The 5 Best Solar Oven And Solar Cookers For The Best Solar Cooking Experience
If you love outdoor cooking, you must have heard about solar cooking. Cooking food with solar power is a unique concept however it is fast becoming a popular way to cook sumptuous meals during outdoor gatherings. So, the next time you plan a picnic with your family and friends, make sure to pack the best solar oven.
The market is full of some of the most amazing solar cookers and solar oven that will help you in the endeavor but you might wonder which one is the best. In this article, we will go through the quick guide about solar cooking and see which ones are the best solar cooker and solar ovens for you.
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List of Best Solar Oven and Solar Cookers
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*For more information about NCS (Net Customer Satisfaction) grade, please click here. (Price range: $ = $1 - $75 / $$ = $76 - $250 / $$$ = $251 -$500 / $$$$ = $501 - $750 / $$$$$ = Above $750)
How Does Solar Cooking Works?
Solar cooking is done with the help of UV rays from the sun. When the UV light rays fall on the solar cooker, they are converted to longer infrared light rays which cannot escape the space. The infrared radiation has the energy to make protein, water or fat molecules vibrate vigorously and thus heat them up.
Contrary to what people generally believe, solar cooking does not require hot temperatures or blinding sun to cook the meal, rather you just need the sun’s rays to cook food in your cookware. Check out some hard anodized cookware that you can use for solar cooking.
So it is not the heat from the sun that cooks the food, rather it is the sun’s rays that are converted into heat energy which is responsible for cooking of the food.
Solar cooking works in the same manner as the greenhouse effect. The best solar oven and solar cooker use the energy of the sun to heat up the vessel and retain the heat for a long time for effective cooking.
Facing the Sun
To achieve maximum efficiency, it is important to track the sun and adjust the cooker so that it faces directly toward the sun. This will help in concentrating and absorbing the sun’s rays in a better manner.
However, this does not mean that you need to stand behind the cooker to adjust it frequently, rather, you should adjust the angle of the cooker every two or three hours.
Different Types of Solar Cookers
If you are interested in getting free fuel from the sun, here are four types of solar cooker which can be used.
Box Solar Cooker
Another popular type of solar cooker, the box type uses an insulated box, a plastic cover or transparent glass and a reflector. The temperature of the cooker can reach a maximum of 400 degrees Fahrenheit and works similar to a slow cooker.
Panel Solar Cooker
The panel solar cooker focuses sunlight with the help of reflective panels. It works best during summer months when heat loss and the wind do not pose any challenge. The aluminum cardboard panel cooker easily heats up food to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the aluminum foil works perfectly for about a month after which it needs to be replaced.
Parabolic Solar Cooker
The curved concentrator or the parabolic solar oven concentrates the heat of the sun onto the sides or the bottom of a pot. It works similarly to a stovetop and can be used to pop popcorns or fry food with ease.
GoSun Solar Cooker
CES Innovation Award 2016 Winner, the Go Sun Solar Cooker does not fit into the traditional categories of solar ovens. Slide in the food into a glass tube and put it into a hole enclosed by parabolic reflectors.
The internal temperature of the cooker can reach up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit which is similar to the temperature of the gas-powered grill.
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DIY Solar Oven
You can also find many videos over the internet on how to DIY your own solar cooker for cheap. So, if you are thinking about DIY-ing your cooker rather than purchasing it, make sure to watch the video below as it will help you know more on some of the qualities of the best solar cooker.
Different Parts of Solar Cooker
There are three principal components of a solar cooker:
This part is performed by the reflecting panels which can focus the UV rays of the sunlight to a single point. The reflecting panels are generally made up of a material which is reflective and shiny such as aluminum, silver or chromium.
Without the reflective panels, the sun rays will take up a long time to heat the surface or object. Thus, it is an essential part which is responsible to speed up the cooking process.
This can be best achieved with the help of a dark colored inner surface. Therefore, you will find that solar cookers generally have black interiors. Dark colored interior or black interiors are generally used because it absorbs the heat easily as compared to the lighter counterparts.
Moreover, some colors can even reflect the energy of the sun. Therefore, when picking up the best solar cookware, make sure you pick dark and thin variety as it will absorb and transfer the heat evenly and quickly.
This is the final principle of solar cooking. If the solar cooker doesn’t have a lid and is not properly insulated, then a majority of concentrated and absorbed heat will dissipate quickly into the air.
Therefore, a solar cooker should have a lid to hold and accumulate the concentrated heat in order to build up a high level of heat which is sufficient for cooking.
Though not an important component of solar cooker, transparency of the retentive material, ensure that the sun rays are concentrated inside the cooking vessel for even cooking. This can be achieved by using plastic covering or clear glass on a solar cooker lid.
Benefits of Solar Cooking
The importance of solar cooking is not widely known. Here are some of the benefits that you can achieve by using a solar cooker.
- Sun’s energy is free and inexhaustible. Therefore, with the help of a solar cooker, you can prepare a fresh and hot meal without spending your hard earned money to buy fuel.
