Joining the ranks of solar-powered technology are solar ovens. They’re called many names – solar oven, solar cooker, solar furnace – yet they all do the same thing. They use the heat generated from solar energy for cooking.
Solar ovens are excellent alternatives for home use, providing cost-efficiency and clean energy. They’re also great for use outdoors or for off-the-grid living as most solar oven models are designed to be portable.
What to Consider When Buying Solar Ovens
There is no definite rule to picking the type, make, and features of your solar oven. Ultimately, the features you should look out to depend on how you plan on using your solar oven.
- Having an adequate temperature range is the most important feature to look out for in a solar oven. You wouldn’t want an oven that doesn’t properly cook your dishes, would you?
- Our recommendation is to go for a solar oven with a maximum temperature of at least 250°F or 121°C. We picked this value because it is what is generally required to properly complete slow-cooked recipes.
- If you plan to perform various types of cooking using your solar oven, opt for a model with a higher maximum temperature range of 300°F-400°F.
Portability and Capacity
- We’ve combined these two features into one consideration because they often go hand in hand. Generally, more portable solar ovens have a lesser capacity, and the same is true the other way around.
- Your solar oven’s capacity really depends on what you intend to use it for, so you must establish that before purchasing.
- If you want a portable solar oven to use when you’re out camping, we recommend picking lightweight ones.
Solar Oven Type
- There are four general solar ovens: boxed, parabolic, solar panel, and evacuated tube.
- Boxed solar ovens are the most widely used and come in a box-shaped system, much like a traditional oven. They’re also the most versatile type when it comes to capacity as they come in a range of sizes. Boxed solar ovens are ideal for baked meals or slow-cooked meals as they can be safely left alone while cooking.
- Parabolic ovens collect heat out of their rounded walls. This heat is then directed to the base, where you place the food to be cooked. This design of parabolic ovens is meant to create high concentrations of heat, so food cooks faster. Parabolic ovens are great for food that requires quick cooking in extreme amounts of heat. The only disadvantage to parabolic ovens is that their function is greatly affected by sunlight exposure. This means they need to be turned to adapt to the sunlight direction to achieve the best functionality.
- Solar panel ovens are essentially a combination of the parabolic and boxed oven designs. They are made of panels that collect and trap the sunlight, which is later directed to a box-type enclosure. This closure is where meals are held for cooking. Solar panel ovens are great for various cooking types, with their only disadvantage being their limited maximum temperature range.
- Evacuated tube solar ovens are the newest type of solar ovens. They are made of large evacuated glass tubes placed between shiny solar reflector panels. This design allows the oven to reach extremely high heat and is ideal for cooking a wide variety of meals.
Solar Oven Frequently Asked Questions
How does a solar oven work?
Most solar-powered devices convert solar energy into electricity for them to work. It’s different from solar ovens because they trap solar particles to generate heat. The heat generated is then used to power up the oven. It’s the same principle as sunlight heating the inside of your car when left parked outside for a long time. The only difference is that solar ovens act as small insulators or enclosures to cook your meals.
What kind of cookware can I use with solar ovens?
Most of the solar ovens available already come with some sort of cooking receptacle to hold and cook your food. Some manufacturers also sell these separately. It’s always ideal to use the cookware specifically made for the brand to ensure you get the best cooking results.
If your solar oven doesn’t already come with cookware, you can still use standard pots and pans. The best type to use is those that are made of thin and dark material with a lid. You also want to avoid polished pots because they tend to reflect light away from the pot, effectively taking heat away.
What types of food can I cook in a solar oven?
The type of food you can cook in a solar oven all depends on your solar oven’s temperature range. This is also why the temperature range is the top solar oven feature we emphasized on this list. To determine what you can and can’t cook in your solar oven, be familiar with the ideal cooking temperatures.
Boiling water for your hot drinks, for example, requires at least 212⁰F. Fresh meat requires at least 160°F, so it’s safe to eat, while poultry requires a slightly higher temperature at 165°F. If you love seafood, note that fish and shellfish require at least 145°F before it’s considered safe to eat.
Solar Oven Reviews
1. Sun Oven Portable Solar Oven
Sun Oven is an American designer and manufacturer of solar ovens and related accessories for over 31 years. The Sun Oven All American Package is our top pick for the best solar ovens, and we’ll show you why below.
The Sun Oven is a boxed-style solar oven with a relatively spacious capacity of 19″ x 19″ and an 11-inch depth. Its temperature range reaches up to 360 to 400°F, which means you can pretty much cook anything that fits in it.
