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Air fryers three times cheaper to run than conventional ovens

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06/12/2022
Air fryers are up to three times cheaper to run and produce as good or better quality food than conventional ovens, according to tests comparing different cooking applicances.

The study by consumer champion Which? compared the performance of air fryers, microwaves, pressure cookers, halogen ovens and slow cookers and found them to have cheaper running costs than conventional ovens when cooking different food items.

The gadgets were tested for how long they took to cook popular foods, how much energy they used and how much it cost.

Emily Seymour, Which? energy editor, said: “Cooking is one of the everyday costs that really mount up for households over time.

“There has been a surge of interest in air fryers and smaller cooking appliances in recent months, and our research shows that the hype could be justified in some cases, as we’ve found these products cost less to cook certain foods than conventional ovens.

“The cost savings will soon be lost, however, if you have to cook more than one batch. So it’s still better to use your oven if you’re cooking large quantities. But for quick, small meals, we’ve found that it’s worth trying out the alternatives.”

Roast chicken

Although a pressure cooker was the cheapest and quickest method for cooking a roast chicken costing 11p and taking 32 minutes, it did not give deliver crispy skin like the other appliances.

The traditional oven cost 39p to cook the chicken in 76 minutes, but left the meat a little dry.

The air fryer cost 18p and cooked a “perfect roast chicken with juicy flavoursome meat” according to the lab testers, producing crispy skin.

If you were to cook a roast chicken once a week for a year, this leads to a saving of nearly £11 compared to cooking in the oven.

Chips

The cheapest and quickest appliance for cooking chips was the air fryer.

It cost 10p to cook two portions of chips in 23 minutes compared to 29p to cook the same quantity of chips in the oven.

The halogen oven, which is another type of counter top oven, was slightly cheaper than the traditional oven, costing 23p. The chips cooked by all three appliances were similar in quality, with a mixture of over-cooked and under-cooked chips, even though testers stirred or shook them halfway through cooking.

The drawback of the air fryer is its capacity. Models often recommend only cooking enough chips for two to three portions. A traditional oven is more versatile than an air fryer and halogen oven if you need to cook more food or need to oven cook different items at the same time.

Jacket potato

The microwave won this contest taking eight minutes and costing 5p to cook the potato until it was soft and fluffy.

The air fryer took half the time of an oven and used 9p worth of electricity.

However, Which? found that if you want to cook more than one potato at a time you may find yourself limited on space with several of the appliances tested. The oven took the longest amount of time and used 37p worth of energy but was the best appliance for producing crispy skin.

Baking a cake

Once again, the air fryer topped the list of appliances for producing the best results on a budget, costing 8p. It baked the cake in 33 minutes compared to 56 minutes in an oven.

The oven cost three times more than the air fryer at 24p.

However, due to the size limitations of the air fryer, testers had to make a smaller cake than for the other appliances. If you are baking a multi-tiered cake, an oven is the only option.

You can also bake cakes in a pressure cooker and halogen oven. Both took longer than the oven and used more energy, costing 2p and 7p more respectively.

Steamed vegetables

A microwave was the cheapest method for steaming vegetables, cooking the food for 3 to 4p cheaper than using an induction hob or pressure cooker, both of which cost 7p.

The induction hob gave the best results.

The pressure cooker used slightly more energy than the induction hob and also overcooked the broccoli.

Testers noted that the benefit of using the microwave or hob was that you have more control over the cooking time, they took five minutes and nine minutes respectively.

Initial outlay

Although consumers can make energy savings by using an air fryer, it is important to consider the cost of buying the item when looking at how much it can save on a day-to-day basis.

The cost of an air fryer can range from £30 to £300 which means it will take a while before it pays for itself.

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