Nothing is more delicious than a crunchy, crispy, tender waffle. Whether it's a Sunday brunch treat or part of your daily breakfast routine, this is one item that you simply can’t make without a special kitchen appliance—a waffle maker!
After extensive testing over two years, making batches of classic and Belgian waffles (using both boxed and homemade batter), we've discovered a few favorites. The best waffle maker is the Cuisinart Vertical Waffle Maker(available at Amazon for $59.95) which not only creates crispy, tender waffles, its clever design makes storage simple.
However, if you prefer an upgrade, the splurge-worthy Breville Smart Waffle Pro (available at Amazon) has every bell and whistle you can imagine.
Here are the best waffle makers we tested, ranked in order:
Cuisinart Vertical Waffle Maker
Breville Smart Waffle Pro
Hamilton Beach Belgian
Breville the No Mess Waffle
Cuisinart Double Belgian
Cuisinart Round Classic
Presto FlipSide Belgian
Chef’s Choice WafflePro Taste/Texture Select Classic Belgian Model
Chefman Anti-Overflow Belgian
Black and Decker Belgian Flip
Black and Decker Belgian WMB500
Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian
All-Clad 4 Slice Belgian
Oster Titanium Infused DuraCeramic Chrome Belgian
Krups 4 Slice Belgian
Cuisinart WAF-V100 Vertical Waffle Maker
Don’t be put off by the Cuisinart Vertical's funky design. In this case, Cuisinart really did reinvent the wheel. This unusual appliance turns out crispy, tender round-shaped waffles, eliminates overflow once and for all, and doesn’t hog counter space. Not to mention that it’s very reasonably priced!
To fill this machine, just pour batter into the spout on top. It’s easy to see when there’s enough, and if there’s any extra, it bakes up in the spout without making a mess by flowing onto the countertop. Both a green light and a audible sound signal when the machine is hot enough to pour in the mix and again when your food is ready. The nonstick plates also made removing the cooked waffles easy.
As this machine stands vertically, you can leave it on the back or side of the counter so you don’t have to sacrifice much counter space or stash it away. The machine comes with a measuring cup, which helps ensure you’re using exactly the right amount of batter. Our top pick also provides a booklet with quite a few enticing recipes, including toppings.
For the money, you just can’t beat Hamilton Beach Belgian Style. It bakes up two crispy, fluffy, perfectly thick waffles in record time.
Without a doubt, this is not a fancy model. It lights up when it’s time to add the batter and remove the waffles, but it doesn’t make a sound.
The settings’ lever slides from minimum to maximum, but there are no specific numbers in between. Despite that it makes two at a time, it’s fairly compact and won’t take up too much room on the counter or in a cabinet.
Let’s put it on the table right away: $200 is a lot of cash to spend for this kind of appliance. You can get perfectly wonderful waffles from other machines. But if you want to bake four at a time, and get the ultimate in convenience, the handsome well-designed Breville the Smart Waffle Pro is worth the big bucks.
Batch after batch come out exactly the same—extra crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. And the Breville’s waffles are the only ones we taste-tested that stay crunchy if they’re not devoured immediately. In addition to doneness level, there are settings for 5 types—classic, Belgian, chocolate, buttermilk, and a custom one of your own devising.
All of the settings are displayed on a large LCD screen that adjusts with a pair of knobs. The whole panel lights up to indicate when the iron’s preheated and when the waffles are fully cooked. There’s a beep as well. As the waffle bakes, its countdown timer allows you to have an idea when to call everyone to the table. The Smart Waffle Pro takes a relatively long to bake but as they say, good things are worth waiting for, and of course, it turns out four at once.
On the Breville, there’s a large professional-type handle that keeps your hand well away from the machine's body to minimize any chances of burns. Around the grid, there’s a deep moat that catches excess batter so unless you really overdo it, you won’t have overflows onto your counter.
This is a large heavy machine that doesn’t stand on end for storage. You won’t want to be lifting it in and out of a cabinet often so you do need to have countertop space to dedicate to it. That’s another reason, in addition to the hefty price, that this is a machine for diehard waffle lovers.
Hi, I'm Sharon Franke, and I’ve been reviewing kitchen equipment for more than 30 years. Before that, I cooked and baked professionally in New York City restaurants for seven years. I’ve been eating waffles a whole lot longer. Some of us are pancake people and others waffle people. All my life, I’ve been in the latter category because I’m a pushover for anything crispy. Much as I love a perfect waffle, I’ve eaten my share that are just as soft as a flapjack. However, now that I know the best waffle makers exist, it can always make my day!
We tested 10 models including ones that make thin classic waffles and others that bake up deep-pocketed Belgian ones, some of which flip over halfway through waffling. In each appliance, we baked up four waffles from each of two different mixes (Bisquick and Pearl Milling Company), and four from a made-from-scratch recipe, checking for even browning, crispness, and tenderness. We also looked for consistency after baking three in a row.
