The poppers reviewed on this page are the best commercial popcorn machines money can buy. They not only work beautifully and look incredible, but give off that comforting theatre like aroma as well.
Be sure to click the "Check!" button for each to get the exact and up to date specs.
Best Commercial Popcorn Machines Comparison Chart
|Paragon Theater Pop 12 Ounce||12 ounces|
|Paragon Contempo Pop||8 ounces|
|Paragon 1911 Style||8 ounces|
|Paragon Theater Pop 16 Ounce||16 ounces|
|Great Northern 6210 Popheaven||12 ounces|
|Great Northern Black Paducah||8 ounces|
|Funtime Palace Popper||16 ounces|
*These are our /5 (out of five) ratings
Each Popper in More Detail
Let's face it: No one can stop smiling when they walk into a room filled with the buttery aromas of freshly popped popcorn. The wonderful smell instantaneously teleports them - subconsciously - into memory lane where once a special movie night involved fresh popcorn.
Or it takes them back to their childhood where fresh popcorn was given to them as a special outing treat. No matter what the occasion, time or place, everyone LOVES popcorn. And it's so incredibly cheap to make (even in large quantities), why wouldn't you?
All you need is a high quality commercial popper and you're good to go. Which one should you get though and which one is the best investment for your money?
Here is a breakdown of each of the professional machines I recommend in my "top 7" list above.
#1.) Paragon Theater Pop 12 Ounce Popcorn Machine
This Paragon Theater Pop is the little sister of the 16 ounce machine also reviewed in this post. This wonderful device will provide the same high-quality functionality with a slightly smaller yield. You can expect nearly 5 gallons of popcorn per batch in just 3-5 minutes. So if you are considering putting a popcorn popper in your small business or conveniences store to increase your profits, this lovely beast of a device will certainly not let you down.
Made of powder-coated stainless steel and topped-off with tempered glass panels, this popper looks just as good on your countertops as it functions. With a built-in warming deck, you don't have to worry about your popcorn losing it's luster and falling into the hands of staleness. An old maid drawer below the primary chamber allows for you to scoop all of the 'dud' kernels through the nifty perforations and into the catching tray. No more worrying about biting into a kernel and ruining those beautiful pearly whites of yours!
Burgundy paneling and vibrant yellow lettering add aesthetic and classy appeal to this popcorn machine.
So, if you are looking for the best of the best for your up-and-coming establishment or newfound business venture, look no further than this beauty.
#2.) Paragon Contempo Pop 8 Ounce Popcorn Machine
The Contempo Pop is similar to other Paragon poppers in every way, except that it exhibits more of a contemporary look (as suggested in the name). It's a high quality, industrial standard (heavy-duty), popcorn popper. The powder-coated steel and tempered glass make up the sleek and sophisticated framework for this streamlined popcorn machine.
A sleek and shiny strip of deep black runs along the top and displays the word "Popcorn" in a futuristic font that is reminiscent of that in the movie Tron.
The 8-ounce kettle allows for users to prepare up to 3 gallons of popcorn in just 3-5 minutes, and because of its side-hinged, hard-coat anodized aluminum kettle, it can operate powerfully with great ease and is even simpler to clean.
The 50-watt warming deck will keep your popcorn warm for hours after preparation, and with small perforations that give way to an old maid drawer hidden beneath the main chamber, you don't have to fret about your customers getting a mouthful of hard, pebble-like kernels — simply scoop the old maids so that they fall through the series of openings, and remove the drawer when finished to dispose of the unwanted kernels.
So, if you are looking for a popcorn machine to add to your business or home, but are not a huge fan of nostalgic, antique designs, don't hesitate to purchase the Contempo Pop by Paragon to increase your profits and add some flare to your establishment!
#3.) Paragon 1911 8 Ounce Black & Chrome Popcorn Machine
If you are looking for a top-of-the-line popcorn machine for the lobby of your small business or your very own man-cave (or woman-cave), then look no further than this above-and-beyond popper by Paragon.