Versatility in use is the most attractive feature of the Sun Oven. Besides cooking and baking, you can also use the Sun Oven and its accompanying multilevel rack to dehydrate food. It’s a must-have feature if you want to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet while living your life off the grid or on-the-go. What’s more, the package comes with a three-layer dehydrating rack. This adds to its already generous capacity and allows you to dry up to three layers of your favorite food.
The Sun Oven is built of extremely durable, high-quality material. The reflectors are built using reflective anodized aluminum, which never oxidizes or rusts. It’s also super easy to clean and maintain. The Sun Oven is also extremely portable and can be used both while traveling or at home. The reflectors are designed to be easily set up or taken down and packed in under a minute.
Another thing we love about the Sun Oven is its excellent built-in features. It has an integrated, self-contained leveling leg, which you can adjust into nine different angled positions. This allows you to adjust your oven positioning for maximum solar absorption. It also has a built-in thermometer so you can see your oven’s temperature at a glance.
Being a complete set is another great feature of this Sun Oven package. It has everything you need to start your solar oven cooking experience. As mentioned above, it comes with a dehydrating rack, which can also double as a baking rack. That’s enough to make baked goodies for an entire family!
The package also comes with a spill-proof levator that ensures no spilling and wastage of food. It does this through a shelf that self-adjusts to ensure your food stays level even as you refocus your solar reflectors. Another great addition to the package is the Multi-Fuel Water Pasteurizing Indicator. This accessory helps indicate when the water has reached pasteurization levels safe for drinking.
It’s hard to fault the Sun Oven solar oven, but it would probably be its 21lbs weight if we must. Now, this may or may not be heavy for some. If you’re planning to get a solar oven that’s easily carried during your walking or biking adventures, this may not be best.
Otherwise, the sun oven is lightweight enough to transport to and from the car at only 21 lbs if used for camping trips. It also folds up like a suitcase and has a convenient carry handle, so it’s easy to move around.
In summary, the Sun Oven All American is an excellent choice for a complete solar oven and dehydrating set.
- Spacious capacity of 19″ x 19″ with 11″ depth.
- Versatile use – oven and dehydrating set in one.
- Durable, high-quality material – reflective anodized aluminum that is rust and oxidation-free.
- Relatively portable and low-maintenance feature – packs up like a suitcase with carrying handle.
- Excellent built-in features – thermometer and leveling leg.
- Complete set – comes with all you need for solar cooking and dehydrating.
- A relatively heavyweight of 21 lbs is not suitable for backpacking or biking.
2. GOSUN Fusion Solar Oven
GoSun is a US-based company focusing on products within the solar and renewable energy niche. Their current product range includes solar ovens, solar coolers, solar power banks, and related accessories.
The GoSun Fusion Solar Oven is an evacuated tube-type solar oven with a 2.8 kg cooking tray capacity. Its temperature range is quite astonishing, reaching a maximum temperature of 550 ºF. It can be used for baking, steaming, and cooking, especially meals that require extremely high heat.
The undeniably standout feature of the GoSun Fusion is its hybrid design. It’s believed to be the world’s first solar and electric oven in one. This means that you can use solar energy to cook by day and revert to electric power at night.
The electric power source can either be your car, RV, boat, or any other 12-volt power source. This is definitely a great feature not only at night but also during those extremely dark winter days.
Another great feature of the GoSun Fusion is its efficient cooking. It gets hot at least five times quicker than similar products and can cook four meals with each load. That means you can cook for a meal good enough to feed a family or group of 4-6 in one go. The vacuum insulated tube design contributes to this efficiency, maintaining a quick, even cooking level throughout the tube.
Finally, the last feature we love about the GoSun Fusion again points to efficiency. This time in terms of solar energy collection. It’s designed to effectively capture solar energy despite limited exposure, so you don’t have to constantly move it around to cook your food.
In terms of portability, it’s relatively portable in that it weighs 14 lbs. The folding reflectors collapse into a handy portable package with a carry handle for ease of transport.
Price can be considered a drawback for the GoSun Fusion. This brand of solar oven does not come cheap. But the features we’ve just listed for you above may be enough to convince you to invest in this brand of solar oven.
Another possible setback is the food you can cook is limited by its tube design. This is probably not an issue because you wouldn’t necessarily cook large turkeys when out camping anyway.
In other words, if you want a top-of-the-line evacuated tube type solar oven, the GoSun Fusion is your best option.
- Impressive temperature range – reaches a maximum of 550 ºF.
- Hybrid design – works as both a solar and electric-powered oven.
- Efficient cooking – 5x quicker than similar products, quick, even cooking.
- Efficient solar harvesting – no need to move it around.
- Portable and easy to set up and pack.
- Relatively expensive price.
- Cooking options are limited by tube size.
