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Cuisinart WMR-CA Classic vs Hamilton Beach 26031 Side-by-Side Comparison

Matthew Lee
Matthew Lee
Reviewer
Nguyen Ntk
Nguyen Ntk
Visual Specialist
Reviewed
Tested Using Methodology v1.1
Updated Jan 13, 2023
Tested Using Methodology v1.1
Updated Jan 13, 2023
The silver Hamilton Beach 26031 Belgian waffle maker presented on a table alongside the user manual and its shipping box.
The Cuisinart WMR-CA Classic waffle maker on a table, with its instruction manual to the right and the shipping box it comes in to the left.

Our Verdict

8.3
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    6.9/10
  • Design (20%)
    9.7/10
  • Ease of Use (30%)
    9.7/10
7.8
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    7.2/10
  • Design (20%)
    7.7/10
  • Ease of Use (30%)
    8.8/10

The most crucial difference between the Hamilton Beach 26031 and the Cuisinart WMR-CA Classic is that they make two different kinds of waffles.

The Hamilton Beach has a larger and deeper set of waffle plates that can serve you Belgian-style waffles. In contrast, the Cuisinart WMR-CA’s waffle plates are far smaller and shallower, producing a thinner waffle that’s usually called “classic-style.”

However, due to its larger size, the Hamilton Beach also took a long time to cook. In our self-made recipe test, the Hamilton Beach 26031 took 5 minutes to finish cooking. Meanwhile, the Cuisinart WMR-CA only needed 2 minutes.

Overall, if you need a budget and simple classic-style waffle maker that does the job, the Cuisinart WMR-CA is a good choice. But if you have the budget for an excellent Belgian-style waffle maker, consider the Hamilton Beach 26031.

Almost Excellent

Hamilton Beach 26031 Waffle Maker’s Performance

Cuisinart Classic Waffle Maker’s Performance: Bad At First, Redeemed Later!
6.9
Performance Scores
  • Self-Mixed Recipe (50%)6.8/10
  • Birch Benders Mix (50%)7.1/10
7.2
Performance Scores
  • Self-Mixed Recipe (50%)6.7/10
  • Birch Benders Mix (50%)7.7/10
6.8

Self-Mixed Recipe

6.7
Hamilton Beach 26031 Self-Made Recipe Video
The dark brown top of a waffle cooked by the Hamilton Beach 26031 waffle maker in 5 minutes.
The mottled, dark brown bottom of a waffle cooked by the Hamilton Beach 26031 waffle maker in 5 minutes.
The interior of the 5-minute waffle cooked by the Hamilton Beach 26031 is shown, revealing large air cavities.
The waffle made by the Hamilton Beach 26031 in 5-minute is torn up by hands to test for consistency and texture.
Color: 6.3
35% * 6.3 = 2.2
Texture: 7
25% * 7 = 1.8
Taste: 7
40% * 7 = 2.8
  • Heat Level: Between 1 and 2
  • Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Right away, we assessed the color of the waffle to be fairly disappointing. The color distribution was uneven, with light and dark spots mingling randomly on the crust. Texturally, the waffle was also unremarkable. The aeration rate was minimal, resulting in a rather dense waffle. But scoring picked up slightly in the taste department. Our chef rated the Hamilton Beach’s waffle sufficiently tasty for breakfasts and other light meals.

Color (35%) —6.3/10

  • Color result: Dark brown (Both)
  • Color distribution: Even

Both sides have roughly the same color shading. However, as a whole, both sides have uneven coloration. We noticed one side of the waffle tends to be more cooked than the rest of the waffle to the point of having a dark brown tone. Fortunately, this discolored patch wasn’t so cooked that it’s charred.

Dark spots tend to concentrate inside the wells of the waffle, too, giving the waffle a mottled appearance.

Texture (25%) — 7/10

  • Texture: Excellent
  • Aeration level: High, the interior was filled with large air cavities

The waffle’s interior doesn’t aerate well. Cutting it open, we observed the core to have a very dense structure with few air bubbles. The result is a sub-par waffle with a mushy texture rather than a soft, fluffy consistency like we hoped.

