What are the best homemade popcorn makers?

There aren’t many things better than eating a tub of buttery popcorn while sitting in the movie theater. With many films bypassing the theater and releasing on popular streaming services, now you can enjoy that highly anticipated movie release from the comfort of your home. However, you’re probably not going to achieve that signature movie theater popcorn from a bag of microwave popcorn. 

From air poppers to countertop popcorn makers to classic popcorn machines, making popcorn at home has never been easier. So, before you plan your next family movie night, take a look at these great popcorn makers to bring the theater to your house.

Types of popcorn makers

Microwave popcorn maker

While this style of popcorn maker utilizes the microwave, it’s still fresher than bags of microwave popcorn since it requires kernels. They are generally made of silicone or gemstone and can prepare your popcorn with or without oil in less than three minutes. A microwave popcorn maker is easy to operate and one of the most inexpensive options. However, this method often yields the most unpopped kernels since there’s no way to stir the popcorn.

Air popper

If you’re concerned about excess oil, an air popper is an ideal choice. Instead of hot oil to pop the kernels, air poppers circulate hot air. This method generally leads to less unpopped kernels and is a quick way to get healthier popcorn. It’s important to note that this style doesn’t produce buttery popcorn bursting with flavor. Although, a few options allow you to add melted butter as it’s popping.

Electric popcorn maker

Electric popcorn makers are an excellent option for dorm rooms and are the most straightforward models to operate. They are also inexpensive. Plus, electric popcorn makers often use an automatic stirrer to keep the kernels moving.

Stovetop popcorn maker

Those looking for a hands-on experience will enjoy a stovetop popcorn maker. It is slightly more time-consuming and requires hand cranking. You’ll also need to find the sweet spot on your stove to ensure it doesn’t burn. 

Commercial popcorn machine

For the ultimate movie theater experience, you can’t go wrong with a commercial popcorn machine or cart. They look great and produce popcorn that tastes just like the movie theater.

Best home popcorn makers

Hot air popcorn makers

Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper

Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper

While it appears to be your average container, this BPA-free, high-heat container makes fluffy microwave popcorn without using oil. Since it’s made of gemstone, this bowl is unbreakable and chip-proof. Plus, it’s made in the USA and dishwasher-safe for convenient cleaning.

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Presto Poplite Hot Air Popper

Presto Poplite Hot Air Popper

If you’re looking for a way to make healthier popcorn at home, this appliance pops popcorn with hot air instead of oil, making for easy, grease-free cleanup. This hot air popper makes up to 18 cups of popcorn in less than three minutes. It leaves virtually no unpopped kernels. If you want to add butter, the attached measuring cup also doubles as a butter warmer.

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Dash Hot Air Popcorn Popper

Dash Hot Air Popcorn Popper

With only one button, this popcorn popper is straightforward enough for children to use. It’s compact enough for apartment kitchens or dorm rooms. It is oil-free and operates with hot air to give you the ideal snack. You can make up to 16 cups of popcorn and melt butter simultaneously.

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Hot oil popcorn makers

Wabash Valley Farms Whirley-Pop Popper Kit

Wabash Valley Farms Whirley-Pop Popper Kit

This Whirley-pop kit takes all of the guesswork out of making homemade popcorn by including fresh popping corn, exclusive buttery salt and gourmet popping oil. The secret is its patented floating stir wire, which keeps the popcorn from burning by cranking the handle. Plus, it’s large enough to make 6 quarts of popcorn at once in just three minutes.

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Hamilton Beach Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Popper

Hamilton Beach Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Popper

If you’re looking for a hands-off popcorn maker, this model features a nonstick popping plate and a motorized stirring arm that does all the work. At 24 cups per batch, it’s large enough to supply popcorn to everyone at your movie night. To add flavor, it also has a butter melter that incorporates butter with the popcorn while it is popping.

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West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Popper Machine

West Bend Stir Crazy Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Popper Machine

With a motorized stirring rod and vented cover that doubles as a popcorn bowl, this machine makes it effortless to make movie theater popcorn at home. It also features heat-resistant handles to prevent burned hands and a generous 6-quart capacity. Plus, the nonstick coated plate is easy to clean.

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Commercial countertop popcorn machines

West Bend Hot Oil Theater Style Popcorn Popper Machine

West Bend Hot Oil Theater Style Popcorn Popper Machine

For an authentic movie-theater atmosphere, this popcorn machine looks fun sitting on your counter and holds up to 4 quarts of fresh popcorn. The motorized stirring rod produces larger kernels with more pops per batch, and it has a tilt door for easy serving. Plus, with a kettle that is both nonstick and removable, it’s a breeze to clean.

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Elite Gourmet Carnival Kettle Popcorn Popper Machine

Elite Gourmet Carnival Kettle Popcorn Popper Machine

This traditional hot oil popcorn machine makes up to 1 gallon of popcorn in each batch and features a warming light to keep extras hot. It has plexiglass windows and a door with a cool-touch handle. If you’re popping kernels at home, it has a removable serving tray and is compact enough to sit on your counter.

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Commercial popcorn carts

Great Northern Popcorn Antique Popcorn Machine

Great Northern Popcorn Antique Popcorn Machine

This cart-style popcorn machine has wheels for easy transport and features a storage cabinet to hold popcorn bags, measuring cups and other accessories. The nostalgic look elevates any movie night, and it can hold up to 3 gallons of popcorn to satisfy everyone’s popcorn cravings. It also features a warming deck, overhead light and kettle stirrer.

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Nostalgia Vintage Movie Theater Popcorn Machine

Nostalgia Vintage Movie Theater Popcorn Machine

With a vintage look and three 10-ounce candy dispensers, this popcorn machine cart is perfect for a movie night or backyard party. It pops up to 32 ounces of popcorn per batch and has interior lighting so you can see it at night. Plus, the tilt-out drop doors help you scoop easier, and the tempered safety glass windows can withstand heat and are resistant to breakage and scratches.

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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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