Even if you don’t believe in climate change and the possibility of near-term human extinction, you can still consider spending some bucks on solar ovens. The reasons are quite obvious – solar-powered ovens are extremely energy efficient and if used properly, they might help you save a good amount of your hard-earned money on electricity bill at the end of the month.
As many as 3.1 million people worldwide are using solar cookers and ovens to prepare their daily meals. It is seen that the use of solar cookers has skyrocketed in the developing countries in the last few years because they are extremely energy efficient and also, they need little water to operate. Solar cookers are helping women and children of the developing countries to improve their living standard without polluting the environment in the process.
Best 7 Solar Cookers
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There are so many varieties of solar cookers available in the market that it makes it really difficult for a person to make the right decision. To help you out, here we have reviewed the top 7 Solar cookers that money can buy –
ETE ETMATE Solar Oven Outdoor Integrated Solar Cooker is extremely lightweight and that means, you can take it with you anywhere you want. Unlike other solar cookers that look kinda ugly and unseemly, ETE ETMATE Solar Oven Outdoor Integrated Solar Cooker has got a stylish, modern and futuristic look. Instructions provided are very simple and straightforward. All you have to do is to place this solar cooker under the sun and it will do its job. However, you should not pre-heat this solar cooker too much. Just open the bag and place food there and it will do the trick.
ETE ETMATE Solar Oven Outdoor Integrated Solar Cooker weighs just 11 pounds and can cook food in under 15 minutes. The temperature inside can go up to 288 degree C when placed directly under the sun for 15 minutes. The tray is easy to clean and is made from food grade stainless steel.
All Season Solar Cooker Camper is extremely easy to assemble. Incorporation of articulating collector panels is a cool idea as it helps speed up the cooking process. As the name of this Solar Cooker suggests, you can use this cooker to make food around the year. You don’t have to pack this Solar Cooker away in the Wintery months because it is powerful enough to generate enough heat even in winter. Easy to fold down, All Season Solar Cooker Camper can ignite your passion for Late Evening cooking.
Extremely durable, you can cook a lot of time at one go with All Season Solar Cooker Camper. Made from corrugated plastic, All Season Solar Cooker Camper is lightweight and extremely versatile.
Made by Sunflair, this portable solar cooking oven is aimed at backpackers or those embracing eco-friendly modes to prepare foods on the move! The oven is truly portable and weighs just 1 pound and 2 ounces. It can be folded neatly to the shape of a car cushion when not in use.
It is a versatile solar oven that can be used by various types of users. No assembly is required as such and you can set it up within a minute. Using this innovative and eco-friendly oven you can prepare food for 4-6 persons at a time. You can prepare a wide range of healthy and yummy dishes using this oven. From baking pizza and cookies to roast dry fruits and herbs- the cooking possibilities are vast. The recipes for slow cookers are ideal for this oven.
This oven, powered by solar energy can be used all over the year- including the winter months. Contrary to the misconception, you can use it on days when the sun is not shining very bright too. While using the oven, you need not worry about safety! The device features the latest closed cell insulation and maximum temperature reached is 285 degrees F, which is lower than stovetops and slow cookers. Since there is no open flame or risk of harmful radiation, this oven can be used at many outdoor places like national parks and beaches.
This Sunflair portable solar oven comes with everything you need to start cooking without hassles or delay. The kit includes 2 heat-conducting or baking trays, 1 solar oven thermometer, 1 enamelware pot, 2 baking racks, and 2 silicone pots. There is a handy carrying bag too. These pots are microwave and dishwasher safe. To top it all, Sunflair offers a 30-day return policy for the product.
This portable solar oven from SunFlair is ideal for those on tight budgets looking for a truly versatile, eco-friendly cooking solution that can be used on the move. With the weight of a pound and 12 ounces, it fits in most backpacks with ease. When folded, it takes up the space occupied by a laptop, precisely. You get a collapsible silicone pot, 1 trivet, and a solar oven thermometer, along with a handy stuff bag.
This one is a versatile oven powered by solar energy and you can set it up within minutes. No assembly is required as such. With it, you can prepare tasty and healthy dishes for almost 3-4 persons without fuss. You can cook a lot of dishes using this solar oven. You can boil eggs without water, reheat a variety of cold foods and prepare yummy recipes that are meant for slow cookers using this oven.
