People have been eating waffles for hundreds of years, and they continue to be one of the most popular breakfast foods in America, with 75% of Americans having a positive opinion of them. We love waffles too, which is why we spent 35 hours making (and eating) waffles in our office to determine the best design currently on the market.
After running the eight the of most popular and highly-rated waffle makers through a series of tests, we determined that the BELLA – 13591 Classic Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker is the best waffle iron on the market for consumers. This model quickly and consistently produced the best-tasting waffles, evenly cooked every time with good control over browning.
Top Pick: BELLA - 13591 Classic
The Bella waffle maker produces the best-tasting waffles in the least amount of time. It's not the most rugged machine we found, but the price can't be beat.
Table of contents
- How we selected finalists to test
- The seven best waffle makers
- Important features to consider
- How we tested the top waffle irons
- Top pick: BELLA – 13591 Classic
- Best compact model: Cuisinart – WMR-CA
- Other products we tested
- Updates and long-term testing
- The bottom line
How we selected finalists to test
We spent days reading through many of the reputable websites and reviews on waffle and waffle makers, as well as the popular subreddit r/cooking to determine what matters most in a waffle maker. We dug deep into what the experts said was most important, and narrowed the large number of waffle makers to just six that we determined to be the best overall.
We limited our search to waffle makers that earned an Amazon rating of at least 4.2 stars, and put an even stronger emphasis on those that earned a rating of 4.5 or higher. We also only chose waffle makers that had nonstick surfaces, variable and adjustable cook settings, and at least one type of “ready” indicator.
For our update in 2018 (when our original pick was discontinued), we assessed replacement waffle makers on on a few specific criteria after testing Oster’s replacement model and finding its design changes pointlessly ineffective.
We looked for a new flip-style model with 1000 watts of heating power and a non-ceramic coating, to avoid whatever OEM is making Oster’s new DuraCeramic atrocity.
This proved to be more difficult than we anticipated, and if BELLA’s design proves sub-standard in long-term testing, we might start looking at additional non-flip models despite how happy we’ve been with our past winner.
The seven best waffle makers
|Waffle Maker||Price||Cook Time (minutes)||Type||Watts|
|1. BELLA - 13591 Classic Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker||$||2:00||Belgian||1000|
|Oster - Flip Nonstick Belgian Waffle Maker||Discontinued||2:40||Belgian||1000|
|2. Cuisinart- Round Classic Waffle Maker||$||3:02||American||850|
|3. Hamilton Beach- Belgian Waffle Maker||$$||4:30||Belgian||800|
|4. Chef’s Choice-WafflePro Express Waffle Maker||$$||3:05||Belgian||1100|
|5. Presto-FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker||$$||4:20||Belgian||1100|
|6. WaringPro (Cuisinart) - Double Belgian Waffle Maker||$$$$||3:40||Belgian||1400 (for two waffles)|
|N/R. Oster - Titanium Infused DuraCeramic Flip Waffle Maker||$||4:20 (two heats)||Belgian||1080|
Important features to consider
If you’re going to buy an appliance with a single function, it’s worth taking the time to find one that excels at that particular function.
When it comes to waffle makers, there are several features and metrics you should consider when deciding which is best for you.
First and foremost, it’s important to find a waffle iron that can make the style you like. Typically, this means choosing whether you want to make American (otherwise known as “classic”) style waffles or Belgian style waffles.
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. In our opinion, choosing a waffle style comes down to a personal preference. However, the majority of highly-regarded waffle makers are Belgian — with the notable exception of one of our top picks: the Cuisinart-Round Classic Waffle Maker.
“Ready indicator” choices are a little more subjective. Typically, waffle irons have either an auditory or a visual indicator, and sometimes they have both.
Auditory indicators are pretty straightforward; a quick beep when the waffle iron is ready, and another beep when the waffle itself is cooked to the specification that was set.
Visual indicators are either one or two lights; one which indicates that the waffle iron is turned on and heating up, and another that turns on when the iron is ready to cook a waffle or the waffle inside is finished.
It almost goes without saying, but you’ll benefit from a waffle iron with a nonstick surface. Nonstick surfaces significantly reduce the amount of hassle involved with taking waffles out of the waffle iron, helping ensure that waffles come out unbroken. A nonstick surface also reduces the amount of oil or butter that is required to cook the waffle, making them a little healthier than they would otherwise be.
