You may think a waffle maker does one thing and one thing only. But this simple appliance is a versatile ally in the kitchen that can cook many meals in addition to breakfast. Use it to get hash browns extra-crispy, reheat leftover pizza, and even cook omelets. The possibilities are seemingly endless—and a quick web search reveals people get pretty creative with this countertop appliance.
Still, what good is a waffle maker if it can’t nail the job it's named for?
“All the models we tested successfully made waffles, but the best waffle makers make the process almost foolproof,” says Tara Casaregola, CR’s lead waffle maker tester. “The ones with portioned batter cups take out any guesswork, and those with indicators tell you when it’s done so you don’t have to keep checking.”
In our lab we test Belgian waffle makers from Black+Decker, Breville, Calphalon, Chefman, Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, Oster, and Proctor-Silex, some of which turn out round waffles, some square. Prices range from $20 to $250.
Our testers whip up batches of Krusteaz Belgian Waffle Mix, following the manufacturer's cooking instructions. We use a spectrophotometer to assess how evenly the waffles are cooked by scanning for color variations. We also test the range of each model’s brownness settings (if it has them) by cooking waffles on the lightest and darkest settings.
We put an emphasis on ease of use in our waffle maker tests, factoring in the clarity of the controls and whether they’re intuitive to use. We assess how easy it is to clean. (The ones with built-in drip trays and moats catch overflow.) And we note any hot spots or steam near the handle, latch, and controls.
These three waffle makers are the best from our tests, making the most appealing waffles with the least amount of hassle. They appear in alphabetical order, not in order of CR rank. For more details, complete test results, and even more options, see our waffle maker ratings.