Now You Can Make Movie Theater-Quality Popcorn at Home
Just for the fun of it, here is a challenge: say ‘popcorn popper’ ten times fast without laughing, we bet you can’t! There is just something about popcorn that invokes happiness and joy – whether it is the smell, the taste, or just the experience of trying not to touch anyone’s hands as you all reach in the bowl at the same time.
Once upon a time, the theatre and cinema were the places to be seen, and you would never dare to be seen without a bowl of popcorn in your hands. These days in the generation of digital downloads and Netflix, we still want to enjoy the theatre experience, but in the comfort of home. Recently a plethora of at-home popcorn poppers have appeared on the market, and we could not be happier and fuller of popcorn!
Here are the top 9 best popcorn makers to transform an ordinary movie night into an amazing popping experience!
Buying Guide for Best Popcorn Makers
Supermarket popcorn bags are out, and intelligently popped popcorn at home is in! The great thing about popcorn is that you can dress it up or down for any occasion, and with any of the featured popcorn makers at your disposal, there never is a good reason to not make popcorn. Whether you are looking for the convenience of a microwavable popcorn maker, or the intelligence of a self-stirring electric popper, the perfect popcorn is so close you can smell it (from down the street).
A popcorn maker makes use of either oil or air to pop the corn into fluffy, white balls. These machines are far more reliable for making popcorn; you can say good-bye to those annoying un-popped corn for good, and let nothing ruin that perfect evening you have in mind.
Make fast, consistent and healthy snacks the moment you need them, with your very own popcorn maker at home.
As you step out into the store, you will find these appliances have certain terms and parts you need to know before you make the purchase. Here’s a list of the basic popcorn maker’s constituents for your ease:
- The Serving Bowl which is used to serve or take the popcorns out in.
- The Base which heats and pops the corn kernels for you. It is usually made from aluminum material.
- The machine stand, on which the popcorn making machine rests.
- The electric motor which helps heat the popcorn through the base.
- The fan or blower which sends the hot air to the kernels and helps them pop.
- The chute which helps put the popcorn into the bowl; this is vital in keeping them in place and not scattered about, and is vital for keeping the appliance clean.
- The spice dispenser. It is usually there as the ‘butter dispenser’, however, many models also allow you to put certain spices or other toppings as per your preference to evenly distribute them to all of the popcorn being made.
- There’s also a stirring arm which helps in evenly distributing the heat to the whole batch you want to be popped.
- There are often certain switches or buttons on the model which include the basic on/off button. Other buttons may also be there for other options such as the keep warm feature.
Now let us look into a few kinds of the Popcorn makers available in the market today:
- The Oil Poppers
These make use of oil for getting the corn ready. Usually, they have a transparent lid so that kids can have a treat watching their favorite snack pop right in front of their eyes.
- The Air Poppers
These popcorn makers, as the name suggests, make use of air to pop the corns. The popcorn falls from a chute to a bowl, again a treat to watch!
- The Stove Top Poppers
These types are for those who want to actually make the popcorn. Here you cannot see the popcorn being made, but you will have to hold and shake the pan and make the popcorn in a way that there is the least chance of the kernels of getting burnt.
- The Professional Poppers
If you want a perfect movie night, with all the ambiance, a professional popper is bound to be the star of the evening. These machines are the most portable versions of the large popcorn making machines and include controls for popping as well as keeping the popped corn warm, till eaten.
So, which is the best one? If you prefer the popcorn drizzled with butter or cheese, then you should buy one of the oil poppers. Whereas, if you are more into healthy cooking, then the air poppers work best and meet your calorie requirements and are also the least fattening.
Key Factors to Consider Before Making the Purchase
As you set out to make the purchase, it is vital to keep certain points in mind. Such as:
- The Size
These machines are available in various sizes, styles, and designs. You need to consider:
- The counter space.
- The amount of popcorn you need.
To decide on the size. All of these popcorn makers discussed above work well, but the size only determines the quantity of popcorn a machine can hold at a time.
- The Volume/Capacity
Generally speaking, the popcorn makers can produce about four or six quarts of popcorn in a single turn. These are the best for the home. However, for a more professional setting, or when you need a lot more quantity, you can look for the theater-style poppers, which yield a lot more.
If you are a nuclear setup and just need the popcorn for 2-3 people, then the smaller versions of these machines are great for your home. However, if you have a larger family or like to have company over, then you may opt for the ones which yield around 12 cups of popcorn at a single time.
- The Budget
The typical countertop poppers (both oil and air types) are available at quite low prices and can easily fit your budgetary requirements. However, if you are looking for the larger, theater types, you will need to have a certain budget in hand.
- The Cleaning
Another factor to consider is the ease of cleaning the popcorn maker. Generally, the oil and the air poppers are quite easy to clean, however, the professional poppers can be a tad bit tricky.
Also, try to find those with removable and washable parts for further ease and maintenance.
The quality of the popcorn maker is a prime requisite when you set out to buy one for your home. The best ones use high-grade steel and scratch-proof glass. It is advisable to avoid the low-grade plastic materials, as they can actually result in accidents and other dangers including overheating.
Moreover, the high-quality popcorn maker will last you much longer than the cheaper quality ones.
- The Popping Time
When you need popcorn, you need it right at that instant! What could be more annoying than having a machine that takes so long to pop the corn, that you no longer feel snack-hungry anymore?
