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Top 8 Commercial Popcorn Machines in 2020 (In-Depth Buying Guide)

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Popcorn is one mighty snack that adults and children can resist. Microwave popcorn is just too greasy, and the stovetop can get it right, either. Luckily, you can invest in one of these top 8 best commercial popcorn machines and enjoy theater-quality popcorn from the comfort of your own home.

With your own dedicated popcorn machine, home movie nights, birthday parties, and Netflix & Chill evenings will never be the same. Well, you can argue with freshly popped popcorns, with all their buttery flavors and aromas? With so many styles and models on the market, it can be tough to pick out the right one for your home entertainment needs.

For everything you ought to know when shopping for the best commercial popcorn machine, be sure to go through our comprehensive buying guide. We’ve included major considerations, tips, and tricks that’ll help make your choice easy. If you’d rather skip to the purchase, go ahead and take your pick from our favorites below.

 

1. Nostalgia CCP610 Vintage 10-Ounce Professional Popcorn & Concession Cart

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Nostalgia CCP610 Vintage 10 oz Professional Popcorn & Concession Cart, 59" Tall,...

Last update was on: August 15, 2020 2:39 pm
$247.00 $349.99

Highlights:

  •     40 CUPS OF POPCORN- Whether movie time or snack time, this unit pops up to 40 cups of movie theater-style popcorn per batch to keep popcorn buckets full.
  •     10-OUNCE KETTLE – Stainless steel kettle holds 10 ounces of popcorn kernels and is designed with a built-in kernel stirring system and dual-hinged lid to easily empty popcorn. The kettle can be removed for easy cleaning.
  •     TEMPERED SAFETY GLASS – Tempered glass windows are designed to resist breakage while being scratch and heat resistant to keep you and your family safe.

Review:

If you’re on the market for the best commercial popcorn machine by a trustworthy brand, this is the one to invest in. It’s named appropriately – a vintage-looking concession stand-style popcorn maker that’s as stylish as it is robust. You’ll find this unit to be a lovely conversation starter for your game room, parties, and other get-togethers.

It produces 10 cups of theater-quality popcorn that will stay warm and crisp in the spacious concession compartment. Tempered safety glass sits between you and the lighted interior so you can stay safe while watching your corn pop. The kettle with built-in kernel stirrer has a capacity of 10 ounces and dual-hinged lid for easy refilling and emptying.

 

2. Great Northern Popcorn Company 6097 Popcorn Machine Cart

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6097 Great Northern Popcorn Red Foundation Popcorn Popper Machine Cart, 8 Ounce

& Free shipping
Last update was on: August 15, 2020 2:39 pm

Highlights:

  •     Deluxe model with 3 position control switch, 860-watt, and works on standard 110-volt
  •     It had handy popcorn supply storage in base and 16-Inch ball bearing wheels for smooth mobility
  •     Switches include: spot light warmer, stirrer and pot heater

Review:

Our top pick for the best commercial popcorn machine is the 6097 Red Foundation Popcorn Popper by Great Northern Popcorn Company. It’s a surprisingly well-priced commercial popcorn popper with a raft of handy bells & whistles. This deluxe model with a retro feel and look is fitted with 16” ball bearing wheels so you can cart it wherever you want to delight people with crisp and buttery popcorn.

The 6097 is specifically designed for those who want a well-made popper on the wheels. With a robust 3-position control switch, this machine sports an 8-ounce stainless steel kettle and food-zones, which makes it easy to clean. It keeps the popped popcorn nicely warm in the convenient warming deck and the unpopped kernels go directly into the oil-maid drawers just below.

There’s ample storage in the base to stow away your seasonings, butter, oils, cups, and other accessories. We love that it has plenty of power, gets the job done quickly, and yet whisper-quiet when it’s popping. It’s available in a choice of three vintage colors: red, blue, and black.

 

3. Superior Popcorn Company Countertop Popper Machine

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Hot and Fresh Countertop Style Popcorn Popper Machine-Makes Approx. 3 Gallons Per...

