Types of Deep Fryers
Electric Deep Fryers
These are a convenient alternative to the old-fashioned method of using a large pot filled with oil on the stovetop, and are generally easier to use than deep fryers powered by propane. The best electric deep fryers have enclosed heating elements that are safer than using a substantial amount of oil over an open flame, and many electric deep fryers come with lids that prevent splatters from creating a mess and causing burns. Most of the home deep fryers in this report are electric models.Oil-Less Deep Fryers
While they aren't truly oil free, oil-less deep fryers use much less; often only a tablespoon or light coating of oil. They can be powered by electricity or propane. This type of home deep fryer is a versatile cooking unit designed to produce the same restaurant-style fried taste without the hassle, expense and mess of dealing with large amounts of cooking oil. Many of these also steam or perform other cooking tasks, like stir-frying.Turkey Deep Fryers
Turkey deep fryers come in all configurations -- electric or propane, oil or oil-less. The only difference between a turkey deep fryer and other home deep fryers is that you need to have the interior capacity for a large bird. However, many people don't like to deep fry a large turkey, even if the manufacturer says the deep fryer has the ability to do so; they prefer frying two smaller birds of about 10 to 12 pounds, saying they get better results.
Finding The Best Deep Fryers
There aren't many professional tests of deep fryers; although new for
this year is a comprehensive roundup by the editors of TopTenReviews.com that
includes testing. Because of that, we turned primarily to retail sites such as
Amazon.com, Walmart.com and BedBathandBeyond.com,
to name just a few, analyzing thousands of user reviews for long-term, real-world experiences with home deep fryers.
Owners tend to be passionate about their cookers, and the reviews we read were
detailed -- some were even updated after several years of the owner using his
or her deep fryer. The result of that research is our recommendations for the
home deep fryers with the best
combination of performance, ease of use and durability.
The best electric deep fryers
If you don't plan to deep-fry a lot of food or you need just a side dish
for a couple of people, the Presto 05442 CoolDaddy Deep Fryer (Est. $50) has a
6-cup capacity that owners generally say is enough for about two people,
depending on your serving-size preferences. With 1,600 watts of power, this
small deep fryer heats up quickly and recovers fast after foods are added,
resulting in crisp, evenly cooked foods.
The Presto CoolDaddy has a useful feature that eliminates the annoying
-- and sometimes painful -- grease splatters that are common when adding foods
to a heated pot of oil. The basket has an exterior handle that's used to lower
the basket into the oil with the lid closed, which then prevents grease from
splattering outside the unit when it comes in contact with cold or frozen foods.
The lid also contains a charcoal air filter, which reduces the unpleasant
frying odors that tend to infiltrate kitchens where deep fryers are used.
There are no fancy digital controls on the CoolDaddy, just a simple knob
to adjust the desired oil temperature up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. The
non-stick interior pot is removable for cleaning, although it's not
dishwasher-safe. Overall, reviewers are pleased with this home deep fryer's
performance, noting that it doesn't take up a lot of storage space, but serves
the purpose when they have a craving for fried food. We review the black model
here, but the CoolDaddy 05443 (Est. $35) is the same fryer
with a white finish. However, owners say it stains more easily and is harder to
clean. This deep fryer is backed by a one-year warranty.
The 9-cup Presto 05462 Digital ProFry (Est. $50) offers
a slightly larger capacity than the Presto 05442 CoolDaddy Cool-touch Deep
Fryer. It's also a bit more powerful for faster cooking with a 1,800-watt
heating element. The heating element and pot both remove for easy cleaning, but
it must be hand-washed.
As with all of the Presto fryers in this report, the 05462 gets rave
reviews from users for its great performance and simple operation.
If you need even less capacity
than the 6-cup Presto 05442, the 4-cup Presto 05420 (Est. $25)
earns solid owner feedback on consumer review sites. A few users say this deep
fryer is basically a glorified pan of oil, but some features make it more
convenient than that, such as a snap on lid that enables you to refrigerate the
oil right in the pot to reuse later -- just be sure the oil has cooled first. One
thing owners like is that the basket can be lowered with the lid in place from
outside the pot, eliminating messy grease splatters. The nonstick pot removes
for easy cleaning, but it's not dishwasher-safe.
