The Oster Belgian waffle maker is unimpressive even after we have given it many leeways for its entry-level price. Performance is mediocre, even approaching unacceptable at times. We've never once managed to make a waffle with bright, even coloration with the Oster. The same goes for texture and taste, which almost always turn out to be mushy and bland.
It doesn't do well in other departments, either. Design-wise, the waffle maker has awful build quality. It's evidenced through the poorly-tooled parts and exposed electronics at the back.
Besides its cheap pricing and good usability, thanks to the simplistic control panel, there isn't much about the Oster waffle maker that's worth praising.
Things We Like
- Performs decently in our test with Birch Benders mix
- Fairly compact design makes for easier storage
- Responsive temperature control dial
Things We Don’t Like
- Unremarkable performance in our test with our self-mixed waffle batter
- Bad build quality
- Exposed electronics could be safety hazards
- Very dim indicator lights
The Oster Belgian waffle maker is an attractive, budget-friendly option for those needing a good waffle maker that can do the job. Despite the low price point, Oster promises to deliver “restaurant-quality Belgian waffles.”
Is that claim legitimate? We’re not convinced. After testing the Oster waffle maker in our lab, here’s what we found out about this model.
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6.0Performance: Often Disappoint More than It Please
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.
The Oster didn’t do well in our performance test. The coloration of the waffle—with its blotchy, charred crust—was disappointing. Cutting it open, the waffle had a dense and under-developed interior. It translated to an underwhelming mouthfeel in the taste test. And because the batter was only half-cooked, the waffle still tasted like raw batter.
Color (35%) — 5/10
- Color result: Very dark brown - Dark gold (Both sides)
- Color distribution: Even
The waffle’s crust was darkly colored, especially within the wells of the waffle, which had dark brown to very dark brown coloring. Fortunately, while they may look charred, we didn’t see any carbonization when we closely looked at each well.
Outside the wells, the waffle was a rather beautiful dark gold. But it’s still not enough for us to give the waffle a higher score than a five.
Both sides have roughly the same color gradient.
Texture (25%) — 5/10
- Texture: Wet, mushy
- Aeration level: Low
Despite the burnt-looking crust, the interior of the waffle wasn’t as well-developed as we had hoped. Air bubbles were visible, but they were small and few. Furthermore, the waffle’s core was dense and slightly mushy.
Taste (50%) — 5.5/10
- Taste: Bland, bitter at charred spots.
- Mouthfeel: Dry on the outside, mushy on the inside
The contrast between the overcooked outside and the undercooked inside makes for a disappointing tasting experience. There was a hint of the batter’s sweetness and buttery taste. However, the tastiness was ruined by the bitterness of the burnt crust and the egg-like taste of the undercooked core.
Ultimately, our chef rated the Oster waffle maker 5 out of 10.
6.8Birch Benders Mix
Although color distribution is uneven, the brighter and more palatable color tones are a big step up. The interior has developed this time, resulting in a soft and fluffy waffle. Our chef also highly rated the waffle taste, appreciating its sweetness and velvety texture, comparing it to the waffles baked by the Cuisinart WMR-CA and DASH Mini.
Color (35%) — 6.3/10
- Color result: Very light gold and dark brown (Both)
- Color distribution: Uneven
Coloration is slightly better this time around with the pre-made mix. Unfortunately, the difference between this one and the earlier sample made from our self-mixed batter isn’t drastic enough to give it a significant score boost.
The color tone is better with a nice golden brown shade at the center of the waffle. Surrounding the center is a noticeable “ring” of burnt batter that ruins the aesthetic of the waffle. Out along the edges, the crust there has a light gold of undercooked batter.
It’s because of this unequal distribution of colors is the reason why it doesn’t get a higher score in this segment.
Texture (25%) — 6.5/10
- Texture: Mediocre
- Aeration level: Medium; air bubbles were beginning to form, but their sizes were still small
Texture is acceptable. Despite the unattractive coloring, the inside of the waffle has nicely developed. The aeration process has formed a lot of tiny air bubbles on the inside, creating a soft, fluffy texture. Although it is not excellent, the texture of this one is at least acceptable.
Taste (50%) — 7.5/10
- Flavor: Sweet
- Mouthfeel: Soft, no excessively dry spots
Taste is the best part of this test. Compared to the earlier test done with self-mixed batter, the sample produced with the pre-made mix tastes better, according to our chef. Because there’s very minimal burnt spots, the flavor is sweet without any hint of bitterness. This, combined with the fluffy texture, creates a decently-tasting waffle that comes closer to the “restaurant-quality waffle” slogan that Oster has placed in its advertisements.
