Consumer expert Martin Lewis has issued a warning to those trying to lower their energy bills by using airfryers or microwaves instead of their oven.
Many people who cook for themselves and their families have invested in airfryers during the cost of living crisis in the belief that they are more economical than an oven, but Mr Lewis suggested that this is not always the case.
In some circumstances, it can even be cheaper to just turn on the oven, the consumer journalist said in his podcast.
It all comes down to a comparison that shows which appliance consumes more electricity for making different dishes.
While a single jacket potato can be cooked in just minutes in the airfryer or microwave, it’s probably more expensive to cook a full roast for several people than using an oven alone.
Mr Lewis said cooking a single jacket potato in the microwave was a sensible way to save energy and cut bills (file image)
Airfryers tend to be more efficient than the oven, mainly because they cook food faster, but are not always the most energy-efficient option
Mr Lewis said cooking a single jacket potato in the microwave was a sensible way to save energy and cut bills.
‘The problem with the equation for heating equipment is that a furnace will be about 2000W.
“A microwave gives you constant heat, while an oven heats up to full temperature and then refills, so it’s not running at full power all the time.”
“But if you put a jacket potato in the oven for 10 minutes, it will be much cheaper (in the microwave) than putting a single jacket potato in the oven and leaving it for an hour and a half.
But the consumer expert said other meals may not be as efficient in the oven replacement appliances.
“But if you were doing a full roast dinner and you were cooking a lot of it, it’s probably cheaper than putting five or six jacket potatoes in the microwave, because every extra item you put in the microwave, you have to persist. longer because a microwave only heats the individual object.’
General equation is, find the wattage of an item, then calculate how many kilowatts or fraction of a kilowatt it uses, and multiply that by 34 cents per hour of use.
“If you have a 1000W microwave and you turn it on for 10 minutes, one KWH for one-sixth of an hour, one-sixth of 34p is about 6p, shall we say? So it’s 6 p to turn on the microwave before then. So yes, it’s a very useful comparison.’
Airfryers start from around £60, with more expensive models having larger capacity and more advanced features.
“Models with additional features – such as control via an app on your phone or multiple compartments that allow you to cook two dishes at once – will cost you more than £200,” Which? explains on his website.
Last September, Hometree released the results of its tests to see how energy efficient your kitchen appliances are.
The findings show that using an oven, whether gas or electric, is the most expensive option.
The average oven uses about 3kW, which means it costs about 34p to run for 20 minutes.
This works out to about £1.02 per hour, according to Hometree.
An electric hob was the second most expensive option, coming in at about 17p per 15 minutes of use, with an average wattage of 2kW or 68p/hr.
The air fryer took third place, largely due to the fact that it can cook food much faster than an oven.
Hometree tests showed that the average wattage of an air fryer is 1kW, so running it for 10 minutes would cost about 5 pence. This amounts to 30p/hour.
However, microwave ovens and slow cookers proved to be the most energy efficient kitchen appliances.
An average 700W microwave costs 1.98 pence when used for five minutes, or 23.8 p/hr, while slow cookers use about 1.2 kW over the course of eight hours, which works out to just 5 p/hr.