Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times
Though its not much bigger than a toddlers shoe box, the Cuisinart Compact Deep Fryer has a 1,000-watt heating element, which is permanently affixed to the underside of the die-cast frying tub. The housing unit is brushed stainless steel, with black plastic cool-touch handles. The lid and cooking basket are dishwasher-safe.
Whats the difference: The square oil tub has a spout to pour out the used oil. The tub is not removable; to clean, you fill the unit with water and baking soda and boil.
What we thought: Great results in a machine that takes up very little counter space. A nice design feature allows the oil to drain from the elevated basket before it is removed. One caveat: Be careful to touch only the handles; other surfaces get hot enough to burn a finger.
How much: About $50 at Bed, Bath & Beyond and Home Depot.