With its glossy stainless steel exterior similar to pricier models like the Cuisinart WAF-F20P1 or the Hamilton Beach 26031, the Bella 13991 has all the hallmarks of a premium machine. But upon closer inspection, we found that the build quality isn’t very high, mainly due to the dangerously wobbly lid.
Apart from this glitch, other components of the Bella 13991, like the waffle plates, control panel, and power cord, are all up-to-par.
The Nostalgia MWF5AQ is quite impressive out of the box with its eye-catching "Aqua" light blue color. The plastic construction is expected from such an affordable and compact model, but it doesn't feel cheap.
One drawback to this product is that it lacks a control panel. You only get an indicator light at the top, which helps you track the cooking process.
The Bella 13991’s flimsy construction didn’t do very well in both our handling and safety tests, but it scored points for being very easy to clean. Overall, the waffle maker only squeaked past the test by a hair.
The Nostalgia is extremely easy to use since it has no control panel — wait until the top indicator light signals that your plates are heated, then pour in the batter and begin cooking.
Safety is a concern, as with most mini models we’ve tested. After a few cooking sessions, the whole waffle maker becomes piping hot. To handle it, you need to wear oven mitts.
Cleanability is great. The plastic housing doesn’t grip aggressively onto the dried batter. The non-stick coating on the waffle plates also works very well to prevent messy batter residues.
Although our first impression of the waffle maker wasn’t great due to some glaring design issues, the Bella waffle maker did fairly well across both waffle test recipes. The texture and flavor of its waffles were great — they’re not restaurant-level, but they aren’t bad for family breakfasts and light meals.
To our surprise, the Nostalgia MWF5AQ proved to be one of the top performers in the mini category within our database. In our self-mixed recipe, the waffle that it churned out was delicious, according to our chef. While the waffle it made with the Birch Benders mix wasn’t quite as good in most respects (besides texture), it’s still considered palatable.
Pros & Cons
- Did a good job in both of our performance tests
- Overall design looks very premium
- The non-stick coating functions well
- Surprisingly decent cooking performance for the price
- High build quality; solid lid hinges
- Waffle plates’ non-stick coating performs excellently
- Poor build quality
- The lid is dangerously loose
- No control feature
- Oven mitts are required for handling
There is a clear separation in value between the Bella 13991 Classic Belgian and the Nostalgia MWF5AQ. Picking which one simply boils down to what you want most from a waffle maker.
With the Bella 13991, you get a full-size machine that can cook 7-inch Belgian waffles. These large waffles aren’t just filling, but with deep pockets printed onto them, you’re free to load them up with however much syrup and toppings you want.
On the other hand, the Nostalgia MWF5AQ, a mini-sized waffle maker, bakes 4-inch waffles about the size of your palm. These would make for a great mid-day snack or, if you cook enough and turn it into a platter, can also be a pretty decent meal.
The most striking feature of the Nostalgia MWF5AQ is its compact size, which is ideal for travelers. With its bulkier design, the same can’t be said for the Bella 13991.
So, if you value thick, tasty waffles better, pick the Bella 13991. But if compactness is more important for you, or you’d like smaller waffles as snacks, check out the Nostalgia MWF5AQ.
Behind the Comparison
Matthew Lee is a writer and editor for HealthyKitchen101. With over 8 years working for various outlets and agencies, specializing in tech review and other subjects of note, such as current affairs.
Lap is Head of the Research, Testing, and Review Team (RTR Team) at HealthyKitchen101.com, where he directs and supervises the testing of kitchen gadgets and appliances.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef passionate about delicious and healthful foods. At HealthyKitchen101, she develops recipes and collaborates with our Research, Testing, and Review lab to evaluate the performance of cooking appliances. Her assessments add a strong authoritative voice to our product scoring process.