& Free shipping
Last update was on: August 15, 2020 2:39 pm
$144.31 $164.99

Highlights:

  •     Deluxe model with 3 control switches (spot light warmer, stirrer and pot heater) instead of the 2 switches; 860 watts instead of 640; Heated Warming Deck
  •     Built-in warmer light; popcorn scoop is included; reject kernel tray kernel and oil scoop included; Makes roughly 3 gallons of popcorn per batch; Minor assembly is required
  •     Heavy-duty powder-coated steel and stainless steel construction; Cleans up easily with water

Review:

With a retro appeal to it, the Hot and Fresh Countertop Style Popcorn Popper Machine from the Superior Popcorn Company is another vintage-style model that has received raving reviews from popcorn lovers. Despite the fair price, this is a top-notch, theater-quality model that does a bang-up on keeping the popcorn crisp and warm.

There’s a lot to love about this superior unit. It has stainless steel kettles that rev at 860 watts instead of the regular 640 watts. That means you can rely on the machine to churn out high-quality popcorn in a jiffy. The best commercial popcorn machine in the category, this gem yields about 3 gallons in a single batch.

The easy to access flip-out lid coupled with heated & lighted warming deck give this popper an upscale feel without the premium price. It includes complimentary popcorn bags, a storage compartment, containers, and scoops to boot.

 

4. Paragon Contempo Pop 8-Ounce Popcorn Machine

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Paragon Contempo Pop 8 Ounce Popcorn Machine for Professional Concessionaires Requiring Commercial...

& Free shipping
Last update was on: August 15, 2020 2:39 pm

Highlights:

  •     A high-output, side-hinged, hard-coat anodized aluminum kettle for powerful performance that is a snap to operate and to clean, 1420 Watts, 15 amp NEMA 5-15p, produces 147 one-ounce servings per hour
  •     Sturdy cabinet construction that withstands heavy commercial use and maintains attractive appearance with a smoked gray-tinted glass
  •     Stainless steel food zone and tempered glass panels for sanitary food environment and easy cleaning; Presentation lamp which creates an attractive display setting

Review:

This is a high-end, movie-theater-grade model with a contemporary design as suggested by the name. If your top concern is durability, this might be the best commercial popcorn machine for you. In a lot of ways, this is an industrial standard with powder-enameled steel construction combined with a gray-tinted tempered glass window for a sophisticated, streamlined, and sleek look.

With hard-coat anodized aluminum kettle that runs hot at 1420W, this is a powerful machine that produces lots of your favorite snacks in a breeze (roughly 3 gallons in about 3-5 minutes). Customers say it’s a great addition to any party, whether it’s a tailgate party, backyard BBQ, or birthday party. The old-maid drawer beneath the 50W warming deck takes care of the unpopped kernel.

 

5: Great Northern Foundation Tabletop Popcorn Machine

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Great Northern Popcorn Black 6 oz. Ounce Foundation Old-Fashioned Movie Theater Style...

& Free shipping
Last update was on: August 15, 2020 2:39 pm

Highlights:

  •     Deluxe model with 2 control switches, built-in warmer deck & light, and 560 watts
  •     Exclusive whisper-quiet motor
  •     Heavy-duty powder-coated steel and stainless steel construction

Review:

If you want to make lots of popcorn at home for a large family get-together, birthday party, game night, or movie night with friends, Great Northern has got you covered with this Foundation Tabletop Popcorn Machine. This is a deluxe movie theater-style popper machine with plenty of high-end features, including the reject kernel tray (oil-maid drawer), 560W heating element, and two control switches for the kettle stirrer and spotlight warmer respectively.

With a 6-oz stainless steel kettle that heats up in a snap, heavy-duty powder-coated steel construction, built-in warmer, and a vintage-style design, this is a commercial-quality machine built for domestic usage. It weighs just 25 lbs. and measures 17.1″L x 14.1″W x 20.8″H, making it lightweight and compact enough to fit on most countertops. The pot produces 16 cups (about 2 gallons) of popcorn in a single batch using an auto kernel stirrer and heating mechanism.

The stand-out feature of this machine is perhaps that it can hold up to 180 cups of popcorn and keeps it warm within the tempered glass-enclosed warming deck. Cleaning it is an easy-peasy task; all you have to do is wipe it down using a clean, damp cloth. Definitely the best commercial popcorn machine for in-home use on this list.