Taste (40%) — 7/10

  • Flavor: Sweet with hints of bitterness at charred spots
  • Mouthfeel: Soft, dry at charred spots

The taste was great, according to our chef. The Hamilton Beach 26031 was able to bring out the full flavor profile of the recipe. The waffle was buttery and sweet, with a hint of saltiness. Unfortunately, our chef assessed that it hadn't reached the point of being "restaurant-quality". Still, it will suffice for people wanting to cook quick breakfasts with this waffle maker.

Cuisinart WMR-CA Classic Self-Mixed Recipe Video
The very dark brown top crust of a waffle baked for 3 minutes using our self-mixed recipe.
The very dark brown top crust of a waffle baked for 3 minutes using our self-mixed recipe.
The cross-section of a waffle baked for 3 minutes, revealing small air cavities within the waffle’s interior.
The 3-minute waffle being torn by hand down the middle to test it for consistency and texture.
Color: 6.25
35% * 6.25 = 2.2
Texture: 7
25% * 7 = 1.8
Taste: 7
40% * 7 = 2.8
  • Heat Level: 3
  • Cooking Time: 3 minutes

The waffle has a bright color but noticeably lacks uniformity. Rings of burnt batter were stamped to the top and bottom of the waffle. The texture and taste were surprisingly decent. The interior has begun to fill with air bubbles, producing a soft, fluffy texture. And the taste—while not exceptional—was decent enough to make for a hearty breakfast.

Color (35%) — 6.25/10

  • Color result: Very dark brown (Both)
  • Color distribution: Uneven

After spending only 2 minutes in the waffle maker, our self-mixed waffle already achieved a dark gold — almost brown — color. Reaching this color after such a short stint and only half power suggests that the heating element must be extremely strong. This was further evidenced by the large circle of burnt batter on the top of the waffle.

Texture (25%) — 7/10

  • Texture: Mediocre
  • Aeration level: Medium, air bubbles have begun to fill the interior

The interior of the waffle has started to aerate. Thanks to this, the waffle had a soft, almost fluffy texture. But the size of the bubbles was small, and their number was few compared to the waffles we had baked with other models. This led us to believe that the overall texture of the waffle could be improved further.

Taste (40%) — 7/10

  • Flavor: Bland, unexceptional. Still tastes like raw batter.
  • Mouthfeel: Dry on the outside, mushy on the inside

Flavor-wise, the waffle was great. The sugar and salt in the batter were converted into a delectable sweetness with a slight hint of savoriness. Combined with the buttery aftertaste, the waffle was quite delicious.

The mouthfeel was unexceptional. As we mentioned earlier, we believed that the Cuisinart WMR-CA hadn’t managed to unlock the full potential of the batter here. It could be far softer and fluffier.

7.1

Birch Benders Mix

7.7
Hamilton Beach 26031 Birch Benders Mix Video
The light gold top of a waffle cooked by the Hamilton Beach 26031 waffle maker in 6 minutes using the Birch Benders mix.
The light gold bottom of a waffle cooked by the Hamilton Beach 26031 waffle maker in 6 minutes using the Birch Benders mix.
A close-up of the interior of the waffle cooked by the Hamilton Beach 26031 in 6 minutes, filled with air bubbles and small cavities.
The 6-minute waffle of the Hamilton Beach 26031 is torn in half by hands to test for the consistency and texture.
Color: 6.5
35% * 6.5 = 2.3
Texture: 6.5
25% * 6.5 = 1.6
Taste: 8
40% * 8 = 3.2
  • Heat Level: Between 1 and 2
  • Cooking Time: 5 minutes

The coloration of the waffle made using the Birch Benders mix was a very light gold tone, giving it an undercooked-looking appearance. And indeed, the interior wasn’t as developed as the last waffle made in the test with the self-made recipe. However, our chef rated this waffle to be tastier overall.

