We Tested the Best Waffle Makers to Better Your Breakfast

Get the perfect waffle every time with the Cuisinart Vertical Waffle Maker.

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waffle maker
Food & Wine / Dera Burreson

The best breakfasts begin with a stack of warm waffles and maple syrup seeping into each small crater. Of course, achieving that waffle shape depends on a waffle maker and a simple process: pouring the batter, pressing the gadget shut to let the batter spread, and waiting as the heat turns it into a waffle with a fluffy core and a subtly crisp surface. For the ideal golden-brown waffle for breakfast at home, the results are only as good as the waffle iron you're working with. Burns, batter spills, and floppy waffles aren't an option for us, so we went to work to find the best tools out there.

After extensive research, we chose 17 waffle makers to test and evaluate based on design, size, ease of cleaning, and performance. We concluded that the best waffles came out of the Cuisinart Vertical Waffle Maker. In addition to a unique vertical design that saves counter space, this small appliance can make waffles at five browning levels. We also loved the Crux Double Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker with an easy-to-clean tray to collect spills and adjustable heat settings. Read on for our complete list of the best waffle makers.

Best Overall

Cuisinart Vertical Waffle Maker

4.9
Cuisinart Vertical Waffle Maker

Amazon

Pros: Its vertical design and designated pour spout prevent overfilling the waffle maker with batter.
Cons: There is no cord storage, and it's not ideal for big batches.

Most waffle makers have a horizontal build, but Cuisinart designed this vertical model to take up minimal space on the kitchen counter. It features a brushed stainless steel top cover, nonstick baking plates, a locking handle, and light indicators that signal when waffles are done with three beeps.

This waffle maker's unique design also prevents batter overflow. Its designated batter pour spout at the top allows you to easily fill it from bottom to top, and it features a five-setting control for just the right browning. Fit for one Belgian waffle at a time, the Cuisinart Vertical Waffle Maker is excellent for everyday breakfasts.

Price at time of publish: $60

  • Size: 7.50 x 6.50 x 12.20 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel top cover, nonstick baking plates
  • Waffle Count: 1
Cuisinart Vertical Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Food & Wine/Dera Burreson

Best Value

Crux Double Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker

4.9
Crux Double Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker

Pros: It cooks waffles twice as fast with dual cooking plates.
Cons: Batter poured in over the 2/3 cup capacity will overflow.

If you are having a lot of guests over for brunch or are catering a party, this is the appliance for you. This Crux waffle maker features a rotating design and dual cooking plates, which will pump out waffles faster than your favorite breakfast spot. It also has a 1400-watt heating system for even faster cooking, making about eight waffles in 10 minutes.

The rotating function ensures evenly cooked 1-inch Belgian waffles with a browning control setting. Behind a stainless steel exterior, a copper nonstick coating, free of chemicals like PFOA and PFOS, makes both removing waffles and cleaning easy.

Price at time of publish: $80

  • Size: 15.15 x 9.44 x 8.14 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel cover with copper nonstick plates
  • Waffle Count: 2
Crux Double Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Food & Wine/Dera Burreson

Best Square

Calphalon CKCLWF1 Intellicrisp Waffle Maker

4.6
Calphalon CKCLWF1 Intellicrisp Waffle Maker

Courtesy Amazon

Pros: It delivers consistent and high-quality results.
Cons: The outer finish was flaking in one spot on the model we tested.

Look no further for the perfect square-shaped waffle, as this Belgian waffle maker from Calphalon has you covered. The appliance features a sleek stainless steel design with a dial to change the browning shades and an electric timer. In addition to a batter sensor, which ensures even heating, this appliance's ceramic cooking vessel delivers 20 percent more heat to produce consistent, high-quality results, two waffles at a time.

Both the yeasted and non-yeasted batters cooked evenly with a fluffy center and crisp outer shell. Just be sure to pour no more than half a cup of batter, as it will end up overflowing onto the dial. We found that the finish of the waffle maker had begun to flake in one spot, though this didn't affect the waffle quality.

Price at time of publish: $150

  • Size: 9.65 x 11.26 x 5.83 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel cover with ceramic cooking vessel
  • Waffle Count: 2
Calphalon IntelliCrisp 2-Slice Stainless Steel Belgian Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Food & Wine/Dera Burreson

Best Mini

Dash Mini Waffle Maker

pink mini waffle maker next to plate of waffles

Amazon

Pros: This waffle maker comes in a variety of shapes, colors, and designs.
Cons: The waffles are smaller than the classic Belgian size, so might be better for single servings or kids.

