Making popcorn on a stove top can be tricky. To avoid burning it, you need to keep the kernels moving, usually by vigorously shaking the pot back and forth the entire time. These two poppers use built-in stirring devices to mix the corn as you turn a crank. We found both were simple to use and worked better than microwave ovens, hot-air poppers, or other methods. Virtually every kernel pops and nothing sticks to the bottom.

The original Whirley-Pop stove-top popper, produced since the 1920s, is a true classic. Sturdily made of aluminum, it has a light-duty gear-driven stirring device operated by turning a crank at the end of the handle.

A more recent innovation, the stainless-steel Sweet & Easy snack maker makes regular popcorn and lets you prepare gooey coated treats, such as caramel corn, right inside the pot. Its direct-drive crank mechanism with a top-mounted handle is robust, so you can easily stir thick contents briskly. Includes a booklet of 23 recipes for flavored popcorn as well as stove-top roasted nuts. Each popper holds 6 quarts.

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