There’s nothing that goes better with a movie than freshly popped corn, and while microwave popcorn is one option, nothing beats a snacking center with a bit of old-school flair.
This review looks at some of the best popcorn machines for home theaters which are not only functional but they also add wonderful nuance to the room.
What Do Most Great Popcorn Popping Machines Have In Common?
We have created a list of 7 of the best popcorn machines for home theaters to help you decide which one would suit your needs best. All the machines we reviewed are fully capable of creating that special, delicious popcorn treat that you love and they each have all of the following features:
- They have a transparent box that is made of glass and they resemble the ones you see in movie theaters.
- Underneath the popping kettle, they have an electric heating element that keeps the popcorn hot all the time
- The kettle comes with a handle included making it easy to spill the popped corn into the bottom of the box easily
- They have a large doorway for scooping out the corn easily and conveniently
- They are all easy to set up and require only minor assembly like mounting the kettle in the popper and sliding in the door panels.
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Red Matinee Movie Theater Style Antique by Great Northern[/wpsm_numbox]
This is a versatile kettle popcorn machine from a trusted brand. It comes in single counter-top design and also with an accompanying pushcart if you’re going for an authentic look.
The machine top is covered in a bright red metal and the tempered glass box has beautiful powder-coated steel frames.
If you’re looking for an antique design that is an aesthetically pleasing addition to your home theater space, this could be it. The kettle is stainless steel which is great for durability, and it holds 8 ounces of kernels.
This machine provides quick and easy access to the popcorn via the large door and tilting panel. It has a 3-position control switch and requires 640 watts of power.
This stylish machine has unique features like the premium paint and enhanced colors that distinguish it from all the rest. This is good news as it means that you won’t have to put up with a scratched or dented popcorn machine in your beautiful home theater space.
This is an excellent piece of equipment that can make up to 3 gallons of popcorn at one time, making it ideal if you have lots of people over for game or movie night.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]
- 3-position switch allows for even popping of corn
- Amazing antique design, great for home or office
- Comes with roomy storage compartment in the base
- Easy to clean food spaces
- Great value for money
- Design could benefit from a few external decorative lights
- Some assembly required
- Size could be a little bigger
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KPM508 Vintage 2.5-Ounce Kettle Popcorn Maker by Nostalgia[/wpsm_numbox]
This home popcorn machine has a large dual-hinged 2.5-ounce stainless steel kettle that is designed to handle a lot of popping in a very short space of time.
If you have to make popcorn snacks for a large number of people, this machine is up to the challenge and could be just what you need as it can pop up to ten cups of kernels in one batch.
The wheels make it easy to move around and its windows come with vents. It has a 360-degree popping chamber with a lighted interior which gives you a clear view that is great for keeping an eye on the popcorn making process.
The size of this cart is ideal for anyone who wants to pop large amounts of popcorn at one time. It makes it ideal if you have family or friends coming over to watch the big game and you want to have a constant supply of fresh, delicious popcorn snacks.
The tilt drawer makes serving the popcorn super easy. The machine also comes with a spoon for measuring the oil as well as a kernel measuring cup for convenient use. If you have enough space for it, this may very well prove to be the ideal popcorn maker for your home theater.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]
- Features an easy-access tilt door
- The beautiful antique design looks like a vintage carnival popcorn wagon
- Compact size, convenient for counter-top
- Super quiet compared to other machines
- Windows are made of tempered plastic, not glass
- The case is a little small compared to other tabletop popcorn poppers
- Lots of corners and crevices make this machine a little hard to clean
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Foundation Antique Style Complete with Cart and 8-Ounce Kettle by Great Northern[/wpsm_numbox]
If you’re looking for a great popcorn popper that is whisper quiet, comes with an 8-ounce kettle, and has a warming deck for keeping your popped corn warm and fresh – then this stainless steel, antique-style Foundation by Great Northern could be just what you’re looking for.
It has a box made out of tempered glass which is a great feature when it comes to safety.
This popcorn maker combines the best of the vintage and modern world in one beautiful design. This deluxe Great Northern product could turn out to be one of the best popcorn machines for home theaters for people who want a vintage look but all the functionality of modern poppers.
In addition to popping large amounts of corn at one time, this machine also has 16-inch wheels with ball bearings that make it easy to move it around. It comes with a pot heater, spot light warmer, and stirrer to ensure that you make delicious well-popped corn that stays fresh and hot in the box for long periods of time.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]
- Ample popcorn supply storage in base
- 16” ball bearing wheels for smooth mobility
- 860 Watt power for fast cooking
- Silent operation
- Tends to dent easily
- The door is a little flimsy
- Should be more durable for the price
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Nostalgia 2.5-oz Kettle Popcorn Cart[/wpsm_numbox]
The vintage look of the Nostalgia popcorn cart is reminiscent of the carnivals from the beginning of the century. It comes with a 2.5-ounce kettle that has a built-in stirring mechanism.
