Solar ovens are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to cook without electricity and without burning any wood or fuel. They’re great for emergency preparedness, camping and hiking, boating, and traveling in a van or RV.
They’re also great for those who want to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle. They’re the ultimate green appliance – using no electricity, burning no fuel, and releasing no emissions. Renewable energy has never been cleaner!
Today, we’re looking at the benefits of using a solar oven and we have set out a quick guide on how to select the right option for you. Then, to make it easier for you, we have reviewed seven of the best solar cookers to choose from.
Let’s jump right in!
- 1 7 Best Solar Ovens
- 2 The Benefits of Solar Ovens
- 3 How to Choose the Right Solar Oven for You
- 4 Our Selection Criteria – How We Selected the Best Solar Ovens to Review
- 5 7 Best Solar Ovens to Use in 2021
- 5.1 Best Overall: Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit
- 5.2 Best Budget Option: JWN Portable Solar Cooker Oven Bag
- 5.3 Best Mid-Range Option: SolCook All Season Solar Cooker
- 5.4 Best for Camping: GoSun Go Ultra Solar Oven
- 5.5 Best Large Capacity: Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Deluxe
- 5.6 Best Hybrid: GoSun Fusion Hybrid Solar and Electric Oven
- 5.7 Best High-End Option: Sun Oven’s All American Sun Oven Solar Cooker
- 6 Final Thoughts and Our Two Top Picks
- 7 References and Useful Resources
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
7 Best Solar Ovens
Here is our selection of the best solar ovens to use in 2021:
- Best Overall: Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit
- Best Budget Option: JWN Portable Solar Cooker Oven Bag
- Best Mid-Range Option: SolCook All Season Solar Cooker
- Best for Camping: GoSun Go Ultra Solar Oven
- Best Large Capacity: Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Deluxe
- Best Hybrid: GoSun Fusion Hybrid Solar and Electric Oven
- Best High-End Option: Sun Oven All American Solar Cooker
Below, we will cover the benefits of using solar ovens, how we chose the best ones, and then get into more detail on each of the options listed above.
Wondering how solar ovens work and what you can cook in them? Check out this short video by National Geographic on solar cooking:
The Benefits of Solar Ovens
When it comes to cooking with solar and using solar ovens, there are many great benefits! Let’s look at the most important ones:
- Super Simple Kit: Solar ovens come as a single unit – there’s no need for batteries, cables, panels, or anything else. Just your oven and something to put inside it!
- No electricity needed: Solar cookers use heat directly from the sun, with no emissions and no fossil fuels involved at all. This saves you money, as well as the environment.
- Cost-effective: Solar ovens are extremely cost-effective – they’re inexpensive to buy, you don’t need to invest in any additional equipment, and they don’t use any electricity or fuel so they cost nothing to run.
- Quick and Easy: Setting up a solar oven is super quick and easy to do. Once you have it positioned right and your food inside, there is very little to do except adjust it to get the most sunlight and wait for your food to cook.
- Portable, Light and Practical: Solar ovens are very portable, light, and easy to pack away. This makes them great for camping, hiking, boating, or living your best #vanlife.
- Fool-Proof Cooking: Solar ovens heat up slowly and evenly, making it really hard to burn or overcook a meal!
- Flavorful Food: Solar ovens produce especially flavorful food! Foods cooked very evenly and heated slowly, especially in a sealed or closed cooker, tend to retain their flavor well.
- Outdoor Cooking Without the Mess: Cooking outdoors is a fun way to cook but when it involves a fire or gas grill, there is always a mess to contend with! Solar ovens are super easy to clean and do not make a mess.
Solar ovens and solar cookers are a great choice – they’re eco-friendly, economical, versatile, and super easy to use!
Solar ovens have become popular and there are hundreds of different options to choose from. Here is what to consider when choosing the best option for you:
How to Choose the Right Solar Oven for You
There are hundreds of solar ovens on the market. They vary widely in terms of price, design, function, and fabrication.
