Commercial Fryers Buying Guide

Commercial Fryers Buying Guide.

Fryers can be a powerful tool in any kitchen, offering a broad selection of delicious foods for your customers. But sometimes it can feel like there are as many different fryer styles as there are uses for them. Chefs’ Toys is here to make it easier for you to find the right fryer for your business.

We have put together this brief guide to help you identify what style of fryer is the best fit for you but as always our Chef’s Toys team is here to help you whenever you need us. Don’t hesitate to give us a call or stop by your local Chef’s Toys location for a tailored experience. In a hurry? Contact us. We are happy to help with tips and advice.

Different Types of Deep Fryers

  • Countertop and Floor Fryers
    Whether a countertop fryer is appropriate for your application is dependent on two things: how much you are going to fry and whether you have the floor space for a full size commercial fryer. Countertop fryers are intended for small batch cooking so if you are planning on adding anything like fries to your menu than a countertop fryer is immediately out of the question.
  • Tube Fryers
    Tube Fryers feature an assembly of heating tubes located at the bottom of the fryer, which allows gas to flow through and heat the oil.  To avoid scorching, loose particles and crumbs accumulate and sink to the bottom to a “cooling zone.” This prevents food from having a burnt after-taste. Oil stays clean for a longer period and doesn’t require filtering as often as other commercial fry pot designs. Tube fryers only come in a gas option.

    • Benefits
      • Best for high sediment foods
      • Best way to heat the oil rather than the fry tank
      • Great for heavy frying
      • Secure heating element
      • Avoids burnt taste in foods
  • Open Pot Fryers
    These commercial fryers are the easiest to clean and maintain and are extremely reliable.  In fact, some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty! Open pot fryers are best suited for foods that don’t produce a lot of sediment.  High sediment foods like fried chicken can be fried in an open pot fryer but you’ll want to be careful to clean the fryer more often to avoid any burnt after-taste caused by the collection of sediment at the bottom of the tank. The commercial pot fryers are best designed for pre-breaded foods like French fries and battered fish fillets. Exercise patience as the open pot fryers recover heat at a slower pace than the tube fryers. Open pot fryers are available as both commercial gas and electric fryers.

    • Benefits
      • Suitable for most basic frying needs
      • Mobile heating element
      • Larger batches can be fried than countertop designs
      • Easy cleaning
  • Flat Bottom Fryers
    These fryers are similar in design to open pot fryers, except they have no sediment zone and are shaped like a large square.  They are excellent for low-sediment specialty food items such as donuts, tempura, and tortilla chips.  They aren’t ideal for a wide variety of fried foods or for high volume cooking, and can be more difficult to clean. We only recommend these for specialty foods because of the low recovery times but for those applications this fryer is a great option. Similar to tube fryers, the flat bottom fryers are only available as commercial gas fryers.

    • Benefits
      • Perfect for specialty foods
      • Great for battered dishes
      • Great for foods with shorter cooking time
      • Great for floating products – Fish, chips, breads
  • Rack (Ribbon) Fryers
    These commercial fryers are a fusion of the tube fryer and the flat bottom fryer.  As a result, there are a wide variety of food options such as French fries and breaded foods. Numerous racks are immersed into the fry pot for deep frying specific food items in bulk such as fried chicken, chicken strips and donuts.  Patience may be a virtue, but it’s not needed here as the oil in this commercial fryer heats up faster than other designs and recovers heat quickly. Because the tank itself is being heated, as with the open pot fryer, regularly cleaning these fryers is required especially if you are cooking sediment heavy foods. The commercial ribbon fryer is only available as an electric fryer.

    • Benefits
      • Oil heats faster than tube fryer
      • More versatile than tube fryer
      • Bulk cooking with racks

Specialty Fryers

  • Pressure Fryers
    Although more expensive than tube and open pot fryers, these commercial fryers save valuable time since foods cook 10% to 15% faster than non-pressure fryers.  Cooking large quantities of fried chicken is the trend with these deep fryers.  Meats are typically juicy and flavorful, but some models may not produce the crispy texture like other fryer designs. Due to the high pressure cooking technology of these fryers, the oil doesn’t need to be drained or replaced as frequently as other designs. These commercial fryers are electric only.

    • Benefits
      • Foods cook faster than non-pressure fryers
      • Bulk cooking
      • Oil doesn’t need to be replaced as frequently
      • Easy cleaning
  • Ventless Fryers
    Ventless fryers are the perfect solution for avoiding the greasy vapors or the need for a commercial hood as they are entirely enclosed units. They are perfectly designed for niche locations such as offices, historical buildings, and kiosks.  These fryers include an internal filtration system to make them easy to clean and are designed to be simple to operate. Ventless fryers are always electric.

    • Benefits
      • Perfect when a hood system doesn’t exist
      • Eliminates need for expensive roof modifications
      • Easy to clean

Gas or Electric?
We recommend that you compare utility rates of gas and electricity in your area before making this decision so that you can make the most economical choice available to you. Gas fryers have traditionally been less expensive to operate but this may not be true in your region. If you are simply replacing an existing Fryer we generally recommend sticking with the kind of unit you already have in order to avoid having to install gas or electric hookups.

Please be aware that most warranties for gas fryers require that a professional hookup your gas line to the unit. For your personal safety and the safety of your employees please have a professional install your gas fryer.

