I believed the waffle maker and waffle iron were the same, with the terms often used interchangeably. However, it turns out there is a difference between a waffle maker and a waffle iron.
Both of the appliances are great for preparing crispy and fluffy waffles. The distinction is the process of how they cook waffles. A waffle maker is an electronic kitchen appliance and requires electricity to cook waffles. A waffle iron does not demand any electric outlet and can be placed over a fire or a stove to prepare waffles.
This is the significant difference between the two, but there is more. Read on to understand the advantages and disadvantages, giving you a clear picture of how both function and which one you should purchase according to your needs and wants.
Waffle maker vs waffle iron – A quick comparison
If you’re not much of a reader and want to jump straight into understanding quickly what the differences are, below is a quick comparison in a table format.
|Waffle Maker||Waffle Iron|
| + Requires an electric outlet to prepare waffles|| + It is not an electric device and can cook waffles on a stove or campfire |
| + Easy to use||+ Using a waffle iron demands practice and bits of patience |
|+ It offers a variety of functions such as timer, light indicator, browning control, etc.||+ Everything is manual, and you need to calculate the estimated time to cook waffles. You need to pay attention |
|+ The plates are heated evenly||+ You may have to flip the waffle iron so that both the plates are heated evenly |
|+Requires a bit of effort to clean||+ Straightforward cleaning process |
|+ It is an electronic device, and depending on the quality of the waffle maker, it may last up to five years||+ Durable and can last for a long time |
|+ For home use only||+ Suitable for camping trips |
Waffle maker vs waffle iron – An in-depth comparison
If you want to purchase a waffle cooking device and are still unsure if you want a waffle maker or a waffle iron, here is a complete guide to help you make the right decision and what to look for when buying a waffle maker or waffle iron.
Whether you’re an inexperienced home chef or someone with a skilled waffle making background, there are certain things you should look for:
Usability is a vast term that further includes critical details. It is not limited to how you will use the product but how easy it will be for you to use it.
To sum it up, usability involves and is not limited to efficiency, ease of navigation, visual clarity.
Consider yourself as a novice if you aren’t one. I have already explained that a waffle maker is an electronic gadget, and a waffle iron is not. Visualize that you have both of these in front of you. As a novice, which one of them justifies the term usability?
In my opinion, the answer is the waffle maker. It is an electronic gadget with tons of features to cook waffles. At first glance, you will notice that it is easy to use. The timer, light indicator, browning control, and other functions will quickly help you navigate your way to cook the perfect waffle. When you plug in the waffle maker and allow it to preheat, it will calculate the exact time needed to reach the ideal temperature. A waffle maker is smart, helping you prepare the best crispy and crunchy waffles you have ever tasted.
In short, a waffle maker is easy to operate and doesn’t require any cooking skills.
If we compare a waffle maker with a waffle iron, it doesn’t have any of the mentioned usability features described above. So why would anyone even consider purchasing it? Well, it all depends on how you intend to use it.
Why do you want one? Do you want to treat yourself to waffles every Sunday, or are you an adventurer going on weekend camping trips?
If you only want to have waffles for breakfast, you should purchase a waffle maker. It will make your life easy, speed up the cooking time, and requires little to no supervision.
If you like to go on camping trips and enjoy a delicious waffle for breakfast, you need a waffle iron. It doesn’t require electricity; get the campfire started, heat the waffle maker, pour in the waffle batter, and you’re good to cook.
3.) Easy to clean
Both the waffle maker and the waffle iron are easy to clean. But if we talk about quick cleaning that requires minimum effort, it is the waffle iron.
A waffle iron is dishwasher-friendly. If you are washing it by hand, you don’t have to pay any special attention. Drizzle the dishwashing liquid and start scrubbing to the waffle iron with the help of a sponge.
Waffle makers are also easy to clean, but you have to do it by hand. It is an electronic kitchen appliance, so you can’t throw it in the dishwasher. If the plates are removable, you are in luck. Take them out and wash them in the sink. If not, you have to be careful when cleaning the plates with soapy water and not let the water seep into the wiring. Purchase a waffle maker with non-stick plates because they are easy to clean.
The life span of the waffle maker depends on the quality and the brand purchased. Usually, a waffle maker can last an average of five years or more, depending on how you use it.
The waffle iron, on the other hand, is durable. It isn’t a machine that includes any electronic components. Therefore, there is no wear and tear and no warranty for how long the parts will last. The waffle iron, if taken care of can last for a long time. The only thing you need to maintain is the surface. As time goes by, the exterior will crack. You need to remove the rust and scrub the broken pieces away to prevent contaminating the waffle batter.
The material of the waffle iron makes it heavy compared to a waffle maker. Waffle makers are lighter and easier to handle.
Even though a waffle iron is a heavy piece of waffle cooking appliance, it does not make it difficult to use. Many people carry it in their backpacks when they go camping.
A waffle maker takes up a good amount of space, especially if you have bought a fancy one that comes with a drip tray. It is an electronic kitchen appliance, so you have to be careful about how and where you store it. It needs to be kept in a proper position. You should read the manual on the best way to store it.
Consider your waffle iron as the average frying pan. There are no specific requirements on how to store it. Put it along with your other cookware, stacked on top of each other, nothing more, nothing less.
How to use a waffle iron?
If you are interested in buying a waffle iron, you should know who to use it. It is not a smart kitchen appliance, and this means there are no timers or beepers to assist you in preheating and cooking waffles. You need to know how long the waffle iron will take to preheat and the time the waffles need to be ready without burning them. Here are some essential tips you need to master.
1.) You need to coat the plates with oil or melted butter to prevent the waffle batter from sticking.
2.) The waffle iron handle may become hot, so you need to wear oven mitts.
3.) It takes approximately 10 minutes to preheat the waffle iron. Set the flame to medium, not high. A cast waffle iron conducts heat evenly, but it is best to flip it a few times so that the fire touches both sides.
4.) Have a test waffle batter ready. When the waffle iron is ready, pour the test waffle batter and check how the waffles turn out. They should be crispy, fluffy, and golden.
5.) Wait for the signal before you take the waffles out. The sign is the steam released from the waffle iron. When the steam no longer escapes, open the lid, check the status of your waffles and take them out.
6.) You should also flip your waffle iron so that the batter touches the top and bottom of the plates and will be cooked evenly from both sides.
7.) If the waffle irons release a lot of smoke when you open the lid, this means it is too hot, and there is a risk of burning your waffles. You need to adjust the cooking time and heat. Remove the waffle iron from the fire for a few minutes to let it cool down, and put it back again before you pour the waffle batter.
For home use, the waffle maker is an obvious choice. It is easy and convenient to use. You only need to plug in the devices, and the waffle maker will do everything for you. However, if you’re a fan of old and gold or an outdoor person, you should purchase a waffle iron, as it runs without electricity.