The Dash Mini Waffle Maker's compact size yields 4-inch waffles that come off with ease thanks to its nonstick cooking surface. Even though it only makes one waffle at a time, it heats up quickly and evenly with 350 watts, so waffles are usually cooked through within a few minutes. We found that 3 tablespoons of batter did not fill it through, yet 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of batter spilled over, so it takes a little finesse to get it right.

Although the machine results in waffles that are tinier than typical waffles, they would be perfect for small servings, breakfast sandwiches, and dessert waffles. Moreover, its compact size fits in small cabinets and even drawers. This waffle maker comes in many different colors and designs, and you can even choose a version that imprints a shape like a bunny, heart, or pineapple onto the waffles.

Price at time of publish: $13

  • Size: 5 x 6.4 x 2.8 inches
  • Material: Nonstick cooking surface
  • Waffle Count: 1
Dash Mini Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Food & Wine/Dera Burreson

Best Splurge

Breville Smart 4-Slice Waffle Maker

4.8
Breville Smart 4-Slice Waffle Maker

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: The features of this waffle maker perform especially well, including 12 shades of browning control and to no-mess moat.
Cons: The batter takes a little longer to spread in the second grid, and it is on the higher end price-wise.

With this purchase, you're splurging not only on the waffle maker but also on the waffles. Breville's 4-Slice Smart Waffle Pro presents stainless steel casing and deep cast aluminum cooking plates for thicker, richer waffles. The maker distributes heat evenly and has two dials to switch between four different batter settings and browning control with up to 12 shades. It even has a button designated for browning waffles a bit longer without having to restart the cooking process.

We recommend pouring at least half a cup of batter for each grid. Even if you added more than that, however, the no-mess moat surrounding the cooking grids completely eliminates batter overflow. While it took about 30 seconds to fill the second half of the grid, the browning still turned out evenly.

Price at time of publish: $215

  • Size: 15.5 x 12.5 x 5 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel structure with nonstick cast aluminum grids
  • Waffle Count: 4
Breville 4-Slice Smart Waffle Pro
Courtesy of Food & Wine/Dera Burreson

Best Compact

Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker

4.5
Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Classic Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

Pros: The batter spreads and distributes evenly when poured into the maker.
Cons: It does not brown waffles as evenly as other waffle makers, as they were lighter around the edges.

Housed in brushed stainless steel, Cuisinart's compact model makes waffles quickly and easily thanks to a nonstick baking plate with four quarters. Take control of your waffles with this appliance's five browning settings plus red and green indicator lights, which notify you when your breakfast is ready to cook and eat. After adding the recommended amount of batter, it spreads evenly throughout. Unfortunately, we found that it did not cook as evenly as the other waffle makers, as evident in the pale edges around its waffles.

Price at time of publish: $30

  • Size: 7.88 x 9.69 x 3.31 inches
  • Material: Brushed stainless steel with nonstick baking plates
  • Waffle Count: 1
Cuisinart Classic Round Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Food & Wine/Dera Burreson

Best No-Mess

Breville No-Mess Waffle Maker

4
Breville No-Mess Waffle

Pros: The no-mess moat surrounding its cooking grids prevents batter overflow.
Cons: The setting for dark brown coloring doesn't produce accurate results.

Say farewell to the days of batter overfilling and spilling with Breville's No-Mess Waffle Maker. Aside from its stainless steel finish and premium PFOA-free nonstick plates, it features a unique wrap-around moat to catch any excess batter, and cooks it to perfection. Who doesn't want to sample a waffle before digging in?

You also get to customize your waffles with this maker's seven browning settings using its Thermal Pro technology. We noticed, however, that the settings towards the darker coloring were neither as accurate nor worked as efficiently as other models. Make sure to fill the waffle grid entirely, as it can be hard to remove your finished product otherwise.

