The Best Popcorn Maker for Netflix MarathonsThe Best Popcorn Maker for Netflix Marathons

The Best Popcorn Maker

Or how to get fresher, faster popcorn at home.
Elese Dowden
Words by 
Elese Dowden
Updated 
Jan 20, 2021
Category -> 
Kitchen
To keep Cosier guides free, we’re reader supported. That means if you buy something via a link on this page, we might earn a commission. Thanks for that.

At a glance

Let's face it: popcorn is the ideal snack. It's quick, easy, and healthy, rivalling only pillow forts in making movie nights more magical. The best popcorn maker one-ups the microwave on flavour or health factor by ensuring kernels are evenly-heated for the perfect pop. We spent hours researching Australia's top popcorn makers, so you can spend less time shopping and more time watching Simpsons episodes back-to-back.

How we picked

Popcorn makers occupy an unusual space in the world of gadgets. There are broadly 3 kinds to choose from - electric air poppers, stovetop poppers, and microwave poppers. Because they span more than one category, we started out by doing some good old-fashioned virtual window shopping. After checking in with major kitchenware and appliance retailers, we added some of the best-reviewed popcorn makers to our list.

Next, we looked at ProductReview.com.au to cross-check our findings. Only 2 electric popcorn makers had been reviewed by a handful of Aussies, so we took these reviews into account. We'd usually look at CHOICE, Australia's biggest consumer advocacy group, too, but they haven't reviewed popcorn makers. Lastly, we compared our findings side-by-side, weighing up reviews, cost, quality, and ease of use. This is how we ended up with our list of Australia's best popcorn makers.

The 5 best popcorn makers in Australia

How we picked

Popcorn makers occupy an unusual space in the world of gadgets. There are broadly 3 kinds to choose from - electric air poppers, stovetop poppers, and microwave poppers. Because they span more than one category, we started out by doing some good old-fashioned virtual window shopping. After checking in with major kitchenware and appliance retailers, we added some of the best-reviewed popcorn makers to our list.

Next, we looked at ProductReview.com.au to cross-check our findings. Only 2 electric popcorn makers had been reviewed by a handful of Aussies, so we took these reviews into account. We'd usually look at CHOICE, Australia's biggest consumer advocacy group, too, but they haven't reviewed popcorn makers. Lastly, we compared our findings side-by-side, weighing up reviews, cost, quality, and ease of use. This is how we ended up with our list of Australia's best popcorn makers.

Best for most -> Sunbeam Snack Heroes Popcorn Maker

Sunbeam Snack Heroes Popcorn Maker

The Sunbeam Snack Heroes Popcorn Maker is an electric air popper that should suit most Aussie households. Scoring nearly 5 stars from over 150 reviews on Myer.com, most folks say it gets the job done in a jiffy. This machine makes 12 cups in one go, with a butter melting tray on top to save you hassle. Its 1200 watt motor and simple on/off button makes this air popper a no-brainer to operate. It also has a 12-month replacement warranty if anything goes wrong.

But are there any downsides? It scores 2.5 out of 5 stars from a handful of reviews on ProductReview.com.au. While some love their popcorn makers, others say their machines leave unpopped kernels at the bottom. Sunbeam suggests this is evidence of a fault or overfilling. Be sure to give your popcorn maker time to heat the kernels up, use fresh kernels, and fill the machine according to the guidelines listed on the box or manual.

Choose this if...

You want a no-nonsense popcorn maker for movie marathons and sleepovers.

Shop now

Best for budget -> Target Popcorn Maker

Target Popcorn Maker

At $19, you won't find a cheaper air popper than the Target Popcorn Maker. Scoring just over 4 stars from around 30 reviews on Target.com, this is the cheapest electric popcorn machine we could find in Australia. It has a removable lid and measuring cup, with a simple on/off switch to get things moving. This 1200 watt popcorn maker also has non-slip rubber feet to stop the unit from dancing about on the benchtop.

One reviewer says it's quieter than other popcorn machines they've used, and cautions to watch little hands as the top gets very hot when the machine is on. They also say the scoop doubles as a butter melter, so you don't have to make another pot dirty for the dishwasher. A few people found their popcorn maker died on the first go, which may be a reflection of the price of this machine.

Choose this if...

You want a popcorn maker priced at rock bottom.

Shop now

Best for families -> Kambrook Little Chefs Flutter Popcorn Maker

Kambrook Little Chefs Flutter Popcorn Maker

The Kambrook Little Chefs Flutter Popcorn Maker is one of the best air poppers we found. It's easy for anyone in the family to make oil-free popcorn with this machine, and it's been durability tested by Kambrook (a Breville subsidiary) for peace of mind. Parents love that it's healthier than the stovetop version, saying it's easy to clean while helping them cut down on saturated fat. It's also reasonably priced at around $32 - cheaper than a month of Foxtel.