While Presto is the favorite deep
fryer of most users, earning terrific reviews across the board for its entire
line, the Breville BDF500XL Smart Fryer (Est. $130) earns a
silver award in a roundup of 10 deep fryers at TopTenReviews.com. In testing
there, editors find it heats to an accurate, consistent temperature and has
intuitive controls with presets for most of the foods home cooks like to fry.
However, we saw too many troubling reports of poor durability with units
failing within a few uses. This, coupled with reports of unhelpful customer
service keeps us from giving this our Best Reviewed nod in spite of its high
ranking in that expert roundup.
Those who don't experience
durability issues love the Breville BDF500XL, though. Many say its easy-to-use
settings turn out perfectly fried wings, calamari, nuggets, onion rings and
more. The most popular feature, though, is the option to double fry French
fries, which users say makes them taste like those from the fryer in their favorite
fast food restaurant. It has a 2.5 pound capacity, enough to cook about five
servings of chicken.
Large deep fryers are best for bigger
Owners say the Presto 05466 Dual Basket Deep Fryer (Est. $70) is a great
choice for larger serving sizes. It has a generous, 12-cup capacity and a two-basket
design that makes it possible to cook two different foods at once. The oblong
baskets are also well-suited to larger pieces of food, like whole fish. Its
1,800-watt heating element heats up the fryer quickly and maintains the ideal
frying temperature well. It does require a lot of oil, about five quarts per
use, but oil can be reused a few times depending on how well it's filtered.
The Presto 05466 has an adjustable thermostat and a signal light lets
you know when the oil is ready to use. Users say the oil returns to temperature
quickly after frying, making it quick to fry in multiple batches. The removable
pot is easy to clean.
If you use a deep fryer for only one food item a time and don't need a
multi-basket design, the T-fal FR8000 (Est. $110) also gets
positive feedback from owners. It costs a bit more than the Presto, but has a
built-in filtration system that reduces the work involved in draining and
filtering oil for reuse. It's available in a 2.2 pound or 2.65 pound capacity,
but with just a single basket. A locking lid with a built-in filter keeps smoke
and odors from filling the room, and most of its parts are dishwasher-safe.
Our former Best Reviewed large
deep fryer, the Waring Pro DF280 Professional Deep Fryer (Est. $100) was recently discontinued, but if
you can find one before supplies are gone, it remains a top option.
Like the Presto 05466, the Waring DF280 has
a, 12-cup capacity, but the feature that makes it wildly popular is its versatile
three-basket design; you can use the two smaller baskets to cook two different
foods at once, or the large basket to cook a larger quantity of one type of
food. Its 1,800-watts of power mean it heats and reheats quickly, as well as maintaining
a consistent temperature. A pour spout drains the oil quickly and easily, so
you can strain it through a filter and store it for reuse. The Waring Pro has a
removable, dishwasher-safe bowl for easy cleaning, and stay-cool handles so you
can move it around without burning your hands or wearing bulky oven mitts.
Oil-Free fryers are a healthy
alternative to traditional deep fryers
If you want an oil-free alternative to deep-frying but don't want to
give up the authentic deep-fried taste, the T-fal ActiFry Multi-Cooker (Est. $150) is a great choice users say. This versatile deep
fryer can cook more than just fried foods; you can use it to create risotto,
stir-fry dishes and more. Its paddle automatically stirs food and a digital
timer buzzes to alert you when time is up, so cooking is practically hands-free.
The ActiFry generally requires about 1 tablespoon of oil to moisten
foods and reduce sticking, but users say it produces great-tasting French fries
and many other foods. In fact, some say they can't tell the difference between
foods made with the ActiFry and those made with a traditional deep fryer. The
T-fal ActiFry has a capacity of about 2.2 pounds and is backed by a one-year