July 16, 2024

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The 5 Best Waffle Makers, Tested and Reviewed

10 min read

Instead of waiting to enjoy waffles at your favorite brunch spot, consider buying a quality waffle maker to prepare them at home whenever you please. You can use this underrated kitchen gadget for classic waffles drizzled with warm maple syrup as well as unique savory recipes like loaded potato waffles. 

For the ideal golden-brown exterior and light, fluffy interior, the results are only as good as the waffle iron you’re working with. Burns, batter spills, and floppy waffles aren’t an option for us, which is why we put 17 of the top-rated models to the test. We tested yeast and no-yeast batters in each waffle iron and then determined our favorites based on their design, performance, size, and ease of cleaning. Read on for more about our testing process and see which models earned the top spots.

Earning near-perfect ratings across all categories, the Cuisinart Vertical Waffle Maker was a no-brainer for our best overall pick. We found it heats up quickly, cooks evenly, and cleans up nicely with no overflow. Most waffle makers have a horizontal build, but Cuisinart designed this vertical model to take up minimal space on the kitchen counter. It features a brushed stainless steel top cover, nonstick baking plates, a locking handle, and light indicators that signal when waffles are done with three beeps. 

This waffle maker’s unique design also prevents batter overflow. Its designated batter pour spout at the top allows you to easily fill it from bottom to top, and it features a five-setting control for just the right browning. Fit for one Belgian waffle at a time, this model is an excellent choice for everyday breakfasts.

Size: 7.50 x 6.50 x 12.20 inches | Material: Stainless steel top cover, nonstick baking plates | Weight: 8.8 pounds | Shade Settings: 5

Best Value

Cuisinart Classic Waffle Maker

Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Classic Waffle

Food & Wine / Dera Burreson


As our best value pick, this waffle maker has everything you need to make quality waffles without spending a pretty penny. Housed in brushed stainless steel, the compact model cooks waffles quickly and allows you to remove them smoothly thanks to a nonstick baking plate with four quarters. We loved the five browning settings for customization and the red and green indicator lights that let you know when your breakfast is ready. 

During our tests, we found that the batter spread evenly but left the edges a bit pale compared to the rest of the golden results. In our opinion, we rather have slightly lighter edges than burnt ones, so this wasn’t a dealbreaker. 

Size: 7.88 x 9.69 x 3.31 inches | Material: Brushed stainless steel with nonstick baking plates | Weight: 5 pounds | Shade Settings: 5

Best Splurge

Breville Smart 4-Slice Waffle Maker

Breville Smart 4-Slice Waffle Maker

Amazon


The Breville 4-Slice Smart Waffle Pro features stainless steel casing and deep-cast aluminum cooking plates for thicker, richer waffles. The maker distributes heat evenly, has two dials to select between four different types of batter, and offers 12 shade settings for optimal browning control. Plus, it has a button designated for browning waffles a bit longer without having to restart the cooking process.

We recommend pouring at least half a cup of batter into each grid. However, there’s no penalty if you add more than that because the no-mess moat that surrounds the cooking grids completely eliminates batter overflow. While it took about 30 seconds to spread evenly across the second half of the grid, the browning was consistently even.

Size: 15.5 x 12.5 x 5 inches | Material: Stainless steel structure with nonstick cast aluminum grids| Weight: 15.25 pounds | Shade Settings: 12

Best Rotating

Crux Belgian Waffle Maker

Crux Double Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker

Food & Wine / Dera Burreson


If you are having a lot of guests over for brunch or are catering a party, this is the appliance for you. This Crux waffle maker features a rotating design and dual cooking plates, which will pump out waffles faster than your favorite breakfast spot. It also has a 1400-watt heating system for even faster cooking, producing about eight waffles in 10 minutes.

The rotating function ensures evenly cooked 1-inch Belgian waffles with a browning control setting. Behind a stainless steel exterior, a copper nonstick coating, free of chemicals like PFOA and PFOS, makes both removing waffles and cleaning easy.

Size: 15.15 x 9.44 x 8.14 inches | Material: Stainless steel cover with copper nonstick plates | Weight: 6.92 pounds | Shade Settings: 6

Best No-Mess

Breville No-Mess Waffle Maker

Breville No-Mess Waffle Maker on a wood counter

Food & Wine / Dera Burreson


Say farewell to the days of batter overfilling and spilling with Breville’s No-Mess Waffle Maker. Aside from its stainless steel finish and premium PFOA-free nonstick plates, it features a unique wrap-around moat to catch any excess batter and cooks it to perfection. Who doesn’t want to sample a waffle before digging in?

