Best Cotton Candy Maker
Did you know that the inventor of machine spun cotton candy was actually a dentist? No matter if you are 10 or 100- everyone gets a little excited when they see this delightfully spun sugar treat. It’s such a basic dessert that is just made from sugar, but there’s just something about that fluffy texture that no one can resist. With all most all candies and desserts, there is some way to recreate it at home if you have access to a stove- but this particular treat is just a little bit more complicated. While it technically is possible to make it in your kitchen with things on hand, it can be incredibly tricky and you have to ensure that you are working with food that is at just the perfect temperature. However, with the help of one of these handy little kitchen gadgets, you can make all of deliciously spun sugar at home as long as you load up on bags of sugar at the grocery store. We have done our research to find some of the best cotton candy makers on the market so don’t have to make a special trip to the carnival every time you are in the mood for spun sugar on a stick!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 4 hrs of research
Incredibly easy to use
Top 10 Picks
Incredibly easy to use
Some users feel that machine is a little too loud
Some users feel that it takes too long to work
Our favorite pick was this option from Nostalgia. It has all of the charms of a machine that you would find at a carnival, but it comes in at a fraction of the price. This unit would look great in a rec room or just sitting on your kitchen countertop. It doesn’t make the same amount in one spin as some of the larger options on the market, but it is perfect for quiet nights at home where you just want to whip up a little treat.Read more
Included with purchase of this unit is a sugar scoop for perfectly measured servings, an extractor head, and two pink and blue plastic cones that are able to be washed and reused.
What users like most about this option is that is has that sharp red vintage look about it that will all a little bit of character to any room. It has a clear top so users can watch their treat being made, and it has a set of rubber suction cups on the base to ensure that it stays in place while in use.
Ease of use:
The best part about this option is that it is incredibly easy to use. Simply load up the base with your favorite hard candies, then add your premeasured flossing sugar to the base. Once all of your sweets are loaded up, place the lid securely on the top, and then flick the on the switch that is located on the side.
This design really won’t take up that much room on your countertop. It measures in at 11 inches long, 11 inches wide, and 12 inches tall. Plus, it weighs less than a 5-pound bag of sugar, which means it will be a snap to place in storage when not in use.
Our favorite feature of the Nostalgia is that it comes in at a very reasonable price point. While it is one of the smaller options out there on the market, it is also the most affordable as well.
We chose the Nostalgia to be our favorite pick because it is incredibly easy to use, the exterior has a lot of charm while sitting out on a countertop, and it comes in at a really great price that makes it worth a try.
2. Olde Midway
Works quickly- can make 1 cone every 30 seconds
Easy to use
Users feel that it is easy to clean
Doesn’t come with cones or sugar
The Olde Midway option comes in at a pretty high price point, but it is one of the most powerful units out there on the market. This is as close to carnival grade treats that you are going to get at home, but if you are serious about your spun sugar this is going to be well worth it.Read more
This unit has the benefit of a 3 bin storage drawer in the base of the unit to hold all of your essentials such as straws, sugars, and candies. It also comes with a sugar scoop and two extra motor drive belts.
What users really love about this unit is that they are not only able to control the heat, but they are also able to control the wattage via a small screen located on the front of the unit. Users also love the addition of a drawer at the bottom for storage. For an additional fee, you can also opt to get this option with a cart so that you can really impress your guests at your next party.
Ease of use:
This option is just a little bit more complicated to use than some of the smaller countertop options, but not by much. To use, simply turn on the power button located on the front and wait about 4 minutes to let it heat up. Once it is hot enough, pour in your pre measured sugar mixture and immediately start to twirl. This high powered unit can produce about 1 cone every 30 seconds.
It’s a little bit bigger than some of the other options, and a whole lot heavier. This unit weighs in at 30 pounds, and measures to be 23 inches wide, 22 inches long, and 18 high.
The cost of this unit is pretty expensive, and will set you back about the same amount that you spend on your name brand stand mixer.
If you are willing to dish out a good chunk of change to make delicious carnival grade treats at home- we feel that this is one of the best options out there on the market for the price.
3. The Candery
Easy to use
Users found that it runs very quietly
Some users feel that it works too slowly
This is another affordable option for those that want to try their hand at making treats at home but don’t want to pay the higher price tag as some of the more serious designs. Users love the fun and colorful design of this option as well as the incredibly affordable price point.Read more
There isn’t going to be any need to run to the store once this unit arrives, because it comes with everything that you will need to get spinning right in the box. Extras include 10 cones as well as a sugar scoop.
