The BLACK+DECKER WMB500 has a simplistic, blocky design—typical of an entry-level waffle maker. It looks quite similar to the Cuisinart WMR-CA, which is in the same price range.
However, its stainless steel baking chamber adds a shiny touch to the otherwise mundane look, making for a visually pleasing aesthetic overall.
Despite its low price point, the construction quality is great. The only downside is the noticeable absence of a control panel. Rather than buttons or the like, an indicator light at the top alerts you when your waffle is ready to eat.
The Hamilton Beach 26031 boasts a sleek, luxurious design crafted from stainless steel. We’re quite impressed with the build quality of the ceramic waffle plates. The smooth coating and solid feel of the plates in hand leave no doubt that Hamilton Beach has paid close attention to its construction.
We also liked the control panel. It’s highly intuitive and easy to use, consisting of a single dial for controlling the browning level and two indicator lights.
It’s simple to start with the BLACK+DECKER WMB500, mostly because it doesn’t have a control panel. Most of BLACK+DECKER’s budget-friendly offerings don’t have a control panel (case in point, the BLACK+DECKER Double waffle maker.)
All you need to do is plug it in and wait for the power light to go off, signaling that it's ready for use. Pour in your batter, wait for the waffle to cook, then lift the lid and extract your waffle.
The waffle maker did excellently in both fields regarding cleanability and safety.
The Hamilton Beach 26031 has been given a high ease of use score thanks to the simple controls and effortless operation.
Our trials revealed that the lid and flipping mechanism worked wonders. Safety tests also showed that the Hamilton Beach 26031 is generally safe for most people to use — no excessive hot spots or structural flaws.
To make things even better, the waffle maker already included a drip tray and removable plates, making it a breeze to clean.
The BLACK+DECKER WMB500 displayed impressive cooking performance across both test recipes. The resulting waffles weren't restaurant-level quality, but certainly more than enough for a healthy homemade breakfast. It’ll be an ideal choice for families who simply need a reliably good option for breakfast.
The Hamilton Beach 26031 did excellently in all of our cooking test sessions. The texture and taste of the waffles were impressive, according to our chef. However, the coloration of the waffles could still be improved. Most of the waffles we made had dark colorings, which wasn’t ideal.
Pros & Cons
- Affordable pricing
- Decent cooking performance across both test recipes
- Good-looking stainless steel baking chamber
- The lid can dampen the force of a strong push, preventing the lid from accidentally snapping close to the user’s hand
- The non-stick coating on the waffle plates works very well
- Excellent safety rating
- Luxurious aesthetic by incorporating premium materials (stainless steel and ceramic)
- Does a great job in all of our performance tests
- Removable and washable waffle plates
- Easy to clean thanks to the included drip tray
- Lacks control panel
- The stainless steel baking chamber needs regular cleaning to look its best
- The spin-lock mechanism at the handle is finicky
For most people, the final decision between the BLACK+DECKER WMB500 and the Hamilton Beach 26031 will boil down to pricing. The former is a budget-friendly model, making it accessible to a broader range of consumers. On the other hand, the Hamilton Beach 26031 is a mid-range model that’s slightly pricier.
But there’s a good reason for the price difference. Compared to the BLACK+DECKER WMB500, the Hamilton Beach 26031 performs better and has a better-looking design.
The BLACK+DECKER WMB500’s performance is lower, but it’s still in the acceptable range. If you seek a good model to make breakfast waffles for the family, this one will do in a pinch.
So, if you have a decent budget, we highly recommend spending extra on the Hamilton Beach 26031. On the other hand, if you want something on the affordable side, the BLACK+DECKER WMB500 is a decent alternative.
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.