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2,590 of 2,673 people found the following review helpful
There is not too much that can be added to the excellent reviews and remarkable suggestions. However, if you read this through you'll see I have one key suggestion.

This popper is outstanding. It's not as messy as a stir-crazy and probably not as bad for you as microwave popcorn. It can produce great tasting popcorn if you do this:

Use the right corn - I've had great luck with Pop Secret Jumbo Kernel Jar, 30-Ounce Jars (Pack of 6) and Orville Redenbacher's Original Popping Corn Jar 30oz - 6 Unit Pack.

Other reviewers have provided the excellent suggestion of spraying olive oil with a Misto Gourmet Brushed Aluminum Olive Oil Sprayer. That is a very good idea and I have an improvement below. Also, if you use this sprayer for any reason be sure to twist the cap on the sprayer when you're done to release the pressure. It'll last longer that way.

You want to use real popcorn salt, for example Popcorn Salt. It's very finely ground and perfect for popcorn.

Now, here's my addition to the process that makes it (imho) perfect. Instead of olive oil in the sprayer, use Orville Redenbacher's Popping & Topping Buttery Flavor Popcorn Oil, 16 oz (Pack of 6). It may be a bit less healthy than olive oil but thanks to the sprayer you only use a very small amount and it tastes tons better!

Finally, I realize the links I've provided are for multiple quantities of everything. It's not to suggest that you buy that much but to provide the names and descriptions of the products I've found to be very good.

UPDATE (2013): We still like this popper and the method described when our goal is for the healthiest result, like with our daughter and her friends. However, we've found that we also really like to use our Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper along with the popcorn I've mentioned in my review of it (currently on page 3). The results are probably less healthy and have a buttery flavor that I remember having at movie theaters a long time ago.

BTW, I feel that honest, effective reviews take the place of first-hand experiences that are lacking in online shopping. I've always appreciated the help I've gotten from other reviewers and continue to return the favor as best as I can. Let me know if you find this information helpful. Also, if there was anything you thought was lacking or unclear leave a comment and I'll do what I can to fix it.
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1,452 of 1,505 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2007
I've had one of these for more than 10 years and am ordering a new one because the yellow plastic air guide has just disintegrated from age and heating. The motor and element are still working.

Yes: if you leave it alone it does throw out a few blistering-hot kernels. But if during the first 30 seconds of running you hold it and tilt it back about 30 degrees, it doesn't. As soon as any kernels have popped you can set it down again.

Lowest-calorie popcorn? At the supermarket, buy an aerosol can of cooking oil spray. Face the popcorn bowl, spray in right hand and salt-shaker in left. As the popcorn tumbles out, alternately spritz with cooking oil and sprinkle with salt. The oil spray has basically zero calories (a teaspoon per batch?) but it makes the salt stick to the popcorn!

Fun with your popper, impress the kids. There are always a few kernels that don't pop left in the bottom. And every time, one or 2 will go off a couple seconds AFTER you pull the plug. So: pull out the plug, slowly raise your index finger and point, magically, at the popper. Bang! Blow smoke off imaginery gun barrel.
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157 of 164 people found the following review helpful
I've been using a 30-year-old Presto PopCornNow hot air popper that's been in my family since the 1970s. It still makes great popcorn but tends to overheat these days. I thought I should buy a new one before it bursts into flames. I was surprised to find that the most popular hot air popper on the market is still a Presto and almost identical to my old model. I shouldn't have been, since the Presto has always made fast, easy, fluffy popcorn. The PopLite is slightly smaller and lighter than the PopCornNow but essentially the same. Where the old model had a removable chute, this one has a removable butter warmer. There is still no on/off switch. Plug it in to turn it on.

To make popcorn, place 1/2 cup kernels in the popper base. The butter warmer is a convenient measure. Place a bowl that is at least 4 quarts in volume underneath the chute. I use a large mixing bowl. Make sure the butter warmer is in place atop the cover. In theory, the butter warmer will melt softened butter while your corn is popping. Plug it in. The kernels take 1- 1 1/2 minutes to heat up before they start popping. They only take about 30 seconds to pop and fill your bowl with light, fluffy popcorn. Unplug. The whole procedure takes only 2-2 1/2 minutes, half the time of microwave popcorn and no health concerns over the teflon-coated bags. It tastes a lot better than microwave popcorn too.

One-half cup kernels makes about 4 quarts of popcorn, and it comes out fast, so make sure your bowl is big enough. I'm never left with more than a dozen unpopped kernels between the popping chamber and the bowl, usually half that. The plastic cover softens from heat while the machine is running. Leave it on the base until it has cooled to avoid warping. Wash the cover and butter warmer with soap and water, but never allow water inside the popping chamber. You can just dump debris out of it. An air popper is ideal if you can't eat oils. I like salt and butter, but I love air poppers because the popcorn is always light and fluffy, never soggy. The PopLite is the fastest, easiest way to make the best popcorn.
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626 of 678 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2004
Nothing last forever.

Presto has been making this popper for a long time. I bought one about 15 years ago, and use it maybe once a week. Makes wonderful popcorn, evenly popped, no burning, no oils, just great popcorn. You do need to put a big bowl under it and turn the bowl, but with this slight attention, there is no mess.

The popper died last night -- motor burned out. But how many consumer devices last 15 years? I got my money's worth.

