Air fryers have soared in popularity recently – but how much does it cost to run an air fryer? And in the cost of living crisis, is it a more economical way to prepare meals compared to other cooking methods?
There’s a reason people are using the best air fryers in their droves to help them cook their everyday meals. Not only do they create delicious, crispy food but air fryers are healthy in that they provide a healthier cooking alternative to deep frying, as they allow you to use much less oil. Plus, they’re incredibly simple to use and require little to no prep or hands-on time, once you know how to use an air fryer.
But one important consideration when it comes to using an air fryer is also how much it costs. Does it use as much energy as an oven for example – or is cooking in an air fryer a preferable alternative when it comes to saving on energy bills? How does it compare, energy-wise, to other kitchen gadgets?
In order to uncover the costs of using an air fryer on a daily basis, we spoke to energy experts and air fryer specialists, to see whether they can help save money or not.
How much does it cost to run an air fryer?
Much like other appliances, understanding the answer to the question, ‘how much does it cost to run an air fryer’? Involves understanding that each device in your home uses a certain amount of ‘watts’ per hour – put simply, a unit of power. And while this will vary between air fryers, it is possible to give a more general answer.
So how expensive is it to run an air fryer? Energy expert at MyJobQuote, William Hobbs explains, “When it comes to working out the cost to run an air fryer, there are multiple factors that need to be considered. The most important factors are:
- "the wattage of the device per hour" (this will vary)
- "the current cost of energy. As of October 1st of this year, the UK energy cap has risen to 34p/kWh.” In the US, there is no price cap, and costs vary across the country. But as a means of illustrating the cost of running an air fryer, a fair average can be set at $0.15.
Jennifer Warren, the founder of Energy Guide, explains that in order to work out the specific cost of using your air fryer, you can use a certain equation – similar to working out the cost of using a dehumidifier.
She said, "You use the following formula to calculate the energy cost of an appliance: kWh per day x unit cost (wattage) = cost of electricity each day. For example: If you had a 1500W air fryer and used it for an hour, it will use 1.5kWh.
“So, if your electricity costs 52p per unit (which is the new price cap from October), then multiply 1.5kWh by 52p, and you get a grand total of 78p.”
Under the current UK price cap of 34p, it would cost you 51p to use each hour. In the US, based on our estimated average of 15 cents/kWh, it could cost you about 22 cents an hour to run your air fryer.
It's important though when using this equation, to consider how long you generally use or plan to use, your air fryer for each day. And this will vary from household to household, based on how many meals you use it for. William Hobbs points out, “Cooking dinner with an air fryer takes an average of 20 minutes per meal."
Based on the above numbers, running your air fryer for 20 minutes each day – for one meal – could cost you almost 20p in the UK and almost 9 cents in the US.
And when it comes to breaking that cost down per meal, William says, "Research from Uswitch has shown that a 900-watt air fryer used for 20 minutes, the total cost would equate to around 10p per meal. An air fryer with a 1,500 wattage used for the same time would cost around 17p to run, per meal."
However, these numbers should be considered to be a general guide, as knowing the answer to the question, of how much it costs to run an air fryer will again vary depending on a few factors.
- The wattage of your air fryer (and so the amount of power it will use): Most air fryers on the market tend to have a wattage of between 800-1800 watts, with larger air fryers having a higher wattage, and smaller air fryers having a lower wattage. Generally, the higher the wattage, the more power your device will use.
- How long you intend to use it for everyday: Of course, as with any kitchen appliance, if you plan to use your air fryer to help you cook each meal, it will clearly cost you more in energy than if you use it for just one meal a day. And when you know what you can cook in an air fryer, it makes sense that you may want to use it for every meal! But as we'll discover below, it may be a more sensible move than using the oven for each meal...
- How many people you plan to cook for: Again, the cost of using your air fryer will likely depend on whether you are cooking for lots of people. If you tend to cook for a larger family, you will necessarily need to use a large air fryer which tend to use more power, or you'll need to use it multiple times a day. But if you're just cooking for yourself, or you and a partner, a small air fryer – which are cheaper to use overall – will definitely suffice.
Is it cheaper to use an air fryer or an oven?
Perhaps the closest appliance to an air fryer, in terms of the resulting presentation, taste, and texture of your food, is the oven. So it makes sense to wonder which is cheaper to use – an oven or an air fryer?
Generally, an air fryer is the cheaper appliance to use, because of its lower wattage, and the fact that they use less electricity. However, it’s not totally as straightforward as that, as Jennifer explains.
