If you’re interested in purchasing a West Bend bread maker or wish to read reviews of them so you can compare them to from other brands, you’re in the right place. Before I begin, let me introduce the brand to you. West Bend is a trademark, and the name of the company that actually produces all the products under the West Bend brand is The Legacy Companies. According to their website, their purpose is to produce kitchen appliances that deliver unrivaled quality and performance to consumers all over the nation. Yes, this is an American brand, a Wisconsin brand to be specific, and they’ve been in business since 1911. That’s more than 100 years in business!
West Bend produces a wide range of kitchen appliances. Some of the appliances they produce are slow cookers, toasters, air fryers, coffee makers, juicers, popcorn poppers/machines, and bread makers/machines. They also sell replacement parts of all the kitchen appliances they manufacture. As you know already, I’ll be focusing on West Bend bread makers in this article. If I do decide to expand this website, then you might get to read my reviews of other kitchen products from this brand.
At the time of writing this article, West Bend only has one product listed on their website, which is the 3 lb high-rise bread maker. It’s also their best-selling product, but it’s not the only one available on Amazon. Amazon has another model listed on their website – the 2 lb model – and I’ll be reviewing both products in this article, starting with the former.
Reviews of West Bend Bread Makers
The gray color on this machine is outstanding. I don’t know about you, but gray with a touch of black makes for a beautiful kitchen appliance, as evidenced by this product. I also like the shape and layout of the buttons on the front panel. Even though it’s not the most tidy arrangement of buttons you can find on a kitchen appliance, West Bend did a great job of organizing the front panel in a user-friendly and aesthetic manner. The buttons on the panel are the usual buttons you’ll find on most bread makers – start/stop, minus/plus, loaf selection, crust color selection, and menu buttons. Now, onto the features…
This is not your average bread maker. It doesn’t even give two hoots about making loaves under 2 lb. This is an appliance that is designed to make large loaves. It will only make 2 lb, 2.5 lb, and 3 lb loaves in its horizontal pan. There are 12 settings to choose from so you can make the right kind of loaf for yourself and family or friends – basic, French, whole wheat, sweet, super rapid (under 2 hours baking time), sandwich, mix, dough, gluten-free, cake, bake, and custom.
West Bend didn’t name this appliance “Hi-Rise” (which obviously stands for high rise) for nothing. This machine has two kneading blades, and the purpose of these is to promote more thorough kneading. The more thoroughly your machine kneads, the lighter the taste of your loaf and the higher the rise of your dough. The crust colors offered to you are light, medium, and dark, so you can customize how your bread looks and tastes. There’s a pretty large viewing window at the top of the machine, so it’s easy to see the current state of your loaf despite the absence of an interior light.
As mentioned above, there is a custom setting, which is designed for those who want more control over the settings that control the bread-making process. This is obviously not a setting that is designed for beginners. It’s for advanced users – for those who’ve had a lot of experience making bread at home and therefore want the best loaf out of their machine, a goal that is best achieved by customizing every single setting available. This machine gives you that ability if this is you.
What is a bread maker without recipes? A wonderful machine, but having a good number of recipes to try out makes it an even more wonderful machine. Buyers of the Hi-Rise 3 lb get a good number of delicious recipes to try out like wheat bread and garlic bread recipes in the included manual. All the accessories you’ll need are also included. The accessories included in the package are: measuring cup, measuring spoon, and a tool for removing the kneading blades. The pan is a nonstick pan, which means it’s easy to clean.
The first review is from a fairly experienced user. This reviewer bought this machine because they wanted a machine that makes traditional, horizontal loaves rather than tall and square loaves. As everyone does after getting a new machine, they made their first few loaves following the recipes included in the manual and had mixed results. After trying out their own recipe, they had the perfect loaf baked exactly how they wanted it.
This reviewer refuted a few of the complaints from previous reviewers. The first complaint they refuted was “walking”. According to this reviewer, they hadn’t experienced this when they wrote their review. The second complaint was “baking too hot”, something this reviewer agrees with, while also stating that this can be easily avoided by customizing the settings to your liking.
This reviewer commented on a few of their favorite features of this machine. They liked how the machine is much lighter than their previous one, how it doesn’t occupy a lot of counter space, and how easy it is to use. The only drawback they mentioned was the slight difficulty in getting the pan into the machine.
The review you just read about is a 4-star review. The next review is a 5-star review from a reviewer whose previous product was from this same brand and decided to stick with the brand for their next model. They talk about how this machine is better than their previous model in terms of how sharp the LCD display is, and the number of program settings it supports. I’m pretty sure it produces better loaves than their previous machine, although they didn’t mention this in their review, but it’s obvious. According to this reviewer, horizontal bread machines are superior and aren’t as common as other vertical ones. I lean towards agreeing with that.
If you like the model above but you don’t like it’s inability to make loaves less than 2 lb in weight, the West Bend Hi-Rise 2 lb Bread Maker is the right appliance for you. It has the same 12 programs available in the 3 lb model, it has the same design as the 3 lb model, but it has a lighter shade of gray and black compared to the darker shades on the 3 lb model. While the 3 lb model supports 2 lb, 2.5 lb, and 3 lb loaf sizes, the 2 lb model supports 1 lb, 1.5 lb, and 2 lb loaf sizes. So this is basically an alternative to the 3 lb model if you want a machine that bakes smaller loaves but still has almost all the features the 3 lb model offers.
For some reason, the 3 lb model is way more popular than the 2 lb model, even though both products were launched on the same day in May, 2018. That said, I think I know the reason why. The 2 lb model costs about $40 more than the 3 lb model, for reasons unknown to me. It should be less expensive, but I believe West Bend has a good reason for selling it at a higher price.
If you get this appliance, you’ll get access to most of the features mentioned in my review of the 3 lb model above, plus other features I failed to mention which both models possess. One of those features is the 13-hour delay timer, which enables you to delay the bread-making process so it completes the process at the exact time you wish to consume your freshly baked, warm loaf. Another feature is the keep warm feature. If you’re not ready to serve your loaf after the machine’s done baking, it can keep your loaf warm for up to an hour until you’re ready to take it out of the machine’s nonstick, non-horizontal pan (if you want a horizontal pan, buy the 3 lb model).
This model also comes with a measuring cup, measuring spoon, a tool for kneading blade removal, and a manual with a decent number of recipes to make. Like the 3 lb model, the Hi-Rise 2 lb is designed to help both novice and experienced bakers make delicious bread at home. It’s simple enough for the casual user or a newbie, while providing all the features an experienced baker would want in a bread maker.
That said, if you really want to have complete control over the baking process, go for the 3 lb model. The custom setting is missing in the 2 lb model. Instead of the custom setting, it has a jam setting, which the 3 lb model doesn’t have. That’s one more thing that differentiates both models, which appear to be missing an automatic fruit/nut dispenser (they do notify you when it’s time to add mix-ins though).
The first reviewer bought this machine during the pandemic so they could make bread at home (according to Google Trends, sales of bread makers actually spiked during the pandemic from Mar 15, 2020 to Apr 12, 2020). This reviewer made Italian bread, white bread, sandwich bread, and other types using this machine and they were satisfied with its performance. They also mentioned that they found it easy to use.
The second reviewer is a long-time user of appliances from this brand. They’ve previously owned one which they purchased in 1996. They rated it 5 stars, but also mentioned that had they succeeded in obtaining replacement parts for their old model, they would have kept on using it. They noted that this new model has smaller print so the menu is “harder to read”, but it seems like this review is from a senior. In my opinion, nothing is hard to read on this machine.
The last review I’m going to talk about is from a reviewer who also bought this machine during the pandemic because it was difficult to find bread in stores, so they had no choice but to make theirs at home. The summary of their review is that they love it. They mentioned that they’d keep using this to make fresh bread at home even after the pandemic (who wouldn’t?).
Which Is it Going to be, the 3 lb Model or the 2 lb Model?
Both models are great options and you can’t go wrong with any. Bar the absence of automatic dispensers in both models, these products offer almost all the features you’ll find in a high quality modern appliance. The 2 lb model makes tall and square loaves, while the 3 lb model makes horizontal loaves. The 2 lb model doesn’t have the custom option, and it will set you back $40 more than the price of the 3 lb model, so weigh your options and decide what model is right for you.
Also, don’t forget that if you want to make 1 lb and 1.5 lb loaves, you have no other choice but to buy the 2 lb model or consider a different brand if you don’t like it. If you want my recommendation, I recommend the 3 lb model. It offers more value for the money in my opinion, so if you want to bake 2 lb or higher loaves, and its price is within your budget, get the 3 lb model.