The Holstein Housewares HH-09125016B 4” Personal waffle maker has no outstanding features. Its cooking performance was mediocre at best, while the design was unremarkable. But the affordable price can still make the Holstein a very appealing choice for budget shoppers.
Thanks to the lack of a control panel, it's easy to use. The waffle maker is pure plug-and-play. And like so many other mini waffle makers we’ve tested, the Holstein has a pretty bad safety score. Even after a single cooking session, the waffle maker gets dangerously hot, so you’ll need to wear oven mitts when you work with it.
Things We Like
- Highly affordable
- Compact size and lightweight
- Handling is simple and smooth
- Acceptable build quality
- Excellent cleanability rating
Things We Don’t Like
- Mediocre cooking performance with our self-mixed recipe
- Cheap-looking design
- Lacks a control panel
- Safety rating is very low
This model is the smallest, most affordable model in Holstein Housewares’ catalog and is in the same category as the DASH Mini and the Crownful waffle makers. The machine is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and so are its 4-inch waffles. Holstein also gives you plenty of colors to choose from when you order, ranging from plain back to more vibrant colors like yellow, lilac, and blue.
We recently bought a black unit and put it through its paces in our lab. After a week, here is our consensus on this handy mini waffle maker.
Where to Buy? Price at publication $16.70
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6.3Performance: Decent, Yet Unremarkable
Though our chef was satisfied with the waffle's quality and noted it as “decent”, it didn’t stand out from the other mini models in our test.
The coloration was decent but looked slightly burnt. The interior was filled nicely with bubbles and softened, though it was still mushy. As for the taste, the waffle only received a mediocre score from our chef, on account of its mushy core and slightly bland taste.
Color (35%) — 5.5/10
- Color tone: Very dark brown
- Color distribution: Uneven
Most of the waffle’s crust was a light gold color but within the deep wells are dark brown spots that indicate overcooking. Several of the wells were darkened beyond the point of “overcooked” and into “burnt” territory.
The color distribution is messy. The upper left-hand side is darker than the rest, which is a symptom of an uneven heating grid.
Texture (25%) - 7/10
- Texture: Soft and fluffy, but still slightly mushy
- Aeration level: High, with multiple air bubbles and pockets within the waffle’s core
Texturally, the waffle had filled out nicely with bubbles and air pockets all through its interior. This resulted in a decently soft and airy consistency. But our chef assessed the interior to be excessively moist and mushy still, resulting in only a “Good” score.
Taste (40%) - 6.5/10
- Flavor: Sweet and buttery, but has off-tastes from burnt spots on the crust (bitter) and undercooked spots in the interior (raw batter taste)
- Mouthfeel: Soft and fluffy, dry at burnt spots, and mushy on the inside
The overall taste was flavorful. The waffle’s flavor profile was sweet and buttery. However, burnt spots on the crust imparted a slightly bitter taste. And within the waffle, the mushy, undercooked spots also gave the waffle a raw batter-like taste. They effectively ruined the overall tasting experience.
In the mouth, the waffle was generally soft and spongy, but it wasn’t a consistent experience. Burnt spots on the crust felt dry on the tongue. And the undercooked portions within the waffle’s interior were disconcertingly wet and mushy.
6.3Birch Benders Mix
Though the waffle may not be the most attractive or have the best texture, it was edible and, most importantly, quite tasty. It would do the trick for breakfasts or snacking.
Color (35%) — 5.25/10
- Color tone: Very light gold (Both)
- Color distribution: Even
The waffle had a very light gold crust, with the deep wells having a dark brown tone. Although the color distribution on both sides of the waffle was even, we noticed the wells at the top to be more erratically colored. Notably, some wells are darker than others. This may indicate that the top lid's heating element is slightly unbalanced.
Texture (25%) - 6.5/10
- Texture: Soft, but overly moist and mushy
- Aeration level: Medium
The waffle’s texture was acceptable. It had a medium aeration rate, and air pockets had populated the waffle’s interior. But many portions of the waffle were still quite dense. These thick, mealy parts significantly affected the overall texture.
Taste (40%) - 7/10
- Flavor: Sweet and slightly savory
- Mouthfeel: Soft, but certain parts are mushy
The flavor was well-developed. Our chef appreciated the sweet and slightly savory taste of the waffle. The tasting experience was impacted by the mushy mouthfeel of the underdeveloped parts, though.
Considering the affordability of this model, we didn’t expect it to have a very premium design from the get-go. The design assessment confirmed it. The waffle maker has a cheap-feeling plastic housing, so it definitely won’t be the most good-looking model you’ll have come across. Despite the mediocre appearance, the build quality is very good: the lid hinges are solid, and the waffle plates are well-built.
