It’s that time of year again, the one where we have to think of interesting gifts for friends and loved ones. Yes, Christmas is upon us, and it doesn’t get any easier! It can be difficult to find gifts to buy people – even for birthdays and other celebrations – that are both original and interesting, so any help that you can find is always going to be welcome. What are we suggesting as a gift this year – or any year, for that matter? Well, it’s something that could be both a gift, or an item that you might want to buy for yourself. It’s a little out of the ordinary, and more fun than practical; any guessed yet? We’re talking about popcorn makers, and we reckon you haven’t even considered this idea!
Here’s the thing: where and when is most popularly associated with eating popcorn? The cinema, of course, when you’re watching a film! You simply have to have a big bowl of popcorn to make things authentic, right? We think so, and with the home cinema becoming ever-more popular as systems become more affordable, so we need popcorn makers in the home! It makes sense: kids love it, adults love it – what is not to like about popcorn?
Of course, you could go to your local supermarket and buy a bag of popcorn, but where’s the fun in that? And what about when it’s cold and wet, and you simply need popcorn but really don’t want to go out? Problem solved: with your own, personal popcorn machine, you can have it any time you want!
Before we go on to look at the top 10 popcorn machines – really, there are many to choose from – let’s talk a little more about what they do, how they work, and why you need one.
The Top 10
Table of Contents
- 1 The Top 10
- 1.1 1: VonShef Vintage Popcorn Maker
- 1.2 2: Wicked Gizmo’s Fat Free Popcorn Maker
- 1.3 3: Andrew James Popcorn Maker
- 1.4 4: Halogen Popcorn Maker
- 1.5 5: Wicked Gizmo’s Carnival Popcorn Maker
- 1.6 6: Giles and Pozner Popcorn Maker
- 1.7 7: Savisto Vintage Popcorn Maker
- 1.8 8: UKayed Mini Power Popcorn Maker
- 1.9 9: Russell Hobbs Popcorn Maker
- 1.10 10: JMP Posner Retro Popcorn Maker
- 2 Important Features
- 3 How It Works
- 4 Let’s Wrap It Up
Prepare to be convinced – read these reviews, and you will want a popcorn maker!
Retro is the way to go when it comes to popcorn makers; after all, we’re trying to resurrect the glory days of cinema! This brilliant vintage-look popcorn maker comes with bright colouring that would not look out of place in a picture-house of the 50’s, and is superbly finished. You even get retro-look popcorn cups for added effect, which is a very nice touch. The clear top and red body are brilliant evocations of 50’s style, and work very well.
You also get an easy to use machine that makes popcorn without the use of oil or any other additives – just hot air – and the system is very clever in the way it circulates the air efficiently. You get a measuring scoop, so you can put the right amount of kernels in, and it simply plugs in and goes. This is a low-maintenance, well-made and neatly designed machine that would not look out of pace in a home cinema, and at around £25 is great value as a gift or for family use.
Pros: great design, easy to use, comes with cups, retro look
Cons: retro look might not be for everyone but that’s about it
The retro theme continues with this very nice design of popcorn maker, another that would happily grace any fun home cinema room. Once again, it is finished in stylish red and white for maximum retro effect, and it really works too. This one also has a clear top where the popcorn is made, and it has 1200w of power for quick production. Indeed, without fat or any other additives, this machine can give you delicious popcorn within 3minutes.
You get 45g capacity, which when it comes to popcorn is quite a lot – enough for all the family for example – and it is suitably compact so it won’t take up too much space in the room. It’s easy for the kids to use, too, and uses standard kernels that you get at the local shop. Unlike the above, this one doesn’t come with its own cups or a measuring cup, but at around £20 it is very good value.
Pros: neat design, retro look, quick delivery, good value
Cons: no cups, retro look might not be for everyone
As a maker of high quality kitchen implements and appliances, it is no surprise to see Andrew James in the popcorn maker market. They have also gone for a retro look – although not as much as the two above – in terms of the red colour and clear top, but this one has a touch of the more modern look about it. It is easy to use, delivers the product very quickly and is compact enough or any space, plus it’s safe for kids – although we do advise supervision where heat is concerned.
This one comes with a handy measuring scoop, has a cool-touch lid for added safety, and is presented with four traditional style popcorn boxes for added authenticity. Plus, it is surprisingly energy efficient so will not cost you the earth to get your popcorn fix! At around £25 it is also sensible value for one of these, so goes on the shortlist.
