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Best Hot Air Popcorn Poppers 2014

Updated on June 12, 2014
Switching to an air popper could make your favorite snack much healthier.
Switching to an air popper could make your favorite snack much healthier.

Now that you are here, you must have found out that hot air popcorn poppers offer a simple, quick and healthy home popcorn alternative to the microwave and oil popping. With no need for a microwave bag or cooking oil, all you have to do with an air popcorn maker is to fill it with corn kernels and to plug it in. Within three minutes or so you will get a bowl of fresh and delicious popcorn with no fat whatsoever. For additional flavor, you can spray it with something healthy such as extra virgin olive oil or some other sauce.

Whatever recipe you are planning to use with your corn, the first step to getting your favorite snack ready is to choose the best popcorn popper. To help you in search, I have made a list of the air popcorn poppers that are most popular with customers and provided impartial accounts on the pros and cons of each popper. Having read through the reviews, you will feel clear about strengths and weaknesses of the top hot air popper models. It will then be up to you to decide which popcorn popper will best serve your needs.

How to Select the Right Air Popper

To find the best hot air popcorn popper, we first have to know what we are looking for. Here are some key traits of the device we are trying to find.

Can actually make popcorn: This sounds too stupid to discuss here but indeed, it is an issue. Although a hot air popper is a very simple device, it needs to have the right design to do the job. Some of the low quality products will fail to pop the corn and can even throw out unpopped hot kernels that make a mess by popping inside the popcorn bowl.

Build Quality: Hot air poppers get very hot while making popcorn and they must have a decent build with high-quality plastic so they don't melt or burn. There are hundreds of customer reviews about poppers dying in gruesome ways and you can avoid that only by getting a well-built product.

On/Off Button: This is the only extra feature you could hope to find in a popcorn popper. While it is not a must, being able to end the popping process by pushing a button rather than unplugging the cord is a convenience.

BPA-free: Bisphenol A is a chemical found in some plastic materials that can cause health hazards. The containers of air popcorn poppers are usually metallic and there will be little contact between corn and plastic so the BPA issue should not become some sort of obsession. Still, it is best to get a BPA-free popper if you can because when popping corn, the machine becomes really hot and BPA is more likely to contaminate food when heated according to Mayo Clinic.

West Bend Air Crazy Corn Popper

Air Crazy Corn Popper sells well but it is far from being the top popcorn popper. It has some serious caveats that should be taken into consideration before making a purchase.

First, the good things: West Bend air popper has four nice color options, the design looks pretty sleek and it's got an on/off button. None of these help with the problems it suffers, tough.

When it comes to functionality, Air Crazy just fails. The majority of people who bought this popper complain that it cannot pop the corn. Dozens of customer reviews state that it launches more unpopped hot kernels than popcorn pieces and does that in a rather unruly fashion with kernels ending up on the counter, in the sink and on the floor as well as in the bowl. Based on these consistent reports by users, I can conclude that with this popper, you are more likely to get a terrible mess than get a bowl of popcorn. And that is if it ever works.

Air Crazy Corn Popper also has a very cheap build quality. There are just too many reports about this device dying very quickly and that usually happens on first use. Sometimes, it shuts down with a burnt smell. Sometimes, parts of the popper start melting due to overheating. If you buy this, you should be prepared for bad surprises.

West Bend website states that Air Crazy contains polycarbonate, which means it is not BPA-free.

To summarize, West Bend's hot air popper is cute with different colors but it lacks the ability to deliver popcorn. It is sad that such a nice-looking appliance is rendered almost useless by blatant flaws in design. Luckily, there are better products from other brands.

Hot Air Popper By Great Northern Popcorn

As the name suggests, Great Northern Popcorn is a company known for its popcorn machines including some rather large commercial poppers. That creates high expectations about the quality of the product at hand. Indeed, it is OK but not quite the ultimate hot air popcorn popper you will come across.

