Waffle Irons

From America's Test Kitchen Season 11: Lazy Day Breakfast

Overview:

Because our winning model from 2004 has been discontinued, we reopened our search for the most efficient performer. We tested six traditional (not Belgian) waffle irons, among them our previous Best Buy, as well as round and clover- (or heart-) shaped newcomers. Each featured adjustable temperature settings for varying degrees of doneness, nonstick surfaces, and indicator lights. The best irons produced waffles that were evenly cooked and consistently browned from the beginning to the end of a batch—and in the promised shade of light to dark. (Our worst performer made only light golden waffles even on its darkest setting.) Besides visual cues signaling when the iron is ready (or the waffle is done), we especially valued an audible alert since it frees you from the tedium of hovering over the iron. Heat-resistant handles and casings were also important.

Faced with new, stiffer competition, one of our old favorites plunged to the bottom of the rankings due to a slow cook time and waffles that weren’t nearly as evenly crisped and… read more

Because our winning model from 2004 has been discontinued, we reopened our search for the most efficient performer. We tested six traditional (not Belgian) waffle irons, among them our previous Best Buy, as well as round and clover- (or heart-) shaped newcomers. Each featured adjustable temperature settings for varying degrees of doneness, nonstick surfaces, and indicator lights. The best irons produced waffles that were evenly cooked and consistently browned from the beginning to the end of a batch—and in the promised shade of light to dark. (Our worst performer made only light golden waffles even on its darkest setting.) Besides visual cues signaling when the iron is ready (or the waffle is done), we especially valued an audible alert since it frees you from the tedium of hovering over the iron. Heat-resistant handles and casings were also important.

Faced with new, stiffer competition, one of our old favorites plunged to the bottom of the rankings due to a slow cook time and waffles that weren’t nearly as evenly crisped and golden as other models’. The thick heating coils of our winner extending under most of the cooking surface, which helped to ensure uniformly golden waffles that cooked efficiently. In addition, it offers six temperature settings as well as two texture options: a “quick bake,” for a crisp exterior and moist interior, and a slower bake, for uniform texture. Besides indicating doneness with lights, it also beeps loudly to get your attention when breakfast is ready.

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  • Product Tested

    Results Key:

    Good ★ ★ ★ Fair ★ ★ Poor
  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Highly Recommended - Winner

    Chef’s Choice WafflePro Express

    Thick heating coils extending beneath most of its cooking surface helped this iron efficiently turn out even, beautifully cooked waffles, no matter the temperature setting. In addition to its six shade settings, it offers two texture settings (for a uniform bake or a crisp outside/moist inside) and a beep to indicate doneness. The insulated handle and stay-cool casing are nice safety features.

    Note: This iron comes in two models, Classic (840) and Belgian (840B), and we like both equally well, but there are a few differences to be aware of before buying. We originally tested the classic model, but it should be noted that the waffles it produces are a little thinner than standard waffles. Similarly, the Belgian model is not as deep as some other waffle makers that make Belgian-style waffles; it makes waffles that are closer to a traditional waffle thickness than the Classic model. The only other difference is that the Classic makes a heart-shaped waffle; the Belgian is round.

    • Design ★★★
    • Cooking ★★★

    $69.95

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    Cloer Double Waffle Maker

    This double iron speedily turned out two perfectly crisped waffles that matched the temperature setting. The only thing standing between it and an even stronger endorsement is its lack of an audible cue for doneness—a real drawback, in our book.

    • Design ★★
    • Cooking ★★★

    DISCONTINUED

  • Recommended with Reservations

    Cuisinart 6-Slice Traditional Waffle Iron

    Like the round Cuisinart model, this iron offers indicator lights and an audible alert. In fact, the two Cuisinart models displayed only minor differences. The biggest advantage the rectangular model has over its round counterpart is its size; it cooks six waffles at once. Unfortunately its shape and large surface area were too much for the heating element, which left a slightly darker oval on our waffles. Moreover, except for the darkest setting, this iron failed to create a crisp exterior.

    • Design ★★★
    • Cooking ★★

    $79.95

  • Recommended with Reservations

    Cuisinart Traditional Waffle Iron

    Like our winner, this iron offers indicator lights and an audible alert, and was among the fastest to heat and cook waffles. Its only flaw: It reached a temperature of 574 degrees when we first heated it (well over 100 degrees hotter than any other iron tested), almost burning the first waffle, then turning out waffles that became progressively lighter (though still nicely golden) with each batch.

    • Design ★★★
    • Cooking ★★

    $49.95

  • Not Recommended

    Black & Decker 3-in-1 Wafflemaker, Grill & Griddle

    By the time this former bargain favorite had preheated, the other five irons were already cooking—and twice as fast in some cases. Plus, its performance and usability were spotty—from the patchy waffle doneness (some turned out golden while others were raw and gummy) right down to its lack of an audible signal and its pin dot of an indicator light.

    • Design ★★
    • Cooking

    $54.95

  • Not Recommended

    Kalorik Waffle Maker

    Though this iron’s heating indicator light went out faster than the rest, it maxed out at 386 at the highest setting, well below the average of 400 degrees (medium on the other irons). It offers two indicator lights, but neither signals when the waffle is cooked (one indicates that the iron is on while the other indicates that the appliance is warming up). Even worse, one of the plates heated more than the other, leaving us with waffles that were overdone on one side and pale on the other.

    • Design
    • Cooking

    $29.99

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