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.
You can depend on the Breville the No Mess Waffle for thin crispy waffle rounds, one after another, after another. The other great thing about this brushed stainless-steel waffler is that it has a moat around the waffle grid that catches any excess batter so there’s never any runover on the counter or the machine itself making it truly no mess. It lights up and beeps when it’s hot enough for baking and again when your waffle is ready, but we wish the beeps were louder—they would be easy to miss in a noisy kitchen. After breakfast, you can latch the grids together and store it on its side to have more room to prep for the next meal.
If you're willing to pay for a classic waffle maker that doesn't require much fiddling, also consider the All-Clad 99012GT Classic Round Waffle Maker (Est. $130), which draws praise from Good Housekeeping, Top Ten Reviews and Groom and Style for making one perfect waffle after another. "No fancy features here -- just perfectly crisp, buttery waffles, batch after batch," writes Betty Gold for Good Housekeeping.
We couldn’t find any editorial reviews of this Hamilton Beach model, but at the time of our research it had a good rating on Amazon. Some reviews complain of a flimsy locking mechanism, but for occasional use we still think this model is a great buy. At around $20 (at the time of writing), it’s less than half the price of our top pick, and even cheaper than our other budget pick.
Before beginning these tests, I'd heard buzz that the All-Clad Belgian Waffle Iron was the Cadillac of waffle makers—a hulking, shiny, stainless steel behemoth capable of turning out batch after batch of five-star hotel-buffet-quality waffles. I was intrigued, but given that it came with a gulp-inducing price tag of $200, also very skeptical. Could the waffles it made really be five times better than those from its lower-priced competitors?
Space-saving small appliances, like a food processor or vertical waffle maker free up space on the counter while getting the cooking task at hand finished. The upright design of a vertical waffle iron means the batter gets poured into a spout, so the appliance cannot be over- or under-filled and the resulting waffles are even in thickness. Aluminum plates provide even heating, so waffles come out evenly browned with no flipping required. If you are cooking for picky eaters, five browning settings make it easy to create waffles that are perfectly browned based on personal preferences. An indicator light and alert sound tell you when the waffle maker is ready to use and when the pastry is ready to eat.
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 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.
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 you’re tight on space and money, the Black+Decker offers the most bang for your buck for thin, American-style waffles. It produces waffles that are thin and crunchy on the outside, with some chewiness on the inside; it makes four square waffles, with shallow wells, at a time; and its reversible plates and adjustable hinge convert it into a panini press for toasting thick sandwiches. The unit also opens up to lie completely flat as a griddle for eggs, pancakes, and more, making this a cheap all-in-one breakfast station. The plates are fully removable and dishwasher-safe for fast and easy cleanup.
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Belgian waffles are thicker than American waffles, and also have deeper wells for butter, syrup, or whatever else you decide to put on top of your waffle. In our opinion, choosing a waffle style comes down to a personal preference. However, the majority of highly-regarded waffle makers are Belgian — with the notable exception of one of our top picks: the Cuisinart-Round Classic Waffle Maker.
Two lights on the Krups machine, one red and one green, indicate when it is preheating or cooking (red) and when the machine or the waffle is ready (green). These indicators are bright and easy enough to read (unlike some machines, where it’s hard to tell if the weak light is on or off). But unlike our previous pick, the Proctor Silex 26016A, the Krups GQ502D also beeps loudly when it’s ready, which means you can focus on frying bacon without worrying about overcooking your waffles. While some other models we tested were hard to hear when they beeped, this one was loud enough that we could easily hear it from the next room, even with a radio on, but the sound is neither persistent nor so unpleasant that you won’t want to hear it first thing in the morning.
This is ideal for making waffle pops – if you haven’t heard of those before, this is a waffle maker you’re going to want to check out. It cooks mini heart-shaped waffles individually and has a space provided for putting in Popsicle sticks or cake-pop sticks to make sure your waffle pop process goes smoothly. But don’t worry – it will make your standard, no-stick waffles just as well as any other waffle maker, too.
Belgian waffles are a family favorite when it comes to Sunday brunch or a fun weeknight treat. There are special waffle irons that are specifically made to produce the iconic fluffy and decadent Belgian waffles that everyone has come to love. These waffles are generally taller and fluffier than American-style waffles, which are short and dense. Traditional waffle makers in the United States make American-style waffles, so you’ll need a special waffle iron in order to make true Belgian waffles. If you want to spice up your offerings, then you can also find Belgian waffles with fun shapes and designs, from hearts to flowers. If you don’t have the time to create a Belgian waffler recipe from scratch, then a Belgian waffle iron is versatile enough to work with boxed waffle mix. When looking for a new Belgian waffle iron, make sure to check out the premium features and get a size, shape, and design that will make it easy to serve your friends, family, and guests without having to labor over preparation and cleanup.
Waffle sandwich caterer Matt Maichel, who also greases the plates before each use, had specific batter advice. “You should take your dough out of the fridge to come to room temp, or it will not cook as well,” he said. “The trick to filling is, find a batter that you like; the viscosity determines how much goes [on the plates]. Thicker stuff doesn’t spread out as well, so you might have to help it.” (We found in testing that a spatula or the back of a ladle worked well for this.) “You use the least amount of really thin batter because it goes all over the place,” he added.
A. It's great to get kids involved in the kitchen, and making waffles is a relatively simple task. Waffle makers are fairly safe, but because the cooking plates get very hot, we don’t recommend kids use them without an age-appropriate level of adult supervision. Ideally, look for waffle makers with handles or exteriors that stay cool to the touch while in use.