You can microwave a package of store-bought popcorn for a quick snack, but it’s so much more rewarding to make your own popcorn from scratch. You don’t need extra ingredients to pop a batch of fresh kernels with popcorn makers.
There are several types of popcorn makers on the market, from silicone microwave models to air poppers to stovetop and electric models. All of them make great-tasting popcorn in a matter of minutes, are easy to clean, convenient to store, and clean easily.
To evaluate the ease of use, crispiness, flavor, and ease of cleaning of the most popular popcorn makers, we put them side by side in our dedicated test kitchen. There were a few winners in all categories among the popcorn makers that were simple to set up and use.
It doesn’t matter if you want to make a big batch of popcorn balls to give as gifts for the holidays or if you need a space-saving popcorn maker for movie night.
You will discover which popper is right for your personal preferences and budget through this hands-on and comprehensive review.
|West Bend Popcorn Popper Machine|
|Presto Poplite hot air Popper|
|Hamilton Beach Electric Hot Air Popcorn Popper|
|Cuisinart CPM-100 EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker|
|Original Salbree Microwave Popcorn Popper|
1. West Bend Hot Oil Theater Style Popcorn Popper Machine
This full-sized popcorn popper from West Bend is an excellent choice for business or special events. The popcorn popper is easy to assemble and operate. It takes only a few minutes to make giant batches of popcorn–add oil, add kernels, close the door, and turn it on.
Despite the ease of use, you should supervise the popping process as you may burn the snacks if you don’t stop it in time. Furthermore, it takes longer to set up this model than other ready-to-use models.
Cleaning larger models require more work and time because of their larger size and batches. Despite its shortcomings, we still think the Theater Style Popcorn Maker is a great choice for anyone looking for a full-sized popcorn maker.
2. Presto Poplite hot air Popper
Presto PopLite is an excellent, hard-to-beat option if you’re looking for a hot air popcorn popper. During TV commercial breaks, you can easily whip up tasty popcorn in two minutes or less. The hopper never contained an unpopped kernel in any of the tests we conducted.
Especially appealing is the fact that the top of the lid doubles as a butter melting tray, so both butter and popcorn can be made simultaneously.
One of the few drawbacks of the Presto 04820 is that it doesn’t come with a bowl; you should provide your own. For the most part, users will not have a problem finding a bowl of the proper size. Those looking for a quick and easy-to-use hot air popper should consider this model.
3. Hamilton Beach Electric Hot Air Popcorn Popper
You should check out the Hamilton Beach hot air popcorn popper if you’re looking for a high-performance popcorn maker. It pops every kernel, which we have found to be true after making many batches. With other poppers of this style, the measuring cup doubles as a butter melter using the hot air generated by the popping process.
It has been found that this model has a slower response time as compared to other hot air models.
In addition, there is no hook on the end of the cord to spool up the cord when not in use. The Hamilton Beach hot air popcorn popper, despite its shortcomings, is an excellent all-around choice when it comes to hot air popcorn poppers.
4. Cuisinart CPM-100 EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker
It is easy to install this countertop electric model. We tested the popper, and it produced a bowl of perfectly popped corn (15 cups, to be exact) in less than 3 minutes – and there weren’t any burnt kernels to be seen.
We found that in our lab testing, regardless of batch size, the popcorn falls away from the heat source as it pops, similar to the Presto Poplite. Though it’s just wishful thinking, it would have been nice if there was a timer to alert us when to turn it off.
We didn’t find the timer a problem at the time. In addition to the popcorn maker, this one comes with a butter warming tray and a measure for the kernels. We love the measuring cup for its versatility.
Despite being quick to mix batches, the popper failed to melt the butter as quickly as we would have liked. Upon completion of a batch, users should turn off EasyPop and let the butter continue to melt before serving.
It is more expensive than the Poplite, but its removable parts are dishwasher safe, so cleaning is easy. Additionally, there is an on and off feature instead of unplugging. On the final taste test, the Poplite’s popcorn scored higher on overall flavor and crispiness than the other makers.
5. Original Salbree Microwave Popcorn Popper
This is another great popcorn maker that collapses down (to 2.25 inches tall, in fact), which makes it convenient to store in small kitchens. With handles built-in, it makes it easy to remove from the microwave. The lid and bowl are made from BPA-free1 silicone.
We loved how easy this popcorn maker was to use during our lab testing. Place the lid on top, add the popcorn and microwave. We gave this popcorn popper high marks because it does not require oil and can make up to 12 cups of popcorn in just 3 to 4 minutes.
Additionally, the Salbree is dishwasher-safe, making it easy to clean. With 18 vibrant, fun colors to choose from, this popper will suit most kitchen decor.
We observed, as before, a noticeable number of kernels that remained unpopped after popping, which is something you don’t expect from microwave poppers.
However, we found that the Salbree microwave had fewer unpopped kernels than other microwave models including the Ecolution and Cuisinart Pop and Serve. HotPop’s popcorn was slightly chewier, but still crispy enough to rank just behind Salbree’s.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Popcorn Maker
There are things you should keep in mind before buying any Popcorn Popper.
Consider who you will serve at a movie night-whether you will need just enough popcorn for a few friends or for a whole horde of hungry kids. You should also think about whether you need an easy-to-reload small cooker or a larger cooker capable of making bigger batches.
Every cooking method has pros and cons, whether it’s on the stovetop, in the microwave, or using a countertop appliance. Poppers that are oil-free will satisfy your oil-free cooking needs.
Would you like the butter melted and added automatically? That is also possible. Are you a hands-off cook, or do you take pride in your pop-up skills? Whatever you prefer to cook, there is a popper for you.
You want to get back to your movie, so making should be a simple task. As the credits roll, you’ll have a few bowls to wash, but you’ll also have to clean your popcorn maker. Find out if your machine is dishwasher-safe before you buy it.