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The Best Solar Ovens And Cookers

Instantly cook your food on your camping trips with these portable solar-powered ovens, cookers and grills.

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Robert Laswell
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Cooking food in outdoor areas with combustible non-renewable sources is not only environmentally unhealthy but is also dangerous. Solar-powered ovens are great problem solvers in this regard. These ovens are becoming more and more popular among a wide range of campers due to the fact that they can instantly cook food without the need for conventional gas and power sources.

There is a diverse variety of products in the market under the solar ovens category. All these devices operate in different modes due to their technical features. Finding the right hardware can be tricky, especially if you are not familiar with the market standards. We have developed this review and buying guide to help you find the best solar oven for your next outdoor adventure.

Editor’s Picks

Let’s take a look at the three best solar ovens in their respective categories.

GOSUN Solar Oven Portable Stove
Best Overall
GOSUN Solar Oven Portable Stove

GOSUN solar oven is the best product on our list as it packs all the necessary features that you would expect from solar cookers. It is fast, reliable, and takes only 20 minutes to cook your essential meals. It is easy to set up and use, which is yet another great feature. Lastly, it offers durability, portability, and energy effectiveness. All these features are rarely found in a single product in this segment, making it a highly valuable purchase for camping trips.

Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven
Best Price
Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven

Sunflair offers its solar oven at a very affordable price with all the essential features for high-quality solar cooking. It has a unique design; a foldable enclave of aluminum foil to cook your meals at high temperatures. What’s great about this product is its complete package, including one solar oven thermometer, one trivet, one collapsible silicone pot, and a handy stuff bag. It is a perfect replacement for a conventional oven in an outdoor setting.

GOSUN Fusion Solar Oven Hybrid Electric Grill
Best Hybrid
GOSUN Fusion Solar Oven Hybrid Electric Grill

Hybrid solar cookers are not very common in the market. Finding the right one is extremely difficult. GOSUN has answered the market’s demand by manufacturing a high-quality hybrid portable solar oven. It is fast, reliable, energy-efficient, and highly durable. You are not limited to direct sun rays for operating this oven, and rather you can utilize it during the night with on-grid electricity as well.

How Does A Solar Oven Work?

If you’ve landed here and are intrigued but sceptical about these so-called ‘solar ovens’, we don’t blame you. The concept is pretty… out-of-the-box, to say the least. However, we really recommend you stick around. Solar ovens are not only real, they really work. Based on a staggeringly simple concept, these solar ovens are lightweight, portable, durable and effective, allowing you to cook on the go, anytime, anywhere, just as you might at home. They’re especially useful in areas where open flames are banned or warned against, such as on beaches and in national parks.

But just how exactly do they work? If, like us, solar ovens are something you need to know more about before you can truly believe in , then we’re here to teach you about their design and functionality. In actuality, the design of solar ovens is super simple. You might think that they have solar panels and electric wiring built in, but that’s not the case. In fact, they simply utilise the natural heat of the sun, magnifying it to a maximum temperature of about 550 degrees Fahrenheit (or 280 Celsius). That’s hotter than you’d normally ever have to set your oven at home, meaning you can cook anything you might at home, on the go.

Generally conforming to the same design, solar ovens are comprised of a stainless steel and silicon, vacuum sealed cooking tube. This tube, suspended in the middle of the foldable oven, houses trays on which you place whatever food it is you’re looking to cook (or the water you want to boil for hot drinks and dried foods). Below and behind this cooking tube are parabolic reflective surfaces of foil and/or aluminium. Curved to maximise the angle at which the sun’s rays bounce off them, they magnify and intensify the heat of the sun, directing it onto the vacuum-sealed cooking tray. Have you ever used a magnifying glass to melt or burn something, or seen it done in movies? That’s how solar ovens work. They simply take the innate heat energy of sunlight and condense it onto one point (the cooking tube) until the interior of that tube reaches temperatures at which you can ostensibly cook anything.

Some of the cheaper solar oven models are instead designed as foil-lined bags, into which you place a crockpot, but they essentially function the same as the more up-market models. Some solar ovens come with additional features, such as thermometers, cleaning brushes and kits, even electric compatibility, so that you can plug in the oven to your car or battery for use at night. All are foldable, either into small bags or durable holdalls, and all are designed to be lightweight enough to take on camping and hiking trips.

Pros and Cons of Solar Ovens

We think there’s son much to love about solar ovens that whatever negatives there may be are far outweighed by the positives. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep you as informed as possible so that you can make the right decision as a buyer. Thus, let’s take a quick look at the fundamental pros and cons associated with solar ovens.