Color (35%) — 6.5/10

  • Color result: Very light gold (Both)
  • Color distribution: Uneven

At these optimal conditions, the pre-made mix gave us a more attractively colored waffle than did our self-made recipe. It had a nicer blonde tone that looked much more inviting. However, the color uniformity isn’t as good as we had hoped. The waffle maker was unable to maintain an even color throughout — one half looked lighter than the other.

Texture (25%) — 6.5/10

  • Texture: Mediocre
  • Aeration level: Medium, air bubbles could be seen, but haven’t fully bloomed to their full sizes

Texture was significantly improved compared to the waffle produced using our self-made batter. The inside of the waffle appeared well-developed, with air bubbles filling out the waffle’s structure. That resulted in a very soft and pliable waffle. However, it wasn’t aerated enough to hide the slight mushy texture.

Taste (40%) — 8/10

  • Flavor: Sweet, no hint of bitterness
  • Mouthfeel: Soft and pliant, slightly mushy

Our chef awarded the Hamilton Beach 26031 a good score for this category. The aesthetically-pleasing coloring and the soft texture made for a pleasant tasting experience. In terms of flavor, the waffle was sweet. Since it didn’t have any charred patches, that flavor profile was consistent and never bitter. Unfortunately, the slight mushiness of the waffle negatively impacted its scoring a little.

Cuisinart WMR-CA Classic Birch Benders Mix Video
The golden brown bottom crust of a waffle baked in 3 minutes using a batter made from the Birch Benders mix.
The bottom golden crust of a waffle baked for 4 minutes using a batter made from the Birch Benders mix.
A cross-section of a waffle, revealing the large air cavities and air bubbles inside.
A waffle is torn down the middle to test for its consistency and texture. The core of the waffle is revealed.
Color: 7.5
35% * 7.5 = 2.6
Texture: 7.5
25% * 7.5 = 1.9
Taste: 8
40% * 8 = 3.2
  • Heat Level: 3
  • Cooking Time: 4 minutes

The waffle’s coloring is excellent in this taste. An appealing golden-brown crust covers both sides of the waffle uniformly. The interior has filled out nicely with air bubbles and becomes soft and pliant. However, it’s still slightly mushy in certain parts. It is flavorful and without a trace of bitterness.

Color (35%) - 7.5/10

  • Color result: Light brown (Both)
  • Color distribution: Even

The pre-made mix managed to bring out more of this machine’s potential. After 4 minutes, the waffle maker produced a beautiful waffle with a light golden tone, highlighted by faint pockets of browning near the center.

Color uniformity was also good. But for a faint brown circle on the upper surface, its light golden brown tone was spread evenly throughout the entire waffle. We’re pretty sure the brown was caused by the unit’s powerful heating element, and is the main reason the WMA-CA lost points in this category. In contrast, the distribution of color at the bottom was almost perfect.

Texture (25%) — 7.5/10

  • Texture: Good
  • Aeration level: High, air bubbles were large and well-developed

The waffle filled out well. Its interior ended up nicely aerated, and we found large bubbles when we cut the waffle open. In terms of texture, it was soft and fluffy. Regrettably, our chef assessed the waffle to be still slightly mushy, so its score took a hit.

Taste (40%) - 8/10

  • Flavor: Sweet, slightly salty (due to the mix). No bitterness.
  • Mouthfeel: Soft and spongy. Slightly mushy.

The waffle received a high score from our chef. The crust reached just the right level of crispiness, and the inside was reasonably soft. The batter had fully developed on the inside, unleashing its complete flavor profile. However, as previously mentioned, our chef still noticed a faint hint of mushiness.

Hamilton Beach Belgian Waffle Maker’s Design

Cuisinart WMR CA Round Classic Waffle Maker’s Design
9.7
design Scores
  • Build Quality (60%)9.5/10
  • Waffle Plates (30%)10/10
  • Control Panel (10%)10/10
7.7
design Scores
  • Build Quality (60%)8.0/10
  • Waffle Plates (30%)7.0/10
  • Control Panel (10%)8.0/10

What’s In the Box of the Hamilton Beach Waffle Maker?

