Looking for the best popcorn popper? You are in the right place!
Buttery, crunchy, sweet or savory… There’s no doubt that popcorn is the world’s most versatile snack. This bite-sized nosh tastes great with almost anything, from butter and salt to caramel and chocolate (yep, we went there!).
But, besides serving as an all-around munch, popcorn also packs an impressive nutritional punch. That is, of course, if you’re not reaching for those store-bought, pre-packaged popcorn varieties that are drenched in salt and additives.
So, to avoid stuffing your body with all the unnecessary sodium and artificial ingredients, homemade popcorn is the way to go. Where do you start? Enter: Popcorn maker. This easy-to-use machine can get your corn popping in a matter of minutes just in time for your favorite movie. Reviewing everything from size and functionality to convenience and design, we’ve rounded up the eight best popcorn makers to buy in 2021.
Table of Contents
- Here are the best popcorn poppers for 2021:
- 1. Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop popcorn machine popper
- 2. Wabash Valley Farms Original Silver Whirley Pop Stovetop Popper
- 3. Lekue Microwave Popcorn Popper
- 4. Great Northern Popcorn Movie Theater Style – Best for commercial use
- 5. Cuisinart CPM-100W Easy Pop – Top Rated hot air popcorn popper
- 6. Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper
- 7. Colonel Popper Microwave Popcorn Maker Air Popper
- 8. Great Northern Popcorn Roosevelt Antique Style Popcorn Popper
- What Is A Popcorn Maker?
- Why Use A Popcorn Popper?
- The Different Types of Popcorn Makers
- Types of Oils Used in Popcorn Makers
- What to Check When Shopping For the Best Popcorn Maker
- What to Check After You Purchase the Best Popcorn Popper
- Final Thoughts
Here are the best popcorn poppers for 2021:
1. Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop popcorn machine popper
If you are looking for the best stovetop popper in the market, then Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop is a no-brainer. This popcorn maker is great for making large batches of the crunchy snack without discounting on flavor. But, let’s take a closer look at the popper’s top features.
- Large Kettle
This popcorn maker has a large 6-quart kettle, allowing you to make large batches of the snack. That said, it's ideal for families.
- Easy to Clean
Thanks to its anti-burning, stirring mechanism, this popper is very easy to clean. Just wipe the kettle with a wet paper towel or rug after every use, and you are good to go.
- Aluminum Frame
This popcorn maker is made of aluminum so that it can distribute heat much better than poppers made of stainless steel.
- No Burning or Sticking
The popper features a patented stirring mechanism which allows you to stir the kernels until all of them are popped. As a result, there is no chance of them burning or sticking at the bottom of the kettle.
- Lifetime Warranty
This popcorn maker comes with a lifetime warranty. So, if for some reason, the popper is not working correctly, you can contact the company and figure out a solution ASAP.
- Fragile Gears
Some costumers report that the product's gears are too flimsy, breaking or bending only after a few uses. That said, be careful when you handle or move around the popper.
2. Wabash Valley Farms Original Silver Whirley Pop Stovetop Popper
If you want to ditch the microwave stuff for good and have a say in your popcorn’s nutritional value, then this popper has everything you need. The Whirley Pop Stove Top Popper by Wabash Valley Farms is equipped with a bunch of unique features that can take your corn-popping experience to a whole new level. Let’s take a look at its best and not-so-good qualities.
- Large Batches
Sporting a 6-quart kettle, this popper can produce large batches of popcorn at once.
- Patented Stirring Mechanism
The product features a unique, patented stirring mechanism which forces kernels to move around in the kettle. This way none of them gets burnt or is left unpopped.
- Easy to Clean
Thanks to its simple pot-like design and high-quality material, the popper is easy to clean. So, a wet tower suffices.
- Heat Distribution
This popcorn is made of aluminum which enables an even heat distribution. So, no kernel is left unpopped.
- Flimsy Handles
Some costumers claim that the handles and lid of the popper are not that steady, causing trouble along the way.
3. Lekue Microwave Popcorn Popper
If you are a fan of simplicity and want the popcorn delivered to you fuss-free, then we got the perfect popcorn maker for you. The Microwave Popcorn Popper by Lekue is -without a doubt- one of the most popular popcorn makers out there thanks to its minimalistic, innovative and efficient design. But, let’s dig deeper into its best and not-so-good qualities.
- Easy to Clean
This popper features a bowl-like shape. As a result, it's easy to clean using just hot water. However, do not attempt putting it in the dishwasher.
- Collapsible Design
Unlike most popcorn makers out there, this one has a unique collapsible design. That means that it can be stored very easily. Not to mention that it can be folded such way to pop fewer kernels if you are the only one craving the snack.
