Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
Best-rated popcorn popper
A solution for quick, microwaved popcorn but with more control of the oils and add-ins, this silicone popcorn maker is the best-reviewed of all — and at the lowest price. One reviewer writes, “Being a popcorn lover, and having gone from using a pot on the stove, to an air popper, and now to this bowl, I can say that I love this bowl above the other methods.” Simply add kernels to the collapsible bowl (space-saving dreams!), put on the lid, and let it go to town. Another reviewer explains, “I stayed in the kitchen, and as soon as the popping slowed down to just a few seconds between each pop, I turned the microwave off. The bowl is advertised as both a popper and a serving bowl … so I ended up using a towel to hold it while we were watching TV instead of pulling out another bowl to dump it in … when we were done, I just put it on the top shelf of the dishwasher! (Much easier than trying to scrub out one of those kettle units.)”
Best-rated (less expensive) popcorn popper
Very similar in price and design to the silicone poppers, this Nordic Ware Popcorn Popper got rave reviews and has a more subtle look. A best seller in the brand’s microwave line, the BPA- and melamine-free containers are oven-safe to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. One reviewer notes, “I had one of these that lasted for years, being used about two times a week. When the lid finally warped so popcorn kernels were jumping out all over the microwave, I decided to try the newer style of collapsible silicone poppers. If you’re trying to decide between the two styles of poppers, the Nordic Ware one is far superior.”
And now for some micro-picks for any other type of popcorn popper you might be looking for.
Best stovetop popcorn popper
We’ve talked about the greatness of the Whirley Pop popcorn maker before, and the people of Amazon are equally in love. It’s the gold standard. The classic metal popper has reviewers saying things like, “Is it legal to marry a kitchen utensil …? Well, love knows no boundaries, and I’ve got to say, ‘I LOVE MY WHIRLEY POP.’ There, I said it, and I’m not ashamed.”
Reviewers also noted the fun factor, for all ages. “My 4-year-old loves to help Mommy make popcorn. I always add the oil, and he adds the kernels,” adds the reviewer. “Then we take turns spinning the crank on the handle.” That’s all there is to it. The popcorn popper makes up to six quarts of popcorn in less than three minutes and comes with a 25-year warranty. “The first popcorn popper I can remember as a child was a Whirley Pop! My parents still have it, and use it regularly … I’m 39 years old, so that should tell you how old it is,” another reviewer writes. “When I moved out on my own, at 18, I got a Whirley Pop as a moving-out gift. I’ve used that popper at least once a month, usually weekly, since.”
Best movie theater–style popcorn machine
Best home popcorn cart
One step further from the retro-style machine is the popcorn-popping cart, which reviewers love for showing off a big events. “It’s so inviting to go down to the basement and smell the popcorn cooking,” says one reviewer. “It’s like a movie theater without the sticky floors!” Another loves it for church functions, saying, “We have used this machine time and time again for fundraiser activities, children’s parties, youth activities, carnivals, etc. I noticed Sam’s Club sells a similar model for less now, but it lacks the heat lamp, which to me is worth it. Nothing like hot, fresh popcorn on a cold fall day!”
Many reviewers note how much easier it is to assemble the machine than they thought, often citing about an hour of work. According to reviewers, it keeps well, too: “We bought the eight-ounce, premeasured Great Northern popcorn packs, which are perfect for the machine. Once it was assembled, we tried our first batch. I thought it would be too much popcorn for the two of us, but we discovered we can leave it for a few days in the machine, and stale popcorn is quite tasty!”
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