Guide to Fry Cookers


Shopping for a commercial fryer can be tricky.  You’ve got a lot of options.  Start with the basics.  Which type or fryer do you need?  Gas or electric?  Not sure?  Here’s a quick guide to the types of fryers and the pro’s and con’s of your power source options.

Types of Fryers

Open-Potopen-pot commercial fryer

The term “open-pot” refers to the unobstructed heated area of these fryers. Gas models heat the fry pot from the outside. Electric models have a ribbon-shaped element immersed in the oil, which folds upward for easy cleaning.


  • Versatile and well-suited for most frying needs
  • Open-pot fryers are the easiest to clean
  • Value priced
  • Best for lightly breaded foods.


  • Deep, narrow sediment zone
  • Not suitable for specialty products

open-pot commercial fryer sediment zone

Sediment Zone

Open-pot fryers are easiest to clean, but have a smaller sediment zone than tube-style fryers, making them best for lightly breaded (lower sediment) foods. The construction of these fryers allows for the best visual monitoring of sediment status.

tube-type commercial fryer


Tube-style fryers can accomplish the same tasks as open-pot fryers, but are slightly more difficult to clean because the tube-shaped heating elements are permanently fixed in the vat.


  • Well-suited for a wide range of heavy frying
  • Wide sediment zone
  • Best choice for heavily battered foods.


  • Difficult to clean
  • Not suitable for specialty products
  • More costly than open-pot fryers

open-pot commercial fryer sediment zone

Sediment Zone

Tube-style fryers have larger sediment zones below the burners than other fryers. The wide sediment areas below the burner tubes allow particles to settle and accumulate. However, because tubes are generally fixed in place, it can make cleaning more difficult and time consuming.

Flat-Bottomflat-bottom commercial fryer

Flat-bottom fryers are designed for frying delicate items that float near the surface of the oil, such as tortilla chips, taco shells and tempura. These fryers don’t have a sediment zone, so they aren’t as suited for the high volume tasks accomplished with tube-style and open-pot designs.


  • Well-suited for liquid battered foods
  • Ideal for bulk frying
  • Best choice for specialty foods.


  • Difficult to clean
  • No sediment zone

flat-bottom commercial fryer sediment zone

Sediment Zone

Flat-bottom fryers lack an area devoted to capturing sediment. Contaminants remain more in contact with foods throughout the frying cycle. Patrons may complain about a blackened appearance or a difference in taste due to carbonized contaminants.

Which is Better, Gas or Electric?

Gas is Better when it comes to…

  • Heating Speed

    Electric commercial fryers take longer to get up to temperature and typically can’t reach the same maximum temperature as their gas-powered counterparts.

  • Operational Cost

    In the past, gas fryers were the least expensive to operate. However, in recent years natural gas has outpaced the cost of electricity in some areas.


Electric is Better when it comes to…

  • Oil Recovery

    Once up to temperature, electric fryers recover more quickly between frying cycles than their gas counterparts.

  • Efficiency

    Electric fryers house a heating element inside the oil, increasing efficiency. Conversely, gas commercial fryers must heat the metal container holding the oil first, which in turn heats the oil – this uses more energy.

  • Portability

    Electric fryers have the edge because they are not tied to a gas line. Relocating them however, still might require a visit from your electrician.


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