Usually, these machines can make 10-14 cups of popcorn for you and your friends, in just two or four minutes. So, watch out for the popping time of the machine you pick.
As these makers cost quite less, some of the generic or cheaper quality ones could get a minor glitch. Hence, it is safe to look for one which comes with at least a year long warranty. Go for the authentic brands with the known sellers, just as the ones we have covered in our review for your safety and durability.
- A Butter-well
The popcorn makers with a butter-well may sound heavenly for the popcorn lovers and yes, they do exist!
These help in making the produced popcorn well- buttered up and without any mess.
- Provision for Adding Seasoning
If you like the popcorn with salt, caramel, and other toppings then you even find such poppers which allow you to add whatever type of seasoning you prefer to add to your big bowl of popcorn.
- The Outer Temperature
The very best of these popcorn makers, make the hot sizzling popcorns inside, while the handles stay cool to the touch. This feature is very important to keep safe from any accidents and burns, especially if you have kids running around the house.
- Additional Features
Many of these machines include features such as the cover or lid, the measuring cup, and heat lamps, etc. All these features help enhance the utility of the machine and make the overall experience more pleasant.
Many of the manufacturers also provide various toppings or recipes through which you can make the kernels pop and others also suggest the right serving sizes for each. Serving bowls, flavor dispensers, and measuring cups are ideal features, the popcorn maker could have.
Some of these popcorn makers are made from plastic, but the plastic is entirely safe for use. The best one is entirely BPA free (Bisphenol); BPA is said to be harmful to cooking, as some of the chemicals could become part of the food when it is being cooked.
However, BPA is termed safe for ingestion in smaller amounts by the Food and Drug Administration, U.S.
Advantages of the Popcorn Makers
These popcorn makers have huge health benefits and help you save up considerably on electricity, which the microwaveable popcorns consume a lot.
A few of the major benefits include:
- The Health Benefit
Popcorns are quite low on the calories, and hence are very attractive and easy to make for the diet conscious lot. You can even add other flavors to the popcorn, with absolutely no detrimental effects or changes to your otherwise healthy lifestyle.
These popcorn makers are much more healthy and safe for consumption as compared to the microwaves.
Popcorn itself, includes fiber and is actually beneficial against heart diseases, diabetes, and even cancer, and also helps you stay within the healthy weight limits.
- A Quick Fix
Popcorn is the easiest snack to fix in a very short time. Within four minutes time, the popcorn maker can give you fresh and healthy, ready to eat popcorn.
- Save Up!
These are the simplest type of snacks which are the lowest in cost, as compared to the other snacks. The popcorn you make in these popcorn makers, also costs you quite less. The energy consumption is low and the kernels cost much less than the microwaveable popcorn kernels.
There’s an entire world of flavors you can add to these popcorns. From butter, cheese, garlic, salt to caramel, you will never get bored with these puffs! There are endless opportunities to try out with these kernels, especially when you have a popcorn maker right at home.
It doesn’t matter if you are planning out a movie night, a slumber party or a bonfire in your backyard, these little puffy whites are suited for every occasion. Check out a few tips and tricks for making the most amazing and crispy bowl of popcorn, you’ll never have enough of!
What Wattage Should I Look For with These Popcorn Makers?
The wattage and the cooking time with these popcorn makers are directly proportional to each other, i.e. the more the wattage of your model, the faster it pops your corn.
If time does not matter much and you do not need larger quantities, then you may go for the lower wattage machines too. However, if you need a larger home theater type popcorn making machine, then you should buy one with over 640 watts.
However, keep in mind that the higher the wattage of the machine, the more power it will consume. So, it is not always recommended that you buy the higher powered machines; they may help you produce more and in relatively shorter time, but will be heavy on your monthly electrical bills.
Hence, it is all dependent on your requirements, go for the size and wattage rating, as per your required level.
How essential is The Heat Lamp or a Warming Deck?
Many of the high-end models include the heating lamp which helps keeps the popcorns from getting cold. This feature is particularly important if you have many guests to take care of or need a professional popcorn maker. This keeps them fresh and crispy for as long as you require.
Considering that the larger popcorn makers are not that low cost, it is only sensible that they must include a heat lamp or a warming deck. When you are spending so much, for larger quantities of popcorn, you should enjoy them while they are hot and before they get any soggy, right?
What is the Right Size for Me?
The size of the popcorn maker determines the total yield in one go. So, if you need it for two to three people, a smaller sized maker would do just right. However, if you need it for say 10-12 people or for a movie night or all-nighter, you may consider the medium sized models, with a higher capacity.
The largest machines or the theater types, are great for making popcorn if you have a much larger audience, but it will consume a lot more electricity. So, such a machine may be useless and in fact, cost you a lot more if you just need the popcorn for a few people.
The audience hence determines the right size for your popcorn. Another factor could be the counter space you have at home for the machine. That will also help you decide on the right size of the popcorn maker for your home.
For a basic guideline about the machine size and the servings, it can yield.
When it comes to popcorns, there no right or wrong. However, health is a major concern, especially for the ever enthusiastic little kids. Hence, all the options we have discussed impose no health risks and yield the perfect popcorns to turn any movie night or fun filled evening into an unforgettable affair.
We hope the above guide will be helpful for you to choose the best popcorn maker for your family and friends. Buy one of these handy popcorn makers for the home and turn every night, into a spectacular movie night!