Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
Air fryers are the hottest accessory to have in your kitchen ATM, but Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has issued a warning for those hoping to save money by using theirs instead of an oven for absolutely every meal.
The finance expert, who has a podcast in which he shares tips to save cash, said that using an air fryer or a microwave instead of an oven might not always be the most cost efficient way to go about things.
Is using an air fryer cheaper than an oven?
Talking on the podcast, Martin detailed why air fryers and microwaves weren’t always the best way.
He said that cooking a jacket potato in the microwave takes just a few minutes, for instance, and so is therefore a good way to save on bills.
However, he adds that cooking a full roast for several people in the microwave is actually likely to be pricier, “because each additional object you put in a microwave, you need to keep it on longer because a microwave just heats the individual object.”
The same applies to air fryers, he made clear.
“A microwave [or air fryer] 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,” he explained.
“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.
“If you had a 1000W 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.”
Martin adds that this means different meals are sensible in the air fryer and microwave, whilst others aren’t.
“If you were doing a full roast dinner and you were cooking many of them, that is where it’s probably cheaper than putting five or six jacket potatoes in a microwave,” the expert explains.
“If you’re cooking something small and simple in there, it’s probably cheaper in the microwave and similarly the air fryer.”
Air fryers start from around £60, with more expensive models having a larger capacity and more advanced functions.
You can get yourself an air fryer for around £60 if you’re looking for a simple, low capacity model.
‘Models with extra features – such as control via an app on your phone or multiple compartments that let you cook two foods at once – will set you back well over £200,’ Which? explains online.
Despite Martin’s warning, the air fryer remains one of the cheapest options when it comes to cooking several meals, so don’t fret if you’ve just recently bought one.
According to The Mirror, Emily Seymour, Which? Energy Editor, said: “There has been a surge of interest in air fryers and smaller cooking appliances in recent months, and our research shows that the hype could be justified in some cases, as we’ve found these products cost less to cook certain foods than conventional ovens.”
Agreeing with Martin Lewis on his warning over larger meals she added: “The cost savings will soon be lost if you have to cook more than one batch though, so it’s still better to use your oven if you’re cooking large quantities.”
Take note, folks. Big meals in the oven, small meals in the air fryer, got it?!