Solar ovens – An eco-friendly way of cooking food without using any wood, electricity, or fuels.
Solar outdoor ovens are getting popular as they are perfect option for outdoor and camping cooking. They are lightweight, versatile, easy to use, and available in different capacities.
It can reach high temperatures, in which you have minimal control over the temperature of these ovens that depends on how you position the solar oven in direct sunlight. Also, ensure to pick the apt pot that is built with dark and thin metal with a proper lid (if required, it can cook with or without pans).
It is useful for everyone, especially beneficial for campers, or hikers to cook their food at the campsite or fire restricted areas. There are several reasons to invest in this solar oven. But to grab the right option, we suggest you keep these key factors in your mind at the time of their purchase.
- Temperature Range: It is essential to check the maximum temperature a particular oven offers before making its purchase. This temperature range will affect the cooking performance of the oven, as a higher temperature is a better option. For instance, a solar oven with 300°F offers better performance than a 200°F.
- Weight: Since a solar oven is used out on the go, you have to ensure that they are lighter weight and easy to carry around (portable). Most of these ovens weigh around 10 – 15 pounds, while a few lighter oven models weigh only 1.5 – 3 pounds, making them more practical.
- Thermometer: A thermometer or temperature gauge is essential to check for a particular solar energy cooker. However, a thermometer is not required for those using a solar oven to boil water, tea, or brew coffee. Yet quite essential while cooking food that requires high temperatures like baking and roasting.
For more information on these solar ovens, we recommend you read our detailed Buying Guide. Also, to ease up your selection process, we compiled a list of some Best Solar Ovens after researching several lamps. Read on to know more about how to select the apt model.
5 Best Solar Ovens In 2023
|Solar Ovens||Temperature||Weight||Warranty||Buy Now|
|Gosun Solar Oven||550 degree Fahrenheit||2 pounds||1 year long||Check On Amazon|
|MrMapMax Solar Oven||288 degree Fahrenheit||11.22 pounds||1 year long||Check On Amazon|
|Haines Solar Oven||375 degree Fahrenheit||2.4 pounds||-||Check On Amazon|
|KECOP Solar Oven||550 degree Fahrenheit||7 pounds||2 year long||Check On Amazon|
|Sol Cook Solar Oven||325 degree Fahrenheit||4.8 pounds||2 year long||Check On Amazon|
|GOSUN Solar Oven||550 degree Fahrenheit||8 Pounds||2 year long||Check On Amazon|
5 Best Solar Ovens In 2023 Reviews
We have yet another solar oven from Gosun present here in this article. Just like the previous option, this one offers excellent performance along with a few other benefits.
This Gosun solar oven is present in the 3rd position in this article as it is the best performing option present here while having a justified price tag. Even though this one is quite cheaper than the previous one, you still get the same maximum temperature rating of up to 550 degree Fahrenheit with it which allows it to cook a meal in about 20 minutes.
Unlike the previous one, this one is much lighter at just 2 pounds, making it much more portable. Another similarity with this one is that it also comes with a 1-year long warranty. Although, the lower weight results in a smaller cooking area, which might be an issue for some.
- Maximum temperature rating of 550 degree Fahrenheit
- Rated at 2 pounds
- Comes with a 1-year long warranty
- Offers an excellent cooking temperature
- Cooks a meal in about 20 minutes
- Small and portable solar oven
- Cooking area could have been bigger
Though MrMapMax is a new brand in the market, their solar portable oven has become one of the preferred options among the consumers.
Their solar oven is specially designed to work even in all seasons as long as the sunlight in present for at least few hours. It is suitable for a wide range of applications that include mountaineering, kayaking, motorhome, tent, fishing, hunting and other maneuvers.
It comes with a maximum temperature of 550°F (288°C) in complete sun light which enables it cook the food within 20 minutes. It comes in a one-piece design with adjustable strap for easy transportation.
- maximum temperature 550°F (288°C)
- takes only 20 minutes to cook a meal
- one-piece design
- 5 liters of capacity
- Easy to carry
- Good quality
- Value for money
- Decent cooking performance
- Nothing much
Even though Haines is a lesser-known brand of solar devices and tools, its offerings can be a great option if you are on a budget. This also includes its entry-level solar oven model, which is ideal for many.
