Whether you prefer your waffles made with a store-bought mix or homemade batter, you need a waffle maker to create the classic waffled shape. Before buying one, though, you’ll need to consider your favorite waffle style. Standard waffle makers will bake thin and crisp waffles, while Belgian-style waffle makers have deeper cooking wells to bake thicker waffles that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Tested & Approved
Extensive testing placed the Cuisinart WAF-200 4-Slice Belgian Waffle Maker as our best overall winner based on high marks on its design, performance, and value. Testers also endorsed the Breville Smart Waffle Pro for its ease of use and satisfying crispy results.
We tested several of the top waffle makers in our Lab, from the rotating varieties to mini bunny and novelty character shapes. Our testers experimented with yeasted and no-yeast waffle recipes, recording the cooking time and temperatures and cleaning up after. The testers then rated each waffle maker based on design, performance, size, ease of cleaning, and overall value.
Here are the best waffle makers, Lab-tested and approved.
Best Overall: Cuisinart WAF-200 Double Belgian Maker Waffle Iron
The Cuisinart 4-Slice WAF-200 is a classic and reliable waffle maker that rightfully cemented itself as our top pick after testing. Choose from six heat settings that precisely brown or crisp the waffle to your desired liking. The indicator lights up green and beeps three times when the waffles are ready, which helps ensure they cook for the perfect amount of time and avoid any burning or overcooking.
The 4-quadrant iron forms the classic Belgian waffle design and is nonstick to make for a seamless release. Our Lab testers used both yeasted and no-yeast batter to accurately assess performance and resulting waffle texture. Using the medium heat setting and a no-yeast batter resulted in the batter distribution not quite reaching the edge of the iron without having to spread or swirl it around. The resulting waffles were a success, with a chewy exterior and even browning throughout the bottom and golden speckling on the top. Coloring was consistent throughout the tests, using different heat settings and batter formulas.
Our testers especially enjoyed how quickly the waffle maker heated up and cleaned without spillage over the side. And for perhaps the most important part, the waffles turned out evenly toasty brown with that golden ratio of a crisp exterior and soft fluffy texture on the inside. Lastly, the brushed stainless steel exterior is easy to wipe down and maintain clean.
Best Splurge: Breville BWM640XL Smart 4 Slice Waffle Maker
If you’re serious about waffle making and want a high-end appliance to satisfy cravings, the Breville Smart Waffle Pro may be worth the splurge. It’s the priciest model on this list and one of the largest, but it’s designed with waffle lovers in mind.
This waffle maker is equipped with “Waffle IQ,” which lets you select a preset cooking time to match the style of waffle you’re preparing: Belgian, classic, chocolate, buttermilk, or custom. It also has 12 settings to adjust the temperature for waffles with the perfect amount of brownness and crunch. Testers enjoyed how accurate these setting levels were in producing the desired results. Level 1 made light golden waffles that were soft and springy but not too pale or undercooked. Level 12’s waffles were a deep dark golden color without any burnt areas and a satisfying crunch for all you texture fanatics.
Like other Breville appliances, there’s also a “Bit More” setting that lets you cook your waffles, well, a little bit more, for extra brownness and crispness without starting the cooking cycle all over again.
The waffle irons produce four thick Belgian-style waffles. A built-in moat catches overflow batter and keeps it off your countertops, and the nonstick cooking surface releases waffles easily with little mess left behind. Our testers were a fan of the consistent and even browning across the waffles as well as the satisfying final texture. One thing to note is to be cautious with the amount of batter you pour into the irons. They found that the manual-recommended amount (0.5-cup) overflowed a bit, so adjust accordingly.
We say this Breville gadget is well worth the money for highly customizable waffles that you can make as tender or well-done as you like and are worthy of being in the fanciest breakfast cafes.
“It takes about 30 seconds to fill the second half of the grid, but this does not impact the evenness of browning. We saw super even and consistent browning across the waffle and a great final texture.”
Best Budget: Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker
The Cuisinart WMR-CA Classic Waffle Maker takes our top budget pick for a few reasons: The brushed stainless steel housing is attractive, and the overall size is compact enough to stash out of sight in kitchens of all sizes, plus it’s easy to use. A sliding control lets you select between five browning settings to control the shade and crispness of your waffle, and red and green indicator lights let you know when the iron is hot enough to add batter and when the waffles are finished cooking. The nonstick waffle irons turn out standard round waffles with four quarters for easy cutting.
