If you're tired of paying for firewood, gas, or charcoal, or perhaps just want to get out of the kitchen, a solar oven is an excellent option for you. Invented hundreds of years ago, solar ovens are cheap, reliable, and environmentally friendly options for outdoor cooking.
In fact, most people don't know this, but many solar ovens are fully capable of reaching the same temperatures as a conventional oven — all just using the sun, at no cost to you.
What's the Most Important Stuff to Know When It Comes to Solar Ovens?
Solar ovens were invented in the 1700s, and use the power of the sun to cook food. Usually, it requires at least 3-4 hours of direct sunlight to get hot enough to cook food fully.
You can think of a solar oven sort of as a slow cooker or crockpot, although some models get hot enough to cook food just like a conventional oven. Having been around for hundreds of years, solar ovens are, luckily, pretty simple at this point.
There are still a few things to consider before making a purchase, but most models have the same basic features.
1. What should you think about when buying a solar oven?
First, what kind of food are you going to be cooking in your solar oven? The internal dimensions of the oven determine what size pot or pan you're going to be able to fit.
Lots of solar ovens come with dishes, but you can also use your own. Next, you should consider how hot you want your solar oven to get.
This is partially determined by the climate you live in, so be sure to take sunlight into account when reading the temperatures a particular model of solar oven is likely to reach. Hotter climates will see hotter temperatures.
Some ovens can cook all day without burning food, while others require more careful management.
If you're planning to use your oven while camping or hiking, the weight and portability of the oven are things you should take into account. One of the coolest parts of a solar oven is that it is fire-free, meaning that in cases where you are not allowed to have an open flame, you can still cook hot food.
Of course, another major consideration when purchasing a solar oven is what accessories it comes with. If two ovens are comparable in price, but one is going to make you purchase all of the accessories separately, that's not a good deal.
If all things are considered equal, you may wish to make your decision based on unique traits or features offered by a specific brand or model.
2. Where are the best solar ovens available?
Many department stores and sporting goods stores carry solar ovens. Also, like most things, it's easy to buy models over the internet from websites such as Amazon.
3. What's the typical price range for a solar oven?
A durable, high-quality solar oven will typically cost $200-$300 USD. It's possible to find cheaper models, but many have issues with reliability and cheap parts.
How We Reviewed
It's important to us that you don't waste your time confusedly browsing worthless products, so we've gone ahead and done the legwork for you. We've analyzed manufacturer details, features, user reviews, professional reviews, and applied our own experience to give you the most comprehensive point of view possible.
Using all the data we could acquire, we've boiled it down to just a few selections that are worthy of being on this list.
When it comes to solar ovens, we're looking for reliable, predictable cooking at a fair price.
With each option, you will find a bullet point breakdown of basic features, including dimensions, temperature, weight, accessories, price, and, of course, any unique features a particular model may have.
Solar ovens have been around for hundreds of years, so it's easy to know what you're going to get. We're not going to bother with any models that are too expensive with no justification, and we're not going to bother with cheap, unreliable junk.
The GoSun Sport will not disappoint. However, the small size is a limitation. We give this solar oven 4 out of 5 stars.
Because of the reliability, durability, and ability to cook a lot of food at one time, we're giving the Solavore Sport Solar Oven 4.2 out of 5 stars.
When it comes to value for the price, this solar oven can't be beaten. We're giving this one by Sunflair 5 out of 5 stars.
We're giving the All American Sun Oven 3.8 out of 5 stars.
Because of the price and utility of this option, we're giving it 5 out of 5 stars.
Our Verdict for the Best Solar Oven of 2018
When it comes to solar ovens, it's important to make sure you're not wasting your money on cheap, low-quality products. Depending on your needs, it's not hard to find a quality option that will last a long time.
Of course, what model is "best" is going to come down to personal selection. If you have a large family and want to use it for camping trips or in the yard, portability is not a big factor. Yet if you're wanting something to cook with on the trail when hiking, a 20-pound monster is going to make things a little bit difficult.
If forced to pick just one, our favorite solar oven of 2018 is the Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven. This one's got it all in a small package. If it's not large enough for you, Sunflair's Portable Solar Oven Deluxe might be a better choice.
It's fair to say that when it comes to the solar oven market, Sunflair is dominating. If you're looking to buy a solar oven, a Sunflair oven is a great investment.