When it comes to Waffle Makers, there are several criteria that you should consider and evaluate before purchasing. Your own individual evaluation can be influenced by your own personal preference but you should definitely research a few specific things before investing in a new waffle maker. You don’t want to wind up with a waffle maker you don't like!
Here are some of the criteria and features that you may want to consider and the advantages and disadvantages of each feature (we will even give you an example of a waffle maker that has all the great, beneficial features!). This is of course, not a definitive list, as there are a hundred different waffle makers out there, but a great place to start! Our Ultimate Buying Guide showcases some of the best waffle makers available right now and is also a great place to start!
Brands are important to the consumer. Well known brands are more readily trusted and more easily purchased even despite the price tag that may come with a designer label. In the electrical appliance world, there are a range of well-known and reputable brands that you will more likely trust to make you a great waffle maker. Some of these include KitchenAid, Oster, Hamilton Beach and Presto.
If there is a brand that you know and love, you should consider researching their range of waffle makers first, as there may be one that suits your needs (wouldn't that be simple!). For example, if you are a KitchenAid lover, you already have the mixer and blender, why not complete your collection with a matching waffle maker? Easy as pie!
So start your research with the brands you love- hopefully your favorite brand also makes a fantastic waffle maker!
Most Waffle Makers claim to be easy to use and this can be a difficult factor to rate because easy for one may not be easy for another. For the purpose of simplicity, the more standard non-fuss waffle makers are ‘easier to use’ than the ones that require temperature control handling, fiddling with removable plates, flipping, or have several different alert systems which can confuse a novice cook.
If you are wary of complicated waffle makers, stick with the basics that have been proven to work. An example of a great, simple waffle maker is the VonShef Quad Waffle Maker.
Having a say in the crispiness or softness of a waffle is important because it allows the cook (you!) to make waffles exactly as he or she enjoys them. If you like having the ability to make your waffles barely golden or dark brown, look for a good machine with a temperature control.
A waffle maker with a multi functional design will allows you to cater to different foods. Some machines have plates which flip to become a flat cooking surface, perfect for making eggs or pancakes (on the days when you need more than waffles!). These can be great if you are looking for a multi purpose machine that doesn't take up too much space in your house.
A drip tray under your waffle maker also helps clean up and prevents the counter top from getting covered in batter and possibly ruined. Many machines have drip trays now that can be easily removed and washed right in the sink or dishwasher- easy clean up is always the way to go!
Knowing whether a waffle is really done is almost impossible without lifting the lid, however, if you lift the lid throughout the cooking process this can ruin the waffle. Therefore, a lot of waffle makers have a visual or audible alert to indicate when waffle is done.
Don't confuse the indicator light with the Ready-On-Light. A lot of people may confuse the indicator light as an alert that the waffle maker is hot enough to start and not whether the waffle is done. Read your instruction booklet and make sure you know what each light means! Our blog about how to use a waffle maker is also a great place to learn the basics!
As for a visual alert, its a great feature but you may miss when the light changes color, especially if you are busy doing other things in the kitchen. The audible alert is a fantastic feature if you plan on making waffles while multitasking in the kitchen. You will here a simple beep and know that your waffles are cooked!
An example of a great a waffle maker with an audible alert is the Cuisinart Belgian Waffle Maker with Pancake Plates.
One special feature that definitely is to be considered is the flip function. A lot of waffle makers make waffles where one side, the bottom side, is cooked quicker and crispier than the top. This is simply due to gravity! But lo and behold, there are waffle makers that flip!
This flip-ability allows both sides of the waffle maker to cook evenly, giving you a perfect waffle every time!
When rating this function, we have found that the waffle makers that rotate on a hinge horizontally are not as durable as the ones that flip 180 degrees vertically, like the Presto FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker. Look for the 180 degree flip for sure!
Finally, ease of cleaning would mean that the plates are non-stick or removable. Non-Stick allows you to wipe away excess batter rather than scraping waffles off. So much better and easier! a
Waffle makers with removable plates allow you to pop the plates out and clean them in the sink or dishwasher once the waffle maker is cool. No fussing about with sponges and wipes. Doesn't get much simpler than that!
An example of a waffle maker with both a non stick surface and removable plates would be the ZZ 4-in-1 Waffle Maker.
The verdict is that a waffle maker that is highest rated would be one that is: multi-functional with removable non-stick plates and a temperature control. A drip tray and flip-ability are nice but maybe not as essential. Ultimately, an example of a waffle maker with our two favorite features that we can't live with out is the George Foreman Multi-Plate Evolve Grill.
I have a bachelor's degree for the Culinary Institute of America in Baking and Pastry Arts and over 16 years of food service experience. I also owned and operated a bakery cafe for several years. I have a two year old daughter who helps me write food blogs and articles as my official taste tester!