If you want a healthy snack, it’s hard to go wrong with popcorn. In its natural state, it’s low in calories, high in fiber, and provides a variety of nutrients, including magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc. It also has protective antioxidants linked with improved blood circulation and digestive health. As long as you don’t add too much butter or salt, popcorn may also help you lose weight. It’s crunchy, tasty, and satisfying, and because of its high fiber content, it helps you stay full longer. One study compared feelings of fullness after eating potato chips and popcorn, and results showed that 15 calories of popcorn were as filling as 150 calories of potato chips!
Pre-packaged popcorn, however, has some disadvantages over home-popped. Most microwave bags are lined with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which creates a non-stick surface but has also been linked with several health problems, including thyroid issues and even some cancers. Some brands of microwave popcorn add hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, as well, which contain harmful trans fats linked to heart disease. Theater popcorn usually contains a lot of added butter, fat, and salt, and many supermarket brands do the same.
The healthiest way to enjoy your popcorn, then, is to make it yourself with a home popcorn popping machine. Go looking for one, though, and you could be overwhelmed with many different styles and brands. Which one is best? We recently reviewed dozens of popcorn machines and chose the top-five brands. We looked at things like cooking time, size, materials, construction, durability, and price. All of these top-rated popcorn machines can be purchased online at Amazon.
We’ve identified the West Bent Electric Popcorn Machine as our top choice overall. It’s large enough to make six quarts of popcorn at once and makes the process super easy with the electric heating element and four-minute cooking time.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Popcorn Machines
|Best Popcorn Machine Overall
|West Bend Electric Popcorn Machine
|Best Hot Air Popcorn Machine
|Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper
|Best Budget Popcorn Machine
|Housewares Solutions Microwave Popcorn Popper
|Best Stovetop Popcorn Machine
|Great Northern Stovetop Popcorn Popper
|Best Antique-Style Popcorn Machine
|Great Northern Antique-Style Popcorn Popper
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change.
Best Popcorn Machine Overall: West Bend Electric Popcorn Machine
The West Bend Electric Popcorn Machine pops up to six quarts of tasty popcorn in under four minutes. You simply measure out the kernels into the machine, place the bowl on top, add some butter for melting if you like, and turn it on.
The motorized stirring rod keeps the kernels moving to reduce burning, while the heat-resistant handles prevent burns on your hands. You don’t have to worry about the unit burning your countertop, either, as the base is also heat-resistant.
With the nonstick coating on the machine, clean-up is easy, and the convenient lid allows you to flip over the bowl and use it for serving. Finally, it’s designed for easy storage as all parts nest together to save space, while the cord wraps around the bottom.
West Bend Electric Popcorn Machine Key Features:
- High-capacity—make six quarts of popcorn in under four minutes
- Motorized stirring rod prevents scorching and burning
- Made for safe use—heat resistant handles and base
- Easy clean-up with a nonstick surface
Best Hot Air Popcorn Machine: Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper
If you’re looking to cut back on calories and enjoy one of the healthiest, most satisfying snacks there is, try this Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper. It pops the kernels without the oil, cutting out the saturated fat you can get with other types. That doesn’t mean, though, that you have to go entirely without flavor. The measuring cup doubles as a butter melter, so you can add as little or as much as you like.
This machine is fast, too. You can get up to 18 cups of popcorn in less than two-and-a-half minutes. Just be sure to add your own bowl underneath to catch the popped kernels—the machine will shoot them out through the plastic top and down into the bowl.
Clean up is easier with this machine than any other, as there’s no oil to worry about. You simply wipe clean when needed, though you may want to wash the butter melter if you used it. The electric cord wraps around the back for easy storage.
Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper Key Features:
- Pops healthy popcorn without the oil
- Fast and easy—pops up to 18 cups of popcorn in less than three minutes
- Measuring cup doubles as a butter melter if you want some
- Simply wipe clean and store away
Best Budget Popcorn Machine: Housewares Solutions Microwave Popcorn Popper
If you love the idea of homemade popcorn but don’t want to spend a lot of money, a microwave popcorn machine is usually your best choice. We think this one—the Housewares Solutions Microwave Popcorn Popper—is your best option for right around $10.
Made of food-grade, BPA-free heat-resistant silicone, this popper is safe for use in the microwave and cooks all the kernels in about 2-3 minutes. It’s up to you whether you add butter or not, keeping calorie and fat levels completely within your control. Of course, in the microwave, cooking is fast and easy—so easy that you may find that you’re happy to give up pre-packaged microwave popcorn in favor of this healthier method.
A nice added feature is the collapsible bowl. It’s designed to go down to only two inches in height so you can slide it easily into a drawer or cupboard when not in use. The cooking bowl doubles as a serving bowl, so it works great at home or the office. If you’re not satisfied with the product, the manufacturer provides a 100-percent, 30-day money-back guarantee.
Housewares Solutions Microwave Popcorn Popper Key Features:
- Budget-friendly microwave popper that’s easy and fast
- Add in butter or oil at your discretion
- Cooking bowl doubles as a serving bowl
- Convenient for home or office
- Collapsible bowl stores easily away
Best Stovetop Popcorn Machine: Great Northern Stovetop Popcorn Popper
Many people love stovetop-popped popcorn for its denser, richer flavor. It’s a traditional way of making popcorn that some say just can’t be replicated any other way. You need to use oil with this one, however, so expect the calorie count to go up, but the taste will be so good you probably won’t be too worried about it!
The best option we found for the stovetop method is the Great Northern Stovetop Popcorn Popper. It makes five quarts of popcorn in just minutes and has real wooden handles and knobs to protect your hands. The unique spinner stirring mechanism keeps the kernels from burning and cooks all the popcorn evenly while allowing moisture to escape. The process creates hot, crunchy, mouth-watering popcorn that rivals what you can get at the movie theater.
Clean-up is easy—just wipe clean with a paper towel and store until the next time. Reviewers rave about this one making the “best popcorn ever.” Many use coconut oil for the best results, though you can use any kind you like, including olive oil and butter.
Great Northern Stovetop Popcorn Popper Key Features:
- Creates a taste just like movie theater popcorn
- Spinner stirring mechanism keeps kernels from burning
- Wooden handles protect your hands
- Easy clean-up with a paper towel
Best Antique-Style Popcorn Machine: Great Northern Antique-Style Popcorn Popper
If you really love your popcorn and want to add some antique style to your home—or if you have a small business that could use the ambiance of a vintage-style popcorn machine—check out the Great Northern Antique-Style Popcorn Popper.
It’s available in red or black, and you can get either this tabletop version or choose one with an added wheeled cart. The machine makes about 2-3 gallons of popcorn per batch, then keeps it fresh and warm with a built-in warmer light. Made of heavy-duty powder-coated steel and tempered glass, it’s commercial quality and certified. You can store supplies in the base of the unit, and control the warmer, stirrer and pot heater with three separate buttons.
Expect every bowl or bag of popcorn to be great, as this machine also features an old-maid drawer (for unpopped kernels), and includes popcorn and oil scoops. It cleans up with water and is backed by a 5-year warranty on the machine and a 30-day limited warranty on all consumable parts, including the kettles and/or light bulbs.
Great Northern Antique-Style Popcorn Popper Key Features:
- Antique style great for home decor
- Commercial quality also works great for small businesses
- Quality made with heavy-duty powder-coated steel and tempered glass
- Features an old-maid drawer for unpopped kernels
- 5-year warranty on the machine
Choose the one that sounds best to you and start enjoying one of the healthiest, tastiest snacks available today! For more home-cooking options, check out our post on the Best Sandwich Presses, Best Toaster Ovens, and Best Smoothie Blenders.