BEST POPCORN POPPERS | NOVEMBER 2017

Popcorn is a quick, easy, and healthy snack that’s a popular choice for families on movie night. Trying to find the right popcorn popper can be challenging, since there are so many options to select. With that in mind, our team conducted extensive research to determine the top popcorn makers across four major categories – best hot air popcorn popper, best campfire popcorn popper, best stovetop popcorn popper, and best large-batch popcorn popper. We’ve outlined the benefits and considerations for each product on our list to help you make an informed purchase. Read more about our methodology.

Best Overall

88

The Cuisinart popcorn machine makes popcorn in minutes with its hot air system. It has removeable parts that are dishwasher safe, and comes with a butter-melting cup. The top chute lets you know when the popcorn is done.

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Best Value

92

The Cestari Kitchen Popper is ideal for personalized batches of tasty popcorn. It’s made from BPA-free silicone that’s microwave and dishwasher safe. The small size of this product is perfect for storage in small places and won’t break the bank.

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Popcorn Poppers BUYING GUIDE

  • KEY CONSIDERATIONS

    Heating method

    The first aspect to consider before purchasing a popcorn popper is the heating method. Where are you planning to use the machine? If you don’t have a microwave in your home, a stovetop popper or hot air popper are probably the best options for you. Do you enjoy camping and the outdoors? A campfire popcorn popper is made to cook on an open flame.

     

    Quantity per batch

    Next, you’ll need to decide how much popcorn you want for each batch. If you’re only going to make personal serving sizes for yourself, all you need is a hot air popper or microwavable popper. Stovetop poppers are a better option if you want enough popcorn to share with your family or small group of guests. If you frequently host large parties or events, you’ll need a large-batch popcorn popper to accommodate a large group.

     

    Easy to clean

    Look for popcorn poppers that are easy to clean. Burned popcorn that sticks to the bottom or sides of a kettle is tough to clean and time consuming. Hot air poppers don’t require any oil in the cooking process, so they kernels won’t stick or burn. If you decide to go with a stovetop popper, get one with a cranking mechanism to keep the popcorn stirred, moving, and minimize sticking. There are also some popcorn poppers with dishwasher safe components, so look out for that in your search as well.

     

    Extra benefits and accessories

    Try to find a popcorn popper that comes with some extra features than just basic popping. Some of these poppers come with cups for melting butter or measuring cups to for scooping the kernels. If you’re getting a machine that is powered by an electrical outlet, look for ones that have an on/off switch. Popcorn poppers that have a handle for a stovetop or open flame should have an ergonomic design and anti-slip grip.

  • PRICE BREAKDOWN

    You can find a basic microwave or small hot air popcorn popper for less than $20. These products make batches of popcorn that’s ideal for one person. If you want a nicer hot air popper that’s capable of making larger quantities, you’re going to end up spending around $40. Stovetop poppers that also make large batches are around that $40 price point as well. If you plan to cook over an open flame in your backyard or camping in the woods, you can find a high quality popper that’s durable, lightweight, and safe to use for about $30. Large-batch popcorn poppers for home movie theaters or small events produce enough popcorn for large groups of people. You can find these top of the line machines for around $200.

FULL product reviews

We research hundreds of products in order to bring you a final, unbiased list of the very best. We also use a proprietary algorithm to score each product in terms of quality, value, and brand reputation. These subscores are then weighted to calculate our overall scores. Read more about how we calculate our scores.

352 products
considered
85K RATINGS
ANALYZED
24 research
hours

Best Overall

TOP PICK

Cuisinart CPM-100W

Your Cuisinart CPM-100W popcorn popper has a chute that tells you when your popcorn is ready. It comes with a cup that melts butter as the popcorn cooks. The popcorn will be ready to eat in less than three minutes, and the dishwasher safe parts make it easy to clean up.