You also get to customize your waffles with this maker’s seven browning settings using its Thermal Pro technology. We noticed, however, that the settings towards the darker coloring were neither as accurate nor worked as efficiently as other models. Make sure to fill the waffle grid entirely, as it can be hard to remove your finished product otherwise.

Size: 9 x 11 x 5.75 inches | Material: Stainless steel finish with premium PFOA-free nonstick plates | Weight: 6.7 pounds | Shade Settings: 7

Our Favorite Waffle Maker

Your ideal waffle maker is one that fits your needs and makes waffles the way you like them – crispy, extra golden brown, or on the softer side. We chose the Cuisinart Vertical Waffle Maker as our best overall pick because of its high score during our rigorous testing process. We loved its easy-to-use and clean nonstick plates, customizable settings, and vertical design for fuss-free storage.

Our Waffle Maker Tests

We scoured the market and tapped our editors for recommendations to come up with a list of more than 17 waffle makers, which we evaluated side by side. We rated the results for cooking performance, design, size, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Using both yeasted and non-yeasted batter, we made three batches of each type with every waffle maker. We measured pre-heating speed, browning and overall doneness, and batter overflow, and we noted observations for use and cleanup throughout. After compiling our notes and data, we picked the very best in seven categories.

Food & Wine / Dera Burreson


What We Learned During Waffle Maker Testing

  • It’s key to know your preferred waffle style. The two most common types of waffles are Belgian and American. If you prefer American-style waffles, which are thinner and crispier than their counterparts, you’ll want a classic waffle maker with shallow plates. For thick, fluffy Belgian-style waffles, look for models that are labeled “Belgian” or that have deeper plates.
  • You’ll sacrifice some efficiency if you want a more compact waffle maker. Consider not only the size of the appliance but also the size of the waffles. Waffle makers can be quite large, so you may want to invest in a compact, easy-to-store model if you don’t have much space in your kitchen or on your counter. The size of your waffles, meanwhile, really depends on personal preference. A mini waffle maker, of course, cooks smaller waffles, which are great for breakfast sandwiches and desserts. Other waffle makers produce waffles as big as your plate. There are waffle makers that make one waffle, two waffles, and sometimes even four. If you’re entertaining a large group of people for breakfast or are catering an event, you may want to consider how many waffles a maker gets out and how long this will take.
  • The bells and whistles aren’t usually going to make or break your choice. For the most part, waffle makers aren’t very different from one another besides the size, shape, and depth of the plates. However, some models have various browning settings for desired doneness, timers for the cooking time, and indicators for when the plate is hot, while others don’t have any sort of functions.
  • The less batter spilled, the better. Waffle makers can be tricky to clean, especially if you overfill them with batter and it spills over. A waffle maker with nonstick plates is usually easier to clean (and even more so if you can remove the plates). If batter spills over, you should be able to simply wipe it clean. Some waffle makers have wrap-around moats to eliminate the spillage issue.

Other Waffle Makers We Tested

Strong Contenders

  • Calphalon Intellicrisp Waffle Maker (Amazon): This waffle maker makes excellent square-shaped Belgian waffles. There’s a slit risk of spill-overs with batter, which is the only reason this model was edged out of our top picks. It’s a great lower-price alternative to the pricier Breville.
  • Dash Mini Waffle Maker (Amazon): The Dash mini is great for small portions and kids, but given the size it’s not ideal for efficiency’s sake during waffle-making.
  • Cuisinart WAF-200 Belgian Waffle Maker (Amazon): This waffle maker cleaned up like a dream and heated fairly quickly. Despite being fairly happy with this model, we found the batter did not distribute evenly without stirring or swirling around when pouring. It was also a bit bulky to store and the waffle quadrants split when removed from the heating plate.
  • Cuisinart Double Belgian Waffle Maker (Sur La Table): This waffle iron prepares two authentic Belgian waffles with its rotating mechanism and adjustable browning control. The cooking plates are made with nonstick coating and there are readiness indicator lights and audio beeps. Although the waffle maker cleans up nicely, we found that it did not cook as evenly as we wanted with one side either being browner or paler than the other.
  • All-Clad Classic Round Waffle Maker (Williams Sonoma): Glossy stainless steel gives the All-Clad Classic Round Waffle Maker a lavish look. Settings include seven adjustable levels of toasting, but we still found the waffle quite pale using the medium heat setting. Even with the highest level of browning, the edges of the waffles turned out pale.
  • NordicWare Original Stovetop Belgian Waffler (Nordic Ware): You can use this Belgian waffle iron right on your stovetop. Simply preheat both sides on the stove and pour the batter in. Then, close the iron using its interlocking hinges and let it cook for about one minute before flipping over the iron for another couple of minutes, and voila! You have a waffle. It’s lightweight, but we noted difficulties with batter distribution and uneven browning between the yeasted and non-yeasted batter.