 

6: Funtime FT1665PP Palace Popper

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Funtime Palace Popper 16-Ounce Commercial Bar Style Popcorn Popper - FT1665PP

& Free shipping
Last update was on: August 15, 2020 2:39 pm

Highlights:

  •     Designed with home theater enthusiasts in mind, this deluxe hot oil popcorn machine has a number of upgrades that takes it to a whole new level
  •     This machine features rigid stainless steel construction; tempered side and back glass panels as well as tempered glass doors
  •     The all metal whisper quiet motor ensures even stirring of the large 16-oz. a stainless steel kettle and the enhanced heating deck will help keep your popcorn fresh! The Palace Popper is made of premium, high-quality Stainless Steel so your popper will remain free of rust and corrosion regardless of the working environments

Review:

We’ve to admit it: Funtime FT1665PP Palace Popper is a bit pricey compared to other machines in the category. However, this is hands down one of the best commercial popcorn machines on the market for style, ease of use, and durability. This attractive model sports sturdily-built tempered back, doors, and side glass panels, along with firm stainless steel serving shelf and handrail.

It’s controlled with three convenient switches: the first controls the kettle heating element, the second regulates the kettle stirring system, and the 3rd controls the deck warmer & spotlight. Like other models in the class, it sports a built-in warmer light, storage bin, and an oil-maid drawer. Did we mention that the stainless steel kettle has a capacity of 16 ounces? It’s the whole package!

 

7: Nostalgia KPM220CTBK Professional Popcorn & Concession Cart

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Nostalgia KPM220CTBK 2.5 oz Professional Popcorn & Concession Cart with 5 quart...

Last update was on: August 15, 2020 2:39 pm

Highlights:

  •     MOVIE THEATRE POPCORN: whether it’s a movie night or snack time, This cart pops up to 10 cups of movie theater-style popcorn per batch to keep popcorn buckets full
  •     BUCKET INCLUDED: 5-quart, easy-to-clean popcorn serving bucket included – making you feel like you’re at the movie theater!
  •     2. 5-OZ. KETTLE: stainless steel kettle holds 2. 5-Ounces of popcorn kernels and is designed with a built-in kernel stirring system and dual-hinged lid to easily empty popcorn

Review:

Nostalgia is a popcorn machine company that has built a fan-favorite line-up of exquisite poppers based on customer feedback. Among the brand’s best commercial popcorn machines is the KPM220CTBK Professional Popcorn & Concession Cart. Technically, you could call it a mini-commercial popper because it can yield up to 10 cups of popcorn in a single batch.

It features a 5-quartz serving bucket that helps you upgrade your home movie entertainment experience, plus it’s incredibly easy to clean. Best of all, this unit has a 2.5-ounce stainless steel kettle with built-in kernel stirrer. The removable top means that you can convert it into a tabletop popcorn maker in a breeze.

 

8: Paragon Standard Pop Popcorn Machine, 8-Ounce

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Paragon Standard Pop Popcorn Machine, 8-Ounce

Last update was on: August 15, 2020 2:39 pm

Highlights:

  •     High output, hard-coat anodized aluminum kettle with side-hinged, easy-to-clean
  •     Lighted Cabinet with sturdy construction along with stainless steel food zone and tempered glass panels
  •     Stainless steel base with built-in warming deck

Review:

A charming conversation-maker for game nights, birthday parties, and home movie nights, this commercial unit is easy to care for and performs better than most top-rated models. The hard-coat anodized aluminum kettle is a monster that outputs 147 one-ounce servings per hour thanks to its powerful 1,200W heating element and 120V stirring system.

The stainless steel kettle has a spring-assisted and side-hinged design that makes unloading popped popcorn an effortless and safe task. Customers love that the stainless steel base has a built-in warming deck. They also rave about the classic Movie Theater Pop graphics, retro design, and bright cabinet that marry well with any décor.

With 4-switch control, operating this unit is easy and fuss-free. The kettle’s spotlights tell you when it’s just right to add seasonings and unload popcorns. This made-in-USA product includes a popcorn scoop and a lifetime warranty.

 

Buying Guide for the Best Commercial Popcorn Machines

What’s a Commercial Popcorn Machine?

A commercial popcorn machine is the classic larger popper often found on the snack counter in movie theaters. It’s the most familiar popcorn device that uses simple technology to deliver aromatic and nicely-popped edibles. Despite the imposing size, the best commercial popcorn machine can be a great addition to your man cave, game room, or home entertainment hub.