Just as important, nonstick surfaces are significantly easier to clean. This also means the waffle iron will last much longer, since you won’t be scratching the iron trying to clean it out. Many experts suggest using some kind of oil (be it butter or something veggie-based like a spray) to help release your waffle from the iron, but even after a few years of testing our non-stick coatings have held up well and we wouldn’t say that oil is necessary. A little bit of butter is very nice, though, and gives some extra crispiness.
Flip or stationary? Once you’ve chosen between Belgian or American-style waffles, the next step is to determine if you want the assistance of a flip mechanism. Without flipping over the irons, you’re relying on the rising agent in your batter (or just over-filling your waffle maker) to quickly and evenly fill the top plate. The flip mechanism ensures even distribution for more consistent waffles. They take up more space vertically, but in the storage position they’re actually pretty manageable.
Finally, you should take a look at the warranty that is included with your chosen waffle iron. While waffle irons don’t have particularly complex electronics, there are still plenty of components that can stop working long before they are supposed to.
A company that offers a generous warranty is a company that believes in their product — and also believes that they won’t have to replace many waffle irons under said program. A warranty also gives you peace of mind, since you know that you’re guaranteed a functioning appliance for at least as long as the warranty is good for (and hopefully much longer).
How we tested the top waffle irons
After narrowing the list of finalists to six waffle makers, we ordered them and put them through a series of tests in our office, all of which were designed to measure the differences between each of our finalists. We took the data we gained from our testing and factored it in alongside the features that each waffle maker offers (indictor lights, ability to flip, etc.).
Some of the specific metrics we weighed heavily include:
- How even the waffles were cooked
- How consistent the waffle makers cook on a specific setting
- How long the waffle maker takes to heat up
- How long the waffle maker takes to cook one waffle
- The total amount of time the waffle maker takes to heat up and cook two waffles
- The ergonomics of each waffle maker, including the ease of use of the flipper (for models with this feature)
We also measured how effectively each waffle maker could produce waffles that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. While not everyone prefers to eat their waffles this way, we determined that this was an important metric.
Through our testing, we determined that a waffle maker that can cook a waffle in this way can also cook light/soft waffles, as well as waffles that are crispy all the way through.
After cooking dozens of waffles, we were able to determine which of our six best waffle makers stood out as the best overall.
We’re still happy with our top pick from a few years ago, the Oster-Flip, but Oster doesn’t sell it anymore. They’ve switched their entire line to a new “DuraCeramic” coating, and while the wattage and temperature specs haven’t changed the new waffle iron just doesn’t brown waffles evenly. (We ordered a replacement model just to be sure something wasn’t broken.)
We searched for another pick that replicates the design of the old Oster without “Titanium” coatings or lower heating element specs. After testing the replacement for two weeks, we finally settled on a new pick.
Top pick: BELLA – 13591 Classic
After a month of searching for a replacement to our old pick, the discontinued Oster-Flip, we settled on the BELLA – 13591 Classic Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker as a worthy successor.
Defining the very best is always tricky. In our initial roundup of back in 2016, all six waffle makers were able to produce delicious, crispy waffles. Ultimately, our decision came down to a few tie-breaker metrics: how evenly the waffle makers cooked the waffles, how easy they were to use, and how quickly the waffle maker could cook waffles.
What we liked
While we considered several different factors when comparing each of our six waffle maker finalists, ultimately the most important of all was how well each could cook a waffle. On this count, BELLA has demonstrated that the recipe involves simple ingredients executed well: at least 1000 watts of heating power, and plates that spread heat evenly.
BELLA - 13591 Classic
The BELLA waffle maker is quick and reliable, making excellent belgian waffles every time.
Not only was the BELLA the fastest waffle maker we tested, but it also cooked waffles more evenly and consistently than all the others. This alone would have put BELLA in contention for our top pick, but there were several other things that only added to their lead during our testing.
The drip tray included with the BELLA waffle maker makes cleanup even easier. After cooking several dozen waffles, we still found very little that needed to be cleaned from the waffle maker itself once the drip tray was removed. In addition, the nonstick surface was effective — however it didn’t particularly stand out compared to the rest of the field.
The fact that this flip-style waffle maker can go from turned off and cold to completely cooking two waffles in less than 10 minutes means that you can feed your family, or just yourself, very quickly.
Overall, the BELLA waffle maker offers an incredible value and provides by far the best waffle making experience of the finalists we tested.
What we didn’t like
While there are plenty of positive things to say about the BELLA waffle maker, there were a few things we noticed that we didn’t like as much.
The durability of this waffle maker is not what we’d hoped. From what we’ve seen reading customer reviews of this and other value-priced waffle irons, the attachment of handle to body is almost always the first thing to go.
