How to Choose the Best Commercial Deep Fryer

While the process of dropping a battered product in hot oil is simple enough, selecting the correct commercial deep fryer for your circumstances and application can be difficult. Whether you own a high-end restaurant, a food truck, or even a concession stand, this guide will help you find the perfect unit for your business. Be sure to check out our commercial fryer reviews as well!

What is a Fryer?

A commercial deep fryer is a kitchen appliance designed to heat large quantities of cooking oil for deep frying large quantities of foods such as french fries, funnel cakes, and mozzarella sticks.

How you use your commercial deep fryer depends on the specific model you have and also what kind of foods you're making. The basic method that is common among all types of deep fryers is to heat the oil to the desired temperature, lower the basket filled with battered food into the hot oil, and then raise the basket once the batter reaches a golden brown color. It is suggested that you drain the oil off your food on a platter lined with paper towels before serving so that customers don't receive excess grease on their plates.

Types of Commercial Deep Fryers

Choosing the best fryer for your business is dependent on what fried foods you will be serving and their demand. A major factor when choosing the best commercial deep fryer is the fryer's burner style as each one is best for certain types of menu items.

Open-Pot Fryers

  • Heating elements are located on the tank's exterior
  • Popular choice for establishments that produce a lot of fries, onion rings, chicken tenders, and other pre-breaded items
  • Help provide more frying space for high-volume cooking
  • Easy to clean
  • They do not do well with high-sediment food items
  • Have longer preheat times

Tube-Type Fryers

  • Carry gas through pipes located inside the pot, which serves as the heating source
  • Excel with cooking heavily battered, high-sediment food like mozzarella sticks and non-battered onion rings
  • Feature large cold zones, which help extend the oil's life
  • Difficult to clean due to fixed heating tubes

Ribbon Fryers

  • Feature ribbon-like elements that run through the bottom of the fryer
  • Only found on electric fryers
  • Fast preheat and recovery times
  • Energy efficient heating method
  • Difficult to clean under and behind ribbon element, since food items can touch the ribbon element and burn/scorch

Flat Bottom Fryers

  • Ideal for wet batter, dough-based, and low-density items like funnel cakes, donuts, and battered shrimp
  • Allows products to float freely for even cooking
  • Heating elements do not obstruct the bottom of the tank, which makes for easier cleaning
  • Take longer to heat up
  • Not suited for high-volume frying or high-sediment items
  • Lack of a cold zone reduces oil life

Pressure Fryers

  • Come in electric and gas models
  • Work well with high- and low-sediment foods
  • Well-suited for high-volume cooking
  • Built-in oil filtration
  • Pressure frying reduces oil absorption and greasiness
  • Deep cleaning between elements can be difficult
  • Sealed pot prevents modifications to food while cooking

Countertop Fryers vs. Floor Fryers

Choosing between a countertop fryer and a floor-model fryer will depend on the size of your kitchen and how much product you will fry daily.

Countertop Fryers

  • Space-saving, portable design is great for small footprint kitchen
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Ideal for small restaurants, food trucks, and concession stands
  • Ventless countertop models available that possess top-tier filtration for increased convenience and safety
  • May have difficulty keeping up with high-volume demand

Floor Fryers

  • Best for high-volume restaurants that sell large quantities of fried food
  • Able to handle constant use throughout the day
  • Typically has a quicker recovery time in between batches than countertop fryers
  • Most will need hood ventilation
  • May be difficult to accommodate in small footprint kitchens

Electric Fryers vs Gas Fryers

Commercial deep fryers are offered in two fuel types: electric and gas. For some kitchens, the fryer's power source will be a major deciding factor when selecting a unit as your choice may be limited by your business type or location.

Electric Fryers

Electric fryers utilize a heating coil to heat the oil directly within the pot.

  • More energy efficient when heating up and have a quicker heat recovery between fry cycles
  • Not tied to gas line, which makes them more mobile
  • Plug-and-play design is easy to install
  • Ideal for small footprint kitchens, food trucks, carnivals, and pop-up restaurants
  • Typically easier to clean
  • Takes longer to heat up
  • Lower maximum oil temperatures

Gas Fryers

Powered by either natural gas lines or liquid propane tanks, gas fryers have heating elements that sit beneath or on the sides of the pot.

