After researching more than 30 of the best waffle makers, we bought the 11 top contenders and took them to our testing kitchen for some hands-on, side-by-side evaluation. Hundreds of waffles later and we've discovered every useful feature and annoying quirk of each of these models, as well as how well they prepare their namesake breakfast staple. Whether you're looking for a small, space-efficient machine that can quickly spring to action when a waffle craving strikes, or need a large capacity device that can handle a large family's weekly waffle tradition, our testing results will lead you to breakfast paradise.
The Breville No-Mess repeatedly cranks out high-quality, classic-style waffles. The user interface makes it simple to set up, and almost more importantly, the machine is one of the easiest models to clean. The hallmark of a great waffle is one with uniform texture, thickness, and doneness. Except when using extra-thick batters, this unit delivers consistently cooked waffles; our testers never experienced undercooked or raw sections of waffles. When cooking for higher browning, the doneness timer worked exceptionally well. When set for lighter browning, the waffles needed a little more time than they were automatically given. However, the timer on this model was one of the most reliable in our testing group. The safety features are excellent; equipped with a long fixed handle and an easy-to-use lock, this is an excellent machine.
While not one of the waffles we made with the Breville No-Mess was inedible, this model doesn't work well with extra thick batters and some additives such as chocolate chips. It particularly becomes an issue during cleanup. The overflow basin does a wonderful job catching drips and spills with light to medium batters, but the thick batter may pool and spill over the edges of the drip basin. We also found that chocolate chips and berries would cake onto the drip basin and take some real effort to scrape off. However, if you're looking for a high-quality waffle maker that is easy to use and reliable, this is our first choice.
If expense and space are taken out of the equation, the Breville Smart Waffle is genuinely the creme de la creme of home waffles makers. Capable of making four waffles at a time, this machine will have no trouble feeding a crowd. This model was the top performer in the cooking performance metric. Equipped with an easy-to-use interface that offers seven different settings for doneness, there isn't anything we would change about this model. The large overflow basin worked perfectly, no matter the thickness of the batter, and was easy to wipe out after the machine cooled. The cooking surface wipes down easily, but we had some issues with additives (like berries) sticking to the grid.
Every once in a while, when cooking a batch of four waffles, the waffles needed a little more or less time than others in the batch. The waffle batches were the most consistent when set to higher browning levels. While this is undoubtedly an exceptional waffle maker, it isn't for everybody. With a 15" x 12.5" x 6" footprint, this machine is much larger than the other options. Whether it lives on your counter or is stored in a cupboard, you'll need to dedicate a large amount of precious kitchen space to this machine. It is also quite a bit more expensive than other models. If you have many mouths to feed and want a top-tier product, this is your waffle maker of choice.
Size: 16" x 8.5" x 9" (14" L when handle is folded) | Style: Belgian
REASONS TO BUY
Easy to clean
Removable overflow basin
REASONS TO AVOID
The Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian offers the ideal blend of performance and cost. While this model certainly isn't perfect, the increased cost of getting a higher quality product won't necessarily be worth it for many consumers. This unit's cooking performance was squarely average. When set to some of the lower cooking settings, waffles would often come out unevenly cooked with varying levels of brownness across the length of the waffle. Our testers found fewer inconsistencies when set to higher cooking settings. The built-in timer was reasonably accurate and reflected the actual level of doneness selected. Our testers appreciated that the overflow basin was removable and dishwasher safe. Few models we tested have this feature. If you value cleaning convenience, this could be a key consideration. We found that batter would stick to the basin horribly unless coated with a serious amount of cooking spray. The basin is also quite large, and our testers never had any batter spill onto the counter.
This model felt moderately safe to operate. It has no on or off switch but immediately starts heating up when plugged in, so you must remember to unplug it after cooking. The biggest issue with this model is how inconsistent it can be. While it often produces yummy and evenly cooked waffles, it will often turn out one with various levels of doneness and textures. If your looking for a decent waffle maker at a reasonable price and don't mind some cooking inconsistencies, you'll be more than pleased with the Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian.
The Dash Mini Maker is a pint-sized waffle machine that is budget-friendly and makes a decent enough waffle. With no setting for doneness or any controls to speak of, you'll have to keep a constant eye on your waffles as they cook. While it has a built-in light to tell you it's reached peak cook time, it isn't super noticeable and takes some vigilance to ensure you don't burn your waffle. Despite not having a timer, the heating element was relatively consistent, allowing you to make a uniform batch of waffles with little effort. The tiny size makes for minimal cleanup, and the nonstick cooking surface is easy to wipe down. The overflow basin is small but always managed to catch the few drips spilled during use.
The Mini Maker's simple design might be what some people are after, while others will find the lack of controls frustrating. The entire machine does get rather hot, and the small lid makes it easy to touch the cooking surface accidentally. While not as fancy as other waffle makers, this model allows you to have delicious waffles at home while saving you both space and money.