- With a solar cooker, you can comfortably sit outside in the sunshine without overdriving your air conditioner to cool the rooms. This will further reduce your electricity bills.
- We generally depend on the limited resources of fossil fuels present on the earth. And with the depleting forest, firewood is also on the verge of getting extinct. This is when solar cooking can help in saving the depleting resources.
- Solar cookers use the sun rays rather than using any other kind of fuel, therefore there are fewer residues to deal with. You won’t be required to carry bottles of butane to the campsite thus reducing the number of bottles in the landfill.
- The use of solar oven not only reduces air pollution but also keeps the quality of the air high. Smoke from the firewood can irritate the eyes and lungs. Solar cooker eliminates that.
- In developing countries, women and children are required to walk miles to collect firewood. But with the help of a solar cooker, they can easily cook a tasty meal without worrying about how to secure firewood for next meal.
Many Uses of Solar Cooker
A solar cooker or oven can be used in a number of non-traditional ways apart from the regular cooking of food. Here are just a few of the usages:
Yes, you can easily make jam in a panel-style solar cooker during summers. This is possible because solar cookers are great for simmering and jams need to be prepared within a proper range of temperature which is provided by the solar cooker.
Drying fruits and vegetables
A solar oven can be used to dry fruits and vegetables, which can be used on a later date when they are not easily available. You can easily dry ginger, lady finger, eggplant, tomato.
A box solar cooker can be used to heat milk. This is possible because the temperature of solar cooker never reaches a high temperature which can burn the milk.
Small pieces of candles can be saved and melted down with the help of a solar cooker. You just need to put the leftover candle stubs in a mold and melt it down in a solar cooker to make a new candle out of it.
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The Top 3 Best Solar Oven Reviews
All American Sun Oven
For the past three decades, SUN OVEN has been used around the world in more than 126 countries. The All American solar oven combines the experience and lifestyle of Americans and has one of the best solar oven design.
Similar to the concept of solar oven pizza box, this new SUN OVEN is 20% larger than the previous model and easily accommodates standard size baking pans and cook great volume of food. It also boosts temperature by approximately 15% to cook food in less time.
Many previous buyers are very happy with their purchase of solar oven by All American and rated this solar oven as one of the best solar ovens compared to other top solar oven models in the market.
What we like about it...
- Lightweight, easy to use and eco-friendly
- Has improved wind resistance
- You can cook almost anything
- Easily provide high-temperature cooking
- Include dehydrating and baking rack set
What we don't like...
- The lens cap and binoculars are not linked to each other
Rating / Grade
Sunflair Portable Solar Oven
Easy, affordable and fun to use – These are the synonyms that describe Sunflair Solar Oven. This solar stove comes with two grill racks and is the best option if you are traveling. With large cooking area, it can easily cook a delicious meal for a large group.
The Sunflair solar oven is the most versatile solar oven available in the market and includes everything that is required to start cooking. Moreover, the company donates a portion of their earnings toward providing a healthier, safer and greener cooking experience.
What we like about it...
- Highly portable
- Can easily cook for 4 to 8 people
- Simple to store and use
- Silicone pots that come along are dishwasher and microwave safe
What we don't like...
- It can only reach a maximum temperature of 285 degrees Fahrenheit
Rating / Grade
Solavore Sport Solar Oven
Have you read about the Solavor Sport Solar Oven reviews? Again, similar to the solar oven pizza box concept, this solar oven has been designed for maximum efficiency, ease of use and durability.
The Solavore oven is extremely lightweight and portable. So, with Solavore Sport sun oven, outdoor cooking has never been more fun!
What we like about it...
- Perfect for slow cooking or baking
- Can easily hold two 10 inch pots
- It is physical stable which prevents tip over due to high wind
- Can be used for all season cooking
- No off-gassing
- No peeling of the insides
- All oven components are made in the USA
What we don't like...
- Some people have reported compromised product quality due to sharp edges
Rating / Grade
We go through hundreds of products listing at Amazon and also study the ratings left by previous buyers to find the best solar oven for you. Besides that, we also calculate the overall net customer satisfaction (NCS) grade because we want to see how happy is the previous buyers with their purchase of the product.
From our finding, we can say that Sun Ovens Int., Sunflair and Solavore are the best solar oven brands. These brands are popular and received many excellent ratings for their products.
Also, the All American Sun Oven, Sunflair Portable Solar Oven and Solavore Sport Solar Oven score favorably for the ratings as well as the NCS grade compare to the rest. We believe that you would find these solar oven a good buy too.
Which Solar Cooking Option is the Best?
When it comes to picking up the best type of solar cooking equipment, it generally depends on what you want to cook, the cooking equipment, and where you want to cook that dish? Are you planning to set the cooker and leave it for a day to return back home to a delicious hot meal? Or are you planning to take the solar cooker to a picnic?
However, according to us, All American Sun Oven is probably the best choice. If you have experience with solar cooking, share your preferred cooker and your cooking experience with us. We would love to know more about some of the best solar oven and solar cookers.