There are few things better than a perfectly made waffle for breakfast. The golden-brown color of the deliciously flaky crust encasing the soft and light interior, it’s a wonderful thing. Throw some toppings on there, like some syrup and fruit, or just a little butter, and you’ve got a great breakfast. They’re even great for all ages, and with the right appliance, can be a breeze to make.
Finding the best waffle Machine under $100 can be a little tricky. It’s true, there are dozens of options for your beautiful breakfast machine, so it might seem like you can’t go wrong. As long as you avoid the pitfalls of your lesser waffle irons, take into account your personal tastes and needs, and navigate the surprising amount of clutter around waffle irons, you can make a great choice for your kitchen.
How do you Avoid Buying Sub-par Waffle Machines?
This first part is easy enough, but it’s worth explaining a little. Every waffle iron is going to promise roughly the same thing. Evenly cooked and perfect waffles every time in an easy to clean machine that doesn’t take too long. Sadly, however, there are plenty of machines that promise a lot and deliver very little!
Whatever machine you are considering, cheap or higher-end, make sure to read reviews of its actual performance. If multiple people complain about it producing unevenly cooked waffles, taking too long, or even flimsy construction, it’s probably worth passing. If most people are happy with the overall quality, then you can start getting into the details. Overall, there are plenty of great waffle irons under $100 that can produce evenly cooked perfect waffles every time, so this should be your baseline.
What are Your Waffle Preferences?
Whatever type of iron you are getting, there are some fundamental categories that can limit the amount of shopping you have to do.
Some people like thin round waffles that break into wedges. Others prefer waffles that are big thick squares in the Belgian tradition, and some people want a waffle shaped like Mickey Mouse. The right shape may be your most constraining factor, so keep that in mind.
Time is a big point of control over waffle machines. If you are cooking lots of waffles for a hungry family first thing in the morning, you probably want a waffle iron that can turnaround a lot of fluffy goodness in a short time. Look at how long the waffle iron takes to heat up, and how long it takes to cook a waffle.
Other factors can affect the time needed as well. It might be easier to opt for a machine that cranks out larger waffles that you can split up rather than lots of small waffles for each person. Cleaning time may also slow you down.
Most waffle irons will require some cleaning or management for the batter that spills over. Some, like the flippable models, will have a tray underneath that catches any dripping, and the machine may even have a little trough outside the iron for excess spillover. Still, others have cooking trays that you can remove and clean separate from the machine. Whatever the design, the ease of cleaning the machine is worth considering.
What Extra Features are Worth the Money?
Once the basics are out of the way, there are still plenty of things a waffle iron can get right or wrong.
Most waffle irons are non-stick, so you shouldn’t have to worry about shopping for this. Some, however, have started using a ceramic cooking surface. In addition to being a little more durable and not requiring the use of Teflon, ceramic machines tend to heat and cook a little faster. If you can find a good model that meets all the previous standards and has a ceramic surface, it’s probably worth it!
Indicators and cooking settings are great additions that most waffle irons have in one form or another. Some have just a light to tell you when the iron is ready for cooking and tracking the actual cook time is up to you. Others have a light and a sound to tell you when the iron is hot and when the waffle is done. Paying more for these may or may not be worth it for you.
Finally, when buying a dedicated appliance, it’s worth considering how easy storage will be. The smaller your kitchen, the less room you have for waffles. Luckily, there are several solid waffle irons under $100 that can also be pretty compact or even stored vertically, making it easy to include.
There is a Whole World of Waffle Machines, Your Perfect Breakfast is Waiting!
The best waffle irons for under $100 will meet all of the basic requirements we discussed at the beginning, and do a decent job of meeting whatever expectations you have when it comes to issues like cook time and ease of cleaning. As long as the added features it provides do not lead to a sacrifice in waffle quality; then you are on track to a wonderful breakfast experience. Bon Appetit!