Editor's Note: The Hamilton Beach 25462Z Panini Press Gourmet Sandwich Maker is now available. Clicking the Buy button will take you to this version for purchase. We will evaluate, rank and review the Hamilton Beach 25462Z when we next update the Sandwich Maker reviews. Meanwhile, enjoy our review below about the Hamilton Beach 25450 Gourmet Panini Press.
The Hamilton Beach Panini Grill Gourmet sandwich maker has a good combination of features on a relatively large scale. It might be just right for a family or anyone who likes to make paninis for a crowd. This fine sandwich and panini maker produced nice sandwiches quickly in our tests.
You can expect a sandwich maker to struggle a little with basic store-bought bread, and the Hamilton Beach does, but not as much as others. The sandwiches we made with this appliance were perfectly toasted in most cases, with crisp bread that was flattened but not so much that it was like a tortilla. Some competing sandwich grillers smashed the bread until it was unrecognizable. There was still some air left in the bread after the Hamilton Beach cooked the sandwiches, and all of the ingredients inside were melted just right. On some of our tests there were a few spots that toasted slightly darker than others, but results were generally perfect with this hot sandwich maker.
Sandwiches peel off of this unit pretty smoothly, although they sometimes stick. The grill plates are generally fine for cleaning, but the grooves in the surface are a little more squared than others. This makes it hard to get into the corners and nooks for thorough cleaning, especially since the plates have to stay attached so you cannot just leave the leftover food and grease, throw everything in the dishwasher and forget it. If you like being able to put the cooking plates into the dishwasher so they get extremely clean, take a look at the Cuisinart Griddler & Panini Press GR-11.
Also, everything is on a relatively large scale with this sandwich maker, so it takes some time to clean for that reason too. You will not notice the large size for storage, though, because it can be stored upright.
The large cooking area will be frustrating to many but great for others. It just depends on who you cook for on a regular basis. This device got quite hot on the outside. Of course a grill is going to get hot, but some competing units were at least touchable – warm rather than hot. The handle stayed relatively cool, and that is most important. Even though it can be stored upright, the Hamilton Beach lacks a cord wrap that would make it even more convenient for storage.
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We could not find any tutorial videos on the Hamilton Beach site to get you started, but this is not a terribly complicated appliance. Most of what you need is in the instruction manual, which is easy to find and download. If you have concerns beyond that, you can email or call this manufacturer.
This unit was not our favorite to clean because of its small and boxy grooves, and you have to clean it all yourself because the grill plates don't come off to go in the dishwasher. However, we got some really good sandwiches from our testing of this unit. It toasts the bread nicely without smashing it and melts everything on the inside to comfort-food perfection.