Air fryers are known to be eco-friendly alternatives to electric ovens, deep fryers, and toaster ovens, but are Air Fryers energy efficient?
In this article, we explore the two types of air fryers and compare the power consumption, cooking time, and operating cost with its peers.
So, if you are looking for a definitive answer to Air Fryers’ efficiency, let’s get right into it.
Table of Contents
Types of Air Fryers
The electricity an air fryer uses depends on its type, size, temperature, and how often it’s being used. With that said, there are two primary types of air fryers:
|Type||Average Power Consumption|
|Basket Air Fryer||1.4 kWh|
|Air Fryer Oven||1.8 kWh|
Calculating how much electricity your air fryer uses is a straightforward equation. Just multiply its wattage by how many hours per day you use it, then divide this number by 1000 to get your daily kilowatt-hour consumption (kWh).
For instance, using a 1500W air fryer on average for one hour per day will consume around 1.5 kilowatts of electricity.
The stark difference between a basket air fryer and an air fryer oven is the cooking capacity. Air Fryer ovens can generally cook more food at one time and use about 1.8 kWh of electricity. It is often preferred for large families.
On the other hand, basket air fryers tend to be compact, cook smaller portions, and, most importantly, use less electricity. About 1.4 kWh, as we have discussed.
How much electricity does an Air Fryer use as compared to other appliances?
Now, comparing the two air fryers with similar appliances, we can determine how energy-saving air fryers are.
|Basket Air Fryers / Air Fryer Ovens||1.4 – 1.8 kWh|
|Electric Oven||2.0 – 5.0 kWh|
|Deep Fryer||1.0 – 3.0 kWh|
|Toaster Oven||0.8 – 1.8 kWh|
Air fryer power consumption is lower than electric ovens, hence making air fryers a more energy-efficient choice.
However, the energy savings are less noticeable compared to other cooking appliances, such as deep fryers and toaster ovens.
Deep fryers have an average power consumption of 1.0-3.0 kWh which overlaps with air fryers; thus some models may be more energy-efficient while others may not.
Toaster ovens operate within the same range with a 0.8-1.8 kWh consumption rate, making them comparable in energy efficiency to air fryers.
But, the power consumption alone cannot accurately determine the electricity usage of each appliance.
Here’s what I mean. For example, although deep fryers fall in the same range as air fryers in terms of power consumption, cooking takes longer as it requires preheating.
How long does it take to air fry against other cooking methods?
|Food||Air-Fryer Cooking Time||Electric Oven (with preheating)||Deep Frying (with preheating)||Toaster Oven (with preheating)|
|Bacon||5 – 10 mins||20 mins||14 mins||13 – 20 mins|
|Burger||8 – 10 mins||13 – 15 mins||14 – 16 mins||15 mins|
|Meatballs||7 – 10 mins||15 – 20 mins||14 – 16 mins||40 – 42 mins|
|Steak||7 – 14 mins||25 – 30 mins||14 – 16 mins||12 – 13 mins|
|Pork Chops||12 – 15 mins||9 – 15 mins||14 – 15 mins||25 mins|
|Chicken Breast||22 – 23 mins||23 – 26 mins||16 – 18 mins||35 mins|
|Chicken Thighs||25 mins||25 – 35 mins||12 – 15 mins||40 – 50 mins|
|Chicken Tenders||14 – 16 mins||15 – 18 mins||15 – 17 mins||25 – 30 mins|
|Chicken Wings||10 – 12 mins||30 – 40 mins||18- 20 mins||25 – 30 mins|
|Chicken Nuggets||8 mins||25 mins||13 – 15 mins||15 – 16 mins|
|Shrimp||8 mins||10 mins||12 – 13 mins||20 mins|
|Cauliflower||10 – 12 mins||35 – 40 mins||12 – 13 mins||20 – 25 mins|
|Zucchini||12 mins||20 – 30 mins||12 – 13 mins||10 mins|
|Pickles||14 – 20 mins||25- 30 mins||12 – 13 mins||15 mins|
|Potato Chips||15 – 17 mins||40 mins||12 – 13 mins||35 – 45 mins|
|Potato Fries||10 – 20 mins||11 – 13 mins||12 – 13 mins||30 – 35 mins|
|Brussels Sprouts||15 – 18 mins||10 – 15 mins||13 – 15 mins||25 – 30 mins|
|Onion Rings||10 mins||15 mins||15 mins||25 mins|
You will probably figure the cooking time above is a lot longer than what you find when Googling, and that’s because we have added the respective preheating time:
- Electric Oven: Takes about 12 to 15 minutes to preheat
- Deep Fryer: It takes about 10 – 15 minutes for the oil to be preheated
- Toaster Oven: Takes above 5 – 7 minutes to preheat
From the table above, we can see that Air Fryers generally cook faster than electric and toaster ovens, but comparing it to deep fryers, there are certain foods where deep fryers cook faster, such as brussels sprouts, fries, chicken thighs, etc.