This popper is made of platinum silicone which means it's 100% free of BPA, the toxic chemical.
- Unpopped or Burnt Kernels
Many customers have reported that a significant amount of the kernels remain unpopped or get burnt.
4. Great Northern Popcorn Movie Theater Style – Best for commercial use
If you want to add some of the theater popcorn glamour in your life, this popcorn maker has you covered. The Red Matinee by Great Northern Popcorn Company combines functionality with style. But, let’s take an insider look at this product’s pros and cons.
- Reject Kernel Tray
It has a reject kernel tray that makes it very easy to clean.
- Large Batches
Equipped with a large kettle, this popcorn machine can make up to 2-3 gallons of the crunchy morsel in one batch.
- Tempered Glass
This product features tempered glass which prevents injuries in case of breaking. That means it's quite safe even around children.
- Durable Design
Made of heavy-duty powder coated steel and stainless steel, this popcorn maker is guaranteed to last for a long time.
- Large Frame
Since it's rather large, this popper is not a good fit for small kitchens
5. Cuisinart CPM-100W Easy Pop – Top Rated hot air popcorn popper
If you sometimes want to skip butter or oil, then this popcorn machine is a perfect choice. The CPM-100W Easy Pop by Cuisinart is a simple yet efficient hot air popper that can get the job done fuss-free. Intrigued much? Here’s everything you need to know (good and bad) about this popcorn maker.
- Easy to Clean
This popper is easy to clean since no butter or oil is involved (most of the times). So, all you need is a slightly wet paper towel, and that's about it. Plus, the popping chute is dishwasher-safe which means less work for you.
- Great for Personal Use
Due to its counter-friendly size, this popcorn maker produces medium batches of popcorn at a time (about 7 cups at a time with ¼ cup kernels). So, it's great if you want to make popcorn just for you.
- Easy Storage
It is small in size, so it's easy to store.
- Butter On Demand
The popper features a removable multi-purpose cup which may be used to melt butter as the kernels pop. Then, you can pour it onto the popcorn for an extra flavor kick.
- Unsteady Chute
This popper is known to feature an unsteady chute. That means that the top plastic part is flimsy and allows kernels to fly out of it and all over the place.
6. Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper
If you are having a sudden craving for popcorn and want a quick way to make it, then this is the popper for you. Presto Poplite Hot Air Popper is an easy-to-use, versatile appliance that can help you make some popcorn in no time. So, here’s what you need to know about this popcorn maker.
- Fast Popping
Unlike other poppers, this one is said to make 18 cups of popcorn in less than 3 minutes. That's most than many machines out there.
- Easy Storage
It is rather small, so it's easy to store in any kitchen cabinet.
- Easy to Clean
This popper is easy to clean since you don't use any oil or butter during the making process.
- No ON/OFF Switch
There is no ON/OFF switch on this machine. So, to stop it from working, you need to pull the plug.
- Potentially Harmful Chemicals
The company claims that this popper contains a chemical (perhaps BPA) that the State of California considers as a cancer-causing substance.
7. Colonel Popper Microwave Popcorn Maker Air Popper
If you want to get your popcorn fix ASAP, look no further than this popper. The Microwave Popcorn Maker by Colonel Popper is an easy-to-use, bowl-like toll that will help you pop those kernels without little to no prep. So, here are the good and the bad that come with this popper.
Even though it's made of silicone, this product doesn't contain any BPA, making it a safe choice for a household with kids.
- Smart Grab Handles
It features grab handles which allow you to move the bowl around without burning, especially when you take it out of the microwave.
- Easy Storage
Given its small size, this popcorn maker is stored easily.
- Family-Friendly Batches
Despite its relatively small size, this popper can pop up to 14 cups of kernels in one batch. That's especially convenient for households with families.
- Safe for Dishwasher Use
This popper is dishwasher-safe so that you can clean it very quickly.
- Burnt Kernels
Sometimes the kernels can't help but burn due to the unevenly distributed microwave heat.
8. Great Northern Popcorn Roosevelt Antique Style Popcorn Popper
If you are in the market for a popper that produces large batches of popcorn and still looks fantastic, then your search has come to an end. The Great Northern Roosevelt Popper is made of the best commercial grade materials, and its retro look adds a unique touch to the surrounding space. This machine also comes with a wheel cart, allowing you to move it around the house depending on the occasion.
- Durable Materials
This out-of-the-box popper is made of stainless and coated steel. These heavy-duty materials are sustainable and guarantee that the product won't break down anytime soon.
- Large Batches of Popcorn Quickly
Even though this popcorn maker is designed to produce large batches of the snack, it doesn't mean it lacks the speed. On the contrary, it pops about 3 gallons of popcorn per batch in a matter of minutes.
