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7 Best Microwaves To Pop Popcorn In 2024 (Solved!)

Antonio Forde
Updated: March 30, 2024
8 min read

Every microwave available might include a popcorn button. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll deliver your favorite movie snack equally. As for anyone looking to take snack time to the next level, I would recommend the Black and Decker EM031MB11. Its speed, intuitive controls, power, and overall convenience make it, in my opinion, one of the best microwaves for quality popcorn.

How I Picked

It takes nearly 500 watts to pop a bag of popcorn. Therefore, I made sure all my recommendations exceeded this amount. The right number of watts combined with the right cook time and temperature will ensure the job gets done and delivered with desired results.

Popcorn Pre-Setting

The popcorn button on a microwave isn’t just there for convenience. By ensuring this setting is included, the microwave won’t just apply a whole lot of heat all at once. This setting will ensure the right amount of power is utilized to gradually heat all the kernels to the right temperatures.


Movie night is no fun solo. Therefore, I made sure my picks offered more than enough interior space for sharing-sized popcorn.


Budget is always a big deciding factor. Getting every cent of your money’s worth is extremely important these days. That’s why all these options made the list.

Top Pick
BLACK+DECKER EM031MB11 Digital Microwave Oven with Turntable Push-Button Door, Child Safety Lock, 1000W, 1.1cu.ft, Black & Stainless Steel, 1.1 Cu.ft
Black And Decker EM031MB11 Digital Microwave

The trusted Black and Decker name along with convenience and technology easily sets the EM031MB11 apart from the competition.

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To the household industry, the Black and Decker name is as familiar as today’s top movie stars. That is one of the top reasons I hold the EM031MB11 to the highest standards. When you choose to buy Black and Decker, you are investing in a reputable name that’s grown to become synonymous with quality and dependability.

It doesn’t just feature an intuitive pre-programmed popcorn button. The EM031MB11 offers an additional 5 pre-programmed settings, including everything from pizza to potatoes, dinner plates, beverages, and even frozen vegetables. It certainly isn’t the biggest dog in the yard, but with an interior space of 1.4 cubic feet, you shouldn’t have a problem perfectly heating family-sized popcorn.

All of this along with the brightly, lit interior lighting and you’ll be able to watch your popcorn come to life as it cooks. It might be a bit heavy, weighing in at 40 pounds, but this just contributes to its all-stainless steel design. Sheer durability and fingerprint-resistant, making maintaining and cleaning virtually painless.

Budget Pick
TOSHIBA EM131A5C-BS Countertop Microwave Ovens 1.2 Cu Ft, 12.4' Removable Turntable Smart Humidity Sensor 12 Auto Menus Mute Function ECO Mode Easy Clean Interior Black Color 1100W
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven

If budget was my biggest concern, the Toshiba with its sheer power, size, and intuitive heating controls would be my go-to model.

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I made sure the entire list here were great buys for the money, but when it comes to the very best, look no further than the Toshiba EM131A5C-BS. Toshiba, also a reputable and known name, offers a 1.2 cubic foot, technologically advanced appliance. The special smart sensor ensures all your cooks get the right amount of time and heat by accurately measuring and monitoring humidity.

10 different power settings along with the one-touch start popcorn button will ensure the most intuitive and quickest cooks possible. Along with the total 1100 watts of power, you won’t have a problem getting any sized dish, plate, bowl, or bag heated perfectly. The must-have feature here is the grab-and-go handle.

The durable grab-and-go handle does away with the mechanical push-button door opener. Instead, simply grab the handle, open it, place your dishes inside, shut the door, and set. It’s simply one less thing to go wrong!

Also Great
Farberware Countertop Microwave 1000 Watts, 1.1 cu ft - Microwave Oven With LED Lighting and Child Lock - Perfect for Apartments and Dorms - Easy Clean Stainless Steel
Farberware 1.1 Cubic Foot Countertop Microwave

Ample interior space along with beauty and elegance to match make this model a justifiable purchase for me.

