The Presto PopLite Hot Air popcorn maker churns out plenty of popcorn in a mere two to three minutes. The manufacturer says it makes up to 18 cups, although our testing showed only 15 cups during two tests; however, we used name-brand popcorn that typically yields less popcorn than cheaper varieties. The popcorn from this air popcorn popper was flavorful, and there were no burnt kernels, which won it a spot in our roundup of the best popcorn makers.
Like all air popcorn poppers, the treat you make is created without oil, so the calorie count is low, generally about 30 calories a cup. If you are not particularly concerned about calories, you can melt butter in the top portion of the popcorn maker, which doubles as a measuring cup, so it can drip down onto the corn as it is being popped. However, this approach means more cleaning.
Presto PopLite hot air popcorn maker: What you need to know
Unlike some popcorn makers such as the Orville Redenbacher's Stirring Popper 05204, this one leaves many wasted kernels. After placing a half-cup of premium popcorn kernels in the Presto PopLite Hot Air popper, we found in two separate tests that it yielded 15 cups of popcorn and left two tablespoons of unpopped kernels. That's quite a bit of wasted popcorn. In fact, this air popper produced more unpopped kernels than any of the others we tested, a decided drawback. If you're looking for a popcorn popper that doesn't waste kernels at all, you might consider the oil-using West Bend 82505 Stir Crazy Popcorn Popper
No removable parts of this air popcorn popper are dishwasher safe, as they are with the best popcorn makers. Nonetheless, the cleanup is pretty straightforward: A simple wipe-down for the base and the corn chute often does the trick. More thorough cleaning calls for hand washing with soap and water.
The device comes with either a black or white base and a red, yellow or black top, where a clear plastic chute rests. One drawback is that the plastic parts are not BPA-free, which does not necessarily make it dangerous; it just means that trace amounts of the chemical could rub off on the popcorn.
Presto has helpfully posted a number of recipes on its website. You can try the Sassy South of the Border popcorn, or, if you prefer sweet treats instead of savory, Presto's recipe for caramel popcorn with peanuts.
Should you buy the Presto PopLite hot air popcorn maker?
This popcorn maker is supported by a one-year warranty, which is standard in the industry. You also get a user manual that tells you how to use and clean the machine. If you run into questions, you can contact the manufacturer via email or phone. The website does not have a FAQs section.
The Presto PopLite Hot Air is a serviceable hot air popcorn popper that requires little cleaning and makes good popcorn. However, it does waste a fair amount of kernels by leaving them unpopped. If you want an affordable air popper, we think it's worth it.