Of course, if you’re planning to serve popcorn in your restaurant, store, café, or theater, a commercial-style popper is your best bet. Today, these large units are perfect for serving popcorn to friends, family, or guests at parties. If your house has a decent-sized home movie theater, the best commercial-size popcorn machine will leave your guests drooling for more buttery popcorn.

Thanks to their large capacity, commercial-size models are able to make plenty of popcorn in just one batch. Even more exciting, they are equipped with a heating lamp to keep your popcorn warm and perfectly buttered until it is ready to be served.

They don’t come cheap, though. Smaller countertop models can cost anywhere from $70 while full-size options packed with nifty bells & whistles will set you back around $200 or more. As you can see, it’s a fairly substantial investment, so you should be ready to do a little bit of research and consider several features to get a bang for your money.

One thing to note is that most of the best commercial popcorn machines use the oil-popping function. As such, if you are interested in another style, you’ll have to be content with a narrower choice.

Why Invest in the Best Commercial Popcorn Machine?

If you are purchasing a popcorn machine for your home use, you’ve got several other options to choose from, including microwave popcorn makers, home electric popcorn machines, and stovetop models. So, why would you want to buy a commercial popcorn machine?

  •     Some commercial popcorn machines don’t use oil. Instead, they use air to pop kernels for a delicious and healthy snack.
  •     Owning the best commercial popcorn machine in your own home will save you oodles of money and trips to the store. That’s because popcorn kernels are usually affordable and sold in large bags that will last your family for several months. The cost of buying ready-made and pre-packaged microwave popcorn can add up pretty quickly.
  •     You will be known as the king or the queen of party-throwing in your neighborhood as popcorn machines are often a huge hit with guests. The machine will also take your movie nights to a whole new and exhilarating level.
  •     We all know that using stovetops to make popcorn can be a massive drag. With your own commercial popcorn machine, it’ll be easier to make popcorn just right without having to deal with burned corn or unpopped kernels.

Key Consideration for Buying the Best Commercial Popcorn Machines

(1) Popcorn Capacity

Your machine should come with a production capacity that will match the size of your party, family, or customer traffic. Unless you’re buying a unit for a quiet movie night for a small family, you may want to skip the basic compact popper. These little guys usually produce 4-5 cups of popcorn in a single batch.

A modest electric home popcorn machine has a typical capacity of 10 to 20 cups of popcorn per batch. The real monsters are the larger commercial-size popcorn machines that can produce 3 or more gallons of popcorn per batch. Thankfully, these big popcorn machines can keep the batch warm to the last one.

As a general rule of thumb, look for the best commercial popcorn machine that can make at least 12 cups of popcorn in a single batch. That should easily take care of a whole family and a few friends, guests, or relatives during a movie night.

For a commercial setting, we recommend a unit with a capacity of between 8 ounces and 16 ounces. If you plan to serve popcorn at a fairly busy restaurant, street, or building, be sure to get a model with a capacity of at least 20 ounces.

(2) Method of Popping Corn

As mentioned, the vast majority of the best commercial popcorn machines use oil to pop the corn kernels; however, some models blow hot air to turn them into puffy & crisp popcorns. Although both methods are effective and will get the job done at the end of the day, you probably have a preference like most people do.

Oil poppers: Most fans of the machines that use oil claim that resultant popcorn has a richer texture and taste better than air-popped ones. In their defense, butter, salt, and other seasonings tend to stick better to corn when the kernels are oil-popped compared to when they are popped using the hot-air method.

Air poppers: The proponents of the air-popping method are mostly people who want to cut back on fat consumption and oil use in their cooking for health purposes. Because oil is not added to corn kernels, air-popped popcorn is a low-calorie and healthier snack and oil-popped corn.

The best commercial popcorn machines that use this method work almost in the same way as air fryers. However, if you are not keen on avoiding butter or oil for any specific reason, you may add them to your popcorn once it has been air-popped.

(3) Ease of Use

The best commercial popcorn machines, especially the latest models, are incredibly user-friendly. In fact, teens and older kids can operate them without any hitch. If you are after basic home-use models, you will find that their operation is as easy as pushing an ‘on/off’ button.

The larger, theater-grade models may be kitted out with a few more bells & whistles and accompanying switches. Even still, these buttons are usually intuitive and easy to understand. Some switches turn the heater and lights on/off, and at least another one dedicated to kick-starting the corn-popping process.

