Product Review: Hot Air Popper By Great Northern Popcorn

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

It gets the job done!

two out of five stars

We bought this as a replacement for our old hot air popcorn popper – an ugly, yellow and white relic from the ‘70s that my parents handed down to me when I moved out on my own some 15 years ago. My husband has been hounding me to upgrade for years, but I only caved when it became apparent that the wiring was shot on our old model, making a house fire more a matter of when than if. From the first time we used the new model, I cursed myself for not listening to him sooner.

We’ve had the Great Northern popper for about six weeks now, and it works wonderfully. It pops a batch of popcorn in less than one fourth the time it took our old machine (though with roughly the same amount of noise; I guess some things never change). It can pop one half a cup of kernels (about 16 cups of popcorn) in under three minutes, with minimal duds. To echo other reviewers, quality matters: if you put small, cheap kernels in, you’ll small, lesser popcorn out (and end up with kernels scattered all over the counter and floor to boot). While the chute is far from perfect, most of the popcorn ends up in the bowl, even without constant supervision.

On the downside, I really wish the popper was equipped with an on/off button. (To be fair, few air poppers have them, so this is par for the course.) Additionally, the scooper provided is perfectly round, without a spout to direct the flow of the kernels; if you’re not extremely careful, you’re apt to spill the kernels everywhere. It’s also cut into the top “cover” of the popper, and must remain in place during use, lest kernels rocket out of the resulting hole; as a result, the scoop can get quite warm and dangerous to handle after just one batch. Again, just because this design is common to so many poppers, doesn’t mean that it’s without flaw.

Updated on 7/12/14: after six months of use, the motor died. We emailed the manufacturer immediately, and had a new popcorn machine (free of charge, of course!) within a week. Hopefully this one will prove more durable.

Updated on 8/4/16: The replacement machine died after about two years of use. Like before, the motor simply gave out. Because it still falls within the manufacturer’s warranty they were great about replacing it, BUT. The item has been discontinued, so the next time it dies, we’re out of luck.

Either way, I’m really sick of sending this stuff to the landfill. The popcorn machine I owned before this was a hand-me-down from my mom; built in the ’70s, it lasted upwards of two decades before it started having mechanical issues. Ugly as it was, it sure was built to last.

Downgraded from four stars to two. I’d give it one star if not for the company’s responsiveness and willingness to work with us.

(This review is also available on Amazon. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)