Our Editors independently research, test, and rate what we feel are the best products. We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.
When you’re exploring the great outdoors, a solar cooker frees you from the need to carry around a butane canister or power supply.
Also, a solar-powered oven is one way in which you can take a positive step toward sustainability and help to improve the environment.
Just take a look at the top solar ovens reviewed below. Any of them could replace your traditional oven on a sunny day, significantly reducing your carbon footprint and power bill.
Best Solar Ovens
|The GoSun Go Ultra Portable Solar Cooker||All American Sun Oven||Sunflair Mini Solar Oven Deluxe|
|Weight:||2 Pounds||23 Pounds||8 oz|
|Max Temperature:||550 F||400 F||285 F|
|Cooks For:||1-2 people||8 people||4 people|
Quick Answer: The 5 Best Rated Solar Ovens For 2021
- The GoSun Go Ultra Portable Solar Cooker
- All American Sun Oven
- Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven
- Haines 2.0 SunUp Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit
- GoSun Fusion Hybrid Solar Oven
Solar Oven Reviews
- Weight: 2 lbs.
- Max Temperature: 550 0F
- Capacity: 1-2 people
- Includes: Solar oven, evacuated glass tube, 2 parabolic reflectors, built-in zip-up case, stainless steel cooking tray, silicone cooking pans, cleaning brush, user manual, and mini cookbook.
The innovative design of the GoSun Go Ultra Portable Solar Cooker enables it to reach much higher temperatures than other solar oven designs providing rapid cooking comparable to a traditional electric oven.
A key element of its design is the vacuum tube. Because there is no air inside the tube, almost all the sunlight energy collected is utilized for cooking.
This parabolic solar oven is also super lightweight and compact. Its built-in, zip-up, EVA foam hardshell case protects this solar oven during transportation.
Although the vacuum tube is made from glass, it is surprisingly durable. The tube can also be used to boil 14 oz of water in one go. This parabolic oven is ideal for hiking and camping both during summer and winter whenever there is sunlight.
Of course, there are downsides to every product. The cooking volume inside the GoSun Go Ultra Portable Solar Cooker only allows you to cook small portions for two people or a huge portion for one person in one cooking session.
The range of meals you can cook is also limited by the shape of the tube. You could never roast a turkey in this oven, and it is not the best choice for larger families.
However, given how fast this parabolic oven works, you can cook two meals one after the other. Alternatively, because this oven is affordable, why not buy two GoSun Go ovens so you can cook a meal for the whole family at the same time?
Cleaning is also a small issue. The long tube doesn’t fit inside the small sinks often found in RVs and this solar oven is generally more difficult to keep clean than other designs. This is the best solar cooker for couples or individuals hiking in the wilderness who want their food cooked fast.
- Weight: 23 lbs.
- Max Temperature: 400 0F
- Capacity: 8 people
- Includes: Solar oven, unique aiming device, 2 easy-stack pots, multi-level dehydrating & baking rack set, multi-fuel water pasteurizing indicator (WAPI), user guide, and a 40-recipe cookbook
The All American Sun Oven has been around for over 28 years. The manufacturer has modified its design several times to make it more efficient.
This box solar oven’s main advantages are that it achieves a higher temperature, cooks food quicker, and is more durable than other solar ovens.
It also boasts a cooking chamber large enough to roast a turkey for Thanksgiving.
The unique aiming device built into the glass door handle enables you to aim the oven toward the sun more accurately than is possible with other solar ovens.
This is one of the reasons the All American Sun Oven is so efficient. The high temperature achieved by this solar oven means it cooks and bakes food only a little more slowly than a conventional oven.
The rugged design of the All American Sun Oven ensures you will benefit from many years of use. If you are committed to a green lifestyle, you can use this in place of your electric oven any day when there is sufficient sunlight.
Because it is more efficient than other box solar ovens, you can use it on days when the sunlight isn’t strong enough for other solar ovens to work.
However, there is a cost for the high efficiency and durability of this solar box oven. It is much larger and heavier than other solar ovens making it more difficult to transport and store.
You wouldn’t want to take this oven on a hiking trip. The All American Sun Oven is also one of the less affordable solar ovens on the market.
- Weight: 8 oz (with accessories 1 lb. 12 oz)
- Max Temperature: 285 0F
- Capacity: 4 people
- Includes: Solar oven, internal thermometer, trivet (stand), collapsible silicone pot, stuff bag, user guide, and recipe book
The Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven is another popular box solar oven from Sunflair. It is considerably smaller than the Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Deluxe and can be folded down into a rectangle the size of a laptop.
At 8 oz, it is the lightest and most easily portable of all the solar ovens in this review.
While the cooking chamber is smaller than in the Deluxe, it is still a good size and can cook a meal for your family.
It is also just as versatile as the larger model, though you’ll have to purchase separate pans if you want to do more.
The collapsible silicone pot provided fits into the stuff bag with the oven and is conveniently portable. The trivet can double as a baking sheet.