We love the red and white striped base to this design. Once loaded and working, users can watch their treats being made via the clear top, and it runs just a little bit quieter than some of the units out there on the market.
Ease of use:
This unit is incredibly easy to use. Simply use the sugar scoop to preload the base with your flossing sugar as well as any candies you want to favor your sugar. Turn on the unit via the simple red power button on the side, and you are ready to start twirling!
The Candery is one of the smaller options on there on the market, which is perfect for those that don’t have a lot of room to work with. It weighs in at just over 4 pounds, and measures to be 12 inches long, 10 inches wide, and 8 inches tall.
Our favorite feature about this design is that it comes in at one of the most affordable price points of any of the outer designs out there on market. This unit will likely set you back the same amount that you might have spent on your coffee maker.
We feel that this is a really great option for those that are curious about making their own spun treats at home. It doesn’t have the same horsepower as some of the more expensive models, but it is perfect for making modest treats for your next movie night at home.
Easy to use
Suction cup base holds the unit securely in place while in use
Users feel it takes too long to make just one batch
Some found that it was a little difficult to clean
This option is another great affordable choice for those that are on the fence on whether or not they would get a lot of mileage out of one of these products. This unit has a charming pink and white base, and comes with all of the tools that you will need to get spinning right out of the box.Read more
This unit comes with a set of 10 polka dotted cones as well as a measuring spoon to ensure that you measure out just the right amount of sugar.
What users really like most about this option is that is has a fun pink and white striped exterior design that looks great when placed on any countertop or table. It also has a clear rim guard to be able to watch your treat being made while protecting against spillage.
Ease of use:
We love that this unit is incredibly easy to use. Simply use the included measuring spoon and pour it into the base of the unit, or just use two of your favorite hard candies. Turn the that runs along the side to on and you are ready to start spinning.
The Secura option is a little bit smaller than some of the other options on the market. It weighs just over 4 pounds and it measures to be 12 inches long, 12 inches wide, and just 7 inches tall.
Considering the ease of use and the small compact design, this option comes in at one of the most affordable price points on the market.
If you were looking to give one of those handy little kitchen gadgets a try, this is an excellent place to start that it easy to use and won’t break the bank.
Comes with a pack of flavored sugar
Easy to use
Some found that it takes too long to make one serving
A little difficult to clean
The Carnus might cost just a little bit more than your average small countertop options, but it comes with everything that you need to get spinning- including flavored sugars! It has a sleek and simple exterior design, and it won’t take up that much room on your countertop. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to use.Read more
The best part about this option is that it comes with a lot more accessories than other designs. Users will receive a set of 8 disposable cones, a measuring spoon, and a set of flavored sugars. Flavors include cherry, pink vanilla, grape, orange, and blue raspberry.
This sleek powder blue unit comes with a set of suction cups along the bottom to keep it secure in place while in use. It also as a clear rin that will keep contents from spilling over as well as allow users to watch it being made.
Ease of Use:
It couldn’t be any more easier than this design. Simply fill the base with a premeasured spoonful of your favorite flavored sugar, and turn the button along the base to the on position. Be sure that the suction cups along the base are secure, or it may vibrate right off of the countertop!
Unlike some of the smaller home options, this unit is just a tad heavier and bulkier. It measures in at 16 inches long, 7 inches wide, and 13 inches high. It also weighs just over 8 pounds.
What we liked about this option is the affordable price tag. Keep in mind that it does cost a little bit more than some of the similar home options, but it also comes with a lot more extras such as the pack of flavored sugar.
If you want a product that comes with everything you need to fire it up right out of the box, but still comes in at an affordable price tag, the Carnus option is going to be your best bet.
Suitable for a large crowd
This option by VIVO may be a little on the expensive side, but is it going to be able to whip up a lot of floss for bigger parties and family gathers. Plus, it is still easy enough to use right at home, and it has a smaller profile that will work great even in smaller spaces.Read more
The VIVO option doesn’t come with any additional accessories, but it does come with the addition of a sugar scoop so that you can ensure you are using the right amount of sugar every time.
Rubber feet along the base will ensure that even once fired up, this unit will stay firmly in place on your countertop. It also has an easy to read front display that will allow you to adjust the power to the unit.
Ease of use:
Simply use the included sugar scoop to pour in the requisite amount of sugar into the base, and then press the power button along the front of the unit to get started. It typically takes around 2-3 minutes to make one full cone- which is pretty impressive.
This unit measures in to be 22 inches long, 22 inches wide, and stands to be 13 inches high. It also weighs about 23 pounds.
