Last updated: 16/10/2022

Welcome to our big popcorn machine test 2022. Here we present all the popcorn makers that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best popcorn maker for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a popcorn maker.




Summary

  • Popcorn machines allow you to prepare popcorn in a particularly tasty, fast and efficient way, unlike in the microwave or in a pot.
  • A basic distinction is made between popcorn machines with hot air and popcorn machines with a heating system. Both forms are available in numerous variants and in different designs.
  • Heating system popcorn machines are well suited for making larger quantities of popcorn that tastes like it does in the cinema. Hot air popcorn makers are particularly good for smaller quantities of popcorn that are low in calories.

The Best Popcorn Machine: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a popcorn machine

What are the advantages of a popcorn machine compared to making popcorn in a pot, pan or microwave?

Popcorn can also be made without a popcorn maker, for example in a pot, pan or microwave. However, real popcorn lovers will taste the differences, as there are strong variations in the preparation process.

In summary, a popcorn maker offers the following advantages over preparation in a pot or microwave:

  • Popcorn burns much less
  • Popcorn does not become soggy due to too much condensed water
  • Quick and easy to prepare
  • Taste like in the cinema with popcorn machines that allow direct addition of ingredients

Preparation in a pot or pan is not always easy. If the temperature is too high, the popcorn can easily burn, and if there is too much condensation, it can become soft and mushy. The pot must be supervised and shaken repeatedly during preparation, unless a special popcorn pot with a hand crank and stirring mechanism is used.

With the Rosenstein & Söhne PE-4885-919 popcorn machine, the bowl for your popcorn is already an integral part of the appliance and does not have to be purchased separately. This provides even more convenience when using the popcorn machine, which has the futuristic shape of a UFO. (Photo: Unsplash / pixabay.com)

A popcorn machine is ideally suited to the production of popcorn and ensures that the popcorn is always produced in optimal quality. Popcorn makers with a heating system and kettle in particular have no problem producing popcorn with the taste of a cinema

What does a popcorn machine cost?

Popcorn machines come in all price ranges – from the inexpensive device for the home, which costs only a few euros, to the professional device, for which a three-figure sum is due. All in all, we think that these prices are reasonable if you eat popcorn relatively often and want to enjoy it in style.

Simply constructed devices with a hot air blower start at around 15 euros and are thus a really inexpensive way to sweeten your cinema evening at home with popcorn. These device prices can also be justified as a party gag and for rather infrequent use. The Popcornloop is available for around 20 to 25 euros, depending on the dealer. This makes it another inexpensive way for you to prepare popcorn at home without having to spend a lot of money.

You can get popcorn machine with floor heating or heating systems and steel kettles from 40 euros, but for really high-quality devices you have to reckon with a higher double-digit or even low triple-digit amount. The best machines for home use are available for around 100 euros, while most professional machines are currently available for 250 euros and up.

Which popcorn machines are available in retro design?

Many popcorn lovers have a soft spot for nostalgia. Manufacturers have responded to this by launching particularly pretty machines on the market that are at least as good as the popcorn machines in the cinema or at an old-fashioned fair.

Especially the popcorn machines with kettles and heating systems are almost always designed with great attention to detail.

Popcorn and funfair, these terms have always been closely linked and for many people not least also associated with a touch of nostalgia and “the good old days”. (Photo: Brigitte Klenner / pixabay.com)

However, some hot-air appliances also have this nostalgic look and thus experience a visual upgrade despite their low price. One of the appliances tested here even comes in the form of a miniature popcorn trolley.

How does the production of popcorn with a popcorn machine work?

The production of popcorn works with all methods via the strong heating of corn kernels.

The temperature is around 180°C. The moisture escapes, while the starch contained swells outwards and forms the typical popcorn. Depending on the system used, heating can be done with or without oil.

It is important that the popcorn corn is heated evenly. Popcorn machines therefore have appropriate mechanisms for stirring or get the popcorn moving with their hot air blower.

Can I rent a popcorn machine?

Yes, you can rent a popcorn machine if you want to – at least in most major German cities.

These are professional devices for gastronomy and commerce that are designed to produce large quantities of tasty popcorn in a relatively short time.

Such professional popcorn makers are relatively expensive to buy. Therefore, it may be worthwhile for you to rent such a device instead of buying it if you will only need it for a short period of time. For example, for an event lasting one or several days.