What’s In the Box of the Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker
The Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian waffle maker (26031) is on a table next to the included drip tray and the user manual.
  • Waffle maker’s body
  • Two (2) Belgian-style grid plates
  • One (1) removable drip tray
  • User manual

Within the shipping box, you get the waffle maker itself, two (2) removable Belgian-style waffle plates, a drip tray, and the manual.

The waffle maker comes wrapped in a protective plastic bag with some thick foam blocks as padding. Other accessories are only wrapped in plastic without extra padding.

While simple plastic wrap is okay for the plastic drip tray and manual, we felt some concern for the waffle plates. Since they’re made from brittle ceramic, we would appreciate a little padding for them too.

The Cuisinart WMR-CA, with its stainless steel top and black plastic detailing, sitting next to its instructional manual.
  • Waffle maker
  • User manual

In its small shipping box you will find just the WMR-CA waffle maker and the user manual. It doesn’t come with any extra accessories.

Dimensions of Hamilton Beach Flip Belgian Waffle Maker

Dimensions
The Hamilton Beach 26031 on a table with measured dimensions marked next to it, the length is displayed as 16.5 inches, width is 8 inches, and height is 8.7 inches.
The Hamilton Beach 26031 on a table with measured dimensions marked next to it, the length is displayed as 16.5 inches, width is 8 inches, and height is 8.7 inches.
Hamilton Beach 26031 Dimension Video
  • Length:
    16.5" (41.9 cm)
  • Width:
    8.0" (20.3 cm)
  • Height:
    8.7" (22.1 cm)
  • Weight:
    3.1 lbs (1.4 kg)

Because the Hamilton Beach 26031 is a flip-style waffle maker, it is taller than your average non-flip model. At just over 9 inches tall, there’s ample clearance for the plates to smoothly turn.

The machine weighs 3.06 pounds, which is about average for a waffle maker.

For easier storage, it comes with a foldable handle.

The Cuisinart WMR-CA’s dimensions are measured with its length being 9.7 inches, height 3.3 inches, and width 7.9 inches.
  • Length:
    9.7" (24.6 cm)
  • Width:
    7.9" (20.1 cm)
  • Height:
    3.3" (8.4 cm)
  • Weight:
    1.0 lbs (0.5 kg)

The compact size of the WMR-CA is an advantage in terms of storage. It will fit snugly in a small cupboard. Since it doesn’t take up a lot of space, you can also leave it on the kitchen island.

At 1 pound, the WMR-CA is lightweight. You can bring it in and out of storage with ease.

9.5

Build Quality

8.0
A close-up shot of the Hamilton Beach Belgian waffle maker (26031) control panel section made from black plastic, with the browning control knob and the indicator lights in focus.

The housing of the Hamilton Beach 26031 is made from brushed stainless steel. All other parts, including the control panel, handle, and raised base, are black plastic. There are rubber feet at the bottom to keep the waffle maker from slipping.

The numerous plastic parts in the 26031’s design are a drawback in terms of durability. The important components like the handle lock, spin lock, and waffle plate latches are made of simple molded plastic. They may not last as long as metal or metal-reinforced parts and are more prone to breakage or cracking.

The back end of the Cuisinart WMR-CA. Internal electric wiring and circuit boards can be seen through a gap.
The back end of the Cuisinart WMR-CA. Internal electric wiring and circuit boards can be seen through a gap.
Cuisinart WMR-CA Build Quality Video

The exterior shell of the waffle maker is made from brushed metal. All external parts are made from plastic, except for the waffle plates.

Cuisinart benefited greatly from the WMR-CA model’s simple design. There appear to be no significant design flaws. We didn’t find any part that was poorly tooled, either.

While it’s not a sophisticated or high-end design, all parts of the WMR-CA fit together and — more importantly — work together well.

There were a few minor annoyances, though. The metallic exterior is prone to fingerprint smudges and scratches. The metal went from pristine to worn after only a few days in the lab. It’s not difficult to wipe off the smears with some mild detergent, but the scratches remain.