This machine makes delicious popcorn and could be the ideal choice for you if you want an easy to use popcorn popper that comes with a see-through storage compartment so that you can always keep an eye on the level of your supplies.
The wheels make it easy to move this cart around, which is great because if you have to switch the venue for your movie or game night then you don’t have to make a long trek every time you want to get more snacks.
The Nostalgia Kettle Popcorn Cart also comes with an easily removable top which is great if you want to use it as a counter-top popper.
This basically means that you get two designs for the price of one. It also conveniently comes with easy to follow instructions on how to assemble and operate the popcorn machine making it ideal for you if you’re someone who isn’t tech-savvy.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]
- Removable top for counter-top use
- Pull handle for convenient cart mobility
- Tilt-door for easy serving access
- Stand is not as tall as expected
- A little ‘cheap’ looking
- Very flimsy stand (although the machine itself is top quality)
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Elite Deluxe EPM-250 by Maximatic[/wpsm_numbox]
This popcorn machine for home theaters has a 2.5-ounce capacity stainless steel kettle and makes about a gallon of popcorn per batch.
This would definitely come in handy if you had a lot of unexpected guests for a movie or game night and you had to make huge quantities of popcorn at one time.
The warming light keeps your popcorn fresh and hot so that you don’t have to worry about popping a new batch every few hours. It also comes with a removable tray for easily serving the popcorn. Popping corn in this machine is easy and effortless.
Cleaning and maintaining it is even more of a breeze. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning your popcorn maker then this may be the right choice for you.
Assembling this popcorn popper is simple and doesn’t require any power tools. If space is a big issue for you, then you might want to consider this compact machine for your home theater use.
Despite its small size, this beautiful-looking machine still has the capacity to pop a large amount of corn.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]
- Conveniently removable popcorn tray
- Warming light keeps popcorn hot
- Attractive retro-style candy apple red finish
- Great value for money
- Machine runs at 300 watts which could mean longer cooking times
- Size could be bigger
- Door is a little flimsy
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Great Northern Popcorn 6210 POPHEAVEN – Commercial Popcorn Machine[/wpsm_numbox]
This is a modern counter-top model that could be ideal for you if you are going to be serving a lot of movie-watchers in a short period of time as it holds an impressive 12 ounces of unpopped corn at one time.
It uses up to 1350 watts to heat up. The majority of this unit’s parts are made of stainless steel and the box is made of tempered glass which is great for easy cleaning.
Rather than going for the obvious red color scheme, the makers of this machine chose to go with a more subtle blue design with yellow graphics and text which gives it a more modern look.
Some machines have plastic gears which tend to degrade over time, and the all-metal gearbox in this Great Northern PopHeaven machine makes it a better choice than most other popcorn machines if you want a durable, long-lasting machine that will perform great over time.
The popcorn maker comes with an oil measuring spoon and a kernel scoop included. The heavy-duty powder-coated steel frame ensures that this machine won’t dent easily. This makes it the ideal choice for you if you’re going to be moving your popcorn maker around a lot.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]
- Commercial quality popper great for large gatherings
- 1350 wattage means faster cooking time
- Switch settings include light warmer, stirrer, and pot heater
- Stainless steel food zones are easy to clean
- Oil scoop is included
- Easily scratches
- Flimsy stirrer that could come apart
- Not particularly suited for constant, heavy use
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Great Northern Popcorn 8 oz. Movie Theater Style Machine[/wpsm_numbox]
This theater style popcorn machine uses 820 watts for a very fast cook cycle. The kettle can take up to 8 ounces of corn at one time, making it a good choice and an instant hit if you’re going to have lots of people over for movie or game night.
It’s amazingly easy to use. Just put in the ingredients, press the button and watch as the delicious popcorn flows from this movie theater style machine. Operation of this popcorn maker is easy and it produces no burnt kernels.
The machine comes with three prominent switches for controlling the light, heating elements, and the stirring arm. This helps to ensure that you make well-popped corn every time. The walls and sides are made of tempered glass which is great if safety is high on your list of features.
The main access door, on the other hand, is made from a very tough polycarbonate so you can rest assured that it will not break easily.
For those of you who want a machine that looks different than all the rest, this one could be the right choice for you as it comes in a non-conventional black color with some awesome white decorative graphics.
If you’re in the market for a beautiful, unique machine, this could certainly be a great addition to your home entertainment area.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]
- Tempered safety glass walls
- Whisper quiet operation
- Makes up to three gallons of popcorn per batch
- Comes with popcorn scoop and 3 free plastic serving cups
- Warming deck
- Non-stainless steel parts succumb to rust easily
- Not very durable
- Looks a little bland
How Do Popcorn Machines Work?