When you’re selecting the best solar oven for your unique needs, it is important to consider where you will be using it, what you will be using it for, and how much you will need to cook in it at any one time.
Generally, solar ovens are either big-but-slow or quick-but-small: there is always a trade-off between efficiency and capacity!
Finding the sweet spot comes down to knowing exactly what you will need and finding the right option to meet those needs. To do this, you must consider:
- Capacity: How much food do I need to prepare at once? Is this solar oven big enough?
- Size and Weight: How big is the solar oven? Do I have enough space for it? Is it portable enough for my needs?
- Temperature: How high does the temperature need to get for the kind of cooking I want to do? Is the solar oven rated to reach that temperature? Will my location affect the rated temperature?
- Fabrication: How sturdy and durable is it? Will it stand up to how much I aim to use it?
- Efficiency: Will it do what I need it to do in the amount of time I need it to do it in? There are many variables to this and seeing what others have been able to do with the same device is a great way to get a sense of how efficient a solar oven is when it is in use in real life.
These are the main things to think about when you’re shopping for your solar oven. Picking the best option for you comes down to finding the one that best suits your specific needs.
Our Selection Criteria – How We Selected the Best Solar Ovens to Review
In this review, we have chosen a range of solar ovens that will meet most needs – we have tried to include a great option for everyone here! Our selection is based on:
- Size and weight
- Cooking capacity
- Temperature range
- Portability and ease of use
- Durability and quality of fabrication
- Pricing and value for money
- User reviews from real-life users
We have looked for the best options based on the above and chosen our favorite options to present here:
7 Best Solar Ovens to Use in 2021
Best Overall: Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit
The Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit is a simple and lightweight option that is highly efficient and easy to use. Cooking in it is as easy as placing it in the sun, adjusting the sides to get maximum light, and popping your pot in the middle!
The sides unfurl like the petals on a flower, in a circular shape. This makes it shaped like a large dish with adjustable sides so you can trap the most sunlight. It really is a super simple, easy to use, and easy to clean option that is ideal for anyone to use, anywhere.
Dimensions: 12 in x 7 in / 30.5 cm x 17.8 cm
Capacity: 4 qt / 3.8 L
Weight: 2.6 lbs / 1.18 kg
Temperature: 325 F / 163 C
What the Amazon Reviews Say (4.7/5 Stars):
- Very easy to assemble, adjust and use
- Light weight and portable
- Comes with the Dutch oven pot to use in it, which has a glass lid so you can see what you’re cooking
- Very lightweight so needs to be weighted down in windy conditions
- Open shape does not retain heat well so it does not stay hot once it is out of direct sun
- Light-weight, flexible materials and plastic snaps might not last very long with heavy use
Price it on Amazon: Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit
Best Budget Option: JWN Portable Solar Cooker Oven Bag
The JWN Portable Solar Cooker Oven Bag is a great option if you’re on a budget! It is a super simple solar oven, that comes as a bag that you open and point towards the sun. That’s it. Really simple!
The simplicity of this option does not come at the expense of how effective it is though. It will easily cook a meal for three to four people! In addition to how simple it is, it is easy to clean and very, very portable. This makes it ideal for a variety of uses and it folds up flat so you can pack it away easily.
Dimensions: 26.8 in x 15.7 in / 68 cm x 40 cm (front opening)
Capacity: meal for 3 to 4 people
Weight: 1.2 lbs / 550 g
Temperature: 176 – 248 F / 80 – 120 C
What the Amazon Reviews Say (4.5/5 Stars):
- Very simple to use and folds up neatly
- Strong fabric and durable constriction
- Large enough to cook a roast in
- Doesn’t get as hot as needed if it is not in full, hot sun
- Does not come with any accessories like a thermometer, pot, or racks
- Shape of the bag means that a large pot will shade part of the bag at all times
Price it on Amazon: JWN Portable Solar Cooker Oven Bag
Best Mid-Range Option: SolCook All Season Solar Cooker
The SolCook All Season Solar Cooker is a great mid-range option. It’s sturdy construction, large capacity and high-temperature range make it a value-for-money solar oven that will work hard and last a long time.