- Easy to Clean
The retro-looking popper has a tray which stores all rejected kernels. So, all you need to do is open the respective drawer and clean with a wet towel. Plus, the stainless steel allows you to clean oily surfaces much easier.
- Detachable Wheel Cart
This popcorn maker also comes with a detachable wheel cart. Besides allowing you to move the popper around the house, this feature provides you with an authentic popcorn stand experience which is ideal for various house events such as parties.
- Too Large For Some Spaces
This deluxe popcorn maker is not for everyone. Due to its large frame, this product is not a good fit for small spaces.
- Extra Charges in Case of Damage
The product's warranty doesn't apply to damages caused by misuses such as broken glass and door hinges which may be costly.
What Is A Popcorn Maker?
Also known as the popcorn popper, a popcorn maker is a machine that pops kernels of heated corn. Posing as a healthier and safer alternative to microwaved popcorn, this device gives us the chance to enjoy our favorite snack without all the additives, salt and fats.
Even though there are various types of popcorn makers, the idea behind their use is somewhat the same. You just add your favorite kernels and oil into the respective “popping” chamber, plug the machine and let it take it from there. It’s as easy as that. Once your popcorn is ready, you can add more seasonings such as spices, caramel, chocolate or whatever your heart desires.
Why Use A Popcorn Popper?
If popcorn is your go-to snack, but you want to give your health a break from the microwaved version, then yes, you need to get your hands on a popper ASAP. However, this is not the only reason you should invest in a good popcorn maker.
Check out any popcorn food label, and you are bound to come across some very interesting (yet intimidating) ingredients, most of which you’ve never heard of before. Prepackaged, microwave popcorn contains a bunch of chemical additives which -unfortunately- pose serious health risks.
Unlike the store-bought, sodium-packed versions, homemade popcorn is as healthy as it gets. Using a popcorn maker grants you full control over what’s and what’s not inside your favorite snack. So, in a way, this kitchen appliance prevents you from stuffing your body with potentially harmful substances.
Most popcorn makers are designed to do all the work for you. So, you basically add the corn kernels in the popping chamber along with some oil or butter, plug the appliance and let them pop. It’s as easy as that.
Indulge in a Variety of Flavors
While buttery popcorn is a safe bet, there are times when you want to shake things up. Making popcorn from the comfort of your home allows you to experiment with various, new flavors rather than sticking to the prepackaged ones found at your local store.
If you happen to indulge in microwave popcorn often enough, then you know it can be quite pricey at times. To save yourself a pretty penny, you should definitely consider investing in a high-quality popcorn maker which is bound to pay for itself down the line.
The Different Types of Popcorn Makers
Not all popcorn makers are created equal. In fact, considering everyone’s unique eating habits and goals, manufacturers have come up with various types of popcorn makers, all of which are tailored to different needs. That said, here are the three most common types of popcorn makers to choose from.
As the name implies, oil poppers refer to the popcorn makers that allow you to add a little extra oil to the mix. Contrary to popular belief, most oil poppers don’t require more than a few tablespoons of your favorite oil at a time. That means that you don’t need to drench the popcorn in oil to get it right, keeping your healthy eating goals in check.
Adding oil also provides a sticky base for your favorite seasonings, whether that’s spices or chocolate crumbles. However, keep in mind, that oil poppers are designed to handle the oil, not seasonings. So, it’s to add them after the corn kernels are popped and not along with the oil.
Given their oil-friendly design, oil poppers can also handle small amounts of butter. So, if the design of the popcorn maker allows it, you can replace oil with butter. Just place the butter close to the lid and watch it coat the popcorn evenly as it melts.
Hot Air Poppers
If you are not a fan of oil-soaked, seasoning-packed popcorn, then hot air poppers is a no-brainer. This type of popcorn makers is ideal for those who want to keep the calorie count as low as possible.
Unlike oil poppers, this type of popcorn makers is designed to pop the corn kernels just with hot air. As a result, there is no room for additives such as oil, salt or flavored seasonings, hence the fewer calories. What’s more, hot air poppers are very easy to use. You just plug them, add the corn kernels and let them do their thing.
Stove Top Poppers
If you want to be an active part of the popping experience, then stovetop poppers are the way to go. This old-school type of popcorn makers grants you full control over the corn kernels, from the oil they’re drenched into the flavors and spices the may have.
However, this control comes at a cost as you need to be present throughout the popping process. In fact, you need to physically hold the pan, turn the crack up and down when necessary and shake or stir the popper occasionally to avoid burning the kernels.
But, even if stovetop poppers require some of your time, they are a safe bet. Why? Unlike hot air and oil poppers, this type of popcorn makers tends to leave very few corn kernels unpopped. That’s a win in our book.