Our Lab testers were impressed with how quickly this waffle maker heated up and cooked the batter (on average, 1 minute and 15 seconds). They did find that the browning pattern could be uneven, with the waffles darker at the center and pale around the edges. However, a big plus was the consistency in timing and how the distribution of the batter filled out well.
To be sure your waffle is ready to remove from the waffle maker, keep an eye on the steam. Our testers emphasized how there was considerably more steaming on this waffle maker than on others. Rest assured that the steam is just an indication the waffle is fully cooking. When the steam subsides, your waffle is ready. If the waffle maker is still giving off some steam when the green light turns on, give it a few more seconds of cook time before opening the waffle maker for best results.
Best Rotating: Crux Double Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker
With premium copper titanium irons and a seamlessly rotating design, the Crux is a stand-out product. This eye-catching gadget of a waffle maker claims to make eight waffles in under 10 minutes. We put that to the test at our Lab.
The design may look intimidating but rest assured that use is straightforward and clean up nearly effortless. The light indicator beeps three times to indicate when to add the batter and six times when the waffle is done. This is a convenient audible cue that may come in handy for those hectic mornings in the kitchen. Testing discovered that the Crux created even and gorgeous browning on both sides of the waffle. It achieved the ideal ratio of a chewy and crisp exterior and fluffy interior. Testers raved about how puffy and beautiful the waffles came out each time, regardless of the heat setting or batter formula. The nonstick coating ensures an easy release with no pieces of waffle sticking to the irons.
Our testers advised that it may be prone to spillage over the side, so take care with adjusting and using just the right amount of batter when pouring. They experienced some spillage with larger amounts of batter (3/4 cup), so we advise trying 2/3 cup as it was the most appropriate in their experiments.
All in all, this is a great choice for those seeking an efficient device that’ll churn out multiple batches stress-free.
Lab Test Takeaway
“This one cleaned super well; even the drips and the drip tray were easy to clean. Overall we loved this product.”
Best Mess-Free: Chefman Anti-Overflow Waffle Maker
If you’ve ever accidentally overfilled a waffle maker and watched batter ooze everywhere, you’ll appreciate the mess-free design of this Chefman waffle maker. It has a deep built-in wraparound moat to catch the overflow and help keep countertops drip-free. This feature comes in handy if you also use your waffle maker to cook eggs, which can easily overflow from the cooking plate. We put this to the test in the Lab, and that hidden spillage moat is a discreet and functional part of the overall design.
A 7-setting shade selector gives you precise control over the color and chewiness of your waffles. The waffles produced during our tests showed a visible difference between browning settings, with the lowest heat setting producing pale and soft batches and the highest setting darker brown and crisped ones. A cautionary note that using no-yeast batter on the lowest heat setting made for very soft waffles that tore upon removal. We suggest playing around with the settings to find the best one for the type of batter you’re using.
The compact design makes thick, Belgian-style round waffles, and testers appreciated the smudge-proof aspect of the exterior, further elevating this waffle maker’s mess-free appeal. It can be stored vertically to save counter or cabinet space, too.
Lab Test Takeaway
“The waffles are a good size and relatively consistent throughout.”
Best Mini: Dash Mini Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Amazon
This mini waffle maker makes a cute and affordable addition to your kitchen, whether you’ve got space to spare or are cooking in tight quarters. The compact size is ideal for dorms, apartments, and camping. The added functionality lets you whip up a complete breakfast feast with no pots or pans required. We love how the design comes in lots of bold colors and prints, too, so you can match your kitchen decor or choose your favorite just for fun.
Our Lab testers found the Dash Mini Waffle Maker very easy to use. The unit automatically starts to preheat after plugging it in. It’s ready for batter when the blue indicator light turns on, and it fully cooked a 4-inch waffle in just a few minutes. There was no light or sound indicator when the waffle was finished cooking, so make sure to keep an eye on the appliance.
The Dash proved its strong performance with its well-browned and evenly cooked waffles, complete with small crispy dimples. A fun little plus was that the bunny shape could make smaller individual bunny waffles. Just because these are miniature doesn’t mean they are lacking in texture or heartiness—testers found that the resulting waffles had a good height and fluffiness to them.
Lab Test Takeaway
“This is perfect for breakfast sandwiches, single servings, and dessert waffles.”
Best Double Belgian: Cuisinart WAF-F20 Double Belgian Maker Waffle Iron
Courtesy of Amazon
If you’re setting up a waffle bar with all the fixings for brunch or have a large family to feed, a waffle maker that can cook more than one waffle at a time helps you get breakfast on the table faster. This Cuisinart model is a classic rotating Belgian-style waffle maker, like the professional ones you find in restaurants. Kids of all ages will get a kick out of filling the two waffle chambers with batter and flipping the waffle maker to start the cooking process.
