Our favorite waffle maker for regular waffles, the Breville the No Mess Waffle(available at Amazon for $103.96), doesn’t come cheap, but it makes the crispiest waffles and lives up to its name, making it a pleasure to use. For thick fluffy Belgian waffles, we recommend the Cuisinart Double Belgian Waffle Maker (available at Amazon) which bakes up two at a time. For great waffles at a more reasonable price, we like the Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker and the Presto Flipside Belgian Waffle Maker.
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.
Finally, beyond the structural superiority of the All-Clad's waffles—their lovely architecture and delicate texture—there was one more winning factor that pushed them over the top: they just tasted better. I can't explain the chemistry behind it—as I said, we used the same batter for every test—but the waffles from this machine seemed to have nuances the others lacked, like apparent notes of vanilla and caramel and a toasty depth of flavor. They tasted like $200 waffles.
This machine can be used for breakfast or lunch, with interchangeable waffle and pressed sandwich plates. You can make delicious, crispy waffles for breakfast, and then break the machine out again at lunch time to make golden, gooey grilled cheeses. Both sets of plates are dishwasher safe, and an indicator light lets you know when the device is ready to go.