Product Updated — December 2022
Cuisinart released an updated version of their Double Belgian Waffle Maker. The new model has an updated look, pictured above, and is very similar in functionality to the version we tested.
The Cuisinart Double Belgian performed well in all of our cooking tests. The waffles almost always came out with a uniform texture and coloring. Our testers did notice that one side of the waffle maker cooked hotter than the other, but it was at least consistent. The nonstick cooking surface works as promised and simply needs to be wiped off with a damp cloth when finished cooking. This model rarely bubbled over and generally made for a quick and easy cleanup.
The biggest drawback to this model is its large footprint. While it's a nice feature to be able to make two waffles at once, you'll have to decide for yourself if that is worth the extra space this thing takes up. If space is no concern, you'll undoubtedly be pleased with this waffle maker.
Why You Should Trust Us
We researched over 30 models before buying the top eleven products and then spent over 80 hours using those appliances, one right after the other, and taste-tested all of the resulting waffles. Our procedure allowed us to thoroughly examine each model's user-friendliness, construction quality, and waffle-making ability.
Our waffle maker testing is divided across four rating metrics:
Cooking Performance (45% of overall score weighting)
Ease of Use (30% weighting)
Storage (15% weighting)
Safety Features (10% weighting)
Review authors Buck Yedor and Genaveve Bradshaw bring an abundance of home product review experience to this article. From chef's knives to waffle makers, their attention to detail in kitchen products is second to none. Lead tester Genevieve is a firm believer in the saying, "good food means a good mood." A key component for creating good food is a good appliance, and Genaveve is stoked to share her passion for cooking and finding top-performing gadgets with the GearLab table. She brings hundreds of hours of food-related testing experience, a meticulous eye for detail, and years of kitchen exploration to each food category she embarks on. After days of researching and preparation, she found diverse recipes to put these appliances to the test and cooked enough waffles to feed the GearLab army. We're confident that this selection of waffle makers offers an improvement to any breakfast game. With keen attention paid to performance reliability, user interface, and ease of cleaning, our comprehensive review can guide you to dreamy home-cooked waffles in no time!
Analysis and Test Results
Waffle makers are relatively simple devices — but don't let impulsiveness lead you to snag just any model off the shelf. After assessing a few minor details, you can end up with a maker that can churn out a mouthwatering breakfast. So grab your whisk, whip up some batter, and start cooking.
When searching for a new kitchen appliance, you may take value and performance strongly into consideration. You may also notice that some of the premium waffle makers correlate with a premium price; examples include the Breville Smart Waffle and Breville No Mess. With every review that we produce, we also include a few picks that offer great value alongside good performance. The Hamilton Beach Flip and Dash Mini are two examples. The Hamilton Beach Flip earns decent scores across the board and can be purchased for a fraction of the price. The Dash Mini rings in at an even more affordable price point and is our pick for those truly shopping on a limited budget.
Waffle Type: Belgian vs. Traditional
When choosing a waffle maker, the first thing to consider is what type of waffles you like. Belgian waffles are super thick and fluffy and are generally what you would expect when ordering a waffle in a restaurant. These things require an extra large butter dish, soak up syrup like a sponge, and bring a decadent pastry feel to your breakfast. Our favorite Belgian-style machines are the Cuisinart Double Belgian and the Presto FlipSide.
Classic-style waffles are much thinner than their Belgian counterparts and generally have crispier and crunchier faces. These waffles still have fluffy interiors and are much more decadent than store-bought frozen waffles that you pop into a toaster, but lack the pillowy volume of Belgian waffles. The Breville Smart Waffle and the Breville No-Mess produced some of the best classic waffles in our testing.
The photo on the left shows thick Belgian waffles compared to thinner and crispier classic waffles on the right.
To Flip or Not to Flip
One of the differentiating features of consumer waffle makers is the ability to flip the waffle in the middle of cooking (think of those large contraptions often seen at hotel breakfasts). Halfway through the cooking process, rotating the waffle promotes better batter distribution, leading to more even cooking and satisfying final results. Models that offer this feature, such as the Cuisinart Double Belgian, generally take up much more counter space than the average kitchen model. The Presto Flipside offers a unique hinged design that allows it to flip on your countertop and then pack up into a very slim profile for storage.
Accounting for 45% of each waffle maker's total score, cooking performance is, of course, the hallmark metric for these devices. Our testers were looking for evenness, what browning ranges are offered, how long it took to make one waffle, and how reliable or consistent each machine was.
The higher-quality machines produced waffles cooked to the same doneness in all quadrants of the waffle. They came out with a uniform texture and even browning. The Breville Smart Waffle produced the most evenly cooked waffles. Models like the Breville No-Mess and the All-Clad Stainless Steel Classic also created exceptionally uniform waffles.
