Waffle maker purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • The most important facts in a nutshell
  • A waffle iron offers optimal conditions for the quick, uncomplicated preparation of perfectly shaped waffles.
  • Most models produce either heart-shaped or Belgian waffles, with one baking cycle producing one, two or more portions.
  • In addition to safety features, the most useful functions include a temperature regulator, indicator lights and a non-stick coating.

Make delicious waffles yourself

Fancy some delicious, warm waffles baked with love? You have to make them yourself, but a waffle iron is indispensable for preparing them. Yet these delicious baked goods were already tempting people to snack on them in the ninth century. At that time, however, the speciality is said to have existed only in France and Belgium.

In the Grande Nation, the baking of waffles played such an important role that four centuries later even a separate guild of waffle bakers emerged. The medieval specialists still used two separate irons with long handles, which they held pressed together over a fire. The baking moulds produced pastries richly decorated with ornate motifs or smaller texts, often with a religious background.

As early as the 15th or 16th century, the unusual dish was known in large parts of Europe. But in some regions, such as southern Germany and Austria, only the richest enjoyed the tasty treat. Nowadays, waffles are available to everyone. Thanks to the widespread use of electric waffle irons, anyone can even prepare them in their own kitchen. Modern appliances can reach temperatures of well over 180 degrees Celsius.

Delicious pastries for every occasion

Waffles have become an indispensable part of European cuisine. Not only do they taste delicious, they also offer a wide range of preparation methods (sweet or savoury) and topping variations (subtle to pompous). This makes the pastry equally suitable not only for people who want to do as little work as possible in the kitchen, but also for those who like to experiment and try out new things.

Moreover, waffles have a strong cultural component. For example, they are indispensable at Christmas time. Many people also like to eat them on birthdays. Of course, there is nothing to say against simply eating the delicacies in between meals. By the way, a well-thought-out purchase is worthwhile: high-quality waffle irons provide a lot of pleasure, because they lead to the best baking results.

The different types

Basically, a distinction is made between waffle irons for Belgian and heart-shaped waffles. In addition, there are double and quadruple models for those with a particularly large appetite. Multifunctional appliances with interchangeable plates that function as a waffle iron, sandwich maker and donut former at the same time are also practical.

Two waffle varieties have become popular among electrically operated waffle irons: heart-shaped waffles and Belgian waffles.

Differences in preparation

When it comes to the batter, there are no particular differences between the various waffle irons. Belgian waffles often contain yeast instead of baking powder, but in the meantime many new recipes can be found without the leavening agent. There is also not much to consider when preparing them. One important difference is that spreading the batter is a little more complicated in square waffle irons.

In round models, it is enough to put a spoonful of waffle batter directly into the centre of the iron. It spreads almost evenly to the edges when squeezed. In square models, it is important to spread the batter a little with the spoon before closing the lid to get a neat result. This requires more practice.

Differences in the shapes

Heart-shaped wafers are so called because their individual pieces look like stylised hearts when carefully torn apart. In one piece, however, a heart-shaped wafer is round with an evenly curled edge. The Belgian waffle is clearly different, because it is not round but square. Its edges are also completely straight. As a rule, such a waffle is rectangular, which means that two of the four sides are longer than the other two. However, there are also occasional waffle irons that result in square pastries.

In addition, the Belgian variant is characterised by a deeper relief. The waffles produced are much higher than heart-shaped waffles, yet the empty bays offer plenty of room for a delicious topping such as hot cherries or whipped cream. The structure of a heart-shaped wafer is comparatively flat. It does not have a coarse relief at all, but only shows a delicate wafer pattern, which only serves the visual purpose and is appealing even without decoration.

Differences in serving

Only heart-shaped waffles can be torn into perfectly uniform pieces – the waffle hearts – by their prefabricated tearing points. If someone wants to divide a Belgian waffle into uniform pieces, they need a knife to cut it. Hosts therefore usually serve the pastry in one piece or pre-cut, including a generous topping of whipped cream, ice cream or hot cherries.

Heart-shaped wafers, on the other hand, are always served whole, as this is visually most attractive. Classically, the topping for this variant is a little more restrained and consists, for example, only of icing sugar or a little chocolate sauce. But there are no limits to creativity.

Differences in eating

A heart-shaped wafer is easy to eat without cutlery because of its flat shape and the usually discreet topping. It can be crushed by hand, even if the wafer is sprinkled with icing sugar. Many prefer to tear the delicate biscuits into hearts, fold them up once and take a bite. No cutlery is necessary.

Eating a Belgian waffle works best with a fork. If the topping is generous, a small spoon can also be used. Some people bite off the waffle, but depending on the decoration, this can be difficult. Suitable cutlery prevents a small mishap.

Comparison: single and double waffle irons

The market offers waffle irons that can be used to bake one, two or more waffles in one go. Which model is better depends on the buyer. If you want to serve waffles quickly, you will quickly reach the limits with single irons. Double models can bake two waffles in the same time. These are therefore particularly suitable for commercial purposes. When demand is high, interested parties can even use quadruple irons to further increase their speed.

Similar product types and multifunction devices with interchangeable plates

Strictly speaking, some other pastries are considered wafers, such as wafers, hippen (New Year’s cakes) and pizzelles (wafer biscuits). For such specialities, traders sometimes offer their own irons. For example, a hippe that has not yet been rolled up is much flatter than a heart-shaped wafer, but just as round, only without convex edges. Wafers are also characterised by a much smaller diameter.