Decision: What types of popcorn machines are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between four different types of popcorn makers:

  • Hot-air popcorn machines
  • Popcorn machines with heating plate
  • Heating system popcorn machines with kettle and stirrer
  • Popcorn loop

With each of these types, the preparation process is slightly different, which brings individual advantages and disadvantages.

Depending on how you prefer to enjoy your popcorn and what you value most, a different type of popcorn maker is best suited for you. In the following section, we would like to help you find out which type of popcorn maker is best for you.

To do this, we will introduce you to all the types of popcorn maker mentioned above and clearly explain what their advantages and disadvantages are in each case.

How does a popcorn machine with hot air blower work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The special advantage of a popcorn maker with hot air blower is that this device does not require the addition of fat. This means that if you are a figure-conscious person, you can make popcorn as a low-calorie snack.

The puffed corn kernels are placed in a small bowl into which hot air flows from below. Through an outlet on the front of the machine, the finished popcorn is fed into a bowl.
The popcorn can then be sugared, salted or caramelised by hand. Otherwise, it remains largely neutral in taste.

Advantages
  • Uncomplicated cleaning
  • Easy to use: Inexpensive
  • Low-calorie popcorn can be produced
Disadvantages
  • Small portions
  • No caramelised popcorn
  • Subsequent seasoning necessary
  • Relatively loud

Machines that work with hot air are very easy to clean. The fact that no grease is used means that no deposits can form.

Several rounds of popcorn in the course of the evening are no problem at all, as long as the popcorn machine can cool down in between. Nevertheless, the portion size is relatively small, which could be a problem in some applications.

The machines are small and available at very beginner-friendly prices. The simple operation also makes these popcorn makers an attraction at children’s birthday parties.

Hot air popcorn makers may not make the tastiest popcorn, but it is low in calories and perfect for health-conscious people.

How is popcorn made in a hot plate popcorn machine and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The corn kernels are heated on a coated hot plate with the addition of a small amount of oil. Sugar is not added to these models, but is sprinkled on the popcorn after the production process.

Because of the fat it contains, the popcorn accepts the sugar or other spices much better than with the hot-air method. Such a popcorn maker does the stirring fully automatically. The cover of the popcorn maker can also be used as a serving bowl for the finished popcorn.

Advantages
  • Larger portions
  • Price-performance ratio
  • Quiet operation
  • Intense taste
Disadvantages
  • No caramelised popcorn
  • Subsequent seasoning necessary
  • No low-calorie popcorn
  • Rather time-consuming cleaning

Popcorn makers with floor heating are designed for somewhat larger quantities of popcorn and are often of quite high quality workmanship. However, only devices with a heating system and integrated kettle with stirrer allow you to prepare delicious, caramelised popcorn, just like you know it from the cinema or the fairground.

Compared to models with a hot air blower, the popcorn is produced pleasantly quietly, so that the operation is not disturbing even if the film is already running.

How does a popcorn machine with heating system and kettle work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Popcorn machines with a heating system for the home are most similar to those used in cinemas. They are just a little smaller, but use the same technology.

The heart of the machine is the integrated steel kettle in which the popcorn is heated. An integrated stirring mechanism keeps the popcorn moving so that it is heated very evenly. The finished popcorn spills out of the pot and lands in a removable collection tray at the bottom of the appliance.

Advantages
  • Larger portions
  • Direct addition of ingredients
  • Intense flavour
  • Caramelised popcorn
Disadvantages
  • High purchase costs
  • Rather bulky
  • No low-calorie popcorn
  • Time-consuming cleaning

The big advantage compared to models with a hot plate is that not only oil but also sugar can be added and melted directly in the pot. This creates a sweet crust. The result: caramelised popcorn that brings the cinema feeling into your own four walls.

Popcorn machines with heating systems and steel kettles produce popcorn for you that tastes just like in the cinema. But make sure you choose a high-quality machine so that you can enjoy your purchase for a long time.

How does a popcorn loop work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Strictly speaking, the popcorn loop is not a machine, but it is an extremely practical helper if you want to prepare popcorn in an ordinary pot on the cooker at home.

