Best Waffle Makers From Consumer Reports' Tests

    Three models rise above the rest

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    waffle maker testing
    Breann Chai testing waffle makers in the lab.

    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.

    CR’s take: This beast of a waffle maker weighs 15 pounds—double the weight of any other we tested—and takes up the most countertop real estate, too, measuring a foot wide and 16 inches deep. It’s the heavy-duty iron for waffle aficionados willing to throw down major cash for a machine. The Breville BWM640XL aced our tests, scoring an Excellent rating, for example, for even browning. Its large grid can fit twice the batter of a standard round iron, which means a full batch of piping hot waffles in half the time. It sounds an alert when waffles are done and is one of only two models we tested that have countdown timers (the other is below). Another bonus: This CR Recommended model comes with a batter cup, so you can pour the perfect amount of batter every time without wasteful overflow.

    CR’s take: Calphalon’s scaled-down waffle maker is ideal for small households. It will reliably turn out waffles, but you won't be able to feed an army efficiently. The smaller rectangular grid makes only two square waffles at a time. The Calphalon CKCLWF1 scores a Very Good rating for even browning but loses some points in our test for color range, in which it scores a Good. That means there's less variation between the dark and light settings; waffles cooked on the light setting still come out pretty brown. A countdown timer indicates how much cooking time remains, and an alarm will sound once your waffles are ready so you can tend to other tasks while making breakfast. This CR Recommended model aces our assessment for ease of use, too. It stays cool on the outside throughout the cooking process, has a wraparound moat to collect excess batter for easy cleanup, and can be stored on its side to save space.

    CR’s take: The Chefman was the only waffle maker we tested to snag a CR Best Buy designation. For far less money than most of the competition, this machine churns out evenly browned round waffles. It garners a Very Good rating for its color-range settings, meaning there’s a remarkable difference between waffles made on the darkest setting (brown and crispy) and lightest setting (blonde and fluffy). Pros include an indicator to let you know when the waffles are ready, the option to store it vertically to save space, and a batter cup for precise portioning. Con: The handle and latch get uncomfortably warm during cooking, despite its “cool touch” claims, so you may want to use an oven mitt when opening and closing the lid.

    Headshot of Perry Santanachote, editor with the Home editorial team at Consumer Reports

    Perry Santanachote

    A multidimensional background in lifestyle journalism, recipe development, and anthropology impels me to bring a human element to the coverage of home kitchen appliances. When I'm not researching dishwashers and blenders or poring over market reports, I'm likely immersed in a juicy crossword puzzle or trying (and failing) to love exercise. Find me on Facebook