This is a bigger model that requires some dedicated counter space, but it’s full of features, including a simple power switch, browning control dial with six settings, stay-cool handles, 1400 watts of cooking power, indicator lights, and an audio three-beep signal when waffles are done cooking.
A noteworthy caveat from our tests: There was some splotchy or uneven browning when using the medium heat setting. A lot of steam came out from the appliance, and one side of the waffle came out brown and the other pale. However, adjusting the setting to the highest heat allowed it to deliver waffles that were more even and delightfully crispy. The double waffle irons are a special feature that you could even use to make eggs on one side and waffles on the other for a convenient two-in-one brunch function.
Testers also appreciated how the machine cleaned up nicely, although there was some spillage at times with the batter. Although the size of this waffle maker may pose some challenges with storage space, you can tuck the cord underneath if needed.
Lab Test Takeaway
“This cleans up nicely, even though there was some spillage at times.”
Best for Kids: Disney Mickey Mouse Double Flip Waffle Maker
Kids of all ages are sure to smile when you serve up a plate of these iconic character-shaped waffles. This Disney waffle maker makes six mini Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles that will add a dose of fun to any meal. Each waffle is about 3 inches wide, so they’re ideally sized for a child’s breakfast.
It’s simple and intuitive to use, with a power indicator light that beeps six times when preheated and ready for batter and thrice when the waffle is done cooking. Testers gave bonus points for how the handle stayed cool throughout the cooking process, essential for safety with little ones running around the kitchen. The double-sided feature was highlighted as well, especially since it flipped easily and released perfectly shaped Mickey Mouse waffles. This all ensures a smooth process in the kitchen that produces multiple batches quickly.
During testing, some inconsistency was observed between the heat levels and the waffle textures. One side would come out pale while the other was browned. However, once you figure out this learning curve, prepare for delight all around with these fun and airy waffles that’ll transport you to the realm of Disney magic.
Lab Test Takeaway
“The Mickey faces are super fun, and the machine makes six total that release well from the iron.”
The Cuisinart WAF-200 4-Slice Belgian Waffle Maker is our top pick because it is simple to use, easy to clean, and makes beautiful quartered waffles in no time at all. If you’d enjoy a highly customizable waffle-making experience and have room in your budget, we recommend the Breville Smart Waffle Pro for a restaurant-worthy breakfast treat.
- All-Clad WD700162 Stainless Steel Classic Round Waffle Maker: This All-Clad appliance won points for its sleek appearance and doneness indicator. However, when put to test at our Lab, it fell short of expectations. There was some patchiness when cooking, with paleness on the edges and random hot spots. These caveats made this waffle maker not worth the considerable price tag.
- Black+Decker 3-in-1 Waffle Maker, Grill, and Griddle: Previously in our Best Convertible spot for its versatile features, this 3-in-1 allows you to cook up a complete breakfast. The plates are reversible, with a waffle iron on one side and a flat griddle on the other. Testers were disappointed in the low quality of the functions’ performance. The lower plates skewed hotter than the top, which caused uneven cooking/browning.
- Oster Belgian Waffle Maker, Stainless Steel: A budget-friendly choice, this waffle maker is definitely a no-frills option. Although it’ll produce crisp enough waffles, testers found that the thickness and texture fell short of expectations. They also knocked off points for the lack of numbering on the temperature control, which made it difficult to achieve precise heating.
- Presto 03510 Ceramic FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker: The Presto certainly had promising potential, with its 180-degree flip capacity and built-in timer, but ultimately failed to deliver when testing. The plates are reversible but not very secure and tended to pop out of place. This posed a possible safety concern as the plates were still very hot.
- NordicWare Cast Aluminum Stovetop Belgium Waffle Iron: The stovetop feature of this waffle iron sets it apart from others. There are no settings or switches, making it a straightforward bare-bones gadget. When tested in our Lab, it failed to achieve even heating under it on the burner. It had to be rotated every 30 seconds for an even color—not ideal for those seeking a hands-free device.
What to Look for in a Waffle Maker
It’s hard to beat a golden brown buttermilk waffle from the diner, tender on the inside and delicately crisp on the outside—although some may argue that the classic Belgian waffle is actually the preferable waffle.