Pros:

  1. Cook anywhere, anytime. One of the biggest drawbacks of camping is that cooking can be difficult, if not impossible. In areas where naked flames are banned or discouraged, you can find yourself reduced to dried biscuits and cans of cold food: not ideal, especially when you need to keep your strength up for tomorrow’s gruelling hike, or you were hoping this trip might be a romantic getaway for you and your partner(s). With a solar oven, this problem is immediately solved.
  2. Lightweight. Whilst a ‘solar oven’ sounds like something you really don’t want to be lugging about with you on a camping or hiking trip, these units actually weigh as little as 2lbs, making them the ideal companion, regardless of where you’re going, or how long you’re going for.
  3. Versatile. Whilst the cooking compartment doesn’t differ, the functions it can perform vary widely. You can bake, roast, fry, grill, steam or even boil water, meaning that whether you’re steaming a nice bit of freshly-caught fish with some lemon and parsley, baking bread, or grilling hotdogs, you can do it all with the one portable solar oven.
  4. Efficient. If you need extra proof that a solar oven is worth the investment, you should know that not only do they reach extreme cooking temperatures, they also cook fast, cooking most meals in just 20-30 minutes. Just because they’re of a simple design doesn’t mean that they aren’t as efficient as home ovens.
  5. Green and eco-friendly. Instead of lugging an expensive and heavy portable gas cooker with you, which guzzles fossil fuels and emits deadly and destructive carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, solar ovens are entirely green, carbon-free, and eco-friendly.

Cons:

  1. Sunlight dependent. Whilst the technology and innovative design behind these solar cookers are quite something, there is one major innate flaw: they require direct consistent sunlight to work. If you’re planning a camping trip in a low-light area, or the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse and the sun disappears behind clouds, your solar oven will effectively be rendered unusable for as long as the sun is hidden.
  2. Expensive. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Even the cheapest versions of solar ovens (the foil-lined bags we talked about) are in the range of about $100. And that’s not to mention the more impressive vacuum-tube models, which can hit sky-high prices of nearly $500.
  3. Messy. I mean, this is kind of par-for-the-course with camping, but unlike a conventional oven (into which you’d place trays which you can later clean), solar ovens do require cleaning between each use, since their tubes essentially are both oven and tray.
  4. Varying durability. Manufacturers of solar ovens strive to make them as lightweight and as durable as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes this means that they cheap out on materials in order to do so. Whilst absolutely not the case for all solar ovens (many are built of highly durable yet lightweight materials), this can affect the longevity of some brands’ products. Be sure to check customer reviews before buying.

The Best Solar Ovens Reviewed

The Best Solar Ovens And Cookers In 2021

Following are the reviews of the top solar-powered ovens currently available in the market. Take a look and find out which one is the right camping companion for you.

#1 GOSUN Solar Oven Portable Stove

  • Brand: GOSUN
  • Ultra portable
  • Fast and reliable
  • Using only the sun
GOSUN Solar Oven Portable Stove

Portability is one of the key features that any product can offer, but its drawback in most solar ovens is that the product itself is not very durable. This is because most manufacturers use fragile materials to avail of this feature. This is not the case with GOSUN’s portable solar oven. All of its components are made with stainless steel, which is robust and lightweight, making the oven weigh only 2 pounds.

It is a highly durable product while being extremely effective and efficient. It can reach up to a temperature of 550-degrees Fahrenheit if exposed to direct sunlight and, thus, cooks your food in only 20 minutes. This is achieved because this oven has a unique patented design to capture lots of radiation from sunlight. What has made this product the top one on our list is that it is a complete package. It has the right size, weight, efficiency, and durability, which is uncommon in most ovens in this category.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Fast and Reliable
  • Unique Design
  • Stainless Steel Construction

Cons:

  • No Warranty

#2 KKTECT Solar Camping Grill

  • Brand: KKTECT
  • Comprehensive functions
  • Portable & Bigger capacity
  • Advanced Faster speed
  • Health & Environmental
KKTECT Solar Camping Grill

KKTECT solar oven is a great camping product for cooking quick meals, including eggs, rice, bread, and potatoes. Whether you boil these foods or bake them, this solar oven is an all-in-one product for you. Included in the package is a portable aluminum alloy suitcase that weighs 4.7 kg and a vacuum tube with a 360-degree heating capacity. When exposed to strong sun rays, it can cook your food in just 15-30 minutes. KKTECT offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your product.

Pros:

  • Slow Cooking Time
  • Energy Efficient
  • Aluminum Suitcase
  • 30-day Guarantee

Cons:

  • Conventional Design

#3 Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven

  • Brand: Sunflair
  • Cook from sun-up to sundown
  • Cook where open flames are not allowed
  • World’s lightest and easiest solar oven
Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven

Sunflair’s mini solar oven is yet another product on our list with a unique design. It produces solar energy with the help of lightweight and foldable aluminum foil. It acts as a transparent wrapper to the collapsible silicone pot, which is included in the package. This foil gradually builds temperature inside the enclosure, way more than the outside temperature, to let you cook your meals anytime, anywhere. A solar oven thermometer is also included in the package to monitor the temperature for your perfect recipe.

