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Updated April 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best waffle makers

Waffles are part meal and part celebration. It's impossible not to smile when you think of those fluffy treats smothered in fruit and topped with a swirl of whipped cream. When you have a waffle maker, any day can be special. However, with so many different models to consider, how do you choose the right waffle maker for you?

A stand-alone electric waffle maker is what you want to consider. One with a nonstick coating will facilitate both cooking and cleaning, but a waffle maker with temperature control will let you be in charge of the waffle's texture. For the novice, indicator lights and cool-to-the-touch handles are highly desirable.

Waffle maker types

You'll find two main varieties of waffle makers on the market: electric waffle makers and stovetop waffle makers.

Electric waffle makers

Electric waffle makers are standalone appliances that plug into a power outlet. You cook your waffles on cooking plates inside a metal or plastic housing, and can often control the temperature and browning. This is definitely the most popular – and arguably the easiest and most convenient – type of waffle maker.

Expert Tip
Don’t use pan spray on nonstick plates – it can cook and gum up the nonstick surface, and attempts to scrub away the residue can damage the nonstick coating.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Stovetop waffle makers

A stovetop waffle maker is essentially a hinged pair of cooking plates that fasten together. To cook waffles, you put the batter inside the waffle maker and put it on the stove, flipping it over to cook both sides. This was how people cooked waffles before electric waffle makers existed, and some people who grew up making them this way may prefer a stovetop model.

On the whole, however, stovetop waffle makers are much less popular than their electric counterparts, because they require more hands-on effort, and it's harder to get a perfectly cooked waffle.

Since stovetop varieties aren't commonly used today, this guide will focus on electric waffle makers.

Considerations for selecting a waffle maker

Waffle shape

Most waffle makers either make round or square waffles. However, some models make waffles shaped like cartoon characters or animals, which can be fun for kids or the young at heart. You shouldn't find a noticeable difference in taste or texture, so choose whichever you prefer.

Temperature settings

We prefer waffle makers that allow you to control the temperature at which your waffles cook. On the whole, a higher temperature will produce a crispier waffle, whereas a lower temperature will produce a softer one.

Waffle makers with variable temperature settings make it easier to cater to different preferences.

Cooking plates

The cooking plates of a waffle maker are the grid-like surfaces on which you put your batter. Most are made of aluminum, with a non-stick coating. This is because waffles are prone to sticking to the plates, so using a plate without a non-stick coating will end in tears, torn waffles, and some tough dishes to wash.

If you're completely averse to using cookware with non-stick coatings, you can find a handful of stovetop waffle makers made from cast iron, which (with some careful seasoning) can be just as non-stick as Teflon.

Expert Tip
Removable nonstick plates are the easiest to clean. Hand wash and dry them thoroughly before putting them away.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Number of waffles

Some waffle makers can only tackle one waffle at a time, whereas others can make four or more. That said, those units that only make a single waffle sometimes make one extra-large waffle, divided into four segments. So, as well as looking at the number of waffles the model you're considering can make, look at the size of each waffle.

Indicator lights

Waffle makers with indicator lights are extremely useful, especially if you're new to waffle-making and aren't quite sure how long they take to cook.

Models that offer this feature usually have two indicator lights, one that tells you when the appliance has heated up enough to use, and one that tells you when the waffles are done. Some even make a beeping noise when the cooking time's up, which means you don't have to stand around staring at it to see when your waffles are ready.

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Testing waffle makers
After researching 87 different waffle makers over the course of 34 hours, we picked our top models to recommend. We also purchased our number one choice and tested it hands on.
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Waffle maker price

What should you expect to pay for a waffle maker? It varies, depending on a range of factors such as the brand, the amount of waffles it can make, and what extra features it offers.

Inexpensive

These cost as little as $15 to $30. These models tend to produce a single waffle (though it may be divided into four segments), give you less control over temperature, and come from a lesser-known brand.

Mid-range

Waffle makers in this range are usually priced between $30 and $50. This includes units from some better-known brands and with extra features, such as indicator lights, alarms, and fine-tuned temperature control. At the higher end of this price range, you can find models that make two round or four square waffles at a time.

High-end

These models start around $50 and can cost well over $100, but we don't think you need to go to the very upper reaches of this price range to get a good one. You'll find some highly-rated models from trusted brands that produce top-notch waffles every time.

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Expert Tip
Consider the overall size of the waffle maker compared to the counter space and cabinet space you’ll need to use and store it.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Tips

  • Even if you're using a non-stick waffle maker, grease the cooking plates to prevent the batter from sticking to the grooves, and be sure to grease between making waffles, too.

  • Do your waffles get soggy while they wait for the entire batch to be done? A simple solution to this is to add some cornstarch to the recipe; it will keep your waffles from soaking moisture.

  • Stick to a waffle maker that cooks either Belgian waffles or American waffles – some claim to cook both, but the quality tends to suffer from the added versatility.

  • The first waffle you make is usually the test subject that will tell you if your batter is correct, if the crispness is to your liking, and how the flavor resolved.

  • Waffle makers with temperature settings or variable browning settings offer you better control on how crisp and toasted your waffles come out.

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For large families, waffle makers that can make two or more waffles simultaneously can save a lot of time in the morning.

FAQ

Q. How long does it take to cook a waffle?

A. This varies depending on a range of factors, including which waffle maker you choose, the recipe you use, and how much batter you put in. If your waffle maker has one, we recommend trusting the indicator light to tell you when your waffle's done, but if you open the lid and it doesn't look crisp enough for your liking, you can cook it a little longer. Ultimately, it may take some trial and error to find that waffle-making sweet spot.

Q. Are waffle makers easy to clean?

A. If you choose a waffle maker with a decent non-stick coating, it should be easy to clean, especially if you can remove the cooking plates from their housing.

Q. Are waffle makers safe for kids to use?

A. It's great to get kids involved in the kitchen, and making waffles is a relatively simple task. Waffle makers are fairly safe, but because the cooking plates get very hot, we don’t recommend kids use them without an age-appropriate level of adult supervision. Ideally, look for waffle makers with handles or exteriors that stay cool to the touch while in use.

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