, no hint of bitterness
  • Mouthfeel: Soft and pliant, slightly mushy

Our chef awarded the Hamilton Beach 26031 a good score for this category. The aesthetically-pleasing coloring and the soft texture made for a pleasant tasting experience. In terms of flavor, the waffle was sweet. Since it didn’t have any charred patches, that flavor profile was consistent and never bitter. Unfortunately, the slight mushiness of the waffle negatively impacted its scoring a little.

Bella Stainless Steel Waffle Maker’s Design

Hamilton Beach Belgian Waffle Maker’s Design
7.8
design Scores
  • Build Quality (60%)7.0/10
  • Waffle Plates (30%)9.0/10
  • Control Panel (10%)8.5/10
9.7
design Scores
  • Build Quality (60%)9.5/10
  • Waffle Plates (30%)10/10
  • Control Panel (10%)10/10

What’s in the Box of the Bella 13991 Rotating Waffle Maker?

What’s In the Box of the Hamilton Beach Waffle Maker?
The Bella stainless steel waffle maker (13991) sitting next to its instructional manual and the black removable drip tray.
  • Bella Classic Rotating Waffle Maker (13991) 
  • User manual
  • Drip tray

The box includes the waffle maker, a user manual, and a drip tray.

The Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian waffle maker (26031) is on a table next to the included drip tray and the user manual.
  • Waffle maker’s body
  • Two (2) Belgian-style grid plates
  • One (1) removable drip tray
  • User manual

Within the shipping box, you get the waffle maker itself, two (2) removable Belgian-style waffle plates, a drip tray, and the manual.

The waffle maker comes wrapped in a protective plastic bag with some thick foam blocks as padding. Other accessories are only wrapped in plastic without extra padding.

While simple plastic wrap is okay for the plastic drip tray and manual, we felt some concern for the waffle plates. Since they’re made from brittle ceramic, we would appreciate a little padding for them too.

Dimensions

Dimensions of Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian Waffle Maker
The Bella rotating Belgian waffle maker (13991) with measurements marked next to it. The height is 7.3 inches, length is 16.7 inches, and width is 7.7 inches.
  • Length:
    16.7" (42.4 cm)
  • Width:
    7.7" (19.6 cm)
  • Height:
    7.3" (18.5 cm)
  • Weight:
    5.2 lbs (2.4 kg)

The Bella 13991 is more difficult to store due to its rotating design, which brings its height to 7.3 inches. Fortunately, Bella makes storage less annoying by making the handle foldable. The waffle maker's footprint can be reduced with the handle folded and the body rotated vertically.

The Hamilton Beach 26031 on a table with measured dimensions marked next to it, the length is displayed as 16.5 inches, width is 8 inches, and height is 8.7 inches.
The Hamilton Beach 26031 on a table with measured dimensions marked next to it, the length is displayed as 16.5 inches, width is 8 inches, and height is 8.7 inches.
Hamilton Beach 26031 Dimension Video
  • Length:
    16.5" (41.9 cm)
  • Width:
    8.0" (20.3 cm)
  • Height:
    8.7" (22.1 cm)
  • Weight:
    3.1 lbs (1.4 kg)

Because the Hamilton Beach 26031 is a flip-style waffle maker, it is taller than your average non-flip model. At just over 9 inches tall, there’s ample clearance for the plates to smoothly turn.

The machine weighs 3.06 pounds, which is about average for a waffle maker.

For easier storage, it comes with a foldable handle.

7.0

Build Quality

9.5
The Bella 13991 rotating waffle maker mid-turn. In the frame is the rotating shaft that allows the baking chamber to rotate.
The Bella 13991 rotating waffle maker mid-turn. In the frame is the rotating shaft that allows the baking chamber to rotate.
The Bella 13991 waffle maker in its standard rest position with the control panel facing upward.
BELLA 13991 Classic Build Quality video

The Bella 13991's body is made from stainless steel with a mirror finish, which gives it a somewhat premium look. However, we noticed that the mirror finish could be smudged easily and is highly susceptible to scratches. However, a much more serious issue was the extremely loose lid hinge. Whenever it's opened or adjusted, the lid wobbles dangerously.