So, in terms of energy saving, deep fryers are comparable to air fryers, but we cannot discount other factors like, for example, air fryers are healthier.
How much does it cost to run an air fryer as compared to other appliances?
Now, multiplying the cooking time by its power consumption (we will use the upper bound range for each), we will get a reasonably accurate answer as to which is the most energy-saving appliance.
And, if we multiply the electricity consumption by the cost per kWh, we will know how much it costs to run air fryers compared to other appliances.
Electricity cost varies between states and energy providers, but for the sake of discussion, we will take the average US electricity cost as around $0.15 per kWh.
|Food||Air-Fryer Time||Electric Oven Time (with preheating)||Deep Frying (with preheating)||Toaster Oven (with preheating)|
|Bacon||$0.02 – $0.04||$0.25||$0.10||$0.06 – $0.09|
|Burger||$0.04||$0.16 – $0.19||$0.10 – $0.12||$0.07|
|Meatballs||$0.03 – $0.04||$0.19 – $0.25||$0.10 – $0.12||$0.18 – $0.19|
|Steak||$0.03 – $0.06||$0.31 – $0.37||$0.10 – $0.12||$0.05 – $0.06|
|Pork Chops||$0.05 – $0.07||$0.11 – $0.19||$0.10 – $0.11||$0.11|
|Chicken Breast||$0.10||$0.28 – $0.32||$0.12 – $0.13||$0.16|
|Chicken Thighs||$0.11||$0.31 – $0.43||$0.09 – $0.11||$0.18 – $0.22|
|Chicken Tenders||$0.06 – $0.07||$0.19 – $0.22||$0.11 – $0.13||$0.11 – $0.13|
|Chicken Wings||$0.04 – $0.05||$0.37 – $0.49||$0.13- $0.15||$0.11 – $0.13|
|Chicken Nuggets||$0.04||$0.31||$0.10 – $0.11||$0.07|
|Shrimp||$0.04||$0.12||$0.09 – $0.10||$0.09|
|Cauliflower||$0.04 – $0.05||$0.43 – $0.49||$0.09 – $0.10||$0.09 – $0.11|
|Zucchini||$0.05||$0.25 – $0.37||$0.09 – $0.10||$0.04|
|Pickles||$0.06 – $0.09||$0.31- $0.37||$0.09 – $0.10||$0.07|
|Potato Chips||$0.06 – $0.09||$0.49||$0.09 – $0.10||$0.16 – $0.20|
|Potato Fries||$0.04 – $0.09||$0.14 – $0.16||$0.09 – $0.10||$0.13 – $0.16|
|Brussels Sprouts||$0.07 – $0.08||$0.12 – $0.19||$0.10 – $0.11||$0.11 – $0.13|
Verdict: Are Air Fryers Energy Efficient?
Yes, Air Fryers are energy-efficient compared to other appliances like deep fryers, electric ovens, and toaster ovens. However, it is essential to note that air fryers’ operating costs vary with models and power consumption.
You may not see significant cost savings when cooking one meal, but they can add up over time. Hence, for people who frequently cook with air fryers, you will simply adore them.
These are the best air fryers we recommend. Feel free to check them out.
How Do Air Fryers Work?
And despite their name, air fryers don’t actually “fry” food.
As you may already know, air fryers cook food by blowing hot air on and around the food.
A heating mechanism and a powerful fan are installed on the top section of an air fryer.
Food will be placed in a fryer-style basket directly below the top section of the device.
When you turn on the air fryer, superheated air will rush down, circulate, and cook the food with a crispy finish.
