The Best Popcorn Makers Of 2022

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The first commercial popcorn maker was a far cry from today's compact and portable poppers. Invented in 1885 by Charles Cretors, the steam-powered machine was usually wheeled around to serve patrons attending sporting events and fairs (via America's Favorite Gourmet Popcorn). Over the years, popcorn machines became smaller, faster, and more affordable. Today's poppers can easily fit on a kitchen countertop and are speedy enough to make batches of flawless popcorn in minutes.

From collapsible bowls to concession stands, poppers come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most popular machines use hot air, microwaves, stovetops, and electricity. And while there are many different types of popcorn makers on the market, they all have one feature in common — they give you absolute control of the popping process, which means personalized and often healthier popcorn. Looking for a popcorn maker to lift your movie game to the next level? Keep reading!

How we selected products

While buying a bag of microwave popcorn at your local grocery store may be convenient, nothing lets you customize your popcorn like a popper. However, with so many different styles and designs on the market, selecting an appliance that's right for your needs can be a challenge. Luckily, this is where we can help.

There are certain elements you should keep in mind when investing in a popcorn machine. Health-conscious eaters might wish to opt for an air popper since it can be used without oil. If ease-of-use is high on your list of priorities, you should look at purchasing a microwave or stovetop popcorn maker. Some other considerations include the machine's price, capacity, speed, cleanup, and, of course, performance. To make your selection easier, we have scoured the deep recesses of the internet to bring you a list of the best popcorn makers of 2022. Here are the results of our research.

Best overall popcorn maker

The aptly named Presto PopLite hot air corn popper is an air popping device that makes fluffy popcorn without oil or butter — just think of all the calories you won't be ingesting. If you're into butter though, there's a handy butter melter on top of the unit that doubles as a measuring cup. According to the Presto website, the popper is also very speedy, producing up to 18 cups of popcorn in just two and a half minutes. After some testing, the Top Ten Reviews proclaimed the number to be 15 cups — still ample as far as we're concerned.

Suitable for both standard and gourmet popcorn, the Presto popper leaves very few unpopped or burnt kernels. And once the popcorn is ready, the unit's plastic chute guides the popped kernels right into a bowl. When you are done, simply remove the cover and measuring cup and clean them with warm water and soap. There's also a handy cord wrap at the back of the device for easy storage when it's not in use. And from the sound of various reviewers who say they've been using theirs for decades, the Presto popper is also highly durable (via She Speaks).

Purchase the Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper from Amazon starting at $29.99.

Best microwave popcorn maker

Made from premium LFGB-certified silicone, the W&P Microwave Silicone Personal Popcorn Popper makes a great addition to any movie night. The popper can make up to four cups of popcorn at a time, and families can also opt for The Popper, a larger nine-cup version. To measure the kernels, simply flip the bowl's lid to create a measuring cup. The popping process takes between two and four minutes and no oil is required. In addition, the bowl is dishwasher-safe and collapsible for easy storage.

So what about the results? Alex Loh from EatingWell was impressed with the way the W&P Personal Popper conducted heat, writing, "in my batch of popcorn, only one kernel was left unpopped and zero popcorn pieces were burned." Another bonus is the fact that you can enjoy your popcorn directly from the popping bowl, which equates to both convenience and less cleanup at the end of the night.

Purchase the W&P Microwave Silicone Personal Popcorn Popper from Amazon starting at $20.

Best stovetop popcorn maker

If you're feeling nostalgic about the old-school method of making popcorn on the stove, the Wabash Valley Farms Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper might be a worthwhile investment. Made from stainless steel for durability, the popper takes roughly three minutes to produce six quarts of popcorn for your snacking pleasure. 

Simply pop some kernels and oil in the pot, turn the wooden crank, and wait until you stop hearing the pops. While the unit features die-cast metal gears to ensure that the stirring crank works smoothly, Stephen Turner from Food recommends "keep[ing] an eye on things since all stove tops can burn your popcorn if [you leave] them at it for too long and don't crank when you are supposed to."

The Wabash Valley Farms Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper is a vast improvement on the company's aluminum popper. While the aluminum unit pops the kernels faster than its stainless steel counterpart, it's not as durable due to possible warping caused by repetitive reheating and cooling. On the other hand, the stainless steel popper comes with a 25-year-guarantee so you can rest assured that you're purchasing a quality product.

Purchase the Wabash Valley Farms Whirley-Pop Popcorn Popper from Amazon starting at $39.95

Best electric popcorn maker

With a capacity of six quarts, the WestBend Stir Crazy popcorn machine makes a great addition to large households. At 850 watts of power, the unit features an automatically reversing stirring rod to ensure that no kernel is left unpopped. The vented cover features a handy tray that lets you melt butter while the unit is working. When flipped, the top of the unit also serves as a convenient popcorn bowl. In addition, the heating base and cover align at the handles, making the popper easy to grasp and move.

The inside of the WestBend Stir Crazy popcorn machine is covered in PTFE non-stick coating to make cleaning a breeze. The popper is also easy to store; simply wrap the cord around the hooks on the bottom of the device and place the heating base inside the nesting cover.

On the downside, the Stir Crazy popcorn machine requires the addition of a little oil to the base prior to popping. Using margarine, butter, or lard isn't recommended since they can burn the kernels. In addition, unlike many other poppers, this unit doesn't come with a measuring cup (via Top Ten Reviews).

