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Small Kitchen Appliances

Best Popcorn Popper

Theater style popcorn is in a class all its own. No microwave or air popped corn is capable of reproducing that special flavor which also has as much to do with the sight of a nostalgic unit and smell of hot oil too. In order to capture that unique flavor you must have the right style of popcorn maker that looks like it came out of a theater to give you the sensation of being there.

All of the popcorn poppers on this list are designed to create this unique and delicious treat in the comfort of your own home or even small business/theater. These selections all have the appearance of a theater-style popcorn maker, meaning they’ll look like a large box with glass panels on each side, an electric heating element beneath the popping kettle, a handle to spill the contents into the bottom of a box, and a large doorway to scoop the popcorn out once it is popped.

Each of these picks will require minor assembly such as putting the door panels on and mounting the kettle in the machine, so a little do-it-yourself skill is required to put them together. Fortunately, they will all include oil and a popcorn measuring scoop.

As with all popcorn makers, the amount of popped popcorn will greatly depend on the quality of the kernels. Different brands of kernels may work better than others, so if you’re not satisfied with the results of your machine, always try a different brand of popcorn and compare the results.

Great Northern 8 Ounce Movie Theater Style Popcorn Machine

Made to commercial standards, the Great Northern Popcorn 8 oz. Foundation Movie Theater Style Popcorn Machine is often used in public settings to make great popcorn. The eight ounce kettle holds a lot of popcorn, and the 860 watt burner assures your corn will be popped quickly. The motor is one of the quietest on our list, and the antique styling is the perfect retro touch.

A warming light keeps the popcorn hot and fresh, a perforated floor at the bottom allows un-popped kernels to fall through to a collection tray, and the contents are surrounded by tempered safety glass. There’s even a built-in storage area for bags, portion packs, and other supplies.

There may be more expensive machines available, but none make popcorn as good as this model. At 32 pounds, this unit is fairly easy to move around but it weighs enough to stay in place once set down. Available in your choice of red or black, this machine comes with a five year warranty, the best on this list.

Paragon 8-Ounce Popcorn Machine

If price is no object, and you want the fastest popping popcorn machine on this list, you'll need to check out the Paragon TP-8 Theater Pop 8-Ounce Popper Popcorn Machine. With a 1250 watt kettle element, you'll get popped popcorn almost as fast as you can feed it into the kettle. This machine is capable of popping almost 10 pounds of popcorn in one hour.

This is popper is considered commercial grade, but with a price tag at almost three times the top rated model, you'll have to decide if just having faster popped popcorn is worth the price of admission. A perforated floor allows un-popped kernels to fall through and there’s also heating elements beneath the floor instead of a standard heat lamp to keep popcorn hot and ready to serve.

At 65 pounds this popper is a beast and isn't exactly the most portable unit around but once situated it will stay in place. The interior is surrounded by safety glass, the motor is industrial quality, and this popper comes with a three year warranty.

Elite EPM450 Countertop Popcorn Maker

For a smaller machine that’s right for the individual or a couple look into the Maxi-Matic EPM-450 Elite Tabletop Old-Fashioned 4-Ounce Kettle Popcorn Popper Machine. Although it only makes four ounces of popcorn at a time, this is still a fully functional machine. The 600 watt kettle element has just enough mojo to get the corn popped in quick enough time, and it has tempered glass side panels.

This machine weighs in at about 25 pounds, so it’s one of the more portable machines on this list. It also features a bottom warming tray and a perforated floor that drops un-popped kernels out of the way. For the size, this unit is a bit pricey, but it’s the best four ounce kettle popcorn maker out there. It comes with a one year warranty.

Waring Pro WPM28 Kettle Popcorn Maker

The Waring Pro WPM28 Kettle Popcorn Maker is one of the least expensive popcorn makers here. If there was a best bang for the buck unit, this would be it. The 500 watt kettle element gets the job done quickly and you'll be able to pop about 10 ounces of popped corn in three minutes.

It's surrounded by acrylic glass, which keeps the weight down to only about nine pounds. You could literally put this unit on an end table next to a couch or chair, and make fresh popcorn for movie night in front of the television. Unless you have a family or need something for a party, this popcorn popper is going to be right for most situations.

Although there’s no warming feature, it still has floor perforations to allow un-popped kernels to fall through and get them out of the way. Nothing on this list makes better popcorn, you'll just get a little bit at a time. It comes with a five year motor warranty and a one year overall warranty.

FunTime FT2518SK 2.5-Ounce Rockin Popper Hot Oil Popcorn Machine

For anytime you are looking for a little kettle corn snack, choose the Funtime Rock'n Popper 2.5 oz Hot Oil Popcorn Machine. It only makes small batches of popcorn at a time, perfect for occasions when you don't need a big bowl or you just want some popcorn to go.  Although small in stature, this unit has a big 860 watt kettle heating element which makes this an incredibly fast popping machine for its size, although there’s only a little popcorn provided at a time.