This box solar oven is ideal for camping trips where you need to cycle, kayak, or hike between sites. Following the cookbook provided and using the internal thermometer, you can easily cook for your family out in the wild.
Only reaching 285 0F, this oven cannot cook your food as quickly as the other solar ovens in this review.
However, it can be used year-round as long as there is sunlight. It is also an affordable solar oven. Given its size and weight, the Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven is the best solar-powered oven for camping trips in the great outdoors.
- Weight: 2 lbs. 10 oz
- Max Temperature: 325 0F
- Capacity: 5 people
- Includes: Solar oven, lidded pot (Dutch oven), and carrying case
If you’re looking for an all-inclusive yet affordable box solar oven, the SunUp Solar Cooker is a great choice. This panel solar oven comes complete with a Dutch oven.
This solar oven’s unique lightweight design enables it to be rolled up into a tube-shaped carrying case, which is very convenient for hiking, cycling, and kayaking.
The reflective “petals” (panels) can be adjusted to follow the sun, making this more efficient than similar-sized box solar ovens.
The stainless-steel Dutch oven boasts a tempered glass lid and can hold 4 quarts. The panels clip together for rapid assembly. Although this panel oven design is simple, it attracts extremely positive reviews on Amazon proving that most customers are pleased with their purchase.
The SunUp Solar Cooker is the best solar oven if you plan to go camping with the whole family.
It cooks quicker than comparable box ovens and is still relatively compact and lightweight yet produces more food and is more affordable than a parabolic solar oven.
- Weight: 14 lbs.
- Max Temperature: 550 0F
- Capacity: 5 people
- Includes: Hybrid solar oven, 150-watt heating element, evacuated glass tube, 2 parabolic reflectors, built-in case, stainless steel cooking tray, user manual, and mini cookbook.
The GoSun Fusion Hybrid Solar Oven is different from all the other solar ovens reviewed here because it is a hybrid.
Unlike the other ovens, the GoSun Fusion is able to cook food even when it’s cloudy or dark because it contains a 150-watt heating element.
Even when this hybrid oven is using electricity to heat the food, it uses only a fifth of the energy used by a traditional electric oven.
And when used in bright sunlight, its efficient parabolic reflectors ensure it need not use electricity at all. This makes it the most reliable of all the solar ovens reviewed here. You can cook food in this hybrid oven at any time of the day, any day of the year.
When not in use, the GoSun Fusion folds up into a relatively compact and durable package. However, this solar oven is the second heaviest reviewed here.
Also, in order to make use of the electric heating element, this hybrid solar oven must be plugged into a portable power source. That makes it impractical for hiking or cycling but ideal for off-roading or RVing.
Portable Solar Oven Comparison Table
|Solar Oven||Weight||Max Temp||Cooks For||Rating|
|The GoSun Ultra Portable Solar Cooker||2 lbs.||550 F||1-2 people||4.4 / 5.0|
|All American Sun Oven||23 lbs.||400 F||8 people||4.5 / 5.0|
|Sunflair Mini Solar Oven Deluxe||8 oz||285 F||4 people||4.1 / 5.0|
|Haines 2.0 SunUp Solar Cooker||2 lbs. 10 oz||325 F||5 people||4.6 / 5.0|
|GoSun Fusion Hybrid Solar Oven||14 lbs.||550 F||5 people||4.0 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Solar Oven — Buying Guide
Now that you’ve read about some great solar ovens, it is time to choose which is best for you and your family. Your decision will be based upon such factors as how many people you need to cook for, where you plan to do your cooking, and what part of the world you live in.
With so many great solar cookers to choose from, the decision can be difficult. The buying guide below will help you choose which solar oven is the best for you.
What is a Solar Oven?
A solar oven is an oven that utilizes energy derived from sunlight to cook food. Solar cookers are environmentally friendly appliances that are great for boondocking in your RV camping, off-roading, hiking, cycling, boating, and kayaking.
Typically, solar ovens use reflective panels to focus sunlight into an insulated area, such as a Dutch oven. They can be used anywhere during the day as long as there is sunlight.
What Features do the Best Portable Solar Cookers Offer?
Different features will appeal to different consumers. For example, people with larger families prefer solar ovens with a greater capacity. Busy people might want solar cookers that cook faster. Hikers will search out the lightest and most compact solar-powered cooker.
Size and Capacity
The size of a solar oven is an important factor. Some consumers will only purchase a solar-powered oven if it is large enough to roast a chicken. Others plan to go hiking by themselves and only need to purchase a solar cooker large enough to cook a meal for one.
Closely related to size is the portability of a solar oven. A compact and lightweight design is preferable for hiking and cycling. If you plan to transport your solar oven in an RV or 4×4, you might not care how large or heavy it is. If you’re kayaking down a river, size and weight will be significant factors. Carrying cases make solar ovens more portable.
The durability of a solar oven is important for two reasons. First, a more durable solar cooker will last longer, and you will be able to cook many more meals. Second, if you are camping in the great outdoors, a durable solar oven is more likely to survive your wilderness adventure.