A close-up shot of the Hamilton Beach Belgian waffle maker (26031) control panel section made from black plastic, with the browning control knob and the indicator lights in focus.

The housing of the Hamilton Beach 26031 is made from brushed stainless steel. All other parts, including the control panel, handle, and raised base, are black plastic. There are rubber feet at the bottom to keep the waffle maker from slipping.

The numerous plastic parts in the 26031’s design are a drawback in terms of durability. The important components like the handle lock, spin lock, and waffle plate latches are made of simple molded plastic. They may not last as long as metal or metal-reinforced parts and are more prone to breakage or cracking.

9.0

Waffle Plates

10
A close-up of one of the Bella 13991’s waffle plates. The plate has a Belgian-style patterning and a black non-stick coating.
A close-up of one of the Bella 13991’s waffle plates. The plate has a Belgian-style patterning and a black non-stick coating.
An overview of the Bella 13991’s double waffle plates.
  • Number of Plates:
    2
  • Grid Pattern:
    Belgian-style
  • Plate Area:
    44.18 inch2
  • Plate Length:
    7.5" (19.1 cm)
  • Plate Width:
    7.5" (19.1 cm)
  • Material:
    Cast aluminum
  • Non Stick Coating:
    Yes
  • Removable:
    No
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    No

The waffle plates are cast aluminum coated with a layer of PFOA-free Teflon. In all of our tests, the non-stick coating worked perfectly. The waffles slid cleanly off the plates without leaving messy residue behind.

A small anti-spill moat runs around the perimeter of each plate. The moat is too small to catch big spills, which isn’t particularly helpful.

An overview of the bronze-colored, Belgian-style waffle plates of the Hamilton Beach Flip waffle maker 26031.
An overview of the bronze-colored, Belgian-style waffle plates of the Hamilton Beach Flip waffle maker 26031.
A close-up of the bronze-color, Belgian-style waffle plate of the Hamilton Beach flip Belgian waffle maker 26031.
A close-up of the yellow waffle plate release latch on the top handle of the Hamilton Beach waffle maker with removable plates 26031.
The gray, metallic heating elements of the Hamilton Beach 26031 is revealed after the ceramic, bronze-colored waffle plates are taken off.
  • Number of Plates:
    2
  • Grid Pattern:
    Belgian-style
  • Plate Area:
    50.27 inch2
  • Plate Length:
    8.0" (20.3 cm)
  • Plate Width:
    8.0" (20.3 cm)
  • Material:
    Cast aluminum
  • Non Stick Coating:
    Yes
  • Removable:
    Yes
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    Yes

The set of waffle plates is made from cast aluminum and is coated in a layer of ceramic non-stick (Durathon®). The non-stick layer works excellently. We’ve never had to deal with a stick in all of our tests. Even the batch that came out undercooked and was still semi-liquid didn’t stick to the plates.

With the 26031 model, the two plates are copper-colored. If you get the 26030 model, the plates will be black. The difference between them is purely aesthetic. Both have the same design and identical performance.

Both plates are removable and are dishwasher-safe. You can remove the plates by working the yellow latches at the front of the waffle maker.

8.5

Control Panel

10
A close-up on the Bella 13991 waffle maker’s control panel, with the two indicator lights and the browning control dial in frame.
A close-up on the Bella 13991 waffle maker’s control panel, with the two indicator lights and the browning control dial in frame.
BELLA 13991 Classic Control Panel video
  • Indicator Lights:
    Yes
  • Audible Alarm:
    No
  • Timer:
    No
  • Browning Control:
    Yes

The temperature dial turns smoothly but doesn’t have any specific temperature notches or settings. Instead, there are only “Min” and a “Max” labels on either side. The user can tune the dial to any arbitrary point in between.

You will find a red POWER button under the dial, which shines when you plug in the waffle maker. The blue READY button beside it will light up when the plates are thoroughly heated and ready for use.

