If you’re craving a crunchy snack, there’s nothing like a fresh bowl of popcorn. Whether you’re sitting down to watch a movie or just want a healthier snack before dinner, there’s a wide variety of popcorn makers to choose from. You’ll find products for under $15 and over $100 on this list, along with several mid-range popcorn makers. From Presto to Waring Pro, you’ll see several well-known brand names. Depending on your budget and snacktime demands, you might choose a smaller popcorn maker or one designed to satisfy several people at once.
Each popcorn maker on this list stands out in some way, whether it’s a generous capacity, lots of power, or consistent results. Regardless of which product you select, you’ll probably be pleased with its overall quality and durability. These top performers generate lots of praise from satisfied customers. To help narrow down the best fit, you may want to focus on certain features, such as whether the popcorn maker requires oil or butter, or how easy it is to clean.
1. Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper
If you’re tired of waiting for your popcorn to finish popping, you’ll love the speedy Presto PopLite. This popcorn maker looks small, but don’t let its size fool you — it can pop up to 18 cups of gourmet popcorn in under 2 1/2 minutes. You can use both regular and gourmet popcorn with this machine, which also pops without oil so that you can save on calorie consumption.
Price: $23.99 (20 percent off MSRP)
- Pops 18 cups in 2 1/2 minutes
- Comes in several colors
- Ideal for regular and gourmet popcorn
- Lacks an on/off switch
- Doesn’t hold more than a 1/2 cup of kernels at a time
- Periodically leaves some kernels unpopped
2. West Bend Stir Crazy Popcorn Popper
A convenient — and effective — motorized stirring rod is one of the popcorn popper’s most unique features. Owners also appreciate its nonstick coated popping surface, which means no more messy cleanups! Other highlights include a heat-resistant base and handles for safer handling even when it’s warm. There’s no need to grab an extra serving bowl when the popcorn is ready, as the plastic cover doubles as its own serving bowl.
Price: $27.48 (40 percent off MSRP)
- Heat-resistant base and handles
- Easy clean-up
- Includes built-in butter well
- Bowl can get steamy
- Grease accumulates easily
- Bulky size on smaller countertops
3. Wabash Valley Farms Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper
Its whimsical design and sturdy construction makes this Wabash Valley Farms popcorn popper an eye-catching addition to any kitchen, but it has a lot to offer in terms of performance. For example, the popcorn popper makes 6 quarts of tasty popcorn in 3 minutes. A patented stirring mechanism also keeps kernels from sticking and burning. Ready to clean? Simply wipe away residue with a paper towel.
Price: $19.99 (33 percent off MSRP)
- Stirring mechanism prevents sticking and burning
- Completes popping in 3 minutes
- Easy to clean
- Plastic gears are fragile
- Can take time to figure out best oil/kernel combination
- Not for use on high heat
4. Nostalgia Hot Air Popcorn Maker
The Nostalgia Hot Air Popcorn Maker can pop up to eight cups of popcorn for each batch. However, it’s still compact enough to sit on the countertop. You can use the included measuring cap to ensure you’re using the appropriate amount of kernels. The popping chamber is designed to swirl air around to minimize unpopped kernels.
- Compact size
- Produces up to 8 cups per batch
- Includes a measuring cap
- Kernels can collect in the popcorn chute
- A bit loud
- Several mention that it periodically leaves kernels unpopped
5. Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper
It’s hard to find another popcorn popper in this price range that performs so well. This Nordic Ware has a 12-cup capacity and turns a 1/2 cup of kernels into handfuls of light, fluffy popcorn in about 4 minutes. For added convenience you can serve the freshly popped popcorn right from the Nordic Ware bowl. You can also choose to make popcorn with or without oil — either way works great for this machine.
Price: $7.99 (43 percent off MSRP)
- 12 cup capacity
- Constructed from high-density plastic
- Safe for dishwasher/microwave use
- Bottom portion gets very hot
- Varied cooking time
- Leaves a few unpopped kernels
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