The Best Waffle Maker
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 waffle maker currently on the market. After running the six the of most popular and highly-rated waffle makers through a series of tests, we determined that the Oster Flip Nonstick Belgian Waffle Maker is the best waffle iron on the market for consumers. In addition to quickly and consistently producing the best tasting and evenly cooked waffles, the Oster waffle maker looks good enough to fit in any style kitchen.
Top Pick: Oster Flip Nonstick Belgian Waffle Maker
The Oster waffle maker produces the best-tasting waffles in the least amount of time. It looks great on any kitchen counter.
Table of contents
- How we picked
- How we tested the top waffle irons
- The six best waffle makers
- Do you need a waffle maker
- What to think about when choosing a waffle maker
- The best waffle maker overall
- The best compact waffle maker
- The other waffle makers we tested
- The bottom line
How we picked
We spent several hours 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.
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.
The six best waffle makers
- Oster Flip Nonstick Belgian Waffle Maker
- Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker
- Hamilton Beach Belgian Waffle Maker
- Chef’s Choice WafflePro Express Waffle Maker
- Presto FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker
- Waring Pro Double Belgian Waffle Maker
Do you need a waffle maker
No, you don’t need a waffle maker. Waffle makers are a luxury, and there’s nothing wrong with making some pancakes and scrambled eggs if you don’t want to invest in a single-function waffle maker. Of course, “single-use” is a bit of a misnomer, since everything from pizza to desserts can be made in a waffle maker.
There is a reason that waffles are so popular. In addition to being delicious and (somewhat) healthy, the sheer variety of waffle options and combinations means you can eat a different type of waffle every single day. There’s even a blog dedicated to creating different waffle recipes!
While a waffle maker is technically a single-function luxury item, the cost is quite reasonable for those who want to make waffles in their own home, or want to express their food creativity.
What to think about when choosing a waffle maker
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 use to decide which is best for you:
First and foremost, it’s important to find a waffle iron that can do what you want it to do. 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.
Once you’ve chosen between Belgian or American-style waffles, the next step is to determine what type of “ready indicator” you would prefer. 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 should always choose 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.
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).
The best waffle maker overall
Choosing the best waffle maker was difficult. All six of the waffle makers we tested were able to do an excellent job of producing 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.
On these counts, and several others, the Oster Flip Nonstick Belgian Waffle Maker stood out from the rest of a very competitive field as the best waffle maker overall.
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, the Oster waffle maker stood above the pack.
Not only was the Oster the fastest waffle maker we tested, but it also cooked waffles more evenly and consistently than all the others. This alone would have put the Oster in contention for our top pick, but there were several other things that only added to the Oster’s lead during our testing.
The drip tray included with the Oster 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 the Oster 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 even just yourself, very quickly.
The Oster waffle maker also has an elegant chrome finish, and looks like it would fit in well on almost any kitchen countertop. This is even more impressive given the Oster’s price point, which hovered around $30 when we published this article.
Overall, the Oster waffle maker offers an incredible value and provides by far the best waffle making experience of the finalists we tested — all at a very affordable price point.
What we didn’t like
While there are plenty of positive things to say about the Oster waffle maker, there were a few things we noticed that we didn’t like as well.
The “ready” indicator seemed to turn on about 20 to 30 seconds before the waffle maker was actually ready to start cooking the first waffle. This meant that the first waffle wouldn’t be completely cooked if we put the batter in right when the indicator turned on (this problem was resolved by waiting 30 seconds after the indicator light turned on).
Once we accounted for this we had no problems with having the right amount of heat. In addition, we only noticed this problem on the first waffle. For subsequent waffles the waffle maker appeared to be ready right when the ready indicator turned on.
In a similar vein, 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. It’s possible that our batter was responsible for this, however we still think it’s worth mentioning.
- Cooks evenly and quickly
- Very affordable
- Doneness knob weighted on the lighter side
The best compact waffle maker
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 small stature.
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 Oster 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 like that one of our top picks ended up being a “classic”, or “American”-style waffle maker. If you prefer a classic style waffle to the Belgian style, 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 Oster waffle maker. However, the time difference to fully cook two waffles is less than a minute, 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 most compact waffle maker we tested
- Almost as fast as our top pick, the Oster waffle maker
- Makes non-Belgian, or “classic” waffles
The other waffle makers we tested
While the Oster and Cuisinart were the two top waffle makers among our six finalists, the other four were strong choices as well. Ultimately, we went with the two that stood out during testing. 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 top pick, the Oster waffle maker. It is made from brushed stainless steel and high-quality plastics that help it fit into any kitchen. The Hamilton Beach also has a removable tray (similar to the Oster) that makes cleanup simple and straightforward.
Where the Hamilton Beach fell short was in the time it took to cook, requiring about five minutes longer to heat and cook two waffles when compared to the Oster.
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, it did make us uneasy to think that potentially harmful chemicals were wafting into the air, and possibly even seeping into our waffle batter.
The countdown timer also wasn’t particularly useful since it wasn’t actually linked to any internal thermometer.
Waring Pro Double Belgian Waffle Maker
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 seven minutes longer than the Oster 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 Oster 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.
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 Oster Flip Nonstick Belgian Waffle Maker. With just a slightly larger footprint than the Cuisinart, the Oster created the tastiest, most consistent, most evenly cooked waffles from all six of our finalists. Best of all, the Oster is also the fastest waffle maker we tested, so you can start enjoying those delicious waffles as quickly as possible.