BELLA 13991 Classic Waffle Maker Review

Matthew Lee
Reviewer
Tuyet Pham
Culinary Consultant
Lap Vo
Test Lead
Nguyen Ntk
Visual Specialist
Updated
Tested Methodology v1.0
BELLA Classic Rotating Non-Stick Belgian Waffle Maker Hands-On Review
Power: 1000W

Overall Verdict

7.2
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    7.1/10
  • Usability (30%)
    6.8/10
  • Design (20%)
    7.8/10

The Bella 13991 out-performed many of the expensive waffle makers in our performance tests. While the coloration of the waffles weren’t too great, the texture and taste were quite good. 

It has a stately, compact design. Handling is smooth thanks to the intuitive controls and smooth rotation system. An included drip tray makes the waffle maker painless to clean. So, it’s a shame that some key build-quality and safety issues will turn out to be deal-breakers for many people.

Things We Like

  • Affordable
  • Did a good job in both of our performance tests
  • Overall design looks very premium
  • The non-stick coating functions well

Things We Don’t Like

  • Poor build quality
  • The lid is dangerously loose

For an entry-level waffle maker, the Bella 13991 offers a decent bang for your buck. It has an attractive, durable stainless steel body arranged in a rotating design. Based on looks alone, it's easy to see why it's become such a hit with over 15,000 users.

But whether it lives up to expectations is a different matter. After testing a unit in our lab, here is what we found about this flip-style waffle maker.

BELLA 13991 Classic Waffle Maker In-depth Review

Performance

How We Tested
7.1
Performance Scores
  • Self-Mixed Recipe (50%)
    7.1/10
  • Birch Benders Mix (50%)
    7.2/10

The Bella waffle maker did good in our tests. Although there’s still room for improvement when it comes to coloration, texture and taste are good.

7.1

Self-Mixed Recipe

BELLA 13991 Classic Self-Mixed Recipe
BELLA 13991 Classic Self-Mixed Recipe 1
BELLA 13991 Classic Self-Mixed Recipe 2
BELLA 13991 Classic Self-Mixed Recipe 3
Color: 7.5
35% * 7.5 = 2.6
Texture: 7.5
25% * 7.5 = 1.9
Taste: 6.5
40% * 6.5 = 2.6
  • Heat Level: Maximum
  • Cooking Time: 8 minutes

Due to the prolonged cooking time, the waffle’s outer crust was slightly burnt. Fortunately, the texture and flavor were both decent. The waffle would've been splendid if it wasn't for the bitter taste and dry mouthfeel caused by the burnt crust.

Color (7.5) — 35%

  • Color tone: Very dark brown (Both)
  • Color distribution: Even

The crust had a dark brown tone, giving the waffle a slightly burnt appearance. Thankfully, despite the dark coloration, the waffle wasn't charred, saving it from a failing grade. Additionally, the waffle’s color was very consistent and uniform across both sides.

Texture (7.5) — 25%

  • Texture: Good
  • Aeration level: High; large air cavities fill the interior of the waffle

This machine’s waffles were well aerated. Large air bubbles permeated the interior, lending it a soft, fluffy texture. The batter had also fully developed, so there were no moist or mushy spots. But because the waffle was slightly overcooked, it was dry and chewy in certain places.

Taste (6.5) — 40%

  • Flavor: Sweet and savory with a bitter undertone
  • Mouthfeel: Mostly soft and fluffy, but dry and chewy at burnt spots

Overall, the Bella 13991 did well in this section. It was able to unlock the batter’s full potential. The resulting waffle was flavorful with a sweet, slightly savory aftertaste. Unfortunately, the burnt crust lent the waffle a bitter undertone. Mouthfeel was also affected by the dry, chewy crust.

7.2

Birch Benders Mix

BELLA 13991 Classic Birch Benders Mix
BELLA 13991 Classic Birch Benders Mix 1
BELLA 13991 Classic Birch Benders Mix 2
BELLA 13991 Classic Birch Benders Mix 3
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 in this test.

7.8
design Scores
  • Build Quality (60%)
    7.0/10
  • Waffle Plates (30%)
    9.0/10
  • Control Panel (10%)
    8.5/10

On the outside, the Bella 13991 looks like a premium machine with its glossy stainless steel body. But upon closer inspection, its build quality is disappointing due to a wobbly lid, which can be dangerous. Except for this issue, the waffle plates, control panel, power cord, and other parts are of adequate quality.

In The Box

BELLA 13991 Classic What’s in the Box?
  • Bella Classic Rotating Waffle Maker (13991) 
  • User manual
  • Drip tray

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

Dimensions

BELLA 13991 Classic Dimensions
  • 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.

7.0

Build Quality

BELLA 13991 Classic Build Quality
BELLA 13991 Classic Build Quality 1
Play video
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 very easily and is highly susceptible to scratches. A much more serious issue, however, was the extremely loose lid hinge. Whenever it's opened or adjusted, the lid wobbles dangerously.

9.0

Waffle Plates

Bella Waffle Maker Waffle Plates
Bella Waffle Maker Waffle Plates 1
  • Numberof Plates:
    2
  • Grid Pattern:
    Belgian-style
  • Plate Area:
    44.18 inch2
  • Plate Length:
    7.5 inches
  • Plate Width:
    7.5 inches
  • 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. All of the waffles slid cleanly off the plates without leaving behind messy residue.

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

8.5

Control Panel

Bella Waffle Maker Control Panel
Play video
BELLA 13991 Classic Control Panel video
  • Indicator Lights:
    Yes
  • Audible Alarm:
    No
  • Timer:
    No
  • Browning Control:
    Yes

The control panel has three components: a temperature dial in the center and two indicator lights.

The temperature dial turns smoothly, but doesn’t have any specific temperature notches or settings. Instead, there’s 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.

Power Cord

Bella Waffle Maker Power Cord
  • Plug Style:
    Type A (Flat Blade Attachment Plug)
  • Length:
    26 inches
  • Cable Management:
    No

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

Accessories: Drip Tray

Hamilton Beach 26031 Drip Tray
  • 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.

Ease of Use

How We Rated
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

The Bella 13991 only passed this test by a hair. The waffle maker failed multiple categories due to its poor build quality and relatively unsafe design. It only managed to get an overall passing score because of its high cleanability.

3.0

Handling

Play video
BELLA 13991 Classic Handling video

It failed the handling test due to the dangerously loose lid. Whenever we went to start 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 ran a good chance of unexpectedly snapping shut.

With the exception of 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.

8.0

Safety

Bella Safety Bottom side temperature
Bella Safety Top-side temperature
Bella Safety Handle temperature
  • 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 problem.

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.

9.5

Cleanability

not image

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.

10

Indicator Light Visibility

Bella Waffle Maker Indicator Light Visibility
Bella Waffle Maker Indicator Light Visibility Bottom light

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.