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Buying Guide: Best Popcorn Air Poppers Of 2016

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Traditional style popcorn made in a kettle tastes great, but it’s also bad for you.  Kettle oil adds fat to popcorn.  But without the extra oil calories, popcorn is a very healthy snack.  

Hot air popcorn poppers make oil-free popcorn.   That’s why the popcorn that comes out of an air popper is extra fluffy and crunchy.  Because air popped popcorn contains only 31 calories per cup, you can munch on it all day without having to worry about gaining weight.

Here’s Why Hot Air Popcorn Is Super Healthy

A small 3 cup serving of oil free popcorn contains:

  • 14% percent of your daily recommended fiber intake
  • 35 milligrams of magnesium
  • 86 milligrams of phosphorus

Air popped popcorn is one of those rare snacks that tastes great yet still packs a powerful nutritional punch.  Magnesium supports your immune system and phosphorus is good for your kidneys.  Also, the fiber found in popcorn helps reduce food cravings, making it an ideal mid-day snack for dieters.  

How Hot Air Poppers Got a Bad Reputation in the 1980s

An American inventor by the name of Tony Szpak invented the very first household hot air popper device back in the 70s.  Szpak gave his creation an unfortunate name: the Wear-Ever Popcorn Pumper.  

Szpak was a clever engineer, but he wasn’t very good at coming up with product names.  He didn’t understand copyright law very well, either.  

Ultimately, Szpak failed to claim the rights to his invention with a bulletproof patent.  Because he wasn’t able to protect his idea in court, the Popcorn Pumper spawned a swarm of cheap knock-offs.

Today, Hot Air Popcorn Machines Are Back in Style

Modern popcorn makers are awesome machines.  They don’t fall apart easily like the ones made back in the 80s.  And they cook all of the popcorn that you dump in– not just 50 percent of it or less.  

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular poppers on the market right now.

 

1. PopLite Hot Air Popper by Presto

Technology writer Torie Bosch of slate.com believes that the PopLite Hot Air Popper from Presto is the best hot air popcorn popper out there right now.  Lots of other people must agree with her, because right now the PopLite is the best selling popcorn popper on Amazon.

Once you see the PopLite in action, it’s easy to understand why so many people like this unassuming little gadget.  The PopLite Popper is one of the best performing poppers on our list.  That’s why we like it, too– even if it is a bit ugly looking.  Presto PopLite Hot Air Popper

What We Love:

  • It’s quick.  This device delivers a full bowl of fresh popcorn in under a minute.
  • It pops all the kernels.  You’ll never have to fret about wasted kernels if you use this machine.  The PopLite is the most efficient popper on our list.
  • Safety features.  A magnet holds the kettle open, allowing you to refill the kettle without burning yourself.

 

What Could Be Improved:

  • Make it look better.  This popper’s yellow and white color scheme isn’t so appealing.  At least it’s small enough to hide away in your cupboard when you’re not using it.

 

2.  Air Crazy by West Bend

The most remarkable thing about this popcorn maker is that it can also roast coffee beans.  We also like this tenacious little air popper from West Bend for its sporty black and red color scheme.  Also, a cord storage unit is built right into its thick plastic chassis– another nice design touch.

This device has racked up lots of positive reviews because it’s fast, efficient, clean and cool.  It won’t burn your finger if you happen to touch it while it’s operating.  West Bend Air Crazy 3

What We Love:

  • It’s clean.  The plastic chute is a little small, but it does a good job of keeping the popcorn from flying everywhere when it shoots out of the cooker.
  • You can use it to roast coffee beans.  The Air Crazy isn’t a strong as a professional bean roaster, but it gets the job done.
  • It’s easy to store.  This popper won’t clutter up your kitchen countertop. It’s small and it has a built-in cord storage compartment.

 

What Could Be Improved:

  • Widen the chute.  Sometimes, popped corn gets stuck in the plastic chute.  When that happens, you have to shake it around a bit if you want to prevent a clog.  If the chute was just a little wider, clogs would never happen.

 

3. 50s Style Air Popper by Nostalgia Electrics

This stylish retro popcorn popper looks like a throwback movie theatre style popcorn maker.  But the quality of the popcorn that this machine produces is quite different from the stuff you can get at the cinema.

The popcorn that comes out of this popper is fluffy, crunchy and good.  But here’s the only problem– you’ll probably have to fire up this machine more than once unless you’re eating alone.  This popper’s capacity is very small.  

What We Love:Nostalgia Retro Series 8-Cup Hot Air Popcorn Maker

  • It matches other Nostalgia Electrics products.  If you already own a few retro appliances from Nostalgia Electrics, you might as well add this one to your collection.  It works well and looks cool.
  • It’s very efficient.  This popper pops every single one of the kernels that you drop into it.
  • It doesn’t take up much space.  It’s only 8 inches long and 9 inches wide.

 

What Could Be Improved:

  • Make it a bit bigger.  Seriously, 12 cups of popcorn just isn’t enough to go around.  On the other hand, if you’re dieting you may actually like the fact that you have to work hard to make large amounts of popcorn with this machine.

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