Different Types of Popcorn Makers

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Popcorn is a favorite snack for many. Whether you’re watching a movie or hosting a party, popcorn is the perfect addition to any event. To make popcorn, you need a popcorn maker. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of popcorn makers available, so you can make an informed decision based on your needs.

Popcorn Makers by Heating Element

Popcorn makers can be categorized by their heating element, and each type offers a unique way of making popcorn. Here are the most common types of popcorn makers by heating element:

Popcorn MakerHeating Element
Electric Popcorn MakerHeated plate or element
Air PopperHot air
Stirring PopperHeated plate or element with rotating arm
Kettle PopperHeated kettle with rotating arm

Electric popcorn makers are popular for their convenience and ease of use. They rely on a heated plate or element to pop the kernels, and often come in various sizes and offer features like temperature controls and butter melting compartments.

Air poppers, on the other hand, use hot air to pop kernels without the need for oil. They are compact, easy to clean, and provide a healthy, oil-free popcorn result.

Stirring poppers use a heated plate or element with a rotating arm to move kernels in oil. This results in a richer, chewier texture and often comes with temperature controls and butter melting compartments.

Kettle poppers are larger and are commonly used commercially. They use a heated kettle with a rotating arm to pop kernels, making them ideal for producing large volumes of popcorn.

Electric Popcorn Makers

If you’re looking for a hassle-free and easy-to-use popcorn maker, an electric model is an ideal choice. You simply need to plug it in, add the kernels, and presto! You have fresh, delicious popcorn in minutes.

Electric popcorn makers come in various sizes, ranging from smaller models that are perfect for countertop use, to larger models that can produce enough popcorn for a family movie night.

One of the main advantages of electric popcorn makers is that most models come with temperature controls. These controls allow you to adjust the heat level, ensuring that your popcorn is popped to perfection.

Some models come with butter melting compartments, making it easy to add a rich and flavorful topping to your snack.

electric popcorn maker

When shopping for an electric popcorn maker, pay attention to the capacity of the machine. If you’re looking for a small model, consider one that can make four to six cups of popcorn. For larger families or big movie nights, opt for a model that can yield up to 12 cups of popcorn.

If you’re concerned about the mess, choose an electric popcorn maker with a non-stick interior. This will make cleaning up a breeze and save you time and effort.

Air Poppers

If you’re looking for a healthier snacking alternative, air poppers are the perfect solution. These popcorn makers use hot air to pop kernels, resulting in a tasty, oil-free snack that’s naturally low in calories.

One of the key advantages of air poppers is their compact size, making them ideal for small kitchens or dorm rooms. They are also incredibly easy to clean, with no oily residue to contend with.

If you prefer a buttery flavor, simply add melted butter to your popped corn. Many air poppers also come with built-in butter melting compartments for convenience.

Check out the following table for a side-by-side comparison of some popular air poppers on the market:

PopLite Hot Air Popper18 cups$24.99Butter melting lid, small countertop footprint, on/off switch
Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper18 cups$21.99Butter melting lid, measuring cup, cord wrap for storage
Holstein Housewares Popcorn Maker8 cups$29.99Compact design, colorful exterior, transparent chute for viewing popcorn popping

As you can see, air poppers come in various sizes and price points. Consider your snacking needs and kitchen space when selecting the perfect model for you.

Stirring Poppers

Stirring poppers are a popular choice for home use, offering a unique way to cook popcorn. These machines use a combination of heat and a rotating arm to move kernels in oil, resulting in a richer, chewier texture than air-popped popcorn.

A significant advantage of stirring poppers is their temperature control and butter melting compartments, which allow you to customize the popcorn to your liking.

When choosing a stirring popper, look for models with a non-stick coating, easy to clean design, and sturdy construction. Brands like Whirley Pop and Waring Pro are highly recommended.

“Stirring poppers offer a fun and delicious way to enjoy popcorn with your family and friends. They produce small batches of flavorful popcorn with ease and are a must-have addition to your entertaining arsenal.”

stirring poppers

Kettle Poppers

If you’re looking to produce large quantities of popcorn, kettle poppers are the way to go. These machines are commonly used commercially due to their impressive output capacity. Kettle poppers work by heating a kettle with a rotating arm that evenly distributes heat.

As the kernels pop, the rotating arm stirs the popcorn and ensures that it remains evenly cooked. Kettle poppers also feature a built-in heating element to keep the popcorn warm until serving time.

kettle poppers

Benefits of Kettle Poppers

Output capacity: Kettle poppers can produce large amounts of popcorn in a short amount of time, making it perfect for commercial use or large events.Maintenance: Kettle poppers require frequent cleaning and maintenance, especially with heavy use.
High-quality popcorn: With the rotating arm and evenly distributed heat, kettle poppers produce popcorn with a richer flavor and are less likely to leave behind kernels.Noise level: While the popping noise may be satisfying, it can be quite loud and disruptive in certain settings.
Attractive appearance: Kettle poppers are often aesthetically pleasing and can be a great addition to any event or concession stand.Cooking time: Compared to other types of popcorn makers, kettle poppers may take longer to produce popcorn.

Stovetop Popcorn Makers

Stovetop popcorn makers give you complete control over the popping process, allowing you to create perfectly popped kernels every time. The classic Whirley Pop stovetop popcorn popper has remained a favorite among popcorn enthusiasts for generations.

With its spinning handle and non-stick surface, the Whirley Pop makes it easy to evenly coat kernels with oil, while its built-in stirring mechanism ensures that no kernel is left unpopped.

