We looked at one stovetop model, the nonstick-coated cast aluminum Nordic Ware Original Stovetop Belgian Waffle Maker (15040). We ultimately cut it because the iron depends too much on the cook’s attention and experience to yield consistently great results. Professional and seasoned home cooks may prefer the great degree of control this Nordic Ware model allows, and if you know your stove well, J. Kenji López-Alt pointed out, you can compensate for hot and cool spots. It’s also the easiest to clean, he said, since you can just throw it in the sink when you’re done. None of the other waffle makers can go in the sink or be sprayed.
One of our two budget picks, the Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker (WMR-CA), makes consistently excellent waffles, and its compact design is perfect for small spaces. It produces just one round, thin waffle at a time (even smaller than what our runner-up makes), so this model is a good choice only if you like your waffles thin and crispy, and don’t need a high-volume waffle maker. The hardware is also cheaper feeling than that of our other picks.
After enjoying a plate of waffle goodness, you’ll need to clean up your mess. The level of cleaning you’ll have to do may depend on your waffle maker. Some models have a nonstick coating such as the Oster CKSTWFBF21 1-1/2-Inch Thick Belgian Flip Waffle Maker while others also have removable plates such as the KRUPS GQ502D Belgian Waffle Maker. Some models also feature a drip tray to make sure you don’t leave a mess on your countertop such as the All-Clad 99011GT Stainless Steel Belgian Waffle Maker. Others, like the NordicWare 15040 Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffle Iron, can be placed entirely in the sink for cleaning.
About 6 I got a call for herself wondering whether there was any chance of a lift as she was freezing. “Aha,” said I, “the absence of coat a mistake?” “Yes,” she conceded, “I also regret the sandals.” As I had been toting a hot water bottle around with me for the past hour as I was inexplicably cold, I hopped into the car with it and brought it to her. She was suitably grateful.
I hate myself for how much I loved this machine. I don't think anyone should have to spend $200 on a waffle maker, and I was actively rooting for another, more budget-friendly model to best or at least match it. But after a full day of testing and eating, I cannot in good conscience recommend any waffle iron more enthusiastically. None of the machines we tested even came close. The All-Clad has ruined all other waffle makers for me.
I went back to work for the morning. Couldn’t face the bike so spread my germs around public transport (should no longer be infectious, really). It was alright but I felt pretty seedy still to be honest. All the others I left coughing at home. The fact that the kitchen is basically a dust bowl and a fine layer of dust now covers almost everything in the house probably isn’t helping our recovery.
That said, quite a few users say that this waffle maker isn't as sturdily built as previous versions of the same model, and that if you don't get the top heating plate aligned just right, it can fall off -- an injury hazard if the plate is hot. The top of the G48TD also gets very hot. Some use pliers to bend the metal clips that hold the heating plates in place, which helps them line up better -- or you can just use an oven mitt to protect your hands.
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.
Unlike the Krups GQ502D, the Chef’sChoice 840B does not handle thin batter well—in fact, the manual explicitly states, “A thicker batter that pours slowly works best.” This model did a great job with Bisquick batter, turning out perfectly cooked waffles every time, but with our favorite yeasted batter it produced blotchy, limp, flat, and soggy waffles. So the Krups model is the winner in terms of versatility.
One other nice, though not strictly necessary, feature is the toggle switch, which allows you to select either a “crisp exterior/moist interior” setting or an “evenly baked” setting. For the most part, these settings work as promised: The former produced waffles with a custardy interior, while the latter produced more evenly crisp waffles. The only caveat is that, on a lower browning setting, your crisp-exterior, moist-interior waffles may come out underdone.
The Krups GQ502D took a little more time than some of the other models we tested to bake waffles. In our tests, waffles typically took about seven or eight minutes to cook, while the Presto FlipSide, for one, cooked a thicker waffle in about half the time. But the machines that cooked faster also tended to overcook, or to develop hot spots. A few extra minutes of waiting time is a small price to pay for golden, even-toned waffles, and the wait isn’t so bad when you can make four waffles at once.
The first thing we didn’t like was an unpleasant plastic smell that emanated from the Presto waffle maker when we first started cooking with it. While this scent did mostly dissipate over the course of our testing, and most waffle maker manuals suggest throwing away your first waffle because of chemicals that might be released from the non-stick, the smell from the Presto made us more uneasy than the rest.
This is a true Belgian waffle maker. Beautifully thick and evenly cooked waffles produced every time. There are 7 browning settings, beeping alerts and lights, a locking handle, and it even comes with a recipe booklet. The nonstick coating and removable drip tray allow for easy cleanup. And the highly polished stainless steel body ain’t that bad to look at either.