We found several professional roundups of waffle irons, but most of them are outdated. One of the only exceptions comes from Cook's Illustrated magazine, which recently tested six electric waffle irons plus six stovetop models. The methodology for both tests is very thorough, with editors evaluating everything from color scale and consistency to ease of use and cleanup. In a recent post at KitchenDaily.com, a division of The Huffington Post, editors list their 10 favorite waffle makers. None of the models are rated, however, and it isn't clear if any testing was done.
Cuisine at Home editors tested waffle irons in a 2007 review, but don't describe their methodology or say how many models were evaluated. They list five waffle irons with features they consider essential: easy-to-follow instructions, heating elements that come up to temperature quickly and nonstick grids. A review of waffle irons conducted by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute is undated, and three of the four top-ranked models have been discontinued. The remaining professional review we found comes from ConsumerGuide.com, but it's from 2006 and doesn't cover newer, more popular models.
Facing a lack of expert data, we turned to the thousands of consumer reviews for waffle irons at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Cooking.com and other websites. At Amazon.com, several waffle makers receive hundreds of reviews. Unlike expert evaluations, consumers can comment on performance over time, such as noting whether indicator alerts are pleasant or shrill and if nonstick coatings stay put or flake off into food.
Most waffle irons, especially pro-style rotating units, receive consistent praise from users at retailer websites. A few, however, don't fare so well. The Black & Decker WBM500 Belgian Waffle Maker (*Est. $30) is the subject of numerous complaints at Amazon.com, where users say the hinge breaks during use and crevices in the unit are almost impossible to clean. Such problems don't appear to extend to other Black & Decker models; the G48TD 3-In-1 Grill, Griddle and Waffle Maker (*Est. $45) , for example, receives mostly positive reviews.