But what’s the difference anyway? The major difference you’ll notice is the deeper square pockets of a Belgian waffle that hold generous amounts of butter slathered on top and sparkling wells of maple syrup. In comparison, classic waffles have smaller, shallower pockets and are typically thinner (think Waffle House or Eggo waffles).
What you might not have noticed is that authentic Belgian waffles are classically made from yeast-leavened batter, while buttermilk waffles are leavened with baking powder or soda. Some Belgian waffles are also crusted with coarse sugar while cooking, meant to be eaten without syrup, more as a snack or an on-the-go treat. If you’re a waffle enthusiast, yeasted or sourdough waffles are really going to delight you.
If you end up purchasing a waffle maker designed with the deep pockets of a Belgian waffle style, you can absolutely cook buttermilk waffles in it. If you opt for a thinner-style waffle maker, you can still play around with yeasted waffle batters. When it comes to choosing a waffle maker for your kitchen, there are plenty of choices tailored to whatever style of waffle you like most or how dedicated you are to the art of the waffle.
Settings and Controls
Waffle makers come equipped with several settings to help you achieve your perfect waffle. Nearly every machine comes with two basic sets of controls. The first is an indicator (usually a light) that lets you know when the waffle iron has been heated and is ready to cook. The second is a variable browning adjuster that lets you choose how light or dark you’d like your waffles to be.
The heating indicator light is also sometimes accompanied by a “finished cooking” light or sound, which is useful if standing in front of the waffle maker impatiently waiting for it to finish isn’t your thing. More advanced machines have a digital timer and can even adjust the cooking time and temperature based on the type of waffle you’re making, taking nearly all the guesswork out of it.
When it comes to the doneness of your waffle, everyone has a different opinion of what’s best (kind of like toast). Look for a machine with a minimum of five cooking levels to help you achieve your ideal finish. This control is usually a dial, slider, or digital setting.
Some machines also include a “texture” setting. More than just a toast setting, the texture setting allows you to make waffles that are evenly baked, fluffy, and cake-like all the way through at one end of the spectrum, or crisp on the outside and custardy on the inside at the other end of the spectrum.
Additional controls may come at a premium, but for those enthusiastic enough about crafting the perfect breakfast waffle, it may be worth it. Digital displays, automatic programs based on the style of waffle you’re making, and personal preference can all be adjusted.
Waffle Style and Portions
If you’ve given a little bit of thought to what type of waffle you enjoy most, that decision will go a long way in helping you choose an appropriate machine. If you’re delighted by the pools of syrup and crispiness of a Belgian waffle, make sure you find a machine that makes them large enough. If you’re comfortable with a classic waffle, there are plenty of reasonable options for those, too.
If you’re planning on making a lot of waffles, you might want to look at machines that make two or more substantial waffles at a time. They tend to take up a little more space than single-batch waffle makers, but making breakfast shouldn’t take all morning. The efficiency of a multi-batch waffle maker is worth the cost when you have a hungry audience asking how long until it’s ready.
Ease of Cleaning
If you’ve never cleaned a waffle maker before, you may not have experienced the frustration of trying to remove half-burnt half-gooey batter out of the crevices of a machine (that should not under any condition be put under running water). It can really make you question if the prize is worth the fight. The ease of cleaning your waffle maker is a consideration second really only to the waffle-making itself.
Waffle maker manufacturers have noted these issues and have made a few improvements when it comes to hassle-free cleaning of your machine. Most electric makers come with a nonstick coating, making it harder for the waffle to stick to the heat plates in the first place. If batter sticks to it, a light wipe or gentle scrub can usually remove any leftover crumbs. A quick hit of cooking spray just before cooking isn’t a bad idea, either.
More advanced makers have plates that remove entirely, making hand-washing or dishwashing incredibly convenient. Make sure to check the user manual before putting any parts of your maker in the dishwasher.
Many waffle makers also have channels built around the waffle iron center to catch any spillover batter. This part of the appliance is usually nonstick-coated but may require additional brushing or wiping to get rid of built-up leftovers.
It’s preferable to season your waffle iron over time, never scrubbing it too harshly with chemicals other than soap and water. Always wipe and thoroughly dry your machine before storing.
A waffle maker is certainly one of the more entertaining appliances to have in your kitchen, but most people have neither the counter space nor the interest in keeping this machine on the countertop for the long haul. With that in mind, the majority of waffle makers are made to store vertically or have a low-profile design to easily slide into a cabinet or large drawer.
If storage space is a big issue, you also have the option of choosing a mini-sized machine like the Dash Mini Maker. If you’re making the most of your space, consider investing in a more versatile machine like the Black+Decker 3-in-1 waffle maker, which can also be used as a flat-top grill or a griddle press for hot sandwiches and meats.