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Backed with a one-year warranty, you can put your worries to rest when you invest in the Farberware 1.1 Cubic Foot Microwave. This stylish model offers a total interior cooking capacity of 1.1 cubic feet with a sleek stainless steel design. There aren’t many appliances that look good sitting on a countertop, but that isn’t the case with the Farberware.

Its black steel face coupled with a stainless steel outline will look good sitting on your countertop. The express cooking options in conjunction with the 6 pre-programmed auto settings will eliminate all guesswork. Heat and reheat your favorite dishes with the touch of a single button.

This model also does away with the push-button door opener and offers a strong, durable handle to grab ahold of. This with the child lock and you’ll ensure no unwanted guest abuses your beauty. This along with the other user-friendly settings and bright inside light easily make this model a must-have.

Sharp ZSMC2242DS, Stainless Steel Countertop 1200 Watt Microwave Oven, cu. ft, 2.2 CuFt
Sharp ZSMC2242DS Stainless Steel Countertop Microwave

Huge cooking power backed with interior space and inventive technology put this Sharp on the map.

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The 2.2 cubic feet of interior space make the Sharp ZSMC2242DS one of the biggest models on the list. It might take up a bit more counter space, but there is simply no awkwardly-shaped dish or plate that won’t comfortably fit inside. Its 16-inch removable rotating turntable will spin your dishes as they heat, ensuring even and efficient cooking.

The turntable and trackwheel can also easily be removed for quick and convenient maintenance. The beautiful blue LED control display will hold your clock time and cooking settings. All this along with the 6 presets and 1200 watts of power and you’ll get your snacks on the table in a rush. 

Don’t worry about guessing for the right settings because the precise cook sensor technology will ensure the appliance adjusts to the most efficient heating seconds. It’ll lower and raise temperatures automatically based on interior cooking conditions like temperature and humidity. There is also an auto defrost that regulates thawing tasks even more accurately.

Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN936B Black Countertop with Inverter Technology and Genius Sensor, 2.2 Cubic Foot, 1250W
Panasonic NN-SN936B Countertop Microwave

A well-reputed name that offers a family-sized cooking interior coupled with patented smart heating technology.

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Panasonic decided to do away with the traditional white or silver exterior design. And they knocked it out of the park with the Panasonic NN-SN936B. Its sleek and stylish all-black exterior brings something a little different to the modern kitchen. This with the patented

Panasonic inverter technology, and you are looking at an easily justifiable purchase.

The inverter technology offers a seamless stream of heating power that delivers consistently and evenly on all dishes. The advanced turbo-defrost option will come in handy when you forget to sit dinner out the morning or night before.

All that with the 16 1/2” turntable and 1250 watts of power, I can get any meal ready and prepared hassle-free.

Other pluses are the blue LED, 14 preset cooking options, and the keep warm feature that helps soups, gravies, and desserts hold their heat until they are ready to be served. Just another testament to the technological advances Panasonic has become known for.

This is one of the largest turntables available, but don’t let that deter you. It was specifically designed to be thinner, lighter, and more efficient than your traditional offerings.

Amazon Basics Microwave, Small, 0.7 Cu. Ft, 700W, Works with Alexa
Amazon Basics Microwave

Amazon offers something entirely different here with its compact design and voice-activated controls.

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When it comes to technology, convenience, and simplicity, it is hard to surpass the Amazon Microwave. Amazon has become one of the world’s leading online retailers, so it only makes sense they would delve into the microwave industry. They did it big with their Basics Microwave.

Their patented microwave really simplifies the entire popcorn process. From voice-activated commands to auto reorder programs, you’ll never be without when movie night rolls around.

Sign up automatically with Amazon’s popcorn reorder program and you’ll save 10 percent on all popcorn purchase orders. Being that the microwave connects to Alexa, you can cook your dishes with simple voice commands.

The Basics Microwave might be one of the smaller microwaves on the list, but it still offers 0.7 cubic feet of interior cooking space. This is ample enough space for a variety of popcorn.

Don’t be deterred by the size and simplistic design because this bad boy offers 10 power levels, a child lock, and a removable turntable that makes maintenance simple. This microwave offers the best popcorn results with bags less than 3 ounces. Anything more might be too much.

