Are Air Fryers Energy Efficient: A Definitive Answer

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Air fryers have a reputation for being eco-friendly alternatives to convection ovens and deep fryers.

This is because air fryers are advertised as energy efficient, fries food faster, and don’t require cooking oil!

But are they really? Are Air Fryers Energy Efficient? We beg to differ because our research found that deep fryers consume less electricity than air fryers.

Let’s get right into the details.

Air Fryers vs. Convection Ovens Cooking Time

Are-Air-Fryers-Energy-Efficient

Taste of Home, a popular home cooking recipe blog, made a chart for the average cooking time of food using an air fryer.

Air-Fryer-Cooking-Chart
Source: Taste of Home

Based on the image above, it appears that air fryers can cook food between 5 to 25 minutes (on average), which is considerably fast.

But the best thing about using an air fryer instead of a convection oven?

No preheating is required (although some recipes recommend so), so you can further minimize electric consumption.

Just turn on your air fryer and throw in the food you want to fry.

On the other hand, cooking food using a countertop convection oven means spending at least 5-6 minutes to preheat the device; at least 15 minutes when using a conventional large oven.

After preheating the oven, cooking the food will require an additional 10 to 40 minutes, depending on what you are cooking.

For a clear comparison:

Let’s take Tefal’s ActiFry Genius XL and Oster’s Extra Large Digital Convection Oven as the basis of comparison. Both devices are said to be the most energy-efficient in their class:

AttributeAir Fryer
(Tefal)
Convection Oven
(Oster)
Power1,500 Watts1,500 Watts
Running Cost
(Per Hour)
$0.20$0.20
Preheating0 mins5 mins
Fried Chicken30 mins ($0.10)5 + 45 mins ($0.17)
French Fries20 mins ($0.07)5 + 30 mins ($0.12)

Verdict: Air Fryer Electricity Usage vs Oven

Both the Air Fryer and Oven have similar electric usage (1,500 watts on average), but Air Fryers cook faster than ovens and do not require preheating. Hence, Air fryer is more energy efficient than ovens.

Air Fryers vs. Countertop Ovens Wattage Comparison Table

Cooking Appliances (Air Fryers)Wattage
Philips Digital Airfryer XXL
(considered to be one of the best air fryers on Amazon)
1,725 Watts
GoWISE Programmable Air Fryer1,400 Watts
Instant Pot Vortex Plus Air Fryer1,500 Watts
Ninja Max XL Air Fryer1,750 Watts
Innsky Air Fryer1,500 Watts
Air Fryer Wattage Table

Cooking Appliance (Countertop Convection Ovens)Wattage
Toshiba Digital Toaster Oven1,500 Watts
Breville Mini Smart Oven1,800 Watts
COSORI Convection Countertop Oven1,500 Watts
Panasonic FlashXpress Compact Toaster Oven1,300 Watts
Oster Toaster Oven1,300 Watts
Convection Oven Wattage Table

Air Fryers vs. Deep Fryers

We already know that making chicken using an air fryer takes 25 to 30 minutes and around 45 minutes using an oven.

How long will it take to fry chicken using a deep fryer?

We have an in-depth comparison between Air Fryers and Deep Fryers here.

Deep Fryer Cooking Duration

While ovens need preheating, deep fryers need time to heat up the cooking oil.

On average, you’ll have to wait 5-10 minutes for the cooking oil to reach the optimal frying heat.

But once the oil is heated, deep-frying any food shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

For example, deep frying a chicken will only take 8 to 15 minutes (according to Taste of Home) once the cooking oil has been heated to your desired temperature.

AttributeAir FryerDeep Fryer
Energy Usage1,500 watts1,000 watts
Running Cost
(per hour)
$0.20$0.13
Preheating0 mins10 mins
Fried Chicken30 mins ($0.10)10 + 15 mins ($0.05)
French Fries20 mins ($0.07)10 + 4 mins ($0.03)
Battered Fish13 mins ($0.04)10 + 5 mins ($0.03)
Onion Rings11 mins ($0.04)10 +4 mins ($0.03)
Vegetables10 mins ($0.03)10 + 2 mins ($0.03)

Verdict: Air fryer vs. Deep Fryer

Deep fryers are more energy efficient than air fryers because the energy consumption of deep fryers is much lower. Even when we factor in the preheating of the cooking oil, deep fryers still consume less energy because they generally cook faster than air fryers.

However, deep fryers have more downsides than air fryers, and we have discussed them in this article.

But the gist of it is that air fryers are healthier, cleaner, and more versatile as they can be used for grilling, braising, roasting, and even baking.

Below are some of the best deep fryers in the market.

Best Deep Fryers

Cooking Appliances (Deep Fryers)Wattage
Cuisinart Deep Fryer1,800 Watts
Presto FryDaddy Electric Deep Fryer1,200 Watts
T-Fal Deep Fryer1,700 Watts
KRUPS Electric Deep Fryer1,800 Watts
Hamilton Beach Electric Deep Fryer1,500 Watts
Deep Fryer Wattage Table

You might also be interested in the following:

Air Fryer vs. Oven vs. Deep Fryer: Electric Usage Costs

Now, let’s combine everything to determine which is more energy-efficient between Air Fryers, Convection Ovens, and Deep Fryers.

