Fried turkey tastes delicious, so it's understandable that in recent years propane turkey fryers have become increasingly popular. But at what price? Every Thanksgiving dozens of families endure Thanksgiving tragedy due to defective turkey fryers. Propane turkey fryers are so dangerous that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has recommended against their use. According to the NFPA; the hot oil can cause devastating burns and destruction of property. The New York Fire Department (NYFD) - and dozens of fire departments across the country - recommend against using propane fryers.
Consumer group after consumer group have weighed in against propane fryers. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) studied propane fryer hazards. Mr. John Drengenberg, an engineer and the UL Consumer Affairs Manager strongly recommends against the use of propane turkey fryers. Mr. Drengenber explains, UL found propane turkey fryers, "... not to be worth the risks. And, as a result of these observations, UL has decided not to certify any turkey fryers with our trusted UL Mark." Some manufacturers countered by putting phony "consumer listing mark of approvals" on their dangerous propane fryers.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has also issued alerts on propane turkey fryers. Every Thanksgiving the CPSC receives reports of turkey fryer burns. The CPSC has reported over one hundred incidents of propane turkey fryers causing burns. In addition, Consumer Reports issued a safety alert on propane turkey fryers. A video on their website graphically demonstrates just how quickly propane turkey fryers violently erupt.
These horrible burns happen to ordinary people. Take Richard, for instance. Richard was trying hard to be extra careful. However, in spite of his best efforts, Richard suffered severe burns while using a turkey fryer. Richard's description is similar to so many others, "cheap greaseless turkey fryer".
Most turkey fryers don't have any temperature control, allowing the oil to overheat and burst into flame, similar to a volcano erupting. The propane fryers that do have temperature controls, have temperature controls that are shoddy and unreliable. Which gives consumers a false sense of security. John Drengenberg, from UL, describes propane fryers as a "vertical flame thrower". CPSC's findings reveal the majority of reported incidents occur while the oil is being heated, prior to adding the turkey. The oil starts to overheat and smoke and then instantly turns into a "vertical flame thrower."