Air fryer vs oven - which is cheaper to run?

Hikes in energy costs have ignited an interest in air fryers, but is it worth the hype? We compare air fryer vs oven to find out which is cheaper to run

Air fryer and putting food in the oven
(Image credit: Getty)

Air fryers are known to be budget-friendly, but after adding up all the costs are they really saving you money? We put air fryer vs oven to the test to see which is really cheaper.

Air fryers are still the most sought-after kitchen appliance as households look to cut energy costs by reducing their reliance on energy-guzzling ovens.  

But, if you take into account upfront purchase costs and the amount of food you want to cook plus other factors, the air fryer might not be the cheapest choice for all households. 

We put the air fryer vs the oven to the test and find out which is cheaper.

How much does it cost to run an air fryer?

Placing fridge pizza into an air fryer.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re asking how much does it cost to run an air fryer, Uswitch told The Money Edit it costs 13p to use the air fryer for 15 minutes, based on the current 0.34p kWh. 

Air fryers range from 800 watts to 2,000 watts, and as you can imagine, the more powerful, the pricier they will be. 

According to calculations via our sister site, here’s how much it would cost to run air fryers with different wattages. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Air fryerCost per useCost per monthCost per year
800 Watts13.6p£4.13£49.56
1400 Watts23.8p£7.24£86.88
2000 Watts34p£10.34£124.08

The cost of an air fryer can vary from as low as £50 to anything around £300, but it all comes down to the following factors: 

For example, a 3L air fryer (1000 watts) is retailed at £50 from Argos.

Whereas if you were to opt for a branded air fryer like Ninja, it’s considerably more expensive. For example a 3.8L air fryer (1550 watts) from Ninja costs £129.99. 

But what it’s really down to is your household dynamic and if it will work for you. Consider the following before reaching for the air fryer: 

  • How many people you live with / cook for
  • The volume of food you are cooking

Although air fryers cook at a low cost, it’s a small compartment to put food in and might require you to cook in two to three rounds, costing you double or even triple. 

Most air fryers suggest they cater for three to four people, but again that’s quite generic and it depends on what you’re cooking. Only you know how the portion sizes work in your home. 

If you’re willing to spend more on a bigger sized compartment, you could benefit or you can even get a dual air fryer that comes with two compartments. 

These are likely to cost more, like a dual Ninja air fryer costs £249.99.

But note, if you are using two compartments to cook in, it will cost you double. 

With the cost of living crisis, Natwest predicts air fryers are going to be subject of one of the top purchase scams with fraudsters set to steal over £10 million by Christmas. 

So, do be careful of air fryer scams when shopping in sales like Black Friday or boxing day sales

How much does it cost to run an oven?

Placing a tray of food into the oven with oven gloves on.

(Image credit: Getty images)

The oven is a holy grail in most kitchens when it comes to cooking a hearty meal like lasagne or a quick-fix frozen meal, but how much does it cost to run an oven and is it more expensive than running an air fryer? 

On average, conventional ovens use between 2,000 to 5,000 watts of energy according to Direct Energy

But this depends on the temperature you have the oven on, as the higher the temperature, the more energy it requires to heat up the oven. 

According to our sister site Ideal Home, it costs 21p an hour to run an average 0.63kWh oven. 

To work out how much it costs to run an oven over a specific cooking time, you can do the following:

Multiply the power of your oven per cycle (kWh) by how many hours you’re using the oven for. (So if your oven uses 2,000W, that translates to 2kWh). 

Then use that figure and multiply it by the unit cost of electricity (0.34p).

Cooking things like frozen potato waffles or chicken dippers only take between 20 to 30 minutes in the oven. But if you were to cook something that takes around 90 minutes, that would cost you just over 30p. 

As well as the convenience of ovens, their size is a big bonus allowing you to cook a large quantity of food in one go.

So it’s going back to what would work for your household, looking at the quantity you’re cooking and portion sizes.

A meal that you could fit in the oven all at once with a 30-minute cooking time might require more work in the air fryer as it’s smaller. 

But do be wary, with an oven heat is lost easily, so you should take that into account too. 

Uswitch says every time you open the oven door you lose up to 25 degrees of heat, so the oven uses more energy to get back to its desired temperature. 

There’s also the pre-heat time to take into account, so it’s wise to know how long this takes and put your food in as soon as you can, to save energy.

The verdict

Generally, an air fryer is cheaper to use than the oven, but this is not always the case. 

An oven costs 21p to use on average and a 800W air fryer costs 13.6p to use. 

But if you own an air fryer that is a lot more powerful, you could be using near enough the same energy as an oven. 

For example the 2,000W air fryer costs 34p per use, that’s 13p more than an oven. 

And the biggest factor is the quantity of food you’re cooking. 

If you know one compartment in an air fryer won’t suffice for your family in size, you might be better-off using the oven where you can cook the food in one go, rather than in two to three different intervals. 

Cooking the same thing twice in an 800W air fryer could cost you more than 26p, which is more expensive than cooking in the oven. 

With air fryers don’t forget the initial investment you have to make too, to purchase it.  

If you’re keen to get an air fryer but don’t want to spend hundreds of pounds on one, supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl and Asda are known for ‘branded dupes’ that cost less than half the price to buy compared to brands like NINJA. 

And with ovens, remember to take into account the pre-heat time as this adds to the running cost.

Perhaps waiting for big sales like boxing day could give you a saving, but be careful of air fryer scams - always try to buy from somewhere reputable or from a retailer you know of. 

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Vaishali Varu
Staff Writer

Vaishali graduated in journalism from Leeds University. She has gained experience writing local stories around Leeds and Leicester, which includes writing for a university publication and Leicester Mercury. 

She has also done some marketing and copywriting for businesses.

When she is not writing about personal finance, Vaishali likes to travel and she's a foodie.