Air fryer vs oven – do air fryers really save you money?
Air fryers are claimed to be cheaper to run than ovens. So, we ran some energy consumption tests to compare the two appliances.
It’s often touted that air fryers are not only a healthier way to cook, but also way cheaper to run than other appliances.
In reality, the only thing an air fryer is healthier than is a deep-fat fryer – and not many of us have one of those.
But most households have an oven, which can do everything an air fryer can.
So, is an air fryer cheaper to run than your oven? We ran a test recording the energy consumption for both appliances. The results were interesting.
What we found
- small quantities of food + less than 30 minutes’ cooking time = air fryer is cheaper
- large quantities of food + more than 30 minutes’ cooking time = oven is cheaper.
How we test
When we test air fryers in our lab, their power consumption is recorded at a temperature of 200°C for 30 minutes. We use this to calculate the annual cost of using one, assuming three uses a week.
We ran the same test for three ovens in our latest ovens test.
Then we compared.
Ovens were cheaper to run in our tests
Chart shows average annual cost for all models of each type of appliance, along with highest and lowest individual annual costs for each type. It should be noted that we have more data from air fryers than ovens (seven models, compared to three, for this test).
Our data shows it’s actually more expensive, on average, to run an air fryer for 30 minutes three times a week than it is an oven.
Surprising right? Air fryers are smaller and have lower power ratings, so why would they use more electricity?
Well, ovens generally have much better insulated walls and door seals than air fryers. Combine this with a better thermostat and you get a way more efficient appliance.
Air fryers also rely on continually circulating hot air and therefore don’t turn off as often during cooking. That’s unlike ovens, which will reach their pre-set temperature, then cycle on and off using the thermostat.
Should I just use my oven then?
No, not always, as there are other factors to consider.
Air fryers are often only used for short periods of time – cook times of 30 minutes or less – and many don’t need to be pre-heated. In this situation, they’re likely to be cheaper than your oven to run, especially if you only have small quantities to cook.
The same small amount of food will take longer overall to cook in your oven, due to the longer heat-up time. If we added an extra 10 minutes of heating-up time to the oven costs in our test, we’d get an average annual running cost of around $21, which is higher than the air fryer average.
Some newer model ovens do feature rapid heat up, though, in which case your oven may still be the cheaper option.
But if you’re considering getting a larger air fryer to cook bigger meals for longer times (over 30 minutes), don’t believe the air fryer hype that you’ll save energy and be healthier – your oven is likely to do just as good a job and save you money too.
We've tested 31 air fryers.
Find the right one for you.