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Bring the Theater to You with the Best Popcorn Machines

  1. Paramount New 8oz Capacity Popcorn Machine
  2. Yabano 6-Quart Popcorn Machine
  3. Great Northern Popcorn Company Red Matinee Popcorn Machine
  4. Nostalgia OFP-501 Old Fashioned Popcorn Machine
  5. West Bend 82505 Stir Crazy Electric Popcorn Machine
  6. Buyer's Guide

Don’t you just love a hot and warm bucket of fluffy, golden popcorn? We know that you do, and having classic theater-style popcorn from the comfort of your own home is an enticing idea. But getting perfect, piping hot cart-style popcorn at home isn’t easy. Dealing with unpopped kernels, burnt ones, and an overly greasy flavor is expected when you do it in a pan on your stovetop, and that's why you should think about adding a popcorn machine to your home. A well-performing popcorn machine is not only a pretty accessory, but it saves you time and effort. This roundup of the five best popcorn machines in 2022 will help you figure out the best popper for you. As well, our comprehensive guide will help you pick out the best popcorn maker to make your buying decision super easy.

Compare The Best Popcorn Machines Of 2022

Paramount New 8oz Capacity Popcorn Machine - Best Overall

When you want a classic design and efficient performance within an affordable budget, Paramount’s popcorn maker machine is just what you need. With an 8oz capacity and a ceramic coating on the kettle, this compact popcorn maker will easily fit on your kitchen bar or a table and will provide great popcorn for years. This popcorn machine features a detachable door and kettle, a plastic body, and an on/off switch. Because of the removable components, it's relatively easy to clean in between uses. Plus, it also comes with a scoop to collect the steaming hot popcorn.

  • Maintenance & clean up is easy
  • Operates at 480 watts
  • Detachable, non-stick kettle
  • Lacks built-in warming feature

Yabano 6-Quart Popcorn Machine - Runner Up

For an endless popcorn supply for your winter movie marathon, the Yabano popcorn machine will be your perfect partner. As soon as your kernels stop popping, you can flip the round dome of the popcorn maker as a makeshift bowl and serve the fluffy deliciousness right away. This efficient popcorn machine operates at 800 watts and yields 6 quarts of freshly popped corn kernels in just 3 minutes. This popcorn machine is an absolute breeze to clean up and serve, and it allows you to experiment with different flavors. Additionally, the presence of vent holes on this design reduces condensation and gives crispy popcorn with even heat dispersion via an electric stirring rod.

  • Dishwasher safe, 2-in-1 popcorn maker and serving bowl
  • Swift heating and fast kernel popping rate
  • Easy to grip insulated handles with cool touch technology
  • Extra care is needed to avoid burning yourself

Great Northern Popcorn Company Red Matinee Popcorn Machine - Honorable Mention

If you are going for the perfect movie theater vibe in your entertainment room, then the classic cinema-style popcorn machine by Great Northern is just what you need. Aesthetics aside, this efficient popcorn maker offers an endless supply of hot and fluffy popcorn throughout the movie’s runtime. This popcorn machine can easily feed a large party with a 6-gallon capacity of popped kernels with a heating deck to keep them warm. The high-quality steel and tempered glass design add to the product’s longevity and the drawer at the bottom catches unpopped kernels, makes clean up extremely easy. It's rated at 850 watts, which contributes to fast heat up and efficiently produces crispy popcorn. It also includes free accessories such as a scooper, measuring cup, popcorn bags, and serving cups.

  • Easy to set up
  • Large 8 oz kettle capacity
  • High-quality material used for design and manufacture
  • Prone to overheating if heating element is left on

Nostalgia OFP-501 Old Fashioned Popcorn Machine - Contender

For health-conscious individuals, the best popcorn machine is the cart-style hot-air popper from the Nostalgia store. This popcorn maker yields almost 12 cups of popped kernels when filled to capacity, with a hot-air mechanism eliminating nearly all unpopped kernels. In addition, the small size and compact design make it easy to place on your tabletop or kitchen counter. To get a crisp and fresh popcorn supply, all you have to do is pour the kernels through the funnel and turn on the machine, which pops out the fluffed-up kernels through the chute. A word of warning: make sure to place a deep bowl beneath the chute to collect the popcorn, or you'll have a massive mess to clean up.

  • Vintage-style popcorn cart design
  • Produces oil-free snack with hot air mechanism
  • Made of lightweight, plastic material
  • Requires a cool-off period of 15-minutes between each popcorn batch

West Bend 82505 Stir Crazy Electric Popcorn Machine - Consider

West Bend is a pioneer at manufacturing the best popcorn machines and kitchen appliances, and you may have encountered some of their other unconventional devices before. Their Stir Crazy popcorn machine variant is a space-savvy design, with a clear lid that doubles as a serving bowl. The non-stick coating plate and stirring rod allows even heating leading to a faster popping rate and larger batches. You can place butter on the top vents, which drip down once the kernels start popping, giving your popcorn a perfect movie-theater flavor.

  • Compact design is easy to store
  • Cord wraps at the bottom
  • Takes less than two minutes to serve fresh popcorn
  • Cleaning up grease and salt from tiny grooves is difficult
  • Extreme condensation in the unit may make the popcorn soggy

Buyer's Guide

Movies and fresh popcorn are everyone's favorite combo. Unfortunately, microwave popcorn is a mediocre option compared to the fresh, tantalizing aroma of movie theater popcorn. However, you can easily replicate the cart-style popcorn flavor at home with a popcorn machine. But when you have so many popcorn makers to choose from, how do you find the one that’s right for you?

