You may think that all popcorn makers do the same thing, but you’d be wrong—stay tuned as we explore some of the best popcorn makers on the market to amp up movie nights, game nights, and your entire snacking experience.
4 Different Types of Popcorn Poppers
If you want to make the best popcorn at home, you’re going to need the right popcorn maker for the job.
But you might not know where to start when it comes to the different types of popcorn poppers. So to help you out, we’ll explore the four common types of popcorn machines on the market — stovetop popcorn makers, air poppers, microwave popcorn makers, and electric popcorn poppers.
1. Stovetop Popcorn Makers
Our recommended model: Popsmith Popcorn Popper - $199.00
Out of all the ways to make popcorn at home, cooking popcorn on stovetop delivers the tastiest results. The problem? It can be tough finding the right oil-to-kernel ratio and preventing the popcorn from burning.
Enter the Popsmith Popper.
Inspired by the classic popping technique movie theaters use, it features a patented spinner that keeps kernels in motion.
This stainless steel popcorn popper is everything you could ever want in a popcorn machine, and then some. It’s fun, easy to use, and makes a big, delicious bowl of popcorn in 5 minutes. All you have to do is heat, pour, turn, and enjoy.
You don’t have to worry about cleanup, either. Just let your dishwasher do the dirty work while you settle in on your couch, movie queued and the night’s snack secured.
Read more: Meet Our Innovative Stovetop Popcorn Popper
2. Air Popped Poppers
Our recommended model: DASH Hot Air Popcorn Popper - $19.99
If you’re looking for healthy popcorn, an air popper would be right up your alley.
This type of popcorn machine uses hot air to pressurize the popcorn kernels, allowing the kernels to pop and turn into fresh, crispy popcorn. Because it doesn’t use oil, you end up with healthier popcorn that you can season your way — our favorite is with a little bit of cinnamon for a wintery treat.
The air popper that’s high on our list is the DASH Hot Air Popcorn Popper. You only have to look at the product reviews to know this is a favorite among popcorn lovers.
3. Microwave Popcorn Makers
Our recommended model: Cuisinart® Collapsible Silicone Microwave Popcorn Maker - $14.99
Image from Cuisinart®
Remember all those bags of microwave popcorn you’d make for Friday movie nights at your college dorm?
Well, a microwave popcorn maker is definitely a step up from that. While it doesn’t seem like much — a silicone or BPA-free plastic bowl you put in the microwave, basically — it’s incredibly convenient. You can fully customize your toppings and seasoning and eat straight from the bowl.
The Cuisinart® Collapsible Silicone Microwave Popcorn Maker gets plus points because it’s collapsible and dishwasher-safe. At $14.99 as of writing, it’s perfect if you’re on a budget but want to experiment with other popcorn flavors.
4. Electric Popcorn Makers
Our recommended model: West Bend Stir Crazy Hot Oil Electric Popper - $39.99
Image from West Bend
Making popcorn using an electronic popcorn maker is pretty fuss-free.
Just plug it into a socket, add kernels and oil (depending on the model), and hit the power button. After popping, you can flip the popcorn maker over, and ta-da — the cover doubles as a bowl.
One electric popcorn maker you’ll like is the West Bend Stir Crazy Hot Oil Electric Popper. It has a snap-on butter cap to allow butter to melt over your popcorn, a nonstick popping plate that’s easy to wipe clean, and a nesting design for convenient storage.
How to Make Homemade Freshly Popped Popcorn
Popcorn is one of those snacks you can never get bored of. The flavor possibilities are endless and you have complete freedom to play around.
It’s also incredibly easy to make. Don’t worry if things don’t go as planned on your first few goes — it can be tricky to get the number of kernels just right. The more you practice, the closer you’ll get to becoming a popcorn pro!
As you experiment, keep in mind that kernels roughly triple in size once popped. Generally, we suggest using 1-3 cups of kernels, which will pop into 3-9 cups of popped corn. However, the exact number will depend so stick to the guide that comes with your chosen popcorn machine.
Once the popcorn has popped, you can add all the toppings you want. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt, some cinnamon, or M&M’s — you do you.
Start Making Better Snacks at Home
Now that we’ve shared our opinion about the best popcorn makers out there, the rest is up to you.
This is the time to treat yourself to something special, get creative in the kitchen, and enjoy a satisfying snack. Choose wisely!
Any of these popcorn machines are great for making popcorn you can share with your friends and family (or enjoy all by yourself). But if you want as much joy popping popcorn as you do tasting it, you can’t go wrong with a stovetop popcorn popper like Popsmith’s.