The Paragon 1911 comes equipped with a vast array of fantastic features that will leave your mind blown and your tummy full of crunchy snack goodness. Made of powder-coated stainless steel and tempered glass panels, this heavy-duty popcorn machine carries a modern look, has modern functionality, and gives off just the right amount of retro flavor.
This particular model is available in black and chrome coloring, which adds a touch of sophistication to its already classy framework. Unlike other models, the roof of this particular machine tapers and gives way to an ornamentation of metal loops that are reminiscent of antique frills. On the tempered glass underneath the black-framed roof, are copies of text on all sides of the apparatus that read "Popcorn" in funky, eye-catching font.
With an 8-ounce kettle, it will provide you with 3 gallons of deliciously popped popcorn in just 3-5 minutes, and with little-to-no old maids! If you do find old maids, don't fret! This nifty popper comes complete with a series of perforations that allow for all of the unpopped kernels to fall into the drawer below! So not only is fetching the old maids easy, cleaning them up is too.
It is also equipped with a 50 watt warming deck that will keep your precious popcorn warm and ready-to-eat! So, if you are starting up a new small company, running the old family gas station, or simply looking to add a munchie station to your cave of comfiness at home, don't hesitate to buy this wonderful commercial-size appliance.
#4.) Paragon Theater Pop 16 Ounce Popcorn Machine
The Paragon Theater Pop popcorn machine is designed specifically to give concessionaires and entrepreneurs a leg-up on the competition. It is fitted with a high-output, side-hinged, hard-coated anodized aluminum kettle with a 16-ounce capacity. This makes it easy to operate and even easier to clean.
It can produce one batch in as little as 3-5 minutes. That means it can whip up a staggering 295 one-ounce servings per hour.
Stainless steel composition and tempered glass panels ensure that this popcorn machine will withstand frequent use at high-volume, while still maintaining an attractive countenance worthy of your customers' attention. This aspect also provides operators with food-safe zones and a simple cleanup process. It also features a 50 watt warming deck that will keep your popcorn hot and fresh, and an old maid drawer to catch all of those pesky, unpopped kernels that didn't make it to the finals.
When it comes to aesthetics, the stainless steel and tempered glass are accompanied by crimson panels adorned with a mustard-yellow, old-style copy that reads "Popcorn" on the sides — it will capture just the right ambiance for your movie theater, street corner, or gas station!
This machine truly stands apart from the rest with its high-quality construction, effortless cleanup, beautifully simple design, and easy operation. If you are in the market for a industrial-grade popcorn machine, and you are expecting high-volume and frequent operation, then this popper won't let you or your cinema down.
#5.) Great Northern 12 Ounce Popcorn Machine
Great Northern has outdone themselves once again with this sleek and simply outstanding machine.
The Great Northern 12 ounce popcorn machine is constructed with premium-grade stainless steel and tempered glass panels, and looks amazing. It is designed for resilience when it comes to long-winded, high-quality functionality. Its 12-ounce kettle operates on 1,350 watts, and is spacious and easy to clean with its stainless steel make-up. With a yield of roughly 5 gallons of popcorn per batch, and little-to-no noise, this popcorn machine is perfect for high-volume environments where conversation is afoot.
It is equipped with a built-in warming deck to keep your popcorn fresh long after it is popped. It also has an old maid drawer beneath the small perforations in the floor of the main chamber to catch your unpopped, undesirable kernels. Along with these features, it also has a three-position switch that allows the user complete operational control. From these switches, one can control the spot light warmer, stirrer, and pot heater with the push of a button.
This particular popper comes with a cart, which not only allows for convenient portability, but also a more antique look that will be sure to turn some heads. With a soft, opaque black coloring and deep red and gentle white designs, it is most certainly both a good-looking cart and a machine. It reads "Topstar" across the top in red lettering, and on the glass panels beneath, loud copy such as "Fresh & Tasty" and "Snacktime" can be found urging patrons to spare some pocket change for a bag of tasty deliciousness. The cart has 18" bicycle tires with sleek chrome rims that give the popper a contemporary attitude, with old-school ideals.
