Which cotton candy machine is best?
Cotton candy may be one of the most nostalgic markers of childhood joy. Bringing back memories of summer nights at a traveling circus or local carnival, cotton candy machines let you spin clouds of pillowy sugar in the comfort of your backyard. The best cotton candy machine means this delicious treat is just minutes away.
How to select a cotton candy machine
Commercial vs. home use
The first consideration is whether you want a machine for commercial or home use.
- Commercial: Commercial machines are durable and built to last through many servings of fluffy spun sugar. Although this is great in theory, in practice this makes commercial cotton candy machines heavier and more expensive. If you only make this confection now and then, it may not be worth it.
- Home use: For the average home cook who just wants to make cotton candy for the occasional birthday party or sleepover, machines designed for home use may be the best choice. These are more affordable and also more compact.
Cart vs. countertop
You’ll need to determine how and where you’ll use your cotton candy machine when deciding between a cart versus a countertop style.
- Cart: Carts are great for cotton candy poolside or somewhere other than your kitchen. However, they do require additional storage space and can be more expensive.
- Countertop: Countertop models have a smaller footprint and perform just as well as carts. They can be used anywhere there is an outlet, but they need a sturdy, heat-resistant surface to sit on.
Important cotton candy machine features
The best cotton candy machines come loaded with features that bring the aromas and flavors of the fair to your door.
The first thing to look for is quick heating. Some cotton candy machines take as many as six minutes, while others can be ready to go in just two. Commercial machines are more likely to heat faster.
Nearly instant candy floss
When your machine is ready to go, no one wants to wait for their treat. Machines that hold their heat better produce more servings of cotton candy in less time.
The speed of treat creation is related to the number of watts your machine uses. Commercial machines with 1,800 watts can churn out six servings of cotton candy per minute, while lower-watt machines (900 or less) may only make one in the same amount of time.
A clear dome keeps the thin, sugary threads in the bowl (and not all over the counter or the lawn). Look for a dome with a wide opening in the front. This lets you easily insert a hand to gather the cotton candy.
Because of the heat involved in melting and spinning sugar into delicate floss, safety features are critical. These include locking mechanisms on the bowl and heat-safe exteriors that stay cool.
Regardless of which safety features your cotton candy machine includes, children should never operate these machines without adult supervision.
A large reservoir means your machine can create multiple servings without the need for sugar refills. Look for a reservoir that can hold at least as many servings as there are people in your household.
Included floss sugar
If you are new to cotton candy making, it may be best to purchase the machine that comes with floss sugar to get you started. This lets you try multiple flavors and doesn’t send you back to the store for specialty sugar products.
The best cotton candy machines
It heats up in less than three minutes so you can have cotton candy faster. Built-in music and lights make it seem like you’re at the county fair. It makes up to four servings of cotton candy per minute.
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The kit includes five sugar flavors — cherry, grape, blue raspberry, orange and pink vanilla — plus 50 paper cones for serving. Each flavor makes 20 servings. It’s compact and easy to use in both indoor and outdoor settings.
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This commercial-grade machine heats up in four minutes and makes fluffy cotton candy in less than 30 seconds. It has large wheels for easy maneuvering and adjustable legs for more stability. Shelves on either side of the cotton candy basin hold three completed cones of cotton candy each. It’s easy to operate.
Use either sugar or hard candy to spin three to four servings of cotton candy per minute. This durable commercial-grade machine heats quickly. The direct drive motor minimizes noise and shaking, and the countertop machine sits on rubber feet for more stability.
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Beginners can explore the world of cotton candy as well as other types of candy making that include Nerds, Lifesavers and Soda Poppers. Although it takes longer to heat than some of the other commercial models, it performs just as well when it’s ready to go, producing up to three servings per minute. It includes a large bowl and a dome.
This takes five minutes to heat up and makes a serving of cotton candy every 30 seconds. The large bowl means less sugar refilling, and locking clips keep it stable during operation. The built-in supply drawer is perfect for storing cotton candy sticks, cones and sugar floss. It is available in three colors and comes with or without a cover.
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This countertop machine comes with everything you need to get started, including three flavors of sugar floss and two reusable cones. Operate it with a simple on-off switch and an LED power gauge that lets you know when it’s ready to spin. It can also be used with hard candy.
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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