Whether it’s an electric, stovetop, or microwaveable model, the best popcorn poppers will reliably turn out perfect kernels, and some can even be used for other kitchen tasks like roasting coffee. Ahead you’ll find a breakdown of what each popper type has to offer. To find the best one for you, consider the amount of storage space you have and your desired commitment level since options range from simply plugging them in to manually cranking for several minutes.
- Pros: Electric popcorn makers do all of the work for you and all you need is an outlet. One type, the air popper, works without oil for healthier snacking, and while these units are easy to clean, they may not deliver quite the same “movie theater popcorn” flavor you’re used to. Electric popcorn poppers that do work with oil typically make tastier popcorn, and some people like electric units for roasting coffee, but they usually require modification and thus aren’t my top pick for that purpose.
- Cons: Electric poppers can be bulky and take up key storage space. Plus, models that use oil tend to be harder to clean since there’s no way to remove the baseplate from the electrical components.
- Pros: These vintage-looking metal pots come with a manual crank that can be fun to turn if you’re into the artisanal process. The pot uses an interior metal rod that stirs the kernels, but you can also make different types of small snack foods like roasted nuts or caramel corn since the rod helps evenly distribute both temperature and toppings. In terms of roasting coffee beans, a stovetop model gives you more control over the temperature for the perfect roast.
- Cons: Stovetop models can be heavy and some people may find it just too tedious to crank for the time required.
- Pros: Simple to use and affordably priced, a microwave popcorn popper is super versatile because it works with or without oil, and since it’s essentially a bowl it can be used for serving other snacks too. Some are silicone and collapsible for easy storage, while others are made from heat-resistant, nontoxic glass.
- Cons: You’ll have to find the “sweet spot” for time to avoid burning, and they often end up with a few unpopped kernels at the bottom of the bowl.
These six popcorn poppers are road-tested for turning your average next movie night into the ultimate snacking experience.
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1. This Dependable Little Air Popper For Oil-Free Snacking
- Size: 9.25 x 5.81 x 13.75 inches (length x width x height)
This electric hot air popcorn maker can churn out 18 cups of popcorn in the same amount of time it takes to microwave one store-bought bag — and it does it all without any added oils or preservatives. The angled chute directs freshly popped kernels right into the bowl, and its built-in butter melter is also a measuring cup so you never have to worry about accidentally overfilling the machine. And a cord-keeper wraps up neatly for easy storage at the end of the night. Some reviews reported projectile kernels at the beginning of the popping cycle, but aside from some errant kernels, this is a great no-frills popper that’s easy to clean (you just wipe it down). One shopper noted, “I’m very happy with this powerhouse of a hot air popcorn machine. It heats evenly and leaves only 1 or 2 kernels unpopped.”
2. An Artisanal Stainless Steel Stovetop Popcorn Maker
- Size: 16.8 inches x 6 inches (length, including handle, x height)
This old-fashioned stainless steel popcorn maker pops six quarts (24 cups) of perfectly crisp kernels thanks to the addition of a little bit of oil. You operate it by turning a crank via the polished wooden handle, which then stirs the kernels to prevent scorching — and it only takes three minutes per batch.
Its durable stainless steel construction with die-cast metal gears makes for a sustainable heirloom-quality piece, with one fan raving, “I will never buy another popcorn maker again not to mention they have a 25 year warranty that pretty much cover everything other than u smashing it Into the ground.” To clean, just wipe down with a paper towel after use. You can choose from four different exterior hues, including a festive red.
3. A Collapsible BPA-Free Silicone Popcorn Maker That Comes In Fun Colors
- Size: 9.5 x 5.8 inches expanded (length x height)
This silicone microwave popcorn maker uses 100% pure food-grade silicone without fillers and notably passes the “pinch test.” It works without oil just like an electric air popper, but you have the option to add oil for a crisper finish. It comes in a collapsible design that’s great for small spaces and has two small handles on each side for safe handling fresh out of the microwave. Pop up to 14 cups in under four minutes, then load it into the dishwasher when you’re done for no-fuss cleanup. Some reviews mentioned a few unpopped kernels, so trial and error may be required to find the sweet spot on your microwave. That said, one reviewer commented, “This popcorn maker is AMAZING! It pops popcorn quickly and quietly unlike the counter machines. It folds up for easy storage and is super easy to clean.”
4. An Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Maker That’s Satisfying To Watch
- Size: 10 x 13 x 10 inches (length x width x height)
If you have the real estate for it, this electric popcorn popper combines the hands-off convenience of an air popper with the perfectly crisp finish of oil-popped stovetop popcorn. The unit has a six-quart capacity (24 cups) and can pop a delicious batch of kernels in under four minutes. The baseplate has a nonstick coating, and a built-in butter melter actually drips melted butter onto the popcorn as it pops so every kernel is evenly coated. The clear lid lets you keep an eye on your progress to avoid burning and is designed to double as a perfectly sized serving bowl. Everything nests together neatly for compact storage at the end of the night, while a cord wrap seated underneath the unit is a nice touch that truly keeps it out of the way. One shopper noted, “My family and I enjoy watching how the popcorn kernels pop as they give a heavenly movie theater popcorn type of fragrance while they rotate upward–no burnt popcorn for us…”.
5. This Adorable Glass Popcorn Popper That’s Super Affordable
- Size: 7.5 x 5.13 inches (length x height)
This glass popcorn popper is an eco-friendly option for people who crave the convenience of the microwave. Borosilicate glass is especially durable and heat-resistant, while the BPA-free plastic handle lets you grab it right out of the microwave without having to use mitts for the hot glass. Make a batch in less than three minutes, and you can choose whether you want to use oil or not. A three-in-one silicone lid measures kernels and softens butter while you pop. This one comes in two different sizes: a single-serving 1.5-quart (6 cup) snack size, and a larger three-quart (12 cup) family size option. And it’s all dishwasher safe. One shopper noted, “You may have to pop popcorn about two or three times before you figure out what works best with your microwave. Best part about this product is that it’s easy to wash.”
6. This Microwave Popcorn Maker That’s A Kitchen Workhorse
- Size: 10 x 10 x 5 inches (length x width x height)
This multitasking microwave popcorn maker makes popcorn in about four minutes and delivers 12 cups worth of fluffy kernels — plus its versatile design means it can be used for more than just popcorn. It’s made from a specially-treated BPA-free and melamine-free plastic that’s cured to be temperature-safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use it with or without oil, and toss it in the dishwasher when you’re finished. “Wonderful! Makes healthy popcorn fast and with ease!” one shopper enthused. Just note that the bowl can get very hot in the microwave so you’ll want to use a towel or pot holder to remove it after it’s finished popping.
Also Nice: An Old-Fashioned Popcorn Maker For Cooking Over A Fire
- Size: full product dimensions not listed, but handle extends to 18 inches
This old-fashioned popcorn popper is great for grills, backyard bonfires, and camping trips alike with its simple design and extra-long handle for safe use over an open flame. A few reviewers noted that the thin metal conducted heat well. “Very easy to use, excellent results & clean-up is simple,” one shopper commented, adding, “The handle stores in the body of the popper and there is plenty of room to pack the popcorn inside.”