Electric deep fryers are a convenient alternative to the old-fashioned method of using a large pot filled with oil on the stovetop. The best models 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.
Capacity is one of the biggest considerations when buying a deep fryer. Most standard models have a capacity of 2 to 6 cups, while some larger fryers can cook up to 12 cups of food at a time. Families of three to four people generally prefer larger-capacity fryers so they don't have to prepare multiple consecutive batches, which would make recovery time -- how quickly the fryer can return to the proper cooking temperature after foods are introduced -- an issue. Small deep fryers typically cost between $25 and $80 while specialty models can cost more than $200. Larger deep fryers can cost as little as $40 and up to $150 or more, depending on features.
Some newer electric deep fryers aren't really deep fryers at all – they're oil-less multi-cookers designed to produce the same restaurant-style fried taste without the unhealthy oil. This is also convenient for consumers who don't like having to purchase and dispose of large amounts of cooking oil to use a deep fryer.
Deep frying has become a popular way to cook turkeys, particularly at large holiday gatherings when the stove and oven are filled to capacity with side dishes and desserts. Turkey fryers must generally be used outside, however, which may not be ideal in colder climates, although a few models are designed for indoor use. Turkey fryers aren't for cooking massive birds; most can handle about 12 to 14 pounds. Also, larger turkeys take longer to cook and can create issues with oil recovery time, producing less evenly cooked meat. Turkey fryers are more expensive than standard deep fryers, typically costing $100 to $300.
ConsumerSearch.com editors analyze thousands of owner reviews as well as professional evaluations and roundups. The results are our picks for the best small deep fryers, best large deep fryers and best turkey fryers. We even toss in a couple of budget-friendly options so you can find the perfect deep fryer for your lifestyle.