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Which popcorn popper is best?

Nothing kicks off movie night better than a bowl of freshly popped popcorn. But if you’re tired of microwave bags and you want something that tastes like it came straight from the movie theater, consider buying a popcorn popper. 

These machines range from simple stovetop containers to electric devices with built-in butter melters. For a user-friendly popper that’s loaded with features, the West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Popcorn Popper is tough to beat. 

What to know before you buy a popcorn popper 


Popcorn makers can come in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes, but most poppers fall into one of the following three categories: 

  • Electric popcorn poppers: These devices can be placed on your countertop and plugged into a conventional power outlet. Simply turn them on and you can have a delicious popped snack in minutes. These poppers are compact and easy to use but usually more expensive than other types. 
  • Stovetop popcorn poppers: Perhaps the most traditional type of popcorn popper, the stovetop variety resembles a pot with a lid at first glance. As the kernels heat up, you use an integrated crank or stirring component to ensure even popping and prevent burning. These poppers are convenient if you like to add seasoning to your popcorn.
  • Microwave popcorn poppers: These deceptively simple popcorn poppers are shaped like a bowl with a lid. These poppers require no oil to make popcorn and are usually more affordable than other types. The design means that they’re usually dishwasher safe too. 

Oil vs. air popping

When shopping for popcorn makers online, you’re probably going to see a lot of products that are advertised as using either oil or air in their poppers. In recent years, poppers that make popcorn using hot air have grown in popularity because they’re much healthier and easier to clean than oil poppers. On the other hand, many people feel that air-popped kernels have less flavor than the oil variety. The matter ultimately comes down to personal preference, but keep in mind that electric and microwave poppers usually use air while stovetop containers almost invariably use oil. 

What to look for in a quality popcorn popper


When considering capacity, think about how many servings of popcorn you’re going to want to make at any given time. Keep in mind that the capacity listed in the product details is usually referring to popped kernels. 

The average serving size for a single person is usually around two cups of popcorn, so if you’re making snacks for the whole family or a group of friends, a minimum capacity of 12 cups is recommended. 

Popping time

A fast popping time can be an important feature, particularly if you’re preparing popcorn for a lot of people. Most electric popcorn poppers can make a large quantity of popcorn in just a few minutes, while stovetop containers typically take a bit longer. 


Some popcorn poppers come with helpful accessories like recipes, individual packets of seasoning or even a separate dish that can be used for melting butter. 

How much you can expect to spend on a popcorn popper

The cost of a popcorn popper will usually vary depending on the capacity and any included features. Most consumers can expect to pay $20 to $50 for a solid, reliable popper. 

Popcorn popper FAQ

How do I clean my popcorn popper? 

A. The best way to clean your popcorn popper is going to depend on the type you choose. Many microwave poppers can be simply run through the dishwasher, while oil-based stovetop models may require a scrub with soap and water. Air poppers generally stay cleaner than oil types. Nevertheless, to find the best cleaning method for your popper, consult the product manual. 

How many kernels should I pop for two people? 

A. A single serving of popped popcorn is usually around two cups, an amount that can be made with approximately one tablespoon of kernels. Following this method, two tablespoons of unpopped kernels should make enough popcorn for two people to enjoy. 

What’s the best popcorn popper to buy?

Top popcorn popper

West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Popcorn Popper

West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Popcorn Popper

What you need to know: This electric popcorn popper is easy to use, simple to store and loaded with helpful features. 

What you’ll love: The device’s vented cover can double as a dishwasher-safe popcorn bowl, and the motorized stirring component ensures even popping. There’s also an integrated butter melting tray, and the attached power cord can be tucked underneath the popper for easy storage. 

What you should consider: There are lots of nooks and crannies in this popper that can be difficult to clean.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top popcorn popper for the money

Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper

Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper

What you need to know: If you want a convenient and healthy alternative to oily popcorn, this may be the popper for you. 

What you’ll love: This device uses hot air to pop tons of kernels in minutes. It’s compact, affordable and easy to clean since it doesn’t use any oil. If you like buttery popcorn, you can melt butter in the included tray while the kernels are popping. 

What you should consider: The pressurized air can send popcorn flying if you aren’t careful. Some users may prefer the taste of oil-popped popcorn. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

The Original HotPop Microwave Popcorn Popper

The Original HotPop Microwave Popcorn Popper

What you need to know: This silicone microwave popper is collapsible and dishwasher safe. 

What you’ll love: Crafted from food-grade silicone, this popper is heat-resistant and contains no bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA. Its collapsible design makes it incredibly easy to store, taking up about the same amount of space as a dinner plate. It’s also available in 20 different vibrant color options. 

What you should consider: This popper often leaves unpopped kernels at the bottom of the bowl. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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