The Haines 2.0 SunUp is another affordable solar oven mentioned here in this article. Despite being one of the cheaper options, you still get a pretty decent maximum cooking temperature of 375 degree Fahrenheit with it. It is able to offer this with its 30-inch diameter along with a foldable design, which makes it portable.
Speaking of portability, this solar oven weighs only 2.4 pounds making it one of the more portable options out there. While the build quality offered by it is quite decent for the price, this budget solar oven does not come with any manufacturer’s warranty.
- Maximum temperature rating of 375 degree Fahrenheit
- Rated at 2.4 pounds
- Offers a diameter of 30 inches
- Budget-friendly solar oven model
- Comes in a lightweight package
- Offers a decent cooking temperature
- Does not include a warranty
KECOP is one of the reliable brands that provides a wide range of products that include electric smokers, portable BBQs, vegetable fruit choppers, and others.
Their portable barbeque grill has made to our list because of its portability and efficiency. It is made up of 304 food grade stainless steel and vacuum tube material which durable, non-toxic and safe to use.
It cooks from all the side in 360 degrees, so the food will retain maximum nutrition and flavour. Using this grill, you can steam, saute, roast and bake.
This grill can generate maximum temperature of 550°F in complete sunlight. You can cook food without the need for fire, electric power, propane and gas. So, you can take it for camping and other outdoor activities.
Proper insulation is provided to keep the heat in and coolness out. Comes with an ergonomic bag which is easy to carry it anywhere. This grill comes with 2-years warranty duration and free after-sales guarantee.
- Maximum temperature 550°F
- 360-degree cooking
- Unique folding design
- No toxic fumes
- Ergonomic carrying bag
- Easy to clean
- Safe to touch
- Unique folding design
- Some people experienced problems with the zipper
Sol cook is a lesser-known brand of solar devices and tools, its offerings can be a great option if you are on a budget. This also includes its entry-level solar oven model, which is ideal for many.
This All Season Solar Cooker (ASSC) camper is a solar panel type cooker with a larger cooking area of 12″ deep X 17″ wide, which is quite powerful (can hold two cooking pots of 1 gallon each) and can easily cook food compared to other design of its size. You get a pretty decent maximum cooking temperature of 325° Fahrenheit and have a foldable design, which makes it portable.
It is built with food-grade virgin polypropylene (PP) flute board, which is a weatherproof material to use outdoors. It is a strong material that won’t tear, fracture, or waterlogged. You can adjust the ASSC camper to any angle between these two extreme positions to effectively capture the sun. Apart from these features, the solar oven does not come with any manufacturer’s warranty.
- Maximum temperature rating of 325 degrees Fahrenheit
- Offers a cooking area of 17 X 12 inches.
- Constructed with food-grade virgin polypropylene flute board.
- Budget-friendly solar oven model
- Comes in a lightweight package
- Offers a decent cooking temperature
- Does not include a warranty
- Some users complain that it is a bit difficult to assemble.
We have another solar oven from the house of Gosun, a leading brand of solar cooking appliances. It is designed to convert around 70 – 80% of sunlight to usable heat via reflectors.
This sports solar oven portable stove has a durable Borosilicate Evacuated Glass Tube cooking chamber along with 2 foldable aluminum-made parabolic reflectors, and a stainless steel cooking tray. It is the best performing option, as you have to load the food into the tube and set it on the reflector. It cooks food from 360-degree to retain food flavor and nutrition.
You will get the same maximum temperature rating of up to 550-degree Fahrenheit with it which let you cook a meal (bake, roast, or steam) within 20 – 30 minutes. It is compact and lightweight that can cook for every occasion like RV, boat, backyard, camp, or tailgate.
Its solar vacuum tube cooking chamber keeps the exterior surface cool to the touch even while hot inside. It offers a 2-year long warranty from the original date of purchase against manufacturing defects.
