If you’re in the mood for some popcorn, but you simply don’t have the time or energy to haul your but to the cinema, you could instead start making your own popcorn from the comfort of your own home.
But, you shouldn’t settle for microwave popcorn. If you were to invest in an actual popcorn making machine, you get to watch the popcorn being made right before your eyes. And this serves to build your anticipation of eating it, which, believe it or not, actually makes it taste better.
We’ve been checking out some of the best home popcorn machines on the market, and we can’t wait to share our reviews on them with you. Our reviews are unbiased and feature both pros and cons.
But we totally get how it can get tricky trying to choose one, which is why we’ve also put together a handy buying guide for you that will walk you through the key things to think about before you buy.
Then we’re going to top that off with a section where we tackle some of your most frequently asked questions on the subject.
And without further ado…
In a hurry? Check out our number one pick!
Best Home Popcorn Machines
OUR TOP PICK
Check out the photo for this machine - you can see why we made it our number one pick - it’s like bringing the concession stand right into your kitchen!
The popped popcorn is on view to get your taste buds ready for the coming onslaught!
We love the size of it too, with enough capacity to make 5 to 6 servings, it can easily accommodate enough popcorn for the whole family to enjoy. Friends too.
We found it super easy to use. You just open the door, lift the lid of the kettle, place your kernels and flavoring inside, replace the lid, close the door, and switch it on.
Then sit back and watch it do its thing. We loved watching the popcorn overflow from the kettle and drop down. Or better yet, pour from the kettle later on.
It comes with three accessories, one scoop to get the right amount of kernels, one for the oil, and one to scoop up the popcorn into your bowls or boxes.
It also features a stirrer to get your flavoring properly dispersed over the popcorn. And this also has the added benefit of ensuring that the large majority of the kernels will actually pop.
The kettle itself is non-stick coated and the lid can be removed completely, which makes cleaning up the kettle a breeze, as is cleaning the main compartment, once you’ve polished off the popcorn. And we found the accessories are easy to clean too.
We love the red version, but there’s also a black version if you prefer it.
- Awesome theater style aesthetic
- Large 5 to 6 serving capacity
- Has a stirrer to disperse the oil
- Three accessories included
- Has a removable kettle lid
- It’s a breeze to keep clean
- It’s quite tall at 17.72 inches, so you may have to keep it under the stairs, rather than in a kitchen cupboard
For those of you who love butter popcorn, this is the machine for you!
The West Bend brand has been in the popcorn machine business for some time now, and in this model there’s a dedicated built-in butter well with upgraded butter melting as the kernels pop.
Moreover, there’s also a motorized stirring rod, and from our experience, we can confirm that all the popcorn gets evenly coated with butter.
And the other great thing about this machine is that when the popping is done, you can simply turn the whole thing upside down, separate the machine’s two halves, and you can use the machine’s “lid” as a handy bowl for sharing your popcorn.
This “lid” is see-through, and we just loved watching all the kernels pop and fly popcorn everywhere when we tested it.
Moreover, the bowl is nice and wide, so it’s easy for everyone to reach over and grab their handful. And you can make up to 6 quarts of popcorn at a time.
Better yet, the bottom half of the machine will actually fit within the “lid” half, which makes the machine small enough to stow away in a kitchen cupboard when it’s not in use.
The handles of the machine are heat-resistant, so you don’t risk scaling your hands when you're reading to serve up.
Amazon occasionally has deals on this particular popcorn machine. Simply click on “check price” to see if there happens to be a deal on now. But in our view it’s great value for money even if you don’t manage to catch a deal.
- Very reasonably priced & affordable
- Built-in butter well & upgraded melting & stirring
- Comes complete with its own sharing bowl
- Make up to 6 quarts of popcorn at a time
- Parts stack within each other for easy storage
- When we tested it, we did spot some unpopped kernels
Again here we have another popcorn reminiscent of a concession stand at the cinema - even down to the lettering reading “Hot and Fresh” and “Popcorn”. Apparently it's designed to look like the stands carnivals of the 1900s
We just couldn’t wait to have this delivered and try it out. And we have to say the results were delicious!
The stainless steel kettle inside can accommodate up to 2.5 ounces of popcorn kernels, and that’s enough to produce 10 cups of popcorn at a time.
We decided to test it out in low light, so we could check out the lighted interior. It was super atmospheric, and we just loved watching the popcorn burst forth through the tempered glass windows and door.
There’s a built-in kernel stirring system, which ensures that the oil is evenly distributed throughout the batch of popcorn.
When the popping has finished, there’s a dual-hinged lid on the kettle which allows the popcorn to be emptied out into the larger main compartment of the machine. And serving up the popcorn is easy thanks to the tilt door which provides easy access.
It comes with a set of accompanying accessories, which include measuring scoops for both the popcorn kernels and the oil.
- Nostalgic, vintage carnival style appearance
- Produces up to 10 cups of popcorn at a time
- Atmospheric interior lighting to watch it go
- Built-in stirrer for even oil distribution
- Comes with all the accessories you need
- To be honest, we found that this machine is quite tricky to clean
- It’s quite all at 19.25 inches, so you might struggle to find a kitchen cupboard that will accommodate it
We just love the funky look of this machine, with its red and white stripes that instantly signal movie time!
When we brought it back to base, we were surprised to learn that in addition to using it for making popcorn, you can also use it as a grill and a coffee bean and/or nut roaster. Super versatile machine!
Anyway, back to the popcorn. When we tested it out, we were impressed with just how much more popcorn gets made from the same amount of kernels compared to the other machines we tested. In fact, we found ZERO unpopped kernels.