If you are looking for something to help increase your yields a little bit, but aren't expecting to operate it for long hours or make batches for hordes of hungry people, then this popcorn machine will easily get the job done. The best part? It will do it without loud augers and obnoxious parts clanking around.
#6.) Great Northern Popcorn Black Paducah 8 Ounce Popcorn Machine
As one can usually expect, Great Northern spared no expense with this great addition to their already superior line of popcorn appliances.
The Paducah Popper is equipped with an all-metal gearbox, which means that it can withstand long-winded bouts of popcorn popping without the parts losing their integrity. Along with this great feature, the Paducah is composed of heavy-duty, powder-coated stainless steel — making it a sturdy and sleek appliance that is easy to clean and food-safe.
It also comes fitted with a three-position operation switch that controls the spot light warmer, pot stirrer and heater. This gives the operator complete control over their popping experience. The accenting coloration is a deep, vibrant black with modernized fonts and designs that really pop out and grab your attention. The included cart has a storage area beneath the machine itself which is great for storing bags, scoops, and extra popcorn kernels.
With an 8 ounce kernel, this particular model is a great addition to your gas station, business lobby, vendor stand, or even your very own home.
#7.) Funtime Palace 16 Ounce Popcorn Machine
Though the Funtime Palace 16 Ounce popcorn popper was made with home-theater enthusiasts in mind, it has the capability and capacity to provide enough popcorn for your movie theater, gas station lobby, or school concession stand.
With a 16-ounce kettle, you can expect a substantial amount of popcorn in no time at all. The Funtime Palace popcorn machine is made of stainless steel and tempered glass panels that give it resilience and eloquence, and the all-metal motor ensures that all of your popcorn kernels are evenly stirred and distributed throughout the kettle for even heating and maximum popping. Because of its stainless steel composition, you don't have worry about rust and corrosion compromising the integrity of your beautiful machine, and because of this, it is almost too easy to clean!
The kettle is detachable from the main unit, making it exceptionally easy to clean. Not to mention the motor of the stirring mechanism is essentially silent, meaning that the only sound you are going to hear is the whimsical melody of popcorn kernels exploding with happiness — no whirring, clunking, or clanking with this one!
A spot light warmer and warming deck guarantee that your popcorn will be evenly heated from all sides and stay fresh and warm as long as needed.
Now, when it comes to the aesthetics of this device, it evenly combines the attractiveness of modern, contemporary tastes with the nostalgia of the good ol' days at the ball game. Chrome steel juxtaposed to a sharp black cart make it pop with ease. The cart is adorned with illustrations of a movie reel, movie tickets, and a popcorn bag in white coloring. The transparent glass panels are decorated with white, elegant borders that add to the beauty of the machine as a whole.
If you are looking for the perfect popcorn appliance to fill out your living room or the lobby of your small business, then look no further. This Funtime Palace popper will do just that.
So... What is the Best Commercial Popcorn Machine?
At the end of the day, you can't go wrong with any of these fantastically, high-quality popcorn poppers. It ultimately comes down to preference and context.
- Is this for professional or home use? As in, will the machine be hiding in your basement or will it be on open display?
- How many people will be fed with it? Will you be making fresh batches throughout the day?
- Does it need to be efficient with high yields? If you will be entertaining, the last thing you want is leave people waiting on more popcorn.
These are all questions that will (at least should) go into your commercial popcorn machine purchasing decision and I hope this short review guide was able to help you find the one that is "perfect" for your needs.
Things to Consider
- Yield: Consider how much popcorn the machine can produce in one sitting and if it's practical for your needs.
- Design: Some machines offer modern technology and a vintage look, so choose based on your aesthetic preferences.
- Assembly: Most machines require some assembly, so consider the amount required and how quickly you can get it done.
- Clean up: Cleaning is necessary to keep the machine in good condition and ensure maximum popping quality.
- Size: Consider the size of the machine based on your space and needs.
- Durability: Choose a machine with sturdy materials and quality construction that can withstand heavy use.
