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Do Air Fryers Use a Lot of Electricity?

Image of an air fryer on a countertop with food being cooked inside

Air fryers are the hot new appliance, but are they costly to run? Our guide below breaks it down for you

With energy prices rising year on year, and around one in six US households already behind on their energy bills this year (according to non-profit organization, the National Energy Assistance Directors Association), it’s only natural that consumers are taking stock of their energy usage.

Take a look at an individual appliance such as an electric oven, for example, and you’ll find that it could be costing you around upwards of $200 a year to run. While this isn’t as much as a tumble dryer or an AC unit, for example, it’s still a notable sum.

A countertop cooker such as an air fryer has been much-touted as a way to reduce energy use from cooking, with the best air fryers drawing praise for their energy efficiency, as well as their cooking performance and versatility. But do air fryers actually use less electricity than standard cooking appliances, and are they really a viable way to reduce your energy bills?

We investigate in our guide below, which includes comments from energy whiz Tatiana Lebreton, who has written extensively about energy efficiency, household appliances and more for The Eco Experts, and Tracy Scully, a managing director at air fryer manufacturer SharkNinja.

Do air fryers use a lot of electricity?

Relative to electric ovens and other cooking appliances, air fryers don’t require a lot of electricity to run. Most air fryers have a wattage of between 800W and 2,000W, while electric ovens can use between 2,500W and 5,000W. If you’re casting an eye over models trying to gauge how much energy they will use, generally speaking, the bigger the air fryer, the more energy it will require to operate. Nonetheless, it’s worth checking out the stats of individual models more closely before you buy since some models will be more efficient than others.

To put the above wattage figures into more practical terms, we can look at a figure called kilowatt hours (kWh), which represents the number of kilowatts of energy used in an hour. For example, a 1,200W air fryer operating for an hour will use around 1.2kWh of energy. Taking the national average cost of a kWh as 17c, we can calculate that said air fryer will cost roughly 20.4c per hour to run. So, if you use your air fryer for an average of 30 minutes a day, it will add around 71.4c per week to your energy bill, or just over $37 a year – which isn’t bad at all.

Compare that to an oven at say, 3,000W, and an average of an hour a day, since they take a little longer to cook things, and it will come out to something like 51c an hour, $3.57 a week or just just about $186 per year.

How energy efficient are air fryers?

As well as using less electricity than ovens at a baseline level, another advantage of air fryers is their energy efficiency. As Tatiana explains: “Air fryers are energy efficient and typically use less electricity than ovens because they’re smaller and take less time to cook food than ovens – the less time an appliance is on, the less electricity it uses.”

While a standard electric oven has a typical capacity of around 60l, basket air fryers range from 2l to 10l. With a much smaller space to heat, air fryers do so more quickly, and paired with powerful heating coils and fans, they heat food quickly and in a concentrated manner, often without a need to preheat. The fact that they cook using concentrated heat also means air fryers require far less cooking oil than standard ovens to achieve the same level of crispness, which is part of the reason they’ve earned a reputation for healthy cooking.

Looking at some specific models and figures, Tracy Scully of SharkNinja showcases the these advantages with two of brand’s top models: “For example, the Ninja Foodi 2 Basket Air Fryer and Ninja Double Stack Air Fryer save users up to 75% on energy consumption compared to a conventional oven”, with this “testing and calculations based on a recommended cook time for sausages, using air fry function versus conventional ovens.”

According to Scully, this is due to several reasons, including the fact that air fryers are much quicker to pre-heat than a standard oven, with less unnecessary space to heat. In addition, she says, since air fryers cook food more quickly, run-time is shorter. “For instance, the Dual Zone and the Double Stack models cook up to 75% faster than fan ovens”, tested by cooking fish fingers and sausages, with pre-heat.

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Will using an air fryer save me money?

This will largely depend on how you use your air fryer. “Air fryers can save you money over using the oven if you’re a household of one to two people, and so cook small portions”, Tatiana says. However, she warns that larger families may not see such savings as they will have to use their air fryer for longer, cook in batches or have to buy a larger, more expensive model.

Do air fryers use a lot of electricity. A hand adjusting the time and temperature on an electric oven

Furthermore, it’s estimated that only 4-5% of annual energy use in US homes actually comes from cooking, and so “the cost each month [will be] in single-digit numbers; don’t expect crazy savings from using an air fryer over an oven.” Ultimately, estimating your specific needs, and using this guide to calculate your own costs, will help you get a clearer picture of the savings an air fryer may help you achieve.

While one’s mileage in terms of saving money while using an air fryer may vary, there are plenty of other reasons that you may still wish to invest. As well as modest monetary savings, air fryers can save users time and effort compared to standard ovens as a result of their efficiency and simplicity. Their excellent crisping of food also allows the opportunity to significantly cut down on the amount of cooking oil you use, helping to make meals a little healthier.

Finally, more expensive, versatile models can deliver functions that your oven simply can’t match, including modes for reheating and dehydrating, among others; independent drawers that can operate at different temperatures; and cooking accessories for rotisserie, steaks, pizzas and much more.

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