What Didn’t Make the List

  • Oster Belgian Waffle Maker (Amazon): This Belgian Waffle Maker from Oster makes 8-inch round waffles with nonstick plates and a cool-touch handle for extra ease. We found that the recommended ¾ cup of batter worked much better with 1 cup. Its waffles, however, turned out much too thin for us to consider them the ideal Belgian style that the appliance touts. 
  • Chefman Anti-Overflow Waffle Maker (Amazon): Chefman developed its Anti-Overflow Waffle Maker with a wrap-around channel to catch any batter that overflows. The settings are easy to use, but we thought it would have been nice to have audio indicators along with the lights, as the doneness of the waffles isn’t very clear with the lights alone. The waffles also had uneven browning and coloring from side to side.
  • KRUPS 4-Slice Belgian Waffle Maker (Amazon): This appliance prepares up to four Belgian-style waffles with removable die-cast plates. The unit features five browning levels with both audio and light indications for pre-heating and doneness. We found it slow to cook and slow to reheat between batches and the waffle’s doneness wasn’t consistent on the same settings. 
  • Black+Decker 3-in-1 Grill Griddle Waffle Maker (Amazon): At first glance, the multiple functions looked great. Unfortunately, we found that it would have been better to have one single function that worked excellently than multiple functions that gave average results. The price, moreover, does not seem justified considering its reversible plates are a hazard rather than a convenience.
  • Presto FlipSide Electric Waffle Maker (Amazon): While the cooking plates are reversible, they’re not very secure, and they popped out of place during testing. We found it difficult to secure them back into place, as the plate was already hot. We used 1 cup of batter for all tests, which produced waffles measuring 7.5 square inches.
  • Nostalgia MyMini Waffle Maker (Walmart): The MyMini Waffle Maker from Nostalgia features a preheating light that goes off when ready, but the waffles turned out inconsistent between tests, with uneven browning. The maker did not respond well to making one waffle after the next, so it needed a longer reheat period.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do some waffle makers flip?

    Some waffle makers flip to ensure that the batter spreads evenly throughout the waffle maker. This also allows the waffles to cook much faster and contributes to a nice crisp, golden-brown exterior and fluffy-soft center.

  • How should I clean a waffle maker?

    Most waffle makers have removable cooking plates that you can hand wash in the sink or place in the dishwasher if the manufacturer states it’s safe. Know the material you’re working with, though. Using too much soap on a waffle maker with a cast-iron surface can dry it out and strip its oils. If the plates on your waffle maker aren’t removable, use a damp washcloth or paper towel to wipe off residue and finish with a dry paper towel. For really stubborn messes, pour oil inside the machine and let it sit for about five minutes before wiping it off. Clean exterior messes with a damp washcloth or paper towel.

  • Are vertical waffle makers better?

    Vertical waffle makers have many benefits, including taking up less counter space than horizontal waffle makers, which tend to be bigger, bulkier, and more difficult to store. Vertical waffle makers are arguably more user-friendly, as spouts prevent spilling and overfilling. You can even tell if this kind is filled by checking if it’s close to the peak, which also means hassle-free cleanup. Whether you should opt for a horizontal or vertical waffle maker, however, depends on personal preference.

Our Expertise

Lauren Musni is a Food & Wine contributor who holds a journalism degree from Rutgers University and a culinary arts degree from the Culinary Institute of America. For this article, she used our test results and personal experience working in restaurants to determine the best waffle makers on the market.

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