- Noise level: Some machines can be loud, so consider the noise level and its impact on your environment.
- Cost: Commercial popcorn poppers can vary in price, so choose based on your budget and required features.
- Warranty and support: Choose a machine with a warranty and reliable customer support for peace of mind in case of issues.
Reasons for Buying a Commercial Popcorn Machine
Aside from everyone loving popcorn, there are tremendous reasons to invest in a high quality popping machine. Especially a commercial-grade one that can pop large quantities of corn at once and - more importantly - pops each kernel perfectly every single time.
- For starters, corn is unbelievably cheap to buy. And a small handful can pop multiple portions. This makes it an ideal option if you simply want to impress business customers, charity event attendees, kids and adults at birthday parties, etc. It also makes it an extremely good option to raise money with (either for yourself or for charity causes). It's practically a money printing machine.
- Secondly, popcorn is exceptionally easy to make. Once you have a commercial popcorn popper, there are literally only two skills you need to make people drool. First, you put corn into the popper (that's easy enough) and second, you turn the machine on. It's so easy a monkey could do it.
So the only thing left to do is find the popcorn machine that is right for you. I've gone through the hassle of sorting out the best of the best and organized them above for you. If one peaks your interest, scroll back up and you will find my more-in-depth review of it. Be sure to also click through the link to see it on Amazon.
Buying Popcorn Kernels in Bulk
Once you have a commercial grade popcorn machine, you will want to buy an industrial sized bag of popcorn kernels as well. When stored in a dry place, kernels don't spoil for a long long time, so there really is no downside to getting a 50 lbs (22 kg) bag.
Here are a few non-GMO popcorn kernel options I recommend:
Of course you can get each of them in smaller quantities as well, but if you're already getting a commercial popcorn machine, you might as well get a bulk batch of kernels as well!
I’m looking for a top quality machine that sits atop a nostalgic cart with wheels - red preferred. What to you recommend?
How about one of these?
Always loved the classic look of those 🙂
Thanks for this list, Regina. It helped my search for the "perfect for me" popper big time!
I purchased a larger size commercial model and was impressed how fast the shipping for it was. I need to sort a few items and get a few additional accessories and supplies still (like oil, scoop, and professional salt-shaker when the price is right) but plan on running a concession stand at a local sports venue for an hour or two every day starting next month!
They already have some popular food stands there serving the athletes at their events, but am hoping to service the fans' appetite as they watch the athletes perform. And I suspect popcorn is just the product to do it.
When deciding on a machine, I was going for practicality, but am in love with the style as well. Real classy!
It looks and feels like a high quality industrial build of a machine with easy to understand buttons/switches (reading the featured navigation manual helped). I know my same model comes in smaller sizes as well, but despite being larger, it wasn't too big to move around by myself (in my experience at least) and is easy to put in and out of storage. And as I said before, it is one of those products that is pleasant to view & look at.
Definitely one of the better investments I made this year. Thanks again for your clear review and breakdown, Regina!
I am curious though and am wondering if you know: What is the shelf life of unpopped kernels? I'm thinking of buying kernels in bulk (a large bag at once) but in case I don't use it all up, you think it will be okay for a month or two?
I am super happy to hear you found "the" commercial popcorn machine that works well for you. I definitely wish you all the best and much success with it!
I regards to buying popcorn kernels in bulk: do it. As long as the kernels are stored in a dry environment and not easily accessible to insects that could destroy it, it has a really long shelf life. We're talking years... not months. I will add a couple recommendations in the post for corn I'd consider buying in bulk. Thanks for the idea!
Thank you for the kind words and congrats on your machine!
Do you have a recommendation for a smaller air popper that is robust and NOT made of plastic? We have we buy a popcorn machine every year as they are not robust enough. This would mainly be for the home with larger families but don't want a huge machine sitting out on the counter.
I most certainly understand. As nostalgic and awesome as commercial popcorn machines are, they can come across as overkill when their sole purpose is for occasional home/family use. We feature various smaller popcorn poppers on our other review post.
I hope that helps!