Types of Oils Used in Popcorn Makers
Whether you’re using an oil or stovetop popper, the oils you add to the mix can make or break the deal. That occurs because the various types of oil burn at different temperatures and, as a result, have a different impact on the popcorn’s flavor. That said, here are the best oils to use when popping corn.
Due to its cholesterol-lowering properties and low concentration in saturated fat, canola oil is considered one of the healthiest choices when making popcorn. This oil has a slightly nutty and butter-like flavor, flooding the popcorn with a unique aftertaste. Not to mention that it’s quite budget-friendly.
A popular choice among popcorn enthusiasts, coconut oil, can add a nutty and also sweet touch to this popped snack. Even though it consists mostly of saturated fat, studies show that this oil is linked to high HDL (good) cholesterol levels and a smaller waist circumference. Combine that with popcorn low-calorie count, and you’ve got a healthy snack for every occasion. A word of advice: Coconut oil should not be an option for those dealing with nut allergies.
Packed with heart-friendly nutrients such as monounsaturated fats, olive oil is an excellent choice for those who want to keep their healthy eating goals in check. This type of oil has an earthy flavor that pairs great with popcorn’s somewhat salty taste. Olive oil is also dense in texture which adds some crunchiness to your popcorn if used appropriately.
Light in taste, sunflower oil is perfect for those who want to stick to the basics. What’s more, this easily accessible oil is packed with nutrients that can make a killer nutritional combo with popcorn’s high fiber content.
What to Check When Shopping For the Best Popcorn Maker
Buying a new popcorn maker can be quite overwhelming considering the wide variety of options out there. However, there is a way to make your choice much easier, and it involves you checking the following factors before you make a final decision.
The first and most important thing you need to consider when buying a popcorn maker is the type. That is readily determined by your eating habits and health goals. So, if you want to avoid fats and unnecessary calories, air poppers are the only choice. However, if you are looking for an excuse to sneak oil or butter into your popcorn, then oil or stove top poppers may be a better option.
At this point, though, you need to consider whether you want to be an active part of the popping process or opt for a stand-alone machine that does all the work. If you want full control, then stovetop poppers are where your money should be at. Otherwise, opt for an oil popper and let it take over.
The popper’s size should also play an essential role in your final decision. Air poppers are usually the smallest in size. As a result, you can conveniently place them on the kitchen counter or store them in a cupboard. That said, they are the perfect choice for tiny kitchens with little storage or counter space.However, if you have enough room in your kitchen, you can always opt for larger popcorn makers such as countertop oil poppers.
Although tedious, cleaning the popper is also part of the popcorn making process. To avoid spending much of your time on this aspect, keep an eye out for popcorn makers that are easy to clean. Bonus tip: If you are not a fan of hand washing, look for a popcorn maker that is in part or entirely safe for dishware use.
You should also make sure your popper is made of high-quality, durable materials. So, make a list of the things you don’t want in your kitchen (non-stick or silicone surfaces, plastic tools, etc.) and make sure your brand new popcorn maker doesn’t have any of these. Stainless steel poppers are the safest bet as they don’t contain any controversial materials such as plastic.
BPA, known as Bisphenol A among scientists, is a widely used chemical that can be found in many plastic appliances worldwide. This substance is quite controversial as it interferes with estrogen receptors and causes multiple side effects, from mild metabolic disorders to severe types of cancer.
Considering all the health implications of BPA, most (not all) companies make sure they don’t use the chemical anymore as part of their products. That said, you should also steer clear of the harmful compound by choosing a popcorn maker that is free from BPA.
Sometimes one serving of popcorn just doesn’t cut it, especially when you have a family that’s craving for the bite-sized snack. That’s why you should make sure to check the maximum capacity of a popcorn maker before you but it. In this case, a high-capacity popcorn maker is a worthwhile investment.
Your taste may also play a significant role in your final decision. However, this aspect is essential only if you are going to place the popper on the kitchen counter for the world to see. If you are going to store it in a cabinet, then your taste shouldn’t come in the way of other factors such as size, convenience, and functionality.
What to Check After You Purchase the Best Popcorn Popper
However, you still need to keep an eye out for a couple of things after you purchase a popper. Specifically, you need to ensure you haven’t picked up a defective product. This way you can replace it and get your money’s worth.
So, the first couple of times you use the machine, check out how many corn kernels are left unpopped or burned. If your popper functions correctly, there will be very few of them left. However, if this is not the case, then there’s something wrong with your popper. In this case, you should ask for a replacement while the product is still under warranty
Popcorn is the king of snacks. Sweet or savory, spicy or salt-free, this bite-sized morsel is part of our lives, no matter what. Let’s give it the attention it deserves by choosing the best popcorn popper, shall we?