Fryers buying guide

Freshly cooked chips are still held dear to the hearts of many families, as are party favourites such as samosas and spring rolls. For the gourmets among us, fryers are a safer, more efficient and far cleaner alternative to pan-frying and make light work of cooking different types of food with deliciously crispy results.

Good fryers will help in all manner of ways with features such as twin-baskets that offer the advantage of being able to cook different foods separately, as well in double volumes for parties. For the health-conscious, certain models offer the versatility of being able to cook chips in a spoonful of oil, as well as other healthier choices. This guide offers a run-down of the key features you should look for in your next fryer.

Power and cooking control

Fryers tend to be power-hungry, and this is reflected in the typical power ratings of 1400 watts up to 1900 watts. Look for controls to regulate the temperature between 140°C and 190°C to ensure your food is cooked to perfection.

Capacity

Oil capacity is measured in litres and food capacity is given in kilograms, and capacities vary between fryers. As a rough guide, the numbers work out with food capacity as roughly half of the oil capacity - for example oil capacity of 2.2l paired with a food capacity of 1.2kg.

Easy clean

Models with one or more removable parts make it easier for you to keep your fryer clean and hygienic. Typically, the bowl will be removable, but some models extend this feature to the lid, basket and even the heating elements.

Filters

These filter the oil of unhealthy burnt crumbs. Some have a charcoal base, while others are made of metallic mesh; apart from any permanent metal anti-grease filters, all need to be cleaned or replaced after a certain number of frying sessions. As a guide, round super charcoal filters should be changed after 35 frying sessions and square mesh filters should be changed after 20 frying sessions. If you're frying fish, we recommend using a separate filter and changing the oil after each use. Look for anti-odour solutions in which a 100% carbon filter can be regenerated in a dishwasher for up to 80 uses.

Cool zone

A cold zone-immersed heating element area is designed to ensure that any stray pieces of food do not scorch and contaminate the oil.

Safety features

A fryer is a far better way to prepare food than a chip pan, which remains a common cause of house fires. Most models will also offer the following safety features for additional peace of mind.

Exterior basket control

A safety mechanism that enables you to lower food into the hot oil with the lid closed in order to prevent splashing.

Cool touch

Insulation for exterior handles, allowing the appliance to be touched or handled safely while the oil reaches high temperatures for cooking.

Locking lid

To contain splashing, this safety system seals and locks the fryer and can be re-opened with a one-touch automatic mechanism. It will also have a viewing window, removing the need to open the lid and suffer heat loss or splashing from hot oil.

Non-slip base

This will minimise the chance of accidents caused by unexpected movement of the fryer when full of hot oil.

Auto shut off

An automatic safety cut-out feature to avoid overheating.

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