For less than $20 we’re not crying foul, BELLA makes a very capable machine with the right parts where they’re needed. If you’re thinking about using this waffle maker to press ketchup-absorbing pockets into a decadent grilled cheese sandwich, though, be careful you don’t put too much weight on the handle.
As with the model it replaces in our lineup, the discontinued Oster-Flip, we found that the “doneness” knob was weighted on the lighter side. The medium setting could be more accurately described as a lightly-cooked waffle (the light setting was essentially useless).
However, the high setting was perfectly tuned for a crispy waffle with a soft interior, while the area between medium and high was ideal for a waffle that was actually cooked to a medium setting. We tested with Krusteaz batter mix and a few different from-scratch recipes, and the results were consistent.
- The BELLA – 13591 cooks evenly, crispy brown on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
- This was the quickest waffle maker we tested, consistently finishing a well-done waffle in two minutes.
- This is very affordable, though it’s a little on the flimsy side.
Best compact model: Cuisinart – WMR-CA
It is sometimes difficult to justify single-use appliances, and not just due to the cost. The space that the appliance takes up, whether in a cupboard or on a counter, is space that cannot be used for other multi-function appliances, as a prep area, or for anything else you may want to do in the kitchen. Products that make an effort to be compact, or at least efficient with the space they take up, always have an advantage over those that do not (all else being equal).
The Cuisinart – Round Classic Waffle Maker was our other top pick, and our top compact pick, thanks to its efficient use of space.
What we liked
The dimensions of the Cuisinart waffle maker are 11 x 8.5 x 4 inches, making it the most compact of all six waffle makers we tested. On top of that, the Cuisinart can stand up when not in use, which means you can place it up against a wall when not in use, and it’ll take up less than a foot of width and only stick out about four inches.
Cuisinart-Round Classic Waffle Maker
Produces high-quality waffles despite its size.
We also found the build quality of the Cuisinart waffle maker to be impressive as well — particularly when taking the price point into account. This waffle maker feels like a premium product and looks good in any kitchen.
We also liked the quick cooking speed of the Cuisinart. While it wasn’t quite as fast as the BELLA waffle maker, it was a respectable second place, and could go from off to two fully cooked waffles in just over ten minutes.
Finally, the Cuisinart waffle maker is the only finalist we tested that was non-Belgian. When choosing waffle makers to test, we made a point of excluding the style of waffle, opting instead to consider features and positive sentiment review articles and forums.
We’re also happy that one of our top picks ended up being a “classic”, or “American”-style waffle maker. If you prefer a softer, thinner waffle, the Cuisinart is an excellent choice.
What we didn’t like
As we mentioned, the Cuisinart isn’t quite as fast as our other top pick, the BELLA waffle maker. However, the time difference when fully cooking two waffles is only a few minutes, so we think this disadvantage is marginal at most.
However, one downside that concerned us was the fact that steam would get trapped under the handle, making it imperative that the waffle iron is opened very carefully — using an oven mitt works as well.
We also found the hinge to be somewhat flimsy when opening and closing the waffle maker. This isn’t much of a problem in practice, since the hinge locks into place when cooking a waffle or when stood upright for storage. Nevertheless, it was a disappointing feature on an otherwise excellent waffle maker.
- The Cuisinart- Round Classic Waffle Maker is the most compact waffle maker we tested.
- Almost as fast as our top pick, about a minute more per waffle.
- This is an ideal pick for classic “american” waffles, if you don’t fancy the crispy continental style.
Other products we tested
While the Oster and Cuisinart were the two top waffle makers among our finalists in initial testing, there are four other strong choices as well. Ultimately, we went with the two that stood out during testing. None of these really stood out as a drop-in replacement for the Oster when it was discontinued, so we went looking for something with power to match our old pick and settled on the BELLA. However, if you’re looking for something different, we encourage you to read about the other four finalists (and the additional seventh non-finalist) as well.
Hamilton Beach Belgian Waffle Maker
The Hamilton Beach Round Waffle Maker was the closest in appearance and function to our former top pick, the (now-discontinued) Oster waffle maker. It is made from brushed stainless steel and high-quality plastics that help it fit into any kitchen. Like most flip-type waffle irons, the Hamilton Beach also has a removable tray that makes cleanup simple and straightforward.
Where the Hamilton Beach fell short was in the time it took to cook, requiring about seven minutes longer to heat and cook two waffles when compared to our top pick.
Chef’s Choice WafflePro Express Waffle Maker
The Chef’s Choice did a decent job of cooking waffles quickly, requiring 10 minutes and 45 seconds in our benchmark “two waffle test”. The Chef’s Choice waffle maker also offers several cooking options for those who really like to tinker with how their waffles are cooked.