  • Typically has more high-capacity options and is the more popular choice for high-volume operations
  • Faster heat-up times and higher maximum temperatures
  • Provides a gentler heat transmission than electric, which results in the oil lasting longer
  • Typically installed in a fixed location in your kitchen
  • Can be expensive to install without pre-existing connections
  • Typically harder to clean and maintain

Types of Specialty Fryers

Beyond the basic floor and countertop fryers that we carry, you can also find specialty fryers that fulfill specific roles within the kitchen.

  • Filtration system eliminates the need for hood ventilation
  • Can be placed anywhere in the kitchen
  • Ideal for kitchens that may not have space for proper ventilation
  • Flat bottom design ensures products do not overlap
  • Ideal for donuts, funnel cakes, and other wet batter products
  • Available in both floor and countertop models
  • Fit inside a cutout in your countertop to conserve space
  • Fryer is consistent with the height of your countertop
  • Visually appealing design is ideal for front-end facing and open kitchens
  • Feature a portable design for outdoor cooking
  • Ideal for outdoor catering applications, barbecue competitions, and state fairs
  • Gas-powered for convenience

Additional Fryer Purchasing Considerations

It is also important to consider the frequency you will be using your fryer to determine if you need a lighter or heavier duty unit, the layout of your kitchen to determine where you will be placing the fryer, and the fryer size you will need.


Manufacturers create their assorted fryers with various usage rates in mind, so you'll need to be mindful of how a specific fryer is rated.

  • Light-duty: these units are best for low-volume use at a deli, concession stand, or another small business that has frying as a niche. They're not constructed with constant use in mind.
  • Medium-duty: while they're designed to handle similar applications to light-duty models, they can handle notably more frequent use without losing performance efficiency.
  • Heavy-duty: if you have a popular restaurant or food truck that focuses on fried foods, you'll likely be in the market for a heavy-duty model. It focuses on durability, from the body to the legs to the fry baskets.


A fryer's location is critical to the life and quality of its oil. Oil must be as clean as possible to avoid flavor tampering and create a high-quality product. Top-notch filtration should be a priority, but placement away from other equipment that tends to spatter, like ranges, will also help a lot.

Fryers cannot be located by open burners, griddles, or broilers unless you use a spreader that's at least 12" tall in between to protect from spattering and other potential messes. Many locations often forget about them, but you can purchase covers to place over your vats when they're not in use.


    You'll always need to consider your volume requirements when selecting a fryer size, in addition to the amount of space you have available in your kitchen. Countertop and floor models will vary widely, from compact units to massive batteries.

    The most common widths range between 11" and 34", but you can find models that go up to 94". Manufacturers typically measure tank capacities in pounds or maximum oil volume. Capacities can range up to almost 500 lb.

    You can take multiple units and set them up side by side to create batteries of your own, which gives more precise control over your production rates. Consider the number of customers you see on a daily basis, as well as the diversity of your menu.

    You can get split-tank fryers that fit in one footprint but accommodate multiple items - usually two.

      Advanced Controls and Options

      • Programmable controls: With advanced operating systems, some fryers can send notifications when the preset cooking time expires, which ensures that you're always aware of what's going.
      • Oil filtration system: You'll save money and cut down on time spent cleaning with a filtration system that maintains oil quality for longer periods of time, thus extending the oil's service life. Cleaner oil means better-tasting and better-looking food.
      • Energy-efficient models : Some energy-efficient models have a blower system powered by an economical electric motor, which pushes or pulls heat from combustion through the unit. It doesn't have to rely solely on gas pressure to heat the tank. Others have premix burners that mix precise combos of gas and air to achieve excellent efficiency rates.

