Average Customer Review:
If you prefer a fluffier waffle over a traditional crispy waffle, you'll love our pick in this category, the Presto FlipSide 3510 Belgian Waffle Maker (Est. $50). It draws an unqualified recommendation and Best Buy designation from one of the toughest test kitchens in the country, along with top scores in categories including waffle texture, consistency and easy cleanup.
Thousands of happy owners agree with the experts, saying the Presto 3510 cranks out consistently wonderful Belgian waffles that are a lofty inch-and-a-half thick. "Easy to use, easy to clean, easy to store. Makes fluffy perfect waffles every time," writes one user. This appliance's name comes from the fact that after you pour the batter, you flip it like a book to help the batter spread evenly.
Owners praise the Presto FlipSide's durability, too, with quite a few owners saying it's lasted them for many years. In fact, one contributor to a poll on waffle makers at Lifehacker, where the Presto FlipSide took almost 10 percent of the vote, says their waffle iron is still making perfect waffles after almost a decade of use.
In addition to good performance and durability, the Presto FlipSide boasts some pretty impressive features. It's small enough to store easily in most cabinets and even locks upright so you can store it vertically. The ceramic nonstick interior helps to release the waffles easily, even if you don't use oil or cooking spray. The ceramic grids also clean off easily with a damp cloth.
We do see some complaints about the Presto FlipSide, but they're few and far between. Testers at Your Best Digs pan it for the lack of a built-in temperature adjustment. However, it does have a built-in timer to help you gauge the doneness of the waffles. Users say that it's easy to get the hang of the timer within just a few attempts, and that it takes 3 to 5 minutes to cook each waffle, depending on how crispy and brown you want it to be. One of the expert test kitchens we used as a source also loves that the timer goes off twice: Not just when the waffle is done but also a minute before, giving you time to get back to the appliance before the waffle overcooks.
Even though the Presto FlipSide 3510 is known for its easy wipe-off cleanup, some cooks prefer the convenience of a waffle iron with removable grids that can be scrubbed out in the sink or even tossed in the dishwasher for cleaning.
If this sounds like you, you might prefer the Hamilton Beach 26030 Belgian Waffle Maker (Est. $50), which has removable, dishwasher-safe nonstick grids and a removable, dishwasher-safe drip tray. It's ranked third out of six top waffle makers in a thorough, hands-on test from Your Best Digs, who say that it seems to be well-made and is simple to clean. Their only real criticism is that the Hamilton Beach 26030 took almost 15 minutes to preheat and cook two waffles, compared to just 11 and a half minutes for the Presto FlipSide.
The Hamilton Beach 26030 also allows you to "flip" the waffle but, rather than the Presto FlipSide's back and forth motion, the 26030's design rotates in place. Users say the removable plates are truly nonstick, and they love the convenience of being able to remove them for washing. The indicator lights are handy, too. One tells you when the unit is on, the other when to add the batter. There's also an adjustable browning control that users say works well.
There is no timer to let you know when your waffle is done on the Hamilton Beach 26030, so it may take a bit of trial and error before you figure out how much time you need to cook a waffle to your liking. However, most users say they have no problem using a kitchen timer, and that the Hamilton Beach 26030 takes 3 to 5 minutes to cook each waffle. Otherwise, we see very few complaints about this waffle iron, other than the occasional durability concern or wish for faster cooking that we see for almost every model out there.
If you make waffles all the time and want to invest in a larger, sturdier waffle maker with removable/washable cooking plates, the Cuisinart WAF-300 (Est. $80) is worth a look. The editors at Consumer Reports select the WAF-300 Belgian waffle maker as their top waffle maker after a comparative test of six models, praising its reliability and consistency at both low and high heat settings. Users agree that this waffle maker never disappoints, and they like that it cooks four square waffles at a time and stores upright to save cabinet space.
Although this waffle maker is pricier than most, it's also much more versatile than most. It includes four interchangeable plates for making pancakes, eggs, breakfast meats, and, of course, waffles. Those interchangeable plates can go in the dishwasher, although hand-washing will help preserve the non-stick coating; the manufacturer recommends lightly brushing them with oil before each use. The WAF-300 also has a shade control and indicator lights to show you when the unit is done preheating and when the waffle is done cooking.
If you want to go even more high-tech, waffle makers don't come much smarter than the Breville BWM640XL Smart Waffle Pro (Est. $250). This model also cooks four waffles at a time, but it has the added bonus of a "Waffle IQ" feature that automatically adjusts the cooking time depending on the settings you've chosen and the temperature of the cooking plates. You can set the Smart Waffle Pro to cook four types of waffles (Belgian, classic, chocolate or buttermilk, plus a customizable option) and choose from 12 darkness settings.
True waffle enthusiasts -- or those who are willing to sacrifice some counter space for a bulky machine that can feed the whole family in just a round or two -- appreciate how the Smart Waffle Pro does almost everything for them: The waffle maker's color-changing LCD screen and an audible beep prompt you when to add the batter, the machine automatically calculates cook time and starts cooking once you close the lid, and another audible alarm lets you know the waffle is done. If you want it a little crisper or more brown, just press the "A Bit More" button. Users also say the cast aluminum grids release the waffles well, and the non-stick coating seems to last longer than that on other models as long as you don't use metal utensils.
"If there is a better [Belgian] waffle maker out there then I'd like to see it. I'll throw the challenge down!" writes one of many enthusiastic users who love this waffle iron. Most owners are also thrilled with this machine's durability, and they don't mind its size -- 15 by 12 by 5 inches -- too much, since it turns out extra-large waffles that are 5 inches wide instead of the usual 4, and feels durable enough to last a long time. That said, keep in mind that if you place this waffle maker under a low kitchen cabinet you might not be able to open the lid all the way, and the waffle grids aren't removable. A two-waffle version (Est. $200) is also available if you're cooking for smaller groups or want all the features in a smaller appliance; both are covered by a limited 1-year warranty.
Finally, of course, if you don't frequently cook for large groups, large waffle makers like the Breville Smart Waffle Pro and Cuisinart WAF-300 are probably overkill -- but any of the smaller models we previously discussed can handle the job just fine.