You can use this oven at a lot of places including home terrace and rooftop. It can also be taken out for picnics and places where cooking with open flames is not allowed. In fact, it can be used to cook inside some vehicles, of course with precautions. Owing to its small footprint and small size of included trivet and collapsible silicone pot, it is better suited for individual use than group cooking. You can also use it as a complimentary cooking device to the oven or stove you use at home.
The SunFlair portable solar oven is absolutely safe to use, even for the beginners. The oven temperature can reach up to 285 F. It cooks by simmering which is a safe method of cooking. It also ensures the cooked food is flavorful and tender. You get the best results by pointing the oven towards the sun. The 30-day long return policy makes it a compelling product.
GOSUN Grill is a solar powered grill that takes solar cooking to the next level. Perfect for outdoor cooking in a variety of setups, this is easy to use and the setup is not tedious either. The good thing is it hardly requires any cleanup post cooking. With this solar grill, you can make food for feeding up to 8 persons at one time. So, it can be ideal both for daily use and for hosting small get together at home.
The GoSun grill is a versatile solar cooking device that lets you prepare a multitude of dishes using various cooking methods. You can, for example, grill, bake and steam using it. You can cook meat, fish, all types of vegetables, bake bread and stew soups using this amazing solar grill. The slow cooker recipes can be coked using this device with ease. At 35 pounds, it is not too heavy to move around.
The GoSun grill is way more advanced than most solar-powered cooking ovens and devices you can find in the market. For example, it converts 80% of all sunlight received into usable heat. It works even on the days when it is cloudy or the sun is not much bright. You can also cook on the winter days when the outside temperature is severe. It is also cool to touch and you need not worry about safety issues. The grill also retains heat long after the food is cooked, enabling you to enjoy smoking hot, tasty dishes and eliminating the need to reheat stuff.
The GoSun Grill is offered with a ‘No-Questions-Asked’, 2 years warranty that is reassuring. The cooking tube is composed of borosilicate glass and that is quite robust. There is no need to use any fuel or replace any tank or cartridge.
If you have been looking for a really portable eco-friendly cooking solution, The GoSun Go solar cooker is the right choice. Weighing below 1 kg, this compact yet durable solar cooker is ideal for the avid backpackers and it also comes in handy when your regular cooking device or stove conks off. Setting it up takes little time and packing it off post cooking is also simple.
The GoSun Go is truly portable and versatile solar energy powered cooker that works under multiple daylight conditions. While it works quicker and better on sunny days, you can also use it on cloudy days without much hassle. You can also cook using it on the chilly winter days. It can capture a broad spectrum of radiation. The slow cooker recipes are ideal for this device and cooked dishes taste tender and delicious.
Despite its small footprint, this solar cooker actually cooks faster compared to most of the segment rivals- under suitable conditions. You may be able to cook some dishes in as little as 20 minutes using this solar cooker and it reaches a temperature of 290°C. You need not invest in additional cookware after buying this versatile solar cooker. It comes with plenty of parts required for cooking. You get one durable glass tube oven, EVA frame, 2 parabolic reflectors, silicone cooking pans, stainless steel cooking tray, a stabilizer stand, GoSun Dial, along with User Manual. You can use the included mini-cookbook to prepare yummy meals.
You can also use it to boil liquids and placing the cooker vertically is all you need to do. Once heated, the beverages stay hot and ready for consumption for a long time. You can heat up liquid up to 400 ml. Carrying it is easy as it is lightweight and the EVA foam hardshell case is pretty robust.
The All American Sun Oven is one versatile and user-friendly solar cooking appliance that can be used by various types of users. It can be used regularly if you live in a place with a sunny climate. However, you can also use it as a backup cooking device. It will salvage the situations when the stove conks off or you cope with a long power cut.
The solar oven can be used to cook a wide range of recipes including the likes of cakes, bread, poultry, vegetables, pasta, desserts. It can also be used to defrost and reheat cold foods. This oven can reach a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit on a sunny day, which makes it easy for you to cook dishes fast. Besides, solar power cooked foods are tender and retain moisture better.
