A deep fryer is a wonderful kitchen appliance for all families. Use the Sears Deep Fryer Buying Guide to ensure you get what’s right for you.
A deep fryer is a great way to make tasty fried foods at home and save on both money and calories. Quickly and easily create mouth-watering meals including french fries, fish, chicken wings and much, much more…you’ll only be limited by your imagination! Most home cooks have created home-made deep fryers using a pot, dutch oven or sauce pan filled with hot cooking oil. While resourceful, the results are variable at best. The solution is to purchase a deep fryer, but how will you choose the right model for you?
The price of deep fryers varies greatly, from a smaller-capacity bare-bones model costing about $70, to a top-of-the-line rotary-style one setting you back up to $300. The wide range in price is due to various features that may or may not be featured in the deep fryer you choose.
The size of your deep fryer is the most important feature to consider. For home use, a lower-capacity 3-cup model can be used for small jobs, but some deep fryers can handle up to 8 cups or more. As with all kitchen appliances, you’ll want to know beforehand what you’ll be using your deep fryer for. Do you want to prepare a few simple snacks or single servings, or do you want to cook entire chickens or a family-sized portion of french fries? A poor choice of deep fryer will only ensure that your food is not cooked thoroughly, or cause you to wait extended periods for a large amount of oil to heat up simply to cook a handful of french fries.
A great innovation in deep fryer technology is the rotating basket, where the food basket rotates through the hot oil rather than sitting in it, resulting in less oil being needed - your food doesn’t stay in the oil; instead it’s periodically pulled out as the basket rotates. The result is crispy, delicious food using much less oil. Be forewarned, though, this type of deep fryer is not suitable for all foods. Rotary fryers routinely use half the oil of regular fryers and also reach cooking temperature quicker because there is less oil to heat.
Another feature to consider is temperature control. Some deep fryer models have overly simplistic temperature settings such as “Low”, “Medium” and “High” or even just an on/off switch. It’s important that you know when a deep fryer has reached the proper temperature for the food you’re cooking. Some displays are digital, others are simple dials. Either way, they are helpful to even experienced cooks. An adjustable thermostat helps keep temperatures consistent, thus producing high-quality food.
Given that you will be working with oil at extremely high temperatures, look for a fryer with a deep tank and a closable lid to help limit splatters. Often times the basket can be raised and lowered while the lid is closed, and a clear glass window in the lid ensures you can watch your food without opening the lid. And finally, some deep fryers now feature a "breakaway" power cord that attaches with magnets so the cord will simply let go of the fryer if pulled or tripped over, which will prevent the fryer from accidentally being pulled onto the floor.
Portability, Storage & Counter Space
It’s important that your deep fryer has enough counter space to work properly. Before purchasing, consider the amount of space you have available near an electrical outlet. You won't want to use an extension cord, and don't place it too close to any open flame or door. If your plan is to keep the deep fryer stored out of sight between uses (such as in a cupboard), look for a unit that can safely hold the oil without spilling it during movement. In addition, ensure the basket is stored inside the sealed unit, and the handle is easily removed for storage easy.
A clean deep fryer will work smoother and will create better-tasting food. The oil vat should be removable so you can easily pour leftover oil into another container. Try to find a deep fryer with components that are submersible in water or are dishwasher safe, as this will make cleaning much easier. Most fryers have some sort of outlet for draining used oil, but you should be sure it’s an easy-to-use feature on your particular deep fryer.
Cool Touch Exterior
This is pretty standard nowadays, but you’ll want to ensure the unit is cool to the touch when it is in use.
Accurately set and monitor your cooking time for perfectly fried food. It’s also great as an added safety feature to ensure your deep fryer is not left on.
All deep fryers have some sort of the filter which can be permanent, washable or one that needs replacing, which may have to be purchased from the manufacturer.