Our guide to buying the perfect popcorn machine

Popcorn is indeed a popular snack all over the world. It tastes amazing, smells even more so and brings huge amounts of fun to cinemas, fairgrounds and homes all around. With so many now wanting to enjoy the experience of popping their own popcorn at home with our quality unpopped kernels, we thought we’d give you the best guide to buying the perfect popcorn machine.

With so many to choose from it can seem a little daunting knowing which one to get for your home. Some come with convenient little accessories like measuring cups, serving bowls and even flavour dispensers. Are you someone that likes convenience or enjoys the experience of flavouring the popcorn the old fashioned way? Would you like the novelty of owning a vintage replica or do you want it to match your contemporary décor at home.

Popcorn machines now come with so many different components and in so many different styles that you really do need to ask yourself these questions before taking the leap and making that purchase. Do you want a warmer tray to keep it at a nice temperature whilst you potter around setting the movie up and do you want glass panels so you can see it popping? Some even come with stirring arms that get you a little more involved in the process.

A rather important question to ask yourself however is whether you’re going to go for a hot oil popcorn machine or an air popper? A lot of popcorn lovers prefer the familiar and quite traditional taste of the oil popped kernels whilst others are more focused on the health benefits so it’s just a question of asking yourself which bracket you fall in to.

Without the added oil, popcorn is a seriously nutritious snack offering pure and simple whole grain. It’s an excellent source of fibre and with so many seasonings available from us here at Empire it can be just as tasty so the choice really is yours. The other added benefit of an air popper is that it’s much easier to clean. The lack of oil also means it costs less to operate too however both machines produce consistently fluffy and crunchy popcorn.

There are of course a number of other considerations when choosing your preferred machine and these include construction, durability, wattage, desired output, space on your worktop, safety features and of course price. When it comes to the cost of popcorn machines, it varies widely all depending on the size, style and construction of machines. Here are some of the more common models you’re likely to come across in your search:

Table top vintage machines

These are usually oil poppers but there are a few air poppers available, you just have to have a good scout around. Most are quite small and fit easily in the kitchen or on the dining room table. They’re usually styled to mimic the old vintage carts and theatre machines and usually feature the warm light and butter dispensers too. Safety features include cool touch handles and accessories are usually measuring cups and scoops etc.

Hot air poppers

These are considered healthy and economical. At home kitchen models are crafted with function in mind so may incorporate a more simple design that makes things clear and obvious such as a directional chute that leads straight to a serving bowl. Air poppers are usually taller and take up a little space but as stated before they’re ideal for the health conscious amongst us. More often than not they forgo the more advanced features or accessories though you can find some with inbuilt butter dispensers. They’re made from metal or plastic and are ideal for moderate home use.

Freestanding popcorn machines

These are intended for more of a party piece than constant home use unless you of course have a large house in which case this offers great style and a large output for bigger families on movie night. It also preserves worktop space too.

One of the final things you’ll definitely want to consider before making your final decision is just how much popcorn you want to produce and how quickly the machine can do it. If you’re only looking to spoil the wife and kids on the weekend movie fest then a 4oz popcorn machine should be absolutely fine but if you’re considering bringing the machine into action when you have a few house parties then we’d suggest stepping it up to a 6oz to avoid straining the machine and leaving hungry guests waiting.

If the purse strings are feeling a little tight or you’re simply someone who likes to recycle then why not take a look at some second hand machines? A used popcorn machine offers an affordable alternative especially if you’re looking at larger ones or even commercial grade machines. Taking a look at the reputation of the seller and manufacturer should help guarantee a quality purchase for a much lower cost.

Whether you want them for at home or even in the office space, a quality popcorn machine is a relatively simple device that will deliver years of great performance. With minimal maintenance required and low running costs, they can offer good old fashion fun for all the family or even the staff. Then all that’s left to consider is just how big a bag of unpopped popcorn you’ll need to purchase from us, along with flavourings to make your mouth water. For more information on what’s available from us here at Empire, just click here.