Cuisinart

Though it’s not much bigger than a toddler’s 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.<br>
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<b>What’s the difference:</b> 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.<br>
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<b>What we thought:</b> 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.<br>
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<b>How much:</b> About $50 at Bed, Bath & Beyond and Home Depot.

( Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times )

Though it’s not much bigger than a toddler’s 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.

What’s 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.

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