Some solar ovens are easier to assemble and use than others. Some solar cookers are easier to cook with, especially in relation to checking on foods during the cooking process. And some solar-powered ovens are easier to keep clean.
The hotter a solar-powered cooker gets, the quicker it can cook food. If you don’t like to wait around for your food, this will be an important factor. The more efficient solar cookers that get hotter can also typically be used for more hours during the day giving you a broader cooking window.
Many solar ovens come complete with a selection of accessories, such as cookbooks, internal thermometers, dehydrating racks, and cooking pots. When choosing the best solar cooker for you, consider what you want to use it for. Does the solar-powered cooker you’re looking at have the necessary accessories to do what you want?
Most solar-powered ovens are affordable when compared to comparable traditional electric ovens. That’s what has made them so popular in developing countries where they have rapidly replaced more traditional ovens. If you’re on a budget, affordability is important. However, look at what is included in the package.
For example, the Sunflair Solar Cooker is very affordable and includes a cooking pot. The SunUp Solar Cooker is a little more expensive, but it does include a high-quality Dutch oven. Unless you have a spare lidded pot at home, you may decide the SunUp offers better value for your money.
Pros and Cons of Solar Ovens
Pros of Solar Ovens
Solar ovens are environmentally friendly because they utilize a renewable energy source. Except for their initial cost, solar ovens are free. You don’t have to pay for gas or electricity to make them work. When living off-grid, solar cookers never run out of energy.
You don’t have to carry a power source or butane canisters to make them work. And you can use solar cookers in wilderness areas where campfires and open flames are banned, such as in some national parks.
Cons of Solar Ovens
You need sunlight to make solar cookers work. With the exception of the hybrid GoSun Fusion, you cannot use them at night. Solar-powered ovens typically take longer than traditional ovens to cook, so you have to plan carefully to ensure you have enough hours of bright sunlight to cook your meal. If it starts raining in the middle of roasting a turkey, you’re in trouble.
The timing of food cooked in a solar-powered oven isn’t exact. It takes trial and error and experience. You have to check the food frequently to ensure it’s cooked properly.
With meats, such as when you’re roasting a chicken, you must use a temperature probe to ensure the interior has reached the safe cooking temperature of 165 0F as recommended by the USDA.
FAQs About Solar Ovens
Q: Do solar ovens really work?
A: Yes. In fact, some solar cookers reach higher temperatures than traditional ovens. The average solar-powered cooker may take longer than an electric or gas oven to roast a chicken, but it will do it. Typically, a solar oven works more like a slow cooker than a traditional cooker.
Q: What are the 3 types of solar cookers?
A: They are box ovens, parabolic ovens, and panel ovens.
Box solar ovens are the most common. Typically, they are the largest kind of solar cooker and can be used to roast a chicken or bake bread. Their size makes them ideal for cooking meals for larger families. They are often lightweight due to the materials used. As the name suggests, most are shaped like a box.
Parabolic ovens use specially curved wings to create a more intense focused area of heat. Typically, these ovens are smaller and cook a smaller amount of food than a box oven. However, they also reach much higher temperatures and cook food quicker.
Panel ovens are like the lovechild of a box oven and a parabolic oven. They are large like box ovens, but the sides of the box are curved panels that resemble the wings of a parabolic oven. As you might expect, they deliver higher temperatures than box ovens but lower than parabolic ovens. Also, they have a greater capacity than parabolic ovens but lower than box ovens. Panel ovens make a great compromise.
Q:Do solar ovens work on cloudy days?
A: Not well. Solar ovens need sunlight to generate heat. On really cloudy days, they will not reach the temperatures required to cook food. However, a hybrid solar cooker like the GoSun Fusion works fine on cloudy days as long as it is plugged into a power source.
Q: Can you use a solar oven in the winter?
A: Yes. All you need is bright sunshine to power a solar oven. In fact, winter UV rays are sometimes more intense than during the summer. That’s why skiers often get sunburnt. Some solar cooker manufacturers claim that their products work better during the winter.
The Final Word
Now you know all there is to know about solar ovens. I’m sure you understand how great they are for the environment. They’re also fantastic for anyone who wants to spend time off-grid. And, of course, they’re essential in the event of a natural disaster, like a devastating hurricane.
I hope this article helps you to find the best solar-powered oven for you and your family. Feel free to comment below and let us know about your experiences with solar cookers.
How We Researched
To come up with the top solar ovens we researched a variety of sources for reviews such as REI, Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas and Backcountry along with our own personal experience.
We also consulted online magazines for product research and reviews to get as much unbiased information as we could. To help weed out fake reviews we used Fakespot.com to make sure we only looked at genuine reviews.
With so much quality gear available, we had to narrow it down based on what we felt were the best options for the price. The author, Casey Fiedler has been leading backpacking trips for over a decade in his native state of Michigan.
To help narrow down the selection he used his personal experience along with recommendations from fellow guides and outfitters.
After extensive research, we came up with our list to help you choose the right one for you.