You can either opt for slow cooking or fast cooking in it. In the latter method, it barely takes 20 minutes longer than what is required in a typical oven. It is also good for boiling water. The durability of the oven is undeniable. The glossy anodized aluminum reflectors are rust proof and they can last for a long time. The device can be set up and made ready for cooking within a few minutes. The included carry handle makes it ideal for use in various outdoor locations. The weight is 22 pounds.
The All American Sun Oven is a safe device. It has improved wind resistance which makes it ideal for use in backpacking and camping in natural surroundings. There is no risk of fire when you use this device. So, you can safely use it in places where cooking in open flames is prohibited. You also get a handy cookbook which can be used to cook up yummy and healthy dishes.
Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Starter Kit is ideal for those seeking alternatives to regular cooking means. This kit is absolutely portable, making it suitable for use in picnics and backpacking, etc. The kit weighs only 1 pound and 2 ounces. It can be folded down to a seat cushions size, roughly. The build quality is durable and it can be stored easily when not in use.
The total kit contains 2 collapsible silicone pots, 1 solar oven, 1 baking rack, 1 solar oven thermometer, 1 heat conducting tray and a bag for carrying. You can definitely use own cookware with it and dark, thick cookware are the best. The cooking temperature can reach up to 285 F. However, this will vary on the climate condition. The oven cooks by simmering which ensures the cooked dishes are healthy and tender. The pots provided are a dishwasher, microwave safe.
You can use this versatile solar oven to cook a wide range of dishes without much hassle. From pastries to cookies and chicken roast, it lets you cook many popular dishes. Since the oven does not require an open flame, it can be used in many outdoor locations where cooking by fire is not allowed. Apart from cooking, you can also use it to heat up beverages, boil water or defrost frozen items. The oven can cook food faster on scorching sunny days but you can also use it in most days of the year. It will work also on cloudy days and day of winter, albeit at a slower pace.
Those worried about the safety of a cooking oven can buy this device without woes. It is totally safe to use and there is no risk of any shock or fire. The company offers a 30-day guarantee for money back which makes it quite an irresistible option.
Types of Solar Cookers
There are so many variants of solar cookers available in the market that it gets super confusing for a customer to choose one that fits his/her needs and budget. Below are three main types of solar cookers that are available in market –
1. Parabolic Solar Stove
Parabolic Solar Stove looks more like a stove-top than a solar cooker. It uses 5 ft long curved and reflective panels to direct the heat of the sun onto the cooking pot. The process is fairly simple. Parabolic Solar Stove can reach 450 degree fast thanks to its innovative mechanism.
To be honest, setting up a Parabolic Solar Stove is easier said than done. To make it work precisely, you need to be 100% certain that you have selected the right sized reflective panels. If these reflective panels are large, they can generate more heat than what you will actually need and it can burn your food. On the other hand, if reflective panels are too short, the Parabolic Solar Stove will fail to reach the right temperature. So, that means, you will have to be really careful while selecting the size of the reflective panels.
Parabolic Solar Stoves are also vulnerable to wind. You simply can’t use them in windy weather as they run the risk of getting toppled. Parabolic Solar Stoves are ideal for searing meat, grilling, etc.
2. Solar Ovens
To trap the heat of the sunlight, Solar Ovens use an insulated box. Some Solar Oven even comes equipped with a set of reflective panels that helps to channelize the heat of the sun to the insulated box. Solar Oven acts just like a regular oven and it can get super-hot when the sun is burning bright. It can easily reach 350 degrees on a sunny day and this temperature is ideal for preparing casseroles, stews, soups, bread and many other similar items.
3. Solar Panel Cookers
Solar panel cookers are quite popular in the market. These panel cookers either have curved reflective panels or flat solar panels. These panels capture sunlight and the heat that gets produced in the process is used to cook the food. To retain more heat, you should use either a thermal bag or glass bowl.
The biggest advantage of Solar Panel Cooker is that they are available for cheap but to be honest, when it comes to performance, they lag behind other types of solar cookers. To get an optimal result, these Solar Panel Cookers need to be placed in such a place where it gets direct sunlight. On winter days, their performance level drops significantly.
How To Choose The Right Solar Oven?
You just can’t go online and buy a solar oven without even considering the below-mentioned factors –
Are you going to ask your neighbor whenever you want to move the solar cooker around? Well, lucky you if you have such nice neighbors who would not mind offering helping hands in such cases. But for the rest of us, we are living in a world where people get mad whenever we ask them something urgent even gently. So, you need to find a solar cooker that is lightweight so that you can move it around easily and effortlessly.
