Countertop Popcorn Machines
Top countertop models - Gold Medal, Rival, Nostalgia Electronics
Countertop popcorn machines come in a variety of shapes and sizes but ultimately the most popular design is the conventional glass cabinet with a stainless steel or aluminum kettle suspended over the cabinet base. Sizes range from four ounce machines for the home to large 66 ounce commercial poppers. Upright, cylindrical shaped models are available for those who have a limited amount of space in their kitchen but these usually aren't of the same quality as the larger models and some of them tend to spit unpopped kernels across the room. Most manufacturers offer optional bases, carts or wagons for occasions where a counter top may not be readily available or to give the machine an authentic street vendor look.
Small four ounce countertop popcorn machines can easily serve up to four people in one batch; the only problem is that most people will eat more than one ounce per sitting. How many people you will be serving is a key consideration when choosing a popcorn machine so it's a good idea to think about the number of people and the amount they would consume. Small model range from four to eight ounces, medium sized models range from 12 to 16 ounces and large models start at 18 ounces right up to 130 quarts. Most of the more popular manufacturers offer authentic designs made to look like antique popcorn machines and these are a top choice in most commercial countertop popcorn machines.
The following is a brief overview of the most commonly used models:
Gold Medal - The most popular model for home use is the small 4 ounce Funpop popcorn machine with removable stainless steel kettle for easy cleaning, easy access door, 50 watt cabinet light, drop panel and corn deck warmer. The Ultra Sixty Special popper by Gold Medal is another favorite for home use mainly because it is the cheapest 6 ounce popper in their range but it's still a reliable popcorn popper. Gold Medal tends to be more popular for commercial quality popcorn machines as they are reliable, attractive and durable.
Nostalgia Electrics - The OFP501 Movietime Popcorn Popper from Nostalgia Electrics seems to be the most widely purchased hot air popcorn machine by Nostalgia but it hasn't recieved many positive reviews, in fact it's exaclty the opposite; most consumers complained about this machine leaving a lot of unpopped kernels and they also had problems with the machine spewing both popped and unpopped kernels uncontrollably. It appears to be more of a burn hazard than anything else. However, Nostalgia does have a good reputation for producing quality fun food equipment designed to look like antiques so it may be worth checking out the other counter top popcorn machines in their range.
Rival - Their PP25 Popcorn Popper is another model that has received bad reviews for reasons similar to those mentioned above. The lesson seems to be that many small capacity upright popcorn machines don't work as well as some the more expensive brands like Gold Medal so if you're looking for a good quality machine its worth shopping around and perhaps investing in a higher priced model, no matter what brand you pick.