  • 88overall
  • 89quality
  • 80value
  • 82brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Dishwasher safe components. The removable parts of this Cuisinart model are safe to clean in the dishwasher. You don’t have to spend tedious time cleaning this by hand.
  • Less than three minutes to use. You can make up to 15 cups of popcorn in less than three minutes with the Cuisinart CPM-100W popper. The hot air system is fast and easy to use.
  • Comes with an On/Off switch. Unlike other hot air machines, this one has an on and off switch. It’s easier and safer to use the switch as opposed to just unplugging the machine to turn it off.
  • Popping chute for serving. Just keep a bowl by the machine below the chute, and popcorn will pour into it. This component lets you know when the popcorn is ready and that it’s time to turn the machine off.
  • Melted butter option. There is a cup on the top of the lid that’s specifically designed for melting butter. Simply put butter in the cup, and as the machine fills with hot air the butter melts simultaneously as the popcorn gets made.

Other Considerations

  • Loud machine. Although it’s not quite as loud as a blender, it’s not as quiet as a microwave. It could wake somebody in your house up if you’re making popcorn late at night.

Best Value

TOP PICK

Cestari Kitchen Microwave Popper

Your microwave popcorn popper from Cestari Kitchen has an even heat distribution system, which eliminates burned and sticky pieces. The BPA-free silicone is safe for the microwave and dishwasher. Since it’s small, you can fit it anywhere in your kitchen cabinet or college dormitory.

  • 92overall
  • 91quality
  • 97value
  • 88brand

Why We Recommend It

  • BPA Free Silicone. This product is made from 100% food grade silicone that’s BPA-free and safe for your family. It meets the European food safety standards, which are even stricter than the ones set in the United States.
  • Dishwasher and microwave save. Cook your popcorn in the microwave, and then clean the container in the dishwasher. The process is simple and hassle free. You don’t need to use disposable bags or wash the container by hand.
  • Compact design. The container is less than six inches tall, so it’s easy to store and won’t take up too much space in your kitchen cabinet. It’s also a great addition for college dorm rooms with minimal storage space.
  • Minimal burned kernels. There is an even heat distribution throughout the container that helps prevent kernels from sticking and burning to the bottom or sides. It reduces wasted popcorn and makes cleaning easier as well.

Other Considerations

  • Not intended for large quantities. The small design is intended for personal sized batches only. If you want to make enough to share, you’ll have to make multiple batches.

BEST BY CATEGORY

Best Hot Air Popcorn Popper

why buy?

Hot air popcorn poppers are perfect to use in your home. These machines make batches of popcorn that’s enough for one person or a small family to share. All you need is an electrical outlet to power hot air poppers. They don’t require any oil to cook the kernels. Hot air poppers are generally smaller machines, so they fit well on your kitchen counter or stowed away in a cabinet or drawer. Hot air popcorn poppers are safe to use and easy to clean.

Top Pick

Hamilton Beach 73400

The Hamilton Beach 73400 keeps everyone in the family happy with its customized personal serving sized bowls. It comes with a butter-melting bowl that doubles as a serving cup. Since it doesn’t need any oil to operate, you won’t have any messy clean ups.

  • 89overall
  • 90quality
  • 85value
  • 84brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Customized taste options. Everyone in your family can pop their bowl based on their personal preferences. You can adjust the seasoning with each batch to add more flavors, or keep it plain as a healthy alternative.
  • Butter melting cup included. It comes with a safe cup to melt your butter in, which adds flavor to the popcorn. The cup also doubles as a measuring cup so you can add the proper amount of kernels to each batch.
  • No oil necessary. Instead of using oil, which is messy and hard to clean up, this Hamilton Beach model uses hot air to make your snacks. You’ll spend less time cleaning up without oil in the equation.
  • Easy and safe to use. All you need to do is plug the machine in, add kernels, and turn the machine on. The popcorn will be ready and minutes, and it melts butter at the same time.

Other Considerations

  • No on/off button. When your popcorn is done, you need to manually unplug the machine. You have to listen for when the kernels stop popping, and there’s no indicator besides your ears.

Best Stovetop Popcorn Popper

why buy?

Stovetop popcorn poppers are ideal for family movie night. Typically, they can produce more popcorn per batch than a hot air popper. You can use them on either gas or electric stovetops, so they are a great fit for any home kitchen. Stovetop poppers have a manual crank, so it’s fun for children to be part of the process, with parental supervision of coarse. The crank mechanism ensures that your popcorn won’t stick or burn, which results in a great tasting snack.

Top Pick

Franklin's Gourmet Whirley Pop

Franklin’s Gourmet Whirley Pop is capable of making large batches of popcorn. You don’t have to worry about kernels sticking or burning, and it’s easy to clean up. In addition, this machine also comes with a lifetime warranty.

