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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

40 Models Considered
12 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
88 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best commercial deep fryers

Ask people what they love to eat, and fried foods often top the list. Whether it is French fries, wings, or donuts, fried foods rule. The only way to truly achieve the fried food taste is with a  deep fryer, and while a small countertop deep fryer works in some cases, there are times when you need something bigger.

A commercial deep fryer is an oversized fryer that is essential for anyone who wants to fry up fish, chicken, or potatoes for large groups. Commercial deep fryers can be pricey, and there are quite a few features to consider before investing in one. For example, should you go with a floor fryer or a countertop fryer? Should you fuel it with electricity or gas? What capacity do you need, and how much should you expect to pay?

In this guide, we explore the realm of commercial deep fryers to answer your pressing questions. We also offer information about a number of commercial deep fryers that our research shows are the best available.

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Avoid placing your deep fryer too close to a grill or open range where splatter can affect the oil quality.

Key considerations

Floor vs. countertop

In terms of positioning, two types of commercial deep fryers are readily available: floor-based fryers and countertop fryers. (Note: there are other types of commercial deep fryers, such as the drop-in fryer, but these products are more difficult to find.)

Floor fryers: Made for people who fry a steady stream of food, these appliances tend to be more durable than countertop models. On the downside, they take up more space in your kitchen than a countertop fryer.

Countertop fryers: While these fryers can eat up counter space, they have a smaller kitchen footprint overall. For those with minimal frying needs, a countertop deep fryer may be a better solution.

Durability

Commercial deep fryers are made from stainless steel, but they range from light-duty to heavy-duty in terms of overall construction. Light-duty commercial deep fryers work best in minimal frying situations, such as delis. Heavy-duty fryers are better for high-volume businesses such as restaurants and food trucks.

Size

There are two size aspects to consider when purchasing a commercial deep fryer. First, look at the overall physical dimensions of the fryer itself. These tend to start around 15 inches wide and can reach over 90 inches wide. Measure your space carefully to be sure you could accommodate the fryer under consideration for your kitchen, truck, or other area.

Next, look at how much oil a deep fryer can hold. Some are large enough to fry a turkey. Others are better for people who just want to make small baskets of fries or chicken at a time. Commercial deep fryers typically have a capacity of 2 to 6 gallons.

A larger deep fryer will cost more upfront, and it will also cost more to run on a daily basis, so be sure not to buy more product than you need.

Power

Another major consideration is how you will power your commercial deep fryer. Let’s look at gas and electric options.

Gas: Propane or natural gas may be a more affordable energy source for your deep fryer, depending on your location. It tends to heat oil faster, and it can reach higher temperatures than an electrically powered fryer. Installation tends to be pricey and difficult, and a gas-powered fryer is less portable than an electric option.

Electric: Ease of installation is a plus with an electric commercial deep fryer. Often, all you must do is plug in the appliance. While it can take an electric deep fryer longer to heat up, it has the edge in getting back up to temperature between batches of food. Also, you won’t need to worry about gas leaks.

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Did You Know?
Commercial deep fryers usually incorporate a high-limit sensor that automatically shuts down the fryer if the oil temperature exceeds a certain limit.
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Features

Controls

Commercial deep fryer controls are fairly simple. Standard will be some form of control knob to set the oil temperature. Some fryers include a temperature gauge or power lights, so you can easily monitor oil temperature or tell at a glance whether the unit is turned on. Some have programmable elements, so you can cook foods on a timer and be informed when they are done.

Vats

The vat, also known as the tub that holds the oil, can be either a single pot or a split pot. A single-pot vat only has one vat for all your frying needs, whereas a split-pot vat has two compartments that you can use to fry different types of foods.

Heating elements

Fry vats are designed with a variety of heating element types. These are the actual mechanisms that heat the oil, and all have their advantages.

Tube-style heating: These heating elements are within the oil vat itself and distribute heat evenly throughout the vat. Heating tubes allow for a large cold zone so sediment can collect and not burn. As such, these appliances are great for breaded and battered foods.

Open-pot heating: The heating elements are built into the walls of the vat, allowing for a wide open cooking space. Open-pot vats are easy to clean and work best with high-volume foods such as fries and chicken tenders.

Flat-bottom heating: Flat-bottom vats are designed for foods that first sink to the bottom and then rise as they cook. Think tempura or battered fish. The design of this deep fryer minimizes the chance that food will stick to the bottom of the vat.

