If you're thinking about buying an air fryer but unsure if air fryers use a lot of electricity, or not, we've carried out some research - and caught up with an expert - to (hopefully) find the answers you've been searching for.
What we know already is that the best air fryers are a great solution if you want to cook all your food favorites, without the oil, so they’re healthier. These counter-top appliances also cook food really quickly, and each of them have a certain number of functions so that you can air fry as well as bake, broil, grill, and more.
It’s not just the features and the overall design of an air fryer you might be considering though, energy costs are still high on many people’s agendas. Plus, if you’re hoping to use an air fryer as your main mode of cooking, you’ll want to know whether air fryers use a lot of energy compared to the conventional ovens. Here we find out.
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How much electricity does an air fryer use?
How much electricity an air fryer uses will depend on the type of air fryer you have, the time and temperature settings it offers, its size and how much you use it.
There are two main types of air fryers:
- Basket air fryers: these tend to be smaller, and have a drawer rather than a door to access the foods
- Air fryer oven: these more closely resemble the size of a microwave, offer more versatility of the food types you can cook and have a door to open and close
An example of a basket air fryer is the Cosori Pro LE Air Fryer L501. This is a single-drawer air fryer with a 5-quart / 4.7-liter capacity and maximum temperature of 446ºF / 230ºC. It can feed up to four people, but you can only cook one food at a time which may not be so convenient.
Whereas the Cuisinart TOA-60 Air Fryer Toaster Oven, our example of an air fryer oven, has a door to open with a 17.9-quart / 17-liter capacity and maximum temperature 450°F / 230°C. It comes with three non-stick trays: an air frying basket, a baking tray, and an oven rack. Although it can cook more quantity of foods than a basket air fryer - and only one food type at a time - the time it takes may be longer and therefore us a little more electricity.
An alternative to consider are air fryers with twin drawers which cook two food types at the same time, saving you time and therefore money, and a potential headache at meal times. The Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer AF300UK is a good (and very popular) example of this which comes with two separate baskets, and the ability to cook the same food for the same length of time, all of which we found mega useful when we tried it out for ourselves.
To calculate how much elecrity your basket air fryer or air fryer oven is using, Jennifer Warren at Energy Guide recommends that you take the power rating in kilowatts, multiply that by the hours used per day and then divide that by 1000 to get the daily kilowatt-hour (kWh).
For example, if you use a 1500W air fryer for an average of one hour it will use, approximately, 1.5 kWh of electricity , or if you use a 1700W air fryer it will use 1.7 kWh of electricity when you use it. If you're unsure where to find the device's wattage, it would be worth referring to the manufacturers specification.
How much does it cost to run an air fryer?
“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.”
From January 1 2023 a customer paying for electricity by direct debit will be paying 34p per kWh, according to Ofgem.
With this in mind, we've used the following formula to work out the cost of running an air fryer:
kWh per hour x unit cost = cost of electricity per hour
- A 1500W basket air fryer used on average for 30 minutes per day will cost approximately 25.5p per day, £1.78 per week or £7.65 per month
- A 1700W basket air fryer used on average for 30 minutes per day will cost approximately 28.9p per day, £1.96 per week or £8.40 per month
- A 2400W air fryer oven used on average for 30 minutes per day will cost approximately 40p per day, £2.85 per week or £12 per month
Alternatively, you can simply use the electricity usage calculator at Joteo to work out how much it costs to use your air fryer.
We based our findings on a 30 minute usage per day because this is how long a household will typically have their air fry running each day. We calculated the monthly cost based on a 30-day month. These figures will change depending on how long you use it for, and how many days of the month it gets used.
Is an air fryer cheaper to run than an electric oven?
The way air fryers work is worth considering here. These machines work by using convection and they heat food by circulating hot air around an air frying basket. In order to cook your food quickly, air fryers keep this heat circulation going continuously until your food is ready to eat, and holes in the frying basket make it easier for the hot air to reach all sides of your food.
Ovens don’t work in the same way and once they’ve reached optimal temperature, they merely maintain the heat using a thermostat, rather than always having to push hot air around.
Ovens also need to be preheated before you can cook anything in them, especially cakes which need the optimum temperature in order to rise. Air fryers do not need to be preheated which is not only going to save on your energy bills, but they'll also save time.
What does this all actually mean? Air fryers require constant energy use, whereas ovens don’t and therefore, air fryers aren’t actually more efficient if you’re going to use them over long stretches of time.
When we tried air fryer baked potatoes, for example, the air fryer was on use for one hour. This worked out to be more expensive than a conventional fan oven. The cheaper way to cook a potato was in a microwave but, of course, you don't achieve the same crispy outer and fluffy inside of the cooked root vegetable.
As another comparison, deep fat fryers cook food in even quicker times and the hot oil maintains its temperature well to speed this process up. Air fryers solely rely on the hot air from the machine so they need to be constantly powered.
|Air Fryer vs Microwave||Power (kW)||Time in use (hrs)||Price (p/kWh)||Cost (£)|
|Air Fryer (1hr @200°C)||1.55||1||34||£0.57|
|Microwave (7 mins @ 800W)||0.8||0.116666667||34||£0.03|
|Oven (1hr @ 200°C)||0.9||1||34||£0.31|
Information provided by Love Energy Saving. Calculated by the current cost per energy unit as estimated by Ofgem in the UK. Costing based on the Instant Vortex Plus with ClearCook - 5.7L Digital Health Air Fryer (1700W).
It’s not all bad news though, as air fryers are still designed to cook quicker than a traditional oven and it’s unlikely you’ll be using your air fryer for huge amounts of time in one go. The wattage for air fryers is still low so it’s unlikely you’ll be creating a huge electricity bill in the process. The wattage of an air fryer tends to be in a range of 1500W to 2400W, whereas ovens, in contrast, can be anywhere from 3,000 up to 6,000 watts depending on the model.
Air fryers are also smaller in size compared to traditional ovens so there isn’t as big an area to keep warm and heat up in the first place. Maintaining your air fryer properly and making sure that all the air holes are clean and free of build-up will mean your machine can work efficiently and not waste energy on working harder than it has to.
So, will an air fryer save you money?
If you're to use your air fryer for short spells of time then absolutely 'yes' because you're ultimately going to be using a smaller applioance with a lower wattage than an oven for a shorter cooking duiration than an convential oven. This will, therefore, cut the price you pay on electricity (energy) per hour.
For regularly cooking foods for up to an hour, or even longer, then an air fryer will not necessarily save you money. In fact, you'll end up spending more money if you use an air fryer to regularly cook for long spells because it requires a constant draw of energy.
You'll need to choose wisely to suit your household and cooking needs, otherwise it could be money wasted. Basket air fryers may not be able to cater for everyone in the household because the majority can only cook a small quantity of food at one time. Dual basket air fryers are a good alternative, but even then the size can be limiting. Air fryer ovens have the largest capacity, and are generally more versatile, plus they're still cheaper than an oven to run.
Once you've decided if an air fryer is worth it, you'll be able to experiment with foods just as we have. We've made grilled cheese in an air fryer, air fryer donuts and learnt that the only way to cook French fries is in an air fryer, just to name a few.
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Sophie writes about all things appliance-related and is currently the Home Editor at TechRadar's sister site, Top Ten Reviews. When she's not testing coffee machines and appliances, Sophie is thinking of eating delicious food, and asking people what they're having for dinner.