The Best Air Popcorn Popper

Air-popped popcorn makes a quick, healthful, and inexpensive snack, while avoiding the excessive packaging and iffy ingredients of microwave popcorn.

Here I review Black & Decker Handy Pop 'N' Serve and Wearever Popcorn Pumper - two air poppers, both no longer made but still available through Laura's Last Ditch Vintage Kitchenwares. Like many vintage kitchen items, these poppers shame modern popcorn poppers. Watch the dueling popcorn poppers here:

 

Black & Decker Handy Pop 'N' Serve


Pros:

1. It works fast, popping 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in about 4 minutes.
2. It's easy to use. Measure the popping corn in the lid, pour it in, turn it on.
3. It's relatively efficient, using just 900 watts of energy to the Wearever Popcorn Pumper's 1250 watts.
Black & Decker Handy Pop 'N' Serve
from Laura's Last Ditch Vintage Kitchenwares
4. It doesn't make a mess. All the popcorn stays in the bowl; no kernels fly around the kitchen.
5. Virtually no unpopped kernels. The Wearever Popcorn Pumper (and any other hot air corn popper with a spout) will eject unpopped kernels along with the popped ones (the force of the pops can send them sailing out), but the lid on the Handy Pop 'N' Serve keeps the kernels where they belong, giving each a chance to pop. There are always a few duds that won't pop, but all the kernels that can pop will pop. Handy Pop 'N' Serve made 9 cups of popcorn to the Wearever Popcorn Pumper's 8 cups, with the same amount of popcorn kernels.
6. The popcorn turns out just like popcorn should, and has a built-in butter melting cup if you like your popcorn buttered. 
7. It stores compactly, because it's not as tall as the Popcorn Pumper.
8. It's so intuitive, a young child can use it (supervised, please!).
9. The popping chamber doubles as a serving bowl - no dirty dishes!

Cons: 

1. Durability. If you forget to remove the bowl from its base before putting salt in, the salt will get into the base and make the inner workings rust over time. If a kid uses the machine, this is bound to happen.
2. If you have a large family, it might not make as much as you want.
3. The Black and Decker Handy Pop 'N' Serve is from the late 1980s, and it's no longer produced (but you can find it here).
4. If you forget to turn it off when it's done popping, you could burn the popcorn. 

 

Wearever Popcorn Pumper

Pros: 

1. It works fast, popping 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in about 4 minutes.
2. It's easy to use. Measure the popping corn in the lid, pour it in, plug it in.
3. It makes more popcorn than the Handy Pop 'N' Serve (I made a mistake in the video, and measured the popcorn in the wrong receptacle, so it will hold more than I showed - oops! This isn't our regular popper.)
4. The popcorn turns out just like popcorn should, and has a built-in butter melting cup if you like your popcorn buttered.
5. Durability. These poppers are made in USA, and they last!
Wearever Popcorn Pumper, available at
Laura's Last Ditch Vintage Kitchenwares
6. Since the popcorn leaves the popper after it's popped, you're less likely to burn it due to inattention. (Still, for safety's sake, stay in the same room while it pops.)

Cons: 

1. Unpopped kernels. The force of the popping corn often sends unpopped kernels flying out along with the popped kernels.
2. It takes more space than Handy Pop 'N' Serve; unless you have a tall cupboard, it will need to be stored in two sections (lid and base), and it's easy to lose the butter melting cup.
3. It makes a mess. If you don't put the bowl on top of something so the edge of the bowl is right under the spout, you'll find some popcorn on your floor and counter.
4. It takes about 1/3 more energy than the Handy Pop 'N' Serve. 
5. From the late 1970s / early 1980s, the Wearever Popcorn Pumper is no longer produced (but you can find it here).

Conclusion: 


My favorite popcorn popper is the Black & Decker Handy Pop 'N' Serve. If you're looking to save money on snacks or to make it easier to snack smart, the Handy Pop 'N' Serve will pay for itself quickly, because it's convenient enough to use frequently; in fact, it's no more difficult than microwave popcorn.



5 comments:

  1. Laura - I LOVE your comparison video and article! Well done! One of my sons is a HUGE popcorn fan. So much so that he has his out movie theater style popcorn maker that makes a ton of popcorn at one time. He watched your video with me, and enjoyed seeing the air popped popcorn makers - very cool! Thanks for making these videos and articles about vintage kitchen appliances - it just goes to show you that vintage rules!

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    1. My son loves popcorn, too. We buy it by the 50-lb bag! He'd love a theater popper if I'd let him get one. You must be one cool mom!

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  2. Oops! That was supposed to be "his own", not "his out".

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  3. Cool video Laura. I was just talking to someone this week about the hot air popper. I have never seen the B&D one before. I remember back in the day when they only way to make popcorn was in a pan on the stove. Now I am lazy and buy the microwave kind.

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    1. The Handy Pop 'N' Serve is great for lazy people, too. I love it because it's so easy! Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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