Pros:

  • Unique Design
  • Complete Package
  • Larger Capacity
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Slow Cooking Time

#4 GOSUN Fusion Solar Oven Hybrid Electric Grill

  • Brand: GOSUN
  • Solar/electric hybrid
  • Cook at night
  • Portable
GOSUN Fusion Solar Oven Hybrid Electric Grill

There isn’t a single solar cooker on our list that offers hybrid power capabilities. This feature increases the usage capabilities of a portable oven as you can use it outdoors and indoors through conventional means. This American Sun Oven Cookware is a ready-to-go survival gear capable of cooking your meals at high temperatures. When it comes to the durability of this product, it is in accordance with GOSUN’s quality standards. It is made of lightweight stainless steel; therefore, you will not replace it anytime soon.

Pros:

  • Highly Durable
  • Hybrid Power Sources
  • Energy Efficient
  • Lightweight
  • Large Capacity

Cons:

  • Expensive

#5 GOSUN Solar Ovens Sun Cookers

  • Brand: GOSUN
  • Portable solar stove
  • Cool to touch
  • Easy and delicious
  • Fast and reliable
GOSUN Solar Ovens Sun Cookers

Here’s yet another high-quality GOSUN solar oven on our list. It is a mid-range product built for those who want more from their ovens and willing to spend more money. It has a unique design with foldable parabolic reflectors to protect the cooking tube from breakdown and to sustain a high-temperature range. It offers safe consumption and can be used by anyone with limited knowledge and experience of solar cookers.

All components of this solar oven are protected with stainless steel, which is the market standard to increase durability. It is just the right product for cooking and serving yourself a tasty treat in the middle of nowhere.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Highly Durable
  • Energy Efficient
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Expensive

#6 KECOP Solar Oven Sun Cooker

  • Brand: KECOP
  • Unique folding design & easy set up
  • Fast and reliable
  • Healthy & low carbon
  • Made of 304 food grade stainless steel and vacuum tube material
KECOP Solar Oven Sun Cooker

KECOP solar oven is a mid-range product that is built with non-toxic and durable stainless steel. This material is safe and highly compatible with high-temperature cooking. The vacuum tube can bake, steam, and roast your meals within 30 minutes. However, to achieve the full operational capacity of this oven at 550°F, you need to expose the aluminum foil to direct sunlight. This oven has a unique design that is integral to its performance as well as user experience. Anyone can easily set it up and use it without any difficulty. Unlike other ovens, this one is safe for kids. This is because the cooking chamber is entirely insulated to prevent the outer surface from heating up.

Pros:

  • Highly Durable
  • Energy Efficient
  • Unique Design
  • Easy To Use
  • Safe and Reliable

Cons:

  • Expensive

#7 Gosheng Portable Solar Oven 3.5lb

  • Brand: Gosheng
  • Fast And Effective
  • Low carbon & safety
  • High Capacity & Portable
  • Easy to use
Gosheng Portable Solar Oven 3.5lb

Gosheng solar oven is yet another product with a unique and simple design. This simplicity makes it a high-performing oven in intense conditions. It can instantly reach a temperature of 400°F in direct sunlight, allowing you to try a wide range of recipes in just 20 minutes. It is safe, reliable, and easy to use. This oven is designed to cook meals for 3-5 people; therefore, its weight and size are much more than other products on this list. It weighs 29lb which is the only drawback of this product. It is heavyweight and difficult to carry.

Pros:

  • Unique Design
  • Large Capacity
  • Safe and Reliable

Cons:

  • Heavyweight

#8 Zoomarlous Oven Solar Oven

  • Brand: Zoomarlous
  • Portable solar oven
  • Easy to use
  • Portable and safe
Zoomarlous Oven Solar Oven

Zoomarlous has manufactured a lightweight product that is perfectly built for solar chefs. This solar stove can reach a temperature of 550°F, which is the market standard in most products. This temperature can only be achieved at optimum solar power; therefore, you’ll find difficulty in operating it during the late afternoon. The cooking tube provides 360° heating. Thus, you don’t have to worry about the quality of the meals. There is no thermometer included in this package; therefore, you have to manually monitor the temperature yourself.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Safe and Reliable
  • Easy to Use
  • Energy Efficient

Cons:

  • Low Capacity

#9 Sunflair Portable Solar Ovens

  • Brand: Sunflair
  • The most versatile solar oven on the market
  • No assembly required.
  • Easy to use
  • Oven weighs only 1 lb, 2 oz!
Sunflair Portable Solar Ovens

The last product on our list is yet another Sunflair oven. This one is a mid-range product that is designed to serve a group of 3 to 5 people. What’s included in the package is 1 thermometer to monitor inside temperature, 2 trays for cooking multiple recipes, 2 baking trays, 1 enamelware pot, 2 silicone pots, and a handy carrying bag for easy portability. The Sunflair solar oven weighs just 1lb which is a remarkable feature. However, it does affect this product’s energy performance, which is not a great sign for any solar-powered oven.

