There is nothing better than a perfectly-cooked waffle for breakfast. However, if you make waffles regularly, you likely already know that waffle makers are not all one and the same. At ZDNet, we take breakfast pretty seriously, so we set off in search of that perfect waffle maker to make waffles that are both crispy around the edges and soft on the inside.
To find the best waffle makers of 2021, we analyzed the market's leading products, combining our expert analysis with real customer reviews to form an in-depth analysis.
These are our expert tips for 2021's best waffle makers for you and your family.
At a glance
The All-Clad Classic Round Waffle Maker is the perfect pick when you want high performance with affordability and durability. This round waffle maker is made of stainless steel and weighs just three pounds but does not skimp on the extras. It only makes one waffle at a time, but each one is large with four ready-to-cut sections. Seven adjustable shade settings allow you to toast your waffle exactly to your tastes. The built-in steam-release system is fantastic for consistent cooking every time, delivering crispy waffles that are soft inside.
The unit features a PFOA-free nonstick cooking surface, so removal is easy. The automatic alerts help ensure foolproof cooking, letting you know when you need to add batter or remove your waffle after cooking. There is also an additional indicator timer that is equipped with dual light and sound notifications, so you do not risk overcooking your waffle. The waffle maker will sound when it is preheated and again when your waffle is ready.
7 browning settings
Dual LED light indicators
Nonstick plates with overflow tray
One waffle at a time
Requires more space
At a glance
Breville is a well-known name in kitchen appliances, and it does not disappoint with its Smart Waffle Pro. This oversized waffle maker can produce up to four waffles at a time with 12 cooking settings and a built-in LCD display, so you know exactly how much time is left before you can sink your teeth into a perfectly-cooked waffle.
The Smart Waffle Pro cooks your waffle to your preferred shade and toast level using its signature Waffle IQ, and Thermal Pro Even Heat technology. This smart automation feature is able to automatically adjust itself based on the exact item you are cooking. You can easily set the style of your waffle to accommodate different types, like Belgian, buttermilk, and even your basic Classic waffle. If you like chocolate waffles, there is a setting for that, too. Either way, you have a choice of several cooking settings with an automatic countdown timer to show progress. The LCD display will turn orange to let you know that cooking is in progress. If your waffle is almost done but could use just a little more cooking time, the convenient A Bit More button offers a shortened cooking cycle to perfect your waffle.
The brushed stainless steel design is a welcome aesthetic for your countertop, and the built-in moat will help keep things clean and tidy by catching any extra errant batter.
The signature Waffle IQ system
Accommodates 4 slices
Requires extra counter space
At a glance
The Cuisinart Classic Round Waffle Maker boasts the traditional design that waffle makers are known for, adding a nonstick cook plate and BPA-free materials to keep you and your family safe. It makes one waffle at a time with a quarter-slice design that conveniently cuts your waffle into four pieces.
It could not be easier to cook your waffle. Five browning settings are featuring a regulating thermostat, so you can choose the crispiness of your waffle. There are two indicator lights for easy reference: red for "Ready to Bake" and green for "Ready to Eat." The weighted lid does not rise during the cooking process, and rubber feet help hold the entire unit secure. When you need to clean the machine, it can be wiped down instead of requiring disassembly.
When you are done cooking, storage is made easy with a stand-up design that requires less real estate in your kitchen than other models. Its stainless steel design and bottom cord storage ensure that it will not be an eyesore should it take up residence on your countertop. The Cuisinart Classic Round Waffle Maker also includes a three-year warranty, the longest of our top picks for 2021's best waffle makers.
Thin, evenly-cooked waffles
Nonstick waffle plates
It makes a single waffle
No sound notification with timer
No incorporated drip tray
At a glance
When you are tight on space, the DASH Mini Waffle Maker ensures that you will not have to sacrifice your beloved waffles. It fills a number of needs, offering a fun aesthetic with colors like copper, pink, and Aqua Bunny. It is a cute, fun gift for the youngsters in your household, but it is also a strong enough pick for older waffle fans, especially for those with limited space like college dorm rooms. At 350W, it also requires far less power than larger models. The Mini Waffle Maker measures just four inches and weighs just over one pound, so it is easy to take with you on the go, whether it is to the office or traveling cross-country.