So, I'm buying another one today. Why try something else when this works so well?
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84 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2014
This popper isn't great. Kernels fly out of the mouth when it's on, before the corn starts popping. Then the corn pops, but even with a tall bowl that's near the mouth of the popper, inevitably some of it flies out of the bowl from the air and the speed. There are always a lot of unpopped kernels in the bowl. I actually counted after making a small bowl, and there were 115 popped kernels, and 76 unpopped. So only about 60% of the corn gets popped. The other ends up in the bowl. Oh, and some of the early ones that pop are barely popped too. I give it 2 stars because it does pop some corn.
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962 of 1,064 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2005
At first- I experienced ALL of the cons that some of the other reviewers listed with the Presto Popper.
After lots of experimenting- I found solutions for all of them, and often enjoy a "full flavor" HEALTHY buttered/salted bowl of popcorn (inexpensive too!)!

This is how I now make "YUMMY" popcorn!
This takes a little extra effort, but the rewards are well worth it!
For this to work, you MUST NOT LEAVE UNNATTENDED, "for any reason"!
1. Instead of pouring the popcorn in a cold machine- I first preheat it by plugging it in for at least "3" minutes, with the top "completely off" (pour out any old unpopped kernels, before plugging it in!)!
While waiting- I put kernels the measuring cup, microwave my "good tasting" butter substitute (see #2), and fix drinks...
a. I now pour the kernels in, and place the top on, BUT DO NOT PUT THE MEASURING CUP ON TOP YET! This way the kernels, don't BLOW into the bowl..., they just circulate and stay inside & bowl stays cool!
b. As soon as you hear the first small pop (about 1 minute), QUICKLY! Place the measuring cup on top. The popping will soon be VERY rapid!
c. If the popcorn builds up, and does not blow into the bowl, it will burn. I hold onto the still cool top, tilt and firmly shake/tap/tilt... the machine until kernels fall into the bowl, and start blowing in on their own. Leave a few extra seconds for all kernels to pop (tilt back a little).

2. Now for the "good tasting!" butter substitute-
Update#1!- I now prefer organic butter, and finely ground (coffee Grinder...Tnx!)Natural/Healthier (processed salt is bad for you, and so is ANY margarine Google... it!) "Himalayan" mined Sea Salt is supposedly bad for you..., so I switched to Celtic Sea salt!Celtic Sea Salt, Fine Ground, By The Grain & Salt Society, 1 #
Update#2!- If you melt butter... in the cup on top, with ANY air popper! It WILL eventually crack & split!
a. If you must use margarine- I place 1/4 cup of "Country Crock Light" brand margarine (#1 in taste tests, NO trans fat, no cholesterol, cooks/melts... just like butter in ALL recipes/frying..., about $2.50 for a 3 lb tub) in a microwave safe ceramic/glass cup (no plastic EVER in microwave/BAD for you!).
I heat it on 5 for 10 seconds. Then stir well, and microwave for another 5 seconds, and stir well one last time. I then stir in a teaspoon of "Butter Buds" seasoning (for butter flavor)
Ready to pour on top of popcorn, and "quickly" stir in thoroughly with a coffee spoon.

3. For people on low-sodium!- Shake on some "AlsoSalt"- Excellent tasting "sodium free" Salt Substitute, that tastes MUCH like salt (no aftertaste...!)!
Not in most stores yet, but you can find/buy it online with a Google... search.
Comes in three flavors- Regular, butter, and Garlic (all are "EXCELLENT" for ALL cooking...).

4. Shake on some Parmesan Cheese/or Garlic..., for a GREAT taste treat!
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231 of 255 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2002
I'm in college and live on air popcorn (don't like microwave -- I'm spoiled!) Anyway, I had a Presto popper that died after 15 or 20 years of use. I got a new one that was a Salton and it only lasted a month. When I saw a Presto popcorn maker, I was thrilled! I trust this brand 100%! Nice to know that maybe I have another popper that will be around the next 20 years.
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97 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2009
This is the sixth air popper I've own. I've tried them from simple to cute and fancy, and the Presto Hot Air Popper is by far the best. Easy to use and clean, it is leaving only a couple of kernels unpopped each run. I am most pleased.
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164 of 180 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2004
Trust a guy who eats popcorn every day - this is the one. Yes, you may get a stray kernel or two at the beginning and a few more at the end. This popper is much better than the others I've tried (3 other models).

This one also creates fluffier popped corn than average which is nice.

It's available for even cheaper at a certain retail behemoth that starts with Wa.
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384 of 432 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2004
The PopLite does a good job of turning out a full four quart yield of popped corn (and then some) from the half cup measurement. However towards the end of the popping cycle, things start to get out of hand. Burning hot kernels and popped corn come flying out of the chute and richochet around the room. Keep kids and pets AWAY towards the end. Also when your bowl is filled with popcorn, the remaining kernels eject into them with such force that the top of your just-popped batch flies out everywhere.

The only halfway decent way around this is to make a tent around the sides of the chute with a dishtowel while the last kernels are popping out and be sure to stand close to the plug so you can yank it out when it reaches this frenzied stage. Don't attempt to pick up unpopped kernels from the floor as I did (and there will be quite a few, no matter how careful you are) as they're burning hot. If you can live with all of this, it does make decent popcorn.
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