Price at time of publish: $150

  • Size: 9 x 11 x 5.75 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel finish with premium PFOA-free nonstick plates
  • Waffle Count: 1
Breville No-Mess Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Food & Wine/Dera Burreson

Conclusion

Your ideal waffle maker is one that fits your needs and makes waffles the way you like them – crispy, extra golden brown, or on the softer side. For an easy-to-use waffle maker with five accurate browning settings, we loved the Vertical Cuisinart Waffle Maker. If you're looking for a way to get waffles out fast without giving up the quality, try the Crux Double Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker.

waffle maker
Courtesy of Food & Wine/Dera Burreson

Factors to Consider

Size

Consider not only the size of the appliance but also the size of the waffles. Waffle makers can be quite large, so you may want to invest in a compact, easy-to-store model if you don't have much space in your kitchen or on your counter. The size of your waffles, meanwhile, really depends on personal preference. A mini waffle maker, of course, cooks smaller waffles, which are great for breakfast sandwiches and desserts. Other waffle makers produce waffles as big as your plate.

Volume

There are waffle makers that make one waffle, two waffles, and sometimes even four. If you're entertaining a large group of people for breakfast or are catering an event, you may want to consider how many waffles a maker gets out and how long this will take. For example, the Crux Double Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker can make about eight waffles in 10 minutes. If you purchase a waffle maker that only makes one waffle at a time, it may slow you down.

Cleanup

Waffle makers can be tricky to clean, especially if you overfill them with batter and it spills over. A waffle maker with nonstick plates is usually easier to clean (and even more so if you can remove the plates). If batter spills over, you should be able to simply wipe it clean. Some waffle makers have wrap-around moats to eliminate the spillage issue.

waffle maker
Courtesy of Food & Wine/Dera Burreson

The Tests

We scoured the market and tapped our editors for recommendations to come up with a list of more than 17 waffle makers, which our testers evaluated side by side. We rated the results for cooking performance, design, size, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Using both yeasted and non-yeasted batter, we made three batches of each type with every waffle maker. We measured pre-heating speed, browning and overall doneness, and batter overflow, and we noted observations for use and cleanup throughout. After compiling our notes and data, we picked the very best in seven categories.

waffle maker
Courtesy of Food & Wine/Dera Burreson

What Didn't Make the List

Cuisinart Double Belgian Waffle Maker

Cuisinart Double Belgian Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Sur La Table

This waffle iron prepares two authentic Belgian waffles with its rotating mechanism and adjustable browning control. The cooking plates are made with nonstick coating and there are readiness indicator lights and audio beeps. Although the waffle maker cleans up nicely, we found that it did not cook as evenly as we wanted with one side either being browner or paler than the other.

Price at time of publish: $220

NordicWare Original Stovetop Belgian Waffler

NordicWare Original Stovetop Belgian Waffler
Courtesy of Nordic Ware

You can use this Belgian waffle iron right on your stovetop. Simply preheat both sides on the stove and pour the batter in. Then, close the iron using its interlocking hinges and let it cook for about one minute before flipping over the iron for another couple of minutes, and voila! You have a waffle. We its light weight, but we noted difficulties with batter distribution and uneven browning between the yeasted and non-yeasted batter.

Price at time of publish: $65

Cuisinart WAF-200 Belgian Waffle Maker

Cuisinart WAF-200 Belgian Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Amazon

This classic round Belgian waffle maker from Cuisinart has a stylish brushed stainless steel cover with adjustable six-setting temperature control. It cooks one whole waffle with four quadrants. This waffle maker cleaned up like a dream and heated fairly quickly. Despite our testers being fairly happy with this model, the batter did not distribute evenly without stirring or swirling around when pouring. It was also a bit bulky to store and the waffle quadrants split when removed from the heating plate.

Price at time of publish: $110

Oster Belgian Waffle Maker

Oster Belgian Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Amazon

This Belgian Waffle Maker from Oster makes 8-inch round waffles with nonstick plates and a cool-touch handle for extra ease. We found that the recommended 3/4 cup of batter worked much better with 1 cup. Its waffles, however, turned out much too thin for us to consider them the ideal Belgian style that the appliance touts. Also, there was neither a doneness indicator nor clear heat setting, but it cleaned easily with absolutely no residue.

Price at time of publish: $30

Presto FlipSide Electric Waffle Maker

Presto FlipSide Electric Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Target

Get extra-thick Belgian waffles with this waffle maker from Presto, featuring a ceramic nonstick grid with a rotating function that flips waffles at 180 degrees. While the cooking plates are reversible, they're not very secure, and they popped out of place during testing. We found it difficult to secure them back into place, as the plate was already hot. We used 1 cup of batter for all tests, which produced waffles measuring 7.5 square inches.