Close-up of Hamilton Beach 26031 control panel: browning dial and indicator lights with clear white markings on the side to inform you of their functions.
Close-up of Hamilton Beach 26031 control panel: browning dial and indicator lights with clear white markings on the side to inform you of their functions.
Hamilton Beach 26031 Control Panel video
  • Indicator Lights:
    Yes
  • Audible Alarm:
    No
  • Timer:
    No
  • Browning Control:
    Yes

For such a nice waffle maker, the control panel is very simplistic.

There are two indicator lights: a red POWER light and a green READY light. The POWER indicator turns on when the waffle maker is plugged in. Once it reaches the optimal cooking temperature, the READY light will illuminate. The latter will continuously cycle on and off during cooking as temperature fluctuates.

A second READY button can be found on the underside of the housing. It’s there for when you flip the waffle maker.

Underneath the indicator lights is the browning control dial. There are four settings: MIN, 1, 2, and 3. Each corresponds to a browning level, with MIN being the lightest and 3 being the darkest.

Bella Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker’s Power Cord

Hamilton Beach 26031 Belgian Waffle Maker’s Power Cord
The power plug of the Bella 13991, highlighting the Type-A prongs.
  • Plug Style:
    Type A (Flat Blade Attachment Plug)
  • Length:
    2.2 ft (0.7 m)
  • Cable Management:
    No

The power cord is relatively short, so you may have to use an extension cord. There is no cable management feature on the Bella 13991.

A close-up of the power cord of the Hamilton Beach 26031 waffle maker, focused on the prongs of the plug.
  • Plug Style:
    Type A (Flat Blade Attachment Plug)
  • Length:
    2.2 ft (0.7 m)
  • Cable Management:
    No

The power cord is quite short. It may be inconvenient if your kitchen doesn’t have many power outlets. In that case, an extension cord will prove useful.

Drip Tray

Accessories

Hamilton Beach 26031 Belgian's Drip Tray
The removable black plastic drip tray of the Hamilton Beach 26031.
  • Material:
    Plastic
  • Removable:
    Yes
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    Yes

A drip tray accompanies the waffle maker in the shipping box. It slides in underneath the waffle maker’s body. The tray does a great job of catching spilled batter. It is removable and dishwasher-safe.

The removable black plastic drip tray of the Hamilton Beach 26031.
  • Material:
    Plastic
  • Removable:
    Yes
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    Yes

The drip tray is removable and goes into a slot directly under the waffle maker’s body. It is made from a lightweight, heat-resistant plastic. The tray is dishwasher-safe.

Ease of Use

Bella Rotating Waffle Maker Review

Hamilton Beach Belgian Waffle Maker Review: Ease of Use
6.8
usability Scores
  • Handling (25%)3.0/10
  • Safety (40%)8.0/10
  • Cleanability (25%)9.5/10
  • Indicator Light Visibility (5%)10/10
9.7
usability Scores
  • Handling (25%)9.5/10
  • Safety (40%)10/10
  • Cleanability (25%)9.5/10
  • Indicator Light Visibility (10%)9.0/10
3.0

Handling

9.5

It failed the handling test due to the dangerously loose lid. Whenever we started a new waffle, we had to hold the lid with one hand while pouring with the other. If we dared remove that stabilizing hand, the lid had a good chance of snapping shut unexpectedly.

Except for this critical issue, the Bella 13991 is easy to use. The control panel is simple, and the waffle maker turns smoothly. A lock is built into the handle and keeps the lid securely shut when the waffle maker is flipped.

The Hamilton Beach 26031 handles well. Opening the waffle maker is simple, and the baking chamber's turning motion is smooth.

The only problem we encountered while testing this model was the lid-locking mechanism. When you flip the waffle maker back and forth, there’s a lock to prevent you from opening the lid during the turn or while it’s upside-down. Sometimes, the lid would remain locked in place even when we flipped the waffle maker upright and returned it to its original position.

Luckily, it’s not a difficult problem to solve. Just jiggle the lid a little, and the lock will disengage.

