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.
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.
We’re still happy with our top pick from a few years ago, the Oster-Flip, but Oster doesn’t sell it anymore. They’ve switched their entire line to a new “DuraCeramic” coating, and while the wattage and temperature specs haven’t changed the new waffle iron just doesn’t brown waffles evenly. (We ordered a replacement model just to be sure something wasn’t broken.)
While the Oster and Cuisinart were the two top waffle makers among our finalists in initial testing, there are four other strong choices as well. Ultimately, we went with the two that stood out during testing. None of these really stood out as a drop-in replacement for the Oster when it was discontinued, so we went looking for something with power to match our old pick and settled on the BELLA. However, if you’re looking for something different, we encourage you to read about the other four finalists (and the additional seventh non-finalist) as well.
This may seem like a silly question to ask but some really good waffle makers are more suited for experienced waffle makers (the human kind) such as the NordicWare 15040 Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffle Iron. If you’re more on the inexperienced side of the waffle cooking spectrum, you may want to consider a model that offers beeping alerts and variable doneness settings to let you know you’ve achieved the level of waffle doneness you prefer. One good choice with these features is the Hamilton Beach 26030 Flip Belgian Waffle Maker.
The Breville quickly produces crispy brown waffles, with the most consistent color of all the batches we tested, making it the best option if you prefer the thinner type of American waffle. The waffles managed to be perfectly crispy, without becoming dry, and maintained some fluffiness within. Although it makes only one waffle at a time, it reheats and cooks rapidly, so you can crank out waffle after waffle with ease. The built-in drip tray, nonstick surface, and minimal design keep cleanup effortless.
The Coleman Waffle Iron is the perfect size for camping, tailgating or living -- and cooking -- off the grid. It cooks two waffles at once and has no moving parts that could be damaged. The non-stick coating works best if it's brushed with cooking oil and then preheated before pouring in the batter. Even if you're "just" cooking at home, the Coleman Waffle Iron is a great choice for those with small kitchens or limited space.
Our final round of waffles was made out of Aunt Jemima waffle mix, prepared according to the package’s instructions. These waffles use a combination of chemical leavening and steam from the added liquid to result in the rise of the waffles. The waffles made with this batter were consistently dense and cake-like in all the waffle makers, but the color came out evenly brown in all machines. Where we found variations was in the crispness of the crusts, with machines that were hotter yielding thinner and crispier crusts. With this batter, we also found no differences between flip and non-flip units. If you make waffles mostly with a boxed mix, you can definitely get away with using a cheaper iron, since the differences were closer to minimal.
Partly I think my nostalgia is preemptive: it’s for Brussels. We’re not leaving, not yet. We have no concrete plans. We speculate, throw ideas in the air, see where they land, then back away from them for now. It’s just that I’m beginning to think we might be heading towards done. Eventually I want more hens and less saxophone free jazz in my life and my husband wants space and peace. One day, perhaps not until the boys leave, we’ll do it. But this will forever be the place they grew up and it was pretty great, most of the time.
Overall, the Krups was as easy to use as any machine we tested—though no machine is particularly tricky to figure out, as long as you read the instructions. Still, the GQ502D’s intuitive, set-it-and-forget-it system made the process particularly simple. Like all waffle makers, it does get hot in places: The steam vent at the back heated up quickly for us, and the top of the machine was too hot to touch after a couple of rounds of waffles. But the heatproof handle stayed cool, even after multiple uses, something that couldn’t be said of competitors like the Black+Decker Removable Plate Waffle Maker (WM700R), where built-up steam around the handle made the machine uncomfortable and risky to use.
Finally, be aware that if you're getting so-so results from a waffle maker that usually draws rave reviews, the problem might be your batter instead of the machine. Users who substitute pancake batter for waffle batter quickly find out that there is, indeed, a difference between the two. Pancake batter in a waffle iron generally produces a heavy, dense mess that'll stick to the waffle iron like glue, and users warn that some "waffle recipes" found on the back of pancake mix boxes don't do much better. If you're into creative pancake making, you'll do better cooking them on a stovetop skillet or electric skillet, both of which we cover in separate reports.
