The 10 Best Popcorn Poppers

Updated May 15, 2018 by Quincy Miller

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. You've already got the HD TV and the killer surround-sound system. The only thing missing to replicate the movie theater experience is your very own popcorn machine — but don't worry, we've got you covered. The poppers on this list make delicious, fluffy kernels, and some allow you to heat up your butter or caramel as well. Now you can start charging your friends admission. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best popcorn popper on Amazon.

10. Cuisinart Easy Pop

Instead of using butter or oil to pop corn, the Cuisinart Easy Pop has a 1,500 watt heating element that blasts out a stream of hot air. It's a great choice for those looking to stay fit, but who still want to indulge in their favorite movie treat.
  • dishwasher-safe components
  • good for individual servings
  • sends kernels flying everywhere
Brand Cuisinart
Model CPM-100
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Great Northern Little Bambino

The Great Northern Little Bambino is a compact, retro-style cooker with a slide-out tray for easy serving and cleaning. It also features a fun handle that lets you pour out finished popcorn into the container, like a slot machine that always pays off.
  • good budget option
  • pops very quickly
  • leaves a lot of kernels uncooked
Brand Great Northern Popcorn
Model 6073 GNP Little Bambino
Weight 11.4 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

8. Hamilton Beach Party Popper

The Hamilton Beach Party Popper is a great choice for those who only make popcorn occasionally, as it's compact enough to fit in most cabinets, and the top and bottom nest to save even more space. However, it can still pop 24-cup batches, which can feed the whole family.
  • lid opens for easy access
  • works well with coconut oil
  • burns kernels if left plugged in
Brand Hamilton Beach
Model 73310
Weight 10.6 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Cuisinart CPM-2500

If you want to make movie-style popcorn at home, but don't want to make so much that it's coming out your ears, then the Cuisinart CPM-2500 is the perfect solution. It's fantastic for making enough for one or two people, ensuring it'll be a big hit on a low-key date night.
  • kettle pivots for easy cleaning
  • directions are printed on the door
  • included scooper isn't very useful
Brand Cuisinart
Model CPM-2500
Weight 28.7 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Paramount Machine & Cart

If you're wanting to truly replicate the feeling of being at the cinema, then this Paramount Machine & Cart recreates the old-timey experience to a T. It has an extremely quiet stirring system that won't drown out Bogey and Bacall during classic movie nights.
  • cleanup is a breeze
  • helpful led indicator lights
  • metal door is flimsy
Brand Paramount
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Great Northern PopHeaven

If you need to whip up lots of popcorn, whether for fundraisers or just because you really, really like the stuff (we won't judge), the Great Northern PopHeaven makes it easy to feed a group. It pops the kernels evenly, and very rarely burns any.
  • drawers catch unpopped kernels
  • can be moved by a single person
  • tends to dent easily
Brand Great Northern Popcorn
Model 6210 POPHEAVEN
Weight 51.6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Waring Pro

The Waring Pro keeps the corn moving, ensuring that you get the maximum amount of popped kernels possible. It has a melting station on the side as well, so you can have your butter ready when the popcorn's done — or even some caramel or chocolate, if you're feeling frisky.
  • makes incredibly fluffy kernels
  • fast-acting halogen heater
  • nonstick ceramic surface
Brand Waring
Model WPM1000WS
Weight 9.2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Pangea Brands Death Star

Dedicated Star Wars fans will flip for the Pangea Brands Death Star. This hot-air popper looks like the iconic space station from the beloved franchise, making it the perfect choice for a sci-fi night (and yes, you can still use it even if you're watching "Star Trek").
  • top can be used as serving bowl
  • easy to put together and take apart
  • looks fantastic on your counter
Brand Pangea Brands
Model pending
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

2. Wabash Valley Farms Whirley-Pop

The Wabash Valley Farms Whirley-Pop is a traditional stovetop model that makes up to 6 quarts of popcorn in less than three minutes. It even includes a serving of theater-style popcorn and an 8-ounce package of M&Ms for your next home movie night.
  • durable metal gears
  • great for cooking kettle corn
  • steam vents keep kernels crispy
Brand Wabash Valley Farms
Model 24001
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Great Northern Roosevelt Popper

You'll never need to go to the movies again once you buy the Great Northern Roosevelt Popper. This is a great option for families, or for those who like to have a bunch of friends over to binge-watch Netflix, as it can make about 3 gallons of popcorn per batch.
  • warmer light keeps popcorn fresh
  • comes with a stirrer
  • suitable for concession stands
Brand Great Northern Popcorn
Model 6010 Roosevelt Top
Weight 42.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Keep It Popping

While eating popcorn at both movies and carnivals is part of the whole social excursion experience, there are still many options for consumers to enjoy the same classic flavor from a home popper without leaving the house or overpaying for a tasty snack at the theater.