Baskets

The majority of commercial deep fryers ship with one or two baskets. Included baskets should be durable. For the handles, a coating of rubber or a similar material is helpful to keep them cool to the touch. Manufacturers sometimes offer specialized baskets, such as taco shell baskets, that you can purchase separately.

Advanced commercial deep fryers often feature automatic basket lifts, which raise the baskets from the oil after a set cooking time. In a busy kitchen, this can be a real plus, and it can help lower your overall costs by minimizing overcooked food.

Covers

The majority of commercial deep fryers include a cover. If the one you want does not have a cover, plan to spend a bit more to add one. A cover is essential in that it protects your oil from dust and other foreign elements including light exposure, which can degrade oil over time.

With proper upkeep and maintenance, a quality commercial deep fryer should last between seven and ten years.

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Commercial deep fryer prices

While you’d expect to pay more for a commercial deep fryer than a personal deep fryer, the actual price of some choices is not as high as you might assume. Commercial deep fryers start under $100 and can reach $300 or more. The majority can be found in the $100 to $200 range.

Inexpensive: Commercial deep fryers under $100 are simple fryers with minimal controls. Countertop units capable of holding 3 gallons of oil or less are often found here. You may wish to look in this price range if your frying needs are on the light side.

Mid-range: Countertop models abound in the $100 to $200 range. For the money, you can expect to find appliances that hold under 6 gallons of oil and are able to meet moderate deep-frying needs, such as the needs of a concession stand or small establishment.

Expensive: At $200 and over, you will find commercial deep fryers with capacities larger than 6 gallons. Designed for restaurant use, this range of products includes deluxe countertop and floor-based models with advanced features such as basket lifts and programmable cooking.

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Did You Know?
Some commercial deep fryers have a cold zone, an area of cooler oil at the bottom of the vat that keeps food sediment from burning.
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Tips

  • To save money, search for a model with energy efficiency features. These features include premix burners and blower systems that assist with oil heating. Although these appliances may cost more upfront, they are designed to minimize your energy consumption.
  • A fryer vat leak should not be ignored. It signifies a problem with the tank or other fryer elements. You can usually spot a leak by finding a telltale buildup of solidified oil somewhere under the fryer.
  • Avoid deep frying foods at temperatures in excess of 375°F. Higher temperatures produce lower-quality fried foods and will degrade your oil faster. This will result in more frequent oil replacement and higher costs.
  • Avoid placing your deep fryer too close to a kitchen sink or other water source. Frequent exposure to moisture could lead to rust buildup in your fryer.
  • Maintaining proper oil quality is key to producing delicious fried food. Consider investing in oil quality test strips, which can remove the guesswork from determining how fresh your oil is.
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One of the benefits of a split-pot vat is that you can cook stronger-flavored foods like fish on one side without transferring the flavor to food on the other side.

FAQ

Q. Does a commercial deep fryer need to be ventilated?

A. This varies from one appliance to the next. Electric deep fryers are less likely to need ventilation, although it may be advisable to have some form of ventilation in place to draw away heat.

Gas deep fryers typically need to have some form of ventilation to remove fumes and heat. This is particularly true if the deep fryer is located in a commercial kitchen. Exceptions to this rule include ventless fryers, which have a ventilation hood built right into the fryer.

Q. How difficult is it to clean a commercial deep fryer?

A. Commercial deep fryers must be regularly cleaned to remove food debris and deposits that can build up. Some deep fryers include a built-in auto-filtration system that filters out particles with the push of a button. Deep fryers without an auto-filtration system will need to be cleaned by hand.

To keep carbon and other deposits from building up, plan to “boil out” the system once a week. The manufacturer’s care and use instructions should contain information on how to do this with your particular fryer.

Also, it is important to regularly wipe down the exterior of the fryer with warm water and a degreaser to keep oil from building up.

Q. Can a commercial deep fryer be used outdoors?

A. While commercial deep fryers are designed more for inside use, some can be used outside. Compact models tend to be more portable and easy to move, especially those powered by electricity. (With a gas-powered appliance, you would need to hook up the gas line.) Electric deep fryers will also not be affected by wind as much.

If you wish to deep fry outside often for crowds, your best bet may be a larger outdoor deep fryer. Often, these are powered by small propane tanks and may include wheels for portability.

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