The flimsy craftsmanship of the waffle maker became immediately evident, with exposed electrical wires and poorly put-together details.
Fortunately, the non-stick Teflon plates proved to be a saving grace. They worked very well and saved us quite some time and effort during the clean-up. We also like the clicky, tactile browning control dial on the Oster waffle maker’s control panel. It’s quite satisfying to use.
The Nostalgia MWF5AQ is quite impressive out of the box with its eye-catching "Aqua" light blue color. The plastic construction is expected from such an affordable and compact model, but it doesn't feel cheap.
One drawback to this product is that it lacks a control panel. You only get an indicator light at the top, which helps you track the cooking process.
The Oster waffle maker struggled greatly during our safety tests. After a couple of cooking sessions, we noticed that every surface of the machine became dangerously hot. This, combined with its mediocre build quality and many build quality issues like exposed wiring in the back, pushed us to give it a failing grade.
The control panel indicator lights were very hard to read under bright light, leaving us with an awkward handling experience.
Its only redeeming factor is cleanability. The plates are easy to clean off, thanks to their non-stick coating. The materials of the body also don’t grip onto the batter, so we were able to wipe it down just with some mild detergent and a soft cloth.
The Nostalgia is extremely easy to use since it has no control panel — wait until the top indicator light signals that your plates are heated, then pour in the batter and begin cooking.
Safety is a concern, as with most mini models we’ve tested. After a few cooking sessions, the whole waffle maker becomes piping hot. To handle it, you need to wear oven mitts.
Cleanability is great. The plastic housing doesn’t grip aggressively onto the dried batter. The non-stick coating on the waffle plates also works very well to prevent messy batter residues.
The Oster waffle maker failed to impress in both waffle test recipes. All the waffles we baked with it were undercooked or burnt. Even after a dozen different test sessions, we still haven’t seen a waffle that’s right between these extremes baked by the Oster.
Taste is a game of chance with the Oster waffle maker, but it often disappoints more than pleases.
To our surprise, the Nostalgia MWF5AQ proved to be one of the top performers in the mini category within our database. In our self-mixed recipe, the waffle that it churned out was delicious, according to our chef. While the waffle it made with the Birch Benders mix wasn’t quite as good in most respects (besides texture), it’s still considered palatable.
Pros & Cons
- Performs decently in our test with Birch Benders mix
- Fairly compact design makes for easier storage
- Responsive temperature control dial
- Surprisingly decent cooking performance for the price
- High build quality; solid lid hinges
- Waffle plates’ non-stick coating performs excellently
- Unremarkable performance in our test with our self-mixed waffle batter
- Bad build quality
- Exposed electronics could be safety hazards
- Very dim indicator lights
- No control feature
- Oven mitts are required for handling
The Oster Belgian waffle maker and the Nostalgia MWF5AQ belong to a class we call “ultra-affordable.” They’re the cheapest in their respective classes.
But, looking at the test results for the two models, it’s clear that not all cheap waffle makers are built the same.
The Nostalgia MWF5AQ mini waffle maker has a markedly better cooking performance than the Oster Belgian. Both sides of the 4-inch waffles were relatively even, and while the texture and taste weren’t spectacular, they were acceptable for the price.
Meanwhile, the Oster Belgian waffle maker can make larger 7-inch waffles. However, due to an unstable heating element, the finished waffle usually had bad coloration. It could be cooked on one side, but undercooked on the other. Our chef also rated the texture and taste of Oster’s waffles to be mediocre.
Overall, between the two, we lean more toward the Nostalgia MWF5AQ.
Behind the Comparison
Matthew Lee is a writer and editor for HealthyKitchen101. With over 8 years working for various outlets and agencies, specializing in tech review and other subjects of note, such as current affairs.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef passionate about delicious and healthful foods. At HealthyKitchen101, she develops recipes and collaborates with our Research, Testing, and Review lab to evaluate the performance of cooking appliances. Her assessments add a strong authoritative voice to our product scoring process.
Lap is Head of the Research, Testing, and Review Team (RTR Team) at HealthyKitchen101.com, where he directs and supervises the testing of kitchen gadgets and appliances.