The Best Waffle Maker Buying Guide 2018

cuisinart-waf-f20-double-belgian-waffle-maker
Cuisinart WAF-F20 Double Belgian Waffle Maker

Waffles are just too delicious to relegate to brunch. For the price of a few orders of restaurant waffles you can make your own at home and customize them any way you like. If you’re considering purchasing a waffle maker our guide is your one stop shop for everything you need to know during the buying process. From machines that churn out fluffy Belgian waffles for a crowd to flip-style and mini heart-shaped waffle makers there are a wide variety of models and special features to choose from. We surveyed the market, read the reviews, and tested highly rated models available on Amazon; evaluating how evenly and quickly they cooked as well as how easy they were to use, clean, and store. Our guide will help you choose the best waffle maker for you and includes our Top Waffle Maker Picks of 2017 as well as a summary of the features that matter most.

TOP PICKS

REALSIMPLE'S FAVORITE PLACES TO BUY HOME APPLIANCES

6 OF OUR FAVORITE Waffle Makers
1 BEST BELGIAN OVERALL

Cuisinart WAF-F20 Double Belgian Waffle Maker

cuisinart-waf-f20-double-belgian-waffle-maker Photo by amazon.com
If you’re a Belgian Waffle fan and want to make perfectly crisped on the outside and fluffy on the inside waffles the Cuisinart Double Belgian Waffle Maker is for you. Flip style waffle makers such as this one are often used by professional chefs to ensure even spreading and cooking of batter with no bald spots. The unique design of this model creates two deep pocket 1-inch Belgian waffles at the same time with an accurate 6-setting control knob that ensures your waffles are cooked exactly as you like them. This was one of our favorites tested, with easy setup, a handy cord keeper on the bottom, as well as a custom measuring cup to make it easy to pour the perfect amount of batter—less spillover means less cleanup! This waffle maker heated up in about 5 minutes and took only 3 minutes to make two perfectly cooked, thick Belgian waffles. The flip action was smooth and easy with no exterior hot spots to worry about. There were also clear instructions for making one or two waffles. One downside; it takes some time for this waffle maker to cool down so wait till after breakfast to clean.
2 BEST BELGIAN SMALL BATCH

Presto Flip Side 03510

presto-flip-side-03510-waffle-maker Photo by amazon.com
If you only plan to make waffles occasionally for 1 or 2 people and want a simple to use and easy to store Belgian waffle maker the Presto Flip Side is a great choice. At half the price and size of other similar models this waffle maker delivers quality results and takes up less space than other single Belgian flip models. A unique 180 degree flip design evenly spreads batter for thick 7” diameter waffles that are crispy outside and fluffy inside in about 4 minutes; while a simple display lets you know when cooking is completed. If you need to step away, a handy countdown timer reminds you when to remove your waffle. Perfect for apartments, this model is lightweight and the base locks in a vertical position for extremely compact storage. While you can’t adjust browning settings, if you let your waffles cook a little less or a little more than the indicator light says you’ll be able to figure out how to customize your crispiness.
3 BEST VALUE

Hamilton Beach Belgian Waffle Maker (26009)

hamilton-beach-belgian-waffle-maker Photo by amazon.com
This value priced Belgian waffle maker from Hamilton Beach is a fraction of the price of similar models while being quick and easy to use; churning out two well-cooked Belgian-style waffles at a time in just 4 or 5 minutes. It also has a clever design that allows for compact upright or flat storage while a covered hinge and batter channel help prevent hard to clean overflows. The 1” thick and square shaped waffles consistently came out evenly browned and crisp on the outside/tender on the inside. Since this isn’t a flip-style model, batter didn’t always fill the top plate evenly, occasionally leaving waffles a little uneven on top until you get used to how much to pour in for each batch. Indicator lights turn on when the unit is on, during preheating and when it's heated up enough to add the batter; but not when cooking is done so you’ll need to watch for when steam stops seeping out or set a timer. While this model allows for browning adjustments, the slider control has a lot of variability to it so deciding which setting is best for you will take some testing. Also, be aware, the handle of this waffle maker gets a little hot so be sure to use an oven mitt when removing your waffles.
4 BEST FOR A CROWD