Price at time of publish: $82

Black+Decker 3-in-1 Grill Griddle Waffle Maker

Black+Decker 3-in-1 Grill Griddle Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Amazon

This 3-in-1 Grill Griddle Waffle Maker from Black+Decker not only makes waffles but can also cook eggs, bacon, and pressed sandwiches with its reversible cooking grids that turn into two flat griddle plates. At first glance, the multiple functions looked great. Unfortunately, we found that it would have been better to have one single function that worked excellently than multiple functions that gave average results. The price, moreover, does not seem justified considering its reversible plates are a hazard rather than a convenience.

Price at time of publish: $80

Chefman Anti-Overflow Waffle Maker

Chefman Anti-Overflow Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Amazon

Chefman developed its Anti-Overflow Waffle Maker for a "mess-free, stress-free" design with a wrap-around channel to catch any batter that overflows. It comes in a compact size with a matte black, smudge-proof exterior. The settings are easy to use, but we thought it would have been nice to have audio indicators along with the lights, as the doneness of the waffles isn't very clear with the lights alone. The waffles also had uneven browning and coloring from side to side.

Price at time of publish: $30

All-Clad Classic Round Waffle Maker

All-Clad Classic Round Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Glossy stainless steel gives the All-Clad Classic Round Waffle Maker a lavish look. The handle stays cool while cooking. It also has a preheating and indicating light and ring. Settings include seven adjustable levels of toasting, but we still found the waffle quite pale using the medium heat setting. Even with the highest level of browning, the edges of the waffles turned out pale.

Price at time of publish: $150

KRUPS 4 Slice Belgian Waffle Maker

KRUPS 4 Slice Belgian Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Amazon

This appliance from KRUPS prepares up to four Belgian-style waffles with removable die-cast plates. The unit features five browning levels with both audio and light indications for pre-heating and doneness. Though large, it has a locking mechanism for upright storage as well as a cord wrap. We found it slow to cook – about an average of six minutes per waffle – and slow to reheat between batches. We also found that the waffles did not cook consistently on the same setting. The handle also got hot during cooking, and its special lock prevented the waffle maker from closing well.

Price at time of publish: $79

Nostalgia MyMini Waffle Maker

Nostalgia MyMini Waffle Maker
Courtesy of Walmart

Available in a handful of bright colors, the MyMini Waffle Maker from Nostalgia is great for making small, single-serving waffles for breakfast sandwiches and desserts. It features a preheating light that goes off when ready. The waffles, however, turned out inconsistent between tests, with uneven browning. The maker did not respond well to making one waffle after the next, so it needs a longer reheat period.

Price at time of publish: $10

Pro Panel Q+A

Why do some waffle makers flip?

Some waffle makers flip to ensure that the batter spreads evenly throughout the waffle maker. This also allows the waffles to cook much faster and contributes to a nice crisp, golden-brown exterior and fluffy-soft center.

How should I clean a waffle maker?

Most waffle makers have removable cooking plates that you can hand wash in the sink or place in the dishwasher if the manufacturer states it's safe. Know the material you're working with, though. Using too much soap on a waffle maker with a cast-iron surface can dry it out and strip its oils. If the plates on your waffle maker aren't removable, use a damp washcloth or paper towel to wipe off residue and finish with a dry paper towel. For really stubborn messes, pour oil inside the machine and let it sit for about five minutes before wiping it off. Clean exterior messes with a damp washcloth or paper towel.

Are vertical waffle makers better?

Vertical waffle makers have many benefits, including taking up less counter space than horizontal waffle makers, which tend to be bigger, bulkier, and more difficult to store. Vertical waffle makers are arguably more user-friendly, as spouts prevent spilling and overfilling. You can even tell if this kind is filled by checking if it's close to the peak, which also means hassle-free cleanup. Whether you should opt for a horizontal or vertical waffle maker, however, depends on personal preference.

Our Expertise

Lauren Musni is a Food & Wine fellow with an associate degree in culinary arts from The Culinary Institute of America. She wrote this piece based on our test results, her personal experience working in restaurants, and her love for baking and cooking.

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