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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,


I was wondering if you guys can point me toward which popcorn maker I should look into as well as what to look for?


Who are the high end manufacturers and what is that price point?

Who are the mid grade manufacturers and what is that price point?

Which manufacturer should I steer clear of?


Are there any features that are a must have or should avoid?
 

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High end:

Cretors (made in USA)- some different looking styles not available with other manufacturers.


Mid:

Paragon (made in USA)- excellent build quality, nice styles from which to choose, excellent warrranty (lifetime on 4 oz machines).

Gold Medal (made in USA)- have larger kettles than Paragon machines

Benchmark (made overseas)


Make sure the machine has a warming tray to keep popcorn warm and to heat up the next day or so. Also look for an old maid drawer to make for easier cleanup.


There are many posts about this on the forum as well. Take a look around using the search tool and you will find a lot of information. Good luck.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsh /forum/post/16940808


Best bang for the buck with very good quality are Paragon Poppers.


Get the one that has a warming tray (most of them do).


Recommend choosing a larger kettle - 6 Oz or even 8 Oz if you do not want to make several batches while having more than 3-4 people over.


Sometimes I think 8oz is not enough if you have a group of more than 4 or 5 people. I think if you plan to throw a few movie night gatherings on a regular basis, don't even consider anything less than 8oz-10oz.


I got my 8oz popper from Costco on sale for under $250 with the full size cart/wheel and it makes EXCELLENT popcorn, the oil is hot and ready within a couple of minutes, and fresh popcorn is ready within 5 minutes total from the time I pour the oil to heat. Only problem is, no warmer tray, so the popcorn will only stay warm if I keep the VERY BRIGHT heating lamp on at all times during movie showing, it's not a big deal because I have the popper in a corner where the heating lamp light doesn't spill too much into the room, but it's still an annoyance and a warming tray would do a much better job at keeping the popcorn toasty fresh.
 

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I have the 4oz Costco tabletop "Elite" model.


It's a decent little popper and at $139 is fairly cheap. It fits well on a counter top or in my case, on top of a wine fridge.


I will agree with what everyone says about larger poppers though. If I get another popper, it will be an 8oz machine (you can always use smaller kits in larger machines). I use 6oz kits in my 4 oz popper, but break it up into two batches. The machine will fit 2 6oz kits without a problem (broken up into 3 batches). The one time i tried to use a whole 6oz kit in the 4oz popper, I had a ton of unpopped kernels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by rsh /forum/post/16940808


Best bang for the buck with very good quality are Paragon Poppers.


Get the one that has a warming tray (most of them do).


Recommend choosing a larger kettle - 6 Oz or even 8 Oz if you do not want to make several batches while having more than 3-4 people over.

Which popcorn machines do you sell on your site? I see what looks to be a few styles but I don't see a brand names listed.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsh /forum/post/16940808


Best bang for the buck with very good quality are Paragon Poppers.


Get the one that has a warming tray (most of them do).


Recommend choosing a larger kettle - 6 Oz or even 8 Oz if you do not want to make several batches while having more than 3-4 people over.

I currently own a 4oz machine that my wife bought at BJs last year. At first it seemed to be a great deal - we used it for months without any issues at all. But lately, we can't pop a single batch without problems. The biggest issue is that the gears continually become disengaged (they're only held together through gravity) causing the popcorn to burn or, more commonly, to jam inside the kettle. We're forced to watch the machine like a hawk, and we still end up needing to dump the kettle prematurely to prevent jamming.


We (attempt to) make popcorn at least twice a week for movie nights, so our frustration level is high enough to warrant the purchase of a better unit.


Is paragon the way to go? Will I run into these same issues (jamming / burning)? If I upgrade to the 6oz, will I still be able to use the 4oz packets when it's just me and my wife?
 

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Paragon manufactures a commercial quality machine backed by a three year warranty. And, the 4oz machines are backed by a lifetime warranty when used for non-commercial purposes.

Jamming, and agitator/gear issues and such that you describe are NOT an issue with the Paragon poppers based on their design of a direct drive kettle agitator. You won't have stalling or stirring issues with Paragon machines. Keep in mind, Paragon is a "commercial" equipment manufacturer that incorporates heavy guage steel parts and components.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by vespaguy /forum/post/16991130


If I upgrade to the 6oz, will I still be able to use the 4oz packets when it's just me and my wife?

Same question here, if I go with an 8oz. can I pop the msaller packages
 

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Quote:
Same question here, if I go with an 8oz. can I pop the msaller packages

Yes, you could pop the 4 or 6 oz packs in the 8 oz kettle. Four ounce packs for an 8 ounce machine would be a good idea because you could double up on them if you have more people over.
 

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Quote:
Yes, you can. You cannot use bigger packs in the smaller kettle poppers though.

You can pop larger packs in smaller kettles, but you will be left with more old maids (unpopped kernels). So, it's not a good idea, in general. However, Gold Medal machines have larger kettles and we have been told and it has been stated on this forum that people have popped 6 oz packs in 4 oz machines and 8 oz packs in 6 oz machines without many old maids.
 

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Family of 4 with a 6 oz machine, I think its the perfect size for normal movie nights and have no problems putting in a second batch on the occasional time when more then that are coming over. The 6oz is enough to file 6-8 popcorn tubs
 

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I had mixed results with a 6oz kit in my 4oz popper.


I had not burnt corn, but enough unpopped kernels to not make it worth the time savings.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenLerch /forum/post/16940824


High end:

Cretors (made in USA)- some different looking styles not available with other manufacturers.


Mid:

Paragon (made in USA)- excellent build quality, nice styles from which to choose, excellent warrranty (lifetime on 4 oz machines).

Gold Medal (made in USA)- have larger kettles than Paragon machines

Benchmark (made overseas)

Don't forget Star.

They make commercial equipment also. I've seen their hot dog roller grills at QuikTrip convenience stores.
http://www.star-mfg.com/Scripts/Prod...Buyers%20Guide
 

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I use 4oz Paragon Contempo popper, very nice. Fits nice on the counter top, performs well. I also use 6oz portion packs with my 4oz kettle, no problems. A tad bit more old maids maybe but it performs very well, and most importantly popcorn taste great.
 
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