Let’s assume this:

The running cost per hour for:

  • 1,000 watts is $0.13
  • 1,500 watts is $0.20

Here’s the time for preheating:

  • The deep fryer requires 10 mins to preheat the cooking oil
  • The convection oven requires 5 mins to preheat

Estimated Electric Usage Cost Of Making Fried Chicken

ApplianceWattageAverage Cooking DurationEstimated Electric Cost
Air Fryer1,50030 mins$0.10
Convection Oven1,5005 + 45 mins$0.17
Deep Fryer1,00010 + 15 mins$0.05

Estimated Electric Usage Cost Of Making French Fries

ApplianceWattageAverage Cooking DurationEstimated Electric Cost
Air Fryer1,50020 mins$0.07
Convection Oven1,5005 + 30 mins$0.12
Deep Fryer1,00010 + 4 mins$0.03

As you can see, deep fryers are more energy-efficient than both air fryers and convection ovens because it cooks faster and consumes lesser energy.

Even when we factor in the 10 mins of preheating cooking oil for deep fryers, the electric cost is still lower than air fryers and convection ovens.

Plus, deep fryers are generally cheaper than air fryers and convection ovens.

So, deep fryers are a viable option if you want to save a little money on energy consumption and the cost of the appliance. However, you should also consider the health impact, maintenance, and general safety when using deep fryers.

Between Air fryers and Deep Fryers, we would prefer Air fryers due to these reasons.

How Do Air Fryers Work?

In an interview, Lisa McManus, executive tasting and testing editor for America’s Test Kitchen, said that air fryers are basically little hot air chamber convection ovens. 

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, so they can cook much faster.

What Air Fryers Can Cook?

Air fryers aren’t just limited to frying stuff.

What-Can-Air-Fryers-Cook
Air fryer recipes

Brandi Crawford, author of The Super Easy Air Fryer Cookbook: Crave-Worthy Recipes for Healthier Fried Favorites, stated in an interview that anything you can bake, you can make in an air fryer.

This includes chicken breasts, burgers, steak, lamb chops, and veggies.

You can even bake desserts using an air fryer!

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?

Acrylamide is a chemical that can cause nerve damage, muscle weakness, and impaired muscle coordination and is also linked to developing cancer.

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 to use, Teflon coatings on nonstick cookware start to 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:

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.

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 it cooks food without heating a large container full 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.

Conclusion: Are Air Fryers Energy Efficient For Daily Use?

As we have shown above, air fryers are more energy efficient than most convection ovens because they can cook food much faster.

However, many air fryers are well-suited for small families, maybe consisting of 1 to 3 people.

This is because most air fryers can only prepare food in small quantities.

And for larger families, cooking food in batches might defeat the purpose of using air fryers to save electric consumption.

Fortunately, newer models of air fryers now have a larger cooking capacity, so you just have to take some time to look.

And while deep fryers can fry food faster than air fryers, the latter will allow you to braise, roast, grill, and bake, so there’s no need to use an oven or microwave to prepare other meals.

Not to mention air fryers will let you cook a variety of food without using a vat of cooking oil.

But we want to hear your thoughts.

In your opinion, are air fryers more energy efficient than ovens and deep fryers for daily use?

Would you start using one?

4 Comments

  1. I often heat my oven to 350 deg to bake a large casserole (2 qt baking dish) for 70 minutes. I often feel it is rather wasteful to only have one dish in that large oven. How long would it take to cook in an airfryer/oven? Thanks

    1. Hey Rhonda, we would say it would probably depend on which air fryer you are using. But we’ve added some cooking blogs above, especially the ones we used as references, from which you can get a much clearer answer. Thanks for dropping by.

  2. I bought a small basic air fryer primarily to make chips without having all the bother and mess of cooking oil to dispose of and clean up.
    I found it brilliant, better and faster for doing perfect crisp & brown chips, pasty’s, sausage rolls, quiche, cheese ‘on/in’ toast, reviving soggy fish & chips that you’ve just bought home and even browning the chips more like I love them, roast chicken, belly of pork is as crisp as if you’ve done it on a barbeque grill, I bake bread and rolls in record time and it’s all being done on the work top without having to bend down all the time to the oven.
    This is a bit like having an indoor barbeque any day you fancy it.
    The best part of it all is keeping it clean, unlike all ovens ‘big chore’,
    just pop the dirty bits in the dish washer, or a bowl of hot soapy water.
    Who can say that their oven gets cleaned as often as it should and is still as shiny as the day they bought it,
    I clean our Air fryer(s) practically each time we use it/them in a few minutes.
    (We’ve got two btw) and my wife says she won’t use the oven again unless she absolutely has to.

  3. All these conversations on energy usage of the different appliances are flawed, because they assume that they need the full rated power for the duration of the cooking time. However once they have reached the desired temperature, the heater cycles on and off, depending on how much heat escapes the appliance. For example my 1600W air fryer run over ten minutes would consume 267Wh, but the measured value is 190Wh. So unless the energy is actually measured, the comparisons are meaningless.

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