It’s surrounded by acrylic glass, and the lower tray catches the popped corn which can then be removed and used as a bowl. It comes with a built-in warming light, and at nine pounds of weight this machine will go just about anywhere. This is a basic kettle corn popper yet it still delivers great tasting popcorn at a very affordable price. It comes with a one year warranty.

Wabash Farms Whirley Pop Stove Top Popcorn Popper

As long as you have a heat source, one of the simplest and easy to use popcorn makers out there is the Wabash Valley Farms Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper. It will make some of the best batches of popcorn you've ever had.

It has a manually rotated arm inside of the 6 quart kettle attached to a wooden handle. You just pour in oil and popcorn kernels, place it on the stove, and crank the handle. Just like genuine kettle corn, the kernels will begin to pop and fluff up; you can make enough great-tasting popcorn in few minutes for a large group. It's so easy to use that even kids will love helping out.

This heavy-duty, stainless steel popper also features an induction insert on the bottom for use on induction cook tops. The wooden handles keep the heat off of your hands, the gears are made of solid metal, and it has a 25 year manufacturer’s warranty on all moving parts.

Presto 04820 Poplite Hot Air Popper

For those of you who don’t want to use oil for popping kernels, choose the Presto 04820 PopLite Hot Air Popper. It's the best air popper available and will give you consistent results with every terrific batch of popcorn you pop. This model pops an amazing 18 cups of popcorn in about 2 1/2 minutes and there’s slots on the top of the popper shield which automatically releases butter onto the popped kernels; the butter melter even doubles as a popcorn measuring cup.

The popcorn chute is angled to drop popcorn directly into your bowl so there’s no muss, no fuss; no oil also means you just wipe the machine off with a damp cloth. It’s  the quickest air popper available, it's easy to use and makes great air popped popcorn. It comes with a one year warranty.

Nordic Ware 60120 Microwave 12 Cup Popcorn Popper

To make manually pop kernels in a microwave oven, choose the Nordic Ware 60120 Microwaver Popcorn Popper 12 Cup. It turns 1/2 cup of un-popped kernels into 12 cups of light and fluffy popcorn. This popcorn maker is made of BPA and Melamine-free high heat plastic so it stands up to high heat as the kernels pop. With no added oil necessary, your microwave will pop the kernels which have been poured inside of the bowl.

You may have some trial and error with heat and time settings, but once you get it down, you’ll get hot, great-tasting popcorn in about four minutes Once popped, the popper doubles as a bowl which is safe for both the top dishwasher rack or hand-washed with regular detergent in the sink. It comes with a five year warranty.

West Bend 82306X 6 Quart Stir Crazy Corn Popper

If you want an easy to use variation on a kettle popper, then the West Bend 82306 Stir Crazy 6-Quart Electric Popcorn Popper is what you'll want. This design works much like a traditional kettle popcorn popper, with a motorized stirring rod keeping the kernels moving in the oil for an even popping cycle. Just pour in some oil, scoop in some popcorn kernels, put on the clear cover and turn the popper on. It will automatically stir the kernels around and make sure they never stick while popping.

It makes about six quarts of popcorn in about five minutes and there’s a butter well on top which automatically drips butter down onto the popped kernels. This popper also features a heat-resistant handles, a non-stick Teflon base and the clear plastic cover doubles as a serving bowl. It comes with a one year warranty.

Great Northern 8 Ounce Movie Theater Style Popcorn Machine

Made to commercial standards, the Great Northern Popcorn 8 oz. Foundation Movie Theater Style Popcorn Machine is often used in public settings to make great popcorn. The eight ounce kettle holds a lot of popcorn, and the 860 watt burner assures your corn will be popped quickly. The motor is one of the quietest on our list, and the antique styling is the perfect retro touch.

A warming light keeps the popcorn hot and fresh, a perforated floor at the bottom allows un-popped kernels to fall through to a collection tray, and the contents are surrounded by tempered safety glass. There’s even a built-in storage area for bags, portion packs, and other supplies.

There may be more expensive machines available, but none make popcorn as good as this model. At 32 pounds, this unit is fairly easy to move around but it weighs enough to stay in place once set down. Available in your choice of red or black, this machine comes with a five year warranty, the best on this list.

Dale Y
Dale Y has been writing about home improvement and Do-It-Yourself projects for more than a decade, using his own hands-on maintenance, construction and facilities management experience as a guide. He has covered the gamut by writing about news and views, home and garden ideas, home and business maintenance, and property management. As an offshoot, he had his own sewing machine and small appliance repair business, and can tell an embroidery stitch from a stretch stitch, all the while cooking the best salmon fillet ever on a countertop grill, while making a smoothie in the latest bullet blender. In this capacity, he has used a wide variety of tools and equipment for every need, worked with products ranging from adhesives to solvents, sewed shirt sleeves with a #14 needle and finished leather appliqué with a #18 needle.
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