Just when you think there’s no romance or excitement in your life…we jumped on the air fryer bandwagon and couldn’t be happier 😉
We’ve been flirting with the idea of getting one for a while but were hesitating because we are halfway through a Low Spend Year. This meant I spent some extra time to be comfortable that it would be worth it for us.
I’m glad to say that it’s saving us money in more ways than we were expecting, and this is what I’ll share in this post, in case you are currently sitting on the fence.
While the focus of this article is on saving money, the other main reasons we were thinking about getting an air fryer were that my partner is on a health kick at the moment and is looking for healthier ways to consume high protein food. We also both work from home and like to have “proper lunches” so were attracted to the quick cooking times.
Six Ways Our Air Fryer Saves Us Money
Way One: Energy Use Per Minute is Lower Than An Oven
The first way that we save money using our air fryer is that the cost of running it, per hour, is lower than a conventional hour because it uses less energy.
An average conventional oven uses approximately 2 to 2.2 kilowatts an hour (or 2000 watts an hour) whereas an average air fryer uses between 1.4 to 1.7 kilowatts an hour.
The unit price (1 kwh) for my energy supplier is currently 26p, meaning running an oven for an hour would cost 52 to 57p alone, whereas an air fryer would be 36 to 44p. However, it’s unlikely you’d need to run an air fryer for that long, which leads me to the second way our air fryer saves us money…
Way Two: Cooking time is shorter
One of the reasons that ovens are so inefficient is the fact that you need to wait for them to pre-heat. This is not necessary in an air fryer, saving you time and money.
The cooking time itself is usually about two thirds of the time it would take in a conventional oven, partly due to the more compact size and partly the “vortex” technology that moves the hot air around the oven.
This means it will usually cook food in just over half the time it would take in a fan assisted oven.
Way Three: Less Likely to Cook Too Much Food
Even a large air fryer will be smaller than a conventional oven. One of the advantages of this is that you are less likely to cook too much food. I know that if I’m using a big baking tray I’m more likely to fill it up out of habit, and have too many leftovers.
Way Four: Can Make The Most of Simpler Ingredients
An unexpected benefit of the air fryer is that we are enjoying simpler meals, meaning we are buying fewer, cheaper ingredients and radically cutting down on food waste. For example, because we can cook crispy wedges so quickly, we are enjoying these as an accompaniment to our meals more often.
I also often cook a whole head of broccoli (I toss the florets in some olive oil and seasoning first) and have that as the basis of my meal, maybe with a fried egg, a tomato salad, some olives etc. Broccoli done this way is so moreish – it’s an easy way to get in lots of cruciferous veg.
Since getting the air fryer we don’t have bags of sprouting potatoes or yellowing broccoli anymore, because it’s so easy to make them into a quick and delicious meal.
Way Five: We Have Fewer Leftovers
We also find it easier to make leftovers more appetising, and are much better at “eating up all the bits” rather than reaching for our fresher food.
For example, last night my toddler didn’t finish his hamburger bun. I normally would have put it in the food waste but this morning I quickly toasted it up in the air fryer and served it as part of breakfast. I could have done this in the oven, but I would have been put off by the time it takes to heat the oven.
Way Six: Less Likely to Order Takeout
Ordering a takeaway is less tempting now as we know we can cook something quickly in the air fryer that will also hit that crispy, decadent takeaway spot, sooner than your delivery would have arrived
The air fryer we bought is even large enough to cook a chicken (rotisserie style!). You can also do a really crisp and succulent salmon in it, or tofu bites – good enough to beat any takeaway.
Is it worth it?
Your personalised savings will depend on your situation, but if you normally use an oven for one hour a day, you would save around £140 a year using an air fryer instead. This is based on:
- the differences in energy efficiency mentioned above (i.e. 1.7 kwh v. 2.1kwh)
- the unit price cap for electricity from 1 October (34p)
- the shorter cooking times in an air fryer (assuming an air fryer would cook something in two thirds the time it would take in an oven).
If you usually use your oven more than this, you would save more.
The cost of air fryers varies significantly, but a mid-range one will be less than the money saved, so you get a positive return on investment within a year, in terms of energy saved alone.
The Air Fryer We Bought
After researching air fryers we found one that we liked (the Tower 5-in-1) because it had a large capacity stainless steel interior with shelves rather than baskets with non-stick coating. This is our preference and we do the same with our pans (i.e. buy pure metal rather than non-stick).
What we like about it is that you can pop the shelves and drip tray in the dishwasher,and give the door a wipe when needed. The door is also removable for cleaning, but we haven’t needed to do that.
What are the best foods to cook in an air fryer?
So far, the best things we’ve cooked in the air fryer have been:
- skin-on potato wedges
- seasoned broccoli florets
- beetroot chips
- salmon steaks
- roast chicken
- crispy chilli garlic tofu
Potential disadvantages of an air fryer
When deciding whether to buy, I was conscious of some of the potential disadvantages of getting an air fryer, so I wanted to add my thoughts on these in case anybody else is concerned:
- “It’s one more appliance taking up space in your kitchen”
This is true. It was one of my biggest concerns, particularly as someone who has bought a lot of appliances in the past that now live in the garage!
What helped for us is that we did a kitchen declutter before getting the air fryer, so that the counter is not cluttered. Also, even though ours is a large capacity one (11 litres) it’s relatively compact, as it’s quite tall.
Another point to remember is that an air fryer can do the job of multiple appliances (a conventional fryer, a dehydrator etc) so getting one may even save you space if you use these other appliances.
I have a friend who recently remodelled her kitchen and she was still able to easily cook for her family, just using her air fryer.
- “Air fryers are too small for families”
We haven’t had this issue with our fryer for our family (of four). This is partly because you can fit in quite a lot (three racks) but also because often our meals also have a component that isn’t cooked in the air fryer, like a salad or something cooked on the hob.
- “Air fryers can be loud and noisy”
I am very a noise sensitive person, and I can hear my air fryer but it doesn’t bother me. In my view, kitchens are noisy places anyway – ovens, fans, kettles all make noises. Our kids make a lot of noise too, and that easily competes with the air fryer!
- “Air fryers can smoke and smell”
I have seen some reviews of air fryers talking about a funny smell, and that’s one of the things that put me off and made me want to get one with a pure metal interior.
When we first used ours the manual said to run it empty and that there might be a smell the first time. There was, but has not been since, which has been reassuring.
- “Air fryers contain a short power cable”
The cable for ours is 80 cm, so we were not forced to place it right in front of the socket.
Final thoughts on air fryers
I’ve focussed on how our air fryer saves us money because it’s a purchase that I really hesitated to make during a low spend year, unless I could be comfortable that it would save us money – this year!
However, there are other obvious benefits to the air fryer too, including the fact that we cook with less oil and we save time. We are foodies, so it’s also fun to have a new toy to experiment with.
If you are looking for other ways to save money, in the kitchen, then check out my post on other ways we save money on food.
If you have any air-fryer, money-saving or energy saving questions, please pop them in the comments below. Also, I’d love to hear your favourite tips for saving money, and still eating well.
This article contains affiliate links, meaning that if you decide to purchase the item then I receive a small commission at no cost to you.