Martin Lewis' warning for people using air fryers and microwaves instead of ovens

Martin Lewis has given his wisdom and advice on air fryers, but air fryer lovers, be warned, it might not be what you want to hear.
Like when everyone donned their aprons and leapt on the trend of baking banana bread during lockdown, it didn't take long for everyone to leap to the stores to get their mitts on an air fryer amid the cost of living crisis.

Not only are the kitchen gadgets supposedly healthier for you, but they've also been said to be more cost efficient than an oven.

However, have we all gotten over-excited too quickly and shot ourselves in the foot? Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis reveals whether or not the small convection oven is actually worth the hype.

In an episode of The Martin Lewis podcast, the 50-year-old explained how air fryers don't always outweigh ovens in being cheaper to use.

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," Lewis adds.
Don't start fretting and debating throwing out your air fryer just yet though, as Lewis notes if you cook a single jacket potato, which only needs around 10 minutes, it will be 'far cheaper' to do in a device like a microwave. This goes for your beloved air fryer as well, as heating a jacket potato in your oven will take around 'an hour and a half', and is therefore more expensive.

But if you fancy getting really technical, and aren't too heartbroken about not always using your air fryer, you can work out whether it's best to use your oven or air fryer for each meal using a handy equation.

"General equation is, find the wattage of an item, then work out how many kilowatts or what fraction of a kilowatt it’s using, then multiply that by 34p per hour of use.

"[...] The problem with the equation for heating equipment is an oven is going to be about 2,000W. If you had a 1,000W microwave and you put it on for 10 minutes, one KWH for a sixth of an hour, a sixth of 34p is about 6p, shall we say? So it’s 6p turning the microwave on for that amount of time. So yes it’s a very useful equation," Lewis explains.
The Money Edit echoes Lewis' advice, noting 'generally' air fryers are 'cheaper to use' than an oven.

"An oven costs 21p to use on average and a 800W air fryer costs 13.6p to use.

"But if you own an air fryer that is a lot more powerful, you could be using near enough the same energy as an oven. For example the 2,000W air fryer costs 34p per use, that’s 13p more than an oven.

"And the biggest factor is the quantity of food you’re cooking. [...] Cooking the same thing twice in an 800W air fryer could cost you more than 26p, which is more expensive than cooking in the oven," it explains.

Lewis resolves: "If you're cooking something small and simple in there, it's probably cheaper in the microwave and similarly the air fryer."

If you've been affected by any of the issues in this story, you can find more information about where to get help from Turn2Us via their website.

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