In our search for the perfect waffle iron to make a delicious golden waffle, we took into consideration whether each machine had settings and if they really produced varying degrees of doneness. We also looked at how simple it was to control the device, open and close the grids, and if it was easy to clean and store the machines. As we waffled, we noted if the machines beeped and/or lit up to signal that they were preheated, and again when waffles were ready, and if we could easily see and/or hear these alerts.
What to Know About Buying Waffle Makers
If you want to make waffles from scratch, you absolutely need a waffle maker (which are the modern versions of the old-timey waffle irons, often made from cast iron). There’s simply no other method of baking them. However, there are lots of different kinds of makers on the market and things to consider before you make a purchase.
For starters, do you prefer thin and crispy or thick and fluffy Belgian-style waffles? How many do you want to make at once? If you’re feeding more than a single person or one very hungry person, you’ll want a machine that cooks at least two at a time.
How much kitchen space you have will also affect your decision. There are slim space-saving models on the market and behemoths that will eat up a lot of the precious workspace in your kitchen.
Waffle makers that beep as well as glow when they’re preheated and again when the waffles are fully cooked are more convenient. If you’re busy frying up bacon and heating up maple syrup, it’s easy to miss the ready light. Some inexpensive machines require that you watch escaping steam to figure out when your waffles are ready to eat. That’s not super helpful and can easily lead to overcooked waffles.
We love waffles for all the crispy nooks and crannies. However, within a few minutes, they can lose their crunch, lose their heat and then stay cool. Plan on serving waffles hot from the iron or keeping them warm on a sheet pan in the oven.
Other Waffle Makers We Tested
Breville BWM520XL No-Mess Waffle Maker
You can depend on the Breville the No Mess Waffle for thin crispy waffle rounds, one waffle at a time, after another, after another. Until our most recent round of testing, this was our favorite appliance for classic waffles.
We love that this brushed stainless steel waffler has a moat around the waffle grid that catches any excess batter so there’s never any run over on the counter or the machine itself making it truly no mess.
It lights up and beeps when it’s hot enough for baking and again when your waffle is ready, but we wish the beeps were louder—they would be easy to miss in a noisy kitchen. After breakfast, you can latch the grids together and store it on its side to have more room to prep for the next meal.
If you love waffles, it’s worth giving the large Cuisinart Double Belgian some of your precious counter space.
In our first round of testing, we awarded it the best Belgian waffle maker because it makes the kind of waffles dreams are made of: thick, fluffy, and tender on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. Plus, it bakes two at a time.
After adding batter to one chamber, rotate it in its frame, fill the other side, and rotate it again. Lights and tones signal when each one is done.
Unlike less expensive flip machines, this one feels solid and well-built. It also comes with a ¾ cup measure for batter.
There’s a lot to love about the Cuisinart Round Classic. It heats up and bakes much faster than others in our testing group. And it was one of the few that gave a very distinct range of shades from light to dark—although it’s beyond me why anyone would want their waffles pale and flabby.
Not only is the appliance itself small and thin, it stands up for storage and the cord can be wrapped in the bottom. While there’s a light to indicate that it’s ready for the batter and when waffles are fully baked, there’s no sound so you have to keep an eye on it. We think that’s a small drawback for a waffle maker this good and this inexpensive.
It doesn’t get more adorable than this! Both the Dash Mini machine and the baby cakes it turns out are super cute. We think it would be perfect for making yourself or a junior waffle lover a small treat. It preheats and bakes up quickly so you can easily churn out a short stack. For the price, you don’t get any fancy features—there are no settings, just a blue light that goes off when the iron is preheated and again when waffles are done; you might want to give it another minute or so if you prefer your waffles extra crispy. It’s available in seven colors.
Unlike most flip-style makers, the Presto FlipSide Belgian doesn’t take up a lot of space when it’s not baking waffles. It is slim and sits low on the counter and it can easily be locked into place so it can stand up for storage. However, you do need to make sure you have room on the countertop to flip it completely over on its side after you fill it with batter. Rather than specific browning settings, the Presto has a timer that you set by pushing a tiny button. It is designed to beep with only two minutes remaining, but often, at that point, it didn’t beep and stopped counting down. Nonetheless, it produced evenly browned, crispy waffles one after another and it is the least expensive Belgian-style waffle maker on our list.
Do you live in a house divided—between crispy and not-so-crispy waffle lovers? The Chef’s Choice WafflePro Taste/Texture Select Classic Belgian Model has a unique control designed to let you choose either a crispy waffle with a moist interior or one with a uniform texture. It takes a little experimentation to realize for a crispy waffle you should select the uniform texture—in spite of its name, the other setting doesn’t provide much crunch.
