The Chef's Choice WafflePro Express, has been lauded by individual consumers and organizations, and for good reason. We were quite impressed with the quality of the waffles we produced time and again with this unit. They were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and cooked consistently from edge to edge, regardless of the recipe we used. This appliance pleased even the most persnickety waffle snobs. The texture was perfect.
The key to this waffle maker's consistency is probably related to the floating top plate, which ensures the same thickness all the way across the waffle. You also get a lot of choice with this waffler. There is a dial along the side that allows you to specify the texture you want. We found this dial to be very accurate. If you prefer a crisp, more uniform texture you can get it. If you like a waffle that retains a little more moisture you can get that too.
This unit removes a lot of the common annoyances that come with making waffles. An audio beeper lets you know when the waffles are done so you do not have to hover around the machine the whole time. We did not find the beeper to be 100 percent accurate but at least you know when to start checking the waffle. There is also a ready light so you know when the unit is heated up enough to cook.
WafflePro Express is nice if you are going to cook only intermittently. This machine stays ready for anything. When you remove a waffle you can refill immediately or let it idle. If you do not refill it right away the grids will cool slightly but they will reheat again quickly, over and over again, until you unplug the unit.
The only possible drawback is also a potential benefit, depending on your household – this waffle maker produces a pretty small finished product. It measures right around 6.5 inches across and is one of the thinnest waffles of the ones we made during testing. The small size can be awesome if you like to freeze them and toast them up later – big Belgian waffles won't fit in most toasters – but if you have a large crowd gathered around waiting for waffles, the relatively small size might be a drawback. If you'd prefer larger waffles, you might be interested in the Black & Decker. The machine is quite speedy, though, so that may make up for the somewhat-small size.
This device heats up and cooks fast. Waffle removal is also a breeze with this unit, even when you add sticky mix-ins like chocolate chips. It is easy to overfill the WafflePro Express, so the moat around the edge of the waffle is handy. That moat takes a little time to clean, and there is one crevice between the cooking plate and the machine that gets filled with batter that is a pain to clean, too. The actual waffle plates are easy to clean, though. Lots of the surfaces on waffle irons claim to be non-stick but this one really is.
The handles stay nice and cool but the outside surface of the machine gets uncomfortably hot when cooking. That was pretty common among the units we tested but it was still unpleasant every time we accidently touched the waffle machines without an oven mitt on. Even though the final waffle is sort of small, the WafflePro Express falls somewhere in the middle of the pack for size with its large base. With built-in cord storage and the ability to flip on its side for storage, this unit is very competitive in terms of our design wish list.
Chef's Choice is not overly impressive in terms of its support. The warranty for this product is one year, which is nothing special. There is a phone number you can use to contact the company if you have a problem, and the people who pick up the phone are friendly and helpful, though the only electronic means of communicating was with an online form for media only.
The Chef's Choice WafflePro Express produces a waffle that is practically perfect, if a little on the small side. It makes waffles quickly, though, and so it should be pretty easy to keep a crowd calm if you find yourself cooking for the whole family.