3. SolCook All Season Solar Cooker Camper
SolCook and the All-Season Solar Cooker is the brainchild of American inventor-designer Jim La Joie. It was born out of Jim’s frustration at the lack of alternative safe and sustainable cooking systems for third-world countries. The All-Season has subsequently been sent to various underdeveloped countries and is currently being used in over 137 countries worldwide.
The SolCook All-Season Solar Cooker is a parabolic-type solar oven with a bright yellow exterior. It has a temperature range that reaches up to 350 ºF, making it suitable for a wide range of dishes. Its assembled size is 28″ x 28″ x 24″, and the cooking floor has a 17″ x 12″ capacity. The cooking base is spacious enough to fit a turkey roaster or a standard-sized rectangular or square baking tray.
Although spacious enough to accommodate various cooking and baking needs, it folds compactly to fit your car boot. The folded size is just about half an inch thick, 24″ wide, and 48″ long. It’s definitely an ideal size for fitting into even the narrowest space of your vehicle.
The SolCooker is constructed of durable and rugged material. It is made of a polypropylene flute board that is waterproof and is not susceptible to wear or tear. It’s also food-grade, so it’s definitely safe for all your cooking activities.
The solar panel efficiency of the All-Season cooker is also quite impressive. It comes equipped with a Sunsight, a small device designed to guide you in aligning the solar oven to the sun. The reflector panels are designed to be coordinated and adjustable. This design makes it easy to catch the rays of the sun from early morning through to sunset.
In terms of assembly and ease of use, the package comes with everything you need for setup. It also comes with useful accessories, such as two extra-large and reusable cooking bags and a folding cooking rack.
The last and definitely not the least appealing feature of the SolCooker solar oven is its affordable price. It’s the simplest and most affordable solar oven out there, yet it’s also packed with the most essential features.
It’s hard to find a flaw in the SolCooker, but if there is any possible setback, it’s probably its type. Because it’s a parabolic oven, you would have to constantly move and readjust the reflector panels to achieve optimum sunlight exposure.
Overall, if you want the most affordable solar oven for your basic cooking when outdoors, the SolCooker is the one to beat.
- Spacious capacity and good temperature range – 17 x 12″ and up to 350 ºF.
- Portable and compact – folds down to 0.5 inches.
- Durable, rugged, waterproof, and food-grade material.
- Efficient solar reflectors – adjustable to catch the best sunlight.
- Easy to assemble with useful add-on accessories.
- Affordable – cheapest in the market.
- Parabolic design means you have to constantly move it around.
4. KECOP Solar Oven Sun Cooker
KECOP is an Amazon retailer of a wide range of home appliances and kitchen equipment. Some of their products include electric barbecue grills, solar ovens, and electric grinders.
The KECOP solar oven is another evacuated tube type solar oven, similar to our premium product above. One advantage it has over the GoSun is its price is significantly cheaper. Another difference is that the KEPOP has a relatively smaller food tank capacity of 55 cm or 1.4 kg. Although smaller, this is enough to feed a group of three or a small family with one child.
Like similar evacuated tube ovens, a great feature of the KECOP solar oven is its high-temperature range. The KECOP reaches a maximum temperature of 550 ºF in full sunlight.
Another impressive feature of the KECOP solar oven is its quick cooking time. The vacuum tube technology allows you to cook a full meal in less than 30 minutes and maintain its warmth after.
The KECOP solar oven is also safe to use around kids. Again, thanks to the solar vacuum tube design, heat is maintained inside while the outer chamber remains cold to touch.
In terms of portability and setup, the KECOP is extremely lightweight for a solar oven, weighing only 1.5 kg. It is also easily foldable with an ergonomic handbag included, so it’s very easy to take along on your road trips.
Besides the ergonomic pack, the KECOP also comes with practical accessories like 10 food-grade tin trays and a pair of anti-scald gloves. The package comes with everything you need for a barbecue on a nice, sunny day out.
If used by larger families or groups, a potential drawback to the KECOP is its capacity, as it only has enough capacity for three people. This means you may need to do a few rounds of cooking to be able to feed the entire group. This is also aggravated by the oven’s tube design, which means you can only cook what fits the tube.
In summary, the KECOP solar oven is a great portable option for a small family or group of three.
- High-temperature range – maximum of 550 ºF.
- Quick cooking time of 30 minutes.
- Safe, insulated tube design.
- Portable and lightweight with practical accessories included.
- The relatively limited capacity of 1.4 kg.
- The type of food cooked is limited by the tube design.
5. Haines 2.0 SunUp Solar Cooker
Haines is an American company named after its founder, Roger Haines, an advocate of solar cooking. He has been designing solar cookers since 2013, and the Heines 2.0 SunUp is one of his most recent creations.
