Martin Lewis warned people about using air fryers instead of ovens to cook food
| Last updated
“I’ll just pop it in the air fryer,” “Yeah no worries, I’ll do dinner in the air fryer,” “Oh my god you’ll never guess what I made in the air fryer last night.”
We’ve all got a mate that’s obsessed with their air fryer – if we’re not all willing to admit that mate is probably ourselves.
And Martin Lewis has given his wise take on the handy little cookers. But it might not quite be what everyone wants to hear.
In an episode of The Martin Lewis podcast, the 51-year-old explained how air fryers don't always outweigh ovens in being cheaper to use.
Lewis says: "A microwave gives you consistent heat whereas an oven is warming up to full temperature and then topping it up so it isn’t running at full power the whole time.
"If you were doing a full roast dinner and you were cooking many [jacket potatoes], it’s probably cheaper [putting them in the oven] than putting five or six jacket potatoes in a microwave because each additional object you put in a microwave, you need to keep it on longer because a microwave just heats the individual object."
Don't start debating throwing out your air fryer just yet though, as Lewis notes if you cook a single jacket potato, which only needs around 10 minutes, it will be 'far cheaper' to do in a device like a microwave.
This goes for your beloved air fryer as well, as heating a jacket potato in your oven will take around 'an hour and a half’ and is therefore more expensive.
But if you fancy getting really technical, you can work out whether it's best to use your oven or air fryer for each meal using a handy equation.
"General equation is, find the wattage of an item, then work out how many kilowatts or what fraction of a kilowatt it’s using, then multiply that by 34p per hour of use.
"[...] The problem with the equation for heating equipment is an oven is going to be about 2,000W. If you had a 1,000W microwave and you put it on for 10 minutes, one KWH for a sixth of an hour, a sixth of 34p is about 6p, shall we say?
"So it’s 6p turning the microwave on for that amount of time. So yes, it’s a very useful equation," Lewis explains.
The same equation can be used for air fryers too.
The Money Edit echoes Lewis' advice, noting 'generally' air fryers are 'cheaper to use' than an oven.
"An oven costs 21p to use on average and a 800W air fryer costs 13.6p to use.
"But if you own an air fryer that is a lot more powerful, you could be using near enough the same energy as an oven. For example the 2,000W air fryer costs 34p per use, that’s 13p more than an oven.
"And the biggest factor is the quantity of food you’re cooking. [...] Cooking the same thing twice in an 800W air fryer could cost you more than 26p, which is more expensive than cooking in the oven," it explains.
Lewis resolves: "If you're cooking something small and simple in there, it's probably cheaper in the microwave and similarly the air fryer."