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There are a variety of snacks that people swear by, no matter what time of year it is. Depending on who you ask, you’ll receive different answers, but on a multitude of their lists, popcorn will make their lists.
Popcorn can be made either homemade or more professionally, using commercial popcorn makers. Commercial popcorn makers are usually bought to supplement a large number of people. Keeping this in mind, you can’t just buy any sort of popcorn maker.
It’s important to know what to look for when it comes to commercial products such as these. So the question still stands: What are some of the best commercial popcorn makers on the market?
- Best Commercial Popcorn Machines
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Verdict
Best Commercial Popcorn Machines
Paragon Theater (12oz)
When it comes to making any sort of food on a larger scale, you’ll need only the best of the best to get the job done. The Paragon Theater Popcorn machine is where perfect meets popcorn.
Towering at 40 inches tall, this popcorn machine can hold a large amount of popcorn due to how large this particular model is. Rightfully so, this machine can churn out an estimate of 221 one-ounce servings of popcorn per hour.
With a stainless steel floor with a built-in warming deck, this machine can keep popcorn hot and fresh for hours on end. One thing about this popcorn machine that isn’t present on a few other models is two button options: stirring and warming.
This popcorn machine gives the user the capability to stir the popcorn kernels and keep the finished popcorn below warm with two easy presses of a button. With its sleek red design & powerhouse capability, this popcorn machine is sure to knock a few people’s socks off.
Paragon Contempo (8oz)
Paragon Contempo Pop 8 oz popcorn machine has all the bells and whistles. This popcorn machine features a side-hinged aluminum kettle that can hold up to 8 oz of corn kernels.
Having the side-hinge not only makes it easy to clean, but it also makes it easier to disperse the popped popcorn kernels into the cabinet waiting below. This popcorn machine towers at 29 inches and has 1420 watts which makes it a powerhouse when producing a large amount of popcorn.
Rightfully so, this popcorn machine can cook up to 147 one-ounce servings every hour. Another important aspect to consider when using a product to satisfy a large number of people is making sure that everything is sanitary.
Paragon Contempo also has this covered by using a stainless steel drop zone which not only makes the machine easier to clean after service, but it keeps the food from becoming contaminated. Not only is this amazing for both timeliness and cleanliness, but it’s also a very aesthetically pleasing popcorn machine.
This machine contains stainless steel accents, a presentation lamp, and tinted glass doors that will have anyone’s head turning.
1911 Popcorn Machine (4oz/6oz/8oz)
Another Paragon contender on this list, the 1911 Popcorn Machine is a machine that comes in either a 4 oz, 6 oz, or 8 oz versions. Having this customizable makes it unique from some of the other choices on this list with only one option listed.
With a painted stainless steel exterior, this model is sure to turn some heads, painted in a bright red. Depending on the size of the kettle you decide to choose, you’ll still have a large amount waiting at your disposal. The accent of the stainless steel interior makes it both stylish and easier to clean.
Weirdly enough, this model does not contain any sort of buttons for easier use on the outside however. This must mean that the only way to turn it off and on would be by plugging or unplugging it.
In any case, for many people, especially for those that want to make their popcorn making experience as smooth as possible, might not even consider a model that lacks any buttons.
However, the 1911 Popcorn Machine is a very “safe” option when it comes to wanting something more on the heavier side (as far as production goes), but is still pretty bare bones as far as actual usage of this popcorn machine goes.
Great Northern w/ Cart (8oz)
Being the first model on the list to have a mobility option, the Great Northern is equipped with wheels as well as two front legs to make it easy to have this popcorn machine travel.
With a black sleek design, this model is stylish whether it’s on-the-go or just sitting stationary at your family reunion. The popcorn machine only towering at 24 inches tall, this machine can make up to 3 gallons of popcorn per batch.
This popcorn machine model is very unique from others on this list because it contains a small cabinet that can be used as storage for various popcorn making tools such as measuring cups, serving bags, and plastic serving cups.
You’re in luck too: this particular popcorn machine model comes with 3 plastic serving cups, 25 popcorn serving bags, measuring cups, and a popcorn scoop, all free of charge when you buy this model. You can effortlessly store all these items in the cabinet located under the popcorn machine.
This makes grabbing all the needed tools to make popcorn all the more accessible. Made out of steel, Great Northern makes sure that both the cart has as much quality as the popcorn machine itself.
