Air fryer vs oven — which is cheaper to use?

Air fryer on countertop
Air fryer on countertop (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’re thinking of investing in one of the best air fryers, you’ll probably want to know if an air fryer is cheaper to use than an oven. And with the rising costs of living, knowing how to save energy on energy bills is crucial for many households. 

So what exactly is an air fryer? These popular, countertop, convection ovens will cook and crisp all kinds of foods to tender and delicious results. What's more, air fryers are a more healthy option to conventional frying, as they require little to no oil, lowers fat and cuts calories. But, does all that 'healthier' eating come at a financial cost?

Here, we take a look at the air fryer vs oven, and how much can you save on energy bills. Knowing when to swap out your oven for your air fryer is one of my 9 oven tips you need to know. But, which is cheaper? Here's the answer.  

Air fryer vs oven: How do they work?

White kitchen

White kitchen (Image credit: Whirlpool)

Essentially, air fryers are mini convection ovens that rapidly circulate hot air at high speeds. This helps to cook food quickly and evenly, providing that brown and crispy texture that you would normally achieve from traditional, frying methods.  

When air frying, the food goes straight into a tray or basket, before you set the correct temperature and time. Once the food is cooked, it will automatically turn off, leaving you with crisp and delicious foods. 

Similarly, an electric convection oven will circulate hot air around with a fan to crisp foods. The only difference is an air fryer will be smaller and more energy-efficient than a full-sized oven. However, the oven can cook large quantities of food at one time, which is more economical and time-efficient than air frying batches on a regular basis. 

Air fryer vs oven: How much does it cost to use?

An air fryer filled with seasoned vegetables

An air fryer filled with seasoned vegetables (Image credit: Shutterstock)

As a general estimate, air fryers cost anywhere between $0.20 and $0.80 to run for an hour. However, this won't be the same for everyone, as it will depend on the type of air fryer model you have, and your state’s energy rates/tariff. Households in the UK are estimated to use about a penny for every five minutes an air fryer is in operation. A useful formula to calculate the running costs of an appliance is to multiply its wattage (kilowatts) by the amount of time it's on, and then by the cost of electricity — depending on your energy provider. 

“The average family can save more than 80% on energy usage and bills related to cooking by making some small switches in the kitchen,” states Caroline Ross, kitchen electricals specialist at Tefal, “The top way to save, backed by our recent research, is moving from oven cooking to an air fryer.”

Smaller air fryers typically use about 1,000-1,200 watts power to run, depending on the size and model, while larger models may use up to 1,700 watts. While ovens tend to use a power of 2,000-5,000 watts,which is more than double the average air fryer. As a result, the conventional oven will use up more electricity than their mini counterparts. 

In any case, you can find out how many watts of energy your specific air fryer uses by reading the product manual.

Air fryers vs ovens: How energy efficient are they? 

Electric Range Oven

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When it comes to saving money, air fryers are generally more energy efficient than ovens. First, they are smaller, and take less time to preheat, thus using less energy. In most cases, they cook faster than ovens, and they generally use less electricity when cooking for around the same amount of time as an oven. The only caveat is that air fryers are only more economical if you’re cooking small batches of food. 

If you’re cooking large quantities or have a big household, an oven is far superior, versatile and cost-effective. Plus, if you’re cooking a festive turkey, using an oven will prove more cost-effective as it will fully utilize the space and heat. 

So, is an air fryer cheaper than an oven in the long-run? That all depends on your lifestyle, how much cooking you do and energy rates. While the air fryer is more energy efficient based on its size, and wattage, it’s still nowhere as versatile as the trusted oven, which is economical for cooking large quantities. 

Also check out: Air fryer vs halogen oven — which is cheaper to use.

If you’re new to the world of air frying, check out how to use an air fryer, and 7 foods you never knew you could cook in an air fryer. Bear in mind, there are some things you should never put in an air fryer. Also, read about how to stop your air fryer from overheating since it could be a potential fire hazard and make sure you avoid this TikTok air fryer hack which is currently trending!  

Also, be sure to check out some tasty recipes in our best air fryer recipes. For the record, I also made cookies in an air fryer — and they tasted even better than the oven. 

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!