If you’re on the hunt for one of the best air fryers, you’ll probably need to know if there are alternatives that are cheaper to run. And with the rising costs of living , knowing how to save energy on energy bills is crucial for many households.
That said, there’s been recent debate about whether using a halogen oven is cheaper to use than an air fryer. Air fryers have dominated the market, becoming a popular appliance in many kitchens. These 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 deep frying, as they require little to no oil, lowering fat intake and cutting calories.
On the other hand, the little-known halogen oven is fast becoming a viable option for air frying, grilling, baking and even defrosting foods. So what exactly is a halogen oven?
These strange-looking appliances cook foods using a bright halogen bulb that emits heat, which is then circulated around the food. Similar to the air fryer, the halogen oven is also able to cook most things using minimal oil, which is healthier than conventional cooking. What’s more, it’s claimed that halogen ovens are much cheaper to run than both traditional ovens and air fryers. But are they really the cheaper alternative to buying an air fryer?
Here, we take a look at the air fryer vs halogen oven, and how much it will cut down your bills.
Air fryer vs halogen oven — how do they work?
Essentially, air fryers are mini convection ovens that rapidly circulate hot air at high speeds. This helps to cook food evenly at a much faster rate, 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 that you need. Once the food is ready, it will automatically turn off, leaving you with crisp and delicious foods.
Similarly, a halogen oven will transfer heat around the unit via a fan to evenly cook and crisp foods, such as a roast chicken. The key difference is it uses a powerful halogen lamp emitting infrared energy that passes through food, causing the molecules to vibrate and produce heat. The temperature inside is then controlled by a thermostat that will turn the light off and on where necessary.
Typically, foods are cooked on the low or high cooking rack inside the large glass bowl, and covered with a hinged lid. The clear glass acts as an easy and fast heating conductor, and also a great way to watch your meal cooking in real-time. The appliance can either be controlled by manual rotary dials or digital controls. Like air fryers, halogen ovens are smaller than the conventional oven, but are capable of cooking foods up to 50% faster than most ovens.
The only caveat is that a full-sized oven can cook large quantities of food at one time, which is more economical and time-efficient than cooking small batches on a regular basis.
Air fryer vs halogen oven — how much does it cost to use?
Generally, air fryers are estimated to cost anywhere between $0.20 and $0.80 to run for an hour. But this will all depend on the type of air fryer model you have, and your state’s energy rates/tariff. 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.
In comparison, a standard oven uses around 2,400 watts on an average heat setting, while a halogen oven will run at a much lower level of around 1,300 watts. According to Halogen Ovens, it is estimated that halogen ovens are around 75% cheaper to run than a traditional oven. And while it consumes more energy per hour, its faster cooking times will actually cost you less. In fact, if you run a standard halogen oven (at 1,300 watts) for an hour a day, at the average US rate of 13.19 cents per kWh, this would cost about $65 per year — subject to your state’s tariff.
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.) If in doubt, you can find out how many watts of energy your specific air fryer or halogen oven uses by reading the product manual.
Air fryer vs halogen oven — which are cheaper to buy?
Generally, basic halogen ovens will be cheaper to buy than air fryers starting from around $30. However, large-capacity models, or those with advanced features such as a rotisserie function will be a lot more expensive. In addition, halogen ovens can be rather bulky, (and less attractive than air fryers!), so you’d need sufficient countertop or storage space.
On the other hand, most quality air fryers will start from around $60, and come in different sizes and designs to suit your kitchen. Although you could easily find good deals if you know where to look, these will generally sell out fast. In addition, air fryers tend to be more versatile for crisping foods than halogen ovens, and super handy for quickly warming up fried leftovers — making these a worthwhile investment.
If you’re looking for a top quality air fryer, we recommend the COSORI Air Fryer ($119, Amazon), which was number one in our best air fryers guide.
Air fryer vs halogen oven — which is cheaper?: Verdict
Is an air fryer cheaper than a halogen oven in the long-run? It’s a very close call, but it seems that cooking with halogen lamps is more efficient. Not only does it cut down on your electric bills due to lower running costs, but it also offers a great alternative to the sought-after air fryer.
Bear in mind that costs will vary based on your lifestyle, the frequency you cook, and energy tariffs. But if you want to save some money on your energy bills, having a halogen oven may well be the answer.
If you want to save more money, check out air fryer vs oven — which is cheaper to use? Or 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.