A major difficulty with popcorn production in a pot or pan is heating it evenly. The puffed corn has to be moved around all the time. This is usually done by shaking the pot at short intervals, but it also does not guarantee even preparation without burning.

The popcorn loop is placed on the pot as a bonnet and is used for stirring. The principle is therefore similar to that of a popcorn machine with a pot.

Advantages
  • Easy to store
  • Inexpensive
  • Caramelised popcorn
Disadvantages
  • Small portions
  • No low-calorie popcorn
  • Lower heat resistance

By making the lid of the popcorn popper out of fabric, the steam can escape and the popcorn will be nice and crunchy without popped kernels bouncing all over the kitchen. With an ordinary saucepan lid, the liquid would remain in the saucepan and the popcorn would become rather mushy in consistency.

The Popcornloop can also be machine-washed at 30°C, while its stirring rod is dishwasher-safe. You can also use the Popcornloop to make caramelised popcorn, just like you know it from the cinema! By the way, the Popcornloop gained its great fame in the TV show “Die Höhle der Löwen”.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate popcorn machines

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate popcorn makers. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular machine is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • The type of preparation
  • Size / dimensions of the popcorn machine
  • Production capacity
  • Preparation time
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Design
  • Extra features and functions

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Type of preparation

The type of preparation, i.e. with the help of a hot air blower, floor heating, heating system and steel kettle or the popcorn loop, has already been dealt with in detail above. Nevertheless, we would like to point out once again that the type of preparation is probably the most important criterion when buying a popcorn machine, because it has a significant influence on the end result.

So first ask yourself how you like your popcorn best. If you want it to be fat-free, only popcorn makers with a hot-air system will do. If you want the popcorn to taste like it does in the cinema, then popcorn loops and popcorn makers with a heating system and pot are the more exciting alternatives for you.

If you make popcorn very often and in large quantities, a popcorn machine with a heating system is usually the best choice for you. In all other cases, you should at least have a look at the alternatives.

If you are still looking for a successful surprise for the next movie night with your friends, a popcorn machine that makes popcorn like in the cinema is definitely a very good choice. (Photo: HanneVan / pixabay.com)

Size of the popcorn machine

A popcorn maker always takes up space in the kitchen or cupboard – don’t forget that. Depending on how often you make your own popcorn, you will want to give it more or less space in your home.

The most space-saving is a simple popcorn machine with hot air or heating plate and the popcorn loop. The popcorn machines with an integrated pot take up the most space and are also quite high, but they are usually a real eye-catcher that deserves a special place.

Most hot-air popcorn vending machines require a floor space of about 20 x 20 centimetres and are 30 to 40 centimetres high. Slightly deeper and wider are the models with a UFO-shaped heating plate.

The general rule is: the more professional, the bigger. This is also evident in the professional popcorn machines with heating systems, which can be as much as 50 centimetres wide – after all, there has to be room for a pot inside.

A large popcorn maker usually goes hand in hand with a higher production capacity than a smaller machine.

Production capacity

If you just want to spend a cosy evening alone or with two people in the home cinema, you will need less popcorn than for a child’s birthday party or a cinema party with friends. And because homemade popcorn only tastes best when it’s fresh, it’s important that you’re able to produce the right amount at the right time. This is where production capacity comes into play.

Hot air blower popcorn makers tend to be designed for small quantities. The devices can hold up to 100 grams of puffed corn. That makes about two litres of ready-made popcorn. However, you are able to produce more quickly and easily because the device does not necessarily have to be cleaned in between.

Depending on the dimensions, a popcorn machine like the one in the cinema is also suitable for producing a larger quantity at once. In this case, however, a relatively complicated cleaning process is required before the machine is ready for use again.

Preparation time

The preparation time varies depending on the model, although there is no fundamental difference between the systems. It is almost always faster than in the pot.

With most machines, you can expect your popcorn to be ready in about five minutes. Some hot-air machines work a little faster with small quantities and the popcorn is ready after only two minutes.

In addition, hot-air and hot-plate popcorn machines without a pot need time for subsequent seasoning or caramelisation.

Volume

Since a popcorn machine is only in operation for a limited time, somewhat louder devices do not pose a fundamental problem.

However, if there are guests with whom you want to talk or the film has already started, the background noise of a loud popcorn machine can quickly become disturbing. If this is an issue for you, make sure you buy a particularly quiet popcorn machine.