There’s a huge variety of prices when it comes to waffle makers. When considering how much to invest in a waffle maker, it may be a good idea to consider how many waffles you actually eat. For $20 or less, you can have a smaller waffle maker that will satisfy your waffle craving every now and then without a huge commitment. For $30 to $50, you can have a machine that’s going to work a little harder and produce higher-quality waffles more tailored to your tastes.
Do you order waffles at every brunch? Are you a breakfast-for-dinner-occasionally kind of person? Do you have well-defined opinions of what the perfect waffle should look, smell, and taste like? If you answered yes to these questions, you’re likely to get a good amount of mileage out of a more expensive, heavier-duty waffle maker that will be able to meet your high expectations.
On the other hand, if you think you may only make waffles every now and then, or deep down you really just want pancakes, it’s probably best to pick up a lower-priced waffle maker that won’t take up too much valuable real estate in your kitchen.
Waffle machines most often come with a one-, two-, or in some cases, three-year limited warranty. Warranties typically cover any manufacturing defects, like bad wiring or broken lights and displays. Damage while properly using the machine—like the machine not turning on or a broken plate—may also be covered by the warranty. Using the machine for things other than the intended cooking use and altering the machine on your own may void the warranty.
Types of Waffle Makers
Almost all of the electric machines on the market today come with nonstick-coated waffle plates. The plates are either coated metal or ceramic, with a nonstick or Teflon finish. The exteriors are most often designed with plastic and/or brushed stainless steel features and are portable.
When choosing an electric machine, look for models that have weighted lids to keep the top from popping up while steam is releasing and the waffle is expanding. Machines with lighter lids should have a clasp to keep the lid in place.
Any part of the machine that you need to touch while in use (the handle on the lid, the clasp, even the drip plate and base of the machine) should be heat-resistant to avoid burning yourself during use. Electric machines should be cooled completely in the open position before cleaning and removing plates to wash.
Less popular than electric models but just as effective in many cases, stovetop waffle makers are typically made of cast aluminum or cast iron. Cast aluminum models are made with a nonstick coating, whereas cast iron models need to be seasoned ahead of time and oiled before each use to prevent sticking.
Stovetop waffle makers are especially convenient for storing since they usually take up about as much space as a sheet tray. You’ll also find them handy on camping trips or traveling if you like to cook waffles on vacation.
It might be hard to rationalize buying another tabletop appliance that only has one purpose if you already have several pieces of cooking equipment. A convertible waffle maker might be more appropriate with its additional grilling plates. Perfect waffles that are accompanied by eggs and bacon, all cooked on the same appliance, add another level of convenience to this piece of equipment that may make it worth it. A waffle maker that converts into a sandwich press for gooey grilled cheese sandwiches and savory paninis can also really add to your cooking repertoire.
Cuisinart—known for its quality small appliances—has an impressive selection of waffle makers to choose from. From the more budget-conscious WMR-CA Round Classic model to the higher-end full-sized rotating Double Belgian Waffle maker, there’s an option for almost any serious cook to enjoy. It also has models designed for vertical storage, convertible use, and multi-waffle production.
Combining the quality of professionally made waffles with the convenience of a home-use machine at a reasonable price, Presto once again makes a useful piece of kitchen equipment that’s easy for any home cook to use and love. Presto originally started out making canning equipment and pressure cookers but has expanded its line over the last century to include dependable home cooking appliances that fit into niches not always provided by some of the larger brands.
The very first thing you’ll notice when browsing Dash equipment is how cute and attractive it is. Bright colors and patterns, seasonal and holiday-themed designs, and compact footprints define Dash appliances. While some of that cute design comes at a premium, most of the Dash appliances are economical or priced in the mid-range, as well as highly rated by users online.
Luxury home coffee machines made Breville the company it is today, but it didn’t stop there. This Australian-based company has branched out to provide essential and chef-quality equipment for those looking for all the bells and whistles. Contemporary brushed stainless steel designs give a uniform look to the entire line of products to help them blend seamlessly into almost every kitchen.
Most waffle machines don’t come with additional accessories, but there are a few tools you may want to pick up to help along the way. For example, a pitcher to hold your waffle batter makes it easy to pour and will be more convenient than ladling batter from the mixing bowl to the machine—and tidier. You may also want to invest in a small metal or silicone spatula to help lift your freshly cooked waffle off the cooking plate and unstick any parts that want to hang on.