(4) Kettle

The kettle is another crucial feature to consider when shopping for the best commercial popcorn machines as it’ll influence the performance and energy-efficiency of your unit. This is the reservoir where you add your oil, corn kernels, and other seasonings so they can pop when hot enough from the heat source.

Stainless steel kettles are usually found in mid-range and high-end models. They are resistant to oil stains, not to mention they are easy to clean and maintain. When looking at kettle styles, you may want to consider one that comes with a stirring feature. The stirrer ensures uniform heat distribution and blends the ingredients well.

(5) Durability

For a long-lasting and durable commercial popcorn machine consider the material construction. Units made from food-grade tempered glass, aluminum, and stainless steel usually last longer than silicone and plastic models.

For safety reasons, aluminum and stainless steel machines should be fitted with heat-proof handles. The best commercial popcorn machines are also constructed of temperature-safe glass for the display.

If you go with a plastic or silicone option (mostly because of the lower price point), make sure the inside of the machine is made from food-grade, melamine-free, and BPA-free material. A construction that’s food-safe and easy to clean will make your job effortlessly easy, plus you don’t want to serve popcorn smelling of plastic.

(6)  Average Popping Time

Let’s face it; when it comes to movie night, no one wants to wait too long for that batch of fresh, buttery popcorn. The good news is that the best commercial popcorn machines are popping workhorses that produce lots of your favorite snacks quickly. You can count on these giants to make up to 3 gallons of popcorn in a matter of 5 minutes.

Other Tips on How to Pick the Best Commercial Popcorn Machines This Year

– Consider how frequently you will be using your machine

Frankly, not many people use popcorn machines as often as they do coffee makers. If you’re going to use your device to serve customers at your newsstand, food truck, restaurant, etc., you’ll want to invest in the best commercial popcorn machine. Perhaps the production capacity of the machine should be your top priority.

If you will use it for regular snacks, movie nights, and hosting parties, it may be worth buying a quality unit, as well. However, if you think you will turn on a few times a year, you don’t have to splurge on a full-size model; a basic countertop model will do the trick.

– Think about the size of the popper

The size of your popcorn machine will depend on the countertop space and the production capacity you need. Ask yourself: do you have enough to tuck it away when it’s not popping corn? Do you have enough space for the machine in your home movie theater or countertop?

– What extra features do you need?

For most families, the best commercial popcorn machine would be something basic with a kettle, a decent-size warming deck, and convenient control buttons. However, restaurants, theaters, and other places that want to serve popcorn to their customers should consider something with additional bells and whistles.

Some models, for instance, have integrated butter well meant to not only melt the butter but also spread it evenly over the popcorn for that nice, crisp and buttery finish. This is a style for businesses that want a set-it-and-forget-it operation and still get the best-tasting popcorn to make their customers happy.

Don’t limit yourself to cliché seasonings like salt, sugar, and butter. That’s the beauty of owning the best commercial popcorn machine. While there’s nothing wrong with common popcorn seasonings, you get to try out other exotic favors like jalapeno, parmesan, ranch, and whatever else tickles your fancy.

– Heating function is essential for units with large capacity

If you decide to go with a large-capacity commercial popper, it may be a wise move to opt for one with a heating function. This is important to keep your freshly-popped popcorn crisp and warm until you are ready to serve.

Commercial Popcorn Machines FAQs

1. Is it possible to add seasoning to kernels before popping?

Not all popcorn poppers allow you to do this, so check the specs before you buy. Some upscale models make it possible for you to add seasonings, like sugar, salt, and oil, to the raw corn kernels before you start up the popper. By doing so, you will enable flavors to be evenly distributed and your popcorn will be ready to eat right out of the machine.

2. How to properly clean a popcorn machine?

Keeping your machine clean is important to keep bacterial growth at bay; otherwise, the build-up of germs will contaminate your popcorn and increase the risk of foodborne illness. The best way to clean a popcorn machine usually varies from model to model, so ensure to go through the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.

3. Is my popcorn machine safe for use by children?

Due diligence will come in handy here, as well. Some models use cool-touch materials and technology to keep the exterior of the machine cool while the popper is run very hot. This is a nifty feature to have if your kids will be using the machine, as you won’t have to worry about scalding and burns. Of course, other old-school machines can run hot on the outside and should be used with great caution.

 

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