This buying guide will help you understand the inner workings of a popcorn maker, helping to simplify the technical specifications and letting you make the best purchasing decision for you.

What Are The Different Types Of Popcorn Machines?

Over the years, popcorn makers have become more and more diverse with many different features, styles, and types. There are three major types of popcorn machines that differ in terms of mechanism.

The most common popcorn maker is a theater-style, electrical popcorn machine that uses an oil popping method. This variant pops the corn kernels by heating the oil or butter in the kettle. They also come in many shapes and sizes.

A much more health-friendly popcorn-making option is a hot air popper that utilizes no oils. This variant swirls the hot air, causing the kernels to puff up. Hot-air poppers are affordably priced and offer a healthier snack alternative for diet-conscious consumers.

The last type of popcorn machine is a stovetop popcorn maker, which has seen a decline in popularity. This variant uses the stove and a stirring mechanism to pop the kernels. However, it isn’t as convenient as the electrical options available in the modern market.

Essential Considerations To Make When Buying A Popcorn Machine

Determine The Popcorn Machine Capacity

On average, 1 ounce of popcorn is enough for an individual serving. Whenever you plan on buying a popcorn maker for your home theater or regular use, check its capacity first. Why? Well, you shouldn't invest in a kernel popper that only yields 4 ounces of popcorn per batch when you want to host large parties and events. A 6-8 ounce capacity is a more reliable option if you plan on having large groups of friends at your house.

Understanding The Kettle Is Essential

The kettle is an essential component of a popcorn machine. So, considering the kettle’s material, volume, and capacity is very important when you are sizing up your options.

The two best kettle materials are aluminum and stainless steel. While aluminum kettles are easy to use as well as affordable, stainless steel material is a non-reactive surface and easy to maintain. Additionally, stainless steel kettles are mostly rust-resistant.

Another significant factor is the kettle size, which determines the popcorn yield per batch. The size of the popcorn machine kettle usually depends on your usage.

Popcorn Machine Wattage

Many potential buyers get confused about popcorn machine wattage. It simply determines the average duration of cooking time. The higher the wattage, the faster your popcorn pops. If your popcorn machine wattage range is higher than 480 watts, it has a quick cook time. However, if you want to churn out popcorn batches faster, then consider picking up a machine within the range of 640-860 watts. With a higher wattage, the popcorn yield time can come up to 2-5 minutes per batch.

Ease Of Operation & Use

When investing in a popcorn maker for your home, find one that is easy to set up, use, and maintain. Pick a gadget that offers efficient performance, speedy cook time, and a great design interface. Another essential factor that counts towards ease of use is a machine that does not require complex clean-up. Plus, you want a reliable unit, which does not give up midway or heat up with over-usage.

Pricing & Warranty

Now, popcorn machines can be as cost-efficient and expensive as you want. You can easily get budget popcorn makers that have great features and performance. You can also opt for premium grade popcorn machines that come with high-quality materials, superior features, and efficient cook time.

However, when you are buying a popcorn machine, opt for a reasonably priced unit rather than the cheapest available model. You want a popcorn machine that lasts you through the years and has a longer service life. Therefore, the pricing of the unit should align with the features and quality of the popcorn machine.

Additionally, you should pay heed to the warranty period of the popcorn maker you plan on buying. We recommend you look for a unit that offers a substantial warranty and replacement for any faulty parts.

Essential Features You Should Look For In A Popcorn Machine

Heating Lamps or Built-in Warming Decks

The popcorn machine should include a warming deck or heating lamps to keep the popcorn fresh and crisp. However, this feature is mostly included in bigger, more premium units.

Built-in Electrical Stirring Rod

An electrical stirring rod is a significant component of a popcorn maker. It ensures constant movement of the kernels to avoid half-cooked or burnt popcorn. Plus, the stirring rod evenly distributes the heat among the popping kernels, enhancing the popping rate.

Control Panel

A control panel is present on the sides or top of a popcorn maker. It can include a simple on/off switch or a more elaborate panel with various switches for multiple purposes. Better-performing units include around 2-4 switches for functions, such as kettle heating, warming lamps, and rod stirring.

Popcorn Machine FAQ

Q: How to maintain and clean your popcorn machine?

A: Once the unit cools down, wipe down its components to remove excess oil and grease after each use. You can use non-toxic cleaning solutions to clear out any grime and gunk. Make sure that you periodically conduct a thorough clean-up of your popcorn maker to extend its service life. Additionally, give a good wash to the hot oil kettles occasionally to avoid rust and corrosion buildup.

Q: Can I add butter and seasonings to the popcorn maker?

A: You can add melted butter and seasonings to the units that use the oil popping method. However, not all popcorn machines support the addition of butter and seasonings, such as hot air units. The addition of butter, seasonings, and sugar in units that do not support additional ingredients may harm the popcorn popper. It can cause excessive smoke and may even catch fire, damaging the gadget.

Q: Are popcorn machines a healthier option to use?

A: If you are using air popping units to fluff up your corn kernels, then it is definitely a healthier option. The hot air mechanism in popcorn machines does not utilize any fat, oil, or seasonings that could potentially harm you. As a result, air-popped kernels are an extremely lightweight and healthy snacking option.

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