      Fryer Maintenance

      Fryers typically see heavy usage on a day-to-day basis, which demands more frequent inspections, cleanings, and maintenance. A good, heavy-duty fryer can last between 7-10 years, but you can maximize the service life of any type of fryer by remaining committed to its upkeep. Routinely check on the below parts of your fryer to check for potential issues and how you can prevent some of them from affecting your equipment.


      • The main indication of fryer failure is a leaking tank or well. You'll want to look for hardened oil beneath the fryer and behind the unit's door. Carbon buildup will not only cause leaks, but it will also impact the fryer's productivity and possibly become a fire hazard.
      • Most fryer components can be inexpensive to replace, like the thermostat, but vats and tanks can be cost-prohibitive to install.


      • Knowing how to choose, clean, and dispose of deep fryer oil is a critical component to operating a fryer. The overall oil quality, which requires regular filtering and oil replacement, is critical for producing high-quality food. Always check the coloration of the oil after multiple batches, and adhere to the manufacturer's guidelines for recommended oil care.
      • Prolong the life of your oil by using a fryer oil stabilizer in between cleanings. This will make your oil last longer and your foods will taste better.
      • Use vat covers when the fryers are off, as light and heat will darken the oil and force that you replace it or the filters more frequently, thus raising costs.
      • It is important to regularly boil out your deep fryer to protect the taste of your food and to help your oil last longer.


      • If it takes longer for a fryer to heat to a ready temperature or it has difficulty maintaining that temperature during normal use, it should be serviced. Keep an eye out for rust, dents, or bent supports.
      • Cooking at too high of a temperature also can compromise the unit. Anything above 375 degrees Fahrenheit is typically too high, and should not be necessary. Satisfactory results can be achieved between 325 and 375. Your oil will also last longer, which can result in lower operating cost.
      • Try to keep fryers away from repeated water exposure, as the resulting rust will likely doom your fryer. It's too expensive to tear down and replace major fryer parts.


      • Faulty thermostats need attention since they will set off a fryer's high-limit sensor. If the fryer temp exceeds 400 degrees Fahrenheit and the thermostat is not working, the high-limit sensor will shut down the fryer.
      • If both the thermostat and sensor are malfunctioning, this puts your fryer at severe risk of creating a fire.

      Key Fryer Terminology

      • Drainboards: Drainboards serve as a place to put baskets / trays of freshly fried product. Installed on a slight angle, these allow oil to drain back into the tank.
      • Flue: Located only on gas fryers, the flue is the area in the back of the fryer where the gasses travel out of the unit and toward the hood.
      • Flue Deflector / Heat Deflector: In addition to the flue, the flue deflector / heat deflector is only on gas fryers. This feature directs the gas more precisely to the exhaust hood, allowing the hood to work more efficiently.
      • Frying Area: Frying area is considered the amount of space that the operator has available to fry product. Measured in length x width.
      • Fryer Battery: A fryer battery allows an operator to easily order a set of fryers that they can bank together, instead of ordering multiple units separately.
      • Output: In addition to a tank's capacity, many manufacturers will list a unit's output in pounds, referencing the amount of french fries the unit can produce per hour. This helps operators determine if the unit is right for their volume of business, unable to keep up, or if they could save some money by going with a model with a lesser output.
      • Recovery Time: Recovery time is the length of time it takes the fat to return to the desired cooking temperature after food is submerged in it. If the temperature drops too much or does not return quickly to the proper cooking temperature, the food may absorb excess fat and become greasy.
      • Sediment Zone: A major difference between fryer types is the "sediment zone". This is where cracklings, small pieces of food, and breading will collect as they fall off during cooking. Some manufacturers may call this area a "cold zone" because the oil in this area is not as hot as the cooking zone.
      • Temperature Control / Temperature Range: Proper temperature control is important because if the temperature is too high, oil can burn and ruin the food's taste, also limiting the life of the oil. If the temperature is too low, product won't be as crisp and will absorb more oil.
      • "Topping Off" Oil Reserve: With a "topping off" oil reserve the oil automatically maintains an optimal level. This limits the need for employees to carry heavy oil containers through a busy kitchen and thus improves the safety of your establishment.