  • 95overall
  • 96quality
  • 93value
  • 92brand

Why We Recommend It

  • No sticking or burning. The Whirley Pop from Franklin’s Gourmet is made from all metal gears and a patented stirring device. These components prevent the kernels from sticking or burning, since they are evenly stirred.
  • Extra large kettle. It has a 6-quart kettle, so you can make large batches of popcorn in your home. The aluminum frame distributes heat from the stovetop more efficiently than stainless steel.
  • Quick clean up. Since the popcorn doesn’t burn or stick, the clean up time is fast and easy. Simply wipe the interior with a paper towel or damp rag.
  • Lifetime warranty. If you have any problems with your machine, just contact Franklin’s Gourmet. They back it up with their lifetime guarantee, so you can expect high quality and durability from your purchase.

Other Considerations

  • Fragile gears. Some customers reported problems with the gears bending. Be careful when handling and transporting this popper.

Best Campfire Popcorn Popper

why buy?

If you love the outdoors and go on frequent camping trips, a campfire popcorn popper is a necessity for your camping bag. These kettles are specifically designed for use over an open flame. They are lightweight and compact, so you don’t have to worry about carrying something that’s bulky and heavy into the woods for your trip. If you don’t like camping, you can still use a campfire popcorn popper in your backyard. They work great with home fire pits as well.

Top Pick

Wabash Valley Farms Open Fire Popper

The popcorn popper from Wabash Valley farms has a quick release locking hatch and slip resistant safety grip. Both of these components are ideal for cooking over a campfire. The light and compact design make transportation easy. A strong nylon strap also comes included with your purchase.

  • 85overall
  • 86quality
  • 67value
  • 89brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Lightweight and compact. Since you’re likely taking this with you on a camping trip, you don’t want to be hauling around extra weight. The popper is just over one pound, so it won’t be too heavy in your bag and it’s easy to transport.
  • Quick release locking hatch. The locking mechanism helps ensure the popcorn won’t spill into the fire. You likely won’t be using this on a completely flat surface, so it’s a necessary feature.
  • Slip resistant safety grip. You don’t have to worry about losing your grip on the handle. It’s made to stay cool while the kettle heats up over the fire. It’s a perfect safety measure while cooking over and open flame.
  • Comes with a nylon strap. The durable nylon strap is ideal for hanging up at campsite. You can let the kettle cool off while it hangs, rather than on the ground where someone could step on it or kick it over.

Other Considerations

  • Only works well with open flames. If you’re not into the outdoors, this probably is not the best popcorn popper for you. It’s not versatile enough to be used on your stove.

Best Large-Batch Popcorn Popper

why buy?

If you have a home theater, a large-batch popcorn popper is exactly what you need for the room. They are also great for parties, events, or any time you are entertaining guests at the house. Small businesses can also put large-batch popcorn poppers in their break rooms for employees to enjoy. These are also popular for churches and other community organizations that host events with large groups on a regular basis. You can find large-batch machines on wheels, which makes them easy to move around throughout a house or open area.

Top Pick

Great Northern Lincoln Popper

If you’re in need of a large-batch popcorn maker for your home theater or next party, this is the best option for you. The machine is easy to clean and made from commercial grade materials. You can also get a wheel cart to make your popcorn machine mobile.

  • 88overall
  • 93quality
  • 56value
  • 86brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Made from heavy-duty materials. The Lincoln Popper is built with coated steel and stainless steel. Since it was constructed with these materials, it’s durable and made to last.
  • Commercial quality for home use. As a large-batch machine, this popcorn popper is great for large home events, schools, churches, and small businesses. It’s a great addition for homeowners with a home theater.
  • Easy to clean. It comes with a tray for rejected kernels, so you can remove them simply by opening a drawer. The stainless steel and tempered glass are easy to wipe clean with a damp rag.
  • Wheel cart available. For an authentic popcorn stand experience, you have the option to add the wheel cart. The wheels make the large machine easy to move throughout your home, depending on where you want to serve your guests.

Other Considerations

  • Large frame is not for everyone. It’s not a practical popcorn maker for everyday use in a small kitchen. The machine takes up lots of room, so you need plenty of space to store it.