It’s important to note that the cost of this unit is going to set you back a pretty decent chunk of change. However, if you are in the market for something that will be able to accommodate a large crowd like at a birthday party or family gathering, this unit will certainly be able to keep up with the demand.
Users love this option because it is easy to use, relatively small, and is really able to produce a high volume of treats in a small amount of time. If you have the money to spend on this option that has a rather big price tag, this unit will be a perfect addition to your next big party.
Easy to use
Comes with a built in storage drawer to keep utensils and ingredients
Great for running for long periods of time
Some find this unit can be a little messy
We like this design because it is able to handle a larger audience, and it is still pretty easy to use. It’s important to note that this design is just a little bit bulkier than most, so prepare to set aside a good deal of space.Read more
Users will receive a stainless steel sugar scoop with their purchase to ensure that they use the right amount of sugar for every batch. This unit also comes with 2 additional belts in case one of the motor belts happens to break on you.
One of the things that users really like about this option is the addition of the storage bins found that the base. These bins make the unit a little bit taller than most, but it is great for keeping all of your important utensils such as your scoop, cones, and even your sugar all in one place and easy to access.
Ease of use:
This unit is very easy to to use- simply load up the center of the unit with the right amount of sugar and press the on button, as well as the heat button, and you are ready to spin. It can produce about 2-4 servings per minute.
Weighing in at 30 pounds, it is one the heavier options out there. It also measures to be 13 inches long, 20 inches wide, and 19 inches high- so be prepared to set aside a good deal of room for this unit.
While the cost of this unit is pretty high, and rivals the cost of some name brand kitchen mixers- we feel that the price is worth it, especially if you are making treats for a large group like a birthday party.
If you have the money to spend on this option, we feel that it is well worth the padded price tag. It has all of the features that you would want in one of these products, and can really make a good deal of treats in a relatively short amount of time.
8. Cotton Candy Express
Users can elect to purchase a pack that comes with flavored sugars
Easy to use
Users found that it is not easy to clean
Some users found that it will only make one serving before it needs to be cleaned
This is a great smaller option to use at home to whip up a fun treat on the weekends. It comes with a lot of accessories, and won’t take up all that much space on your countertop. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to use.Read more
The great thing about this option is that it comes with a ton of accessories that will last you for quite some time. Users will receive a pack of 50 cones, and they will have the option of selecting a pack that comes with three or five different flavors of sugar. Flavors include cherry, grape, blue raspberry, pink vanilla, or orange.
This unit has a soft pink base and a clear spill top so that you can prevent your treat from spilling over the side, but still be able to see what is happening inside the chamber. It also comes with a scoop that will measure out the perfect amount of sugar for each serving.
Ease of use:
What we love about this option is that it is a cinch to use. Simply pour in a pre-measured scoop of sugar into the chamber, and then press the on button. Once the machine is heated up, you are ready to spin, Just keep in mind, however, that this modest unit will take a little bit longer than some of the more expensive and bulky options out there on the market.
This unit only weighs about 8 pounds, and it measures to be 16 inches long, 7 inches wide, and 13 inches high.
The cost of this unit is more affordable than many of the bulky commercial grade options, but it still comes at a big of a higher price tag than most of the similar options. The good news is that users can opt to forgo the sugar packs to get this unit at a more affordable price point.
This is an excellent option for those that are looking to give these fun little kitchen gadgets a try. Users love that this unit is really easy to use, and won’t take up all that much space on their countertops.
9. Super Deal
Easy to use
Can produce 140 cones per hour
A little expensive
Does not come with any additional accessories
What we liked most about this option is that it has the look and performance of one of the higher end options, but it doesn’t come with the heavy price tag as some of the others. Users like this option because it is able to make a treats in a short amount of time, and it is relatively easy to use.Read more
The downside to this option is that it doesn’t really come with many extra accessories. Most options come with a premeasured spoon, but this option only comes with the addition of a replacement belt just in case anything goes wrong with the one equipped.
What is great about this option is that it runs just a little bit quieter than some of the other options out there on the market, and it is able to swirl up a good deal in a short amount of time.
Ease of use:
Users love that this option is so easy to use. Simply place your sugar into the center chamber of the unit, and turn the unit on and flick the heat button. Once it is at the right temperature, you are ready to get cooking. This unit can produce about 140 cones per hour.
This unit weighs about 20 pounds, and measures to be 21 inches long, 21 inches wide, and 17 inches high.
While this unit has quite the hefty price tag, it is slightly more affordable than some of the other commercial grade options that are made to produce a larger volume in a small amount of time.
This is a great choice for those that want something that is easy to use, can create a large volume in a small amount of time, and is slightly more affordable than some of the other larger units out there on the market.
