Are air fryers worth it?

(Image credit: Philips)

Keen to try out one of the latest air fryers? As well as turning out healthier versions of your favorite foods, an air fryer is the perfect countertop addition to save you time and energy in the kitchen, cutting standard oven cooking times in half. 

And shorter cooking times will ultimately save you money on electricity bills. With the current state of world energy affairs both financially and ethically, saving energy at home has never been a more pressing issue, so below we take a closer look at how to calculate the costs of your air fryer based on current energy prices. 

For those still sitting on the fence, wondering whether one of the latest air fryers is worth it, we’re here to help you make an informed choice over which model from our roundup of the best air fryers online is the perfect pick for you. We're also going to delve a little deeper into the reasons behind whether or not an air fryer is, indeed, worth it. Read on to find out more.

How does an air fryer work?

You may have already heard friends and family singing the praises of using an air fryer for cooking a variety of foods, and for good reason. Versatile and efficient, the air fryer is fast becoming a kitchen staple, giving conventional gas or electric ovens a run for their money. The best air fryers deliver the benefits of cooking with traditional gas or electric ovens, without the expense or lengthy cooking times. 

Whether you’re preparing mid-week suppers or creating a Sunday afternoon feast, an air fryer can tackle a range of ingredients for convenient and creative cooking. An air fryer is well known for delivering delicious, crispy fries in under 20 minutes, but you can use it to prepare a host of other foods – everything from tasty chicken wings and burger patties, to vegan buffalo cauliflower and more. Just make sure you know the foods to avoid putting in the air fryer.

While an air fryer and conventional oven both serve the purpose of cooking food, they do so in different ways. Conventional ovens work by creating heat from the element – be it electric or gas – that’s slowly dispersed over time, while air fryers circulate rapid air technology around your food, heating far more quickly than a traditional oven. 

Is it cheaper to run an air fryer than an oven?

Like microwaves, slow cookers and electric pressure cookers, air fryers can all use less energy overall than a conventional oven. “It can work out cheaper to cook in an air fryer over an oven, as an air fryer takes less time to heat up, with a smaller capacity and shorter cooking options,” explains Natalie Mathie, energy expert at “An oven can be quite an energy intensive way to cook – particularly if you’re only using one of the racks. While a piece of chicken may take an average of around 30 minutes to cook in the oven, it could take just 15 minutes in an air fryer.” 

To find out if air fryers use a lot of electricity, Jennifer Warren at Energy Guide recommends the following formula to calculate the energy used by an appliance: 

Power rating in kilowatts multiplied by the hours used per day and divided by 1000 = kWh per day. So, for a 1500W air fryer, you’d use the following: 1500W x 1 hour ÷ 1000 = 1.5kWh. 

You can then use the following formula to calculate the energy cost of an appliance:

kWh per day x unit cost = cost of electricity each day. For example: if you have a 1500W air fryer and use it for an hour, it will consume 1.5kWh of electricity.

“You’ll need to refer to your energy bill to find out the amount you pay per kWh, but if your electricity costs 34p per unit (which is an estimate by Ofgem that takes into  account the government’s new Energy Price Guarantee), then multiply that by 1.5kWh, you get a grand total of 51p,” says Jennifer. “Based on this calculation, it would cost 25.5p to use your air fryer for 30 minutes.” 

Alternatively, you can simply use the electricity usage calculator at Joteo to work out how much it costs to use your air fryer. 

Instant Pot Vortex Air Fryer press image

(Image credit: Instant Pot)

What is the cheapest way to cook?

The most popular appliances for those on a budget include the microwave, electric pressure cooker, slow cooker and air fryer. “Many air fryers are relatively low in cost, and when you consider the amount of electricity you could save over the years, they’re worth considering,” says William Hobbs at  “As well as saving on energy bills, cooking with an air fryer can often be healthier than traditional cooking methods, too, as you need far less oil.”  

Is now a good time to buy an air fryer?

We're anticipating that the best time to buy an air fryer is the closer we get to Black Friday on November 25, which is something we've highlighted in our Black Friday Air Fryer Deals. The reason why is that according to Adobe’s 2021 Holiday Shopping Results report, appliances were on average 4.4% more expensive at the beginning of November, before dropping over the month by 10.7%.

Of course if you see the air fryer that you want and it is on offer between now and then, it would still be an idea to really consider buying it. Although the prices may be the cheapest during Black Friday, the stock may not be there and / or the air fryer you want may not be on offer anyway.

Verdict: are air fryers worth it?

While an air fryer can be a healthier and more efficient way to cook compared to a conventional oven, you’ll need to ensure you have an air fryer with a cooking capacity large enough to cater for the number of people in your household. 

“Air fryers use less energy and will cook food faster than the average/standard 2100W electric oven,” explains Jennifer Warren at Energy Guide. ‘This is mainly due to the fact that ovens take far longer to reach their maximum temperature because of their larger capacity.” 

While air fryers can be a positive if you’re short on time and don’t fancy waiting for your oven to work its magic, it’s essential to choose a model that’s large enough for your needs. “If you don’t have an air fryer that has the capacity to cook the volume of food you need, you may end up using the air fryer for even longer than you would your oven, making no savings at all,” she says.

A good option is to cover all bases and choose a model of air fryer that can handle several cooking methods, including settings for roasting, baking, reheating and rehydrating food as well. For example, the Ninja AG301UK Foodi Health Grill & Air Fryer Black comes with a grill which, in our review,  we found is ideal for cooking burgers and steaks, while Sage the Smart Oven Air Fryer has up to 10 cooking functions including a pizza and roast setting. You can also find air fryers with smart capabilities such as the Cosori Smart Air Fryer 5.5L, so you can control, schedule and monitor meals from your smartphone, which makes for an even more convenient choice.  

Emily Peck
Lifestyle journalist

Emily is a lifestyle journalist who writes for a range of publications including TechRadar, Livingetc, Wired, Ideal Home and GQ. She writes about interior design and smart home, gardens, wellbeing, food and fitness and has tested everything from food processors to paddleboards, and bee hives to the best beds. When she’s not typing away at her computer, she can be found tending to her Dorset-garden, trying the latest water sport at the beach or acting as chauffeur to her two young kids.

With contributions from