The popper has a pretty stark desing with no on/off switch and you have to pull the plug when finished. Also, it is 14.5 inches tall, which is a bit bigger than the rest of hot air poppers on the market. If you are planning to get this one make sure it is going to fit where you want to place it.

As for functionality and durability, Great Northern Popcorn Popper gets mixed ratings from customers. There are people who see it as a decent item that can efficiently handle the popping job and they are not few. Yet, there are also an abundance of unsatisfied customers who complain about the popcorn maker dying the first time it is plugged in and pushing out piles of unpopped corn. That being said, the complaints are not as many and as grave as those about the West Band popper. It looks like you can actually get a bowl of delicious popcorn from this machine, provided you have some good luck.

In short, Great Northen Popcorn Popper is definitely a viable alternative when compared to the West Bend Air Crazy but you would be wrong to except premium quality from this item. What we have here is a cheap popper with no special features and it does its job most of the time though not necessaily all the time. There are people out there who purchased this and ended up happy but I still suggest you to have a look at the better popper units reviewed below before you make your final decision.

Presto 04820 PopLite Hot Air Popper

This has been the top selling popcorn popper for at least a decade and I am not at all surprised about that. Presto air popper has a great price to performance ratio. In other words, it is no more expensive than the two popcorn poppers reviewed above and yet, it works almost flawlessly.

Presto popcorn popper is rated very well by users. Reviews indicate that it does a good job preparing popcorn. Its body and chute are properly shaped so as to let the popcorn go out while keeping the unpopped corn inside. You are not likely to see unpopped corn flying out of this popper's chute unless you overfill it. Thumbs-up for Presto!

Presto Poplite has been around for years and I've seen several reviews from customers who testify that this popper works even after a decade of heavy use. Of course, there are a few people who have managed to burn or melt it but they remain a small minority. The prevalent view about Presto is that it is built to stand the test of time and such durability is a rare quality for such a cheap appliance.

Two things keep me from calling PopLite, the perfect hot air popcorn popper. It's got no on/off switch and plastic is not BPA-free. These do not change the fact that it works as a popcorn popper, though. As for the BPA thing, I've explained above why it is not a make-or-break thing and I do not see it as a reason to shun this popper.

To conclude, Presto PopLite is recommended to anyone looking for an inexpensive air popper that works and lasts. You will definitely be satisfied with the popcorn popping ability of this device although it is not as refined as Cuisinart CPM-100 reviewed just below.

Cuisinart CPM-100 EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker

Cuisinart's designers must have realized that they could make a difference by putting some effort into their popper machine design. The result is Cuisinart EasyPop, which is a product that stands out from the rest thanks to a few simple tweaks. This is the popper I would buy for myself and this is also the one you want to go for if you are buying a gift for someone. Let us see what makes Cuisinart CPM-100 EasyPop the best hot air popcorn popper in the market.

First and foremost, customer satisfaction rate with Cuisinart air popper is very high. Most customers laud this one while only a few come up with stories about the popcorn maker failing in some way. Many of the negative reviews are on trivial issues like the popper throwing the popcorn too far and getting too hot. Alarming complaints are rather rare. There is good reason to think that this hot air popper is the least likely to blow around unpopped corn kernels or end up burning during use.

Cuisinart also has some key features that other hot air poppers lack. A slightly longer cord allows for more leeway to place the machine where you want while the protruding base part makes it less likely to get toppled. More importantly, EasyPop has an on/off button that makes it much easier to control the popcorn popping process. Next, Cuisinart CPM-100 is the only hot air popper that has BPA-free plastic on parts that come into contact with the corn. Finally, users agree that this popper is quieter than all other air poppers.

A combination of better build quality and thoughtful design has made Cuisinart CPM-100 the best air popcorn popper available. It does cost ten to twenty dollars more than other hot air poppers but this is not too big a difference if you are serious about making popcorn at home.


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