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ELECTRIC VS GAS - FOR MOBILE OPERATORS

In the world of waffle irons for mobile operators (carts, trucks, tents and tables), some careful consideration needs to take place when investing in electric or propane gas cooking equipment.   We get asked fairly often about propane irons so we thought we would share some thoughts.  Some considerations:

  • Propane gas waffle irons are hands down more portable than electric since you don't need an electrical connection or generator. Most street vendors in europe run on propane carts and same in the US.  If you're looking to do fairs/festivals, this may be the way to go unless you know the events will supply you with electricity.    

  • Cooking with propane requires some more cooking skill or at least experience.  The reason is there are no gas waffle irons that have thermostatic controls.  You simply slide the waffle plates in and out over the flame to control the temp as well as flip the plates to heat the other side.  The flame can be controlled of course as well, but that is just a simple dial making the flame stronger or weaker.   You can use an infrared temp gun to check how hot the iron is or you can repeated open up the plate to check how brown the waffle is.  Not precise at all, but with some experience it's not so bad.  

  • If you do want to try electric, generators are noisy  and some fair operators have noise restrictions.  Keep in mind large generators aren't really that portable either.  They are quite expensive as well if you need lots of power.  

  • Cost can be a big factor.  HVD gas setups are simply expensive.  They start at around $5k+ for a 4 waffle cooking setup while a 8 waffle cooking setup goes for over $9k.  That is a hefty investment.  

  • We don't know much about VH Corporation's propane irons, but they are cheaper than HVD by a lot.  We have only heard from 2 people about their experience with them and both of them said they had issues with heating unevenly and difficulty cleaning the sugar.  We suspect that the plates are not heavy enough or have enough mass to distribute the heat evenly.   Since controlling temperature is more difficult with gas, we suspect it's easy to burn the sugar and then cleaning the textured cast iron plates is difficult.  

  • We have seen some models being sold from China and they are very affordable, but we don't know how good the plates are or if the plates are close to what you need for Liege waffles.   If you have bought one, we'd love to hear from you.