Best Air Fryer – Why you should get a deep fryer instead of an air fryer

Best Air Fryer – Why you should get a deep fryer instead of an air fryer

Best Air Fryer –

Experience the nostalgia of fried fair food in your own home. Find the deep fryer that fits your needs in terms of size, functions, and ease of use.

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By Miller Kern

Air fryers have been all the rage the last few years, but we know you like to indulge. There’s something about dropping food into a pool of hot oil that just makes it taste better. While we would love to eat every meal at the state fair, our hearts and wallets simply would not be able to take it. But you can get that delicious fried goodness at home whenever you want when you own a deep fryer. That’s right, funnel cakes and corndogs year-round, baby.

Best Air Fryer – Deep fryer vs. air fryer

If you’re on the fence about whether to buy an air fryer or deep fryer, think about three things: texture, taste, and calories. Deep fryers are not for the health conscious (though even the health conscious indulge sometimes!), but they will produce better taste and texture. Air fryers use hot circulated air and a tablespoon of oil to achieve a crispy texture while deep fryers fully immerse food in a vat of hot oil (typically around 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Food cooked in a deep fryer will get more evenly coated with oil and crisp up better, resulting in that signature golden exterior that people love. Air fryers are better than ovens for achieving crispiness, but you sincerely can’t beat the real deal of deep frying. You get a richer taste and more complex texture.

Best Air Fryer – How to choose a deep fryer

The biggest factor that comes into play when choosing a deep fryer is size — how much food are you trying to fry at once and how much space to you have in your kitchen? While deep fryers are meant for countertop use, they’re not exactly full-time countertop appliances, so you’ll need adequate storage for one of these bulky units. We’ve found deep fryers that range from the size of a toaster to ones that can fit full turkeys inside.

As for safety features, most deep fryers have magnetic breakaway power cords that will easily detach from the unit if the cord is tugged. This prevents the whole appliance from being pulled and saves you from a mess and burns. Deep fryers with clear viewing windows are nice because you can check the progress of your food without hot oil popping all over you and your kitchen.

Best Air Fryer – How to use a deep fryer

Before you cook with an electric deep fryer — like any new appliance — you should wash it to avoid any burning plastic smells when you fire it up. Once you’re ready to start cooking, fill it up with the proper amount of oil indicated by the manual and then set your desired temperature. Most deep fryers do not have a power button and rather turn on when plugged in or when the timer is set.

Once the oil reaches the ideal temperature, drop your food in and keep an eye on it as it gets crispy and golden. The temperature will drop significantly once food is introduced to the oil, so be aware that it will have to heat back up and might affect how long you need to keep your food submerged.

After you’re done cooking it might be instinct to dump out the used oil, but you can actually reuse it a few times. Just sift out the chunks and store the oil in an airtight container and pour it back in the machine when you’re ready to use it again. Just pay attention to the smell and use your judgment to determine when it’s time for fresh oil.

Maintain regular washes of your deep fryer or you might experience corrosion or buildup on the frying basket, oil container, or heating element.

We went on the hunt for the best deep fryers and found our top eight choices based on size, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and performance level. Find the one that suits your needs and get ready for fatty, delicious, fried food.


Clean oil filtration system • Dishwasher-safe parts

Some reviewers had issues getting the oil to reach max temperature

This fryer’s oil filtration sets it apart from others on the market.

Deep fryers can get messy — they are a vat of hot, dirty oil after all. But this fryer from T-fal has a filtration system that cleans the used oil and safely stores it for reuse. It also has dishwasher-safe parts (everything except the heating element) that you won’t have to scrub by hand.

Aside from being easy to clean, the T-fal deep fryer is easy to use as well. The basket sits in two positions for frying and draining the excess oil. It has a heating system that evenly warms the oil, so you won’t have any cold patches that result in soggy food.

Thanks to the size of this deep fryer, you can make a small batch of appetizers or a main course for the whole fam.


Compact size • Multiple size options • Dishwasher-safe components • Actually reaches max temperature • Built-in timer

Short power cord • 4-quart model’s basket is on the shallow side

Cuisinart hits all the marks when it comes to features and does so without being too bulky.

Best Air Fryer – Cuisinart CDF-200P1 deep fryer

Meet all of your deep frying needs with this compact model.

  • Oil capacity:
    4 quarts
  • Food capacity:
    2.3 pounds
  • Max temperature:
    375 degrees

With a powerful heating element, this Cuisinart deep fryer reaches the ideal frying temperature quickly. It’s a great size for potatoes, onion rings, chicken, seafood, and donuts.

This fryer features heat-resistant handles on both the lid and the frying basket to help you avoid burning yourself. After you’re finished frying up your food, you can throw the frying basket, oil container, and lid in the dishwasher for hassle-free cleanup.

Some deep fryers can be bulky, and while this one is not tiny, it is pretty compact and smaller than a microwave. This model comes in a few different sizes if you want something even smaller or want a large option for frying a whole turkey.


Good price • Extra large capacity • Viewing window in lid • Dishwasher-safe basket and oil container • Timer

Bulky • Longer heat-up time • Timer has to be set for the oil to stay hot

A wide frying basket evenly cooks large batches of food.

Best Air Fryer – Chefman XL deep fryer

Fry up batches of food for the whole family.

  • Oil capacity:
    4.5 liters
  • Food capacity:
    3 pounds
  • Max temperature:
    375 degrees

When it comes to deep fryers, you want width over depth. This allows your food to be more spread out instead of piled on top of itself, which means the oil is able to hit every side evenly and you won’t have soggy, cold middle pieces. This Chefman deep fryer has a nice, wide frying basket that can accommodate about 2.5 to 3 pounds of food.

