Cooking with solar power is a unique, innovative, and increasingly popular way of preparing meals. Contrary to what you might believe, you don’t need blinding sun or hot temperatures to cook food using nothing but the sun’s rays. The state of the art solar ovens, grills and cookers available today are pretty dam efficient and capable of cooking quite a wide variety of foods. Whether you’re considering incorporating a solar cooker into your camping gear, would like to own a fuel-less cooking alternative for potential home power outages or are just interested in the idea of cooking with the sun, we’ve put together a sweet list of the best solar cookers available. There’s a few different styles of cooker here, so be sure to check out the pros and cons of each design.
1. GoSun Sport Portable Solar Cooker
The GoSun Sport solar cooker might be the simplest and most effective unit on this list. It really is as simple as loading this cooker with whatever you’re cooking and pointing it towards the sun. This rad little tube can bake, roast, steam and saute with just a little bit of sunlight! It’s designed to effectively capture ultraviolet light, so you don’t need full sun to cook with this unit — if you can see a defined shadow, you’re good to go. The GoSun Sport also cooks pretty dam fast — preparing meals in as little as 20 minutes! Although you don’t need full sun, this unit can reach up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit when there’s no cloud cover and strong solar rays present; pretty incredible! At those temps you can really do a lot with this unit in terms of meal options. Probably the coolest attribute of this solar cooker is the vacuum tube. It’s a super effective insulator that retains heat flawlessly while remaining cool to the touch on the outside. This feature ensures your food cooks properly and evenly and also that it stays hot once finished cooking. The insulation technology employed in the vacuum tube also keeps the GoSun Sport from being a potential fire or burn hazard — definitely something to keep in mind when we’re talking about harnessing temperatures of this magnitude. Collapsing into a narrow tube and just seven and a half pounds in weight, this unit is fairly portable and could even be hiked with. This is an all around high quality solar cooker that would be great for both those with experience surrounding this style of cooking, and also for beginners.
- Cooks quickly and effectively even in low sunlight
- Capable of reaching super hot temps (550 degrees F) when sunny out
- Vacuum tube keeps your food hot and also keeps the unit cool to the touch
- Fairly lightweight and portable — the tubular shape of this unit is easily packed
- Cleans easily after use
- This unit is pretty fragile and prone to damage if knocked around, so if you plan on hiking with it be careful!
- The diameter of the cooking tube is pretty narrow, requiring you to cut up larger food items in order to fit within the chamber
2. Solavore Sport Solar Oven
This unit by Solavore is another high end, high quality option in solar cooking. This oven has a bit more capacity than the GoSun Sport, so if you plan on cooking for more mouths than just you and a friend then you might want to consider this option. It’s a retained-heat box-type cooker that can bake, simmer, roast, dehydrate and even pasteurize. It cooks at about 200-300 degrees Fahrenheit — an ideal temperature for setting your food to cook and leaving unattended. This oven is meant to retain the flavor, color and nutrients in your food without overcooking anything! Similarly to the unit by GoSun, this solar cooker is not hot to the touch because of the insulation technology employed in its design — so its safe around kids and anything potentially flammable. The housing is made with rugged nylon plastic specifically for durability, so this cooker is not going to break on you due to normal wear and tear. This oven includes a detachable TR-86 High performance reflector, two ten inch round graniteware pots, a thermometer, a water pasteurization indicator and a user manual with recipes. This oven is just over two feet long and about a foot and a half wide. It’s a good size for preparing some large portions without being unreasonably large. All in all, this is an excellent solar cooker for the outdoor chef or camper who wants to “set and forget” their dish and know that it will be ready and warm (and not overcooked or burned) by sundown.
Price: $287.00 & Free Shipping
- Designed to be able to leave food cooking without worrying about overcooking due to the operating temperature
- Very tough design — not fragile like some other solar cookers so feel free to knock this one around
- Comes with an assortment of accessories and cooking ware
- Cooks slowly and at a relatively low temperature, this unit is not for quick meals
- Somewhat of a cumbersome unit to carry around, best for car camping or use in the backyard
- Seems like this oven requires a fairly sunny day to cook as opposed to the solar cookers offered by GoSun according to customer reviews
3. Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Deluxe with Complete Cookware
This solar unit by Sunflair is a very easy, portable and affordable option. Due to the nature of its material, this oven folds right up for super easy storage and transport. It’s only one pound, so go ahead and bring it backpacking if you want to have an option for heating or cooking food. This unit only gets up to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, so don’t plan on cooking serious meals unless you are ok with waiting for hours. That being said, there are customer reviews for this product that claim it cooks chicken very well if you’re patient. It seems like a favorite use for this oven is to dry fruits and herbs. Other customer reviews mention baking pizza and cookies! This could be a great solar oven for beginners who want to try their hand preparing meals in the sun without having to spend a ton of cash. On the other side of the spectrum, if you have experience cooking with the sun then maybe you would consider owning this unit for its awesome portability — allowing you to solar cook places previously off limits based on your current cooker’s design. SunFlair includes a thermometer, baking trays, dehydrating racks, enamelware and silicone pots and a carrying bag with this purchase, so you’re ready to cook with everything you might need.
Price: $154.99 & Free Shipping (6 percent off MSRP)
- Very lightweight at just one pound and highly portable
- Very economic option for those who might want to try solar cooking
- Comes with an array of accessories and cooking ware
- Pretty decent food capacity considering the size and portability of this unit
- Doesn’t reach very high temps
- Likely will need a pretty sunny day to cook with this unit
4. Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven
This is essentially the same oven as the previous model by Sunflair listed — but even smaller. this unit folds to two by eleven by thirteen inches — pretty impressive dimensions. This option does not come with any accessories or cooking ware, so if you’re interested in trying this style solar cooker but already have some of the preferred gear for use with this unit, then save yourself some money by choosing this option. At just $80 this model is worth checking out for the avid camper or outdoorsmen. These units are also great to have on hand during power outages when you might want to prepare some hot food after a few days of having your regular home oven offline. All in all, Sunflair makes a very simple and affordable solar cooker great for both beginners and for those who want to try a new style cooker.
Price: $79.99 & Free Shipping (6 percent off MSRP)
- Highly affordable
- Super lightweight and portable
- Very easy to operate — great beginner solar cooker
- Does not reach very high temperatures compared to some more expensive solar cookers
- Not a very high food capacity
5. GoSun Solar Grill
This unit by GoSun is seriously badass. This solar grill has capacity for a large amount of food, and can cook at high temperatures. If you’re serious about solar cooking and want a unit that can feed the whole family, then this is your best bet. GoSun has put a high price tag on this grill, but for good reason. The technology employed here is truly state of the art, and customer reviews insist this unit cooks effectively and with ease. This is the bigger, better version of the GoSun Sport depending on what you’re looking for. It uses the same type of vacuum tube to heat and keep food heated without creating a burn or fire risk on the outside of the oven. At about 30 pounds, this grill is built pretty tough but still is portable enough to go camping or boating with you. You’re gonna want to bring this bad boy with you to the next summer cookout and impress your friends. For the customer who doesn’t want to settle for anything but the best, this is the solar cooker for you.
Price: $799.00 & Free Shipping
- Very high capacity for food — cook for up to eight people
- Capable of high temps and heats even in only partly sunny conditions
- Vacuum tube has incredible heat retention properties — keep food hot for quite a while!
- At 30 pounds, this unit is solid but not to cumbersome to take camping, fishing, boating, etc.
- Quite expensive!
- Although portable, this unit isn’t going on or into a backpack
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