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Blog Post 4 April 2023 Updated 28 September 2023

Is it cheaper to cook with an air fryer, oven, microwave, hob or slow cooker?

Energy bills are still high, so it makes perfect sense to keep finding new ways to reduce how much gas and electricity you use in each room of your home.

Did you know that some appliances are more efficient when it comes to preparing different types of food? Or that you can save by simply swapping to a different appliance for certain tasks?

To help you save energy and money in your kitchen, our energy experts have looked at how much it costs to use some common cooking appliances.*

Keep reading to find out which appliances to use the next time you’re rustling up a recipe.

Air fryer: best for one to two people

Typical cost of a 600g chicken breast: £0.16

An air fryer works like a small conventional fan oven. Because it’s small, using an air fryer can often be cheaper than using your oven for the same meal. This makes it ideal for preparing smaller amounts of food for one or two people.

Top tip: Try not to open the compartment any more than necessary to avoid letting out heat and wasting energy.

Electric ovens: best for batch cooking

Typical cost of a 600g chicken breast: £0.22

Ovens are generally bigger than other cooking appliances, so they need to use more energy to heat up. This means a typical electric oven can be the most expensive cooking appliance to run. However, their larger size means you can fit a lot of food in at once, so they’re better for batch cooking or cooking for a large group. Using your oven in these situations could be the best value for money.

Top tip: Avoid opening the oven door any more than necessary while the oven is on to keep hot air inside and reduce wasted energy.

Microwave: best for reheating and quick cooking

Typical cost of a 400g lasagna: £0.04

Instead of heating the air around it, your microwave directly heats the food. This means your microwave will cook and reheat food very quickly, so its cost per use is likely to be lower than many other cooking appliances.

Top tip: If you’re preparing a large meal, batch cooking in a full oven and then reheating portions as you need them in the microwave can be a good way to keep your energy bills down.

Gas or electric hob: best for quick meals

Typical cost per use: between £0.02-0.04

Using the hob is typically quite cheap because, generally, you won’t need to have a hob on for very long to prepare meals such as pasta or an omelette.

Using a gas hob does produce more direct carbon emissions than an electric hob, so if you’re just using it to reheat food, you might want to think about using a microwave instead to reduce your carbon footprint.

Top tip: Remember to cover your pots and pans with a lid when you’re cooking to keep heat in and reduce wasted energy.

Slow cooker: best for busy schedules

Typical cost per use: £0.32

These are designed to cook food gradually over a long period of time. Slow cookers can be a convenient way to cook if you have a busy schedule.

Top tip: To save energy, try to avoid leaving them on longer than necessary, and use the ‘low’ setting if you’re going to be out for longer.

*Prices are correct as of October 2023. Appliances’ cost per use is calculated using lab testing for specific foods.

Last updated: 28 September 2023