It comes with everything you need to assemble it (nuts, bolts, etc.), two reusable cooking bags, and a cooking rack. SolCook takes environmentally friendly up a notch too – the packaging consists of a single cardboard box that can be recycled and the cooker itself is made from recyclable polypropylene.
Dimensions: 8 in x 14 in x 4 in / 20.32 cm x 35.56 cm x 10.16 cm
Capacity: 7.71 oz / 7.3 L
Weight: 4.5 lbs / 2.041 kg
Temperature: up to 400 F / 204.44 C
What the Amazon Reviews Say (4.7/5 Stars):
- Easy to adjust to the best angle/orientation for maximum sunlight with the ‘sunfinder’ tool
- Heats up quickly and can get to a very high temperature
- Large capacity is suitable for larger meals
- Tricky to assemble
- Looks a bit like a kid’s science experiment
- Bright yellow exterior might not be for everyone
Price it on Amazon: SolCook All Season Solar Cooker
Best for Camping: GoSun Go Ultra Solar Oven
The GoSun Go Ultra is a small and super light solar oven, making it ideal for hiking and camping. It is also highly efficient and can cook a meal in 20 minutes, heating up to 550F/290C!
It is made of stainless steel and the oven part consists of an evacuated glass tube (which is why it is so efficient). The kit comes in a carry case, with everything you need, including a stainless-steel cooking tray and silicone cooking pans. It also comes with a great manual that shows you exactly how to use it most efficiently.
Dimensions: 14.17 in x 7.09 in x 3.35 in / 35.99 cm x 18.01 cm x 8.51 cm
Capacity: 13.5 oz / 400 ml
Weight: 1.98 lbs / 900 g
Temperature: 550 F / 290 C
What the Amazon Reviews Say (4.4/5 Stars):
- Compact, light and comes in a carry case
- Evacuated glass tube is very efficient for heating and retaining heat
- Gets up to 550F/290C, which is very hot for such a small solar oven
- Very small capacity – big enough for one person
- Legs/stand are not very sturdy and unstable in windy conditions
- Zippers on the carry case can loosen over time and it can fall out
Price it on Amazon: GoSun Go Ultra Solar Oven
Best Large Capacity: Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Deluxe
Sunflair’s Portable Deluxe Solar Oven and Dehydrator is a great option for those who need a large capacity to cook for multiple people. It can heat up to 285 F / 140.5 C and cook for 4 to 8 people at a time.
It comes with two racks that make it a two-level cooker and it also comes with an enamel pot, two collapsible silicone pots, two baking trays, a thermometer, and a convenient carry pouch.
It folds up neatly and is very portable, even though it is one of the biggest solar ovens on the market.
Dimensions: 19 in x 15.5 in x 2 in / 48.26 cm x 39.37 cm x 5.08 cm
Capacity: Varies (pot + racks etc.) – cooks for 4 to 8 people
Weight: 1.12 lbs / 600 g
Temperature: up to 285 F / 140.5 C
What the Amazon Reviews Say (4/5 Stars):
- Large capacity with two levels to cook on
- Can be used as a dehydrator to dry/preserve foods
- Comes with a thermometer, racks, enamel pot, silicone pots, and a cookbook
- Heats up and cooks slowly if it is not in direct, hot sun
- Bottom is not rigid so it can be tricky to tilt it to get better sun
- Material and zippers are not the best quality
Price it on Amazon: Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Deluxe
Best Hybrid: GoSun Fusion Hybrid Solar and Electric Oven
The GoSun Fusion is a solar oven that can also be plugged into any 12-volt power source, such as from your solar array, car, camper, boat, or RV. This means you can use it at night or when there is too little sun to use the solar option.
The 145 oz/4.3 L capacity makes it a great option for cooking meals that will feed a group of up to four or five people, within an hour or two. It is made from high-quality materials and built to last, while still being portable and easy to set up.
