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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

The Best Popcorn Machine for Home Theaters



close up of red and white striped bag of popcorn
If it’s movie night, you NEED popcorn. What’s the best popcorn maker for home theaters?

It’s movie night. You’ve slipped on your comfiest pajamas, picked your favorite show, and curled up with your warmest blanket. Except there’s one thing missing, the popcorn. No movie night is complete without popcorn, and being able to pop your own popcorn right in your home theater is an essential part of the perfect night in!

Popcorn machines for the home

This classic movie theater snack is a tasty, low-calorie treat to munch on while enjoying your favorite film in the comfort of your own home. It’s a perfect alternative to other standard snacks, like candy, chocolate, or potato chips.

Averaging at just 60 calories per cup, it’s hard to say no to a handful or two of this salty snack. It’s a healthier alternative that the whole family will enjoy. Although you could certainly stick a bag of kernels in the microwave before your movie is due to begin, this can become a bit inconvenient when hosting a larger number of guests. With kids or intense popcorn fans, the cost adds up over time.

Instead, why not create the theater ambiance in your own home, complete with the sound of popping kernels and the smell of melting butter?

Finding the right machine for you

As each home theater is tailored to suit its owner’s perfect needs, it is important to find the popcorn machine that best fits your home theater. First, consider what you want out of your popcorn machine.

Do you have a limited amount of space in your home theater? Or, can your room accommodate a larger, full-size popcorn maker? Would you prefer a traditional, old-fashioned model, or do you crave a more modern design? Should your machine be a central focal point of the room, or is a subtle design more suited to your space?

Another thing to consider is whether you plan on hosting large gatherings, and need a popcorn maker capable of producing larger quantities quickly. If not, a smaller design will adequately suit your needs.

Need a lot of ice for your drinks, fast? Find out which ice machines for your home bar will keep your guests’ glasses topped off and their drinks icy cold.

Finally, there’s the price. Does a top of the line machine fit into your budget, or is a more basic machine sufficient? Such questions are all important to ask as you begin the search for the perfect popcorn machine for your home theater.

Yummy popcorn makes a great alternative to candy or other unhealthy snacks.
Yummy popcorn makes a great alternative to candy or other unhealthy snacks.

Benchmark popcorn machines

When it comes to home theater popcorn makers, Benchmark is generally the most prominent and reputable brand. These professional-style machines are comparable to the poppers you’ll find in your local movie theater. They have the reputation for offering some of the highest quality products on the market.

Benchmark’s Silver Screen Professional Popcorn Machine

This machine is their most technically advanced model. It features a thermostat control to keep your popcorn at the perfect temperature all throughout your movie and late into the night. The stainless steel frame allows for extremely easy cleaning and features an “old maid” drawer to filter out any unpopped kernels.

See Benchmark’s Silver Screen Professional Popcorn Machine at Amazon

This particular machine is available in an 8-ounce model and a 14-ounce high-production model, putting it on the larger side for production output. However, this machine is also on the higher end of the budget, depending on the size.

The Metropolitan Popper

Benchmark also offers a smaller, but similar quality Metropolitan Popper. This machine comes in 4-ounce and 6-ounce versions, which are more suited for family use or small scale entertaining.

The Metropolitan Popper is more affordable and offers a 3-year warranty on all its products. This popcorn maker is sure to last you and your family through many years and many movie nights.

Paragon popcorn machines

Another well-known and similarly praised brand in the world of popcorn makers is Paragon. Paragon offers a slightly wider range of sizes than Benchmark, the smallest being 4-ounces, and the largest 16-ounces.

4-ounce option

The 4-ounce machine has all the features of a larger machine, such as the warming deck and easy clean design, and is the ideal size for serving groups of ten people or less.

This is a compact and a sturdily-built machine. At just 46 pounds, it’s easy to move and won’t take up too much space in your room or on your countertop. The 4-ounce model offers a lifetime warranty, making it the perfect popper for at-home use.

6-ounce option

The 6-ounce model is suited for slightly larger groups, around ten to twenty people. Weighing 62 pounds, this machine is still small enough to fit inside your home theater without dominating the room. Its sleek and modern design can be customized, and is still reasonably priced.

16-ounce option

The 16-ounce model’s large storage capacity can store and keep popcorn fresh for longer periods of time. This machine can produce 300 servings per hour, making it appropriate for very large scale entertaining. Paragon also offers a three-year warranty on its 6-16 ounce popcorn machines.

Budget-friendly popcorn machines

Not everyone may be willing to break the bank with a popcorn maker, and thus there are other high-functioning, but significantly cheaper options. For example, Elite makes smaller and more affordable models.

The Elite Classic Tabletop Kettle Popcorn Maker

This 2.5-ounce machine has received high praise for its festive theater appearance, removable tray for easy serving, and warming light that keeps popcorn hot and fresh.

Best of all, this machine is budget friendly and can be easily picked up locally at stores like Best Buy or Kohl’s, or delivered right to your door from online retailers.

Movie night!

When it comes to popcorn makers, the amount of options on the market can seem overwhelming. By first assessing your needs when it comes to outfitting your home theater, you can narrow down your potential options and find the perfect popcorn machine for your budget, serving size, and room size. A popcorn machine will take any home theater to the next level, so get ready to enjoy the ultimate movie night in the comfort of your own home!

Guacamole and chips are a great snack for movie night. But what if your avocados are unripe? Never fear – learn how to make guacamole from unripe avocados.

Kids will also love snow cones, made from the best home snow cone maker.

Additional Resources

Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: tracydekalb and Francis T.