The 4 Best Popcorn Machines For Home Theaters

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by Andrea Hannah and Masha Vapnitchnaia
Originally Published: 

Let's be real: The best part about going to the movies is the popcorn, hands down. Warm, buttery, and always fresh, it literally melts in your mouth. The good news? With the best popcorn machines for home theaters, you don't have to drop a ton of cash on movie tickets to indulge in this deliciousness.

But before you run out and grab a popcorn maker, you'll want to consider how much popcorn you plan to make. A 4-ounce kettle is good for most home theaters and will make about 4 quarts of popcorn, but if you want to serve a lot of guests, it might be worth choosing a machine with a larger kettle that makes more in one sitting. You'll also want to make sure it has a warmer and storage to keep your popcorn fresh in between servings.

The overall size of the machine is another big consideration. While an antique-style, free-standing popcorn machine would look amazing, do you have room for a hefty machine in your home? If you decide to go with a countertop machine, you'll want to make sure you have enough space in your kitchen to host it. Otherwise, a portable option might work best.

Here's a round-up of some of the best popcorn machines for home theaters to help you narrow down your options.


The Best Overall, All Things Considered

If you're looking for a countertop option, you can't go wrong with this classic popcorn machine that’s earned more than 4,500 five-star ratings from Amazon shoppers. The 4-ounce kettle makes up to 4 quarts of popcorn at a time. The 480-watt heater pops kernels within minutes, and the mechanized spinner continually shifts kernels for perfect popping every time. Plus, the nonstick coated kettle, lid, and stir rod are all removable for easy cleanup. Along with this nostalgic red, the machine is also available in black, and both versions come with a kernel measuring cup, oil measuring spoon, and a measuring scoop.

One fan’s take: “We do a weekly family movie night. We prefer to stay in but I really do prefer this style of popcorn to any other. It makes delicious popcorn in less than 5 minutes! It’s cute as all get out in between uses too! No complaints and I’ve been using this weekly to bi-weekly for well over 6 months now. It’s easy to clean — all the pieces come off to allow you to clean thoroughly.”


The Best For Big Parties

This commercial-grade popcorn machine hits all the right marks if you’re hosting a big bash. First, the 8-ounce kettle makes up to 6 gallons of popcorn at a time so you can easily serve everyone at your home without waiting between batches. And with an 850-watt heater, this tabletop machine doesn't take a long time to pre-heat before you start popping. Plus, there's a heated warming deck that keeps popcorn warm and fresh, and the stainless steel drawer along the bottom can easily store unpopped kernels for easy cleanup later on. According to reviewers, the kettle is removable for easy cleaning. Best yet, it also comes with three serving cups, 25 classic popcorn bags, measuring cups, and a plastic scoop — everything you need to start movie night right. You can choose a machine in red or black.

One fan’s take: “We were pleased when the machine arrived earlier than expected. It was also packaged very well. Included were some popcorn bags, a large serving scoop, and a few smaller measuring cups and spoons. They also included two plastic popcorn holders which are really cute. It is very easy to use, worked well the first time we made popcorn (we were expecting it to burn a little with first time use) and the clean-up was quick. The popcorn is AMAZING!”


The Best Free-Standing Machine

Not only is this free-standing popcorn machine a fun addition to movie night, but it's also extremely versatile. Standing at 5 feet tall, this machine has a 10-ounce kettle that can pop up to 3 gallons of popcorn, and the 850-watt heater works to heat kernels within a few minutes. It also features a built-in spotlight warmer to keep your popcorn fresh and toasty until you're ready for another helping. The machine is easy to clean as needed. The best part? You can actually detach this machine from its cart to use it as a tabletop model for total flexibility. Three serving cups, 50 popcorn bags, measuring cups, and a serving scoop are included.

One fan’s take: "When we put it together the features of the machine are outstanding. The Popcorn popper is so quiet that you would never know that it is popping popcorn until you smell that great aroma that fills your home of freshly popped popcorn. The beauty of the machine itself is something to be proud of with the old-time look.”


The Most Affordable

Looking for a more affordable option? This portable popcorn machine does the trick without compromising on quality. Similar to pricier models, this hot air popper can pop up to 18 cups of popcorn in less than three minutes. Plus, it does it without any oil. This machine even comes with a handy butter melter that doubles as a kernel measuring cup, so you can be sure to make the perfect popcorn every time. The cover and cup are removable for easy cleaning. While this machine doesn’t offer the nostalgia of a vintage-style popper, it's a total steal at $25.

One fan’s take: "The air popper works very well. It has a solid construction, and it is lightweight and easy to clean. It weighs about 3 1/2 pounds, and the footprint is fairly small. The unit comes apart easily for storage. Cleaning is a breeze. You do not have to clean it after each use other than the butter tray if you use it. It leaves less un-popped kernels using hot air to pop the kernels.”

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