First and foremost, you want a waffle maker that effectively and evenly cooks the batter. Electric waffle makers have heating elements on both sides, behind each grid, to aid in even cooking. Matt Maichel explained to us that these machines work by removing moisture from the batter via heat and surface area: “The dimples create more surface area; the more surface area, the more quickly the waffle can cook.” He added, “If steam doesn’t escape properly from the device, then you won’t get a good waffle.”
Cuisinart recommends the heat setting #3 for golden brown waffles. If you prefer crisper, darker waffles, increase the browning control to setting #4 or 5. For evenly filled waffles, pour the batter onto the center of the lower grid and close the cover. We recommend using 1/2 cup batter per waffle for evenly filled waffles. Waffles are best when made to order, but baked waffles may be kept warm in a 200°F oven. Place in a baking pan or wrap in foil while in the oven. Waffles wrapped in foil may lose their crispiness. Baked waffles may be frozen. Allow to cool completely, then place in plastic food storage bag. Use waxed paper to keep waffles separated. Reheat in a toaster or toaster oven when ready to use.
Bryan is our cooking and kitchen expert, with more than 15 years of experience of cooking and testing kitchen products. When outside of the kitchen, he enjoys woodworking, photography, videography and figuring out how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. He thoroughly enjoys discovering the best, whether it’s ingredients or equipment, and finding products that can stand the rigors of daily use.
Some of the models we tested come fully loaded with features, while others are more bare-bones. The question is which of these bonus features, if any, are worth having. Almost all the waffle makers come equipped with adjustable heat settings, a feature we found mostly useless, since there’s almost never a situation in which you’d want anything less than maximum heat. It’s a feature that’s even more vexing on the losing low-end models, which, even at their highest settings, were not very hot. (There were some exceptions to this: Our winning flip waffle maker got so hot that we appreciated being able to turn the heat down.)
Waffle makers can vary widely in prices. More affordable options go for around 15-30 dollars, while if you really want to splurge you can spend as much as 130 dollars. For basic waffle making, a cheaper unit works fine. However, you do sometimes run the risk of it breaking after a few months because of lower quality parts. If you feel like getting fancy with variable temperature controls, flip plates, or the like, it will probably cost you a bit extra.