Why Buy a Donut Maker?
The top performers in our review are the Babycakes DN-95, the Gold Award winner; the Sunbeam 2 in 1, the Silver Award winner; and the Babycakes DNM-30, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a product to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these nine products.
An electric donut maker can be a fun, handy inclusion to your collection of compact kitchen appliances. Not only can it save you money you’d otherwise spend at the grocery store or local bakery, but it can also free you up to experiment with healthier recipes that will satisfy your sweet tooth without stretching your waistline. One of the great benefits of owning a home donut machine is that there’s no deep frying required, which translates to far fewer calories consumed and less of a mess to clean.
The current market for home donut makers includes other associated products, such as donut hole makers, brownie makers, and some high-end donut fryers that are better placed in restaurants. For the purposes of our reviews, we left these products out and focused only on compact donut makers that fit easily into your kitchen.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the units in our comparison through a combination of retail purchases and direct loans from the manufacturers. These manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
Donut Makers: Standard Batch Sizes
Donut makers vary in the number of donuts that can be baked in a single batch. Most create a batch of a half dozen, but some are capable of baking larger batches. Likewise, there are some that make fewer than six. When making your choice, be sure to pick the best donut maker for your needs by determining how many donuts can be made at a time.
Donut Makers: What We Tested, What We Found
Donut makers are easy-to-use appliances that all come with non-stick cooking surfaces for minimal post-cooking cleanup. For the purposes of our testing, we relied on a single, traditional cake donut recipe. We cooked up multiple batches, made close observations and took copious notes to better compare each unit’s performance.
Considering that a donut maker’s utility and performance is of the greatest value to you, we ranked each of the items on our list according to the quality of the outcome. We assigned each a donut consistency grade, ranking them with a grade between A for excellent and F for poor. These grades were determined by judging the evenness of the donuts. We also graded each of the donut makers with respect to the performance of their non-stick cooking surfaces and assigned similar grade scores.
Additional factors included in the donut maker’s overall performance ranking included their batch capacity, the length of time each donut maker takes to heat to cooking temperature, the length of time it takes to cook a single batch, and the presence of additional features. One bonus feature, the flip-over function that ensures a more evenly cooked donut, is only present in the Chef Buddy. Donut makers with interchangeable molds that allow you to make more than just donuts, as is the case with the Sunbeam 2 in 1, are more versatile. However, depending on your needs, this may not be a determining factor in your selection.
Because home safety is always a concern when cooking, we also took note of the number of safety features each donut maker has. This is especially important if you have children who may be eager to lend a helping hand when baking a batch of goodies. Some of the most common safety features that all of the donut makers we reviewed share are cool-touch handles to prevent you from burning yourself when handling it during cooking. Non-skid rubber feet are also a standard safety feature that ensures the donut maker stays in place on your countertop and doesn’t get knocked off if you accidentally brush up against it.
These safety features aside, there are some features that not all units share. These include a locking lid latch that prevents contents from spilling if the donut maker is overturned as well as cord storage that enables you to more securely stow away that donut maker in your kitchen cabinet. One of the additional benefits of countertop donut makers is that there’s no need to use your kitchen oven, which may also be a safety concern with small children involved in the process.
While the vast majority of home donut makers do not come with accessories, some do. The inclusion of items like fork tools for safely removing donuts after cooking and wire cooling racks to keep the donuts from getting soggy serve to boost any unit’s overall score when it comes to utility and value. Since not all of us like to experiment when baking, we also took note of the number of included recipes that come packaged with the donut makers and gave added value to the units that included the greatest variety of recipes.
For most people, the time it takes to set up a kitchen appliance and start cooking is important – as is the length of time and additional effort required in cleaning up after cooking is done. We ranked the donut makers in our list for a number of factors, including the length of time it takes for the donut maker to achieve cooking temperature and the presence of removable plates to make cleanup easier. The Sunbeam 2 in 1 is the only donut maker with physically removable dishwasher safe plates, which caused it to rank highest in the cleanup category.
Since longevity is critical any time you spend money on a kitchen appliance, we researched the lengths of the individual donut maker warranties and found that the average term is one year. However, this was not consistent across the board. For example, the Holstein Housewares HF-09004M comes with a 180-day manufacturer warranty. The New DM-6/2389 and Chef Buddy donut makers offer no warranties. Additionally, we ranked the donut makers by the availability of telephone and/or email support channels.
Our Verdict and Recommendations
After exhaustive research, we determined that the best donut makers on the market today are the Babycakes DN-95, the Sunbeam 2 in 1, and the Babycakes DNM-30. All three of these donut makers achieved top scores in safety and design category and ranked equally high in overall performance.
By nature, all of the donut makers we tested are easy-to-use devices that only require light cleaning with a moist cloth prior to usage. There is no assembly required and donut makers are turned on when they are plugged into the wall. All include power indicator lights that serve the purpose of telling you when they are ready to cook and when donuts are ready to eat.
Buying the right donut maker depends greatly on your needs. We recommend comparing all nine of the donut makers in our lineup by not only their level of performance, but also by batch size and overall footprint, to better determine which will best fit your home-baking requirements. For more information, read our articles about donut makers.