The drip tray included with the BELLA waffle maker makes cleanup even easier. After cooking several dozen waffles, we still found very little that needed to be cleaned from the waffle maker itself once the drip tray was removed. In addition, the nonstick surface was effective — however, it didn’t particularly stand out compared to the rest of the field.
Cooks can use a convenient appliance like a double waffle maker or a countertop oven to save time and space. The baking plates of a double waffle iron are coated to prevent sticking so the Belgian waffles don’t get caught when removing the pastries from the unit. The flip design of a double waffle iron makes it easy to perfectly brown and then remove each waffle. If the waffle maker accidentally gets left on, its automatic shutoff feature turns it off. This preserves the life of the device and avoids the risk of an overheated electric appliance causing a fire.
Someone gave us one of these 12 years ago as a wedding gift. Used it every other weekend for all that time, and, like many heat-producing appliances, the heating element just wore out over time. We definitely got our money's worth out of it, and when it failed, we decided to get another one just like it because it had been so good. This one LOOKS the same as our old one, but definitely doesn't have the same quality build or performance of our old one. Hinge was loose and wobbly out of the box, the thermostat lacks precision (no difference between 3 and 5 settings), the heating element burns the center of the waffle while leaving the outside soggy and undercooked, it overflowed even with less than the 1/4 cup of batter recommended by the recipe, and the waffles invariably stick! We sent back the first one we ordered after it demonstrated these substandard characteristics, thinking it was just defective, and ordered another one. It wasn't a defect -- the second one had the same shortcomings: flimsy build, useless thermo adjustment, uneven cooking, and shallow waffle plates. It's too bad. This used to be a great product, but Cuisinart has cheaped out -- recommend you look elsewhere for a waffle maker.
Some waffle makers are equipped with nothing but an on-off light and a "ready indicator," but even an increasing amount of budget-friendly models have extra features like numbered dials to adjust the preferred degrees of doneness, beeps or buzzers that indicate when the cook time is finished, and removable plates that can be popped into the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
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.
If looks matter to you most, consider a rotating waffle maker. Because you flip the iron over as it bakes, the batter can become more evenly distributed over the grates. That being said, if you really want picture-perfect waffles, try our Lab's even-heating hack: After pouring waffle batter over the hot grates, use a rubber spatula to gently (and quickly) distribute the batter evenly across the surface before closing the waffle maker's lid. You'll never have to eat a waffle with absent, sorry-looking edges again!
Nina is a longtime gourmet chef, interior designer/decorator, and events planner. She has accomplished all of this in addition to maintaining a stellar career as a healthcare executive, where she helps alter the course of people’s lives via preventive care and healthy living. Nina’s hobbies include learning new recipes, planning and executing amazing dinners to impress local chefs, and hiking around the world.
Quoted very punchily for a couple of jobs on my spouse's advice and as a result have no work or money (I still think he was right but I have €8 in my bank account before my (holiday) credit card bill goes through). I genuinely can't quite see how to earn a living at the moment. I can't be entirely unskilled, but my skills such as they are are not highly valued in monetary terms in 2017.
Last week I spent a night in a hotel ON. MY. OWN. This was the best night I have had in forever, I am not joking. Beautiful hotel. Just exquisite. Sunny afternoon in Ghent (which is lovely anyway). Went to stare at the Mystic Lamb for ages. Walked around buying myself an elaborate picnic of small delights. Practised my Dutch. Toured the hotel. Two delicious cocktails in the lovely bar. Retired to gigantic, pillow filled bed, watched Drag Race and ate my picnic with a cup of tea. Woke up, ate large delicious breakfast alone with my book, walked back to the station. Literally perfect happiness. Here are pictures.