Are you a huge air fryer fan? It seems everyone is raving about them, and the estimated nine million households in Britain who own an air fryer can’t be wrong. Or can they?
Air fryers are certainly a healthier alternative, but claims they are cheaper to use than other electric cooking methods have been disputed.
So let’s look at the stats.
Air fryers have a much lower-wattage than ovens, so generally consume less electricity when it comes to preparing meals. However, they’re not always cheaper for larger dishes.
A recent Which? study pitted a microwave, air fryer, slow cooker, pressure cooker and halogen oven against each other. It found that you can make considerable energy savings with an air fryer compared to an oven or hob, particularly if you’re only cooking small amounts. The same applies to a microwave.
Often the air fryer used less than half the energy, and the results were just as tasty.
Chips cooked in the oven cost 24p in electricity compared to 8p using the air fryer. However, the air fryer model recommended only filling the basket halfway and using a maximum of 500g of chips – enough for two to three portions. If you’re feeding several people, or want to cook a few different food items at the same time, the oven has more space than the air fryer so may work out cheaper overall.
When cooking jacket potatoes, the study found that the microwave was the cheapest option, costing only 4p for one potato. The air fryer cost 11p but, if you’re not counting the pennies, that extra 7p may be worth it for the deliciously crispy skin! If you’re cooking several potatoes, the oven may be the better choice.
An oven takes a while to heat up, which is where a lot of energy is wasted. If you’re cooking one jacket potato then it’s better to use the microwave for just 10 minutes of cooking time. If, however, you’re cooking several potatoes, it would be best to use the oven as you can cook them all at the same time.
Emily Seymour, energy editor at Which?, said: ‘The cost savings will soon be lost if you have to cook more than one batch though, so it’s still better to use your oven if you’re cooking large quantities.’
If you’re looking to save money, it’s also important to factor in how much you will use your air fryer. Models can range from around £30 to well over £150, so if you’re looking at the top end of the market, you will need to use it many times to make any savings. It’s also worth looking at buying pre-loved from charity shops or on Marketplace to see what bargains are out there.
Cost comparison research only compares electric cooking methods however many people have electric ovens with gas hobs, and gas is a cheaper fuel than electricity. If you’re not sure whether it’s cheaper to use a gas hob or air fryer, you can calculate fuel costs using this gas calculator.