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Best popcorn maker 2023: Pop till you drop with our favourite popcorn machines

Step up your home cinema experience with these popcorn makers

Before planning your next movie night, you should take the step of investing in a proper popcorn machine for a more authentic experience. The best popcorn makers will have you popping like a pro in the comfort of your own home and give you that authentic cinema experience at a fraction of the cost. Indeed, you can pick up a hefty 1kg bag of popping kernels for less than the price of a small bucket of popcorn at the cinema.

What’s more, when you make your own popcorn there’s no end of flavour options to choose from. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a classic sweet snd salty combo, but when you’ve got the popping power in your own hands, why not try something new?

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together a short buying guide below. This explains all of the key features you might want to look out for while perusing our roundup of the best popcorn makers you can buy.

Best popcorn maker: At a glance

How to choose the best popcorn maker for you

There are loads of different types of popcorn makers, and you don’t want to end up with a machine that doesn’t match your needs. So, before you make a purchase, take a look at these questions and contemplate how you’d answer them.

What type of popcorn maker should you buy?

In terms of design, are you looking for a subtle look or a more eye-catching spectacle? The wide world of popcorn machines offers a bit of both. You can either opt for a purely functional machine or, if you fancy something a bit more off the wall, you could go for one that’s glammed up to look like an old-timey cinema snack stand.

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How much popcorn do you need at a time?

Will the popcorn machine of your dreams be supplying one person or ten? Is this for casual/personal use or is the plan to host an epic movie night with loads of mates? Keep an eye on the maximum load stats if you’re thinking of feeding a big group with your gadget.

Are you looking for a healthy option?

What sort of popcorn are you hoping to produce with this machine? Your choice of machine will determine the type of popcorn you can make, and you need to weigh up the benefits of tasty oil-based popcorn makers versus the healthier air-popped variety.

How much space do you have in your kitchen?

As is always the case when you’re buying a new piece of kitchenware, it’s worth considering how much space you can actually spare. If you’re a bit short of free space, there are some popcorn machines that can slot easily into a small cupboard when they’re not in use.

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The best popcorn makers to buy

1. VonShef Retro Popcorn Maker: The best budget cinema-style popcorn maker

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

This retro-style popper not only looks the part but makes loads of fresh, tasty popcorn in next to no time. Thanks to the open chute design that funnels popped corn out the front, you can make plenty for two to three people. It uses hot air, rather than oil, which leaves you with a healthier end result, but you can always add a topping after if you like. Better still, this model comes with six popcorn buckets so you can recreate that authentic cinema experience.

One word of warning, though: VonShef recommends using no more than 30g of kernels at a time. Otherwise, you may end up with unpopped kernels or burnt bits at the bottom of the machine.

Key specs – Type: Air popped; Serves: Not stated; Size: 185 x 150 x 295mm

2. Smart Kettle Popcorn Machine: The best cinema-style popcorn machine

Price: £99 | Buy now from Box

This popcorn machine is relatively expensive, although still not pricey enough to truly damage your bank account. This machine has a snazzy red cinema-worthy design, and it can produce as many as 16 cups of popcorn in one batch. There’s no assembly required, and it comes with all the cups and trays you need to get popping. There’s even one bag of corn thrown in for every customer, adding another level of value for money. Essentially, this is the perfect premium option for when you want to take your movie nights to the next level.

Key specs – Type: Oil-based; Serves: 1-16 cups; Size: 546 x 434 x 304mm

Buy now from Box

3. Klarstein Volcano: The best two-person popcorn maker

Price: £95 | Buy now from Amazon

Mixing nostalgic elements with a sleek core design, the Klarstein Volcano will look great in your kitchen. It’s easy to use as well: all you need to do is power it up, add kernels and oil, and prepare yourself for some excellent edible goodness. Keeping it clean will be more of a challenge, but the slide-out popcorn tray helps with serving and makes the task of tidying remarkably simple. This machine doesn’t have a huge capacity, making this better suited for two-person movie nights rather than big group affairs (unless you’re happy to refill it a few times before everybody arrives).

Key specs – Type: Oil-based; Serves: 1-2 cups; Size: 247 x 273 x 465mm

4. American Originals Popcorn Maker: The best small popcorn maker

Price: £22 | Buy now from Argos

If you’re after a simple, compact popcorn maker, you’re in luck. This dinky machine from American Originals air-pops around 40ml of popcorn in just three minutes, making it ideal for quick popcorn for one adult or two children. Simply add corn kernels into the machine without flavourings or oil and watch it get to work. The only downside? You need to let it cool down in between batches, so if you plan on regularly making popcorn for more than two people, we’d suggest one of the larger models on this list.

Key specs – Type: Air popped; Serves: 1; Size: 150 x 180 x 305mm

Buy now from Argos

5. Brensten Collapsible Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper: The best microwave popcorn maker

Price: £11 | Buy now from Amazon

Chances are there’s a quick, foolproof popcorn-making machine in your kitchen already: the microwave. So all you need to add for homemade popcorn is popcorn kernels and a bowl with a lid, and this brilliant budget buy is designed especially for the purpose. It takes up to four minutes to pop your corn, no fiddly settings necessary, and the resulting popcorn is fresher, tastier and much better value than the packaged stuff you buy in the shops.

We also like that this food-grade silicone bowl is child-friendly, easy to wash and collapses down to just a couple of inches high for easy storing. And if you’re not a fan of bright red, you can buy in numerous other colours of the rainbow for the same price.

Key specs – Type: Microwave; Serves: 1-2 cups; Size: 21 x 69cm, collapses down to 5cm

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