10. Great Northern Company
Can make one serving in 30 seconds
HIgh quality stainless steel scoop with long safety arm included with purchase
Some users experienced the heating element dying after a few months of use
While this unit does cost quite a bit more than any of the other units making out list, we liked how powerful and easy this option was to use. If you are throwing a pretty big birthday party, or you are just a passionate connoisseur of spun sugar treats- this unit is going to be well worth the padded price tag.Read more
This unit comes with the addition of a very nice and durable stainless steel floss scop to help you use the perfect around of sugar for every serving. It also comes with 2 spare ribbon belts as well.
The detachable stainless steel base of this option makes cleaning this unit a snap. Another thing to notice about this option is that the long arm of the sugar scoop makes placing your sugar into a hot unit safe and easy.
Ease of use:
To use this product, simply turn the power button on, and wait for the unit to get hot (it typically takes about 2 minutes). Once the unit is hot, pour in your sugar and stand by with a cone as the sugar begins to blow. One full serving typically only takes about 30 seconds.
This unit weighs in at about 19 pounds, and measures to be 20 inches long, 20 inches wide, and stands up to be 20 inches tall.
As we mentioned before, this is one of the more expensive designs out there on the market, but if you need something that will work fast that comes from a trusted company- this is well worth the padded price tag.
It may be a little pricey, but what we have found is that many users feel that it is well worth the higher cost considering how fast it works, and how easy it is to use.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Extra tools included will make your job just a little easier
This was something important that we looked at because a lot of the tools and ingredients that is needed to makes these special treats are not things that you would have lying around the house, or even something that you would pick up at a local grocery store. We were drawn to products that offered things like cones, and we really liked companies that offered reusable plastic cones. We were also drawn to brands that offered a collection of different flavored floss, or sugars. While it is possible to use granulated sugar, users found that the flossing sugars provided made a lighter and fluffier product than simple table sugar. The types of flavored sugars that used to make the best batch are typically only sold in very specific speciality stores, so finding a product that has these flavors included with purchase is a big plus in our book. Another things that we felt that was really important was a measuring spoon. To keep serving sizes consistent a your final product light and fluffy, it is important that you use the proper measurement for your particular machine. Companies that provide measuring spoons make it easier on the user so that they don’t have to try and remember how much goes in the chamber if they happen to lose their users manual.
Smart design features on each unit help keep organized and will help craft perfect cones every time
We also were drawn to how the unit looked, and what other features that it brought to the table. One feature that we found that users really appreciated was the addition of a storage drawn in the base of the unit. The Old Midway unit, for example, had a sectioned off drawer in the base so that users could store important items such as extra cones, bottles of special floss, and measuring spoons to ensure that they never become misplaced. Some users even liked to store their power cord in the base when they moved their unit into storage for the winter to make sure that everything they need is secured inside of the unit and won’t become lost or damaged. One really important feature that is typically only found in the higher end options is the use of a stainless steel detachable bowl. This design feature is a real lifesaver when it comes time for cleanup. Typically, a line of crystalized sugar will begin to form around the edges of the bowl with normal use, and will become hard and difficult to clean. If these crystals form on the edge of a stainless steel bowl, all the user will need to do is detach the bowl from the unit, and soak it in some hot and soapy water, and the sugar will dissolve easily with minimal scrubbing. If you are someone that hates cleanup- a stainless steel bowl is the way to go.
Ease of Use
One of the most important features to ensure your unit will not end up in the unused kitchen gadget cemetary
Because these treats are not easy to make at home, you are more than likely to send your unit to the unused kitchen gadget graveyard and leave the spun sugar to the professionals at carnivals and festivals. That’s why we wanted to ensure that most units were as easy to use as simply pressing a button. In fact, for most of the smaller units, pressing the on button is all that you will need to do. There is a bit of a small learning curve to master how to spin it around a cone the way that the do at a carnival, but that is usually pretty easy to learn with time. Where users typically run into a little bit of difficulty is when they are using ingredients that are a little less than ideal. If you are just starting out, you may want to opt for one of the options that have a few bottles of flossing sugar included with purchase to ensure that you master the technique before you use your new gadget for an upcoming birthday party.
This determines how hard it will be to take out of storage, and how much room you will need in your kitchen to operate it.
Size was important, but it wasn’t one of the most important factors. Upon our research, we discovered that even the high end commercial designs didn’t measure to take up about 25 inches of countertop space. One thing that we did keep our eye on was how much each unit weighed. Most of the smaller and more affordable options typically weighs under 5 pounds, making them easy to pop in and out of storage whenever your sweet tooth came calling. The higher end options, on the other hand, typically weighed in between 20-30 pounds, with 30 pounds being about the max that we saw. These heavier options may prove to be a deal breaker for those that want something that is going to be easy to put away once they are done using it without breaking their backs.
