All of the waffle makers we tested were able to produce waffles, from homemade recipes, from mixes, and in large quantities. The All-Clad Classic Round stood out in several ways, though, especially in terms of consistency. It cooked waffles perfectly from edge to edge, every time, regardless of which type of batter. The waffles were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. This unit was also easy to set up, use and clean, with a list of features that make it worth its higher price tag.
We tested this All-Clad with multiple waffle recipes: from scratch with nothing mixed in, with fresh blueberries mixed in, with mini-chocolate chips mixed in, and on two basic mixes that require just water, or just oil and water. Every time the quality of the final waffle was impressive and practically perfect with the Classic Round. Lots of competitors cooked waffles that were good in one section of the waffle and bad in others, or they worked well on some types of batter but not others. This one was consistently excellent in any circumstance.
There is a browning dial that is very accurate so you can choose from seven different levels of crispness. They all produce the type of waffles you want, every time. One of the keys to this unit's success is likely the unique steam release system that vents through the top rather than out the sides so there is no build-up of condensation. That prevents the dreaded soggy waffle.
The features on this waffle iron make it so easy to use. A light comes on when it is warm enough to accept batter, removing some of the guesswork that older machines inspired, and a ready-to-eat audio beep is accurate and very helpful. It means you do not have to sit and fret over the waffles, or even set a timer because you can hear when they are done. They were generally done to perfection when the machine indicated they were.
This unit makes thinner, American-style waffles that are done in about three minutes in most cases so you may not even notice that the final waffle is slightly smaller than most, unless you are trying to feed a large crowd. You can churn them out quickly.
For those that prefer the thicker waffles, All-Clad makes a Belgian-style unit that is very similar in design, and more expensive. If you are a waffle purist you will be happier with the Classic Round, though.
All waffle makers have a non-stick surface but only a few of them met our standard for that label. The Classic Round from All-Clad is one of them. The waffles come off easily. We never had a waffle split, even if we peeked at one a little early and even up against sticky mix-ins like blueberries we found very little sticking to the surfaces after cooking. The outer shell of the machine stays pretty warm, but did not get as dangerously hot as some of the others, and the handle stays cool. That cannot be said of all the units we tried.
Initial assembly was a cinch, though we were initially puzzled by the metal knobs that lock the unit closed for storage. The Classic Round heats up pretty fast – in about six minutes – but we saw others that were faster. Clean-up was very convenient because there was so little batter stuck to the inside or outside. The few stray drops of batter were easy to wipe off, and unlike the stainless steel competitors, this one cleans all the way up without specialized cleaners. It looks like new when you are done.
The All-Clad Classic Round is compact and easy to store. It has a tiny footprint while in use but when you store it upright it is even smaller. A cord wrap underneath adds to the convenience for storage. The one design drawback is the metal knobs that hold the unit shut when you want to store it. Those get very hot and if you forget to unclip them before you start making waffles, watch out. They will burn fingers fast.
The two-year warranty is better than what you find with most competitors and it indicates a truth about this product – it is built to last. The only waffle maker to offer a better warranty was the Cuisinart. All-Clad stands by this product in other ways, too, including telephone support and an email contact. We got very fast and helpful responses to each inquiry we made.
All-Clad makes excellent quality products and the Classic Round waffle maker is no exception, but not everyone is passionate enough about waffles to pay this much. It costs about three times as much as basic waffle irons. That is worth it if you have a passion for the perfect waffle. If the soggy store-bought waffles make you unhappy, All-Clad Classic Round is going to be a great investment.