The Cuisinart WMR-CA has been a budget pick at Wirecutter for multiple years. "It truly excels at making consistently thin, crunchy waffles," write the Wirecutter editors. They say that a bit of uneven browning they noticed in their test (there's a darker brown patch on the center) is just aesthetic and doesn't affect the waffle's crispness or taste. It's also a top pick from Your Best Digs.
Only drawback I would say is probably of my own making, so not gonna knock Cuisinart for it, and that is that the waffle grid is smaller than I would like. Prefer the deep and large pockets in the waffles (belgian style?) - but this wasn't advertised as a belgian waffle maker, so again, probably my error. If you are looking for that deep and large pockets, this is not your waffle iron.
I speak from experience: a few months ago, clear out of nowhere, I was struck by a need for homemade waffles. I had to have them—and because I live in New York City and expect immediate gratification, I proceeded directly to my local discount emporium and procured a plastic waffle iron—covered in a thin film of dust—for the sum of $16.99. Back home, I washed it and hastily set about mixing up a bowl of batter. Sadly, this story has a grim ending: even after the the requisite heating and greasing, pouring and griddling, the specimens that emerged from my iron were flabby and pale—hardly deserving of the name waffle and certainly a far cry from the feast of my dreamings.
“Incredible waffle-maker for a great price. I’ve been making Belgian waffles for 20 years and this is by far my favorite maker. This maker makes two nice and thick Belgian waffles. The material of the plates is excellent and the waffles don’t tend to stick. By the time I’m done loading the batter for the second waffle, the first one is just about done. I can make waffles for my family of five and we can all eat together. Previously, with a single waffle-maker, I would either have to serve one at a time and then everyone eats at different times, of I would put the waffles in the toaster oven on warm and then they would get a little soggy. I don’t know why anyone would need to pay twice the price for a ‘higher-quality brand.’ It’s unnecessary!”
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.