10

Waffle Plates

7.0
An overview of the bronze-colored, Belgian-style waffle plates of the Hamilton Beach Flip waffle maker 26031.
An overview of the bronze-colored, Belgian-style waffle plates of the Hamilton Beach Flip waffle maker 26031.
A close-up of the bronze-color, Belgian-style waffle plate of the Hamilton Beach flip Belgian waffle maker 26031.
A close-up of the yellow waffle plate release latch on the top handle of the Hamilton Beach waffle maker with removable plates 26031.
The gray, metallic heating elements of the Hamilton Beach 26031 is revealed after the ceramic, bronze-colored waffle plates are taken off.
  • Number of Plates:
    2
  • Grid Pattern:
    Belgian-style
  • Plate Area:
    50.27 inch2
  • Plate Length:
    8.0" (20.3 cm)
  • Plate Width:
    8.0" (20.3 cm)
  • Material:
    Cast aluminum
  • Non Stick Coating:
    Yes
  • Removable:
    Yes
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    Yes

The set of waffle plates is made from cast aluminum and is coated in a layer of ceramic non-stick (Durathon®). The non-stick layer works excellently. We’ve never had to deal with a stick in all of our tests. Even the batch that came out undercooked and was still semi-liquid didn’t stick to the plates.

With the 26031 model, the two plates are copper-colored. If you get the 26030 model, the plates will be black. The difference between them is purely aesthetic. Both have the same design and identical performance.

Both plates are removable and are dishwasher-safe. You can remove the plates by working the yellow latches at the front of the waffle maker.

The Cuisinart WMR-CA with its lid opened, revealing the set of two black, non-stick-coated waffle plates.
The Cuisinart WMR-CA with its lid opened, revealing the set of two black, non-stick-coated waffle plates.
A close-up view of the Cuisinart WMR-CA’s waffle plate. It has classic-style patterning and is coated in black non-stick.
  • Number of Plates:
    2
  • Grid Pattern:
    Classic-style
  • Plate Area:
    47.78 inches2
  • Plate Length:
    7.8" (19.8 cm)
  • Plate Width:
    7.8" (19.8 cm)
  • Material:
    Cast iron
  • Non Stick Coating:
    Yes
  • Removable:
    No
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    No

The waffle plates are made from cast iron and coated with Teflon (PTFE), which is the non-stick layer.

Teflon is generally safe for use as a non-stick coating due to its relative inertness at average cooking temperatures. However, in special circumstances, the Teflon may become carcinogenic (if it’s heated beyond 570 ℉, for example).

Also, note that you should not use metal utensils on non-stick surfaces — they can scrape the coating off. The Teflon flakes aren’t harmful if you ingest them so long that it’s not overheating. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to try and keep the non-stick coating as intact as possible.

These waffle plates are designed to make classic-style waffles; they have shallower wells (the indents) compared to Belgian-style models. This is crucial information to know before you buy.

10

Control Panel

8.0
Close-up of Hamilton Beach 26031 control panel: browning dial and indicator lights with clear white markings on the side to inform you of their functions.
Close-up of Hamilton Beach 26031 control panel: browning dial and indicator lights with clear white markings on the side to inform you of their functions.
Hamilton Beach 26031 Control Panel video
  • Indicator Lights:
    Yes
  • Audible Alarm:
    No
  • Timer:
    No
  • Browning Control:
    Yes

For such a nice waffle maker, the control panel is very simplistic.

There are two indicator lights: a red POWER light and a green READY light. The POWER indicator turns on when the waffle maker is plugged in. Once it reaches the optimal cooking temperature, the READY light will illuminate. The latter will continuously cycle on and off during cooking as temperature fluctuates.

A second READY button can be found on the underside of the housing. It’s there for when you flip the waffle maker.

Underneath the indicator lights is the browning control dial. There are four settings: MIN, 1, 2, and 3. Each corresponds to a browning level, with MIN being the lightest and 3 being the darkest.

