Martin Lewis: money saving expert reveals if it’s cheaper to use a microwave instead of an oven this Christmas

Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis warns against ditching ovens when cooking multiple foods

Martin Lewis has shared his advice for cooking using different kitchen appliances ahead of Christmas.

The finance guru, 50, from Manchester, explained on BBC’s The Martin Lewis Podcast why ditching ovens in favour of smaller appliances such as a microwave or air fryer may not be the most cost effective way of cooking.

He said the cost of heating foods depends on the number of items being cooked at a time and how long the foods are likely to take to fully cook.

Comparing appliances, Martin said: “The problem with the equation for heating equipment is for example an oven is going to be probably 1000W- 2000W.

“A microwave is 1000W for example. The difference between a microwave and an oven is a microwave, and I’m doing this from memory -  I’m not an electrical engineer so give me a bit of a caveat.

“A microwave gives you consistent heat, whereas an oven is warming up to top temperature and then topping it up so it isn’t using the full wattage the whole time. They have a roughly equivalent wattage.

“But if you’re doing a jacket potato in a microwave 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 cooking a full roast dinner in the oven and the jacket potatoes were part of that, you’re cooking many of them, that is where it’s probably cheaper than putting five or six jacket potatoes in a microwave because for each additional object you put in a microwave, you’ll need to keep it on longer because a microwave just heats the individual object.”

He added: “The general equation is, find the wattage of an item. Remember a 1000W is a kilowatt, so work out how many kilowatts or what fraction of a kilowatt it’s using, then multiply that roughly by 34p per hour of use."

Martin Lewis says hundreds of thousands of people are yet to claim financial support from the government and their local council.
Martin Lewis says hundreds of thousands of people are yet to claim financial support from the government and their local council.
Martin Lewis says hundreds of thousands of people are yet to claim financial support from the government and their local council.

Martin explained how turning on a 1000W microwave for 10 minutes can cost around 6p.

He said: “If you had a 1000W microwave and you put it on for 10 minutes, one KWH hour. It’s 34p but it’s only 10 minutes, which is a sixth of that, a sixth of 34p is about 6p, shall we say? So it’s 6p turning the microwave on for that length of time. So yes it’s a very useful equation.”

The money saving advice comes as Martin urges people not to leave their Christmas lights on all day. He shared how much they cost to run in an appearance on ITV’s GMB.

Speaking to viewers, Martin said: “As long as you’ve got LED lights, a string of 100 which is a pretty decent amount, if you were to have them on for six hour a day for the month, it would cost around 18 pence.”

“Just in the evening when you’re there [at home], so you can keep that element of Christmas going,” he added.

Recent research commissioned by Oxfam revealed that a third of people will be spending less on gifts this year as they aim to cut their budgets for the festive season by half amid the rising cost of living.