Depending on who you ask, the air fryer might just be the greatest introduction to your kitchen counters since sliced bread.
For the uninitiated, air fryers are countertop convection ovens that use a thin layer of oil and super-hot air to cook your food. Fans will tell you that they are a healthier, quicker and cheaper alternative to deep frying.
But just how cheap is it to run an air fryer? With the new energy price cap changing bills for thousands of households, we’ve run the numbers on how much it costs to use some of the most popular air fryers as well as a comparison with your other kitchen appliances.
*As Amazon Affiliate partners, we may earn from qualifying purchases through our links. None of our content is sponsored, and we’ll always disclose if we’ve been sent a product for free.
How do you calculate the cost to run an appliance?
To calculate the running cost of an air fryer – or any other appliance – you need three pieces of information:
- The appliance’s energy use in watts.
- How long you need to use the appliance for.
- Tow much your electricity costs per kWh, also known as your unit price.
Multiply the appliance’s energy use by how long you’ll be using it in hours, then divide by 1000 to convert it into kWh. Then, multiply this by your unit cost to work out how much the energy costs in total.
For example, if you run a 2000-watt device for one hour and your unit rate is 30p per kWh then the energy would cost:
2000 watts x 1 hour = 2000Wh = 2kWh
2kWh x 30p = 60p
How much does it cost to run an air fryer?
We wanted to compare how much it costs to run some of the most popular models of air fryers and compare them to the cost of doing the same cooking in an oven and a microwave.
To make it a fair comparison, we calculated the cost of cooking a large baked potato in the different appliances based on recommended cooking time, 45 minutes in an air fryer, 15 minutes in a microwave and 90 minutes in a conventional oven.
How much does it cost to run a Ninja air fryer?
Ninja is the number one brand in the UK for air fryers but do their powerful countertop cookers cost more to run?
One of Ninja’s most popular models is the Air Fryer Max 5.2L, recently rated 5/5 by BBC Goodfood. The wattage on this air fryer is 1750 watts, so to calculate the cost of baking our potato based on the current energy price cap unit rate (30.11p):
1750 watts x 0.75 hours = 1.31 kWh
1.31 kWh x 30.11p = 39.5p.
So baking a large potato in the Ninja Air Fryer Max 5.2L would cost around 39.5p in electricity under the July 2023 price cap.
How much does it cost to run a compact air fryer?
If you don’t need an air fryer with a large basket a compact air fryer will be cheaper both to buy and run.
The smaller basket means you can cook less food at once, but also requires less power to cook our example potato.
The Lakeland Digital Compact Air Fryer, Good Housekeeping’s pick for the best compact air fryer 2023, is rated at 1200 watts.
Based on the same calculation we used for the Ninja, cooking a baked potato would cost 27.1p.
How much does it cost to run an electric oven?
An average electric oven can use between 2300 and 5000 watts of power (https://wattalot.com/oven-wattage) depending on the size, make and model.
At the low end of the spectrum, that means cooking our theoretical potato will cost around £1.04 at today’s electricity prices.
For a large, inefficient oven, baking a potato could cost as much as £2.26 in electricity.
Clearly, using an air fryer is much more efficient than using an electric oven. There are some things you can do to improve the efficiency of your oven if it’s your only option, including filling the oven every time you use it – in our example you could bake several potatoes, heat a container of baked beans and roast a tray of vegetables all at the same time, spreading the energy cost.
How much does it cost to run a microwave?
At the opposite end of the spectrum to ovens, microwaves are some of the most efficient appliances in your kitchen.
A typical microwave uses 700 – 900 watts of power. A standard 800-watt microwave cooking our jacket potato for 15 minutes would use just 6p worth of electricity.
Of course, the trade-off is that a microwaved potato won’t have the crispy skin you’d get from an oven or an air fryer. Our top tip, if you can, start your baked potatoes in the microwave and then transfer them to the air fryer for the perfect balance of energy efficiency and deliciousness.
Read more about household energy in the UK: