If you are on a tight budget, or if this is your first bread maker and you don't want to invest too much, this model is the best choice. You can't beat the price, and reviewers say it offers a lot for the money, including 12 bread functions, three bread sizes and three crust preferences. There's also a consensus that this model is reasonably durable and lasts a long time. On the downside, some owners find the machine flimsy or overly bulky on the countertop; a few also find the unit noisy. The biggest problem, however, seems to be the less-than-helpful instruction manual complete with faulty recipes. Nevertheless, for a low-priced option, this model provides much satisfaction.
Delivers consistently good results over the long term. Although the low price tag might lead you to expect otherwise, the Sunbeam 5891 earns high performance marks from reviewers. Many users posting to Cooking.com and Viewpoints.com say the model consistently makes great bread, with one Cooking.com user calling it "delicious." Another reviewer at the site had the model shipped to her daughter serving in Iraq, so she and her fellow soldiers could get a taste of home.
Some users, however, report performance problems such as tasteless or dry bread. After testing multiple bread machines, editors at The Wall Street Journal note that sometimes this model's loaves have "sunken middles." Nevertheless, many reviewers say the problem is not so much the machine as the recipes included in the instruction manual, and some advise it's best to use different recipes for better results. Still, some reviewers complain that the crust selector could work better, noting that crusts tend to come out dark even when the light setting is selected.
A basic, intuitive machine. Most reviewers say the Sunbeam 5891 is easy to use and easy to clean, and many users report that the LED display is easy to read. One user posting to Cooking.com, however, finds that the kneading blade is weak, so extra water must be added to make the dough soft enough to knead. This user also complains that there is no "off" switch -- the unit is "on" whenever plugged in -- and the pan is not dishwasher-safe. None of these complaints are echoed elsewhere. The only other operational complaint we discovered is from The Wall Street Journal editors who find that the pan sometimes jams inside the machine.
Bulky and not particularly attractive. If you're wondering what the trade-off is for an affordable bread machine, one answer seems to be aesthetics. Many reviewers consider the Sunbeam 5891 big and bulky, calling it a countertop space hog. Futhermore, we found no reviewers making the case that this model is a well-designed appliance.
Noisier than others. Shelling out an additional $80 or so will get you a machine that's closer to silent – but if you're going to take advantage of the Sunbeam 5891's low price, be warned that a number of reviewers find this model noisy. Some users report that the machine jerks or vibrates on the counter when in use. Others complain of grinding noises, which one user says is due to an overly dry doughball, and suggests adding water to help. Nevertheless, the blogger "Mama Chef," writing on the website BreadMachineReview.com, maintains that the 5891 is "relatively quiet."
1. The Wall Street Journal
Review Credibility: Excellent In a test of bread makers conducted by editors at The Wall Street Journal, the Sunbeam 5891 makes the list of five favorite models. Billed "The Economist," the machine delivers functionality similar to that of expensive models, but at a much lower price, according to the editors. The review points out that the pan occasionally jams in the machine, and a few loaves come out with sunken middles. Nevertheless, the editors call the 5891 a "wise 'starter-bread-maker' investment."
Review: Bread Makers, Laura Moser, Feb. 5, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good About 85 owners post about the Sunbeam 5891 to Cooking.com and give it an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, with some 97 percent of those owners saying they'd recommend it. Many say this easy-to-use machine has produced great results with a variety of cycles, adding that the price makes this a great value. There are a handful of complaints about bread that comes out too dense and dry, and some users say you'd be better off with a different recipe book than the one included with this model.
Review: 18.91-in. Nonstick Breadmaker with Express Bake by Sunbeam, Contributors to Cooking.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Good The Sunbeam 5891 earns 85 points out of a possible 100 from about 80 users posting ratings on Viewpoints.com, with some 35 adding that they "love" it -- a unique rating feature on this site. Many give it high marks for performance and ease of use, although some users report problems with doughy centers or overbaked crusts. There are also reports that the machine is noisy.
Review: Sunbeam 2-Pound Programmable Bread Maker 5891 Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Good "Mama Chef," the blogger who runs this website for prospective bread-machine buyers, calls the Sunbeam 5891 perfect for those on a budget who are looking for an affordable bread maker that will last over time. She says it delivers a lot of value, with a choice of three bread sizes, 12 functions and three crust settings. She also finds it relatively quiet as well as easy to clean. The only downsides she reports are the model's bulkiness and the instruction book is unhelpful.
Review: Sunbeam 5891 2-Pound Programmable Bread Maker – Best Value Bread Machine, "Mama Chef", March 9, 2011