8.0

Safety

10
The temperature of the plastic base of the Bella 13991 waffle maker is being measured using a thermometer. The screen reads 85.8°F.
The temperature of the plastic base of the Bella 13991 waffle maker is being measured using a thermometer. The screen reads 85.8°F.
The surface temperature of the Bella 13991’s control panel is being measured using a thermometer. The screen reads 153.5°F.
The temperature of the black plastic handle of the Bella 13991 is being measured using a thermometer. The screen reads 90.5°F.
  • Top Side Temperature:
    153°F
  • Bottom Side Temperature:
    85°F
  • Handle Temperature:
    90°F

The unsteady lid is a serious safety issue. Fortunately, aside from the lid, we didn’t find any other significant safety problems.

The top of the lid got warm — but not dangerously so — at 147°F.

Both the handle and the base remained cool to the touch. The measured temperatures in these areas were respectively 90° and 85° after several rounds of testings.

The temperature on the control panel of the Hamilton Beach 26031 is being measured using a thermometer during a thermal safety test. The display reads 142.3°F.
The temperature on the control panel of the Hamilton Beach 26031 is being measured using a thermometer during a thermal safety test. The display reads 142.3°F.
The temperature on the cool-touch handle of the Hamilton Beach 26031 is being measured using a thermometer during a thermal safety test. The display reads 90.3°F.
The temperature on the Hamilton Beach 26031’s base is being measured using a thermometer during a thermal safety test. The display reads 88.3°F.
  • Top Side Temperature:
     142°F
  • Bottom Side Temperature:
    90°F
  • Handle Temperature:
     88°F

We assessed the safety level of this waffle maker to be high. The top side doesn’t get too hot during or after cooking. Thanks to the elongated handle, you can open and close the lid without heat from the waffle plates radiating onto your hand the way many other models do.

After a few cooking sessions, we recorded a temperature of 152.2°F in the control panel section. It’s merely warm, not hot.

The other parts, like the base and the handle, remained at room temperature. They were perfectly safe to touch.

9.5

Cleanability

9.5
BELLA 13991 Classic Cleanability

The Bella 13991 is very easy to clean. Though it’s prone to fingerprint smudges and scratches, the metal surfaces can be cleaned and polished with mild detergent. The waffle plates only need to be wiped down with paper towels every once in a while to get rid of waffle debris. We also don't find it difficult to scrub dried batter off the plastic parts of the waffle maker.

When a spill happens, the large drip tray can catch every droplet. The tray can be washed by hand or loaded into a dishwasher.

Hamilton Beach 26031 Cleanability

In terms of cleanability, the Hamilton Beach 26031 gets a rare near-perfect score.

The included drip tray does a great job at catching spilled waffle batter. Since it is made from smooth plastic, dried batter doesn’t stick to the tray. It can be washed off easily with water alone — no soap required.

You can remove the waffle plates and put them into a dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, just rinse them with tap water. The non-stick layer should prevent dried batter and debris from collecting, so a cursory wash is usually all that’s needed to get them spick and span again.

We were able to clean the waffle maker’s body and most of its parts with only tissues and a dry cloth. The only section that was a challenge to clean was the space around the waffle-plate latches. Dried batter can infiltrate deep into the tiny details surrounding the latches, making it very hard to clean thoroughly.

10

Indicator Light Visibility

9.0
The set of indicator lights at the top of the Bella 13991’s waffle maker. The blue READY light and the red POWER light are on.
The set of indicator lights at the top of the Bella 13991’s waffle maker. The blue READY light and the red POWER light are on.
The shining READY light at the bottom of the Bella 13991’s waffle maker.

The lights are very dim. It’s almost impossible to see them from afar under harsh lighting. Even with some ambient lights turned off, the indicator lights are still faint.

A close-up of the lit-up indicator lights of the Hamilton Beach 26031. Both the green READY light and the red POWER light are on.
A close-up of the lit-up indicator lights of the Hamilton Beach 26031. Both the green READY light and the red POWER light are on.
A view of the green READY light at the back of the Hamilton Beach 26031 when it’s flipped over.

All three indicator lights (two on top and one on the bottom) are bright. In low-light or normal lighting conditions, the bulbs can be seen clearly. Even under harsh studio lighting, we still didn’t have any issue with them.