Popcorn Poppers, Popcorn Machines, Popcorn Makers: What’s the difference

by DG

You'll find these terms: popcorn poppers, popcorn machines, and popcorn makers often used interchangeably. Sometimes you'll find them combined, like popcorn popper machines or popcorn popper makers, and popcorn maker machines.

Is there a difference?

Well, basically, they all perform the same function: heat the popcorn kernel until the moisture within reaches the boiling point...then pop!

In general, the difference is in size and use:

Popcorn PoppersThese are the guys that sit on your counter, stove top or in your microwave when you want to pop popcorn and then get returned to your kitchen cabinet when not in use. Their use is pretty straight forward: heat and pop. They come in a variety of styles - bubble shapes (retro 70s), cones, bright colors, stylish black, etc. You'll find four different popping methods:

Popcorn Machines: When you walk into the movie theater, these are the machines you see popping the popcorn. In recent years, bar style (table top) popcorn machines and popcorn machines with carts have become popular decorative and fun additions to home theaters and game rooms. Popcorn machines can range in the following sizes:

  • 4 oz. popcorn machines: These make four 1oz. servings every 3 minutes and are appropriate for small home theaters and game rooms
  • 6 oz. popcorn machines: Makes six 1oz. servings every 3 minutes and are appropriate with home theaters and game rooms and for mid-sized gatherings.
  • 8oz. popcorn machines: Makes eight 1 oz. servings every 3 minutes (seeing a pattern?) and are appropriate for large home theaters and game rooms, large gatherings, smaller break rooms, restaurants, bars and waiting rooms. These can also be appropriate popcorn machines for fundraisers that attract small crowds.
  • 12 oz. popcorn machines: Makes twelve 1oz. servings every 3 minutes and are designed for concession stands, snack bars, schools, and large fundraising events.
  • 14 oz. popcorn machines: Of course, these guys produce a lot of popcorn and are appropriate for larger concession stands and theaters.

Popcorn Makers: You'll find all of the above called popcorn makers at times. Though in the past, popcorn maker was the popular term for popcorn popper, the term is not used as much today.

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