Martin Lewis issues warning over ‘money-saving’ air fryers and microwaves

28 April 2023, 14:54 | Updated: 28 April 2023, 14:56

Martin Lewis said using an air fryer or a microwave might not save you money.
Martin Lewis said using an air fryer or a microwave might not save you money. Picture: GMB/Alamy

The money-saving expert is urging households to think twice about when to switch to 'cost-cutting' appliances.

Martin Lewis has issued a warning to households using popular appliances such as air fryers and microwaves, revealing that sometimes they rack up more charges than regular ovens.

The money-saving expert explained that these hot ticket items may not be as economical as expected when cooking certain meals and could push up energy bills unnecessarily.

Speaking on an episode of The Martin Lewis podcast, the finance guru offered families advice on how best to use their different kitchen cookers by breaking down their running costs.

He worked out exactly when it would be cheaper to cook food in an air fryer, a microwave and an oven using a simple equation.

Air fryers have become increasingly popular in the last few years.
Air fryers have become increasingly popular in the last few years. Picture: Alamy

Martin told his listeners: "The problem with the equation for heating equipment is an oven is going to be about 2000W.

"A microwave I believe, 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.

"But if you're doing a jacket potato for 10 minutes it's going to be far cheaper than doing a single jacket potato in an oven and keeping it on for an hour-and-a-half.

"However if you were doing a full roast dinner and you were cooking many of them, that is where it's probably cheaper than putting 5 or 6 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."

Microwaves are great for cooking smaller items such as jacket potatoes.
Microwaves are great for cooking smaller items such as jacket potatoes. Picture: Alamy

He continued: "The 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.

"If you had a 1000W 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."

Regular ovens could be the cheaper option, depending on what you're cooking.
Regular ovens could be the cheaper option, depending on what you're cooking. Picture: Alamy

Although Martin focused on microwaves during this listener query, he also said the helpful equation could be applied to other popular appliances.

Most air fryers tend to use between 1,400W and 2,100W, meaning they could cost you more than your oven.

Even smaller versions that use around 800W might boost bills if they're used for longer periods of time.

Essentially his advice was to cook, fry or bake smaller items in shorter periods of time to keep your energy costs as low as possible.

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