“a consumer reports for the cheap” — the new york times

Popcorn Poppers Performance

Although any popcorn popper is probably capable of producing at least a handful of high-quality popped kernels, popcorn popper reviews indicate that the best popcorn poppers stand apart for their ability to pop nearly every kernel. The best popcorn poppers produce fluffy, dry, and crunchy results.

Users also frequently comment on the fresher taste of air and oil popped popcorn, and say there's no going back to the microwave variety. Popcorn popper reviews also remark on the dollar-wise value and user friendliness of DIY popcorn.

Popcorn Popper Quality.

Based on the popcorn popper reviews we read, cheap poppers are mighty performers. In the hot air popper category, the Presto PopLite earns accolades in consumer reviews on sites like Amazon and Walmart. Users rave about its no-kernel-left-behind prowess, the light and fluffy results, and the money-saving convenience of making a healthy snack in minutes. For people on restricted diets, this no-oil/no-salt hot-air popper is a godsend; as one consumer points out in a popcorn poppers review, that option doesn't exist in the microwave popcorn aisle.

The stovetop Wabash Valley Farms Whirley Pop is also a hit with popcorn fans who relish the thoroughness of its low-tech manual operating system. Popcorn poppers reviews on Target, for example, say the finished product beats the movie-house variety hands down and the ability to control the amount of oil and salt is a welcome advantage. Consumers' assessment of the West Bend Stir Crazy is less gushing but still enthusiastic -- one family of 10 makes up to 12 batches a week, according to a popcorn popper review on Amazon. Other reviews on the same site variously describe the end product as light and tasty or a bit stick-to-your-teeth. One user suggests this latter outcome results from a build-up of humidity inside the popping dome, and another says you must open the dome immediately to avoid winding up with a soggy treat. Unpopped kernels don't seem to be an issue with the West Bend Stir Crazy, but a popcorn makers review on Walmart notes that the stirring rod at the bottom of the dome sometimes gets caught on the kernels.

By contrast, popcorn popper reviews for the Kalorik PCM28276 are largely critical. Users posting comments on Warehousedeals.com gripe about the small quantity of corn that can be popped at once, the proportion of kernels left unpopped, and a design flaw that automatically shuts off the popper when it gets too hot, which tends to occur before the batch is popped or prevents you from preparing a second batch right away.

Popcorn Poppers Ease of Use.

Generally speaking, cheaper popcorn poppers are the easiest to use because there are fewer parts and fewer opportunities for things to go wrong. Popcorn popper reviews on Cooking.com assert the Wabash Valley Farms Whirley Pop is easy to clean -- just a quick wipe with a paper towel or a hand wash with some soapy water. The hand-cranking process appeals to the pre-teen set, according to users, and with slight modifications, like extending the handle and crank, the Whirley Pop also proves its mettle over campfires. But do make sure the lid is shut tight; one popcorn popper review on Target grouses about a loose lid letting oil splatter all over.

The swipe of a cloth is all that's needed to clean the Presto PopLite, and popcorn popper reviews on Walmart crow about the easy convenience of air-popping bowls of popcorn for family movie nights. Some users, though, grumble a bit about the absence of an on-off switch and butter that doesn't melt in the little top dish. This latter issue pops up occasionally in hot air popper reviews, but consumers seem nonplussed, noting the microwave excels at this task.

Review continues below

Many users say cleaning the West Bend Stir Crazy is a no-fuss job even though it needs to be disassembled and hand-washed with soapy water. A few popcorn popper reviews on Amazon grouse about oil build-up (one says it gums up the stirring rod after several months of heavy use) and one reviewer reports that the round base is awkward to clean. And yet, several users remark that the clear plastic dome affords a bird's eye view of the popping process that adds to the fun of making your own popcorn. Users posting reviews on Viewpoints also seem appreciative that the machine requires no out-of-box assembly.

Then there's the Kalorik PCM28276 hot-air popper, which gets panned in popcorn popper reviews for not being much fun at all. Its tendency to shut down before all the corn is popped and needing to wait until it cools down before popping another batch, its small size and loud operation, and hot-to-the-touch housing all turn off many users.

Popcorn Poppers Durability.

In terms of value, popcorn popper reviews suggest that the cheaper models tend to be the most durable. Many users posting popcorn popper reviews claim the Wabash Valley Farms Whirley Pop lasts for years (a 25-year warranty is available), although we did find a report on Amazon about the plastic gears in the sweeper mechanism melting after about a year of use and a few complaints that the aluminum bucket seems flimsy. Consumers give a thumbs up to the Presto PopLite's durability in popcorn popper reviews on Walmart, noting that it appears well-made. The West Bend Stir Crazy also passes the durability test, according to consumer reviews on Amazon, if users take proper care. A few consumers note that the stirring rod scrapes up the nonstick coating on the base (bend the arms slightly upward, counsels one user), and we read a few posts about the popper not heating sufficiently to get the kernels popping. But overall, these cheap popcorn poppers seem to be worth more than their weight in popped corn.

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