If you're looking for a low-priced option with the greatest number of features, the West Bend Hi-Rise Breadmaker should be on your shortlist of potential buys. It has many settings and a range of extras usually reserved for high-end machines: dual paddles, a horizontal loaf pan and a choice of four loaf sizes. (Most machines offer between one and three sizes.) A few users also consider this unit an attractive addition to the counter, and a majority express satisfaction with the resulting look and taste of the loaves. However, there are reports of less-than-perfect results, as well as some complaints that the machine is flimsy and the paddles don't fit well or tend to stick to the loaf. The low price makes some users nervous about durability -- and indeed, there are some reports of mechanical breakdowns. Nevertheless, for its price, many customers are happy with their West Bend -- and are glad that they didn't pay more.
A highly functional machine for the price. The 41300 earns extremely positive reviews from users, many of whom say it performs as well as high-priced Zojirushi models. One user says the quality of the bread is "fantastic," noting that even whole wheat bread comes out light and soft. Another reports that it produces loaves akin to old-fashioned homemade bread -- slightly moist and springy, with a wonderful taste, texture and weight.
There are a few complaints about performance, however, but some attribute this to a less-than-adequate instruction book that includes lesser-quality recipes. Editors at the bread-enthusiast website BreadInfo.com, however, report success with both the manufacturer's recipes and other recipes; while they notice the machine stuttering when kneading dry dough, they add that other machines would perform similarly in this situation. There are also some negative comments regarding the machine's parts, such as paddles sticking to the bread, stubborn loaves that are difficult to remove from the pan and the paddles not attaching securely to the pan.
Very easy to operate. Ease of use is one of the highlights of the West Bend 41300, according to many users, who say the machine is simple to program, and cleanup is quick. The large round viewing windows are also considered helpful in keeping an eye on the process. There are some complaints that the display is hard to read and it's easy to push buttons by mistake, but these are few and far between. There are also reports of difficult machine parts, including complaints that the lid doesn't seal well and the blades get stuck in the machine (a problem easily solved during cleaning, users say). Mostly, however, users are extremely satisfied with the machine's operation. In fact, editors at BreadInfo.com say this unit is so easy to operate, they made several loaves without consulting the instruction manual.
Sleek but big. Not many users comment about the appearance of the 41300, but those that do tend to view it positively. One user calls the machine sleek, and another calls its design "modern." A third user says it fits perfectly with the kitchen's décor. Editors at BreadInfo.com are even more enthusiastic, calling the 41300 "quite an attractive machine" and "as sleek as a bread machine can possibly be." There are a few gripes that the unit is large, an observation that BreadInfo.com editors echo, yet they also add that largeness is to be expected from a machine with a horizontal pan and dual paddles.
Relatively quiet and not disruptive. While the 41300 is not a silent operator, editors at BreadInfo.com say it is one of the quietest machines they have tested. They note that even the beep signaling the end of the cycle is quiet, and they recommend that people who have trouble hearing or will be in a different room to set a separate timer. Users posting reviews to retail websites also comment that the machine is relatively quiet, with one noting that its sound is easy to ignore in a bustling kitchen. The only real noise complaints come from users whose machines malfunctioned.
Review Credibility: Excellent This website includes comprehensive reviews of many bread machines including this West Bend model, based on the editors' experiences ordering, using and cleaning them. According to the editors, the 41300 offers top value. They report that it is easy to use -- so easy, in fact, that they are able to make several loaves without even reading the instructions. They call the two round viewing windows an improvement over the more typical rectangular windows, and they report good results with both the manufacturer's recipes and their own variations. One criticism is that the machine stuttered once or twice with dry dough, but they note that most machines will behave similarly.
Review: Review: West Bend Hi-Rise Breadmaker, Editors of BreadInfo.com, Undated
Review Credibility: Very Good About 430 users provide reviews for the West Bend Hi-Rise Breadmaker to Amazon.com, earning it an average rating of 4 stars out of 5. Users like the dual blades, horizontal loaf pan and choice of four bread sizes, as well as the smell, taste and texture of the finished product. Some also point out that it works as well as more expensive machines. A few take issue with the recipes in the instruction manual, which they say do not produce bread as tasty as their own recipes, and a few complain about the mechanical design, noting that the lid doesn't form a tight seal and the paddles don't fit well.
Review: West Bend 41300 Hi-Rise Electronic Dual-Blade Breadmaker, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Nearly 300 users post reviews about the West Bend Hi-Rise Breadmaker on Walmart.com, giving it an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Most users report that it is easy to use and performs very well, and several note that the dual paddles are a boon. A few point out that they need to make adjustments during the process, such as adding water or smoothing the dough before baking, but they do not find this onerous. Several also comment that the machine looks nice on the counter. There are some reports, however, of fallen breads or other less-than-perfect results, and one user reports that the machine emits a bad, mechanical odor even after several uses.
Review: West Bend Hi-Rise Breadmaker , Contributors to Walmart.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Fair The 41300 receives a handful of reviews on BedBathAndBeyond.com, but nearly all of them give it a perfect, 5-star rating. Most agree it is easy to use and performs well, although one user says the loaf can be difficult to remove from the pan, and another says the paddles get stuck in the bottom of baked loaves.
Review: West Bend 41300 Hi Rise Bread Maker, Contributors to BedBathAndBeyond.com, As of December 2012