Stainless steel has long been the leading material for fabricating commercial food service equipment. It’s easily cleanable, looks professional, is a hard/durable metal, and resists corrosion and rust.
We strongly feel an aluminum popping machine is inferior, in many ways, to stainless steel or even plain steel. Unlike stainless steel, aluminum will corrode over time; its “rust” forms as a white, chalky oxide. Aluminum has a “grippy” property to it, which would make cleaning your machine a real chore. In fact, some commercial cleaners (such as Easy-Off oven cleaner) will pit and discolor soft metals like aluminum. It also has a very low melting point; when exposed to high heat, it discolors and warps much sooner than other metals. We have received feedback from some of our customers who have owned aluminum machines before upgrading to a North Bend popper; they reported that the aluminum on their machine would quickly become extremely hot, and stress points like the hinge area began to warp after only a few months. Aluminum’s ability to conduct heat is approximately 5 times more than that of stainless steel, so without proper ventilation the sides and top will become very hot. Bottom line – from an engineering standpoint, aluminum is a poor choice for building a kettle corn machine or any food service appliance. You’re intelligent – do your research, make an informed decision, and buy smart.