Cost of using air fryer vs oven for main meals after Martin Lewis' warning
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Potatoes, meat, even entire desserts - you name it, it can probably be cooked in the air fryer. They've revolutionised the cooking game - but does using them actually save money?
Lewis explained that the amount of food you're cooking plays a big part in whether or not you'll save money by using an air fryer, saying: "If you're cooking something small and simple in there, it's probably cheaper in the microwave and similarly the air fryer."
That might not be the case if you're whipping up a big meal though, as unlike smaller devices, an oven is 'warming up to full temperature and then topping it up so it isn’t running at full power the whole time'.
So, how does the cost of using an air fryer compare to using an oven?
To answer this question, Which? tested a range of popular foods in both devices, including a whole chicken, chips, a sponge cake and a jacket potato. So basically the full English cuisine.
The study used the average electricity unit price for April-July 2023, of 33.2p per kilowatt hour, and recorded how long each dish took to cook, how much electricity it used and how much it cost.
Let's start with the roast chicken, enough for around three to four portions. In the built-in electric oven you're looking at a cost of 38p, but in the air fryer this same meal will cost just 18p.
Similar savings were found for 320g of frozen chips, which cost 29p in the oven and 10p in the air fryer - though that cost would increase if you have to do multiple batches.
Now for those with a sweet tooth: how much does it cost to bake a sponge cake?
Though it might seem like blasphemy to some of the more traditional cooks out there, the air fryer takes the win again.
Baking up a fluffy treat will set you back 24p in the oven, versus just 7p in the air fryer.
Looking for something a bit simpler? The air fryer is still cheaper than the oven if you're in the mood for a jacket potato, at 13p versus 36p for one potato, but for once it's not the cheapest appliance out there.
According to the research, a microwave is the cheapest option for cooking a spud at 5p, followed by a pressure cooker at 9p. Again, though, the prices would change depending on how many potatoes you're after.
Which? included preheating time where required in the estimates, and chose the models tested as 'typical examples of each type of product'.
So the air fryer is clearly a money saver if you're not looking to make big meals, though Which? has noted there is also the initial cost that comes with purchasing the device.
Air fryers can vary in price, with some as cheap as £30 while fancier models will set you back upwards of £300.
If your device is on the more expensive side, you'll have to do a lot of cooking before you start to see a profit over using the oven.