Pros: brand, colours, nice design, easy to use, good price
Cons: not as retro as others, but that may please some
Halogen ovens are all the rage at the moment as they provide a cost=effective way of cooking healthy food, so let us introduce the halogen popcorn maker! Basically, the halogen method uses a halogen lamp as its heat source, and everything else is done the same. This is a modern-looking device that cooks your popcorn in minutes, and while it is not evoking the retro theme, it still looks fine. It is designed so that the lid can be turned over and used as a popcorn serving bowl, which adds a further dimension to the product.
It’s easy to use and safe – kids can use this with the minimum of supervision – and halogen cooking is a cheap way of doing things. It’s a compact machine that will take up limited shelf space, and it has a motorized part that keeps the popcorn circulating for even and perfect cooking. It’s great for a party night or that cinema room, and you will have popcorn that is healthy and very tasty. It’s also less than £30, so would make a great gift too.
Pros: halogen method, easy to use, healthy, motorised stirring, serving bowl/lid
Cons: not retro look, not the cheapest
If there is one of these that will work as a gift it is this one: it’s designed to resemble a tiny carnival-style popcorn cart, and as a result is utterly delightful! Finished in red, and with the traditional striped roof, it really looks the part, and it uses the healthy hot air circulation method to give you great popcorn in just a few minutes. As a novelty this one is hard to beat, and as a popcorn maker it is also pretty impressive!
1200w power is enough to give you perfect popcorn as quickly as is feasible, it’s also great to watch and fun to use – safe, too, if the kids are kept an eye on they can use this no problem – and it is a truly charming machine that would look the part at parties, or in the cinema room. Wicked Gizmo’s have a way of making quality products that are different, and that do the job, and this popcorn maker ticks all the boxes for a Christmas gift. At under £30 it’s also pretty good value.
Pros: great, fun design; quick delivery; ease of use, sensible price
Cons: we can’t think of any bar that it doesn’t come with cups – but it’s too cute!
This model, from Giles and Pozner, eschews the retro look for a more modern style of machine, and it is one that would not look out of place in a super-modern kitchen set up. It is easy to use, delivers the product very quickly and is compact enough or any space, plus it’s safe for kids – although we do advise supervision where heat is concerned. It’s a very nice design overall, and one that we like as it differs from the norm.
This one comes with a handy measuring scoop, has a cool-touch lid for added safety, and is presented with four traditional style popcorn boxes for added authenticity. Plus, it is surprisingly energy efficient so will not cost you the earth to get your popcorn fix! At around £25 it is also sensible value for one of these, so goes on the shortlist, and would also make a very viable gift.
Pros: brand, colours, nice design, easy to use, good price
Cons: none that we can see, unless you want the retro look
This is another quite superb vintage retro-look model – with the red base and clear container – and one that would look superb in the kitchen or in a home cinema set up. It’s also a compact table-top design, so you can put it anywhere you want without using up much space. You even get retro-look popcorn cups for added effect, which is a very nice touch. The clear top and red body are brilliant evocations of 50’s style, and work very well.
You also get an easy to use machine that makes popcorn without the use of oil or any other additives – just hot air – and the system is very clever in the way it circulates the air efficiently. You get a measuring scoop, so you can put the right amount of kernels in, and it simply plugs in and goes. This is a low-maintenance, easy to use popcorn machine that, at a price of much less than £20, would make a great gift or a present for yourself!
Pros: great design, easy to use, comes with cups, retro look
Cons: none, it’s cool!
This model mixes the retro look with the modern style, and is finished in the traditional red. We don’t know why red is traditional for popcorn makers, but clearly it is, as it is the choice of most of the manufacturers who have gone down that route. This model comes with a neat butter-melting cup, so you can have perfect popcorn that tastes just as you would expect it to if you were at the movies. It’s easy to use, too, so the kids can get to grips with this one with very little in the way of supervision.
It’s red – there’s a surprise – and comes with a series of red and white striped serving cups for that authentic popcorn experience. 1200W is standard power for one of these and delivers the popcorn quickly and perfectly, and it runs from the mains as usual. If you want a more retro-look popcorn maker there are probably better models available, but this one is very compact and usable, and at around £25 is pretty much the price we expect to pay for one of these.
