Pros: It does, in fact, pop popcorn; butter-warming cup on the top
Cons: It only pops a minimal amount of the popcorn you put into it; potentially dangerous to curious young onlookers
Rating: 2 out of 5
Hot air popcorn poppers should be a great boon to those looking for a light snack. Unfortunately, I’ve found many of them to be less than durable, and often less than useful. I couldn’t tell you how durable the Rival popper is because its lack of utility caused us to set it aside after several uses.
It’s a standard hot air popper when it comes to making it work. Remove the lid, toss in the recommended amount of popcorn kernels, replace the lid and plug in. Put a bowl beneath the spout and wait for popcorn to emerge. The one additional handy feature is that you can warm butter over the hot air by putting it in a cup that inserts into the top of the lid.
However, not only have we found that the popper pops, on average, maybe half of the kernels put into it (very wasteful), but it often sends burning-hot un-popped kernels flying all over the room, missing the large bowl placed carefully under the spout (the spout is poorly shaped—it doesn’t do a very good job at all of funneling the output of the popper in the right direction). The last thing you want when you have curious pets or children is burning hot popcorn kernels scattered around your kitchen floor.
This kitchen item works, but only by a bare definition of “works.” I wouldn’t recommend buying it.