Some machines are advertised as able to cook waffles to a spectrum of crispiness or browning. In actuality, only a few of the machines did this effectively. The Dash Mini Maker, with no timer or settings, was surprisingly one of the best at making a variety of browning levels. Our testers found that all of the browning options for the Breville Smart Waffle worked as intended, giving users a wide variety of options for doneness.
Speed is the name of the game when it comes to cooking for a crowd. Capable of cooking two waffles at once, and doing it fast, the Cuisinart Double Belgian is sure to be a hit at your next brunch. The Breville Smart Waffle was perhaps the most time-effective model. Capable of quickly making four waffles at once, this is a beast of a waffle maker. While the Krups can make four waffles at once, the quality is so hit or miss.
When making a batch of waffles, it's ideal to be able to get the same results with each individual waffle. Not all waffle makers seem to be able to make the same waffle again and again. The Breville Smart Waffle reigns supreme in this metric, producing repeatable results again and again. The Presto FlipSide was another highly reliable option, as were the Breville No-Mess and the All-Clad.
Ease of Use
Chances are you will be flipping eggs or frying bacon to go along with your waffles. To give you the best chances at successfully multitasking, you want your maker to be as foolproof as possible.
The best waffle makers make it difficult to burn your waffles and should give you your desired results with ease. Features like temperature adjustment knobs can help you achieve the exact shade and texture you're looking for, and timers can ensure you don't leave the waffle on the griddle too long. Additionally, flipping a maker over encourages more even batter distribution, garnering more consistent results and even cooking.
The Breville No-Mess is the most convenient and adjustable of all the tested models. This model offers the most adjustability of any model we tested with seven shade settings. It has both beeps and lights to let you know when the waffle is done. The Presto Flipside has only an auditory cook timer, but its ability to flip makes it easier to attain consistent results. The Dash Mini Maker lacks adjustability or timers, but we found its heating elements quite forgiving. It didn't burn our waffles even when we left them on for too long.
Besides having helpful cooking features, having an easy cleanup is almost just as important. Thankfully most waffle makers have dependable nonstick coatings. Because of this, the cleaning process typically isn't too tedious — you can generally get away with just wiping the surface, as you would with a flat griddle, with a damp cloth once it has cooled down, and you're good to go. The nonstick coatings vary from model to model, with some performing better than others. Even so, you can generally remedy some stickier ones with a bit of cooking spray. Some models even have removable griddles that are dishwasher-safe. If you are the type of person who wants to put everything possible in the dishwasher, this could be a key part of your purchase decision. However, keep in mind that it's rare for a top-performing waffle maker to be dishwasher safe. Trade-offs, trade-offs.
When cooking with a waffle maker, overflowing batter and excess condensation are the two primary sources of mess. (Luckily, most nonstick grates work well enough to avoid any stuck-on and burnt batter catastrophes.) With some trial and error, you can usually solve the overflowing batter problem by finding the exact amount of batter for your maker, but some models still tend to spill no matter what you do. Similarly, some models create a lot of condensation that can leave a puddle on your counter, while others do not.
If you're not a fan of excess condensation, the Oster Flip offers a removable drip basin to prevent puddles on your countertop. No machine deals better with overflowing batter than the Breville No-Mess. It has a nonstick reservoir that catches excess batter, making cleanup much easier and quicker.
It sounds amazing to have homemade waffles to go with your coffee each morning, but it's probably not realistic. Thus, you'll likely want a waffle maker that can easily be stored out of the way when you're not using it.
The Dash Mini Maker and the Presto FlipSide were two models that made storage quite efficient and easy. The Presto can lock and stand up vertically, saving a lot of precious cabinet space in many situations, while the Dash is just a small machine that doesn't take up too much space to begin with.
Burning yourself on a hot waffle maker doesn't have to be part of your Sunday brunch tradition. Some machines are well designed to protect your hands from hot metal and steam. The Breville Smart Waffle and the Breville NoMess have long, immobile stainless steel handles that don't heat up and are far removed from anywhere that lets off hot steam. This allows you open and closes the device with no worry of getting burned.
Most of the machines we tested began to heat up as soon as they were plugged in, but a few, like the Cuisinart Double Belgian and the Breville Smart Waffle were equipped with an on and off button. In general, it's crucial to remember to unplug your device as soon as you're done cooking.
For some families, waffles are essential to a big weekend breakfast. Having fluffy, cafe-style waffles at home is easier and less expensive than you may think. For just a small investment and some elbow grease (for mixing up the batter), you can have a delicious brunch in the comfort of your dining room. We hope our research has led you to the perfect breakfast companion.
Buck Yedor, Michelle Powell, and Genaveve Bradshaw
After researching more than 65 of the best air fryers on...
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.