There’s a vent on the lid of the machine, but rather than use it only as a vent, we tried placing a stick of butter on it to melt, and the butter dripped through the vent onto the popcorn.
The popping of the kernels is a joy to watch through the see-through lid. And when you’re ready to serve up, you simply place the accompanying red disc on top, turn the whole thing upside down (don’t worry the handles remain cool to the touch).
And then you get to use the “lid” as a handy serving bowl, just like with our number 2 pick, earlier.
It has a large capacity, able to make up to 16 cups of popcorn at a time.
Cleaning up the machine went well, and we just put the serving bowl lid straight in the dishwasher.
We were also pleased to learn that the machine comes backed by not only a manufacturer’s warranty, but also after-sales support that’s accessible 24/7. Not that we needed it.
- Cute red and white stripe appearance
- Doubles as a grill and nut roaster
- The lid doubles as a serving bowl
- Features a large 16 cup capacity
- ZERO unpopped kernels on testing
- The vent doubles as a butter well
- It’s quite tall at 10.47 inches, so you might struggle to fit it into your kitchen cupboards
If you love a bargain, check out this popcorn maker - when this article was written, it was available for less than $30.
And that’s not all there is to love about it - it’s much smaller than all the other popcorn makers that made our shortlist, which means you should find it easier to stow away in your kitchen cupboards. Or at the very least slide into a corner out of the way.
But despite its relatively compact size, when we tested it we found that it will make up to 16 cups of fresh popcorn at a time. We would argue that this is enough to serve two people.
It comes with a measuring cup to get the perfect measure of kernels for the machine. And then, the cup doubles as a butter melting tray, for those of you who prefer to use butter rather than oil.
It comes complete with a handy recipe guide, and we had great fun trying out different versions.
It’s available in three different color options, including a pale aqua green, a bright and bold red, and a nice off-white option. Just choose the one that best suits your style.
We were also pleased to learn that the machine comes backed by a full years’ manufacturer warranty. Moreover, customer support is USA based.
- Bargain, affordable price tag
- Compact size for easy storage
- Makes up to 16 cups at a time
- Cup doubles as a butter tray
- Comes with a handy recipe guide
- Great color options to choose from
- No stirrer for even flavor distribution
Best Home Popcorn Machines Buying Guide
As promised, here’s your buying guide. Let’s walk you through some of the key points to consider before you buy your popcorn making machine.
When buying a home popcorn making machine, it’s nice to invest in one that you genuinely like the look of. You can either go for one that matches the decor of your kitchen, or go for something that really stands out to really signal popcorn and fun time!
We prefer popcorn making machines that are mainly see-through because we just love to watch the corn pop. And as you may have seen from the photos we included, we just love old-fashioned nostalgic popcorn reminiscent of trips to the theater.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have loads of kitchen countertop space, you don’t want the machine to be too large.
If it’s too large, you could risk it being too big to fit into your cupboards. The smaller the machine is, the easier it is to stow it away out of sight when not in use.
On the flip side, however, you don’t want the machine to be too small. Whether you want to make enough popcorn for the entire family to enjoy together, or if you have company over, or even if you ‘re making popcorn just for yourself, the bigger the machine’s capacity, the more popcorn you get to enjoy.
The best popcorn machines will leave very few unpopped kernels behind, won’t burn any of the popcorn, and won’t leave you waiting too long for the corn to pop.
Now, we would argue that the sound of the popcorn popping in front of you is all part of the fun experience. But we also get that the sound can be annoying at times.
If your kid is trying to concentrate on their homework, or if you’re working on an assignment at home, the last thing you want is to be distracted by unnecessary noise.
Easy To Clean
As with most other kitchen gadgets, a popcorn maker should be cleaned after each use wherever possible. So anything that helps make this easy is a plus, and parts that are 100% dishwasher safe are ideal.
Customer Ratings and Reviews
When you’re shopping for something online, it’s an excellent opportunity to check out customer ratings and reviews. You don’t have to rely only on what we think.
Besides, these days customer reviews aren’t as falsely inflated as they used to be, and even the manufacturer websites dare to allow negative reviews on their webpages.
When a product comes backed by a manufacturer’s warranty, this is a sign of quality and durability. The longer the warranty lasts, the better.
Moreover, if you ever need to reach out to customer support, it’s best if this support is USA based for the best chance of understanding their accents, and if this support is available round the clock.
Value for Money
Now, it’s worth noting at this point that home popcorn machines can really vary in price. You can get some for as little as $20, while at the higher end of the spectrum, they can cost as much as $300.
We deliberately don’t include prices in our reviews because they are subject to change, but if you click on “Check Price” this should bring up the price in a separate tab. And because the prices can vary so much, we recommend checking prices as you go along.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are electric popcorn machines good?
Let me assure you, if we thought electric popcorn machines were no good, we wouldn’t have wasted our time testing them out and reviewing them for your perusal.
As a general rule, you tend to get better popcorn making performance with a dedicated popcorn machine than you do cooking popcorn in a microwave. Fewer kernels get wasted, and the flavoring is more evenly distributed.
Which popcorn machine is best?
We tested all 5 of these popcorn machines, and our favorite was our number one pick, the West Bend Hot Oil Theater Style Popcorn Popper Machine. But admittedly this was largely due to its concession stand-like aesthetic.
But if we had to choose which one is best based on performance alone, it would be our number 4 pick, the Multifun Stirring Popcorn Popper, because when we tried it out, there were zero unpopped kernels left over.
But, if you’re particularly keen on buttery popcorn, then we would have to recommend our number 2 pick instead, the West Bend 82707B Stir Crazy Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Popper Machine, which has been designed with melted butter in mind.