Something to watch for when buying a 'whirly' style stovetop popcorn popper: Plastic pieces that break

I can't really complain too much.  It was a Christmas gift at a "white elephant" style party and they retail for about $15-20 but our Wabash Valley Farms Stovetop Popcorn Popper broke within 1 year. 

If you look at the photo above you can see the gear that turns the inner mechanism to stir the kernels is made of beige plastic.  Although it's on the outside of the pot so it doesn't get direct heat, it still heats up from the very (very) thin metal and after about 8 uses, a 'tooth' of the gear broke.  In the picture above it had just snapped, was turned sideways, and with another turn of the crank-handle it snapped off completely. 

Had it been made of metal (even cheap metal) I would give this a 5 out of 5 stars, however I have to give it a 2 because of the plastic parts and the fact that it broke off with very limited use.  The popcorn maker was used about once a month for 7 or 8 months before it broke and since I am the only person in our family that likes popcorn, our Wabash Valley Farms popper has never been 'full' much less over-filled and it's never been 'stuck' or forced in any way.  Just regular, simple cranking, making a batch of popcorn to enjoy while reading a book or watching a movie.

Like I said though, I can't complain too much as there are better made options out there...  and to be honest I love the style, I love the idea, I love love love the flavor (!!!) and I will probably purchase another similar popper.  This time however, I will look for one without plastic parts.  Just FYI - many people on Amazon give it good reviews and say they've never had issues with the plastic gear.  We may have just gotten a 'bad' one.

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