A popcorn popper is a machine dedicated to heating a large quantity of corn kernels quickly for mass consumption. Most poppers are fully enclosed to retain heat with large storage areas for keeping freshly-popped kernels warm and ready to serve. An individual popcorn kernel has several parts, including a tough outer shell called the pericarp, a germ (seed embryo), and an endosperm, which contains trapped water. The kernel is made up of approximately twelve percent moisture that turns to steam when heated. When the kernel reaches a temperature of approximately 475 degrees Fahrenheit (256.1 degrees Celsius), the expansion of its steam forces its hull to explode outward, hence the popping noise and fluffy texture.

Commercial machines are large and heavy with high wattage for quickly yielding a lot of popcorn, making them ideal for use in public places like movie theaters, carnivals, or in shopping malls where long lines of customers are likely to form. Commercial poppers come in several styles. These include countertop machines, made from industrial-grade metal and glass, and wheeled concession carts offering a full range of mobility.

Domestic poppers fall into three major categories that include countertop, air poppers, and round stirring poppers. Countertop machines leverage the use of oil kettles to pop their kernels and they also come in classic designs reminiscent of carnival and movie theater concession stands. These machines are equipped with many accessories that include warming lights, trays, butter dispensers, measuring cups, and scoops. Many are made from aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, and glass.

Healthy and economical, hot air poppers have a clear directional chute to divert freshly-popped kernels into a serving bowl. These poppers do not use oil, they are taller than conventional tabletop models, and they take up less space in the kitchen.

A stirring popper is typically round with a bowl-shaped base and an automated stirring arm for ensuring that all the kernels are heated consistently. This minimizes the occurrence of unpopped kernels. Once popping is complete, the dome-shaped cover can double as a serving bowl.

Classic Flavor

One must consider the available kitchen space, desired output, the design of the machine, and the popping method. If you're particularly health-conscious, then an air popper will work nicely to keep fatty oils away. These are also lower in price and often easier to clean than some of their tabletop counterparts. Both air poppers and traditional oil kettle poppers will produce consistently fluffy popcorn. That said, if you consider yourself the creative type and wish to experiment with different seasonings or flavors, an air popper can certainly be a healthy alternative.

By contrast, if you'd like to give your kids that movie theater experience at home, then go for the nostalgic popper. These often have sturdy doors or windows made from plexiglass, so they are less likely to shatter. They also have large capacities with pull-out serving trays, which comes in handy if you have several people coming over to visit. Removable parts are often dishwasher safe, which can significantly cut down on your cleanup time.

Some classic tabletop poppers have stainless steel oil kettles with their own integrated stirring arms for the kernels, meaning that you don't have to limit yourself to a dedicated stirring popper, especially if you want something that looks like an antique to impress your party guests. However, this is strictly based on personal choice. There is nothing at all wrong with a dedicated stirring popper. One should also be certain the classic machine has a dependable warming light inside to keep freshly-popped kernels hot.

Origins Of A Popped Secret

Popcorn dates back at least eighty thousand years with the archaeological discovery of corn pollen underneath Mexico City. This pollen was nearly identical to modern popcorn pollen, providing the belief that the ancient cave people of Mexico prepared and heated popcorn using some of the same fundamental principles used today. The oldest ears of popcorn ever found were discovered in the Bat Cave of central New Mexico by anthropologist Herbert Dick and botanist Earle Smith in 1948 and 1950.

The pair found tiny cobs of popcorn in which each kernel was enclosed in its own husk. This popcorn was carbon dated to be over five thousand years old and was extremely well preserved. In these times, it was believed that popcorn was prepared using a bowl containing sand and placing it over an open fire. The sand was used to heat the kernels while the prepared popcorn rose to the top from under the sand. Europeans later learned of popcorn from the Native Americans, who prepared it for both eating and decoration.

The very first commercial popcorn machine appeared in the late 19th century and was invented by Illinois candy store owner Charles Cretors who modified the design of a steam-powered roaster to produce oil-popped popcorn with uniform seasonings. Cretors took his invention to the Chicago Columbian Exposition in 1893 where it was introduced to the public.

Fast forward to the 1970s when National Presto Industries introduced one of the first home consumer poppers called the Popcorn Pumper, which leveraged hot air blown up through the kernels without the use of oil. Since that time, many different forms of specialized poppers have emerged on the market with classic styles and integrated stirring blades that allow for both consistent heating and the addition of seasonings to kernels before they pop.

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Last updated on May 15, 2018 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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