- Maximum temperature rating of 550 degrees Fahrenheit
- Rated at 8 pounds
- Comes with a 2-year long warranty
- 360-degree cooking
- Cook your meal within 20 minutes
- Portable solar stove
- Easy to clean and safe to touch
- Provides an excellent cooking temperature.
- Some users complain that the tube quality is not up to the mark
- The cooking area could have been bigger.
How to Choose the Best Solar Ovens:
There are some cases where you want to cook food outdoors without the use of gas or electric stoves. Then you can use the solar cookers which grab solar heat to cook your food quickly and healthily without damaging your surrounding environment. There are several options available, ranging from lightweight, and portable with a small capacity to heavier, and fixed ones with a large capacity.
To help you in taking a proper buying decision from the above-mentioned list of products, we came up with a guide that includes information on its types, factors to consider, how it works, pros and cons, and FAQ’s.
Let’s get into the details of what factors to consider while shopping for the solar oven.
1. Temperature Range:
The temperature range of a given solar oven will determine the heat an oven can get/produce and the time required to cook the food. In general, a minimum temperature of 180°F (or 82°C) is required for the proper cooking of food. For instance, water gets pasteurized at 150°F (or 65°C). So, it is essential to choose the best option that accomplishes these temperature ranges easily.
For a better cooking experience, you can go with solar stove options that reach a minimum of 250°F (or 121°C) to cook a variety of soups, meat, stews, and pastries. Alternatively, select a model within the temperature range of 300°F – 400°F (or 148°C – 204°C) for grilling your food.
2. Weight and Portability:
The weight and portability are other key factors to consider when purchasing this outdoor and camping equipment. Always pick an easy to store in a bag and carry it around models whenever you are on a picnic or camping holiday. For cooking big or several meals, you have to choose an easy-to-carry large solar oven. So, the way the unit folds, stores, and lends itself for its easy transportation is as vital as food capacity.
The weight and portability depend mostly on the type of oven you select for your requirement. Select a smaller and portable model whenever you like to go for frequent camping. For instance, foldable panel cookers get fit in your backpack easily, yet cook slowly. Alternatively, solar energy tube ovens can quickly reach high temperatures, yet the main drawback is that they cook for a maximum of 1 – 2 persons.
Worrying about the space, then choose a parabolic oven or panel oven, which are more versatile, and offer reasonable cooking times, yet are heavier to carry around. So, choose them wisely for proper outdoor cooking.
While shopping for the solar energy cooker, we need to consider the temperature gauge for its proper functioning. However, this thermometer is not required for those who use a solar oven to boil tea or brew coffee. But it is required when you need to know the temperature of the oven to achieve high temperatures easily for cooking. However, baking and roasting get complicated if not knowing how hot the solar oven got.
You can find some types of solar cookers that only let you brew coffee or boil tea. Whilst some models are versatile that let you boil, stew, grill, fry, and roast fish, meat, and vegetables. Select a versatile, high-quality stove model supporting a wide range of cooking methods to cook different types of food, even though it is expensive.
5. Food Capacity:
It is essential to check the quantity of food your oven can cook or heat. However, there are certain factors like the cooking pot, the box cooker’s internal dimensions, or the volume of the cooking chamber for a vacuum tube oven that will determine the food capacity. If you are boiling water, the capacity is specified in cups. Select the food capacity of the oven according to your cooking requirements.
6. Cooking Area:
Sunny locations and tropical climatic areas are the best places to use these solar ovens. Confirm that your backyard or outdoor cooking area should have a sunny spot to place and use this oven properly. Hence, sunlight plays a crucial role in the selection of solar-related accessories or equipment (including these solar ovens).
If your cooking area has plenty of sunlight, then any solar oven will be your preferred option. In case, if your area gets sunlight for a couple of hours, then prefer a solar oven that quickly reaches high temperatures, such as box ovens, tube ovens, or parabolic ovens.
Besides checking the adequate sunlight, your cooking area shouldn’t be distracted due to the wind. Mostly, the performance of non-insulated solar ovens and those having big reflectors get affected by strong winds. Stake your oven or weigh down heavy objects to protect your oven/cooking area from the wind. Or else, dismantle the oven to prevent the damage caused due to strong winds.
