The West Bend 41300 and West Bend 41400 bread makers are not identical twins. Yet they’re close enough cousins that deciding for one over the other can be a bit tricky. At the slightly lower price for the 41400, though the 41300 already is very low, that choice becomes trickier still. So, what to do? Only a close look at the features of both models will help us out of this dilemma.
|Delay Timer||Up to 13 hrs||Up to 13 hrs|
|LCD Control Panel|
|Crust Control||3 options||3 options|
|Loaf Size||4 options: 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 lbs||3 options: 1, 1.5, 2 lbs|
|Custom Baking Cycles||1|
|Rapid Bake Program|
|White Bread Program|
|Whole Wheat Bread Program|
|Gluten Free Bread Program|
|Dough Maker Program|
|Accessories||measuring cup & spoon||measuring cup & spoon|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||10.3" x 16" x 12"||11.5" x 17.3" x 12.5"|
|Weight||17.4 lbs||15.6 lbs|
|Where to buy?||Best Price||Best Price|
Basic Design and Specs
Loaf Size Options. Both models are in the Goldilocks range of bulk, not too big and not too small. For the 41300 that means an appliance that measures 12″ H x 10.3″ W x 16″ D. The 41400 is roughly the same size. Despite that, the 41400 offers a slightly smaller loaf, just 7 inches long by 5.5 inches wide. The 41300 can produce one at 8 3/4″ x 4 3/4″.
The increase in loaf width for the 41300 no doubt accounts for the fact that it slightly outdoes the 41400’s loaf in weight. The 41400 can produce 1 lb, 1.5 lb, or 2 lb. The 41300 pulls ahead a little by offering an additional option: 2.5 lbs. Still, for my taste, the happy fact is that both are horizontal style. Vertical loafs taste good but I prefer to slice in the more traditional manner.
Three Crust Styles. It is unfortunate, but pretty standard, that the 41300 and the 41400 both have only three crust styles. That essentially equates to three baking temperatures. They’re the only options offered by most bread makers but a wider range would still be a big benefit. Some recipes really call for that since it affects more than just whether the top is light, medium, or dark. ‘Til the manufacturers see the light, there’s nothing to distinguish the two bread makers here.
Viewing Windows. Fortunately, it’s easy to see all that crust color developing during the bake cycle. Both bread makers have windows that give you a clear view of what’s going on at any time. Curiously, despite their many similarities, their case difference extends to the window designs. The 41300 offers two medium-sized round ones; the 41400 has one large window. I can only imagine that the design choice is the result of desiring to accommodate the 41300’s (optional) two-loaf pan.
Kneading Paddles. There is one very big distinguishing item, though: the kneading paddles. Or, rather, in the case of the 41400 the kneading paddle, singular. In a unit that is nearly the same size, and lower priced but just barely, it’s an odd choice.
Two paddles is almost always better than one. True, it’s one more thing to clean but they’re small, non-stick, and take only seconds to rinse off (or toss into the dishwasher). And, it is one more gear inside and therefore one more thing to go wrong. But the spindles on nearly all bread makers are very reliable. A lemon is always possible but it’s rare, so why not have two?
That said, the one that resides on the 41400 is sturdy just as both are on the 41300. They’re all easy to put on or take off yet won’t likely come off in the middle of a baking cycle. And I really love the way the pan secures to the bottom of the bread maker rather than relying on side clips. Secure, yet easy to get in and out of the case. Some models make it really difficult as a result of that very common side-clip method.
Control Panel and Display
There are other, less pronounced differences between the 41300 and the 41400. Still, less obvious doesn’t mean “unimportant”. And since they reside in the display and control panel buyers will want to take a close look at them.
No Automatic Dispenser. There’s no container or automatic add function for folding in nuts or raisins mid-cycle. That’s a minor complaint, though. For specific pre-set programs a beep towards the end of the second knead cycle will tell you when to do so. As an alternative I can always start a kitchen timer pretty easily to add those – provided I remember why I set it! Kidding aside, at the low price of either of these West Bend bread makers the absence of those special features is no cause to grumble.
10+ Preset Programs. There are 10 pre-sets on the 41300 and a dozen on the 41400. There’s the usual array: Basic, Whole Wheat, French, and more. But there’s also Dough and even Cake and Jam settings. And if you prefer to “roll your own”, it’s no trouble to use either unit to make Gluten Free or Low Carb or even Garlic Bread. The manual is full of helpful recipes.
There’s one feature difference that could, however, decidedly influence a choice of one over the other. The 41300 has a custom program option. You can set two Knead Time intervals and three separate Rise Time intervals. You can set the Bake cycle time and there’s even a Keep Warm cycle that can be customized.
Delay Timer. You might want to prepare a loaf the night before to be ready the next morning. Or, working women might like to add the ingredients after morning coffee and return home to fresh-baked bread in the evening. The delay timer on both units makes that doable.
“Doable” isn’t “foolproof” unfortunately. You can set it for up to 13 hours ahead but that time is for when you want the bread maker to finish, not start. Estimate accordingly.
If you’re off by a bit, such as you might be when going through a time change twice a year, you’re saved by one other feature. There’s a 1-hour automatic warm setting option on the 41400. Granted, that’s not why West Bend put it there but it’s saved my bacon more than once in those circumstances.
Appearance. There are other minor differences between the two models, but whether it would cause anyone to choose the 41300 over the 41400 it’s hard to say.
Both come with an array of physical buttons, which are highly appreciated. The round ones on the 41300 sit beneath the display looking like the lower half of an old-fashioned phone dial. The 41400 offers essentially the same options (though a couple are labeled differently for some reason), but they’re rectangular and curve up one side. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to to me but there it is, if you care.
The other difference may or may not matter: the case color. No doubt it will to some but not to others. The 41300 is black and the 41400 is white. If you’re fussy about matching appliance styles in your kitchen, as I am, that might help tip the scales.
Both the West Bend 41300 and 41400 are fine bread makers at amazingly low prices for the healthy feature set. They’re generally reliable and will make loaves as large as many units costing much more. Frankly, unless you prefer a dual-paddle machine (or the optional dual pan), as I do, I’d find it hard to recommend one over the other. That is, except for one thing: the Homemade option of the 41300. Let your baking style be your guide.