Pros: neat design, decent price, comes with cups, easy to use
Cons: not retro, if that bothers you
Moving away from the retro design ethic is this model from Russell Hobbs, a giant in the world of household and kitchen appliances and gadgets. This one is decidedly futuristic in style, with a curved body that is very 21st century, and is finished in white for a change. It uses the hot air circulation method for healthy and effective cooking, and produces your popcorn very quickly and without the need for oil. It’s a very neat machine, although more practical in looks that attractive.
It’s an easy to use machine that the kids can get to grips with if you give them a little supervision, you get 12 servings of popcorn from one load of kernels, it’s very quick and it is compact enough to take up little space. The lid doubles as a measuring scoop for added convenience, and it is a nice design all-round. At around £20 it’s also good value.
Pros: practical, good brand, neat design, healthy popcorn, easy to use, cheap
Cons: not very pretty
Our final model is perhaps the most attractive of all; it resembles the sort of machine you would have seen in a cinema foyer, but in miniature. It’s finished in red with clear walls and a very classy retro design, is large in comparison with most of these and can prepare 4oz of popcorn – more than enough for any family – and it really does look the part. This is a well-made quality popcorn maker, and one that would not go amiss in any home cinema set up.
It may not be as easy to use as some so is probably best left to the adults rather than the kids, and uses the healthy hot air circulation method for perfect delivery. This is one that should be used as a feature, and at 500mm tall it is very impressive in the right setting. In truth, this is our favourite machine, but it’s also by far the most expensive. However, if you want a genuine retro feature for a home cinema room, this is the one, and it will make the perfect talking point. For that purpose, at around £55 we don’t consider it expensive, but if you want a kitchen popcorn maker, it’s not the one.
Pros: great design, perfect centrepiece, healthy popcorn
Cons: not portable, expensive for a popcorn maker
That’s our list of ten great popcorn makers, some of which will make gifts, and others that are almost items of furniture, so before we sum up, let’s have a look at the features you need to consider.
What do you look for in a popcorn maker? The above reviews should have given you an idea, but here’s a quick recap:
Healthy Popcorn – you want popcorn that is made using the circulating air method and all of these, including the halogen model, use this process to some degree. It avoids the need for oil, so is worth sticking with.
Great Looks – retro or not? That is the question! We love the retro-look models, but they might not be to everyone’s taste, and there is plenty of choice here whichever way you want to go.
Accessories – serving cups and bowls, measuring cups, and other accessories are available with some but mot with others. It’s worth reading our reviews for the best deals.
Ease of Use – if kids are going to have a go, you need a popcorn maker that is suitable for them to use. Most of these are safe for use by children with a little supervision, which is always advised when there is heat involved.
Size – all of these models provide enough popcorn for a family, and in very little time, so you will have no trouble finding one that is right for you at a sensible price.
That’s our list of features to consider, not let’s wrap it up.
How It Works
So, how does a popcorn maker work? It should be said that most of the modern models work without oil, so will provide you with very healthy popcorn. They work by heating corn kernels until they expand – or pop – into the food we know and love, and they are easy to use, and don’t use much energy at all. Indeed, as most are safe and secure to use, your kids can make the popcorn and have fun doing so!
These machines are mains powered – plug in and you’re ready to go – and you can buy the ingredients at your local shop. They don’t take long to make the popcorn, and it tastes better than that you get in a bag from the supermarket. It’s a cheap, fun way of enhancing the family home video experience, even if you are just watching on the TV!
Why do you need one? The question is more ‘why not’? Nothing beats a bit of fun home-made popcorn and it is so easy to do so, without further hesitation, let’s have a look at the top 10 popcorn makers you can buy right now, and see if we can point you in the direction of the best one for you.
Let’s Wrap It Up
So, you want a popcorn maker: why not, they are great little machines and add a bit of fun to proceedings. The only problem is, which of the ten we have listed do you choose? It’s difficult to recommend one over the rest as you will have your preferences, but we do have two favourites.
Our first is number 5, the Wicked Gizmo’s Carnival model; it’s a superb design that would look great anywhere, and a little different to the rest. Our second choice would be the last one on the list, the one that is designed like a foyer machine, but that’s only because it looks brilliant – it is not, however, very portable!
Whether you want retro or not there are some really great, surprisingly affordable popcorn maker on this list, so get yourself one for your home cinema room, or buy one as a great gift for a friend.