Home-use deep fryer feature questions

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by dkellyco, Feb 19, 2006.

  1. dkellyco


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    At home cook
    Hello all,

    I have been recently looking to purchase a deep fryer for home use, and at the beginning thought a fryer was a fryer, but as I found out, there is a good size list of design and extra features between brands/models. The 3 things that have hung me up in trying to decide on a particular model are these:

    1) Cool Zone design vs. under pot heating element.

    There is a T-Fal model I like, but the heating element is under the pot. Do fryers with the element directly immersed in the pot with the "cool zone" space provide better results, and if so is it in both of the areas of crispness/oil absorbtion by the food, and oil life before changing is needed? I see feature bullets in ads and product packaging that point out better crispness/less absorbtion from immersion elements, and I would think the immersion design prevents less food particle burning, and therefore would provide longer oil life. So is immersion vs. underneath a major factor?

    2) Why does packaging/advertising point out wattage?

    I see 1500, 1600, 1800 watt ratings, and it seems the ones that use the adjective "professional" in their labeling of the fryer seem to always have an 1800 watt rating. Now since you have a temperature adjustment, which usually tops out at 375 degrees from model to model, where would there be any difference in how many watts the thing has - isn't the temperature setting and performance going to give the same result, no matter the wattage?

    3) Odor control of lid design.

    I read an owner manual at the store when I was looking at a model from Euro-Pro that was a"professional" style home-use unit. The manual stated it was normal for steam to escape from around the edges of the lid. If this occurs, wouldn't that negate the whole purpose of the filter to reduce/eliminate odors?

    The T-Fal Avanti model I mentioned earlier is a round, plastic housing design with a locking, hermedically sealed (rubber gasket) lid, which would seem to do a better job at odor control, but has the heating element under the pot, not immersed w/ the cool zone. Any of the models I have seen that are the immersion type are rectangular stainless steel housings, and always have lids that just simply sit on the top with no locks or seals. Does anyone know of a brand/model that has both a cool zone immersion element (if in fact that design is better than under the pot, as discussed above) AND a good tight sealed lid (if in fact a sealed lid performs much better odor control than a lid that just sits on the top rim of the unit)? And if not, would the element design be so much better with an immersion design that it would be worth it to put up with more odor, if that type of unit let's more odor out from around the perimeter of the lid?

    Thanks for any feedback on this!!

  2. peachcreek


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    Retired Chef
    Dave, the thing I would look for in a fryer was its ability to maintain the set temperature AFTER you drop in the food. This is important because if the temperature drops and the fryer cannot quickly regain the correct frying temperature, you food will be greasy. That is why all the manufacterers tout how many watts their fryer consumes- more watts= more heat.
    The other thing to think about is how easy it is to clean. The more often you clean the particles out and strain the oil the longer the fryer oil will last.
  3. mudbug


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    Culinary Instructor
  4. mezzaluna


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    Cook At Home
    Alton Brown has specific recommendations. You can check this out in his book, "Alton Brown's Gear for your Kitchen". He did cover it on one of his shows about deep fat frying.