One appliance, different treats – this is made possible by multifunctional appliances with interchangeable plates. The combination of waffle iron and sandwich maker is widely used as a 2-in-1 appliance. There are also 3-in-1 appliances that have an additional plate for donuts, poffertjes or cake pops. So if you can use all the interchangeable plates, a combination appliance saves a lot of space and ensures a somewhat smaller carbon footprint. Consumers who only want to bake waffles should prefer the separate appliance.

What matters when buying

Modern waffle irons often combine a variety of functions and features. But which ones are useful and which ones can be safely dispensed with? Common features and functions of these appliances are:

  • Size and shape
  • Material
  • Power and temperature control
  • Control lamps
  • Non-stick coating
  • Overflow protection
  • Safety

Size and shape

The standard diameter for a heart-shaped waffle is 18 centimetres. Other sizes can also be found, including other types of waffle irons. Larger baking moulds are often somewhat more energy-efficient. Most appliances lead to the classic honeycomb pattern, others print motifs or words on the baked product instead. Unusual shapes are also possible. Some models also allow you to make waffles on a stick. The wood is placed in the appropriately shaped baking mould.

The material

Modern waffle irons are made of cast iron or a coated metal on the baking surfaces and a temperature-resistant plastic, stainless steel or aluminium on the outside. A plastic housing has several advantages: It is insulating and thus protects against burning on the hot metal. These models are more suitable for baking children and the careless. In addition, plastic can be dyed in many colours so that everyone can find the right one.

Appliances without plastic housings have a better environmental balance, but carry a certain risk of burns because they can reach high temperatures on the outside. The handles are usually coated with an insulating material such as rubber for a safe grip if it is a modern model.

Power and temperature control

As with many other electrical appliances, power plays a big role in the outcome. A higher wattage makes for crispier and darker waffles. Too much power is not advisable, however, as it could burn the baked goods. For waffle irons, a wattage of between 600 and 900 watts has proved successful.

Some like their waffles nice and crispy and dark, others prefer them light and soft. With a temperature control knob, the baker can adjust the baking level as desired. Depending on the model, it can be adjusted continuously or in several stages. Individualists get their money’s worth here.

The control lamps

Lights can significantly improve the baking result. They perform up to two functions. A single pilot light indicates to waffle bakers when the optimum baking temperature has been reached. From this moment on, the batter should be placed in the iron so that the first waffles bake well.

Some models have another light. It is used to indicate that the waffle is ready to bake. Since this takes several minutes, many people like to occupy themselves with other things during this time. While surfing on the smartphone, however, it is easy to miss the lights. For all these people, models with acoustic signals are also available.

Non-stick coating and overflow protection

Waffle irons often have a high-quality non-stick coating made of PTFE or ceramic. This reduces the amount of fat required and thus lowers the calorie content of the baked treats. In many appliances, baking is even possible without greasing, but it depends on the batter and its composition. Another advantage: When cleaning, it is sufficient to wipe out the cooled interior with a soft cloth. Since electrical appliances are not allowed in the dishwasher or in a water bath, this is a relief. Coatings such as Teflon require careful handling, as annoying scratches can quickly appear.

If you spoon too much waffle batter into the baking tin, you’ve made a mess: Waffle baking requires a lot of feeling so that the batter does not overflow and increase the cleaning effort. If you regularly make a mistake, you should choose a model with overflow protection. In this case, the baking tin keeps too much batter in check and also produces thicker waffles.


Since an electric appliance always carries a certain risk of accidents, it is important to pay attention to safety precautions – and not only when children are in the house. For example, non-slip rubber feet for a safe stand and heat-insulated handles to prevent burns are indispensable.

A heavy weight ensures stability. An overheating protection with automatic switch-off can also prevent fires in time and should therefore not be missing.

Tips for use and care

There are many recommendations for waffle irons. But the following tips are particularly useful:

  1. Before using for the first time, you should heat the baking moulds thoroughly to remove any residues from the manufacturing process.
  2. Before each use, it is a good idea to check the appliance and cable. If there is a defect, repair is necessary.
  3. When using on heat-sensitive work surfaces, a base is necessary. The cable should be positioned so that no one can accidentally trip over it or pull on it.
  4. Adults should always guide and supervise children when baking.
  5. Hot steam often escapes when baking. So always keep a little distance from the heated appliance. It is helpful to put oven gloves or oven mitts within easy reach.
  6. If the waffle sticks, grease will help. To grease the baking dish sparingly, brush it with a heat-resistant baking brush.
  7. Forks and knives have no business in the baking dish because they can create scratches. A wooden spoon is better for removing the waffles.
  8. After baking, the appliance must cool down completely before returning to the cupboard or drawer.
  9. Dry kitchen paper helps when cleaning. It reliably absorbs grease. Stubborn encrustations are easier to remove with oiled kitchen paper (sunflower oil).
  10. Sharp cleaning agents and abrasive sponges are not suitable for cleaning.

Fun Fact: Use the waffle iron for other foods
Waffle irons can also be used to bake apple and vegetable slices, sandwiches, scrambled eggs and mince patties. This life hack is called waffling. However, some ingredients are considered unsuitable, such as liquefying chocolate or pure cheese (this often sticks permanently to the baking tin).