Ultimately, we found the options to be an unnecessary complication. That, in conjunction with waffles that were only moderately consistent and evenly cooked left the Chef’s Choice out of our top two choices.
Presto FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker
The Presto-FlipSide is one of the most popular waffle makers on Amazon, so we were enthusiastic about trying it ourselves. While the Presto was able to make waffles in a reasonable amount of time, there were a few things we didn’t like about the Presto that kept it from being our top pick.
The first thing we didn’t like was an unpleasant plastic smell that emanated from the Presto waffle maker when we first started cooking with it. While this scent did mostly dissipate over the course of our testing, and most waffle maker manuals suggest throwing away your first waffle because of chemicals that might be released from the non-stick, the smell from the Presto made us more uneasy than the rest.
The countdown timer also wasn’t particularly useful since it wasn’t actually linked to any internal thermometer. The power specs are good, but we weren’t impressed with the actual performance of this iron.
Waring Pro Double Belgian Waffle Maker
Note: Waring Pro products have been re-branded under the Cuisinart label since we tested this model. The Cuisinart version of this waffle maker is the WAF-F20.
The Waring Pro was by far the most expensive waffle maker we tested. Since this waffle maker is one of the best regarded in articles we read online, we wanted to see how it performed for ourselves.
Unfortunately, we were disappointed by the performance of the Waring Pro. Despite being the most expensive waffle maker among our finalists, it produced waffles slower than every other waffle maker. In our benchmark two waffle cooking test, the Waring Pro took 16 minutes and 30 seconds — nearly nine minutes longer than the BELLA waffle maker, and almost two minutes slower than the second slowest waffle maker, the Hamilton Beach.
The quality of waffles were decent, but waffles from the Waring Pro didn’t outshine either the BELLA or the Cuisinart, making it difficult for us to recommend the Waring Pro over either of those two (much less expensive) options.
Finally, we also tested the Hamilton Beach-Square Waffle Maker, but we were unimpressed with the results. That, along with the fact that we already had another (better) Hamilton Beach waffle maker led us to exclude the square version from our list of finalists.
Updates and long-term testing
Our winner from the 2016 round of testing is still going strong, and we’re still happy with the waffles it makes, but Oster has discontinued it. We didn’t really like any of the other waffle makers enough to just swap them in as a back-up winner, so we went looking for a replacement.
Our first thought was to see if Oster’s replacement model, the WFBF10W with “Titanium-Infused DuraCeramic” coating, was a worthy replacement. There are some design improvements with this model: The rotary switch makes a lovely click as you turn it and the new coating seems durable.
Sadly, those are the only nice things we have to say about the new Oster. Despite being rated for the same wattage and designed in nearly the same way (even the maximum warm-up temperature was basically identical to the old model when we checked with a K-type thermometer probe) this model does not cook satisfactory belgian waffles. We even sent the first machine we got back for a replacement, certain that it must be broken.
In the picture above, the old Oster’s waffles are on the bottom, the “DuraCeramic” waffles on top, cooked on the highest setting. Some combination of thermal switch calibration and altered heat transfer from the new coating means this design just can’t brown waffles evenly.
You can play with temperature settings and run each waffle twice (once on low to get an even, fluffy rise, and once more on high to get a crispy brown the outside) but the amount of work and time required basically defeats the purpose of this appliance.
We set out to find another replacement, and the BELLA – 13591 Classic Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker is very close to the old Oster design. It cooks mix and from-scratch batter to a very even brown, and in just two minutes on max. It’s not as classy or robust as the old pick, but it makes even better waffles.
The bottom line
There is no question that having a waffle maker is a luxury, and that the single-function appliance will take up some space on your kitchen counter. However, our testing proves that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a great product.
For the price of a few orders of waffles in a restaurant, you can make delicious waffles in your own home, and customize them any way you want. And you don’t need to waste your money on a premium-priced waffle maker either.
If saving space is your top priority, the Cuisinart – Round Classic Waffle Maker is an excellent choice that will fold up into an 11 x 4 inch space against your counter wall when not in use. If you want “classic”, or non-Belgian style waffles, this is the way to go.
However, we found the absolute best value to come from the BELLA – 13591 Classic Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker. With just a slightly larger footprint than the Cuisinart, this will give you the tastiest, most consistent, and most evenly cooked waffles. Best of all, the BELLA is even quicker than our old top pick, so you can grab a cup of coffee and start enjoying those delicious waffles as quickly as possible.