You can get by with a $20 waffle maker if you’re not making waffles in high volumes and don’t mind a slightly longer cook time. That’s what we used for our first several waffle parties. However, if you’re serious about making waffles, you’ll probably want to consider something slightly higher-end.
My favorite waffle iron so far has been the Waring Pro WMK300 /WMK300a. I’ve owned several of these. Although its $60-$80 price range is significantly above the $15-$20 starting point for waffle iron prices, it’s about the best you can get before jumping into the $200-and-up “industrial” models.
It has some of the features I discuss in more detail in the GVWC:
- a temperature adjustment
- a removable tray to catch overflow
- a higher power rating than most other models (1200 watts–this equates to a faster cooking time)
- a grill that rotates 180 degrees after you close it to help spread the batter evenly and make the waffle somewhat fluffier
I got by for years with much more basic waffle irons, but recently decided to purchase one of these because I make so many waffles. It is now my favorite by far. To get waffles with a crispier outside, I often leave them in for half a minute to a minute past the time the built-in timer goes off.
Although I haven’t had the opportunity to try one, Krups manufactures a similar model (FDD912) in the same price range.
Note that if you get a waffle maker with a larger grid, you definitely want the higher wattage, as the same energy must be spread across a much larger area. Otherwise, your cook times may increase significantly, and it may be more difficult to get waffles with a crisp outside and moist inside.