The Presto PowerPop Microwave Multi-Popper will produce fantastic popcorn after you figure out how long it needs to be in your microwave or if it's even compatible with your microwave. Some users blame the popper for ruining their machines. The popper is easy to use, but it needs to be assembled with cardboard-like inserts called concentrators, which can be purchased in bulk, but some owners find them annoying. Another important factor to consider: The lid is made of a polycarbonate material, which may contain trace amounts of BPA.
Perfectly popped popcorn. Professional testers and owners say you can make delicious popcorn with the Presto PowerPop once you adjust the popping time to your microwave. Otherwise, your popcorn may have too many unpopped kernels or come out scorched. The PowerPop consists of a microwavable plastic bowl that needs a cardboard-like paper tray called a concentrator for it to work. The popper includes an initial set of eight, and more can be purchased in bulk. The concentrators get darker with each use and users generally replace them when they get scorched. Just don't forget to pop it in, cautions one Amazon owner, otherwise the results can be disastrous.
Easy but requires a paper insert. To make popcorn, you'll need to snap a removable plastic base to the popping bowl and then place the concentrator at the bottom. Even owners who love the unit resent having to track down and buy the concentrators, which often can't be found in stores and run about $3.50 for a package of eight. Still, fans say this method is cheaper than using microwavable bags. Without oil, each insert should make 24 batches, and with oil, 12. A few owners, who use oil, say they get only two or three uses out of each concentrator.
Not compatible with all microwaves. The PowerPop will fit in microwaves with cavity sizes over 6.5 inches tall by 10 inches wide. Several owners say the popper doesn't work in their microwaves, while many others blame the PowerPop for destroying their machines with no advance warning. A Presto Industries representative says users should consult with the microwave manufacturer for compatibility. The bowl and lid are dishwasher-safe, and owners say the popper is easy to store. Some owners were dismayed to learn that the lid may contain bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone-mimicking compound that is a primary component in polycarbonate plastic. However, the bowl does not contain BPA.
1. Good Housekeeping
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute tested five popcorn models and graded them on a scale of A to F. The Presto PowerPop popcorn popper garnered the highest grade, a B-plus, because it popped the corn to "near perfection."
Review: Popcorn Popper Reviews, Editors of Good Housekeeping magazine, January 2009
2. Cook's Illustrated
Cook's Illustrated editors tested four all-plastic popcorn poppers, evaluating for popcorn taste and user friendliness. Units are rated "recommended," "recommended with reservations" and "not recommended." The Presto PowerPop Microwave Multi-Popper was one of the models reviewed.
Review: Microwave Popcorn Poppers, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Updated May 2013
About 560 users gave the Presto PowerPop an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars, with 67 percent giving the unit a perfect score. Numerous owners say its popcorn doesn't taste air-popped. However, among the negative reviews there were some scary stories of the PowerPop being incompatible with some microwaves.
Review: Presto 04830 PowerPop Microwave Multi-Popper, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of August 2013
Nearly 50 owners gave the Presto PowerPop an average 91 out of 100 score, giving it particularly high marks for performance and ease of use. Reviewers say the popper is durable, and they love the option of making popcorn without oil. They don't like tracking down the disposable concentrators.
Review: Presto PowerPop Microwave Multi-Popper 04830 Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of August 2013
The 20-plus reviews on Target's website are mostly positive. One user advises taking out the concentrator after the popcorn has been popped but before you add oil and salt to make it last longer. However, one owner writes that his concentrators have caught on fire several times.
Review: Presto PowerPop Microwave Popper, Contributors to Target.com, As of August 2013