The Haines 2.0 is a parabolic type solar oven with a temperature range of 210-325 ºF. It comes with a stainless-steel Dutch oven pot and tempered glass lid. The combination of these two features makes it ideal for use in making slow-cooked recipes.
Ease of assembly is another appealing feature of the Haines 2.0. It snaps together quickly for quick and easy setup, and it similarly folds away easily for compact storage. It’s extremely lightweight without the Dutch oven at less than 1 kg, making it the ideal oven to bring when hiking or backpacking.
Durability is also a great feature of the Haines 2.0. The reflectors are made of polyester foam bonded to Mylar, which makes it sturdy yet flexible at the same time. This type of material also does not oxidize nor scratch and can withstand spilled boiling water. It’s a solar oven that surely will last you for years to come.
Speaking of reflectors, these are also extremely adjustable, adapting to the sunlight’s angle. The Haines 2.0 reflectors are designed to snap together in a specific way, ensuring efficient solar absorption and even heat distribution.
A downside to the Haines 2.0 is that it has a relatively small cooking space of only 12” x 7”. This is probably fine if you’re cooking on your own, but not enough when cooking for a group. Another thing is that the Dutch oven doesn’t come with handles, which can become a potential safety risk.
All in all, if you want an affordable solar oven specifically for your slow-cooking needs, the Haines 2.0 is worth considering.
- Comes with a Dutch oven pot – ideal for slow cooking.
- Portable and lightweight at less than 1kg.
- Durable and flexible – made of Mylar bonded to polyester.
- Efficient, adjustable reflectors.
- Relatively small cooking space of 12” x 7″.
- The Dutch oven does not come with handles.
6. GOSUN Solar Oven
The GO Solar oven is another evacuated tube oven from the GoSun range. The GO Solar oven has most of the great features we admired with the Fusion, minus the hybrid feature.
A standout feature of the GO compared to the other GoSun solar ovens is its ultra-portable design. The GoSun Go weighs just 2 lbs or just under 1 kg. It also folds compact into a durable EVA hard shell casing. This ultra-portable feature makes it your perfect cooking companion on your solo adventure trips.
Speaking of solo trips, the GO solar oven has an oven capacity of 13.5 oz or 400 ml of food, which is more than enough for a filling meal for one. The working temperature of the GO ranges from 360-550°F, giving you flexibility in terms of foods you can cook in it.
Another feature to love about the GO is that it is extremely efficient in terms of cooking times. Cooking a meal in this super portable oven takes only about 20-30 minutes. It’s the ideal solar oven choice for quick, on-the-go cooking.
Flexibility in the cooking position is also an admirable feature of the GoSun GO. This solar oven comes with stands that you can adjust to be vertical or horizontal. A horizontal setup is great for all your cooking needs. On the other hand, having your GO vertical is extremely useful for boiling water or brewing your favorite hot drink.
Like all evacuated tube ovens, the GO’s tube size and design limit the type of food cooked in it. Depending on how you’ll use it, the small capacity may or may not be a drawback. It’s definitely a plus for solo trips but a definite negative if planning on using it for your family outings.
Long story short, the GoSolar GO is the definite top solar oven choice for a solo adventurer.
- Ultra-portable and lightweight design – weighs only 2 lbs.
- Enough capacity to prepare a full meal for one – 400 ml capacity.
- The efficient cooking time of 20-30 minutes.
- Flexibility in stand positioning – vertical or horizontal.
- Type of food cooked limited by tube design.
- Capacity not suitable for families or groups.
7. Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven
Sunflair is an Amazon retailer of a range of solar oven products. The Mini Portable Solar Oven is Sunflair’s most compact solar oven in their lineup.
This parabolic-type solar oven has a maximum temperature of up to 285ºF in full sunlight. It comes with a zip-up design that helps retain heat by providing a safe enclosure, adding to the oven’s efficiency.
As its name implies, this Sunflair product’s winning feature is its super lightweight and portable design. The entire kit weighs only 1lb 12oz, and the oven folds super compact to 2x11x13″, or the size of a three-ring binder.
We also love the additions that come with the Sunflair mini oven. It comes with a solar oven thermometer so you can easily monitor how hot your oven gets, and it also has a trivet that doubles as your baking sheet.
Perhaps our favorite inclusion with the Sunflair mini is the collapsible silicone pot that comes with it. This is perfect if you want to limit what you bring on your outdoor trips or have limited car storage. The collapsible design of the pot is absolutely way more space-saving than the usual bulky pots and pans.