The Kambrook Little Chefs Flutter Popcorn maker scores nearly 5 stars from 10 reviews on ProductReview.com.au. One reviewer learned 'the hard way' that you shouldn't add oil or butter directly to the machine, as their old one is now resting-in-peace. Another reviewer says you need to wait 10 minutes between batches, while others reckon there are usually a few kernels stuck at the end. It may not be perfect, but we still think this is a great little popcorn maker for the whole fam.

Choose this if...

You're keen to make life easier and healthier with an air popper.

Shop now

Best microwave -> Leuke Microwavable Popcorn Popper

Leuke Microwavable Popcorn Popper

The Leuke Microwavable Popcorn Popper is a neat little gadget that turns your microwave into a magical low-fat popcorn-making machine. This gadget holds nearly 3 litres of popcorn. It's also well designed, being developed by the Alicia Foundation, a non-profit research centre devoted to healthy food innovation. The Leuke popper is dishwasher safe and collapsible for easy storage, with a suction lid that stops the bowl overflowing in the microwave.

We're not the only ones who rate this Leuke Microwavable Popcorn Popper. It scores nearly 5 stars from over 5,000 reviews on Amazon. Aussies are fans, saying the silicon base 'doesn't feel too hot to hold' when you take it out of the microwave, and the suction lid actually works. The downside is the price. It's around $30, which may seem pricey given it's not electric. But when you factor in the design that's gone into the Leuke popper, we reckon it's well worth it.

Choose this if...

You want to make microwave popcorn with less oil.

Shop now

Best stovetop -> Franklin's Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Maker

Franklin's Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Maker

If you're a purist when it comes to popcorn, Franklin's Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Maker (try saying that 10 times fast!) will make all your dreams come true. This old-school popper has been around since the 70s, and is unique with its own patented hand-crank stirring mechanism to stop your popcorn sticking to the bottom of the pan. It's designed to be wiped clean after use. This popcorn maker is assembled in the USA with a lifetime warranty. 

Franklin's Whirley Pop stovetop popcorn maker scores big with folks on Amazon, earning 4.5 stars from nearly 800 reviews. One reviewer reckons it's healthier than their electric air popper, as they've switched to coconut oil instead of slathering butter over their fresh popcorn. You do need to crank it continuously once the popcorn starts popping, and it's a little pricey at around $100. But with a lifetime warranty, we reckon this could be a smart alternative to air poppers.

Choose this if...

You're seriously serious about popcorn.

Frequently asked questions

What's the best type of popcorn maker?

There are a few different kinds of popcorn maker out there, from microwave to stovetop, with electric air poppers being the most popular. 

Electric air poppers are big with Aussies because they're cheap and easy to use without creating too many extra dishes. Most retail at under $50, and require you to pour a small amount of kernels into a chamber. Hot air is blown into the chamber, which prevents the popcorn from burning while heating kernels to popping temperature. The cons of electric machines are that they can sometimes take a little while to heat up, and will often leave some kernels unpopped at the end.

Microwave popcorn makers let you make microwave popcorn without as much oil or packaging as ready-to-microwave bags. You also have more control over the flavour of the popcorn, as you can add just the right amount of butter or seasoning, or use a different kind of oil in your popcorn maker. The downside is that these makers can be bulky, and often require a little bit of oil to prevent burning or sticking.

Stovetop popcorn makers are the original popcorn machines. Popcorn was invented by Indigenous peoples across the Americas thousands of years ago, and clay pots have been found in Inca ruins with popcorn kernels still inside. Many people still use a pot on the stove to make popcorn, but stovetop popcorn makers are purpose-designed with a special hand-crank to keep kernels moving as they heat. These popcorn makers are usually made of aluminium.

What's the healthiest popcorn maker?

In short - an air popper or an electric popcorn maker are the healthiest popcorn makers. This is because they don't require oil to pop your popcorn, resulting in a snack lower in saturated fat. Electric popcorn makers and air poppers have a heating element inside, and require you to pour the popcorn kernels down into the chamber. Hot air circulates around the kernels, until they're hot enough to pop. This usually forces the popcorn up and out of the machine down a chute, into a waiting bowl for you to eat.

Are popcorn makers worth it?

It may seem silly to invest in a popcorn maker if you already have a microwave, but there are many good reasons to buy a popcorn maker. It's quicker and faster to make popcorn in an electric air popper compared to the stovetop. Electric popcorn makers also make clean-up a breeze, as you just wash the bowl the popcorn was in. They're also relatively cheap, often retailing at under $50.

You also have much more control over the flavour of your popcorn, as well as the fat or oil content. Popcorn makers are also more eco-friendly than bagged popcorn. If you eat a couple of bags a week, switching to a popcorn maker means you're saving on most of that packaging. In short, popcorn makers may be an easier, faster, tidier, and more sustainable way of making popcorn.

References +