She told w&h, “Air fryers use less energy and will cook food faster than the average/standard 2100W electric oven. And this is mainly due to the fact that ovens take much longer to reach their maximum temperature since they are bigger."
William continues, revealing that "Air fryers heat up and cool down almost instantly, meaning not much heat goes to waste when preparing a meal. Ovens require a 5-10 minute preheating time, which wastes energy and pushes on the pennies."
Plus air fryers tend to cook your food at a far quicker rate, saving money in a way ovens cannot. William explains: "Air fryer cooking times average at 20 minutes or less, compared to 45 minutes to an hour for ovens."
But, Jennifer explained that in order to fairly compare the two, you need to be realistic about the amount of food you will regularly be cooking. Saying, “It’s important to use an air fryer that has enough capacity to cook the volume of food you will need to cook, otherwise you may end up using the air fryer for even longer than you would your oven, in which case, you will likely make no savings at all.”
So it can absolutely be cheaper to use an air fryer as opposed to an oven – but it's important to also be realistic about whether an air fryer, which undeniably has a smaller capacity compared to an oven, is big enough for the cooking you're planning on doing.
Air fryers can be bought with larger capacities – some air fryer ovens can hold up to 1.4kg of food like some of the best ninja air fryers for example, which can equal a whole chicken or a large portion of chips. But ovens are undoubtedly larger, and unlike an oven, you won’t be able to cook multiple items simultaneously in an air fryer, which is also an important consideration.
Do air fryers save money?
Yes – using an air fryer can absolutely save you money if you intend to use it as an alternative to a conventional oven, and if you use it as much as you typically would an oven.
Air fryers are, as mentioned, generally considered to be much cheaper appliances to run than ovens. In fact, findings from Utilita Energy revealed that you could save up to £263.80 per year by using an air fryer, as opposed to an electric cooker.
However, as with any household appliance, it pays to choose a model that will help you to save as much money as possible. William advises that buying a new appliance is the best financial move – but that there are pros and cons to choosing a low or high-wattage air fryer. He explains, “Newer appliances tend to be more energy-efficient compared to older models, making them cheaper to run overall."
“The more powerful the appliance the more it’ll cost to run, however, the quicker it will heat your food. But you can also save money by looking for a lower wattage appliance with a sufficient energy-rating."
When considering whether air fryers save money, it's also well worth considering the initial cost of actually buying an air fryer. While the vast majority of homes will already have an oven installed, air fryers are an additional cost upfront. And while air fryer deals can help, some of them can be pretty pricey, costing up to $250/£250 for premium models.
For some households, their air fryers will start to pay for themselves – but if you're only planning on using an air fryer occasionally, it's worth thinking about whether any overall savings will be worth the larger initial cost of the purchase.
And as mentioned, the reality of whether an air fryer can save you money also depends on how many people you are planning to cook for. Energy expert at Housetastic.co.uk, Paul Newman, says, "If you’re only cooking one or two portions of food for a short period of time, then you can save money." However, if you're using your air fryer all day, for hours at a time, the savings, as Jennifer explained, will become minimal.
Do air fryers use a lot of electricity?
When it comes to how much electricity air fryers use, they are thought to be pretty much on par with other small appliances in your kitchen, if you're considering them on a like-for-like usage basis. However, when compared to larger appliances, like your oven or even your hob, they absolutely use less electricity. In fact, according to the Utilita research above, an air fryer and a microwave the two kitchen appliances that use the least amount of electric.
Paul Newman, explained, “As long as you’re not cooking lots of individual portions of food in your air fryer, then they’re not significantly different in electricity costs to other small appliances."
But, he said, that they do tend to be on the lower side for electricity use. "Kettles for example often use between 2kW and 3kW of energy, so they’re one of the most power-hungry appliances in the home. They use two or three times more electricity than an air fryer. But unless you’re boiling water frequently for drinks and cooking, a kettle won’t cost you much more per day than an air fryer," Paul explains. On that, how often you descale a kettle is thought to improve the boiling time and cost.
"As another example, stand mixers use around the same amount of power as an air fryer. But as you don’t tend to use them for many minutes at a time or on a daily basis, they’re generally not going to cost you as much in electricity over a year as an air fryer in regular use."
So in answer to the question, do air fryers use a lot of electricity? The answer is that, compared to other kitchen appliances, no – though it is vital to consider your personal usage.
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Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.
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