Purchase the WestBend Stir Crazy Popcorn Machine from Amazon starting at $46.99.

Best budget popcorn maker

At just $13.99, the Original Hotpop Microwave Popcorn Popper is an absolute bargain. Made from BPA- and PVC-free silicone, the microwave popcorn maker features a bowl with built-in handles and a lid. It's also large enough to make 15 cups of popcorn in one batch. Simply pour the kernels into the bowl, add some optional oil, close the lid, and place the unit in the microwave for two to four minutes. Available in a multitude of appealing colors, the Hotpop popper features a collapsible design for convenient storage and portability and it's even dishwasher safe.

Though simple, the Original Hotpop Microwave Popcorn Popper has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. In fact, the Review Index gave the appliance a massive 9.3 out of 10 after analyzing around 1,000 reviews. One Amazon reviewer went as far as proclaiming that this popcorn maker blew him away, saying that it's "easy to use, easy to clean, and most of all makes perfectly popped popcorn! Light, airy, crispy, [and] not chewy."

Purchase the Original Hotpop Microwave Popcorn Popper from Amazon starting at $13.99.

Best popcorn maker for one

Ideal for solo movie snacks, the Ecolution Micro-Pop Popcorn Popper makes six cups of popcorn at a time — just the right amount for one or possibly two people. Made from heat-resistant borosilicate glass, the bowl is safe to use in the microwave. Simply pour in the kernels — there's no need for oil or butter — cover the bowl with the ventilated lid, and set your microwave for two and a half to three minutes. The lid also functions as a handy measuring cup and can be used to melt butter. Plus, the popper features a wide-mouthed design and a handle that stays cool during use.

With over 36,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, the Ecolution Microwave Micro-Pop Popcorn Popper has won the hearts of popcorn enthusiasts. One Amazon reviewer who has been microwaving popcorn for years says that this is their all-time favorite popcorn maker. "Very easy clean up and it pops almost all the kernels every time," they write, adding that the popper's size is great for single portions or two smaller portions for the weight conscious.

Purchase the Ecolution Microwave Micro-Pop Popcorn Popper from Amazon starting at $12.99.

Best theater-style popcorn maker

The WestBend Hot Oil Theater Popcorn Machine is perfect for family nights in front of the big — or small — screen. And while it may set you back around $70, just think of all the money you'll save on movie tickets. The old-school countertop unit is also bound to be a hit with the kids. One Amazon reviewer who purchased the popper for her husband is looking forward to family get-togethers over popcorn, saying that he "LOVES it and now we are planning movie nights for the grandkids because he bragged to them and they want to use it. Great product for a few people."

The unit's non-stick stainless steel kettle pops up to four quarts of popcorn at a time. Simply fill the kettle with kernels, wait a few minutes, and watch as it tilts to deliver fresh popcorn into the serving area. While the motorized stirring rod keeps the number of unpopped kernels to a minimum, any unpopped kernels end up in a catcher tray. Once the popcorn is ready, the kettle is fully removable for fast cleaning. The popcorn machine comes with a measuring cup and spoon, as well as a scoop.

Purchase the WestBend Hot Oil Theater Popcorn Machine from Amazon starting at $71.98.

Best popcorn maker for kids

A real treat for kids and the young at heart, the Uncanny Brands Star Wars Death Star Popcorn Maker lets fans enjoy their favorite movies while munching on popcorn. Although the death star in Star Wars is a space station with the power to destroy an entire planet, this popper is all about keeping serious snackers happy with freshly-made popcorn.

One self-proclaimed Star Wars nerd refers to the popper as the perfect buy in an Amazon review, saying that "It works about as well as a regular popcorn maker, but [the popcorn is] delivered by the Death Star! [...] It's sturdy enough that it doesn't move at all during use, the scoop works perfectly and [the popcorn] comes out tasting great! It is big, but I just store it on my countertop because it's basically a display piece."

The Uncanny Brands popcorn maker is about more than just aesthetics. It uses hot air to pop kernels, which means that you can prepare your snack without oil or butter. Simply use the measuring cup to add kernels to the popper's chamber, wait for two or three minutes, and watch as the popcorn is transported via the transparent popping chute to the top cover of the machine, which doubles as a serving bowl.

Purchase the Uncanny Brands Star Wars Death Star Popcorn Maker from Amazon starting at $59.99.

Best vintage popcorn maker

A popcorn maker and a collector's item in one, the Nostalgia Popcorn & Concession Cart is bound to make an impression on your guests. Crafted in the style of early 1900s silent movie houses, the 59-inch stand features a heat- and scratch-resistant tempered glass window, atmospheric interior LED lighting, and a storage cabinet for your kernels and popcorn seasoning. The 16-inch rubber wheels and a pull handle ensure that the stand is easy to maneuver. Plus, the bottom part of the stand can be removed if you wish to use the unit as a countertop popper.

The Nostalgia Popcorn & Concession Cart comes with a 10-ounce stainless steel kettle that produces up to 40 cups of fresh popcorn per batch to keep the entire clan happy. The kettle features an in-built stirring system to ensure uniform popping and a hinged lid that lets you tip the popcorn into the popper's main shelf. This device comes with a kernel measuring cup, an oil measuring spoon, and a popcorn scoop.

Purchase the Nostalgia Popcorn & Concession Cart from Amazon starting at $359.99.