We rigorously tested the top 12 models ranging in price from $20 to $125 (at the time of testing) to find you the ones that consistently make the best waffles—ones that are crisp and golden on the outside while still fluffy and moist on the inside, ready to mop up country gravy, runny yolks, or warm maple syrup. We want waffle irons that reheat quickly so you can feed a crowd. We also want ones that are easy to clean, store, and operate. Because waffle irons are bonus, luxury appliances, we’ve found winners that we’re confident are worth the splurge (and counter space)—tools you’ll want to reach for any time of day. For those who don’t want to spend a lot, we’ve also picked our favorite budget models; they don’t work quite as well, but, with bonus features like removable plates for easy cleaning, we think they’re worth considering.
For our first round of testing, we made waffles using Stella’s buttermilk waffle batter. This batter relies on steam to puff the waffles, so it has a high level of hydration for a light and crisp result. With this batter, we found significant differences in the quality of the waffles made by each iron. Irons that didn't get hot enough weren't able to produce enough steam, resulting in heavy, dense, and soggy waffles, while those that heated up well produced very light and crisp waffles.
The red Power light comes on when the waffle baker is plugged in. This light will stay on until the unit is unplugged. The green Preheat light comes on when the waffle baker has reached the desired temperature and is ready for waffle batter. Check for doneness when steaming slows. Most waffle batter cooks in 5 to 8 minutes, making for a quick meal with easy clean up.
Still, the route will take its riders on a ronde through North County San Diego, where it will clatter through agrarian hamlets and the Ardennes-like hills—not over classic mountains per se, but rather a never ending string of ups and downs—along single track climbs, sandy trails, and roughly paved roads carved through inland San Diego’s beautiful rural and sometimes forested backcountry. On a scale of one to ten, this course is an eleven! We think this year we will just make 10 that much louder.
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.
Unless you lead a life of leisure (or run a bed and breakfast) chances are your waffle iron is not going to be a daily-use appliance, so ideally you shouldn't have to allocate much of your kitchen real estate to store it. Since most waffle irons are pretty bulky, we paid special attention to the design—does the size of the machine make sense? Is the space well-used? Does it feel solidly built? Does seem like it will hold up well to cleaning and other wear and tear?
Make restaurant quality waffles with the Rotary Waffle Maker! Belgian waffle plates, it's the perfect tool for making Belgian waffles. The rotary motion allows the perfect repartition of dough and sugar and even baking for professional quality waffles! This waffle maker also has adjustable temperature control up to 410°F, for light and fluffy or crispy waffles. The unit features power and ready the indicicator lights and features a compact handle for easy storage. The Kalorik waffle maker...

The green “ready” light didn’t always turn off immediately after we filled the Krups with batter and closed the lid, which was confusing—a glance at the machine might make you think the waffle is done. But the light always did turn off in time, and it consistently turned on again with a resonating beep when the waffle was ready. By being patient and waiting for the beep, we were never led astray, and waffles always came out cooked to the right doneness.
If you prefer a thick Belgian waffle over the thin American-style ones produced by the Cuisinart WMR-CA, but don’t have either the money or the space for our top pick from Krups, the compact Hamilton Beach Belgian Style Waffle Maker (26009) is your best bet. In make, it actually looks similar to our previous top pick, the discontinued Proctor Silex 26016A, offering the same handle and locking system, as well as the same slider for browning control.

Still, the route will take its riders on a ronde through North County San Diego, where it will clatter through agrarian hamlets and the Ardennes-like hills—not over classic mountains per se, but rather a never ending string of ups and downs—along single track climbs, sandy trails, and roughly paved roads carved through inland San Diego’s beautiful rural and sometimes forested backcountry. On a scale of one to ten, this course is an eleven! We think this year we will just make 10 that much louder.
After enjoying a plate of waffle goodness, you’ll need to clean up your mess. The level of cleaning you’ll have to do may depend on your waffle maker. Some models have a nonstick coating such as the Oster CKSTWFBF21 1-1/2-Inch Thick Belgian Flip Waffle Maker while others also have removable plates such as the KRUPS GQ502D Belgian Waffle Maker. Some models also feature a drip tray to make sure you don’t leave a mess on your countertop such as the All-Clad 99011GT Stainless Steel Belgian Waffle Maker. Others, like the NordicWare 15040 Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffle Iron, can be placed entirely in the sink for cleaning.
Still, the route will take its riders on a ronde through North County San Diego, where it will clatter through agrarian hamlets and the Ardennes-like hills—not over classic mountains per se, but rather a never ending string of ups and downs—along single track climbs, sandy trails, and roughly paved roads carved through inland San Diego’s beautiful rural and sometimes forested backcountry. On a scale of one to ten, this course is an eleven! We think this year we will just make 10 that much louder.

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.


Now, because you can't toss your new electrical appliance in the sink with soapy water, here's how to clean a waffle maker: The good news is that waffle makers have drastically improved in recent years — nearly every model now comes with nonstick cooking plates, which means that (with proper upkeep) you won't be using a toothpick to dislodge burnt-on waffle bits. We recommend allowing your iron to cool first, then wiping the plates clean with a dry paper towel. If any grime remains, spot clean them with a damp cloth or let a bit of cooking oil sit on the grime for a few minutes before wiping away. And avoid using nonstick cooking spray, as this stuff will cook onto the plates and become nearly impossible to remove. The result: No more nonstick coating.
This waffle maker is definitely for large families who prefer different types of breakfast meals. In the mood for waffles? You can cook four at a time with this baby. Some members want pancakes? You can remove the waffle plates and cook on the smooth griddle surface. The 180-degree hinge allows you to double the cooking area, perfect for creating a stack. Does someone want a sandwich? You can grill it using this appliance as well.
No, this waffle maker cannot compete with the All-Clad, but at about a quarter of the price, the Krups sure gives it a respectable run for its money. The build isn't as solid—there's some plastic, no 18/10 stainless here—but like the All-Clad, it is generously proportioned to yield four tall, deeply grooved Belgian-style waffles per batch and, with an adjustable dial for cook control and an audible chime that signals doneness, it doesn't skimp on extra features. It does best the All-Clad in one regard: its non-stick plates not only release cooked waffles easily, they pop out for easy cleaning and are dishwasher safe. That's a game changer right there.
If our main pick sells out, we also like the Chef’sChoice WafflePro Classic Belgian (840B), our original top pick, which performs just as well as the Krups—but only with thick batter, which makes it less flexible in practice. It also produces fewer waffles at a time than the Krups, but it does have a wide range of doneness settings, and it will beep when your waffles are ready.

One of the most important attributes of a waffle maker is how well its nonstick coating works—there’s nothing worse than trying to clean stuck-on waffle from those narrow cracks. Luckily, waffles popped out easily from the Krups GQ502D with the aid of silicone tongs or chopsticks, even on the one or two occasions when opening the lid took a little prying. The manual recommends oiling the plates just once each time you use the machine, and we found that this step was more than enough to keep waffles from sticking, even through many rounds of batter. Best of all, the waffle plates detach from the machine, so once they’re cool you can pop them in the sink and wash them with soap and water, or, according to the manufacturer, even run them through the dishwasher. This is so much easier than cleaning most of the other machines we tried, including our former top pick, which requires you to wipe down the plates still in the machine with first a soapy cloth and then a damp one; inevitably, some soap seems to cling stubbornly in the cracks. But only two other machines we tested—the Nordic Ware stovetop model and Black+Decker’s brand-new (as of 2016) Removable Plate Waffle Maker, model WM700R—featured removable plates, and both fell far short of the Krups in ease of use and quality of waffles.
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.
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