The control panel of the Cuisinart round classic waffle maker. There’s the silver browning control knob and indicator lights.
The control panel of the Cuisinart round classic waffle maker. There’s the silver browning control knob and indicator lights.
Cuisinart WMR-CA Control Panel
  • Indicator Lights:
    Yes
  • Audible Alarm:
    No
  • Timer:
    No
  • Browning Control:
    Yes

The control panel is bare-bones, befitting an entry-level waffle maker. You can use only a single slider at the front to adjust the temperature.

The slider is easy to manipulate, but there’s a lack of resistance. A light touch could push the slider out of the desired position.

The base features a pair of indicator lights beside the slider: a red POWER light and a green READY light.

The POWER indicator turns on when you plug in the waffle maker. The green READY light will turn on when it has reached the temperature you set using the temperature slider.

Hamilton Beach 26031 Belgian Waffle Maker’s Power Cord

Cuisinart WMR-CA Waffle Maker’s Power Cord
A close-up of the power cord of the Hamilton Beach 26031 waffle maker, focused on the prongs of the plug.
  • Plug Style:
    Type A (Flat Blade Attachment Plug)
  • Length:
    2.2 ft (0.7 m)
  • Cable Management:
    No

The power cord is quite short. It may be inconvenient if your kitchen doesn’t have many power outlets. In that case, an extension cord will prove useful.

The side profile of the Cuisinart WMR-CA waffle maker, with its power cord at the front.
The side profile of the Cuisinart WMR-CA waffle maker, with its power cord at the front.
Closed-up view of the Cuisinart WMR-CA’s power cord and its Type-A prongs.
  • Plug Style:
    Type A (Flat Blade Attachment Plug)
  • Length:
    3.0 ft (0.9 m)
  • Cable Management:
    No

The power cord measures x long. The short length can be a problem in some kitchens. There’s a good chance that you’ll have to resort to an extension cord if you don’t keep the waffle maker near an outlet.

Hamilton Beach 26031 Belgian's Drip Tray

Accessories: N/A
The removable black plastic drip tray of the Hamilton Beach 26031.
  • Material:
    Plastic
  • Removable:
    Yes
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    Yes

The drip tray is removable and goes into a slot directly under the waffle maker’s body. It is made from a lightweight, heat-resistant plastic. The tray is dishwasher-safe.

  • Material:
    N/A
  • Removable:
    N/A
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    N/A

The Cuisinart WMR-CA waffle maker doesn’t come with any extra accessories.

Ease of Use

Hamilton Beach Belgian Waffle Maker Review

Cuisinart WMR CA Round Classic Waffle Maker Review: Ease of Use
9.7
usability Scores
  • Handling (25%)9.5/10
  • Safety (40%)10/10
  • Cleanability (25%)9.5/10
  • Indicator Light Visibility (10%)9.0/10
8.8
usability Scores
  • Handling (25%)9.0/10
  • Safety (40%)8.9/10
  • Cleanability (25%)9.5/10
  • Indicator Light Visibility (10%)6.5/10
9.5

Handling

9.0

The Hamilton Beach 26031 handles well. Opening the waffle maker is simple, and the baking chamber's turning motion is smooth.

The only problem we encountered while testing this model was the lid-locking mechanism. When you flip the waffle maker back and forth, there’s a lock to prevent you from opening the lid during the turn or while it’s upside-down. Sometimes, the lid would remain locked in place even when we flipped the waffle maker upright and returned it to its original position.

Luckily, it’s not a difficult problem to solve. Just jiggle the lid a little, and the lock will disengage.

We noticed no significant problems while working with the WMR-CA. All the controls are easy to figure out, even without a user manual. Opening and closing the lid is easy and safe, thanks to the large handle at the front. The user will still be able to use the handle even after several cooking sessions.

The lid is solidly built. When open, the lid rests at a slightly backward-tilted angle. It won’t unexpectedly snap closed while you’re adding the batter.

We dropped the handling rating to a nine because the temperature control slider feels so loose.