There are many different ways of making popcorn, but if you want to get that all-familiar taste and smell then you might want to go with the kettle-style machines which preserve the corn flavor by using a heating element in the kettle to cook the kernels of corn.
The ‘kettle’ part of the machine is elevated within arm’s reach and this is where you add your oil, corn, and whatever flavor you want. Inside is a heating coil, along with a mechanical arm which is used for stirring and moving around the unpopped kernels of corn in the bottom of the kettle.
This helps to ensure that each individual kernel is covered in oil and flavor and evenly heated. As the oil heats up, the starch in the corn puffs up and pops. The amount of heat in the kettle is vitally important as too much heat will make the corn ‘burst’ and turn hard rather than popping it into a nice fluff. On the other hand, too little heat will prevent the corn from popping altogether.
As the corn pops and fills up the kettle, the loose lid pushes upward with ease and lets the popcorn flow into the holding compartment for your ease of access. As you can see, these theater-style popcorn machines are relatively simple to use and take a few short minutes to produce as much delicious popcorn as you want for your movie night.
Benefits of Owning a Popcorn Machine for Home Theaters
A theater-style home popcorn machine is a great appliance to have around not only for movie night in the home theater but also when you have family get-togethers and any other large gatherings where you may need to make quick snacks for a large number of people. Other advantages include:
Create Lip-Smacking Flavors
If you’d love to recreate the taste of cinema popcorn, then a home popcorn maker could be just the thing to help you do so easily. Try this machine for better-tasting popcorn and no more unpopped or burnt kernels.
Chic Addition to Your Home Theater
The stylish modern or vintage designs of popcorn machines make them a beautiful addition to your home theater space. They help to provide an atmosphere and ambiance of a real movie-house.
If you would rather skip the radiation and additional calories that result from microwave popcorn (not to mention the low-quality taste), then the home popcor maker option could be the right one for you. Minimal oil usage in these machines means a healthier movie snack.
Great Family Fun
For anyone who has kids of any age, owning a popcorn machine might just be the ideal way to create some fun memories for your kids by bringing the fun of the movie theater into your living room when their friends come over to watch movies.
These are safe and easy to use, making them ideal if you want your teenagers to operate it themselves.
If you have kids who occasionally have to do fundraising whether it’s for the church, school, softball teams, or whatever the case may be, then this could prove a handy piece of equipment to have in your home.
Because of their durability and compact size, these popcorn machines are easy to transport, and you’ll be filling up bags of tasty popcorn at the venue and raising funds in no time.
Choosing The Right Machine For You
Choosing the right machine for your home can seem a little overwhelming considering how many different types are available on the market.
Each of these popcorn machines has its own unique features and style, but if you have decided that you want one for your home then read on to find out how to choose the right machine for your space and needs.
Popcorn Popper Considerations: Things To Look For
Look for high-quality materials that are safe and easy to clean. Steel and tempered glass are good choices. You can also take a look inside and see what the parts are made of.
For example, rather than going for a machine with cheap plastic gears near the heating element (these will just degrade over time, causing the machine to malfunction), opt for one that has metal components instead.
Also consider the overall design of the machine, especially if space is an issue for you. Do you want something more built-in like a counter-top model where the machine sits on a flat surface, or would you rather have a larger stand-alone model that packs more of an aesthetic punch?
The smaller sized models work more or less the same as the larger ones, so you won’t be sacrificing flavor for the sake of space if you choose to go with the smaller model.
The big models are essentially carts with prominent wheels that can be moved around. They usually come with bright colored decorations and lights and they look awesome in the corner of any home movie theater.
The kettle size or volume capacity of your home popcorn machine is another important consideration and it depends on your actual needs. The bigger the kettle, the more corn you can pop at any given time. There are different sizes which range from the tiny 1 ounce to the gigantic 32-ounce kettle.
If you have a big family, then it would probably make more sense to get a bigger kettle than if there’s usually just a few people for movie night.
If you’re particular about cooking time, then it’s worth considering the operating power that the machine needs. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the wattage, the faster the cooking time.
Home theater popcorn machines of at least 600 watts could be an ideal choice if you want to ensure the most efficient energy use and quickest cooking time.
Home machines are designed for easy and convenient use, and you must ensure that the one you choose has accessories like storage cabinets for your popcorn supplies, switch options for easy operation, heating lamps, and popcorn warmers.
The machine should also need only light maintenance and be easy to clean.
After reviewing dozens of machines and listing the top 7 here, the Great Northern Popcorn Red Matinee comes out as a clear winner in our opinion.
When comparing it to the other machines on our list, it fulfills a lot of the features that every machine for home use should have like easy use and cleaning, great design, and ample storage space for all your supplies.
It even comes at a very affordable price and gives good value for money, making it a great choice if you’re in the market for a home popcorn machine.