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on July 20, 2017
I had a Stir Crazy for over a decade when I decided to replace it. Some of the nonstick surface was starting to come off so we chucked it and anxiously awaited our new one. Wow. What a mistake. The first one we received would not heat. So we had to return it. Thankfully amazon returns are always easy and we got a new one asap. This second one was working fine until last week when the securing knob broke after only 3 months of use (maybe used 4 or 5 times?). I can order the piece I need at 25% of the cost of a brand new popper...plus shipping and handling. But since it's within the 1 year warranty from West Bend I am trying to get them to send me the knob for free. Still waiting for that.

At one time I recommended these to all my friends for family movie nights. I really do not feel comfortable doing that anymore. Pass on this product.

Edit: received part 8/1/17. It still doesn't work. Very disappointed the last 2 of these I've bought have both been defective. This time I'm out of Amazon return window. Not buying a West bend product again.
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I grew up with a Stir Crazy popcorn popper and it was a wonderful childhood memory. As an adult I was excited to find that West Bend was still making these poppers.

Well, I've been through three Stir Crazy poppers now. All three poppers have had the same two problems. 1: The plastic bowl starts to melt around the edges after a few uses. 2: The stirring rod scrapes the surface of the popper as it turns, which destroys the teflon coating. After a few months, there was a silver groove in the teflon of all three poppers. I even tried to readjust the stirring rod several times, hoping that would reduce the friction, but nothing helped.

I really hate to think of teflon being scraped into my popcorn. So, as much as I loved the Stir Crazy popper, I will not be buying another unit. If the West Bend company improves the plastic bowl and cooking surface, I will be first in line!
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Our family has been doing microwave popcorn forever, but when my wife wanted to have popcorn for guests at a gathering we were planing, I knew microwave popcorn wouldn't cut it.
I researched and found all the secrets (flavocal, popcorn poping oil, etc..), and made a couple of batches with the stove-top pan method which was good.
When this arrived I used the same recipe, and it came out even better.
The main difference between using a pan on the stove top and using the stir crazy was that the flavacal and popping oil seemed to encompass more of the popcorn when popped with the stir crazy.
With the stove top method, about half the popcorn had very little or no seasoning or color. I'm not sure if this had to do with the pan I was using or the fact that the stir crazy was constantly stirring the corn vs just shaking the pan, but the end results were better with the stir crazy in my test.
I did not try melting butter on the top while it popped, as I usually don't butter my popcorn, so I can't speak to how well or poorly that works.
I will say, the stir crazy popped the corn very well and with a little help from "Flavocal" (added to the oil when popping) and "Paragon Coconut Popcorn Popping Oil" the results were very good.

Post party update:
It made several batches for our guests and everyone loved it!
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on April 25, 2016
I purchased this to replace the Kettle Crazy model which lasted many years until the teflon wore off. By comparison, the Stir Crazy is terrible. Here are my complaints:

- Cheap, thin metal cooking pan. Heats quickly, but also very quickly burns the popcorn if you don't immediately turn it off and flip the thing over to remove the corn, and I'm talking within 15 seconds or you'll have scorched corn. The Kettle Crazy is heavier metal, and you can therefore wait until the pops die down a few seconds.

- Cheap, thin metal stir rod. Doesn't sit evenly on the cheap plastic center pivot, which means it doesn't move corn on 50% of the sweep. No way to bend it down closer to the pan, because of how it already bends from the pivot. The Kettle Crazy has a thick aluminum bar to stir, and it rocks, plus bendable because the angles are different.

- Cheap, thin nonstick coating. Already at the edges I can see where the coating didn't quite get applied. Seriously? Very poor quality.

- Cheap plastic bowl material. Again, comparing to the Kettle Crazy, the bowl is very flexible at the handles when it gets heated by the machine during popping. The handles and bowl feel like they're approaching putty softness, although I haven't seen them deform permanently. When I take the bowl off, it's surprisingly supple, let's just say.

- There is a gap between the metal pan and the plastic inside edge of the housing for the burner. Predictably, water and popping oil will enter this gap when popping or cleaning. The oil then smokes and burns off during the next cycle, which is a complete house-filler. A ridiculous flaw that should never have survived the first draft of the plans for this unit. Your option then is to wipe down the unit with a wet cloth, and somehow rinse away the residue without subjecting to a stream of water, or to orient the gap so that water runs away from the housing (upside down in the sink). The Kettle Crazy is a continuous pan, teflon coated, and easy to rinse in the sink without fear or water entering the unit.