7. Insulation and Efficiency:
The insulation of the oven’s cooking section will determine its efficiency. Usually, the insulation is a pocket of air, or an empty space (for vacuum tube ovens), which is more energy efficient to trap the heat produced from the reflected sunlight and thereby use them where it is required without escaping. This preserved heat helps for quick and efficient cooking if the oven has the proper insulation.
8. Leveling and Adjusting Accessories:
Alike solar panels, solar ovens produce solar energy. So, these ovens have to position at an angle to make them work efficiently. Thus, adjusting accessories and leveling is a key feature that will maximize the solar angle incident on the oven.
Always prefer to purchase the best solar oven option with all essential accessories that won’t let you miss any items to prepare meals properly. Usually, these cookers offer accessories like instruction/user manuals, cleaning items, cooking pans, or cookbooks that provide custom-made recipes for the exact model. We suggest you search and select the right model that comes with the required accessories you need to cook the meals effectively.
10. Reflective Panels:
The solar cookers come with some reflective panels used to reflect and set the solar energy perfectly into the cooking area for cooking food. The big and high-quality panel will make the oven produce more heat quickly and thereby aids in even cooking. Alternately, the collapsible reflector technology in ovens will let you easily pack them in the car/vehicle.
11. Usability & Durability:
The top solar oven models are simple and easy to assemble that can be operated straightforwardly rather than other models. Some options are easy to use, clean, and maintain, while other models allow you to check the food during the cooking process.
A sturdy and durable oven will last longer that let you cook meals (extra) for a prolonged time. Furthermore, this durable model can make you easily survive any wilderness adventures. Alternatively, a solar oven built with durability is a perfect option to use effectively for rugged outdoor applications.
12. Special Features:
Some brands/manufacturer offers special features that include carrying handles, collapsible refractors, dishes, build-in thermometers, cooking pans, and carrying case. You should know what special features you need and then purchase the model that is suitable according to your requirement.
Its basic design consists of a cooking container and multiple reflectors that heat up the cooking container with the help of sunlight. One has to choose the product that comes with a minimum warranty of a 1-year. Different brands offer different warranty periods.
You need to check the warranty along with their online reviews and customer support offered by the manufacturers to ensure that it works for a long time. Thus, you can select the correct option to have peace of mind about its functionality.
Types of Solar Ovens:
Solar panel cookers, box solar ovens, parabolic solar ovens, and vacuum tube solar ovens are the four main types of solar ovens available. As a buyer, you should know about these types in detail for their proper selection.
Solar Panel Cooker –
The reflective panels are used to focus the sunlight on a single spot of the cooker to maximize the heat of the pan or pot. It is made of any reflective material, simple to install, easy to use, and cheaper making them designed to use in various home projects. Based on the design, the temperatures vary from one model to another, ranging from 250° Fahrenheit to 400° Fahrenheit, which is quite sufficient to heat water or cook food.
Parabolic Solar Ovens –
The concentric curved reflectors are used to focus the sunlight on the sides and back of the cookware or cooking pot placed in this oven. Here the holder at the center of the oven elevates the cookware to harvest the solar energy completely for proper and quick cooking of food in the oven.
Box Solar Ovens –
They use an insulated box at its core, where the cooking accessories and reflectors lie. Generally, transparent glass covers the box to offer better insulation over the cooking area. They can easily generate temperatures up to 400° Fahrenheit.
Vacuum Tube Solar Oven –
To make the overall usage of solar energy, this innovative design uses a vacuum tube as a cooking chamber. Here, the tube insulates the inside cooking chamber and thereby retains more heat when cooking food. They are combined with reflector design to make it the best technological unit that reaches temperatures of up to 550°F (or 287°C).
What is the Working Mechanism of the Solar Stove?
They convert the solar energy into solar heat to make these solar stoves work properly, but the working mechanism is not like any solar product converting solar energy into electricity with the help of photovoltaic panels.
For this, the stove must possess the components that focus, absorb, and retain heat effectively. panels, metallic foil reflectors, and other reflective surfaces will aid in directing the sunlight properly to a concentrated point, which is nothing but a black insulated vessel. So, keep these reflectors all around the oven to get faster the food heating process.
