For a basic, large-capacity deep fryer that's a step above a simple pot on the stove, consider the affordable Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Deep Fryer. With features similar to some more expensive models, including a lid to prevent spills and a breakaway cord, the Hamilton Beach offers good value for the price. However, some owners complain about broken temperature-control knobs, loose lids and other issues.
Heats quickly, ample capacity. The Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Deep Fryer has a large capacity like the Presto Dual Basket ProFry ($80) , but with just a single basket. That means you can fry larger quantities without having to separate them in two. This deep fryer can cook up to 12 servings of french fries, four servings of onion rings or two dozen chicken wings at once, according to a summary posted at Amazon.com. Its immersion design puts the heating element in direct contact with the oil for ultra-fast heating and recovery times.
Illuminated display. With an illuminated, digital temperature control, the Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Deep Fryer clearly displays the oil temperature so there's never any guesswork involved. When the desired temperature is reached, a light flashes green to let you know the fryer's ready to cook. Its stainless steel exterior is attractive and easy to clean, yet remains fairly cool during use. Owners who post feedback at Amazon.com and Walmart.com say the Hamilton Beach is a pain to clean and drain the oil from, but its removable nonstick pot is dishwasher-safe.
Simple design with built-in safety. An adjustable temperature and digital timer provide more control over the cooking process, while a breakaway cord adds safety. If the Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Deep Fryer is knocked over or jostled too hard during use, the cord will disconnect, which immediately cuts power. The fryer's heating element is immersed, making direct contact with the oil for faster heating and better recovery times. The lid can be used during frying to help prevent grease splatters and its vented design allows steam to escape.
Questionable reliability. The Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Deep Fryer is backed by the same one-year warranty that's standard with most deep fryers, but some owners complain about durability. One Amazon.com post says, "This fryer was good at first but has a lot of mechanical problems - the switch broke, the knob stopped working and was impossible to read after a few months. I would stick to fryers without any moving parts." Others say the lid is too loose, and a few report that the oil doesn't get hot enough to properly cook foods.
The Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Deep Fryer earns an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 after about 320 owner reviews, and 95 percent would recommend it to a friend. Users say the fryer heats up quickly and its capacity is ideal for a family of four.
Review: Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Deep Fryer, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of September 2013
More than 110 owners comment on the Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Deep Fryer at Amazon.com, contributing to an average score of 4.2 stars out of 5. They like its 12-cup capacity and convenient timer, and several make note of the sturdy construction and durable design.
Review: Hamilton Beach Stainless Steel 12-Cup Deep Fryer, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2013
The Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Deep Fryer gets a rating of 81 out of 100 after more than 30 user posts at Viewpoints.com. Owners say this deep fryer makes it easy and fast to cook restaurant-style fried foods at home, but a few find it bulky and difficult to store.
Review: Hamilton Beach Large Capacity Deep Fryer 35030 Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of September 2013
Fewer than 20 owners give the Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Deep Fryer 4.5 stars out of 5, saying it maintains a consistent oil temperature for cooking foods evenly. While the capacity is ample for fries and side items, it's too small for chicken breasts or larger foods, a few users say.
Review: Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Deep Fryer - Stainless Steel, Contributors to Kmart.com, As of September 2013
The Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Deep Fryer gets an average score of 4.6 stars out of 5 from about 10 owners here. They say it has a large capacity ideal for four servings and is easy to use. However, one customer dislikes that it can't be used without the basket.
Review: Hamilton Beach 12 Cup Deep Fryer, Contributors to Wayfair.com, As of September 2013