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19th Jun 2024

Martin Lewis issues warning over using air fryer instead of ovens to cook food

Charlie Herbert

Martin Lewis has advised people to do a simple calculation before cooking

Air fryers have been around for more than a decade but it is only in the last year or so that they’ve really taken off.

The Airfryer brand was introduced by Philips in 2010, but the term started to be used generically around 2018 and by 2022 – as the UK emerged from the pandemic – the cooker really too off. As the Guardian noted in December they started flying off the shelves and then selling out again as soon as they got restocked. In the US, the air fryer started making a dent in the market in 2017.

Reports suggested the device that uses hot air to cook food by circulating it around at high speed could save Brits money.

The device was also viewed as a healthier option over deep frying as it can produce similar, crispy results.

Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis isn’t convinced that air fryers are actually a much cheaper and healthier option than traditional ovens, IGV reported.

On an episode of his The Martin Lewis Podcast, the expert explained that while a microwave consistently provides heat, an oven warms up to a temperature before topping up, meaning it isn’t at full power the entire time it is cooking.

Lewis says: “A microwave gives you consistent heat whereas an oven is warming up to full temperature and then topping it up so it isn’t running at full power the whole time.

“If you were doing a full roast dinner and you were cooking many [jacket potatoes], it’s probably cheaper [putting them in the oven] than putting five or six jacket potatoes in a microwave because each additional object you put in a microwave, you need to keep it on longer because a microwave just heats the individual object.”

But, if you just wanted one jacket potato, which would take about 10 minutes to cook, Lewis advised it would be “far cheaper” to use a microwave.

Applying some math, Lewis advised, a person could work out whether it was best to use an oven or air fryer for each meal.

The equation involves finding the wattage of an item and then calculating how many kilowatts, or what fraction of a kilowatt it’s using, before multiplying that by 34p per hour of use, IGV reported.

But here’s where it gets tricky.

An oven is about 2,000W, while a 1,000W microwave used for 10 minutes would cost approximately 6p.

So if someone is cooking something small and simple, it is probably cheaper in the microwave or air fryer.

The Money Edit backs up Lewis’ advice, noting in an article in February, that “generally”, air fryers are “cheaper to use” than an oven.

However, as a caveat, it warned if someone owns a more powerful air fryer, they could be using the same amount of energy as an oven.

For example, the 2,000W air fryer costs 34p per, which is 13p more than an oven.

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

Lewis has previously warned that his advice about using air fryers has been misrepresented in media reports and that he had simpy given a “straight explanation” over wattage costs per hour, rather than saying air fryers could cost more.

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