Paragon Classic (14oz/16oz/20oz)
The Paragon Classic popcorn machine lives up to its name, sporting a red and white theme that is easy to spot from customers even miles away. Towering at 45 inches tall, this popcorn machine model can produce up to 240 one-oz servings of popcorn each hour.
Still not enough popcorn for you? This model can come in three different sizes: 14 oz, 16 oz, and 20 oz. Knowing this information, this makes this popcorn machine model the biggest model on this list (if you were to choose the 20 oz model). This model contains three switches on the top. The switches displayed at the top either turn the kettle on, warm the popcorn below, or stir the kettle above.
Already, this model contains more helpful options to keep popcorn fresh than some of the lower-end models on this list. This model in particular also contains a lighting system that helps not only the operators know when the popcorn is ready to be served, but for the consumer to effortlessly see that the popcorn is either “ready” or both party members have to “wait.”
Both the “stir” and “warmer” buttons have a lighting function as well that makes it easy to tell whether these functions are running or not.
Overall, the Paragon Classic is not only easy to use, but is able to churn out a lot more popcorn than most of the models on this list. For some people, that’s already a dealbreaker. Maybe it might be a dealbreaker for you too?
West Bend 82515 (4oz)
WestBend is a more considerable option for those that don’t want to break the bank for quality popcorn. Sitting at 17 inches tall, this popcorn machine model can make 5 to 6 servings of popcorn in just minutes.
Sporting a bright red exterior like most of the models on this list, this popcorn machine would be hard to miss in a crowd. Contrary to the other options on this list, this is the only model on this list that contains plastic instead of stainless steel or metal. In turn, however, this also happens to be the cheapest model on this list.
This model in particular is for those that want a fancier way to make popcorn without having unnecessary extras involved with making it.
Great Northern 6222 (16oz)
Yet another model from Great Northern, the 6222 model is equipped to be used for more heavy duty popcorn popping jobs. Being 34 inches high, this popcorn machine model can produce up to 7 gallons of popcorn per batch.
With a machine that can produce so much popcorn, consumers would only hope that this model is heavy duty to make sure that everything runs smoothly and accordingly. Those consumers would be in luck: this popcorn machine model has both powder coated steel and stainless steel, making it one of the most durable models in its price point.
This particular model has more bells and whistles, such as containing a metal gearbox, thick glass, and a side vented fan to make sure the popcorn making process runs efficiently. This model also comes with three button options, located at the top.
In more higher end models, all popcorn machine models contain at least the same three button options: a warmer button, a stirrer button, and a pot warmer button. In this model however, it does not contain any sort of mechanism that indicates to the consumer or the operator that the popcorn is either being made or ready, which is really a shame.
With it’s bold and bright colors, as well as containing multitudes of perks, adding something like a system to let others know when popcorn is either still in the process of cooking or done would have set this model over the top.
The Nostalgia KPM220BK happens to be one of the smallest tabletop popcorn machine models on this list. Only 2oz, this model can make up to 10 cups of popcorn at your leisure.
This popcorn machine also has the option to come with extra accessories such as a kernel cup and oil measuring spoon. At the top of this small powerhouse, this machine has a light button and stirring button to make the popcorn making experience all the more easier. Different from other designs on this list, this model has a kettle’s serving arm on the outside of the actual unit.
This is most likely to accommodate for how small this model is. Unfortunately, due to how small this model’s food tray is, it’s going to be a very big hassle to clean. On the flip-side of this argument, it also makes this model easy to use, as many consumers specified. Being one of the smallest popcorn machine models on this list comes with both its perks and downfalls.
Either way, the Nostalgia 2oz Popcorn Machine is definitely a good option when it comes to making delicious popcorn.
Funtime FT1626PP (16oz)
The Funtime Store has debuted the Funtime FT1626PP AKA the “Palace Popper” as one of their more high-end popcorn maker machines. This model prides itself on being more professional than some of the other popcorn machine brands out there.
Indeed, this model contains three cooking buttons, has a quiet motor, and has a 16 oz stainless steel kettle which will make popping popcorn all the more efficient. Despite all of this, the design of the popcorn machine itself is very plain, only having a dull stainless steel exterior with very little modification.
The only part of the machine that stands out is the bright red “Palace Popper” and “Funtime Popcorn Popper” located on the front of the machine. In comparison to some of the other options on this list as far as aesthetics go, this popcorn machine is very dull.
Luckily, with it’s easy-to-use buttons, a 16 oz kettle, and a very quiet motor, this is a great option for someone that doesn’t want something too flashy but still gets the job done.
The Paramont Popcorn Machine Maker has one of the biggest kettles than any other on this list, being 20/30 oz.