Pros:

  • Safe and Reliable
  • Complete Package
  • Easy to Use
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Less Efficient

Buyer’s Guide

The product category of solar-powered ovens is immensely diverse because these ovens don’t have similar features. Some are large and powerful and are used for cooking a wide range of foods. Others are small and portable, with only a few cooking options. Let’s discuss a few key features that you should look at while buying a solar oven.

Weight and Size

The weight and size of a solar cooker are integral to its operational capabilities. You can look at the size of a solar oven and identify the range of recipes that you can try on this device. Also, weight and size are going to affect the portability of your product, therefore choose accordingly.

Capacity

Solar ovens are generally used for cooking essential meals, but some products can do so much more. The difference in the cooking capacity of these ovens is due to the power variations for temperature buildup. The power capacity itself depends on the exposure to sunlight.

Price

Price is a great indicator of the quality of any product, and solar ovens are no exception. Expensive ovens are mostly more durable and energy-efficient. However, this is not always the case, and you should examine other features of the product after you identify its price. Only then can you know if the product justifies its price tag.

Durability

In order to make the oven lightweight, its durability might be compromised. High-end manufacturers make sure that this is not the case with their products. Stainless steel is a good material that is durable and lightweight. It is one of the most commonly used materials in this category. Therefore, you can trust the durability of your solar oven if it is made of said materials.

Warranty

Warranty is not common in most of the products on our list. This is because the overall category of solar-powered ovens is still new and is in the development phase. Most manufacturers are still looking for improvements before they can offer you a warranty with their ovens.

Power Source

Most ovens on our list are solar-powered as they are safe and reliable alternatives for conventional cooking methods. However, as the technology is relatively new, the demand for hybrid ovens is still huge. This is because, apart from solar cooking, a hybrid oven can let you cook at night. Also, it will offer you a better temperature range so you can get your favorite meals cooked at more heat.

Final Verdict

GOSUN solar oven is simply the best value provider in the category of solar-powered ovens. It is offered at an affordable price with all the essential specs and features for a great outdoor cooking experience. It is lightweight and small in size, which are great features for any portable product. When it comes to user experience, it is easy to set up and use. Almost anyone can operate this oven without the fear of any injury.

It is made with stainless steel, which is the most durable and reliable material for the protection of a solar oven. It also sustains a higher temperature for better cooking. This solar oven is capable of reaching 550-degrees Fahrenheit in direct sunlight. You will be able to cook your meals in just 20 minutes. This product is a great purchase as you can get a great value at a great price without the need for taking unnecessary risks.

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FAQs

What are the advantages of using solar ovens?

Conventional methods of cooking involve the combustion of oxygen which is an unhealthy practice. Also, it can be dangerous if you are camping in a dense jungle. Solar ovens cook food in a green and healthy manner. Also, they’re much more convenient than conventional methods of cooking. That’s why they are great outdoor products.

What foods can be cooked in solar ovens?

A solar oven can cook any food depending on its heating capacity. Not all ovens have the same strength and operational capacity; therefore, the foods will vary accordingly. A low-powered solar oven can cook foods that require less heat, such as boiling eggs. A more powerful oven can cook even steak.

Can you build your own DIY Solar Oven?

Yes, you can build your own DIY solar oven, but it may not be as effective and safe as the ones that you can buy from the market. This is because solar-powered ovens are compact devices that have been built by professional manufacturers who have years of experience. It’s therefore preferable to buy a solar oven rather than building your own DIY solar oven.

What are the limitations of solar ovens?

The technology of solar-powered ovens is still in the development phase. These devices are far from perfect. This is due to the fact that they are still not as effective and efficient as their conventional counterparts. These ovens are slow and less powerful. They’ll take longer to cook a meal for you. Also, you’ll not have a wide range of choices for meals at your disposal.

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Author Bio

Robert Laswell

Robert is a renewable energy and sustainability specialist with 10+ years of experience in the solar and renewable energy space.

With experience in different organizations in the industry, he operates semprius as a passion project promoting sustainable renewable energy ideas and products.

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