Harnessing the power of the sun to fuel everyday activities has long been a dream of mankind, and all sorts of experiments have been conducted throughout the centuries to make this a reality. Today, the best solar ovens are able to take advantage of the enormous amount of energy that the sun pours on earth every day in a way that was not possible before.
Thanks to new, innovative materials and smart designs, you can use the best solar cookers to prepare food without any help from polluting fuels and without the need for electric cables of any sort. In this article we present to you the top rated solar cookers on the market today, so that you can get a better idea of what options are available for these innovative and exciting products.
How To Choose A Solar Oven – Buying Guide
Choosing the right solar cooker is a matter of knowing what you want to use it for. If it is to be your sole source for cooking food, make sure that it is well-reviewed and durable. If you are looking for something to have on hand in an emergency, you will likely want a lightweight and portable model. If you are looking for something to cook on outdoors while camping or boating, you will probably want something that falls somewhere in the middle of these two features. To make your decision easier, we have compiled the top criteria to look for before buying the right solar oven for your needs.
Ease Of Use
Solar ovens usually take slightly longer to cook food than regular stoves, so something you want to avoid is losing more time in setting up the whole thing before you can even start cooking. Luckily, most manufacturers pay close attention to the usability of their products and you will find that most of them are easy to operate, unless you’re making your own diy solar oven.
Usually, you will find foldable reflective panels that are fastened to a central, dark, cooking spot making for a stove that resembles a suitcase and is easy to carry and store. Sometimes the panels can require some assembly since they are also able to move around as to better catch the rays of the sun, but most of the time it is relatively straightforward to figure out how these are supposed to work.
The most portable models can be as easy to use as simply unzipping a bag. The easiest model of them all only requires you to open two reflectors and slide a long tube in the central shaft, but this one can be more difficult to carry around. In any case, you will have to be the judge as far as ease of use and portability are concerned, since every model tries in its own different way to reach a suitable balance.
Durability And Quality
The durability of solar ovens vary widely throughout the range of available options, and our solar oven reviews give you a good idea of what you can find available today. The sturdiest models are the ones shaped like a suitcase. Often made of tough metal, with handles to transport them and foldable reflective panels on top, these ovens do provide you with a very reliable product that you can be sure to take some hits.
The ovens that feature a long central tube are also excellent since they are often made from very tough aluminum, but their shape makes them a little more vulnerable to deformations and dents. Regarding the ovens made up of several different panels, their durability greatly depends on the material that these are made of, which is usually some sort of high-quality plastic. These perform well even after a certain amount of wear and tear, and if they are properly taken care of, their lifespan can stretch to rival one of the toughest ovens of the lot.
The shape of your solar oven greatly influences the size of the cooking container you can place inside it, and therefore the amount of food you can prepare. Some ovens are limited in size, either by a glass panel that closes off the cooking area or from the physical dimensions of the inner cooking tube, which limits the quantity of food you can cook in them but gives it better protection from any outside elements. Other ovens can accommodate pots and pans of almost any size since they do not feature sealed off sections but stay open.
Some solar ovens are even able to warm up two one-gallon pots at the same time, while others can cook enough food to feed up to eight people. When you are about to make your purchase, consider the tools that you will be using to cook with, to make sure they fit inside the oven. It is possible to buy whole kits that come complete with pots and pans that were chosen to fit exactly right inside your oven so you can use it to its maximum capacity.
Storage Space And Size
For campers, hikers, or simply people passionate about spending time outdoors, size concerns are an everyday affair. Solar ovens don’t always fit in the picture, since they are sometimes ungainly things that don’t rhyme with portability. Several options exist, though, to make your life easier.
The best is the Sunflair portable oven which we have reviewed, which is extremely easy to zip up and carry with you, becoming close to completely flat when compacted. You might get away with carrying some of the models made up of panels with you since they can be taken apart and reassembled if needed, while ovens such as the suitcase models or that have long, tube-like cooking spaces are much better suited to a garden barbecue or being taken around in a car or mobile home.
Despite their many qualities, solar ovens do tend to take longer to cook your food when compared to regular stoves. Granted, their benefits lay elsewhere, but this is something you need to be aware of before making your choice. If we consider the simplest case of having to boil water, the time your oven needs depends on what is the maximum temperature it is able to attain.
Usually, ovens can get up to and over 300 degrees Fahrenheit without too many issues and this will get you on your way in around 20 minutes. Things can change significantly if you want to cook vegetables or meat since the two have drastically different cooking times, but having an idea of how much power you can get from your machine is a good way to judge how long fixing your meal is going to take.
Furthermore, the cooking power of a solar oven depends on the amount of sunlight that hits it while you cook. Cloudy hours can greatly reduce this, stretching the time you have to wait before sinking your teeth into your tasty meals. This, unfortunately, is intrinsic to the nature of solar ovens and cannot be changed, but if the extra waiting time is worth not having to pay for gas or electricity, then you may have found yourself a deal.
Another thing that’s great about solar ovens is they can easily be cleaned. Because they have no working parts, there is little to ever go wrong with them.