To get started, you simply plug in the machine and wait a few minutes until it is preheated. The nonstick surface is versatile and works with any kind of batter, so you can bake cookies or use pizza dough. A helpful recipe book is included to get the creative juices flowing for a little extra creativity in the kitchen. When you are done cooking, clean-up is a simple matter, and storage is even easier, thanks to its compact design.
A one-year warranty is included with your purchase, but you can upgrade to a two-year warranty when you enroll in the Feel Good Rewards program.
Fun colors and designs
Easy to operate
Small, single waffles only
Extremely limited controls
At a glance
The Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian Waffle Maker is a more robust option for the more serious waffle fan. With a solid, stainless steel construction, it features an ultra-flip design to create waffles that are soft on the inside with crispy edges on the outside. With 12 different cooking settings, the built-in browning control provides that perfect golden hue without overcooking or burning. There are also extra-deep pockets to allow for thicker batter and Belgian-style waffles. When the preheating process is complete, the 'Ready' light will signal that the machine is ready to make your waffle. The lid locks into place, and there is just a short wait because it generally takes 5-8 minutes for cooking to be complete. The stainless steel design remains cool to the touch throughout cooking with a convenient easy-flip handle that folds in for simplified storage.
To eliminate any extra headaches, the Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian Waffle Maker incorporates dishwasher-safe components, including nonstick plates and grids that are removable for even easier cleaning, so you do not have to worry about scrubbing or scraping batter out of corners., there is a built-in drip tray that is both removable and dishwasher-safe.
Removable drip tray included
Adjustable temperature knob
No power button
Missing a digital timer
Very hot to touch during use
How did we choose these products?
Waffles have been a beloved breakfast item for years, so it comes as no surprise to see so many options available in today's market. To determine the best waffle makers of 2021, we considered several factors that may also help in your search for that perfect waffle maker.
Type: Some waffle makers are more accommodating than others when it comes to the type of waffle you can make. If you love a good Belgian waffle, taller waffle makers with deeper grids will be a better pick than those with smaller, shorter grids.
Waffle Size: Your waffle maker determines what waffle size you can make. We consider both larger and more compact models that are appropriate for single households and larger families.
Machine size: Storage is a concern for many home cooks, so we consider how much storage a waffle maker requires in your home, office, or dorm.
Shape: Multiple waffle makers offer different styles and shapes for your waffle, such as a heart shape or Mickey Mouse design.
Before you decide on the best waffle maker for you, consider what kind of waffles you want to make and which features will help cook to your preference.
Which is the right one for you?
There are countless options for waffle makers these days, making it feel impossible to choose the best fit for you. Before you buy your next waffle maker, these are some expert recommendations to help you find the best waffle maker for your home.
Choose this product...
Prefer crispy waffles
Have a little more to spend
Want a basic waffle maker
Have space concerns
Are a Belgian waffle enthusiast
What is a waffle maker?
Also known as a waffle iron, a waffle maker is a kitchen appliance that is specifically designed to cook waffles. It typically consists of multiple metal plates that press together to cook the batter placed inside.
How much does a waffle maker cost?
A waffle maker varies in cost, depending on the size and features you want. Our picks for 2021's best waffle makers range in price from around $15 to more than $275, but there are many other models available at different price points to fit your specific needs.
Are there alternatives worth considering?
Waffle makers are a popular kitchen appliance, and there are several excellent models that almost made our list. When shopping for the best waffle maker for your family, these are some other options that may be worth your consideration.
BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 Waffle Maker : A versatile pick
Chef's Choice WafflePro 840 : When you want heart-shaped waffles
Disney Mickey Mini Waffle Maker : Best for families
Krups GQ502 4 Slice Belgian : A great value pick
Oster Belgian Waffle Maker : A budget-friendly pick