Dimensions: 23 in x 13 in x 13 in / 58.5 cm x 33.2 cm x 33.2 cm
Capacity: 145 oz / 4.3 L
Weight: 14 lbs / 4.4 kg
Temperature: up to 550 F / 288 C
What the GoSun Reviews Say (5/5 Stars):
- Addition of the 12 v plug makes it great for cooking in very low light/evenings
- Quick and easy to clean
- Light but very well-made and durable
- Can be tricky to angle it right when the sun is low in the sky
- Needs to cool down a bit before the second batch of food is put in
- Legs can be a bit loose, making adjusting the angles tricky
Price it at GoSun: GoSun Fusion Hybrid Solar and Electric Oven
Best High-End Option: Sun Oven’s All American Sun Oven Solar Cooker
The All American Sun Oven is one of the sturdiest solar ovens available. It is made of wood and anodized aluminum, which is rust-proof and has a mirror-like finish. The oven is well designed, with a hanging internal rack that stays level as you adjust the height/angle of the oven to meet the sun.
Shifting the angle is easy, with a leg at the back that has ten height adjustments. There are also small sun track indicators that help you to line up the sun for maximum exposure and heat. The reflective panels fold up flat on top of the square oven, making it compact and easy to store.
Dimensions: 24 x 15.5 x 20.5 in / 60.96 x 39.37 x 52.07 cm
Capacity: approx. 4 qt / 4.5 L (design limits capacity due to internal dimensions)
Weight: 23 lbs / 10.4 kg
Temperature: 360 – 400 F / 182 – 204.5 C
What the Amazon Reviews Say (4.4/5 Stars):
- Very sturdy and well-built, made to be used regularly
- Simple design, easy to set up, and easy to pack up
- Cooks quickly and retains heat better than most solar ovens
- Top-heavy so tends to tip over in windy conditions
- External wooden covering is not weatherproof
- The space inside the oven is limited by the design and some pots won’t sit correctly
Final Thoughts and Our Two Top Picks
In conclusion, we have looked at how to choose the best solar cooker and reviewed seven of the best options.
All the solar ovens on our list are great options and we chose a variety with different shapes, sizes, and temperature ranges so that there will be something for everyone.
That said, two of the options stood out to us. Here are our two top picks:
Top Pick #1: Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit
We love the Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit because it is a really simple and functional solar oven, with a decent temperature range and large capacity. It is sturdy and well-made, and great value for money. The user reviews were overwhelmingly positive, which shows how well it works! What’s not to love?
Top Pick #2: SolCook All Season Solar Cooker
We love that the SolCook All Season Solar Cooker is made to last has a large capacity and can reach a temperature that will cook most foods well. It also comes as a complete kit, with reusable cooking bags and cooking racks.
We also love that SolCook goes the extra mile for the environment with minimal, recyclable packaging and even use recyclable materials in the construction of their solar cooker!
References and Useful Resources
Eartheasy: 6 Beginner Recipes for Solar Ovens
Edible Communities: How to Make a Solar Oven
How Stuff Works: Cooking with Light – How Solar Cooking Works
Wikipedia: Solar Cooker
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a solar oven and how does it work?
Solar ovens are designed to cook food and boil/pasteurize water. They work by capturing light and heat from the sun using reflectors that direct the heat into the oven. The oven is designed to retain the heat and get hot enough to cook food and boil water. They do not use any electricity and rely solely on captured heat from the sun. Check out the full guide for more info on solar cookers.
Do solar ovens really work?
Yes! Solar ovens are an efficient, effective and economical method of cooking. Cooking temperature and time vary between different oven designs and will be affected by your weather and how much sun you have at your location. It is worth looking at different options to find the right one for your needs - check out the full review for more info.
What are the benefits of using a solar oven?
There are many benefits to using a solar oven. Here are the most important ones:
• Super simple, quick and easy to use
• No electricity needed and eco-friendly
• Cost-effective and free to run
• Portable, light and practical
• Fool-proof cooking – no burnt food
• Extra flavorful food
• Outdoor cooking without the mess.
Check out the full guide and review for more detail on the benefits of solar cooking