In addition, the WafflePro doesn’t consistently produce evenly browned waffles. And, in spite of the word Belgian in its name, it doesn’t make particularly thick or fluffy waffles. On a positive note, it bakes quickly so you can serve up a crowd without long waits between waffles.
Both a light and alert you when it’s time to pour in the batter and then, when it’s time to serve the waffles. This model is slim and stands up so it can be conveniently stashed away between uses.
The Chefman Anti-Overflow consistently baked up beautiful Belgian waffles when we used a batter made from a packaged mix but when we used a batter made from a recipe, it faltered. At both preheating and waffle making, this was one of the speediest machines.
Around the waffle grid there’s a channel to catch any excess batter but even though we used the included measuring cup, batter still ran out of the machine and onto the counter. While there is a light to tell you when to fill it up and remove your waffles, there’s no tone, so you need to check on it when it's baking.
Although the Black and Decker Belgian Flip is definitely not a status appliance, it consistently makes great waffles without setting you back a bundle. This is a large but lightweight machine that you rotate after filling it with batter.
As there are no settings, if you like your waffle lighter or darker you have to remove it early or leave it in after the ready light glows. With the Black and Decker, you get a handy removable tray to place under the grid to catch any runovers.
The Black and Decker Belgian is about as bare-bones as you can get in an electric waffle maker. It lights up to tell you it’s time to add your batter, but there's only one setting and no indicator to signal when your Belgian waffle is ready. You have to either peek or learn how long it takes to get your waffle baked the way you like and time it. However, it only took us three minutes to get a crispy golden-brown waffle.
As long as we used a mix, waffles came out perfectly but when we used our own waffle recipe, we didn’t get even coloring or particularly crispy results. The round waffle easily separates into four small child-friendly pieces.
Flipping over a waffle maker is supposed to make for evenly browned waffles but unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case with the Hamilton Beach Flip. But even when our waffles had a few pale spots, they were crispy and absolutely delicious. This machine will need some counter space and is not impressive looking but it comes at a moderate price. For thorough cleaning, you can remove the grids and pop them in the dishwasher. The Hamilton Beach also includes a drip tray to catch excess batter.
The Calphalon Intellicrisp has some unique features. To start with, on the outside, it’s trendy black stainless steel which is a lot easier to keep clean than the shiny variety. It’s the only waffle maker among the models we tested with a digital screen that shows when its preheating, ready for batter, which setting you’ve selected, and the remaining cooking time. On the medium setting, we found it delivered two golden brown rectangular Belgian waffles with deep pockets just waiting to be loaded with syrup. However, we had a few glitches and for the big bucks we think you should get a pretty much perfect product.
On a few occasions, the machine didn’t seem to realize we had added batter, so it never started counting down. Also, regardless of which setting we chose and how long the waffle cooked, we didn’t see much difference in the color of our waffles. You can easily lock the grids together and then store the Calphalon standing up.
Big, shiny, and heavy, the All-Clad 4 Slice Belgian is an impressive machine that doesn’t disappoint. It consistently bakes up 4 crispy square-shaped waffles with melt in your mouth centers. And you can depend on it to deliver lighter or darker waffles if you so desire. With the All-Clad you get a little drip tray to hook onto the back and it’s obvious why. Inevitably batter drips out the back, and unfortunately the tray doesn’t catch all the leaks and if you make more than one batch you have to empty it in between batches.
After a while, we just put a pile of paper towels under the rear of the machine to catch the mess. In the manual there is no recommendation for how much batter to use nor a sample recipe. This appliance is definitely for a family that cooks waffles so often that it’s willing to spend a good deal of change on an iron and sacrifice some counter space to it. Even locked and standing up, the All-Clad is not small and it’s so heavy you won’t want to be lifting it in and out of a cabinet very often.
The only thing going for the Oster Belgian is its rock-bottom price. While there is a preheat light, in order to tell when your waffle is done you have to watch to see when steam stops escaping and then peek to see if it’s browned to your liking. We didn’t see much coloring on any of the doneness settings except the dark one and even then, we got an unevenly browned, tough but not crunchy waffle.
The Oster Titanium Infused DuraCeramic Chrome Belgian is pretty much identical to the Oster Belgian with the exception that instead of a dark traditional nonstick finish it has a light-colored ceramic one which the manufacturer claims will be more durable.
However, its general performance was the same. You have to lift the lid to check and see if the waffle is ready and you won’t see much browning unless you use the darkest setting. And the crunch factor will disappoint.
Doesn't make great waffles
Not light or sound indicates when Waffles are ready
In our waffle bake-off, the Krups 4 Slice Belgian yielded disappointing results. The top grid just didn’t seem to brown as well as the bottom one and the problem was particularly pronounced when we made our waffles from a homemade batter rather than a commercial mix. When this machine is baking, the latch engages, but and we found it often gets stuck, so we had to pry open the grids to remove the waffles. On a positive note, this is one of the few machines we tested that has removable plates that can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
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