Buying Guide - Deep Fat Fryers

Fryer evolution

Tefal depp fryerThe deep fat fryer has evolved over time and it is now easier to maintain and cheaper to run. Deep fryers were considered more a contraption than a cooking appliance like they are today; they very much reflected a unit unsympathetic to limited kitchen space. Most important of all though, the modern day frying experience is now safer as gone are the days when fryers were considered hazardous. These days deep fryers come with built-in safety precautions which come into play when and if the unit gets near to overheating, the chances of starting a kitchen fire through foul play on the fryer's part now, has been totally nullified.

Essentially most fryers do the same job. The choice then for the consumer circles around how compact the fryer is, how much food can be fried at one time and even how economical the fryer is. With that point in mind, the downside suggests that the bigger the fryer, the more oil is required to fill it up. With today's innovation in kitchen appliance technology, that isn't the case anymore.

Types of fryers

Philips Air FryerThe type of fryer you choose will depend on your deep frying needs. If you are purchasing a fryer for you and your partner, then a compact fryer should prove satisfactory. They are mainly small and as fryer manufacturers continue to innovate, they can be circular or box-shaped. They are sometimes reminiscent in size of a two-slice toaster and unlike those that maybe dwarf the compact fryer, they only need 1 litre of oil to fill them up.  The reason why they suit a two person family is due to the maximum capacity of the fryer basket, which tops out at 350g of chips, which would mean for a larger family unit, multiple usages at any one meal time. However, the smaller fryer unit offers the consumer more ease in both cleaning and storage.

The next type of fryer in the generation is the standard fryer which would suit a family of four very well. Again, they are boxy in shape but can hold a greater measure of oil which is obviously why it suits a bigger family. Whereas its sibling holds just the single litre of oil, the standard fryer can handle more than double that figure, dependant on which deep frying model you purchase. The fact that the standard fryer can cope with up to 2.5 litres of oil indicates a food capacity of between 1kg and 1.3kg – again, dependant on model selection this can be more than three times that of the compact fryer. Because of the much bigger size of this fryer, it can be a slightly more arduous task to keep it clean, and storage will also need consideration.

If you still like the texture and taste of freshly fried fish and chips, but are counting fat calories, you can't beat an air fryer. Air fryers use up about 75%-80% less oil than their conventional counterparts.  Instead of boiling food in a vat of hot oil, these newfangled fryers rely on hot air and only a few tablespoons of oil to get the job done. Unfortunately, their sizes are on the small to medium size of the spectrum. For a larger family, you might have to do a few batches of food to cover everyone. But what you lack in space, you more than make up for in lowered fat consumption - a win-win in our book!

Tefal's ActiFry units and the Air Fryer from Philips are two of the best models on the market right now and are proving to be very popular.

Choice of fryer

The cheap, deep fat fryer represents a good option for those who want to simply enjoy deep fried food. These fryers can be purchased for less than £50 and use minimal amounts of oil, and the lesser the oil, the quicker the time it will take to heat and cook your food. These two aspects combined add up to an economical deep frying option.

The mini deep fat fryer then epitomises how much progression has been made within this cooking apparatus market. A byword for deep frying equipment used to be 'bulky', but time has been kind and they have really slimmed down. The mini fryer is designed with space saving in mind and these are best used in small kitchens for the smaller family. A fryer is considered a 'mini' if it holds under 2 litres of oil but if you overfill a mini fryer, the contents, e.g. chips, can easily become soggy.

The majority of modern kitchens were designed with a stainless steel theme and if that is the case, the stainless steel deep fat fryer will blend into your kitchen effortlessly. It is not only the appearance of this deep frying machine which may push you towards buying one, as with regards to cleanliness and resilience they are also top notch fryers. Being part of this group of fryers does not necessarily mean the entire unit is made from stainless steel, it could just be single elements on the fryer that are of this material. Just a quick wipe will go most of the way to keeping the exterior clean, too. The drawback of stainless steel is that it is slightly more expensive to manufacture, and this is why companies producing these fryers will often have plastic elements, somewhere within the design – they will attempt to hide it, but discretion is not always possible.

Conclusion

The market is not as congested as for other kitchen products, but with regards to the job they are requested to do, there is no need. If you are buying a fryer for your home you can look within the three groups; compact, standard or large fryers, to cater for your needs. It does depend on how technically advanced you wish to go, as fryers now, dependant on the money you spend, can come with a multitude of built-in gadgets to help the entire deep frying process.

Fryer filters come as permanent or removable and in the case of the latter, the replaceables can cost anything from 95p to £10. Electronic temperature controls are built in certain models, and fryer baskets have their own range and different shaped handles to suit your needs.

From a consumer's point of view, the choice of deep frying products is not so substantial that it will weigh you down: you just need to identify your fryer needs in terms of the quantity of food you will be cooking and how you want it to fit into your kitchen area.