The lid has a viewing window that lets you check on your food without splattering oil all over the place. When the food reaches optimal crispiness, clip the basket to the side of the fryer to let the oil drain out to prevent messes. After you’re all done, you can pop the basket and removable oil container in the dishwasher.

Considering the size and price of this deep fryer, you’re really getting the best bang for your buck. It’s large enough to feed a crowd and it’s well below the $100 mark.


Preheat indicator lights • Affordable • Clear lid • Dishwasher-safe parts

No power button — have to unplug • Definitely not for frying large batches

A large viewing window, low price, and compact size make this a great starter deep fryer.

Best Air Fryer – Bella Pro Series deep fryer

Small and affordable, this is ideal for one to two people.

  • Oil capacity:
    1.6 quarts
  • Food capacity:
    1.2 pounds
  • Max temperature:
    375 degrees

If you’re looking to just dabble in deep frying or don’t need anything too fancy, you should definitely consider the Bella Pro Series stainless steel fryer. It’s extremely affordable but it doesn’t skimp out on quality or features.

This fryer is nice and compact to fit easily on your countertop or stored in a cabinet. The basket has a heat resistant handle cover and the deep fryer’s lid is see-through so you can watch your food turn to the perfect color. Plus, the basket, handle, and lid are all dishwasher safe.

Depending on what you’re frying, you might want to heat the oil to different temperatures. With this deep fryer’s adjustable thermostat you’re able to select how hot you want your oil to get. There are also light indicators to let you know when it’s preheating and when it’s ready to cook.


Multiple baskets • Large capacity • Timer

Bulky • Magnetic power cord disconnects easily if bumped

Cook an entire meal at once with multiple frying baskets.

Feel like a professional fry cook with this three-basket deep fryer. It comes with two 2-quart and one 4-quart baskets. The dual baskets are good for when you want to whip up a main course and a side, or two different sides. You can cook chicken wings and French fries simultaneously so they’re both ready to eat at the same time.

The smaller baskets can each hold up to a pound of food while the large basket handles more than 2.5 pounds. Each one has a heat-resistant handle to save you from burns and they have their individual slots carved out of the fryer to keep them perfectly in place.

As you can expect from its capacity, this deep fryer is pretty bulky and you’ll need adequate kitchen space to store it — it’s definitely not for a tiny apartment.


Multiple cooking functions • Affordable • Dishwasher safe

Some users experienced corrosion on the basket

Deep fry, steam, boil, and more with this one tool.

Best Air Fryer – Presto 06006 kitchen kettle

Do more than just deep fry with this appliance.

  • Oil capacity:
    5 quarts
  • Food capacity:
    2.5 pounds
  • Max temperature:
    400 degrees

Like the Instant Pot, this multi-cooker fryer does the job of multiple kitchen appliances. It’s big enough to deep fry an entire meal or food for a few people. The metal basket snaps onto the rim of the fryer to keep it in place — it has a metal handle, so use an oven mitt or pot holder to lift it out after frying.

In addition to deep frying, you can use this cast aluminum pot to steam, blanche, roast, and make soup and pasta. It’s truly an all-in-one kitchen companion.

The frying/steaming basket has a non-stick finish, though a handful of reviewers noted that they would prefer stainless steel to avoid corrosion. The fryer has a large, clear lid that allows you to keep an eye on your food while avoiding rogue hot oil splashes. With the heating unit removed, every part of this is dishwasher safe.


Huge cooking capacity • Versatile • Includes cooking accessories

Does not include propane burner • Requires a lot of oil

This deep fryer is a great companion for Thanksgiving and other food-centric gatherings.

Best Air Fryer – Bayou Classic turkey fryer

Fry a turkey up to 25 pounds in this massive deep fryer.

  • Oil capacity:
    42 quarts
  • Food capacity:
    25 pounds
  • Max temperature:
    N/A

Thanksgiving is not complete without a beautiful, crispy turkey. Sure, you can roast a bird in the oven, but to take it to the next level you’re going to want a big old deep fryer. This frying kit comes with everything you need to fry a turkey except for a propane burner. You’ll get a large 42-quart aluminum pot with a lid and riveted handles, poultry rack and lift hook, thermometer, seasoning injector, and protective glove.

Because of its large capacity, it does take about half an hour for the oil to heat up in this pot, so plan your day accordingly. Also, it’s important to note that this fryer is intended for outdoor use only (please don’t put a giant vat of oil over a propane burner inside your house).

During the rest of the year, you can use the Bayou Classic to fry up seafood and other meats, make soup, or whatever your heart desires. This deep fryer does require a lot of oil, so it’s not ideal for small batches — whip this bad boy out for parties.


Huge capacity • Includes frying basket and rotisserie spit • Long timer

Pricey • Bulky • Longer heat-up time

Fry a whole bird rotisserie-style or use the basket for regular frying.

If you want to fry a whole bird but don’t need a massive outdoor fryer, this countertop rotisserie fryer is great for cooking smaller poultry. It’s not just for birds, though — you can use it as your everyday fryer or for special occasions with large crowds.

This fryer comes with both a frying basket and a rotisserie spit to ensure any whole birds get cooked evenly all the way around. The basket and spit each have their own detachable handles, with the rotisserie one having double handles for better leverage.

The timer on this fryer goes up to 120 minutes for extended cooking — no raw meat here. When you’re done frying, the lid and basket are dishwasher safe while you’ll need to wipe down the rest.

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