Solar ovens aren’t cheap so make sure it comes with a warranty to protect your investment. 30-day money-back guarantees are becoming more common too, and offer no risk.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Solar Ovens
Solar ovens work like ovens that use solar energy to heat and cook food. However, like all devices, it has its own fair share of advantages and disadvantages.
Aside from benefitting the environment, solar ovens can also help save in household bills in the end since you are now relying on solar energy. This means you get to save on electricity bills and also eliminate your expenses for gas, oil, wood, coal, and other fossil fuels.
More nutritious meals
Solar ovens cook food more slowly. Thus, food tends to retain its flavor, is tenderer, and more nutritious compared to regular ovens. They are also great at retaining moisture in your food.
For one, solar ovens are usually portable and thus, are not a hassle to take anywhere. You can take them with you when camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. With this, you are guaranteed food and clean water during these activities. They are also useful during power outages and blackouts. With this, you can still cook meals and eat.
Solar ovens use the sun’s energy to heat and cook food. By not using fossil fuels or electricity when cooking, they help in conserving the Earth’s already scarce resources. Besides, it helps in preserving the ozone layer as well as reduce your own and your family’s carbon footprint.
Effortless and Secure
Solar ovens make cooking easy since you just simply prepare the ingredients and put them in the oven. Moreover, since solar ovens cook food slower, there is no danger of open flames or burning. Hence, it is perfect for those with children or pets and for busy families. What is great is that you don’t have to monitor your food constantly. Hence, you have time to do other household activities.
Great for remote areas
Solar ovens are great for those living in areas where there is limited access to power and fuel. Since you only need the sun, then you can cook food just about anywhere.
It takes longer to cook
Some people might be put off by the long cooking time required by the solar oven. Here, you need to prepare and cook your meal early in the morning. This might be a hassle for those who have busy working schedules and the like.
Depends on sunlight
Like all solar devices, solar ovens need sunlight to work. Therefore, they do not come handy during winters or at nighttime. It’s also not recommended for people who live in areas with cold climates. A solar oven might not be much help during storms, overcast days, and the like. While it may work, the oven might not generate as much heat, resulting in undercooked food. Moreover, since it requires much sunlight, other people might be put off by the constant adjustment of the device.
Q: Do Solar Ovens Really Work?
Yes, they do. We don't realize it except in scorching hot summer days, but the Sun outputs a huge amount of energy towards the Earth every second. Solar ovens concentrate it on a single spot by using reflective panels, and the resulting heat is more than enough to cook food. Such ovens can be very useful to sterilize water if you're on a long trip outdoors and want to be safe.
Q: How Do You Make a Good Solar Oven?
A good solar oven has to be able to transfer the maximum amount of energy from the sun's rays to your cooking tools. In order for it to do so, the panels have to be well-positioned and coated with a very reflective material. Making a good solar oven on your own is possible but requires high-quality materials and great precision in positioning the different parts. Aluminum foil can be an excellent place to start and a good material that won't put your wallet under too much strain.
Q: What Are The 3 Types Of Solar Cookers?
Solar ovens can be shaped like a suitcase, an open box, or a tube. The first ones have a solid section for cooking with hinging panels attached to it, that swivel out to catch the sun's rays. The second kind is made entirely up of different panels which need to be spread out to catch the maximum amount of light and can also be oriented depending on the time of day you are cooking. The third kind cooks your food inside a long vacuum tube surrounded by two equally long, rounded reflectors.
Q: How Hot Can A Solar Oven Get?
A lot. As we have said earlier, the Sun is an extremely powerful battery and a constant source of power, so if solar ovens are effective in gathering its energy this results in some very hot temperatures around the cooking zone. Most models start from around 300 degrees Fahrenheit, since this is the minimum usable amount to boil water, and some can stretch to more than 500 F, so watch out for your fingers when you go and check if your food is done.
Q: What temperature do most solar ovens cook at?
The best solar ovens can cook at a temperature as high as 600 degrees Fahrenheit. A few solar ovens can reach a temperature of 400-degree Fahrenheit. Still, most solar ovens cook at temperatures ranging from 250 to 350 degrees, which is enough for food to be prepared.
Q: How can I make my solar oven more effective?
Q: How long does it take to cook an egg in a solar oven?
It takes about 35 minutes to cook an egg in a solar oven. All you got to do is place the egg in a pot, then put the utensil in the preheated solar oven. After 35 minutes, remove the egg, and it should have been cooked.
Q: Do solar ovens work on cloudy days?
On a partly cloudy day, the majority of solar ovens cannot cook. Only a few of them can cook, which we have reviewed here since these unique solar ovens only need a ray of sunlight. As far as the rest of the solar ovens are concerned, they cannot work on a cloudy day as the sun is essential for them to function.
Globo Surf Overview
Whether you are a hiker who doesn’t want to carry gas cylinders on the trail, or simply a weekend barbecue enthusiast that is conscious about the environment, solar ovens are a great new tool to cook your food in an all-natural way.
In our article, we have presented you with the best options available on the market today, which can fit all sorts of needs and all kinds of pockets. Making the choice is now up to you, but by following our guide you’ll quickly find what best fits your particular situation and you’ll be on your way to preparing many tasty meals on the road, and all without burning an ounce of extra gas.