The Proctor Silex Large Belgian Waffle Maker (26016A) was our former top pick, but the manufacturer has since discontinued it. If you manage to find this model, it does make great waffles in big batches for a decent price, but it doesn’t have removable plates or an audible ready signal like our new top pick, the Krups GQ502D.
The Chef’sChoice Classic WafflePro 852 was our former runner-up when the Chef’sChoice 840B was unavailable. Although this model was an initial favorite in our testing, with tasters praising its waffles’ consistency and crunch, it makes only two thin, American-style waffles at a time, whereas our pick makes four. We also found that this model had a tendency to burn waffles when the dial was on the highest setting.
The four-waffle Chef’sChoice Classic WafflePro 854 made waffles that were evenly browned and attractive-looking. And in addition to browning controls, this model has a switch for fast baking (crisp exterior, moist interior) or slow baking (crunchy, uniform texture). However, the waffles it made did not distinguish themselves enough to warrant this machine’s much higher price tag—for about half the price, our pick can produce just as many excellent waffles.
The Cuisinart 4 Slice Belgian Waffle Maker (WAF-200) looks and feels high quality, but in our tests it cooked waffles unevenly, burning some parts and leaving others unappealingly pale. The same Bisquick batter that produced golden waffles in other models turned into mealy waffles inside this Cuisinart.
The only non-Teflon nonstick model we tried, the Oster DuraCeramic Stainless Steel Flip Waffle Maker (CKSTWFBF22-ECO), further confirmed our findings from the original version of this guide: Flip models do not make up for in performance what they take up in volume.
This Oster model made the most substantial waffles among the waffle makers we tested. About 1¼ inches thick, they looked like the kind you might get at a hotel brunch, puffy and evenly browned all over. Unfortunately, they were a bit dry and cakey, and none of our tasters liked them very much. The two sides cook quickly and then the waffle steams from the middle, creating a pronounced pale crevice where the waffle can be broken apart easily (good for sandwiches?).
We looked at one stovetop model, the nonstick-coated cast aluminum Nordic Ware Original Stovetop Belgian Waffle Maker (15040). We ultimately cut it because the iron depends too much on the cook’s attention and experience to yield consistently great results. Professional and seasoned home cooks may prefer the great degree of control this Nordic Ware model allows, and if you know your stove well, J. Kenji López-Alt pointed out, you can compensate for hot and cool spots. It’s also the easiest to clean, he said, since you can just throw it in the sink when you’re done. None of the other waffle makers can go in the sink or be sprayed.
The Proctor Silex Mess Free Belgian Style Waffle Maker (26044A) has features in common with our top pick, such as browning controls and indicator lights, but we had a much tougher time getting it to produce a decent waffle. We deemed the first batch soggy, and one tester said, “It’s not enough of a step up from Eggo—I’d rather have Eggo.” In a subsequent batch, half the waffle cooked much faster than the other, which meant that the former was overly brown while the latter remained pale and limp.
The Presto FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker (03510) is very well-reviewed on Amazon, but it cooked waffles unevenly, and so quickly that they started to burn after just a few minutes. The other problem with this model is that it occupies a lot of counter space when in use. We did like the timer, though, and we wish other inexpensive models had one.
The Waring Pro Belgian Waffle Maker (WMK600) has great reviews on Amazon, but in real life we found that it hogged space and power. It’s incredibly bulky, it made the lights in the kitchen flicker, and its waffles aren’t anything spectacular.
The West Bend Waffle Maker (6201) is a slimmer model but still (like all flip styles) quite bulky. In our tests, we had issues with the nonstick surface being notably sticky; waffles came out with giant holes.
Black+Decker’s Belgian Waffle Maker (WMB500) is a little too simple, lacking any browning control, and reviewers complain about the poor quality and how quickly it breaks.
We can’t say anything good about the Hamilton Beach Belgian Style Flip Waffle Maker (26010). It cost about $40 the last time we checked, and it’s worth maybe half that. Our notes literally say, “I would not wish this on my worst enemy.” Not only is the cord microscopically short, limiting the machine’s placement in the kitchen, but forcing the machine to flip over took quite a bit of effort in our tests. The resulting waffle was terrible: The batter slid around in the machine, pooling on one end and baking unevenly, with parts that were completely uncooked.
The Chef’sChoice WafflePro 830B looks a lot like our runner-up, the 840B, and it’s a bit less expensive, but it did not perform nearly as well. Waffles came out unevenly cooked, and even with the dial on a medium setting, they were unpleasantly dark.
The Black+Decker Removable Plate Waffle Maker (WM700R) is a new model for 2016. You can take the plates out for washing, which is a huge plus, but unfortunately this machine fell short in several other ways during our testing. The indicator lights don’t tell you when a waffle is done, and it has no browning control. Plus, our waffles came out bready rather than crisp, and after a few rounds of baking, the handle got uncomfortably hot.
The Hamilton Beach Durathon Mess-Free Belgian Style Waffle Maker (26043), new for 2016, has a unique shape that promises to prevent batter overflow. Unfortunately, it produces oddly concave waffles, with a wide ring of crisp batter around the edge. And when the lid is open, the appliance is top-heavy and unstable.
We considered and dismissed other models as follows:
Although the Proctor Silex Round Belgian Waffle Maker (26070) is the new version of a previous pick, we eliminated it because it lacked any kind of indicator and made just one waffle at a time.
The non-flip Hamilton Beach Belgian Style Waffle Maker (26020) has okay reviews, but reviewers indicate that it has the same steam problems as the cheap Cuisinart and Proctor Silex, not to mention the lack of an indicator light, which means you need to carefully monitor this waffle maker at all times.
The Krups F654 has mixed owner reviews, and it garnered only a 3½-star rating from Good Housekeeping. GH reports that the handle gets too hot, and that the machine has no doneness setting. Without that setting, you’ll have to peek to see if your waffles are ready, which is a dealbreaker for us.
We considered looking at dual-purpose waffle makers with interchangeable plates such as the T-fal EZ Clean Sandwich and Waffle Maker (SW6100) but ultimately passed. Appliances that try to excel at two disparate tasks often fail at one, and from reading the reviews, it seems clear that this T-fal model—which is now discontinued—might make great sandwiches but fails to make excellent waffles.
Although the Cuisinart Belgian Waffle Maker with Pancake Plates (WAF-300) has removable plates, we eliminated it before testing because at the time it was right on the edge of being too expensive, at $100.
We eliminated the Oster Belgian Waffle Maker (CKSTWF2000), one of that company’s few non-flip models, because of complaints from Amazon reviewers concerning poor construction and an inaccurate indicator light.
We chose not to test the relatively new Toastmaster 4 Slice Waffle Maker (TM-291WMC) because most of the handful of Amazon reviewers complain of uneven baking.
The Cuisinart Vertical Waffle Maker (WAF-V100) seems clever at first: It stands upright, and you pour batter into a spout at the top. But Amazon customers complain that the spout clogs easily, and that it’s too small to allow add-ins such as blueberries or chocolate chips. Plus, this model won’t work at all if you want to waffle anything else, like grilled cheese or hash browns.
The Nostalgia Retro Series Round Belgian Waffle Maker (RWM400RNDRED) looks like it’s more about style than function. It has no browning control, and at the time of our research, its 10 Amazon reviewers gave it a poor rating of 3.6 out of five stars.