A drawback to the Sunflair is that it’s parabolic. You have to constantly move it to maximize exposure to sunlight. Another is its relatively limited cooking capacity, with the cooking space only at 13 x 11 x 2 inches.
All in all, if you want a super lightweight parabolic solar oven, the Sunflair Mini is one to consider.
- Portable and lightweight – weighs only 1lb and folds compact.
- Zip-up design enclosure adds to the oven’s efficiency.
- Functional accessories – trivet and thermometer.
- Comes with a space-saving collapsible silicone pot.
- You have to constantly adjust your position to maximize sunlight exposure.
- Relatively small capacity of 13 x 11 x 2 inches.
8. Sunflair Portable Solar Oven
The Deluxe is Sunflair’s larger, more spacious solar oven version. It measures 19 x 15.5 x 2 inches, spacious enough to cook a meal for 4-8 people.
The Deluxe comes with everything that we love about the Sunflair Mini and more. Besides having a larger capacity, as we said above, the Deluxe also has more inclusions than the Mini. Instead of one, the Deluxe has two of the collapsible silicone pots that we loved with the Mini.
If cooking a three-course meal, that shouldn’t be a problem as the Deluxe also come with an enamel pot. It also comes with a pair of baking trays and a couple of baking or dehydrating racks. Like the Mini, the Deluxe also has a solar oven thermometer and a convenient carry bag.
Another thing to love about the Sunflair Deluxe (as with the Mini) is the quality of construction and materials used. The reflective panels are made of aluminum polyethylene, which is great for maintaining heat.
The solar oven is enclosed using a transparent zip closure, which is very functional. The transparent make allows sunlight to enter the oven, but the zipped closure locks the heat in place. This design feature is responsible for the Deluxe solar oven maintaining temperatures up to 285ºF.
Finally, we love the portability of the Sunflair Deluxe. It folds completely flat, fitting perfectly into the included carry bat. It doesn’t take too much space in the car or in the storage closet. The oven alone is super lightweight weighing 1 lb and remains lightweight even with accessories at a total weight of 3lbs.
In addition to having a relatively low maximum temperature of 285ºF, we would also like to note the Deluxe’s zipper quality. We think the zipper quality could do with more improvement. Although the quality of the existing zipper is okay, we think it may eventually give in after frequent zipping open shut.
Overall, the Sunflair Deluxe is a good option for a portable oven for cooking simple meals for a small group.
- Spacious capacity is enough to cook a meal for 4-8 people.
- Numerous practical accessories – pots, thermometers, racks, and trays.
- Good quality materials and construction for efficient solar absorption.
- Portable and lightweight – 1 lbs oven only, 3 lbs complete set.
- Limited temperature range of 285ºF maximum.
- Not the highest quality zipper material.
9. GOSUN Survival Gear Solar Oven
The next product on our list is another line from the GoSun range. GoSun labels the Sport as a solar oven designed for adventure. It has a 1.1 kg capacity and a maximum temperature range of 550 ºF. The Sport’s capacity makes it a great solar oven for use by a couple.
A unique feature of the Sport is that the Sport is designed to be submersible. This feature makes them a suitable solar oven choice when fishing or simply spending a day at the beach.
Another great feature across the entire GoSun range that we haven’t already mentioned is eliminating the need for constant stirring. This is thanks to the GoSun ovens’ vacuum tube design intended to evenly cook the food quickly without any mixing.
Lastly, the Sport has extremely efficient solar technology, cooking food at a speedy 20 minutes in full sunlight.
Again, a setback with the Sport is the same across the evacuated tube range. The type and amount of food you can cook in it is restricted by the tube size. Another is that despite the entire unit measuring larger than the Fusion, the Sport somehow has only half the capacity. One would think that its capacity is closer to, if not larger, than the Fusion.
In summary, if you’re a couple looking for a solar oven for your adventures, the GoSun Sport is a great consideration.
- Capacity is ideal for use by a couple.
- Evenly cooks and eliminates the need for the constant stirring of food.
- Efficient solar technology – cooks food in 20 minutes.
- Submersible design.
- The type of food to cook is restricted by tube size.
- Smaller capacity than the Fusion despite total dimensions being larger.
A solar oven is not only a cost-efficient cooking tool for use at home. It’s also a great addition to your camping, picnic, barbeque, or adventure gear. Our pick for the best solar oven goes to the Sun Oven Portable Solar Oven.
The capacity is large enough to cook for a group, and the temperature range is wide enough to allow a variety of cooked meals. It’s also portable and easy to set up and loaded with so many excellent practical and functional integrations. It’s the ideal complete package to keep you full during any adventure or activity – whether it’s at home or off the grid.