10

Safety

8.9
The temperature on the control panel of the Hamilton Beach 26031 is being measured using a thermometer during a thermal safety test. The display reads 142.3°F.
The temperature on the control panel of the Hamilton Beach 26031 is being measured using a thermometer during a thermal safety test. The display reads 142.3°F.
The temperature on the cool-touch handle of the Hamilton Beach 26031 is being measured using a thermometer during a thermal safety test. The display reads 90.3°F.
The temperature on the Hamilton Beach 26031’s base is being measured using a thermometer during a thermal safety test. The display reads 88.3°F.
  • Top Side Temperature:
     142°F
  • Bottom Side Temperature:
    90°F
  • Handle Temperature:
     88°F

We assessed the safety level of this waffle maker to be high. The top side doesn’t get too hot during or after cooking. Thanks to the elongated handle, you can open and close the lid without heat from the waffle plates radiating onto your hand the way many other models do.

After a few cooking sessions, we recorded a temperature of 152.2°F in the control panel section. It’s merely warm, not hot.

The other parts, like the base and the handle, remained at room temperature. They were perfectly safe to touch.

The temperature of the Cuisinart WMR-CA’s cool-touch handle is measured using a thermometer. The screen reads 96.4°F.
The temperature of the Cuisinart WMR-CA’s cool-touch handle is measured using a thermometer. The screen reads 96.4°F.
The temperature of the top lid of the Cuisinart WMR-CA is measured using a thermometer. The screen reads 181.7°F.
The temperature of the Cuisinart WMR-CA’s base is measured using a thermometer. The screen reads 94.1°F.
  • Top Side Temperature:
    181.7°F
  • Bottom Side Temperature:
    94°F
  • Handle Temperature:
    96.4°F

The Cuisinart WMR-CA received an excellent safety score. Even after multiple cooking sessions, the control panel and the handle don’t become too hot.

We recorded the handle’s temperature at 96.4°F, only slightly above room temperature.

The upper shell of the waffle maker gets quite hot, though. The metal conducts heat very well, so it could become hot enough to give you a burn after a waffle or two. The plastic piece at the top can also become hot enough to cause a burn. We recorded a temperature of 181.7°F.

We’re able to touch the bottom side of the waffle maker without feeling any heat at all. It measured a comfortable 94°F.

9.5

Cleanability

9.5
Hamilton Beach 26031 Cleanability

In terms of cleanability, the Hamilton Beach 26031 gets a rare near-perfect score.

The included drip tray does a great job at catching spilled waffle batter. Since it is made from smooth plastic, dried batter doesn’t stick to the tray. It can be washed off easily with water alone — no soap required.

You can remove the waffle plates and put them into a dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, just rinse them with tap water. The non-stick layer should prevent dried batter and debris from collecting, so a cursory wash is usually all that’s needed to get them spick and span again.

We were able to clean the waffle maker’s body and most of its parts with only tissues and a dry cloth. The only section that was a challenge to clean was the space around the waffle-plate latches. Dried batter can infiltrate deep into the tiny details surrounding the latches, making it very hard to clean thoroughly.

Cuisinart WMR-CA Cleanability

The WMR-CA is relatively easy to clean. The dry batter will come off with a few spritzes of detergent and a little scrubbing.

On the inside, the non-stick layer makes it very easy to clean.

For the most part, all we had to do was run a dry cloth through the waffle plates’ grid pattern to pick up the gunk. However, the narrow indents can be hard to reach.

9.0

Indicator Light Visibility

6.5
A close-up of the lit-up indicator lights of the Hamilton Beach 26031. Both the green READY light and the red POWER light are on.
A close-up of the lit-up indicator lights of the Hamilton Beach 26031. Both the green READY light and the red POWER light are on.
A view of the green READY light at the back of the Hamilton Beach 26031 when it’s flipped over.

All three indicator lights (two on top and one on the bottom) are bright. In low-light or normal lighting conditions, the bulbs can be seen clearly. Even under harsh studio lighting, we still didn’t have any issue with them.

The indicator lights at the front of the Cuisinart WMR-CA, left is the red POWER light and right is the green READY light.

This model’s indicator lights are dim. They are difficult to see under harsh studio lights or bright sunlight. However, both the red and green lights should be easy to see in the average kitchen.