Unfortunately, this popcorn machine suffers the same fate as the Funtime FT1626PP, containing a very dull stainless steel exterior with no paint. More on the upside, this particular model has five control buttons: Light, Vent Fan, Stirrer, 110w Kettle and 220w Kettle.
This information makes this the popcorn machine with the highest amount of optional buttons. A huge downside to the model, however, is the tedious set-up needed to use this model. Listed in the description, the popcorn machine is delivered in two separate boxes.
Basic machine assembly is required, so if you’re a more hands-on person who doesn’t mind working for their popcorn, this may just be an option for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a specific oil I’m supposed to use for the popcorn machine?
There is no particular cooking oil to use for popcorn making, but most people swear by refined coconut oil. The most commonly used oils when popcorn making is coconut oil, canola oil, avocado oil, and sunflower oil. Coconut oil is the most common oil to be used for movie theater-style popcorn.
Not only containing both a neutral odor and taste, but refined coconut oil also has a high burning point which makes it perfect to be used in the kettle. Using unrefined or virgin coconut oils may cause your popcorn to burn, but it might also leave your popcorn with an undesirable taste.
Canola oil is another good option to use for your popcorn machine because it has a high smoke point at about 400-475 degrees Fahrenheit. Taking canola oil as your next option could save you a bit of extra money in your pocket. Only providing a faint taste, canola oil is a good substitute if you don’t have any coconut oil on hand.
Unfortunately however, Canola oil is usually chock-full of GMO and is also high in linoleic acid, which isn’t recommended to be consumed in large amounts. Sunflower oil has a high smoke point and contains an abundant amount of vitamins, but it suffers the same fate as canola oil, being high in linoleic acid.
Avocado oil also has a high smoke point, and is a very healthy option, but it’s sadly one of the most costly options to choose from. It all matters with how much you want to spend or sacrifice for your popcorn.
Why did my popcorn come out chewy?
What many people may not know is that popcorn kernels retain a very small amount of moisture in its kernel. Getting rid of the moisture causes your popcorn to come out chewy instead of crunchy. It is not recommended to keep popcorn kernels in the freezer or the fridge because it could dry them out.
The best place to put your popcorn kernels is a dry pantry to ensure that there is no moisture lost from the time the kernel leaves the bag to the time it’s popped in the popcorn machine.
What’s the best way to keep my popcorn machine clean?
When it comes to stainless steel (and potentially plastic) food trays, a simple rag covered in soapy water should get the job done. As far as for the kettle goes, make sure to allow the kettle to cool off before cleaning it, but it can be cleaned the same way as the food tray.
Try your best not to let a lot of water lay in the kettle after wiping. Do not completely submerge the kettle in any sort of liquid, however. Doing so could cause an electrical shortage when you put it back into the popcorn machine. Another thing to note is that, eventually, the kettle might start to turn black (due to carbonization).
Overall, as long as you maintain cleaning your popcorn machine, there should be little to no hassle as far as cleaning up goes.
Why are hard-coat anodized aluminum kettles considered the best?
AFirst, I think it’s important to know exactly what a hard-coat anodized aluminum kettle is. What it means to anodize something is to coat some sort of metal (in this case aluminum) with a layer of oxide.
This is done by an elerictical process that causes the metal to form with the anode, hence calling it anodization. Now, explaining the process may not shed a lot of light on exactly why hard-coat anodized aluminum kettles are so sought after. What the anodization process basically does is make it so the aluminum is not only protected, but it provides a slippery and smooth surface in which to cook on.
This makes it so cleaning the kettle will be both a breeze, but will also make the kettle extremely resilient.
All of the popcorn machines on this list have strengths and weaknesses that can make it tedious for consumers to choose what popcorn machine fits all their needs. There is one model on this list that has all the bells, whistles, and much more.
That model is the Great Northern 8oz Popcorn Machine and Cart. This is effortlessly the best model on this list for the simple reason that this popcorn machine has mobility. For those who are grumbling at the fact that they don’t like the idea that their popcorn machine has to sit on wheels for the rest of its shelf life, you’re in luck!
The popcorn machine itself is detachable from the cart, so you’re able to enjoy each separately or together. This makes taking this machine to your next big event all the more easier.
On top of an already huge plus, this model comes with a lot of free extras such as serving bags, measuring cups, and serving scoops. Being able to make roughly 3 gallons of popcorn per batch, this is the best option for anyone who wants to make popcorn as smoothly and fun as possible.