Like many other mini models, the Holstein waffle maker lacks a control panel.
In the Box
- Holstein Housewares 4” Personal Waffle Maker
- User manual
The box contains the waffle maker itself and the instruction manual.
The Holstein 4-inch waffle maker fits perfectly into the Mini class size, weighing only one pound and compact enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Its compact, lightweight design may put it on the radar of hikers and travelers who want a portable waffle maker to cook on the go.
For those at home, the small size takes up very little space on the countertop. And when you have to put it away for storage, it can fit easily into a cupboard or a drawer.
The build quality of the Holstein 4-inch is acceptable.
It is made almost entirely from plastic except for the cast-aluminum waffle plates. The plastic shell feels far cheaper than some other waffle makers we have tested that are made of metal. And of course, compared to metal, plastic can be more prone to damage, too. Still, at this price point, we can't ask for more.
Certain parts of the waffle maker are very well-built. The lid hinges, for example, are solid and don't wobble a lot when opened or closed.
But when inspected closely, various manufacturing flaws reflect this waffle maker's budget price. We observed hideous gashes on the plastic at the back of the unit and exposed electrical wirings.
The waffle maker has a set of two cast-aluminum waffle plates. They are treated with a layer of smooth non-stick that, throughout our performance test, seemed to work very well. We never had to deal with a sticky waffle, and we could easily wipe off debris and residues.
Surrounding the plates is a small anti-spill channel. It will help minimize the mess in the event of a minor batter spill.
The Holstein 4-inch waffle maker doesn’t come with a control panel. The only thing it has is an indicator light at the top. When you plug the unit in, the light will brighten to indicate that it is receiving power. Once the plates are heated and ready for use, the light will turn off.
The power cord measures roughly 25 inches long, which is shorter than average compared to other models in our database. Some users may have to rely on an extension cord.
Integrated to the back foot of the waffle maker is a small grommet. When you have to put the waffle maker away into storage, you can wrap the cord around it for easier management.
The Holstein 4-inch waffle maker does not come with any accessories.
6.5Ease of Use
The Holstein 4-inch Waffle Maker is user-friendly. Much of the operation is simplified due to the lack of a control panel.
Once the indicator light at the top shuts off, pour in your batter and wait until your waffle is cooked to your liking. Due to its compact size, all of the surfaces on the waffle maker become piping hot after a few cooking sessions, so make sure to wear oven mitts while handling it. It’s because of this reason that the Holstein doesn’t score very well in our safety tests.
Cleaning the waffle maker after cooking is easy. The plastic housing doesn’t grip aggressively onto the dried batter, and the waffle plates’ non-stick coating ensures that it’s a mess-less affair.
Since the waffle maker lacks any control feature, the Holstein is a “plug-and-play” device. You only need to plug it in and let it handle the rest.
We can open and close the lid smoothly. When pushed back, the lid leans at an angle. As a result, there’s no risk of it unexpectedly snapping shut on your hand while you’re pouring the batter.
However, the lack of a control panel greatly reduces the waffle maker’s versatility.
The waffle maker doesn’t do well in our safety assessment. It suffers from the same all-surface heating issue as the other mini waffle makers we tested. Particularly, after two or three cooking sessions, every surface on the unit becomes piping hot, including the handle. It warrants wearing oven mitts throughout the entire process.
But with our thermometer, the waffle maker fared significantly worse than any other mini waffle makers we have tested.
The top lid measured 219°F. This is hot enough to cause a serious burn injury.
The bottom is considered warm at 113.7°F, which is great if you need to move the waffle maker immediately after cooking. However, we still recommend wearing your oven mitts when you touch the unit, just in case.
At 160.7°F, the handle is unacceptably hot.
We also noticed a problem with steam. After a few cooking sessions and when the plates are thoroughly heated, a plume of hot steam can eject from the plates whenever the lid is lifted. It’s not going to seriously injure, but it can be startling if you’re unprepared or aren’t wearing oven mitts to insulate your hands.
The waffle maker has excellent cleanability from a variety of factors. The non-stick waffle plates are helpful during post-cooking clean-ups. Any cooking residue can be easily wiped off with a cloth. And if there were to be a batter spill, the anti-spill channel surrounding the plates will minimize the amount of batter ending up on the table.
As it is made from smooth plastic, the exterior of the waffle maker doesn’t grip the batter tightly. So, even after the batter had dried out, we could quickly deal with it with a few spritzes of light detergent followed by a little buffing with a cloth.
10Indicator Light Visibility
The sole indicator light on top of the lid is fairly bright. We could easily observe it from afar, under harsh studio lighting.
About your guide
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.