No one wants to spend more money than they need to, but you still want to ensure that you are spending enough for a high quality product.
What we discovered throughout our research is that there are two distinct models out there on the market- home grade and commercial grade. THe commercial grade didn’t necessarily mean that they were used in for things like carnivals, because they were still too small and slow to use in that type of capacity. Most the the commercial grade options that were found on our list were still used by individual families that either loved to have big parties, or were just really passionate about their desserts. The big difference between the smaller and larger models were most notably in price. The smaller options might set you back about the same amount that you would spend on a toaster of coffee pot, while the high end options carried a price that that would rival the cost of your name brand stand mixer.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
By far, this was one of the most important things that we considered. Speciality treats are fun, but if they prove to be too difficult to make at home,
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Where did this treat originate?
While the exact origins of this little treat are generally unknown, the inventor of the original machine spinner came from a dentist by the name of William Morrison. He took this new invention to the World’s Fair in 1904, where it became an instant success. It’s original name was fairy floss, but took different names in various parts of the world, such as candy floss in the UK and cotton candy in the United States.
q: How exactly is it made?
It might look like it takes a little bit of magic to turn coarse sugar crystals into light and fluffy clouds, but the process is pretty easy to understand. Once you pour your crystals into the center unit, a heating elements melts the sugar. In the center, a component that has holes spins frantically in a circle, and the cystriphical force sends the melted sugar up through the unit where it is immediately cooled by the surrounding air to form that patented light and fluffy texture we have all come to love.
q: Do I need to buy special ingredients?
The one and only ingredient in this product is sugar, so you shouldn't have to run to the store to buy any special ingredients. While it is possible to make it with granulated sugar you could find in your cupboards, you may find it is a little tricky to get it to the right consistency, especially if they is any humidity in the air. Flossing sugar is something that is included with some machines, but it can be bought at speciality stores as well. This type of sugar is often flavored, and is at just the right consistency to make it easier to work with rather than table sugar. Another option that users love to try is to throw in a few hard candies into the chamber rather than sugar. At Christmas time, some users have even opted to throw in a few crushed candy canes for a fluffy seasonal treat!
q: HOw long does it usually take to work?
The answer to this question all depends on the type of unit that you buy. The smaller, lower powered options typically take much longer than the higher end options. These smaller options take about 5- 10 minutes to fully heat up, and one serving typically takes users about 2-3 minutes. With the higher end options, the unit can typically heat up in about 2 minutes, and each batch can be done in about 30 seconds. These higher end options are perfect if you are using it for a birthday party or family gathering.
q: Is it easy to use?
As far as loading up the sugar and turning it on, these machines are a cinch to use. Where users typically run into problems in in the fine art of twirling the sugar strands around a cone and forming it into a ball. Some companies such as the Great Northern Popcorn Company offer videos on how to twirl it over the base to ensure you get a perfect ball every time. One of the most common problems that users run into is dealing with hot and humid conditions- whether you are working outside or in a stuffy kitchen. Any amount of moisture will make it met before it even hits your tongue, so try and make sure you are working in cool, dry conditions to get the best results. It may take some practice, but the good news is that you can eat the failed attempts!
q: How easy are they to clean?
Hardened sugar can really be a pain to clean, but as long as you have a little time and patience, it shouldn’t be too difficult. We felt that options that utilize stainless steel containers are just a tad easier to clean. Our best advice is to remove the drum from the base unit, and fill it with a little dish soap and very hot water. Let the solution sit for a moment to heat up the residual sugar, and then use a cloth to wipe the interior clean. It may take a little bit of extra effort, but it will ensure that there isn’t any crystalized sugar left behind when you fire it up next.
q: How long can my treat be stored in a sealed container?
The bad thing (to some) about this sweet treat is that it is something that will need to be consumed immediately after it is made. If it is placed into a seal container, the longest it can be stored is about 2 hours. This lifespan could be severely diminished if it is being made on a particularly humid day, or if it is subjected to any type of moisture.
q: Is it healthy?
Considering that is is made completely of sugar, it isn’t exactly considered to be a health food. However, since it only uses one ingredient, it is simple to determine just how many calories are in each serving. For instance, if you only use one tablespoon of granulated sugar, one serving will have 48 calories. If you compare it to other sweet treats that can be found at parties and carnivals, it isn’t the least healthy option!
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