4 best solar ovens that let you cook with the sun (2021)
A solar oven (or solar cooker) uses the power of the sun to cook, bake, fry, broil and boil food. These appliances are a great, long-lasting way to cook food without the use of fossil fuels, and they can remove unwanted residual indoor heat that is common when cooking or cooking in the kitchen. For on-the-go or emergency situations, a solar oven is an essential tool for keeping hot food close at hand without bulky fuel cans or mechanical stoves.
The solar oven is nothing new – people have been preparing food using sunlight for ages, and the practice is still very much alive in the 21st century. Modern solar ovens are typically used for slow cooking stews and meats or for cooking, and DIY solar oven designs are festooning the internet.
If DIY isn’t your thing, we’ve handpicked the best ready-to-go solar ovens on the market.
Best outdoor solar ovens
When choosing the best solar ovens, we took into account features such as size and weight, ease of use, durability, portability, cost, and customer reviews. Based on these factors, we recommend the following products for solar cooking:
|Best solar ovens||Our reward||Buy now|
|Haines 2.0 SunUp solar cooker
and Dutch oven kit
|Best overall||Check the price|
|Sunflair luxury portable solar oven||Better portability||Check the price|
|Sun Oven All American Sun Oven||Best heavy-duty oven||Check the price|
|SolCook All Season Cooker SolCook||Best under $ 100||Check the price|
Best Overall: Haines 2.0 SunUp Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit
This top-notch solar oven kit is up to whatever cooking task you throw at it. It can cook at 375 degrees F thanks to its adjustable panels, which allow you to get maximum sun exposure and heat transfer. The Haines 2.0 SunUp will bring one liter of water to a boil in about 40 minutes and is the perfect choice for stews and slow cooking. Extremely portable and durable, this solar cooker is perfect for a wide range of applications, from camping and emergency preparedness to barbecuing on hot summer days.
Maximum temperature: 375 ° F
Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars with over 125 Amazon ratings
Why buy: The Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker offers enhanced heat control and sun absorption in a durable, portable unit. From free garden roasts to off-grid life and emergencies, the Haines 2.0 deserves its place at the top of our list.
Best portability: Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Deluxe
Sunflair’s excellent portable solar oven is packed with features, useful tools, intuitive functions and portability. In good weather, this versatile oven can bake everything from pizza to cookies, and comes with everything you need to cook:
- Two thermally conductive cooking plates
- Two cooking / dehydration racks
- An enamel jar
- Two silicone jars
- Transport bag
Weighing just over a pound and folding to the size of a seat cushion, the Sunflair portable solar oven is ready for any adventure (or mishap). The cooking grates measure 16 inches by 10 inches, which is more than enough for a Dutch oven. In addition, Sunflair donates a portion of its sales to provide safe, clean and environmentally friendly cooking solutions around the world.
Maximum temperature: 285 ° F
Customer Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars with over 130 Amazon ratings
Why buy: The Sunflair portable oven is everything you could ask for in a compact and portable solar unit. With the complete kit, you can cook right out of the box and ensure you get the most out of your solar oven, wherever life takes you. From backyards to Serengetti, the Sunflair portable solar oven makes gastronomic roaming more accessible than ever.
Best Heavy Duty Oven: Sun Oven All American Sun Oven
If base camp cooking is your thing, look no further than the All American Sun Oven. This spacious oven features a 14 x 14 inch cooking area with 7 inches of headroom – enough room for a standard Dutch oven. Robust, highly polished mirrors produce optimum reflection of the sun. The included thermometer, spill-proof leveler, leveling foot, and rock-solid base complete this oven as a base camp solar cooker champion. However, those features come at the expense of portability – it weighs 23 pounds and measures 24 x 15.5 x 20.5 inches, so you might want to think twice before you pack it up.
Maximum temperature: 400 ° F
Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars with nearly 150 Amazon ratings
Why buy: Not everyone needs or wants a portable solar oven. If you don’t need solar cooking on the go, the All American Solar Oven is by far the proven favorite. Spacious cooking space, excellent thermals, and useful features make this the perfect solar oven for backyard stationary cooking or base camp expeditions.
Best under $ 100: SolCook All-Season Solar Cooker
Spacious. Effective. Affordable. What not to like? The SolCook All Season Solar Cooker features an impressive 17 x 17 inch cooking surface, large enough to hold a whole turkey. And with a maximum temperature of 400 degrees F, you can roast this turkey too! Hinged panels and a brilliant aiming system allow you to capture optimal sunshine at any time of the day. We would have liked to see a thermometer and better hotplates, however.
Maximum temperature: 400 ° F
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with 220 Amazon ratings
Why buy: It does not come with the bells and whistles of the more expensive models and is not as portable as the competition. But apples to apples, the SolCook All Season Solar Cooker performs as well, if not better, than many more expensive solar cookers. For beginners or veterans of solar energy, this cooker is a solid and economical machine.
Why buy a solar oven?
Anyone who cooks indoors on a scorching day knows that a hot meal usually means a warm house. With the rise in temperatures (especially in the West), thousands of people are discovering the benefits of cooking outdoors with solar energy, forgoing the sauna conditions of cooking indoors. Solar cooking is a non-polluting and fun way to explore the latent potential of photons, and it uses a completely free source of fuel.
For emergencies and self-reliance, a solar oven or stove is hard to beat for obvious reasons. For hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, and travel, a solar oven is a wonderful cooking companion, allowing you to forgo heavy and expensive fuels and avoid equipment breakdowns.
How to choose the best solar oven
Choosing the best solar oven starts with your heating needs. There are three main types of solar ovens: box, panel and parabolic ovens. Each cooks at different temperatures and has its own advantages and disadvantages:
|Type of solar oven||Characteristics|
|Cookers||Baked between 194-392 ° F
Folding panels reflect light in an oven box
Can accommodate multiple pots and shelves
Most commonly used solar cooker
|Panel cookers||Cooking temperatures around 300 ° F
Incorporates elements of box and parabolic cookers
Easy to produce and relatively inexpensive
|Parabolic cookers||Baked at temperatures over 400 ° F
Uses a bowl-shaped reflector to focus the light directly on the food
Higher cooking temperatures allow frying and broiling
More complicated and more expensive
There are no parabolic stoves on our list due to their learning curve and steep price. The preferred option for higher temperature cooking and larger capacity is usually a boxed cooker, but those who need portability should look to panel cookers.
Generally speaking, panel cookers will be cheaper and lighter than box cookers. For stationary or base camp cooking, a boxed cooker is a solid choice, while hikers and travelers should pay attention to panel cookers.
FAQ: Solar ovens
What is a solar oven?
A solar oven uses reflected sunlight to cook, cook and reheat food.
Do solar ovens really work?
Solar ovens work exceptionally well. With maximum temperatures of 285 to over 550 degrees F, most foods that can be prepared in a conventional oven can be prepared in a solar oven, albeit a bit slower.
What is the difference between a solar oven and a solar cooker?
Both use the same concepts of reflection but differ in the way heat is retained. A solar oven uses an insulated box to retain heat, while a solar cooker heats food directly. Concretely, this means that a solar oven will retain heat better and more regularly than a solar cooker, and generally reaches higher temperatures.
How to make your own solar oven?
A simple yet effective solar oven can be created with a cardboard box, aluminum foil, duct tape, cling film, black construction paper, and a few simple tools. You can learn how to build your own solar oven here.
Christian Yonkers is a writer, photographer, filmmaker and outdoorsman obsessed with the intersectionality between people and the planet. It partners with brands and organizations with social and environmental impact within them, helping them tell stories that change the world.