What Should I Consider When Buying a Popcorn Popper?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

If you are tired of zapping bags of popcorn in a microwave oven, you need to purchase your own popcorn popper. While somewhat more difficult to locate than in years past, it is still possible to find poppers that are suitable for use in the home. Best of all, you have several options when it comes to the preparation method used by these excellent home poppers.

Salt, which is often used to top popcorn.
Salt, which is often used to top popcorn.

One approach is to go with a popcorn popper that uses oil to pop the kernels. Vintage reproductions of the small electric poppers from the middle 20th century are excellent examples of this type of popping machine. The bowl of the device provides space to place the popcorn along with oil. A tinted plastic cover fits over the bowl and helps to contain the corn as it pops.

Replicas of vintage movie theater popcorn poppers are available to purchase.
Replicas of vintage movie theater popcorn poppers are available to purchase.

Using electricity to supply the heat, the oil is slowly heated to the proper temperature, allowing the corn to pop. It is not unusual for a popcorn maker of this type to also have a butter reservoir at the top of the cover. As the heat rises, the butter melts and dribbles over the popped corn. Once the corn is popped, simply unplug the bowl, then flip the entire unit upside down. The popped corn fits neatly into the cover, which can also double as a bowl.

Garlic can add flavor and a healthy spice to air-popped popcorn.
Garlic can add flavor and a healthy spice to air-popped popcorn.

If the idea is to stay away from the use of oil as a popping medium, you can consider devices that produce air-popped popcorn. An air-based popcorn popper uses a steady flow of hot air to heat the kernels to the point of popping. No oil is required and the corn will come out light and fluffy. When flavored with garlic powder or other spices, this type of popcorn is healthier and still quite tasty.

For people who crave movie-style popcorn, there are miniature versions of the standalone popcorn popper you see at the local movie house. The devices do require a small amount of oil, which is poured into a holding area. Popcorn kernels are poured into a separate area. When the machine is started, just the right mix of kernels and oil produces popcorn that is light and tasty. At the base of the holding tank, a simple stirring arm helps to mix the popped corn as you add salt and other flavors. The end result is a superior bowl of popcorn that rivals anything served at the movies.

While each of these popcorn popper options is not as readily available as in years past, there are a couple of options to consider. Vintage poppers can sometimes be purchased at great prices at thrift shops and flea markets. Just be sure to make sure the unit is in good working order before you buy. In addition, many companies that continue to manufacture new poppers of this type often sell them for competitive prices online. Shopping online will allow you to compare features and functions with relative ease, enhancing the chance of purchasing the perfect popper for your needs.

An air-based popcorn popper uses a steady flow of hot air to heat kernels to the point of popping.
An air-based popcorn popper uses a steady flow of hot air to heat kernels to the point of popping.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

anon226584

I purchased a popcorn machine with a cart for my home theater room and love it. We use it for parties as well as movie nights. The best thing is that it isn't even difficult to maintain. It's easy to clean and use. This is one of the best purchases we've made as a family.

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