You would definitely hate the idea of spending a truckload of money on the solar oven. It is your hard-earned money after all. But you should never go for the cheaper models because they are made from low-quality materials and thus, they will not last that long. You need to choose a Solar cooker that justifies its price tag and at the same time don’t put too much pressure on your pocket.
3. Storage Size
The roasting pan must fit the solar over that you are planning to purchase unless you don’t mind spending more money on another kitchen accessories. Moreover, the solar oven should not be too bulky otherwise it will eat up more space.
4. Ease of Use
Would you like to spend hours on a daily basis just to get the temperature of your solar cooker right? It will drive you mad. So, you need to find a solar oven which is easy to use and easy to install. Cooking should be fun and not frustrating. Believe me, there are some amazing solar ovens available in the market; all you have to read the rest of this article.
5. Cooking Accessories
Would you appreciate if the manufacturer of the solar ovens provides some cooking accessories along with the solar oven? Of course, you would do! Cooking accessories like pans or pots that you can place on the Solar cooker can make all the difference. Apart from saving some extra bucks of yours, this will help you start cooking on this brand-new solar cooker without even visiting the nearby shopping mall to get the right accessories.
Of course, we are not expecting the solar cooker to last a lifetime but it should be durable at any cost. Solar ovens don’t come for cheap so, you need to take a close at its materials and other aspects of the solar oven before making the final buying decision.
You need more heat to speed up cooking. Unless you are a genius chef like Gordon Ramsay, you will hate the idea of slow cooking. So, you need to check out the heat potential of the solar oven before anything else.
You don’t have hours to spend on the kitchen making food for your family. Yes, we all lead a busy life and that means, you need to find a solar oven where you can cook multiple items at once. You also need to find out how much food can be cooked at a given time.
Common Accessories for Solar Ovens
Solar ovens need some unique set of cooking accessories. So, check out the list of accessories that you might have to purchase if you have decided to purchase Solar Ovens –
1. Interior Thermometer
If you are a beginner, the presence of a thermometer in the cooking chamber might come handy. But interior thermometer is not indispensable. Once you get the hang on solar cooking, you will be able to cook food without even looking at the temperature.
2. Dehydrating Racks
Even if you are not too much into food dehydration, dehydrating racks can come handy in some cases. Just make sure that the dehydrating racks can be stacked on top of each other as this will help you save space. Also, these dehydrating racks need to be sturdy at any cost. Those of you who are into food preservation, these dehydrating racks can come really handy.
3. Carrying Case
Moving a solar cooker is not that easy. No matter how muscular you are, moving this around every now and then can drain you out sooner or later. Therefore, it would be nice to have a carrying case so that the solar cooker and the associated cooking gears and accessories can be stored in a single place. This will also help you keep your kitchen neat and clean.
4. Food Probe Thermometer
You simply can’t make a mouthwatering meat dish without using a food thermometer. It is the food thermometer that allows you to check the inner temperature of the meat. However, it is strange that none of the solar cookers that you will come across in the market don’t include this in their kit. But this is a must-have accessory. So, what is the solution then? Well, you easily procure a food thermometer from the market for just $15.
How Are Solar Ovens Useful?
Solar ovens have proven to be extremely useful especially among low-income families. In the developing world and also in the developed world, the use of solar ovens is on the rise and it has something to do with its amazing benefits.
The biggest benefits of using solar cooker are that the foods get cooked in low temperature and thus it helps preserve the nutrients which are vital for the well beings of human beings.
In some poor countries, farmer tends to trade food for cooking fuel. But thanks to Solar Cookers, they don’t have to do that anymore. They will have endless access to energy and cook food for free.
Poor people use woods as a cheaper alternative of gas or kerosene to cook food. But burning woods produce smokes that can harm the eyes and damage the lungs. By shifting to Solar Ovens, they can have to cook nutritious food without polluting the environment in the process.
