Are Air Fryers Energy Efficient?

Air fryers consume less energy over a year than both gas and electric ovens

Most air fryers use between 800 and 1,800 watts (W)

Air fryers aren’t great for cooking large quantities and can’t fully replace ovens

The price of energy is already high – and is set to rise again by a further 43% in April, when the price cap changes.

This means the average energy bill in the UK will increase to £3,000 per year. As a result, many of us are trying to be more efficient with our energy use at home, or take the plunge into green technology such as solar panels, which reduce energy bills and carbon emissions.

The appliances we use every day might not individually consume as much energy as our heating, but their combined costs add up quite quickly. An oven alone now costs at least £300 a year to run. Unsurprisingly, people are turning to alternatives to cook their food.

Air fryers are an increasingly popular solution – but are they actually energy efficient, or are you better off sticking to your oven and stove? Read on and find out.

man opening taking roast chicken drumsticks out of air fryer

How energy efficient are air fryers?

Air fryers are very energy efficient, and cost just a little over £50 a year to use. That’s around £250 less per year than if you were using a standard electric cooker, according to research by Utilita.

Cooking time is also fairly short with an air fryer, usually taking around 25 to 30 minutes. This can vary depending on what you’re cooking, fish can take under 10 minutes, but baked potatoes can take up to 45 minutes. In general though, the short cooking time is great in terms of energy efficiency, because the less time an electrical appliance is on, the less energy it consumes.

Air fryers owe their short cooking times to their small size and super convection, which provides a large volume of hot air to the chamber. Small spaces generally take less time to heat up, and most air fryers only have a capacity of two to six litres. 

Ovens, on the other hand, have an average capacity of 60 to 70 litres, which takes longer to heat and cook food. An oven’s average cooking time is usually 30 minutes longer than an air fryer’s, which means it consumes more energy, and for longer periods, leading to higher costs.

But, it can be difficult to know how energy efficient an air fryer is since, unlike other appliances, air fryers do not have energy labels that let you know their energy efficiency rating.

Do air fryers use a lot of electricity?

Air fryers don’t use a lot of electricity, with most requiring between 800 and 1800 watts (W) to run, though some large models need more.

Air fryers also use less electricity than electric ovens, which  typically use around 2,200 W to 5,000 W, and therefore cost more to run.

As a rule of thumb, the larger your appliance is, the more electricity it will use. However, some models are more energy efficient than others, so make sure you check the size and wattage of your appliance.

Are air fryers better for the environment than ovens?

Air fryers are usually better for the environment than ovens because they’re more energy efficient – and lower energy usage means lower carbon emissions.

Although a large portion of the UK’s electricity comes from renewable sources, with 38.2% coming from wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower, the majority of its energy still comes from fossil fuels, such as natural gas. So the less energy you consume, the better.

If you’re part of the minority of British households that own a gas oven, you should know that these are worse than both electric ovens and air fryers for the environment and your health, as they emit harmful air pollutants.

Oven being set to 200 degrees Celsius

Are air fryers economical?

Yes, air fryers are economical – especially when compared to ovens. The average 1,500 W air fryer will cost you around 51p per hour, based on the current electricity rate. Since the average cooking time for air fryers is 30 minutes or less, that means their cost per use is around 17p.

By contrast, the average 2,200 W electric oven costs around 85p per hour, and will typically need that full hour to first heat up and then cook your food. This means if you buy a £150 air fryer and use it everyday instead of your oven, you’ll break even in around half a year.

There are some caveats though. If you have a large family, or are batch cooking in big quantities, it might be more economical to use an oven. This is because some large air fryers – or repeated use of the same small one – can use about the same amount of energy, or more, as an oven.

What’s the most energy efficient air fryer?

The most energy efficient air fryer will be the one that uses the least amount of energy, relative to its capacity. So look for lower wattage, and keep capacity in mind.

Most small air fryers (one to two litres in capacity) are very energy efficient, since they typically run on between 800 W and 1,000 W. Tower air fryers are a popular affordable option, and they have a model that runs on 800 watts for a 1.5-litre capacity.

For bigger air fryers that have nearly the same capacity of an oven, but don’t use as much electricity, Ninja air fryers can be a good option. For example, the Ninja Air Fryer MAX AF160UK only uses 1,750 W and fits 5.2 litres.

Even if your air fryer has a wattage approaching 2,000 watts, remember that it will be cheaper to run than an oven in most cases, as it will cook food in a shorter amount of time.

Are air fryers worth it in the UK?

Yes, air fryers are definitely worth it in the UK, as they’re an easy, economical way to cut back on both energy usage and cooking time.

Air fryers can cost between £50 to £250, depending on the brand, model, size and wattage. But, you could break even on it in a few months to a year if you use it instead of your oven.

Plus, if you own a gas cooker, investing in an air fryer is also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint when cooking. It’s also cheaper to buy an air fryer than to replace your gas cooker with an electric one.

Next steps

It’s good practice to be conscious of how much energy our everyday appliances consume, and it’s even more important when energy prices are high.

Air fryers are both time and energy efficient. Although they might not be able to cook a full Sunday roast as well as an oven, but they are a good alternative for everyday use.

Want to learn more about how electricity is used in your home? Read our article on The 7 Household Appliances That Use The Most Electricity.

Frequently asked questions

It’s generally cheaper to run an air fryer than an oven. A 1,500 W air fryer will currently cost 17p per 30 minutes of run time, or around 51p per hour. A 2,200 W electric oven, on the other hand, will cost 85p per hour.

Gas ovens are cheaper to run than air fryers, costing around 23p per hour (on a 10.3p per kWh rate), but because you have to run them for longer in order to cook food, it works out as more expensive over time.

Want to learn more? Head to our page: Why Is Electricity More Expensive Than Gas?

Air fryers have smaller capacities than ovens, which isn’t useful for large families. They also aren’t great for cooking certain types of food, like sauce-based dishes or leafy greens, and some models can be noisy. They can also be difficult to clean, and take up space on the countertop.

No, air fryers use less electricity than many other household appliances. They typically use between 800 W and 1,800 W – larger models will typically have a higher wattage and so use more electricity. For comparison, a typical microwave uses 600 W to 1,000 W, and electric ovens can use up to 5,000 W.

Air fryers are an energy efficient and economical way to quickly cook smaller quantities of food. They are cheaper and quicker to use than an oven, but may not be the best option for large families or batch cookers because of their limited capacity.
Written by:
Tatiana has written about multiple environmental topics, including heat pumps, energy-efficient household products, and solar panels. She is dedicated to demystifying green tech to make eco-friendly living more accessible.
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