- Cord needs to be 1 foot longer, at minimum. Another inexplicable decision, probably a result of the corporate legal team and the UL conspiring to reduce wire gauge to a minimum while ensuring no one will be able to pop more than a couple feet from an outlet. Irritating.

I can't believe the difference between this product and the Kettle Crazy, both by West Bend. Obviously not a collaborative effort.

Here's what I do like:

- Pops quickly and reasonably few unpopped kernels
- Bowl shape on this has a little more side bulge than the Kettle Crazy, which allows the popped corn to expand and the unpopped kernels to fall back down more easily. It's a minor difference, but I did notice it during use.
- It is somewhat lighter overall than the Kettle Crazy, undoubtedly due to the inferior quality of materials chosen, however.
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on February 26, 2017
I purchase this popcorn maker on january 2016, At first I loved it! Pops popcorn nicely. However after one month of use, the inside is coming off,(see picture) how disappointing! Now I wonder am i eating the metal with my popcorn?
review imagereview image
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on August 24, 2017
I have a long history with these poppers. My parents bought one in the late 70's we used it regularly and I believe it is still working, although I know it isn't getting used much these last years. I bought mine in 1984 in college and used it about 20 years. I eventually cracked the lid and after moving to a nicer place decided to buy an new one and give the old one away. (Its still in use today) The unit I bought about 2005 is still working great and I have purchased one for my daughter in law who eats popcorn 5 nights a week. She is in love with it and has no problems these last 2 years. When it is still hot, we give it a quick wipe out. I treat it more like cast iron than Teflon. Wipe out the excess oil and leave it alone. Every once in a while we may take a soapy sponge to it, but it has been working without fail.
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on December 18, 2016
Wouldn't pop all the kernals almost from the start and then just stopped popping any kernals. Tried everything even considered it was the popcorn. It wasn't the popcorn. Our old Stir Crazy was a trusted workhorse until the non-stick coating started to wear off and now we're stuck with a lemon of a popcorn popper. Exactly two months since the purchase. Amazon only gave a one month window for return. Do they know something I didn't know? Will try contacting the manufacturer and see if they will stand behind this terrible thing.
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VINE VOICEon November 20, 2017
Just ok. I wish it had a handle on the side or on the top for easier removal when you want to add the popcorn. At first I was adding the popcorn immediately but it was really chewy. I now add it after it has heated up for a few minutes, but by that time the entire top is hot and I have to wear gloves to get the top off and then on again. I wish I would have done more research before buying this. Also, if you put butter on the top to melt, it covers the steam holes and that makes your popcorn chewy too. Would not recommend it.
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on November 4, 2016
I make popcorn virtually every evening and use organic popcorn. This is the fourth 82306 west bend popcorn popper I've had. The first one was terrific, it lasted until it was inadvertently pushed off a counter and a handle broke off. The second one lasted between 2 & 3 years before it started having issues with the number of kernels that wouldn't pop. I was unlucky with the third one and it developed the same problem as the second one where it would leave a large number of kernels that were not popped. The new one is working terrific, virtually 100% of the kernels are popped. The only issue is the potential amount of time the popcorn popper works effectively. I suspect that what happens is that the heating element starts to go bad and this is what results in the unpopped popcorn.
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on March 23, 2016
Previous owner of Stir Crazy units, going back to the 80's and units made in US, yellow bowls and all.
Bought this without reading reviews, based on past performance. This version falls short compared to our past units.
To be fair, our first Stir Crazy probably cost twice or even three times what we paid for this one, taking inflation into account.
BUT:
Stirring rod motor was too weak to turn with un-popped corn and oil - would stop and reverse direction, then "rinse & repeat".
Whether from lack of stirring or low heat, about one third of popcorn was not popped.
And after reading other reviews, I believe it's safe to say that new owners/manufacturers may have quality control issues, i.e. inconsistent.
Shame, because the thin bowl used in previous versions has been fixed with a thicker one. Added one star for the improvement.
But, I'd rather pay $10 more for something that lasts.
Unit returned.
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