Popcorn Machine Buying Guide – What To Look For

There are so many popcorn poppers out there that it’s damn near impossible to decipher which one you should choose and which ones you should avoid like the plague. While a lot of it comes down to preference and your specific needs as it pertains to your space, here are a few of the most important things you should look for when deciding which popcorn machine is the right one for your man cave.

Kettle Size or Capacity

I know it’s crazy for us who think popcorn should be measured in tubs, but popcorn machine capacity is based on a 1oz serving size. Basically, how many 1oz serving sizes can the popper complete in one popping cycle. A popping cycle typically lasts 3-4 minutes. 

Note: Anything longer than 3-4 minutes and you need to forget it! When my old popper was on the fritz it would take so long just to warm up that by the time the kern was popping I forgot all about it and had moved on to something else.



Servings per Cycle Servings per Hour

4 oz



6 oz



8 oz



12 oz



Just to give you a comparison on serving sizes, a typical microwave popcorn bag is roughly 4oz. So when we’re talking man cave popcorn, we are talking about substantially more than 4oz. Especially if we are popping for more than one person!  

Size of Machine

One of the things that you really need to consider is the size of the popcorn machine that you want/need in your man cave. I’m not talking about how much kern it will make. That was the size of the kettle. I’m talking about the actual size of the thing. 

Personal Experience: When I got my popcorn machine and brought it home, my wife was “less than enthused” at the size of the unit that I was planning on putting on our kitchen counter. 

Don’t be that guy. Measure the spot that you plan on having your popper. Plan it out.

Popcorn Machine


When looking at popcorn machines one of the most important factors to consider is the wattage of the popper itself. Essentially the higher the popcorn machine wattage, the faster the cooking time. 

As I spoke about earlier from my personal experience…nothing is worse than waiting for your popper to warm up. You want your kern fast and furious. 

I would recommend a machine that has at least 640 watts or more. 


Another factor that should come under consideration when buying your man cave popcorn machine is whether or not the popper comes with a manufacturer’s warranty or not. While it may look simple, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to these machines. 

Take it from me, the last thing you want is for your popcorn machine to be down when the big game comes on. There’s nothing worse than having to pop multiple bags of popcorn and pouring them into your empty, cold popcorn machine to make it look useful. 

If your machine does go down, you want to make sure you have a good warranty so you can either get a replacement or get it fixed immediately.


Price is something that a lot of folks consider first when choosing which popcorn machine they want to buy. Well, honestly, which (INSERT ANYTHING) to buy. 

And while I completely understand not wanting to frugally spend money on something that some may consider a commodity, I caution you to consider your investment. 

To me, the amount of use and enjoyment that I will get from a popcorn machine is worth a little something extra if I am sure that I am getting a quality product. 

I may be a bit of a popcorn snob, but I do not want to sacrifice how good my kern comes out just to save a few bucks upfront. 

That being said, you do want to make sure you are getting a quality product and not just paying for the false promise of great kern only to be left with subpar garbage in a bowl. 

In other words, make sure the machine you’re looking at checks all of the boxes you need it to check, then use price as the tie-breaker.

Heating Lamp

You absolutely must have some sort of heat lamp or warming deck in your popcorn machine. Most commercial poppers actually do have them included. Think of the movie theater or concession stand. There’s always a bright light glowing off of the fluffy yellow pillows of goodness, making them look even more buttery and delicious. 

Popcorn machine on which near a table there are plastic glasses with popcorn.

This is what you want people to see in your man cave. That popcorn machine light will be like an insect zapper to a mosquito. They’ll flock to the kern. 

And not only does it make it look so much more appealing (as if that’s even possible), but who doesn’t love warm popcorn? The heating element will keep your popcorn slightly warm so you don’t get the stale popcorn in a box type stuff that no one wants.

One thing to also consider is that the exterior of the machine is cool to the touch. The last thing you need is for the heating lamp to heat it up so much that someone burns themselves on the outside of the machine. Just like a mosquito and a zapper! 

So these are the most important factors when considering which popcorn machine is man cave worthy for you. If I had to do it all over again (which I actually did), I would look at kettle size first and foremost. That is one of the most important factors when it comes to being able to use the popcorn machine in the man cave when your buddies are over for the game or just having to use it solo for yourself and have it just be eye candy. This is an investment that will upgrade the quality of your man cave exponentially. Treat it as such!


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