KRUPS GQ502D 4 Slice Belgian Waffle Maker with Removable Plates

krups-gq502d-belgian-waffle-maker Photo by amazon.com

If you’re looking to feed a crowd the Krups GQ502D Belgian waffle maker is a great choice for you. It consistently delivers four 1” thick perfect looking, crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside waffles at a time in only 4 to 5 minutes. This easy-to-use waffle maker also has a number of features that make it worth the slightly higher price. A numbered dial with 5 browning levels gives you great control over waffle doneness, and a light paired with a loud beep tells you when your waffles are done. You can also turn this model off without unplugging it—a feature we didn’t see on many models. The nonstick plates are removable and dishwasher safe too so cleanup is a snap. A cord wrap, handle lock, and relatively compact design allow you to store this model neatly; either flat or upright. On the downside, it takes up to 10 minutes to heat up so be sure to allow for setup and preheating time. The sides and latch got a bit hot to the touch while cooking as well. However, the ability to make four Belgian waffles at a time for a reasonable price makes this model a wonderful choice for large families or those who love to host brunch parties for pals.

5 BEST TRADITIONAL WAFFLE

Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Classic Waffle Maker

cuisinart-wmr-ca-round-classic-waffle-maker Photo by amazon.com
If you prefer a super-crunchy, traditional “Eggo Style” waffle the Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker is the model for you. Its compact design makes it great for small spaces and it truly excels at turning out consistently delicious, thin waffles that are just as crisp at the outer edge as in the center. However, it makes only a single 6½-inch-diameter, ½-inch-thick round waffle at a time; so this model is a good choice only if you like your waffles super thin and crispy and don’t need a high-volume waffle maker for feeding a crowd. However, it was one of the fastest models we tested, taking only took 2½ minutes to heat up and 1½ minutes to cook each waffle so you’ll be able to turn out piles of waffles in a relatively short amount of time if you need to. The indicator lights are very clear; however it doesn’t tell you how much batter to pour so you may have some overflow until you practice using it. While it has a slider for 5 browning settings we found it moved easily so it was tricky to keep consistent. However this model was the clear winner for quality classic thin waffles at a great price. It’s also great for making waffle ice cream sandwiches and waffles to shape into waffle cones!
6 BEST FOR KIDS

Chef's Choice 840 WafflePro Express Waffle Maker, Traditional Five of Hearts

chefs-choice-840-waffle-pro-hearts Photo by amazon.com
If you’ve got a picky eater in the house or simply favor adorable Scandinavian-style crispy waffles the Chef’s Choice 840 Waffle Pro Express is the model for you. Heating up in as little as 90 seconds, this waffle maker produces one thin flower shaped waffle that easily splits into 5 sweet heart-shaped mini waffles. With a simple flip of the texture select switch, you can choose either fast bake for crisper waffles with a soft interior, or deep bake for a super crispy, uniform texture. This model has instant temperature recovery for continuous baking so you can quickly and easily make multiple waffles. It also has a handy "waffle ready" beeper to let you know when your waffle is done as well as indicator lights. Since this produces thin style waffles batter overflows are common until you get used to using it, but an overflow channel makes for easy cleanup. It also features a built-in cord storage compartment and can be tucked away in an upright space-saving position. However, at 12” by 12⅘” by 5⅕’ you’ll need to make sure you have space.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A Waffle Maker

Waffle makers range widely in style and features…not to mention in the type, quality, and number of waffles they produce! From oversized fluffy Belgian waffles to thin and crispy traditional waffles; we evaluated which features are most important to look for in any waffle maker.