Sizing Your Fryer
There are several factors foodservice operators consider before selecting a commercial frying machine include:

  • Oil Capacity (pounds)
  • BTU rating
  • Burner Type (cast iron or solstice)
  • # of Tubes (if applicable)
  • Tube Height (in inches)
  • Cooking Efficiency
  • Energy Star Certified (rebates may be available if yes)
  • Filter Option
  • Tank Warranty
  • Production Capacity: lbs of fries per hour
  • Load size: # of pounds per 2 baskets

Also think about space under the hood. Have sufficient room? A chicken wing operation may require larger baskets. French fries, onion rings or freezer-to-fryer products may warrant a smaller fryer or if fried items are not ordered frequently. Frying larger items or bone-in meats might require larger fryers.

Solid State or Programmable Controls?
It’s important to talk with your Chef’s Toys Team Member about how you plan to use your deep fryer because that may affect the type of controls that you need on your unit.

Solid state controls are straight forward and easy to use. They can either come as an analog dial or a digital display but they basically limit your control just to the temperature of the oil. For many applications solid state controls are a cost effective option that is more than capable of meeting their needs.

Programmable fryers allow you to not only control oil temperature but also cook time. Some programmable fryers may also offer temperature/cook time compensation features which will automatically adjust your cook time based on the temperature of the oil. This allows you to get a consistent product even when the oil temperature has not fully recovered. While these features are more costly than the solid state controls they can make a powerful impact on the efficiency of a high production kitchen.

Let’s talk about Recovery Times
Recovery time is how long it takes for a fryer to get back up to the set temperature after cold or frozen food is dropped into the fryer or after hot food is removed. How quickly your fryer can recover from a drop in oil temperature impacts how much food the fryer can cook each hour and the consistency of the food being produced. Make sure that the fryer you purchase is capable of keeping up with your kitchen when it is running efficiently so that your cooks can keep up with demand and your customers can get a consistent, delicious product.

Faster recovery times also mean a more efficient fryer. If you are starting to see the recovery time on your old fryer decrease, this means that the unit is becoming less efficient and is likely starting to raise your utility costs to operate the fryer. We recommend you consider replacing the fryer if you start seeing this behavior before the costs can accumulate.

If recovery times are important, updated or enhanced controls like solid state, computers and touchscreen options add a lot of value.

Filtration
Filtering the oil in your commercial fryer is an important part of maintaining your fryer as well as the quality of the food it produces. Some large commercial floor fryers will include a built-in filtration system that will help you to clean and reuse your oil. By using your built-in filter 2-3 times per day, you could save up to $2,000 per year, per pot of oil according to Pitco.

Food Separation
Some foods you can fry in the same oil as others and some you can’t. Rather than purchasing multiple fryers in order to avoid allergic contamination and maintain the intended flavor of your foods many manufacturers offer a split pot design. These commercial fryers are available in gas and electric and they are capable of frying different products at the same time without transferring oil between the pots. This can be an energy efficient and cost effective way to avoid cross contamination.

Fryer Accessories

  • Cooking Accessories
    • Fryer Baskets
      Fryer baskets are used to contain food during the cooking process and are often used to store the food after it is finished frying as well. For this reason, it’s often useful to own extra baskets. Fryer baskets come in various sizes based on the size of your fryer and how many different foods you want to fry at any one time.
    • Fry Screens
      Fry Screens are ideal for making cleaning your fryer easier. These screens are placed in the bottom of the fryer to catch small particles and sediment that can then be easily removed by lifting out the screen, cleaning it, and replacing it. Fryer screens help to prolong the life of your oil and improve the consistency of your food.
    • Fry Dump Stations
      For restaurants that have high production rates it can be difficult to leave your fry basket suspended over the fryer while the excess oil drains away. Fry dump stations provide an area, usually heated, where recently fried food can be kept so that the fryer can continue to be used.
    • Submerger
      A submerger is made to help hold product below the surface of the oil that would normally float, ensuring better product consistency.
  • Fryer Maintenance Accessories
    • Fryer Filter Systems
      Fryer filter systems make filtering your oil and cleaning your fryers much easier by automating part of the process. Because these units are separate from the fryer you only need one to filter multiple fryer tanks.
    • Fryer Brushes
      These brushes and cleaning tools make it easier to scrub the tank of your fryer clean. Some are designed specially to clean the drains and around the burners or elements of the Fryer.
    • Fryer Covers
      Usually used at night when the fryers are not in use, these covers help protect your fryer and oil from collecting any airborne contaminants or pests from getting into the oil. These covers can also be useful when the fryers are not in use to prevent anything from accidentally being dropped into the hot oil.
    • Mobile Disposal Tanks
      When you need to dispose of your oil completely you can use one of these units to empty your fryer and move it to your waste unit where the internal pump will empty the tank into your waste unit.

Warranties
Commercial fryer warranties typically vary from one year to a maximum of 10 years. Warranty for parts and labor is usually one year. High-end units include a warranty that covers the mechanical components of the fryer, as well as the labor. Consider that replacement parts for commercial fryers are relatively inexpensive and can be easily replaced if your warranty doesn’t cover all or some of the parts of your fry pot.

Rebates
Utilities companies across the nation offer rebates on energy efficient restaurant equipment including commercial fryers. Make sure to bring this up with a Chef’s Toys Team Member so that they can help you identify any other cost saving opportunities that are available to you.

Top Commercial Fryer Brands

pitco

See all Commercial Fryers here.

Need help? One of our Foodservice Professionals would be happy to assist. Please call us or email us at CustomerSupport@chefstoys.com.