Best Popcorn Popper for 2018 – Top 8 Popcorn Maker Reviews
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. To help you pick the right one out there, we gathered around the best popcorn poppers plus a whole lot of useful info you’ll need to get the corn-popping started.
Table of Contents
- What Is A Popcorn Maker?
- Why Use A Popcorn Popper?
- The Different Types of Popcorn Makers
- What to Check After You Purchase A Popcorn Popper
- Best Popcorn Popper Reviews
- 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 Red Matinee Movie Theater Style
- 5. Cuisinart CPM-100W Easy Pop
- 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?
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 the 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.
Steer Clear From Ambiguous Additives
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 popcorn 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 popcorn poppers is a no-brainer. This type is ideal for those who want to keep the calorie count as low as possible.
Unlike oil poppers, this type 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 popcorn 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 machine 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 one that is 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 the product before you buy 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 A 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.
Best Popcorn Popper Reviews
Reviewing everything from size and functionality to convenience and design, we’ve rounded up the eight best popcorn makers to buy in 2018.
If you are looking for the best stovetop popcorn popper in the market, then Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop is a no-brainer. This product is great for making large batches of the crunchy snack without discounting on flavor. But, let’s take a closer look at its top features.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 with little to no prep. So, here are the good and the bad that come with this 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.
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?