Waffles make for a beautiful and delicious breakfast, snack, or dessert. No wonder they are so popular in many households. But, when it comes to buying a waffle maker, all we want is an appliance that gets the job done, right? Well, there are certain factors you need to consider, such as its safety, features, size, and even the shape of the waffles. The most important thing is to determine what you want in your appliance. This will make your shopping a lot easier.
Types of Waffle Makers
The best part about waffles is the versatility they offer. You can drench them in your favorite sauce, whipped cream, maple syrup, honey, or whatever else gets you going. That’s why you should pick a waffle maker that gives you the kind of waffles you want. Generally, the more crevices, the more pockets to hold maximum toppings.
Keep in my mind your choice of waffle maker will be reflected on the waffles. Usually, the grids are provided on both sides of the iron to leave the desired impression on your waffles. Here are the types of waffle makers you’ll find in the market:
Standard: These are the conventional waffle iron that can be round or square.
Belgian: If you prefer your waffles with deep pockets that give you more cavities for your toppings, then a Belgian waffle maker is your best pick.
Novelty: These waffle makers make mini-waffles, Mickey Mouse waffles, heart waffles, and so on.
Stovetop: If you prefer to go old-fashioned, you can find a stovetop waffle maker, usually made from cast iron or cast aluminum. However, heating evenly on a stovetop can be tricky.
What to Look for When Buying a Waffle Maker
When shopping for a waffle maker, there are certain must-have features to consider:
You don’t want your waffles sticking on the surface of the waffle maker. That’s why a non-stick surface is essential to cooking perfect waffles. The non-stick coating is standard on most kinds of waffle makers and makes it easier to clean them.
Does it Have a Warranty?
Nothing is frustrating as plugging in your newest appliance and then nothing happens. No heat. No sound. No indicator lights coming on.
A warranty is a backup plan in case things do go as expected. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of your warranty to know what it covers and what it doesn’t.
How Big Should the Waffle Maker Be?
The size of the waffle maker you buy will be determined by two things: how many people you’ll be feeding the waffles and where you'll be storing it. If you’ll be feeding more than two people often, a small waffle maker will mean they have to eat in turns (quite awkward if you ask us).
The right size, on the other hand, ensures you make larger batches in one go. A unit like the Cuisinart 300 Belgian, for example, lets you cook four waffles at a time.
Storage can also be a problem if your space is limited. Most small waffle makers are compact and easy to tuck away in a drawer or even place on the counter. Larger ones will obviously require more space.
Models that flip have protruding handles and others even come fitted with drip-catching trays. These extras, while useful, are space hogs. Luckily, most flip units use the flipping action to allow them to stand on one end. This makes them easier to store.
Does It Have Removable Plates?
Occasionally, you may run into a mishap with burned gunky batter. A model with removable plates makes it way easier to clean. Some models even come with extra plates that you can swap out your waffle grid for a panini press or flat griddle.
Do You Need a Browning Control?
Everyone has their preference when it comes to how golden or dark they want their waffles. A waffle maker with adjustable temperature control allows you to choose how well done your waffles are cooked.
The browning feature can also be handy when you're preparing several waffles for different people, who each want different textures. Additionally, if you have small kids, you want a waffle maker that has a locking handle. This will prevent them from touching the hot cooking plates, and at the same time, keep your waffles secure while cooking.
Ease of Cleaning
Cleaning a waffle maker can be a complex task, and it has to do with how they are shaped. Whether it’s a high-end model or a cheap one, they all sport crevices, gaps, and holes, where batter and crumbs somehow end up.
This can make your cleaning challenging and boring.
When looking for a waffle maker, you can opt for one with removable grids since they make cleaning easy, either in the sink or dishwasher. Or, you can choose one made with cast iron, non-stick or ceramic. Each material has unique properties that should be considered when buying a model that’s easy to clean.
Is Your Non-Stick Waffle Maker Safe?
Some consumers prefer to avoid non-stick cookware due to concerns that non-stick surfaces are harmful and carcinogenic. Here’s the thing. Non-stick coating can withstand certain temperatures. So, if you're wondering if you're getting close to PTFE-breakdown temperatures, the short answer is no. Waffle makers are fitted with a built-in thermostat to regulate the temperature when cooking.
Some even come with adjustable temperature controls to help with the browning. Typically, the best temperature for making the best waffles is between 190-215 degrees Celsius. This means you're not getting close to the extreme temperatures that will break the PTFE compound.
What’s the Alternative?
If you’re still not convinced about using a waffle maker with non-stick coating, you can try these alternatives:
While cast iron is not a non-stick material initially, it's seasoned over time. With each use, the performance becomes better and better. Cast iron is a mixture of several minerals, including manganese, silicon, and carbon. No wonder, cast iron is a tough material that can last a lifetime.
What's more, due to its great heat retention properties, appliances made with cast iron tend to keep food warm.
The Rome Industries Old Fashioned Waffle Cast Iron is one of the best waffle-making machines in the market. At only $45, the 6.8-inch wide, hinged design allows you to make perfect brown waffles every time.
The best thing about stainless steel is that it doesn’t lose its shine, even with repeated use. Steel is durable, resistant to scratches, and distributes the batter evenly to form a uniform texture. Plus, it's also dishwasher safe.
However, steel takes longer to preheat and may not be very easy to clean. If you prefer a stainless steel waffle maker, check out the Cuisinart WAF-F20 Double Belgian Waffle Maker. As the name suggests, the appliance makes two thick waffles in one go and comes with a browning control.
Ceramic has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its convenience and the non-stick finishing. They are much better than stainless steel since you don’t have to spray too much oil on the base to prevent food from sticking.
They are also easy to clean and maintain and usually look good. One downside of waffle makers made from ceramic is that they may not be as durable as cast iron or stainless steel appliances. Presto Belgian Waffle Maker Flipside is a great option for those looking for a ceramic waffle maker. Measuring seven inches in diameter, the appliance has a 180-degree flip design to ensure the batter spreads evenly. It also comes with a countdown timer and digital display to signal you when baking time is up.
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