West Bend is well known for kitchen appliances, offering everything from coffee makers to slow cookers. The company currently offers a total of 8 popcorn poppers for sale, including oil, hot air, and “theater style” devices. The West Bend Air Crazy Hot Air Popcorn Popper (82418) is inexpensive and widely available, so how does it compare?
The Air Crazy is a compact unit, intended to be stored out of the way when not in use, and the retractable power cord helps. The power switch is another nice feature, which more expensive units often lack. A measuring cup in the top chute doubles as a butter warmer. The top chute and measuring cup are both dishwasher-safe.
Hot air poppers use a heating element and fan to heat warm air, and blow it up through the kernels. Once popped, the corn should push out through the chute into a waiting bowl. West Bend recommends a 4QT bowl to hold the 16 cups of popped corn.
For our test, we filled the measuring cup all the way (1/2 cup of kernels), plugged in the popper, and turned it on. Our bowl was filled and the popper finished in just under 3 minutes, a bit slower than other similar units (2-2 1/2 minutes is normal). There were a few more unpopped kernels in the bowl than average, but not a significant amount.
The Air Crazy was noticeably quieter than the average hot air popper (but not as quiet as the West Bend Clear Air Popcorn Machine).
West Bend provides an instruction manual for the use and cleaning of the popper, and a one-year warranty. We did not try melting butter in the measuring cup, but the directions do recommend starting with softened butter.
The power switch is a nice feature, and made the popper much easier for the kids in our family to use. The retractable power cord helped with stowage.
The West Bend Air Crazy Hot Air Popcorn Popper is quieter and more compact than most competitors. It does take a little longer to pop a 1/2 cup of kernels than other similar units, but offers several convenience features not normally found in this price range.