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[Amazon] $20 Credits on Dead Space 3 / Crysis 3 / SimCity / Army of Two (360/PS3/PC Disc)(r/GameDeals)
Alright, there are a few different directions you can take on this. I don’t know you or your wife (although you seem like wonderful people), so I’ll give you a quick overview of the myriad of options that lay ahead of you.
First off, you can’t go wrong with the “cheap but good” route. The best waffle iron (This is the term I will be using henceforth to refer to these products as a whole, as only peasants refer to them as “waffle makers.” I mean no offense by this, friend. My aim is to educate, not insult. Be warned that many companies refer to their waffle irons as waffle makers, and this is only to attempt to reach a wider audience. Those in the know call them by their proper names.) in this category would probably be the Proctor-Silex 26500Y. It’s relatively compact, has a “ready” indicator light, and it’s dead simple to use, even if that reflects a lack of advanced features. Its only big detractor is the somewhat unattractive exterior. Another option is the Cuisinart WMR-CA. It loses credibility in my book for using the “commoner” name, although Cuisinart is a decent brand. You can’t beat a 3-year warranty, and the stainless steel housing is attractive to say the least. The Oster CKSTWF2000 is the cheapest of the bunch, and the build quality feels like it, but it still makes good waffles. It’s got an adjustable temperature wheel so you can make delicious light and fluffy waffles for yourself and then make them overly crispy for your friend that crashed on your couch without asking first.
Next, there are advanced waffle irons. These usually have additional features, better build quality, and are usually more aesthetically pleasing (Though you’ll see from my examples, the latter isn’t always the case), but the price is often higher to account for the additional features. First up here is the West Bend 6201. It has an interesting rotating mechanism to cook both sides more evenly. The engineers behind this iron had the forethought to include a drip tray, ensuring your counters do not get covered in waffle batter. The Presto 03510 FlipSide follows the same logic of allowing you to flip your waffles, but also includes an LED countdown timer, allowing you to make waffles exactly to your liking. Also, I recognize this is subjective, but I prefer the flip motion of this to the West Bend, it feels more substantial; I’m taking a bigger part in making supreme waffles rather than changing the channel on an old television set. The downside to this iron is that it does not include a drip tray, and the design doesn’t easily allow for one, either. Waring makes a restaurant-grade iron, the Waring Pro WWM450PC, which rotates and gives you the browning control of some others, but also offers an audio signal to alert you when it is ready. You could play a prank on your wife over time using procedures Pavlov followed in his studies with dogs. After she is used to eating incredible waffles shortly after hearing that sound, she will get a craving for waffles from hearing that sound in the future, even if you’re not planning on making any! (Note: This prank will not work if your wife is a normal human being like most of us and is always craving waffles, alert sound or not) Cuisinart’s WAF-100 has the added benefit of cooking four waffles at one time, though they are only 4″ square, so I’m not sure if the size tradeoff is worth the additional waffle production. It does have a locking lid, which is helpful at keeping little ones from stealing your breakfast treats. It is very easy to keep neat when not in use, with integrated cord storage. The Proctor-Silex 26050 similarly cooks four at once, although I’m hesitant to recommend this product to anyone as it markets itself as a “family size” waffle iron. This is incredibly misleading, as four 4″ x 4 1/2″ waffles are not likely to feed most families. It also does not have any additional controls to perfect the cooking temperature, although the apparent strawberry ice cream in the product image looks delicious and has kept me from striking this iron from the list completely.
Rising higher in price, we find ourselves looking at luxury waffle irons. These may not actually make waffles that taste any better than those in the previous group, but they certainly let you look people in the eye and say “I care enough about waffles to spend $180 on a waffle iron.” Sometimes they have even more advanced features for the additional money, although that isn’t always the case. The Calphalon HE400WM is a great entry in this category. It makes four waffles at a time, has temperature control, LED indicators, a ready chime (which screams “luxury”), and has a 60-minute automatic shutoff. This is personal opinion coming through again, but I think it’s a really nice looking waffle iron to boot, maybe the nicest looking iron out there. Waring’s WMK600 lets you make two nice big waffles at once, also letting you rotate to cook them evenly. It has a rotary thermostat along with a browning control knob, multiple audio tones, and LEDs that separately inform you of the iron heating and being ready to accept batter. It’s somewhat of an eyesore, but doubling your waffle production is nothing to scoff at. Another respectable option is the KitchenAid Pro Line Series Waffle Baker. It rotates to craft two gorgeous waffles simultaneously and has a backlit display to provide important info. KitchenAid is a big player in quality kitchen appliances, and this is no exception. Of all the options for rotating waffle irons, I think KitchenAid’s offering is the most visually pleasing. It’s not easy to build something with this functionality that isn’t offensive to the eyes, but they have managed to accomplish this, and kudos to them for doing so. The last entry in the luxury category is the Chef’s Choice M850 Taste-Texture Select. This baby can pump out four waffles in anywhere from 90 to 120 seconds. It has texture adjustments, allowing you to pair the perfect taste with the perfect texture. It lets you independently adjust baking time and temperature for the four waffles, which makes it perfect if your wife likes them a little fluffier or crispier than you do. It renders all the “rotating” nonsense the other irons have useless via specially engineered plate design for even batter and temperature distribution. It has a “waffle ready” beeper (of course), and instant temperature recovery. There’s an overflow channel that makes it easy to clean up excess batter, and a built in cord storage compartment, making it easier to put away when you’re done (if the thing ever leaves your counter, that is). There’s an automatic countdown timer, a sleep mode, and one of the fastest heat-up times out there. If you want one recommendation, this would be it. It’s pricey, but worth every penny to a true waffle connoisseur.
The final category I hesitate to detail because quality usually suffers heavily, but their existence can’t be ignored: Novelty waffle irons. One of these that wouldn’t be a terrible choice is the Chef’s Choice 830 WafflePro. It makes fairly decent heart shaped waffles. Since it is for your wife, and Valentine’s Day is coming up, this might be a good choice. There’s honestly nothing more romantic than waffles, and the heart shapes are sure to make your wife swoon. Babycakes has another option for the romantic waffle chef, the Babycakes WM-42SS. It lets you cook waffles that are on popsicle sticks, which I’m vehemently against. It’s incredible awkward to eat from a popsicle stick horizontally, but if you hold the stick vertically, any delicious goodness held in the valleys of the waffle will drip and fall out. For those obsessed with making everything smaller, the Smart Planet MWM-1 makes five mini-waffles at a time. I really just see this as a waste of real estate that could be cooking waffles. I cannot comment on the taste. There are a few novelty waffle makers that have sillier shapes, which usually further affect the taste, so buyer beware, but I’ll list then anyway. There are two main offerings from Disney, the Disney DCM-1 that makes waffles in the shape of Mickey’s head, and the Disney DP-1, which makes a circle that has the word “Princess” with a crown/tiara underneath. I’d recommend that everyone stay far away from the second Disney iron, as that will provide a texture that is almost nothing like the waffles that we know and love. Mickey is preferred, although I’d still recommend something more traditional. Another option that I know very little about was front-paged on reddit today, called the “Waffle Zoo,” which I’ve found on Amazon as well: Waffle Zoo. I have never used this waffle iron, so I can only go off of what our customer review states, but this is apparently the “worst waffle maker ever.” If fun animal shapes are a requirement in your waffles, I’d hesitantly recommend the Bella Cucina 13467. It has two stars instead of one, and replaces the giraffe with a clown. The reviews aren’t much better, but they are better nonetheless. Really, though, I’d stay away from novelty waffle irons entirely.
Sorry I had to be so brief, hope this helps.