If you’re on the lookout for a popcorn popper and can’t decide between a Whirley pop stainless steel popper vs an aluminum one, then you’re in the right place. Sit down, relax and grab some popcorn (isn’t this why you’re here?).

Whirley Pop Popcorn Popper

Now, for many, the difference between a Whirley pop stainless steel popper and an aluminum one can be quite confusing, I mean they are from the same company, look mostly the same but are made of just a different material, surely the differences can’t be so vast, right?

Wrong! While it’s true they are from the same company and mostly look the same, the difference in material is a huge sticking point and one that, in more ways than one, will lead to different outputs.

Although many use them for their advertised purpose, you’ll be surprised to find out just how many people actually use popcorn popper to roast coffee beans, however, these haven’t been catered for in this post, as I’ll be focussing mainly on the suitability of either material for popcorn popping.

So let’s get into it, we’ll start with the stainless steel model;

Whirley Pop Stainless Steel

More often than not, the stainless steel popper from Whirley is a tad difficult to come across, and there’s a good reason for that, and no, it’s not because it’s more expensive.

In recent times, the stainless steel popper has gained popularity due to the fact that it’s induction stove compatible and seems to be selling like hotcakes.

While Stainless Steel is loved for its durability and toughness, these two properties also mean that it is a slow conductor of heat than Aluminum and therefore will take a tad longer to heat up.

Thankfully, the folks over at Wabash valley (makers of Whirley poppers) know this, and this stainless steel popper comes with a heat-conducting aluminum core which aids faster and more even popping.

Even with the aluminum core in place, some have reported that the stainless versions pop a tad slower than their aluminum counterparts, so keep that in mind.

While it’s true that both poppers have a crank in the lid that stirs the popcorn kernels, the fact that the first kernels take longer to pop in the stainless steel popper means there’s a higher chance of having a couple of burnt kernels.

It’s for this reason, that some of the best popcorn poppers combine the best of both worlds, giving the popper a stainless steel frame and lid, but making sure that the base of the popper is made from aluminum.

All isn’t lost for stainless Steel though, as it’s the only viable option when it comes to popping popcorn on an induction cooktop. Also, as earlier mentioned, many will love stainless steel for its durability and toughness and it is no different here.

Additionally, all stainless steel poppers from the company come with metal gears so you’ll have yourself an even stronger popper that should serve you for years.

Aluminum Whirley pop popcorn popper

The more common option, the Aluminum Whirley popcorn popper promises the perfect popcorn snack in just three minutes and costs about half the price of its stainless steel counterpart.

Many people will agree that aluminum is by far the best material for popping popcorns, and it’s all down to one reason, high heat conductivity. Unlike stainless steel, aluminum conducts heat quickly which means that the heat from your stove will be transferred to your kernels a lot quicker (up to 50% quicker).

Not only will this limit cases of burnt kernels, but will almost more likely result in more evenly popped kernels.

Of course, being made a slightly thinner material, the popper will most likely not be as durable as stainless steel, however that shouldn’t be much of an issue if you handle it well.

You’ll also be assured by the fact that it also comes with a 25-year warranty from the company.

The main issue with the popper though should be the fact that it’s not induction cooktop compatible and so should be avoided if you’re using an induction cooktop in your home.

Things to keep in mind when choosing a Whirley pop


Only the Stainless steel version of the Whirley Popcorn popper is induction friendly, so if you have an induction cooktop in your home, that’s the version you should be going for.


If you’re on a tight budget, the Aluminum version should be what you’re looking for as it costs about half as much as the Stainless Steel popcorn poppers.


If you care about how long the popper should last, then you’ll be just fine with the Stainless steel version as the material is more often than not more durable and heavier than aluminum.

Quality and Time

Because aluminum conducts heater faster, it’s the best material for a popcorn popper, and the popcorn from the aluminum poppers will taste a tad better and will pop a tad faster.

Alternatives: The best of both worlds

As earlier mentioned, the very best popcorn poppers should combine the durability of stainless steel and the high conductivity of aluminum, coming with a stainless steel build paired with an aluminum base.

Enter the Great Northern Popcorn Stainless Steel popper. This is one of those that combine the greatness of a stainless steel build with an aluminum base, bringing the best of both worlds and offering a package that will give you the best-popped popcorn and ensure durability.

Which Whirley Pop has metal gears?

Most of Whirley Pop’s popcorn poppers can be had with either nylon or metal gears. Below is a table that breaks everything down.

Silver Whirley PopAluminumNylon or Metal
Red Whirley PopAluminumNylon or Metal
Color Changing Whirley PopAluminumNylon or Metal
Stainless Steel Whirley PopStainless SteelMetal
Copper Plated Stainless Steel Whirley Pop Stainless Steel Metal
Platinum Series Stainless Steel Popper Stainless Steel Metal
Source: whirleypopshop.com

You can view the full table here

Can you use Whirley Pop on induction stove?

Yes, you can. It’ll have to be the stainless steel version though.

Aluminum Whirley pop popcorn poppers are not induction friendly, so you should be going for the stainless steel versions if you have an induction cooktop in your home.

Can I use Whirley Pop on gas stove?

Yes, both aluminum and stainless steel Whirley poppers can be used on a gas stove.

Only the stainless steel poppers can be used on a glass/inudction cooktop though, so keep that in mind.

Can Whirley Pop go in a Dishwasher?

Wabash valley the makers of the Whirley Pop don’t recommend putting the poppers in a Dishwasher. While some will suggest that the pot itself is dishwasher safe, it’s generally not a good idea as it could void your warranty.

Cleaning a whirley pop popper is quite easy though and will only take you a couple of minutes.

Check out this post if for the complete guide on how to clean a whirley pop.

Is Whirley Pop aluminum?

The original silver Whirley Pop is made from aluminum. Similarly, many of the company’s other poppers are made from aluminum.

Wabash Valley has also added a couple of stainless steel poppers under its portfolio. Additionally, The company’s “traditional shake and pop” outdoor popper is made from Tin.

Below is table that shows all the company’s poppers and the material they’re made from;

Silver Whirley PopAluminum
Red Whirley PopAluminum
Color Changing Whirley PopAluminum
Stainless Steel Whirley PopStainless Steel
Copper Plated Stainless Steel Whirley Pop Stainless Steel
Platinum Series Stainless Steel Popper Stainless Steel
Source: whirleypopshop.com

You can view the full table here

Final Word

While both aluminum and stainless steel Whirley pop poppers have a lot of similarities, the difference in material means that the two are quite different in more ways than one.

For most people, the aluminum popper should be more than enough as it makes the more perfect popcorns, however, this version is not induction compatible and so it isn’t an option for people with only induction cooktops in their homes.

Be sure to do your due diligence before deciding which one of the two will suit your need best.

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