The loudest popcorn machine are those that work with a hot air blower. The noise is comparable to that of a hair dryer. Devices with heating systems as well as the popcorn loop work much quieter.

Ease of cleaning

When the home cinema evening is over, there is still cleaning to do, depending on the device. If you don’t have the time or inclination for time-consuming cleaning, you should choose a device that is quick and easy to clean.

Popcorn machine with a hot plate are generally relatively easy to clean. The cover used as the bowl can be rinsed off, the hot plate is easy to reach, usually has a non-stick coating and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. Thus, it does not matter quite so much that fat is used in the production of the popcorn.

For popcorn machine that work with hot air, the cover must also be removed. Since these models do not use any fat, only very little soiling is to be expected. Cleaning is usually very quick, easy and uncomplicated.

Type Ease of cleaning
Hot air popcorn machines Very easy
Popcorn loop Easy
Popcorn machines with heating plate Easy
Heating system popcorn machines with pot Complicated

Things get a little more complicated with the cinema-style popcorn machines because of the complex construction. The integrated steel kettle must be removed from the machine for cleaning.

Since oil meets melted sugar here, relatively heavy soiling is to be expected. In the case of units without a drip tray, the housing should also be thoroughly cleaned of popcorn residue after each evening at the cinema. Due to the mostly angular design, this is not always easy. Hull residues in particular often get stuck in small crevices. When buying a popcorn machine with a heating system, make sure that all parts are easily accessible for cleaning.

Machines with floor heating and a pot are usually more difficult to clean than hot-air popcorn machines. So if you want cinema-like taste, be prepared to compromise on this.

In general, the removable components are dishwasher safe, as is the popcorn loop. The latter is also relatively easy to clean, although not quite as quick and easy as a hot-air popcorn machine.

Design

The design plays an important role, especially for popcorn machine that you don’t put away in a cupboard after every use. The design is primarily divided into two elements:

  • The colour of the machine
  • The shape of the popcorn machine

Most popcorn machine come in red, but if you prefer a different colour, you can also get certain popcorn machine in black, white, blue or a combination of several colours.

As far as the shape of the popcorn machine is concerned, you basically have a choice between a modern design and retro-looking popcorn makers. If you choose a machine with a heating system and a pot, you will often get a retro-style popcorn machine, while hot air machines are usually more modern. However, in both cases there are also machines with a different design – the choice is yours!

Convenient extra functions

Especially the popcorn makers in the higher price segment shine with some extra functions such as interior lighting or a keep-warm function that keeps the finished popcorn fresh and crunchy for longer.

Non-slip rubber feet are advantageous to ensure the greatest possible stability during operation. Check here in the last step, if necessary, whether a device can stand out in a positive way if you are unsure which one to choose.

Interesting facts about popcorn and popcorn machines

How long have people been eating popcorn?

Popcorn is older than cinema and has been known as a food for several hundred, if not several thousand years.

What is a snack for us came quite regularly to the table of the Indians in North and South America. Finds indicate that the corresponding puffed corn existed as early as 4000 years ago. Popcorn began its triumphal march around 1930, when cinemas became widespread in the USA and around the world. Since then, it has been inextricably linked with the cinema.

Which popcorn corn is the right one for the popcorn machine?

Can you also use normal corn for the popcorn machine? The question arises when you first have to look for special popcorn corn on the supermarket shelf or online.

Puffed corn has a slightly different texture than normal vegetable corn. The husk is very thin, but harder. This hard husk is necessary to be able to build up enough pressure inside for the typical popcorn effect when making popcorn. Normal maize is too soft and usually also contains too little water.

Puffed corn should be easy to find in well-stocked grocery stores. Pre-salted popcorn corn is recommended for use when the popcorn machine is operated with a hot air blower.

Special popped corn is needed for use in a popcorn machine. Pre-salted popcorn corn can be useful in hot-air devices.

Does popcorn come in different flavours?

Everyone is probably familiar with sweet, slightly caramelised popcorn. Salted popcorn has also been able to build up a loyal fan base.

In addition, the popcorn can be given different flavours during preparation. For example, hot popcorn can also be made with the help of different spices.

Image source: unsplash.com / Feliphe Schiarolli

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