Waffle Irons: Ratings of Sources
Editors at ConsumerReports.org test six waffle irons and find that they all do quite decently, although there is one standout favorite. Although they don't assign their usual comparative ratings in several categories, they do list the waffle irons in order of preference and explain which characteristics led to those placements.
The editors of Cook's Illustrated put more than a dozen flip- and rotary-style Belgian waffle makers through their paces, issuing comparative rankings in a total of eleven categories including safety, cleanup, browning and consistency. Only three models receive completely unreserved recommendations. Elsewhere on their site, the editors also report on hands-on testing of six stovetop waffle irons, selecting just one Highly Recommended" model and one Recommended model.
The editors of TheSweethome.com enlist input from four different experts and put in a total of 63 hours of research to test 21 waffle makers. They choose a winner, a runner-up, and a budget pick, then offer an in-depth review of each. The coverage is balanced and comprehensive, giving a well-reasoned view of just how these appliances perform under real-world conditions.
The editors of YourBestDigs.com spend a total of 35 hours testing half a dozen waffle makers in their office. In order to qualify, the waffle irons had to have excellent user reviews, a nonstick surface, adjustable cook settings, and some sort of ready indicator. In their analysis and thorough discussion of the results, the editors consider factors including time to heat, time to cook, ergonomics, and consistency of the waffle results.
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute evaluates more than 20 waffle irons and assigns each a star rating. Each waffle maker also gets a short summary and a brief list of pros and cons, although it'd be nice to get more comprehensive notes on their performance. These reviews all date from either 2015 or 2012; for our purposes, the most notable received a 4-star or better rating (out of 5 possible) and were reviewed in 2015.
This website isn't known for hands-on testing but in this case it's clear they did put an array of waffle makers through the wringer in person. Although the results are presented in a way that's challenging to assimilate, they're also very thorough and in-depth, documenting everything from assembly and clean-up time to comparative scores for how accurate a waffle maker's ready to eat indicate is. The editors list results for the top 10 waffle makers, awarding gold, silver and bronze awards to their top three picks.
The editors of Lifehacker.com surveys readers for their votes on the best waffle irons. The top five waffle irons alone draw a total of almost 1,600 user votes, and many users also included short comments about what they like most about each waffle maker and their durability; one model has lasted an astonishing 38 years and counting.
Amazon.com offers several hundred options when it comes to waffle makers; we narrowed our search by accounting for the highest-rated models with the most user reviews. That translated to an average rating of 4.3 stars or better after at least 20 user reviews, or a near-perfect rating of 4.9 or 5 stars after 10 or more user reviews.
BestBuy.com is a surprisingly useful source of user reviews for small appliances. Here, they list several dozen waffle makers, most of which receive at least a handful of user reviews. Standout models we deem worthy of special attention receive an average rating of 4.4 stars or better after at least 10 user reviews.
Waffle irons are grouped in with griddles and skillets at Walmart.com, and the selection includes a few models we didn't see anywhere else. We take special note of any models that get a 4-star or better rating after at least 20 user reviews.
The editors of GroomandStyle.com subjected an array of waffle makers to hands-on testing, although they don't share many details about what process they used or how long they spent. They make up for it by offering a comprehensive evaluation of each model's specs in addition to some brief commentary on how well they perform in the kitchen.
Workers in the BonAppetit.com test kitchen evaluate more than a dozen waffle irons and choose three as their favorites. Each of their three picks gets the shortest of summary reviews, usually just a sentence or two, along with a cute moniker, like "The Workhorse" or "The Posh Touch," that explains what they excel at. Although this is an older review, a couple of the picks are still relevant, although one has been discontinued.