GE Profile PEM31SFSS Countertop Microwave
GE Profile PEM31SFSS Countertop Microwave

Another known household name with an arsenal of power, features, and convenience. All in a sleek design!

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GE is a well-respected name in the household industry, and that’s one of the reasons their intuitive microwave made the list. A name you can count on is extremely important, but this bad boy boasts features that impress. With 800 watts of sheer cooking power combined with 1.1 cubic feet of interior space, you won’t have a problem cooking up a variety of popcorn dishes.

GE not only designed a beautiful, sleek appliance in the PEM31SFSS, but they offer an additional trim kit. The trim kit will help keep the microwave better hidden and give your kitchen that built-in look. The kit is an additional purchase but not entirely necessary with the sleek silver and black color scheme.

The GE would be an addition just sitting on any countertop.

Some of the disadvantages to the GE are the sheer size and push-button door. Although the microwave offers a spacious 1.1 cubic feet of interior space, the manufacturer went a bit over with their exterior dimensions (17 3/8 x 9 x 12 ¼ inches). This does offer a slim profile but consumes more of a footprint. There is no door handle, leaving the door to be operated with a mechanical push-button, but I found the GE more than a justifiable purchase.

With its pre-programming controls and intuitive display, you can customize your entire cooking experience.

Can I Pop Popcorn in All Microwaves?

You’ve likely noticed that even the most basic microwaves today come with a pre-programmed popcorn button. This leaves many to assume that all microwaves cook popcorn the same.

This is a huge misconception, as not all microwaves can deliver the style and size of popcorn you need and love. First off, it takes at least 500 watts to heat a kernel to the popping stage. Being that this is the minimum power requirement, it will take much with only 500 watts. This might not even be enough power to reach the kernels deepest in the bag, depending on the size of the bag. Simply put, most microwaves rated for 500 watts or better will pop a kernel, but that doesn’t mean they’ll deliver the best results.

What Size Microwave Do You Need to Pop Popcorn?

Family night is no fun without a great movie and buttery bucket of your favorite brand of popcorn. You don’t want to run down to the local cinema and buy a $15 bucket of popcorn when you can conveniently serve it in your home for only a mere fraction of the cost. This, of course, will mean that you need a microwave that can produce desired results.

As you learned above, it takes at least 500 watts to pop a kernel. Running out and buying a 500-watt microwave won’t solve all your popcorn problems.

You’ll need to consider the sizes of bags or buckets you intend to pop, along with the style of microwave you are buying. If you plan on investing in a turntable, you’ll need to make sure that your bags or buckets are of the size where they’ll rotate freely.

Turntable microwaves rely on spinning to deliver evenly heated dishes. While this might not be a problem with microwaves without a turntable, you’ll still want to make sure the bags fit comfortably inside without bunching on the sides.

The size of the microwave you choose comes down to the size of bags or buckets you tend on producing. The style of microwave can make a big difference as well.

Does the Power of a Microwave Affect How Well It Makes Popcorn?

Yes, you better believe that the power output of a microwave affects the end results of your popcorn. While it only takes 500 watts of power to heat a kernel, this doesn’t mean the heat inside the microwave will reach all the kernels in the bag. This all can depend on the style of microwave and the size of bags or bucket you are heating.

That being said, this doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy a 1200-watt microwave because it offers a lot of power. Sheer power is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to cooking popcorn. Too much wattage is likely to lead to burn kernels.

It simply comes down to a matter of the most accessible kernels in the bag or bucket receiving too much heat.

The best approach is to utilize a microwave specifically built for popcorn with a popcorn setting. The models I chose above all use heat and technology that gradually lowers and raises heat.

This ensures that all the kernels in the bucket, bag, or bowl receive their needed amount of heat. Any of the models above are more than capable of delivering evenly heated popcorn.

Written by
Antonio Forde
I'm the head-writer @ Ask The Home Geek (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing & editing the majority of the content here). Current learning project: Korean.
Have any questions? Write us a message.
Antonio Forde
I'm the head-writer @ Ask The Home Geek (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing & editing the majority of the content here). Current learning project: Korean.