How we tested
Because our winning model from 2004 has been discontinued, we reopened our search for the most efficient performer. We tested six traditional (not Belgian) waffle irons, among them our previous Best Buy, as well as round and clover- (or heart-) shaped newcomers. Each featured adjustable temperature settings for varying degrees of doneness, nonstick surfaces, and indicator lights. The best irons produced waffles that were evenly cooked and consistently browned from the beginning to the end of a batch—and in the promised shade of light to dark. (Our worst performer made only light golden waffles even on its darkest setting.) Besides visual cues signaling when the iron is ready (or the waffle is done), we especially valued an audible alert since it frees you from the tedium of hovering over the iron. Heat-resistant handles and casings were also important.
Faced with new, stiffer competition, one of our old favorites plunged to the bottom of the rankings due to a slow cook time and waffles that weren’t nearly as evenly crisped and golden as other models’. The thick heating coils of our winner extending under most of the cooking surface, which helped to ensure uniformly golden waffles that cooked efficiently. In addition, it offers six temperature settings as well as two texture options: a “quick bake,” for a crisp exterior and moist interior, and a slower bake, for uniform texture. Besides indicating doneness with lights, it also beeps loudly to get your attention when breakfast is ready.