The Difference Between Millivolt and Solid State Fryer Controls

Having control in your commercial kitchen is important – but what does control actually mean when it comes to cooking? For starters, it means consistency. With control over the cooking process, including temperatures, it ensures consistent food quality every time you use a piece of foodservice equipment, like a commercial fryer. But what else does control do for operators?

Control in terms of fryers is peace of mind. Precise controls and accurate cooking let chefs, kitchen staff, and operators rest easy knowing that their cooking equipment will deliver results they expect and not saddle the kitchen with ruined product. While having control is necessary, how do controls on frying equipment differ, and what are the best for your needs?

Let’s examine two of the handful of controls found on Pitco commercial fryers, millivolt and solid state.

What are millivolt controls?

There’s a reason millivolt controls haven’t changed much in 50 years – they are a simple way to control a fryer without the need for an external electricity source. Because of that, they are only featured on gas fryers. Millivolt ignition systems require a standing pilot light in order to function.

Where millivolt controls fall behind are with precision. When it comes to any type of cooking process, including frying, precision and accuracy are the difference between an over-or under-cooked dish, and food fried to perfection.

The Millivolt Control is the most basic option Pitco has for its fryers. While no external electric power is needed for operation, it does require that an operator physically ignite the pilot of the fryer, which is not the safest option available and requires more training of the operation than other controls.

Advantages of solid state fryer controls

The next step up in control is solid state. Solid state controls, located in the fryer cabinet, expand capabilities from the Millivolt Controls. Unlike millivolt controls, solid state controls run on an external electrical source, without the need to manually light the pilot.

Is an upgrade of fryer control worth it? If you have access to electricity, absolutely! But for good reason – moving up from millivolt to solid state controls provides a number of additional benefits not found on the basic controls.

Greater Temperature Control

With a plus or minus 3˚F reactivity from a 350˚F set temperature, solid state controls offer a more accurate and precise control of the heating temperature. A more precise temperature results in a more consistent quality of the product being fried.

Increased Production

Solid state controls impact heat recovery, speeding up the recovery process and increasing food production.

Longer Oil Life

Full heat, when not needed, degrades oil over time. Millivolt controls have a 10˚ temperature range, not a 1˚ range like solid state controls. With a wider range, full heat is applied to the oil more often, which will lead to oil degradation and a shorter lifespan.

With a melt cycle feature, a must-have for solid or semi-solid shortening, even for liquid shortening, melts automatically and gives your oil a longer life span.


The boil out mode on solid state controls keeps water at a heated simmer without overheating and causing water splashing or bubbles during cleaning.


Solid state controls are easy to upgrade in the future, and can be installed as a backup for the Digital or 12-Button Control.

Take Control with Pitco Fryers

Pitco offers a wide range of controls for all of its products. For fryers, controls range from the simple Millivolt Control all the way up to the Infinity Touch™ Touchscreen Control.

All of these controls have their advantages, depending on the fryer solution you choose. Unsure what controls or fryer you need in your foodservice operation? We have the answers and are here to help you take control back in your commercial kitchen. Get started with a Fryer Consultation today!


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Topics: Fryers, Controls