It’s not always easy to compare waffle makers, because there are a number of different styles: those which make thick Belgian waffles, those which make thin and crispy American waffles, ones which can make both types, and even some which have both corrugated surfaces and flat surfaces so you can fry an egg at the same time you’re preparing a waffle.
The ones we definitely tend to avoid are the machines which claim to be able to make both great American and Belgian waffles. The old cliché “Jack of all trades, master of none” almost always holds true when it comes to models which supposedly are versatile enough to produce terrific waffles whether you prefer them thin or thick. The optimal construction of a waffle maker is very different for each type, and there’s no way a quality machine can do justice to both.
Key Buying Considerations for the Best Waffle Maker
The important qualities of a waffle maker are pretty much the same, though, no matter which type of waffles it makes. The ability to provide even heat across all of the plates tops our list; obviously, no waffle is going to be crunchy and delicious if part of it is undercooked, or if it’s necessary to burn one side to a crisp in order to cook the other side all the way through.
A related but key feature is the ability to control the temperature of the waffle iron since different batters cook at different rates. Machines that only operate at one pre-set temperature are likely to under-cook or over-cook your waffles – and as you probably know from experience, it’s next-to-impossible to continually check your waffles as they cook without ruining them.
Separate browning options are another great feature on the best waffle makers.
The Best Waffle Makers Help You Cook Perfect Waffles; Non-Stick and “Done” indicators
There are two other key subjects to consider, both related to the cooking process. First, you shouldn’t have to wrestle with your waffles (or have to pry them out with a sharp knife) when they’re ready to come out of the machine. That doesn’t mean a waffle maker must have non-stick surfaces, but we’ve found that non-stick coatings usually make all the difference. A good alternative can be a cast-iron waffle maker, but continually seasoning a cast-iron appliance calls for another level of care and work.
Second, any good waffle maker will have a “done” indicator to let you know when your breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or snack) is ready, whether it’s by means of a light or audio alert. Once again, checking your waffle, discovering that it’s not ready and then closing the top again is begging for disaster.
The Best Waffle Maker is Easy to Clean
No matter what you’re buying, easy cleanup is always an issue. For waffle makers, it’s even more crucial. If you’ve ever gone through the exercise of trying to scrape burned bits of waffle out of the nooks and crannies of a sub-standard waffle maker – particularly one which is supposedly “non-stick,” with surfaces that can be easily damaged – features like removable grids and easily-accessible surfaces everywhere on the machine are probably at the top of your “must-have” list.
Our best waffle maker top 5 list looks at the performance of all of the machines on the market, rather than limiting our selections to just one category. That way, you should be able to find the exact waffle maker you’re looking for while knowing it’s one of the best available. Of course, while you are preparing your waffles you will want to serve them with a healthy fruit smoothie prepared in your top of the range blender…
Let’s get cooking!
1. All-Clad 99012GT Stainless Steel Classic Round Waffle Maker (American Waffles)
All of our top five waffle makers made good waffles. The All-Clad unit made them perfectly every time, whether the batter was plain or included other ingredients like fruit. They were crunchy where they should be (the outside) and soft and delicious on the inside.
The reason it works so well is that steam is released through the top of the unit, instead of building up and venting through the side; that means there’s no water condensing on the waffles while the cook, making them soggy.
One feature of the Classic Round Waffle Maker which we loved was the browning dial with seven settings, allowing you to choose the exact crispness you prefer. Another was a “ready-to-eat” alert – when waffles are ready, the machine beeps to let you know. That’s a lot better than interfering with the cooking process by continually opening the lid to check on progress.
Also impressive is the non-stick surface inside the All-Clad, which really is completely non-stick.
This machine makes relatively small, 6 ½ inch American waffles that are ½ inch thick, but works quickly with average cooking time about three minutes. That means you can churn out breakfast rapidly and deliciously. The stainless steel doesn’t get really hot during cooking and cleans up easily because of the great non-stick surfaces.
Most waffle makers seem to be pretty much interchangeable because there usually isn’t a ton of technology involved – there’s simply a surface to hold the batter and heating elements which cook the waffle.
All-Clad has gone a step above by actually developing steam and crisping technology that improves the process, making the Classic Round the best American waffle maker on the market even if it’s a little more expensive than the competition.
There’s a double-waffle version of this unit which is priced higher, and if your preference runs to Belgian waffles, the All-Clad 99011GT Belgian Waffle Maker is almost exactly the same unit.
Specifications for the All-Clad 99012GT Stainless Steel Classic Round Waffle Maker:
2. Waring Pro WMK600 Double Belgian-Waffle Maker (Belgian Waffles)
Virtually on a par with the All-Clad Belgian waffle machine, the Waring Pro has many of the same advantages as that top-rated machine, including a browning control knob and “ready-to-eat” beep when your waffles are done.
It doesn’t vent steam the same way but after a little testing (and eating) you can get the finished product perfect, with a crunch on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth fluffiness on the inside. The waffles have one-inch deep pockets, perfect for holding your favorite topping or syrup.
There’s no two ways about it; this waffle maker is big. One reason for that is that Belgian waffles are larger and a machine has to be bigger to make them. The other reason is a good one: the Waring Pro makes two Belgian waffles at the same time while having the same footprint as a single-waffle unit.
