A previous version of this guide was written by Winnie Yang, who is now a Wirecutter editor. Yang worked in the food industry—with stints in a restaurant kitchen, cookware retail, and chocolate making—for over a decade. She was the managing editor of the print quarterly The Art of Eating and has written for that magazine as well as for Condé Nast Traveler, Feast, Jamie, Saveur, and Tasting Table, among other publications.
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.
This waffle maker will make 4 waffles at once, which will get you to the kitchen table faster – and that’s always appreciated. The settings on this waffle maker are so simple that there’s no training necessary; you just slide the control to select how brown you’d like your waffles, and it will let you know when the they’re done with a green indicator light. It’s just like a toaster.
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.
Easy to use, makes delicious waffles. I used a setting between 3-4, and they came out perfect. Later, I made corn waffles with a box of Jiffy mix. I will never make cornbread any other way again. The corn muffin waffles were crisp on the outside and perfectly moist (the only time you can use that word) on the inside. I did use non-stick spray, and resprayed after about 3 uses. I am so looking forward to many more waffle-shaped goodies.
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.