Then check the cooking pot, which has to be dark-colored to absorb the heat a bit more quickly and effectively. If having a thin pot then it is easy for the heat to get transferred from inside the food and thereby cook evenly.
Ensure that your model has a well-insulated stove with a glass bowl or cooking bag to trap heat transparently into the cooker. Just imagine how it would be after entering into a car that is placed outdoors on a summer day for several hours.
So, besides trapping heat, the transparent cover will make more sunlight focus on the cooking port by raising the receiving cooking temperature. Hence, it is a must to check that your oven is getting constant solar energy to absorb, reflect, and convert. For this, you have to consistently adjust the angle of the solar stove to grab more solar heat and cook evenly and quickly.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Ovens:
These ovens utilize solar energy from the sun to heat and cook meals. Alike any device, these solar ovens do have their own set of pros and cons.
Here is the list of some advantages/benefits of using solar ovens.
Eco-Friendly – These ovens heat and cook food by using solar energy without using electricity or fossil fuels while cooking. Thus, it conserves scarce resources and preserves the ozone layer. Also, they reduce the carbon footprint of your family.
Safe and Easy to Use – They make cooking easy, as you need to prepare the ingredients and place them in the oven. They cook food a bit slowly, yet don’t have any danger of burning or open flames. Thus, it is an ideal option for families having kids, pets, or busy people. Also, they won’t require consistent monitoring of the food and provides some extra time to do other household activities.
Nutritious and Tasty Meals – They cook food slowly cook that not only retains its flavor, moisture, and tenderness in the food but also preserves more nutritious compared to other regular ovens. Therefore, people cook casseroles, soups, bread, and stews in this oven to make them juicier and yummier.
Economical – Being reliant on solar energy, they save a lot of money on your household power bill. Also, it let you avoid unnecessary expenses like wood, gas, coal, oil, and other fossil fuels. Hence you can save your money and invest them in other things.
Self-Sufficient – Generally, solar ovens are portable that let you take them anywhere for hiking, camping, or other outdoor activities to have some food and water at those places. Irrespective of blackouts and power outages, you can easily cook meals and enjoy eating some food at any place having enough sunlight and heat.
Perfect Option for Poor Communities and Remote Areas – For people living in areas having limited to no access to power or fuel for cooking food, then this solar oven is considered the perfect option to cook their meals. Since it is easy to build, they are great for poor communities.
Apart from having benefits of using these ovens, you can also have some disadvantages at certain times, if not used properly.
Longer Cooking Time – There are some times that you need to cook food or meals quickly in the morning for the lunch box. Then using this solar oven will be a hassle for people having regular work schedules.
Require Adequate Sunlight – To run these solar ovens, we need a spot with ample sunlight to cook meals. But at night time, during storms, overcast days, or winters, we are unable to use this oven in areas having cold climates. Even though they won’t produce heat, yet leaves undercooked food. Also, you need to adjust the device consistently to get the required sun heat.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Usually, the cooking is quite different in the solar oven compared to a conventional oven – not as easy as preheating the oven or turning on the gas. Also, you require to have a specialized cookbook to know about various soar oven recipes and follow them till you get expertise in cooking your meals on your oven and thereby plan accordingly.
Generally, slow or low heat is used to dehydrate/dry out the foods, which is a perfect option for a solar cooker. Open the glass or cover slightly to escape the moisture and thereby keep the food dry. Ensure to check out the reviews and select the best option that is suitable for your needs. Irrespective of the DIY solar oven or commercial-made solar cooker, the cooking process is an excellent option to cook. We suggest you experiment the solar ovens when having small space and outdoor cooking.
Ultimately, it depends completely on the operating temperature of the oven and the overall sunlight it grabs. You have to follow a recipe book designed to use for solar ovens. There are several recipes you can cook in 1 – 2 hours. While some special recipes take a bit more time and have to cook with patience and practice.