Feature Description
Type of Waffle Belgian, Traditional, Shapes
Number of Waffles How many waffles it makes at once
Ease of Cleaning Nonstick plates, drip trays, and removable plates
Speed How long it takes to heat up, cook waffles, and reheat for the next batch
Indicator Lights & Sounds To let you know when it’s ready to use and when your waffles are done
Adjustable & Even Browning The ability to make waffles of varying, but even crispness
Ease of Storage Cord hiders, latches, and storage options

Type of Waffle

One of the first things you need to decide when choosing a waffle maker is what type of waffles you’d like to make. From fluffy Belgian waffles to thin and crispy traditional waffles or cute shapes for kids—there are waffle makers designed to cook up any style of waffles you crave! Belgian waffles are thicker than American waffles, and also have deeper wells for butter, syrup, or whatever else you decide to put on top of your waffle. They’re typically 1-1½” inches thick and are best enjoyed crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They take a bit longer to cook as well but can also be made using a variety of batter types from cookie dough to cornbread. Other people prefer thin and crispy “Eggo-style” waffles that can also be enjoyed in waffle ice cream sandwiches and to shape into waffle cones. If you have picky little palates to please, heart or other shaped waffles might be your preferred type.

Number of Waffles

Waffle makers typically make anywhere between one and four waffles at a time. It’s important to evaluate how many people you’ll typically be making waffles for to select a model that suits your household and entertaining needs. Waffles freeze exceptionally well so it’s usually a good idea to plan to make extra for easy breakfasts on busy mornings. Be sure to consider how quickly each waffle maker works to see how long it will take to make the batch size you want.

Ease of Cleaning

Any appliance that’s difficult to clean will make you reluctant to use it often! Nonstick surfaces are a must; significantly reducing the amount of hassle involved with taking waffles out of the waffle iron, ensuring that waffles come out unbroken, reducing the amount of oil you need to use, and making it much easier to keep your waffle maker clean. Note that you should always use plastic tongs or chopsticks to remove your waffles to avoid scratching your nonstick surface—scratches cause batter to stick and make cleanup more difficult. Some models feature removable, dishwasher safe plates to speed cleanup although you really only need to wipe your waffle iron clean with a damp cloth after it has cooled from cooking. Another useful feature some models have are spillover channels or plates to keep messy batter overflows at bay. Some waffle makers also come with a specific measuring cup to portion batter and help avoid overflows in the first place.

Speed

Waffle makers vary widely in how quickly they heat up and how quickly they cook waffles. Some models require a significant amount of reheat time between batches while others allow for continuous cooking. Evaluate how many waffles you’ll want to make each time and how much time you’re able to spend making them before you finalize your purchase. In general, if you’re making waffles for a crowd you’ll want to find a waffle maker that churns out multiple waffles at once, or one that quickly and continuously cooks thin style waffles.

Indicator Lights and Sounds

Seek out a waffle maker with audible or visual indicators that chime or light up when it’s preheated enough to cook waffles, ready to cook another batch, and when your waffles are done. Chances are you’ll be seeing to other cooking tasks while you make waffles. We prefer sounds to lights so you can step away instead of being stuck babysitting your waffles! If you go for a bargain model it may not have all of these features. A good rule of thumb to know when your waffles are done is to monitor steam output. When your waffle maker stops releasing steam it means the batter is nearly cooked through. Once you get used to your model you can also set a separate timer to alert you—but we favor models that do the timing for you.

Adjustable and Even Browning

It goes without saying that everyone prefers his or her own level of crispiness in a perfectly cooked waffle. Seek out a model with easy to read, accurate, and easy to use adjustments to customize the browning of each batch. You also want a waffle maker with no hot spots for unappealing uneven browning or undercooked areas.

Ease of Storage

Since a waffle maker is a single-purpose cooking item that you probably won’t be using every day; you want to find a model that suits your storage space and needs. Many come with cord winders or built in cord storage to avoid tangles. Others have locking mechanisms and the ability to easily and securely tuck them away vertically or horizontally. Some flip models take up additional space and need to be stored in their box. No matter which size or style you choose, always measure your shelf space to be sure the model you choose will fit.

BOTTOM LINE

While we’re not often advocates of single-use appliances, we will make an exception for waffle makers. At a reasonable price point that easily pays for itself after a few uses, they provide a fun homemade breakfast or brunch experience that make them well worth the space they take up. It’s fun to find creative ways to use yours with cookie dough, cornbread batter, or even hash browns. As with any appliance purchase, it’s important to carefully evaluate your needs and budget before making a purchase and always read waffle maker reviews to help with your decision.