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The best 'fast and easy' popcorn maker — and ultimate gift — is down to just $12

What is it?

Got a loved one who'd list popcorn as their go-to snack? Or maybe it's even your favorite munchie? We've found something that'll delight everyone's palates while lowering 'corn costs and making the 'pop'ular treat healthier: the Original Popco Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper. Over 23,000 Amazon shoppers love this gizmo for making tasty, perfectly popped popcorn in a healthier, more eco-friendly way than the microwaveable bags. Plus, it's on sale, so why not grab one for yourself and a few for friends and family? They make perfect stocking stuffers!

Made of heat-resistant silicone, it comes with a lid and built-in handles. You just pour kernels in, add oil, salt and whatever else, and put it in the microwave. Done!

$14 at Amazon

Why is it a good deal?

The blue popper is down to just $12, which is the lowest price we've seen since spring. And while the other colors range in price, you can still expect to pay just $13 for many of them. Not only are you saving money by hopping on this deal, you'll also save money in the long run, as buying your own kernels is typically far less expensive than purchasing the microwave popcorn bags.

Why do I need this?

Microwave popcorn is convenient, no question, so why not just grab a box of it at the store? For starters, there's all that packaging: The outside box, the plastic wrap around each bag and the bag itself — all destined for landfills. Plus, the store-bought stuff usually contains various additives and preservatives, to say nothing of enough oil, salt and/or butter to destroy any health benefits.

Meanwhile, the Popco is fairly ingenious: Just pour in some kernels, add a bit of oil and salt (or not, if you're trying to keep it super-healthy), then zap it in the microwave for a few minutes. The popper is also the bowl you eat from, so you're not dirtying multiple items. It's dishwasher-safe and it collapses down for easier storage. (Like I said: ingenious.)

Finally, there's cost: A typical 6-pack of, say, Pop Secret might run you about $4 at the grocery store. That can add up pretty quickly.

I've owned one of these for a couple of years; it produces flawless popcorn every time and ranks high on my list of must-have kitchen gadgets.

the red popcorn maker
A popcorn maker for turning out delicious microwave 'corn quickly in a ready-to-serve bowl. (Amazon)

What reviewers say

"Yeah so I like popcorn a lot. Like a lot. This bowl has saved me so so much money since I bought it six months ago. Kernels are so much cheaper than the instant bags, and the air popper can let you make healthier popcorn or flavor it your own way," wrote one happy snacker.

Said another satisfied shopper: "So pleased with this simple popper. Air popped popcorn has always tasted like styrofoam. For some reason this popper creates tasty, healthy popcorn fast and easy. Not a drop of oil. Just add popcorn to one of the lines in the bottom. In 2 1/2 minutes or less we have excellent popcorn. Almost zero cleanup and easy to store. We love it and are eating more of this healthy popcorn and other less-junky snacks."

“Popcorn in the microwave without having to buy pre-packaged bags, what's not to like?" wrote an eco-conscious customer.

"We are movie night people in our house, so finding a product we could use to make our own movie theater popcorn at home is great!" exclaimed a final fan. "This bowl is super easy to use and clean without a hassle. My only complaint is if you are going to use butter and seasoning, the lid will stain. After three uses, our lid went from clear to a yellow-orange tint from the butter and seasoning. However, it still gets the job done and serves its purpose, so I am giving it five full stars!"

Now the only question is, which of the 15 colors will you choose?

$14 at Amazon

Once you buy the Popco popper, it's just BYO kernels — which are incredibly cheap by comparison. For example, here's a 6-pound (!) bag of Amish Country Popcorn for $18. That's probably enough to accommodate a year's worth of weekend movie nights.

Once you try these gourmet baby white kernels, you'll say, 'Orville Redenbacher who?'

$15 at Amazon

"Outstanding popcorn!" raved an impressed reviewer. "This corn popped up quickly and completely — light, tender and fluffy with hardly any un-popped kernels to be found at the bottom of the bowl. 1/2 cup of this stuff produced as much popcorn as I had been getting using 3/4 cup of the 'old' corn. Great value for [the] money — less waste — and delicious, too! Glad I tried this."

And if you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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