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.
In the Box
- Oster waffle maker
- User manual
In the box, you get the waffle maker and a simple user manual. There are no extra accessories. This is not surprising considering the budget price point of this waffle maker.
The Oster waffle maker is quite compact. Thanks to its size, it won’t take up much space on the countertop, and storage is easy. Notably, you can also store the waffle maker standing upright (vertical).
The stainless steel housing gives the Oster waffle maker a sharper, pricier look. However, the waffle maker’s rough edges are clearly revealed when you scrutinize it up close. Fingerprints can easily smudge the stainless steel surface. Even when you lightly scrape the surface with your fingernails, ugly scratches can appear on the metal.
After a couple of days in the lab, the top surface of the waffle maker lost its original shine. We couldn’t restore it even after several attempts at wiping it down and polishing it.
Like most affordable waffle makers, detailing like the handle, base, and control panel section are made from plastic. They look and feel cheap.
Build quality is poor on the review unit we received. The lid’s hinges are loose and rattle even when lightly tugged. On the backside, we found poorly tooled parts with rough edges, scrapes, and dents. Worse still, the backside of the waffle maker has gaps that reveal its guts, exposing its internal wiring and circuits.
For these reasons, we assess the Oster’s construction quality as mediocre at best and sub-par at worst.
The waffle plates are made from die-cast aluminum. It is imprinted with the classic Belgian-style grid pattern. The total diameter of the waffle plate (with the outer anti-spill moat included) is 7.8 inches. It is able to produce a 7-inch waffle.
According to Oster, the non-stick coating is food-grade polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE — also known as Teflon), and has been approved by the USDA.
The inclusion of PTFE can be a deal-breaker for many. However, note that, unlike PFOA, PTFE is inert and relatively harmless at temperatures under 400°F. Only when the temperature exceeds 400°F can the PTFE coating become a problem by releasing toxic gasses. During normal operation, the waffle maker isn’t going to come even close to this threshold. Thus, the waffle plates are still classed as safe for use.
The waffle plates are not removable.
Though the control interface is barebones, that is to be expected for such an affordable waffle maker. There are two indicator lights. One will glow red when you plug it in (POWER light), and the other green light will light up when the waffle maker is heated to the correct temperature.
Above the indicator lights is a temperature control knob. The knob takes some force to turn and makes a distinct clicking sound as it does so.
The unit’s power cord is short. You will either have to move the waffle maker very close to a power outlet or use an extension cord.
The back foot of the waffle maker has a grommet. You can wrap the power cord around it for easier management and storage. However, since no lock or notch holds the cord in place, it can unravel easily.
The Oster waffle maker doesn’t come with any extra accessories. Once again, at this price point, that’s what we expected.
5.0Ease of Use
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.
Generally speaking, the Oster waffle maker is easy to handle. Even when it’s heated up, the large plastic handle at the front remains cool to the touch. However, the lid’s hinges are shaky. They make the closing and opening motion a bit awkward.
Using a thermometer, we checked the temperature of the waffle maker’s various parts.
The handle was dangerously hot, with a temperature of 189°F. After several cooking sessions, the heat from the heating element and the hot steam raised the handle’s temperature to the point that it could easily cause a burn injury. This is the most serious safety problem of the Oster.
Not just the handle, the control panel area was also piping hot at 176°F.
On the underside of the waffle maker, the front plastic “leg” got quite toasty at 143°F.
So, be careful if you pick up the waffle maker by grabbing the bottom legs. The front part may be quite hot.
The exposed electronics and wiring on the backside could turn the machine into an electrical hazard. A point was further deducted from the overall score.
The Oster receives a good score in cleanability. Although it doesn't have a drip tray for spilled batter, it can be dealt with fairly easily when a batter spill does happen. Even when the batter dries out and settles on the waffle maker’s body, all surfaces can be scrubbed down easily with a dash of mild detergent.
4.5Indicator Light Visibility
The unit we received has very dim indicator lights. Under normal lighting conditions, the two lights are hardly visible.
It’s only when we cupped our hands above the lights to shade them from the ceiling lights that the indicators became clear. The lights aren't visible in harsh daylight and studio lights.
About your guide
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.
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.
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.