It’s convenient, but chances are that you’ll want to keep this machine in the pantry or cabinet when not in use, even though the silver and black styling is relatively attractive.
Cleaning is a pretty easy task, as the non-stick surface is almost as good as the All-Clad’s – and that’s important for Belgian waffle makers which are notorious for batter that sticks after cooking and must be pried off.
Key specs for the Waring Pro WMK600 Double Belgian-Waffle Maker:
3. Black and Decker G48TD 3-in-1 Waffle Maker & Indoor Grill/Griddle (American Waffles)
Versatility, versatility, versatility. Those are the three key attributes of this Black and Decker model. It’s first and foremost a waffle machine, set up to produce eight-inch square waffles.
However, both the top and bottom waffle grids can be flipped over to create a pair of flat-top surfaces ideal for grilling sandwiches or quesadillas. The top even folds down to make two eight-inch griddles for cooking pancakes or eggs.
This machine doesn’t do any of those things quite as well as a dedicated waffle maker or grill would, but then again, it doesn’t take up all the space that having separate appliances would require.
You shouldn’t get the impression that waffles from the 3-in-1 weren’t delicious – far from it. They were cooked well, with soft interiors and crispy outsides; the reason they weren’t quite as good as those produced by the All-Clad or Waring is that this model doesn’t have the browning options of the top two choices.
It does, though, have a heat control letting you select low, medium or high settings. You get close to the same final product, for a lower price and with the extra cooking surfaces.
A versatile, value for money waffle maker, that makes delicious waffles.
A look at the details of the Black and Decker G48TD 3-in-1 Waffle Maker & Indoor Grill/Griddle:
4. Chef’s Choice 840 WafflePro Express Waffle Maker (American Waffles)
The WafflePro Express turns out American-styles waffles fast and fancy. Fast because it stays very close to temperature between batches so you can keep refilling and keep cooking without waiting, and fancy because it turns out five small, but cute, heart-shaped waffles per batch.
This unit does a very nice job making waffles that are cooked evenly throughout, due to a floating top plate that ensures that the batter remains at a consistent thickness.
You also have a good deal of control over the cooking itself with a dial which allows you to select heat levels and a texture switch that lets you choose between “fast bake” for crisper exteriors and softer interiors, or “deep bake” for “well done” waffles.
This isn’t the easiest-to-clean waffle maker we’ve looked at because there are lots of nooks and crannies where batter can stick and harden, and big families will have to make lots of batches of these small waffles to satisfy everyone. That’s easy to do, however, and the kids will love these heart-shaped, crispy goodies.
There’s also a version of the 840 available that makes four small Belgian waffles.
Digging deeper on the Chef’s Choice 840 WafflePro Express Waffle Maker (American Waffles):
5. Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Classic Waffle Maker
Nothing flashy – just very good waffles at a terrific price. This brushed stainless steel Cuisinart machine does the job exactly as you’d expect from an appliance with its brand name.
It does take a little longer to cook the 6 ½-inch round waffles than it does with many of the other models we’ve reviewed, but they come out soft inside and crunchy outside once you’ve gotten the hang of the five-setting browning control, so the extra time is worth it as long as you don’t have a large family to feed.
For the price, we didn’t expect an audio “ready-to-eat” alert, and there isn’t one, but there is an indicator light that does the job pretty well instead. An overflow well inside the machine helps with cleanup, but the non-stick surfaces really do require a little help from cooking spray in order to make them totally non-stick and easily cleanable.
The stainless steel makes for an attractive appliance, but does get quite hot; other than that, and the longer cooking time, this is a great waffle maker at a reasonable price.
Checking the specifications of the Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Classic Waffle Maker:
6. VillaWare NDVLWFBFS1-SHP Belgian Flip Waffle Maker (Belgian Waffles)
The Your House Garden review team has included a “lucky sixth” option, because this great waffle maker is currently unavailable on Amazon and may not be in your local store, either. But you should definitely keep an eye out for it coming back into stock.
This machine makes delicious Belgian waffles and will immediately be noticed in your kitchen, because of its unique “gravity flip” design. The idea is simple: by being able to flip the entire waffle maker all the way around, gravity helps the batter spread fully across the cooking grids so that the waffle cooks evenly.
The concept makes sense and works well, with just one downside; removing the waffle when it’s done can be a little difficult because you have to reach all the way to the top of the iron to pry it out.
The VillaWare comes with a drip tray underneath the waffle maker (a must for flip machines because the batter can drip easily) and a “ready-to-eat” audio alert. It also has an adjustable browning/temperature control to let you make your waffles just the way you like them.
As for taste, it’s hard to tell the difference between these one-inch Belgian waffles and ones made on a more expensive machine.
We’d prefer the Waring Pro for its extra features, but we definitely liked the VillaWare’s smaller price tag.
Important specifications for the VillaWare NDVLWFBFS1-SHP Belgian Flip Waffle Maker:
(Out of stock on Amazon at the moment but keep checking)
The team at Your House Garden hope you found this review useful to your decision-making process – we can smell the waffles cooking in the kitchen already! If by chance you are also looking for replacement pots and pans feel free to continue reading the teams review of the top 5 best saucepan and pots. Or probably a better option is to buy a quality home ice cream maker, because what’s better than waffles and ice cream?