Here are some other ways solar ovens can prove extremely useful –
For RVers and boaters, solar overs are a life saver. Conventional ovens consume a lot of energy. Now carrying a lot of fuels on boast or RVs is not a good idea. In case, you are carrying an electric oven, it can quickly drain your battery. So, the only option remains is Solar Oven. Solar Oven does not need any fuel to cook your food and that means, you can save your battery for other purposes.
If you hate to carry fuels in your camping trips for preparing food, you can always opt for Solar Ovens. Solar Ovens draw their energy from sunlight and thus eliminating all the needs to make a campfire to prepare food. Now, you might have to wonder – what is wrong with Campfire? It is easy to make a campfire and it looks lovely, right? Well, if you are camping in a drought-stricken area, your campfire can cause a wildfire. Moreover, if it starts raining all of a sudden, making a campfire would be as tough as sending a rocket to Moon. Solar Oven can solve all those problems.
3. Disaster Preparedness
When a disaster strikes, it leaves most people off guard. Now, you don’t want to be among those people who seem to get utterly clueless when the electricity goes down or when the gas stations run out of fuel. You need to be well prepared for all eventualities. Do you still remember what happened when Hurricane Katrina hit the United States? Well, you do, right? So, it makes sense that you need to prepare for power outages so that you can at least cook your food.
Moreover, the solar oven helps you boil and pasteurize water. So, you need to have a solar oven in your disaster preparation checklist.
4. Simple Living
Do you really want to save money on electricity bills? Well, you don’t have to build a nuclear reactor just to save some money on energy cost. All you have to do is to buy a Solar Oven and you don’t even have to bother about the fallout of a nuclear reactor gone awry. Moreover, unlike conventional ovens, Solar Ovens don’t increase the room temperature during the Summer Days.
Solar Oven FAQ
Q: How to Cook in Solar Oven?
Ans: There are two ways solar overs can be used to cook food. Just leave the solar over outside for couple hours and forget all about it. The food will get cooked automatically in the solar cooker but as obvious, it will take a considerable amount of time to prepare the food. Since the angle of the sun rays keeps changing all the time, the oven rarely gets super-heated. Basically, it is a slow cooking process and it requires little intervention.
In the 2nd process, you will have to keep changing the positions of the solar over so that the oven always gets direct sunlight. This process helps you speed up the cooking process but you will have to change the position of the over every 30 minutes.
Q: How Do Solar Ovens Help the Environment?
Ans: Unlike other conventional ovens, solar-powered ovens don’t need fuels like – coal or gas and that means, they will not further exacerbate the problems of Climate Change. It will not emit any harmful chemicals nor will it produce CO2 while generating energy.
Q: How Long Does It Take to Cook Food in Solar Cooker?
Ans: Contrary to what most people believe, cooking food in solar cooker does not take long. It takes the same amount of time to cook food as on a traditional oven. However, sometimes Sun can play spoilsport. If the sun goes into hiding, your solar oven might take a little more time to cook the food properly.
Here are some factors that play crucial roles in determining the cooking time –
How many times, you have refocused your solar cooker?
What you are cooking? Meats will longer than veg items.
Quality of the Sunlight.
Q: Can you Get Burnt While Using Solar Oven?
Ans: Just like any other conventional ovens, Solar oven also gets hot and that means, if you don’t know what you are doing, you will end up getting yourself hurt badly. Glass door, cooking pan and the oven chamber are the three parts that get super-hot and therefore, you need to handle them carefully while preparing food in a solar cooker.
Cover your hands with hot pads while touching the cooking pans and you will be safe. However, the reflectors and the exterior of the solar oven don’t get hot and that means, you can touch those parts without getting yourself burnt.
Q: What You Can Cook in a Solar Oven?
Ans: You don’t have to cook all your food in a Solar oven as it can take some time. By using Solar Oven occasionally, you can reduce your carbon footprint which is a big deal if you are concerned about climate change.
You can use it as a sidekick. Some people use a solar oven to warm their food, heat the curry or store grilled items. They help to keep food fresh.
On Sunny Days, you can cook all your food in a solar cooker as it will be able to generate heat much faster thus shortening the cooking time.
Q: Can I Use A Solar Oven When It’s Cold Outside?
Ans: Yes, of course. However, in the Winter, it will take a little bit longer to cook the food properly. Actually, it all boils down to one thing and that is – Sun Light. If your solar cooker gets sunlight, the outside temperature will not make any difference.