In a way, conventional convection ovens and air fryers are similar as they cook food using fans and superheated air.
However, air fryers are generally smaller and can cook much faster.
What can Air Fryers Cook?
Air fryers aren’t just limited to frying stuff.
Well, apart from the foods we have listed above in the comparison table, you can cook anything in it.
Foods that were not mentioned are lamb chops, veal, veggies, and literally anything. You can even bake desserts!
Click here to learn more delicious recipes for air fryers.
Are Air Fryers Healthy?
With all its convenience and efficiency, some people are concerned that air fryers might not be healthy.
Well, here’s what we found about this topic:
Medical News Today stated that switching to air-fried foods can promote weight loss as it can help reduce your intake of oils from oil-fried food.
An article by WebMD also added that air frying is healthier as it cuts calories by up to 80%.
In the same article, WebMD also stated that air-frying potatoes lower acrylamide formation by up to 90%.
Acrylamide is created by putting potatoes and other starchy foods in high heat.
But you might be wondering:
Is acrylamide bad for your health?
But on the downside:
Researchers at the Taiwan Society of Indoor Environmental Air Quality state that air fryers pose an indoor air pollution risk if used without proper ventilation.
Indoor air pollutants can cause respiratory diseases or even cancer.
Moreover, Teflon coatings are found on some air fryer baskets and air fryer accessories, such as a grill pan.
While Teflon is generally safe, Teflon coatings on nonstick cookware break down at temperatures above 570°F, releasing toxic fumes into the air.
These toxic fumes can cause polymer fume fever, also known as the Teflon flu.
Are Air Fryers Eco-Friendly?
The term eco-friendly has been thrown around often, especially in household and personal products.
But what does it really means?
What does “eco-friendly” mean?
If you search for the literal meaning of the word eco-friendly online, you’ll come up with different definitions, including:
- not harmful to the environment (Google)
- not environmentally harmful (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
- earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment (SF GATE)
- designed to do the least possible damage to the environment (Cambridge Dictionary)
As you can see, there’s a lot of ambiguity about what eco-friendly means.
But in most cases, eco-friendly is used to describe products, practices, and activities that help conserve Earth’s natural resources, minimize waste, and prevent pollution.
- Meanings of Eco-Friendly Terminologies (according to experts)
So with this in mind, air fryers can be considered an eco-friendly alternative to ovens and deep fryers given that:
- It can cook food fast, reducing electric consumption.
- You can cook food in an air fryer without using cooking oil.
- Besides frying, you can use air fryers to roast, grill, braise, bake, and more.
Moreover, air fryers are perfect for reheating previously fried foods.
As you may already know, reheating fried food with an oven or microwave makes them soggy.
Meanwhile, the technology behind how the air fryer works makes it possible to reheat crispy foods to stay crisp.
The more leftover food you can reheat, the less food will be wasted, which is a big eco-friendly point towards air fryers.
But this is our own opinion, and we would love to hear your thoughts.
Do you think air fryers are better for the environment? Why or why not?
Air Fryers Pros and Cons
Advantages of Using Air Fryers
- Air fryers are easy to use and can cook food much faster than ovens.
- It makes healthier food as food cooked quickly retains most of its nutrients.
- Air fryers are generally more energy efficient than most convection ovens.
- Lowers the amount of acrylamide formation in French fries by up to 90%.
- Air fryers don’t need cooking oil to fry food.
- Makes less greasy and oily crispy-fried food.
- Air fryers are safer than deep fryers as they cook food without heating a large container of scalding oil.
- Most air fryers are smaller than an oven; they won’t occupy most of your kitchen.
- The small size of air fryers and the absence of cooking oil means they are easy to clean and maintain.
- Cleaning air fryers requires less water and soap.
- Perfect for reheating leftover fried food.
Disadvantages of using Air Fryers
- Air fryers have a small cooking capacity, so you might have to cook in batches if you have a big family.
- Air fryers are much louder than any oven when operating.
- It can be a source of indoor pollution.
- Some air fryer accessories are coated with Teflon.
- Most air fryers are made of plastic.
- Air fryers are more expensive than most deep fryers.
- Air fryers have longer cooking times compared to conventional deep fryers.