Other stovetop popcorn makers come with different designs and features, such as the Nordic Ware Stovetop Popcorn Popper that boasts a sleek and compact build, perfect for small kitchens. The popper’s vented lid also doubles as a bowl, while its heat-resistant handle ensures safe and trouble-free operation.

If you are looking for a more traditional stovetop popcorn popper, try the Rome Industries® Tri-Pod Popper, which comes with a tripod base that can be used over any campfire, grill, or stovetop. This versatile popper is made of heavy-duty steel and boasts a non-stick coating that makes cleaning a breeze.

stovetop popcorn

“There’s nothing quite like the nostalgic feeling of making popcorn on a stovetop popcorn maker. The smell and sound of the kernels popping brings back so many memories from childhood, and it’s a great way to make a healthy and satisfying snack for movie nights at home.”

Microwave Popcorn Makers

If you’re looking for the ultimate convenience, then a microwave popcorn maker might be right up your alley.

These simple devices can whip up a batch of popcorn in just a few minutes, without any need for oil or specialized appliances. Simply add your kernels to the container, place it in the microwave, and wait for the magic to happen.

There are a few different types of microwave popcorn makers to choose from, depending on your preferences. Silicone buckets are great for people who want a reusable option, while disposable bags are perfect for those who want to minimize cleanup time.

Popcorn poppers with lids are another option, which can offer a little more simplicity and other features like measuring cups to ensure perfect popcorn every time.

microwave popcorn

While microwave popcorn makers are incredibly convenient, it’s worth noting that they may not produce the same high-quality results as other types of popcorn makers. However, they’re perfect for casual snacking or quick movie nights, making them a versatile addition to any kitchen.

Popcorn Makers by Style

Popcorn makers come in a variety of styles that can not only pop great-tasting popcorn but also add a touch of style to your kitchen or home theater. Here are some of the most popular styles of popcorn makers:

Movie Theater-Style Popcorn Makers

Movie theater-style popcorn makers are perfect for the ultimate movie-night experience. These machines typically come with glass windows and heated decks to keep your popcorn warm and ready to serve.

They use oil to pop the kernels, producing a delicious, authentic movie theatre taste. Plus, they look great on the countertop!

Popcorn Fountains

Popcorn fountains use hot air to pop kernels, and the popcorn falls from the fountain-style dispenser into the bowl or container below. This makes them a fun and unique addition to any party or gathering.

They also eliminate the need for oil, making them a healthier popcorn option. And who doesn’t love watching popcorn flow from a fountain?

Mini Poppers

If you’re short on counter space, a mini popper might be the perfect solution. Compact, easy to use, and available in a variety of colors, mini poppers are a great way to make small batches of popcorn. They use hot air to pop the kernels, making them a healthy snack option. Plus, they’re just so darn cute!

Other Factors to Consider

Choosing the right popcorn maker requires careful consideration of other important factors besides the type and style. Here are some key features to keep in mind:

Size and Capacity

When selecting a popcorn maker, consider the size and capacity that will best meet your needs. If you plan to use it for personal snacking, small models might be sufficient. But if you’re purchasing for a large family or event, invest in a larger machine with a bigger capacity.


Some popcorn makers come with special features like temperature controls and butter melting compartments. These features can enhance the overall flavor and quality of your popcorn, so consider them when making your purchase.

Health Considerations

Air poppers are a healthy option for those who want to reduce calorie intake, while oil-based poppers can produce richer, more flavorful popcorn. Keep your dietary preferences and needs in mind when selecting a popcorn maker.

other factors to consider

“Choosing the right popcorn maker that meets your specific needs can enhance your overall snacking experience.”

Size and Capacity

When choosing a popcorn maker, it’s essential to consider the right size and capacity to meet your individual needs. If you’re only making popcorn for yourself or a small family, a compact machine with a smaller capacity might be suitable.

However, if you’re planning on hosting movie nights with friends or family, a larger capacity model would be the best fit. Commercial popcorn makers offer the most significant capacity, suitable for large events such as carnivals, fairs, and fundraisers.

When selecting the appropriate size and capacity, make sure to consider the space available for the machine in your kitchen or pantry. Smaller machines can be easier to store and don’t take up too much counter space.

size and capacity popcorn maker

Comparison of Popcorn Maker Sizes and Capacities

Popcorn Maker TypeCapacitySize
Air Popper4-6 cupsSmall
Electric Popper4-12 cupsSmall to medium
Stirring Popper6-12 cupsMedium
Kettle Popper8-48 cupsLarge to commercial grade

The above table provides a general overview of the various sizes and capacities available with different types of popcorn makers. However, make sure to read the specifications of each model carefully to ensure a perfect match for your popcorn needs.

Health Considerations

When selecting a popcorn maker, it’s essential to consider your health and dietary needs.

If you’re looking for a low-calorie snack, air poppers are a great option. They don’t require any oil, resulting in popcorn with fewer calories. You can also add your favorite seasonings or spices to enhance the flavor without additional calories.

However, if you prefer a richer and chewier texture, oil-based poppers like kettle and stirring poppers can provide that. When using oil, it’s important to choose healthier options like canola or coconut oil and avoid using too much.

If you have specific dietary restrictions, you may want to consider a popcorn maker with additional features like temperature controls or butter melting compartments. These features can be helpful when trying to create popcorn that meets your specific dietary needs.

Overall, choosing the right popcorn maker can help you make healthier snacking choices while still satisfying your cravings. Be sure to consider your health and dietary needs when selecting the perfect popcorn maker for you.