It is not the size of the deep fryer that really matters. More important is the basket capacity and oil capacity. If you are interested in frying a small batch for two then get a low capacity 3-cup model. For larger servings get something with 8-cup or more capacity. As always, understand what you will be using the deep fryer for before deciding on the size. If it is only for simple side servings then you don’t need an overtly large fryer but if you plan on making family size of French Fries or Fried Chicken then you need something that can hold a lot of oil and can handle high temperatures for long.
Rotating baskets are the latest innovation in deep frying technology and only the best offer FRYER. The food basket actually rotates in the oil rather than being stationary in the oil. This helps in reducing the need of oil and keeps food crispy. Otherwise, you have to rotate the basket manually and keep moving ingredients around. Rotating baskets are only an extra feature to have around, it really does not make that much of a difference. It only saves oil consumption.
Another feature to keep a look out for is temperature regulation. High end deep fryers come with precise thermostats that can regulate temperatures within 1 to 2 degrees. Lower end dependable models often provide three settings of low, medium and high with an on/off switch. While they are equally useful they are not always accurate with their temperature readings. Another thing to consider in temperature regulation is what kind of temperature display you want. Do you like to read from a digital display or a simple dial works fine. Experienced cooks can easily understand a dial and the temperature needs but for those new to deep frying get something with a digital control.
Remember that with a deep fryer you will always be in close proximity of boiling oil. Hence, look for deep fryers with a deep tank or a narrow mouth and a taller structure. Some other designs incorporate a closed lid design that lets you raise and lower the basket without opening the lid. These are all handy features to have around as they prevent oil spatter. Another safety feature nice to have around is a magnetic trip power cord. These power cords detach if they are yanked at preventing the deep fryer from falling off the counter and prevent electrocution as well.
Counter Space, Storage & Portability
Before you even purchase a deep fryer make sure you have the required space to store it when not in use. If you do not have a large counter space then you really cannot operate a large deep fryer. Also, you need to have an electrical point next to the deep fryer since most come with really short cords. Finally, remember that larger a deep fryer is the harder it is to store in a kitchen closet and carry it around.
Cleaning & Maintenance
The easiest way to maintain and prolong the life of a deep fryer is to clean and maintain it regularly. The oil vat or inside pan must be removable and dishwasher safe. You should also be able to pour out the used oil safely into an outside container without spilling anything. Hence, find something that is dishwasher safe all around and offers easy disposal of used oil.
Additional But Useful Features
Cool touch exteriors are almost a norm nowadays. These units come with a cool touch handle and a lid that you can hold even when the unit is operational. Then there is the option of a digital timer which stops frying when time expires and sounds a shrill alarm. This is an added security feature that prevents burning. One other additional feature that helps is the presence of filters in the lid. Filters prevent the odd frying smell from spreading throughout the kitchen and house. Find one with washable filters that you can buy from manufacturers and wash using detergent and water.