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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 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 February 3, 2016
After having two of these poppers in the last 40ish years and loving them, we had to order a third. It didn't pop nearly as much as the previous ones we had and the corn comes out rubbery and chewy. We tried buying fresher popcorn and it still did not pop as before. Amazon was contacted and they graciously sent us another one but the same problem occurred with that one. I contacted West Bend and was told that "yes the newer models are not the same" and "do not operate the same." With that said, I will be looking for another brand.
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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 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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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?
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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 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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on April 9, 2018
You know how they say that classic design sticks around? Well I am in my forth decade of life, and I remember my mom breaking our popcorn popper out when I was a kid. I still have fond memories of being fascinated waiting for the first pop. Watching the kernels that would seemingly get stuck under the stirring bar. Smiling hard when the pops would go from one or two, to seemingly hundreds at a time. And finally tipping over the appliance and having a built in bowl to hold all the delicious. I was delighted that these were still made, and that I could share the joy with my kids. And they were just as fascinated as I once was. This machine makes some mighty fine pop corn. And it puts on a show while doing it. It is effortless, unlike the might jiffy pop that you have to stand there over a burner and shake non stop. It is very easy to clean thanks to the removable stirring bar. Nd I don’t have to dirty up extra dishes because the top is a bowl. I am happy to continue the tradition of real “homemade” popcorn while avoiding all the chemicals and artificial junk in microwave popcorn.
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on July 1, 2016
I purchased this popcorn popper in December 2015 as an outlet for healthy snacking. I experimented with olive oil, walnut oil, and grape seed oil. Grape seed oil seemed to yield the best results in both taste and ability to quickly heat and pop all of the kernels. I used this machine an average of 5 nights per week. Also note I followed the instructions carefully and cleaned the heating area with great care after each use.

At first, it popped literally every single kernel. This is the kind of performance I hoped for and I reduced the amount of each batch. Around February, it was barely popping half of a batch and then only one-third was popped. I thought the kernels weren't popping because the kernels had grown stale, but subsequent batches from freshly purchased stock yielded the same disappointing results.

I'll have to follow-up on the warranty information to see if it still qualifies. I would not recommend this product due to its short performance life.
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on August 14, 2015
 this makes amazing popcorn! I got this for my dad for his 70th birthday and he and my mom loved it. It makes it so easy to make fantastic popcorn without such a huge mess. You just need this popper for popping, and then you also are able to use it for seasoning (butter or that coconut popcorn oil) You don't need an air popper for the popcorn then a little pot for melting butter and then yet another bowl to eat from. Its all in one!
My dad and I used 2 TBl Sunflower oil to 2/3 cups kernels ( walmart brand) and then of course used the butter area to melt butter. It worked great and the popcorn was the best i have had! Let it cool a little before trying because when you first try it, it might be a bit chewy, but that's because its still steamy from popping. I will update on how well it pops mushroom popcorn, because those kernels can be a bit trickier to pop perfectly. It took forever to get here! took it 7 days to ship out, and another 2 to finally get to my door, but that's more on amazon than the popper. Also the popper did have a few scratches on the bowl part (hopefully they do not become more than that)
*UPDATE* it pops mushroom popcorn perfectly! But you need to heat it up with the oil and three kernels, but once the 3 kernels pop stop it take them out and add the rest of the kernels.
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