Yes, we can cook multiple dishes at a time in the solar cooker, in which you should know the correct cooking times. Initially, we advise you to experiment with some varieties of food to get a clear idea of how much time a particular meal cooks properly to prevent some overcooked and others either cooked or undercooked. To set consistent cooking times, small silicone cups will help to segment the foods. Also, cut large items into smaller pieces, whereas leaving quicker cooking foods in large pieces.
Mostly, solar ovens can easily reach a temperature of 212°F (or 100°C) to boil water, yet the time taken by the water to boil will depend on the water quantity and strength of sunlight focused on the particular spot. However, an oven with better sunlight at its water capacity rating will boil the water within 30 – 45 minutes.
No, we don’t need to worry about stirring food when cooking in this solar cooker. Since the box is open, the oven gets even heat on all sides to have even, and faster cooking of the meals, similar to cooking food in a crockpot. Rather than turning the oven every time to grab more solar energy for its proper cooking.
Based on the particular solar oven’s design, you have to decide the frequency of changing the oven’s direction to grab maximum solar energy for faster cooking. For instance, the parabolic design needs less adjustment compared to the panel cooker. However, it is the best idea to adjust the oven to have maximum sun energy/heat and tilt its angle to use them perfectly at camping.
You can use any cooking pan (including tinfoil) to cook or bake food in this solar oven. In case, if you are new to solar cooking, we suggest options that are manufacturer-recommended custom-made pans that fit perfectly in the oven. The general suggestions will be dark pans and pots with thinner walls.
With the availability of several options out there, it would be a challenging task to find your correct option. All solar cookers won’t have a solid design and high-quality construction, which means some are not durable and reliable. So, you have to check out the models from top brands like All American, Sunflair, SolSource, All Season, or GoSun Sport.
Based on the size of an oven and cooking items, you need to check and set the cooking time. For instance, a diced potato takes at least 1 – 2 hours, a whole baked potato consumes most of the day, and leafy greens can be cooked within an hour or less. Whilst the whole chickens, sausages, chicken breasts, or steaks are cooked for 4 – 6 hours of perfect sunlight. Also, the bread bakes within 1 – 3 hours based on the intensity of the sun.
A solar oven is an ideal option to boil water, in which the best models can set a higher temperature of up to 288°C (or 550°F). It can quickly and easily bake and cook meals to make the oven useful and versatile. So, check this feature to make it useful for not only boiling water but also for excellent cooking of food.
These ovens consist of some components like a glass tube oven, parabolic reflectors, cooking pans, stabilizer stand, cooking tray, and an EVA frame. These components get varied from one manufacturer to another. Hence, it is essential to compare every item before buying a portable solar oven.
The amount or intensity of sunlight determines whether you can heat and cook food effectively or not. If there is no minimum recommended sunlight in the place, then you cannot use this oven, irrespective of the size of the solar oven you have. Simply it depends on the amount of solar power to make it operate well or not.
In case you are cooking basic food items, you may not need to use a full-sized oven in your kitchen. These items can be easily cooked by using something much more eco friendly like a solar oven. You can also take a solar oven to almost any place and use it for cooking without the need of gas.
Because these solar ovens are so handy, we have mentioned the best solar ovens up above in this article. All of them have been mentioned along with their details like features and options. The detailed buying regarding solar ovens takes you through various factors related to these solar ovens. And as per all of these details and factors, here are our favorite solar oven recommendations:
- While it might not be the best looking or the most portable option in this article, the Mr.MapMax Solar Oven is the most reliable option in this article. It offers a 15-year long warranty to the user, which is much higher than all other ovens present here. You also get a decent cooking temperature of up to 550 degree Fahrenheit with it.
- But if you care a lot about the cooking temperature and want a high performance one without spending a lot of money, you should go with the Gosun solar oven. This is the best performing option present in this article, thanks to its maximum temperature rating of 500 degree Fahrenheit. You also get a pretty low weight of just 2 pounds with this portable solar oven.
- Those of you on a budget should go with the Hanies solar oven since it is the cheapest option present in this article. It also happens to be one of the most portable ones thanks to a weight of just 2.4 pounds. As for its cooking performance, it can go up to 375 degree Fahrenheit which is expected from a budget solar oven like this one.
Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments section. You can also post any questions down there if you have any!