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Oven or air fryer? And the cheapest for cooking a roast is...

The headlines

There is very little information online about the ACTUAL costs of cooking meals in air fryers compared to other methods.

One expert here, compares the cost of cooking a roast dinner in an air fryer and oven.

He concludes:

  • A gas oven is probably CHEAPER than using an air fryer for this meal.

  • An ELECTRIC oven is more than twice as expensive as an air fryer for cooking a roast dinner.

We cannot assume that the same would be true for other types of meal.

Explanation and actual cost comparisons below.


The advantage they have over a conventional oven

There is a lot of talk online about air fryers being 'efficient', especially compared to an oven.

An air fryer is, in simple terms, a small fan oven. Being small means that it has less volume and less oven hardware to heat up and keep hot.

Air fryers heat up and cook food much more quickly because they circulate the heated air around the food more intensively than a conventional fan oven.


BUT....misinformation is developing

Some non-expert commentators in the media give the misleading impression that air fryers are simply the cheapest way to cook (including cheaper than hob cooking).

There is also clearly a growing belief that air fryers are the cheapest way to cook with many examples recently of air fryers being used to cook boiled eggs for example.

Whilst air fryers might be the cheapest method for SOME meal types, I can find very few results of credible actual tests comparing the amount of energy used by air fryers and other types of cooker to make the same meal.

It is therefore incorrect to assume that air fryers are cheaper than, say cooking on a hob.


Comparison of air fryer use for a Sunday 'oven roast'

One expert, however, has carried such research, comparing the costs for cooking a roast dinner in an oven and an air fryer.

He is Professor David Glew from Leeds Beckett University, and he gave a short interview on BBC radio on 25th September. Click on the link below to hear the two-minute interview on BBC Sounds.

His conclusions are very clear. If you cook a roast chicken dinner (including trimmings) every week for a year, the energy cost is:

  • Around £90 if you use an electric oven

  • Around £35 using an air fryer

When this interview took place, energy costs were higher. So the above figures would be £72 for electric oven and £28 for the air fryer.

He also calculates that using a gas oven would actually still be cheaper than using an air fryer.

Just click on the image below or here to listen to the show. Fast forward 40 minutes 20 seconds to hear the interview.

All costs are based on a tariff cap figure of 34p/kWh from Oct 1st 2022


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Mark Thompson

Get Energy Savvy - simple practical home energy efficiency information

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