best solar ovens

The idea of cooking with the sun has been with us since the 17th century when Swiss physicist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure built the first recorded solar oven. 

Versions of the solar oven have been around ever since then. However, it’s only been in recent years, when the cost and size of solar technology have fallen significantly, that solar cooking has become truly viable.

Thankfully, there has been an explosion of excellent solar ovens onto the market. We were incredibly impressed with our top pick, the SUN OVENS International All American Sun Oven, but it had a lot of competition for the top spot from some amazing runners-up.

So, if you’re looking for a way to convert the power of the sun into a home-cooked meal, read on.

The best solar ovens: our reviews

As usual, we’ve broken down our reviews into specific categories. While our top pick and the runner-up are the ovens we’re most impressed by overall, we’ve titled the other reviews with what we think their standout features are. Let’s take a look at some of the best solar ovens currently on the market.

1. Our top pick – SUN OVENS International All American Sun Oven

The All American Sun Oven is very much the zenith of solar cooking technology. The four rust-proof, highly polished, mirror-like anodized aluminum panels can be set up in seconds. 

The EZ sun trackers and self-contained leveling leg make it remarkably easy to position the oven. In strong sunlight, it can reach temperatures of between 360 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The inside of the All American Sun Oven comes with a spill-proof levelator, which is a hanging food rack that prevents spillage when the oven needs to be re-leveled as the sun moves. 

The oven can be used to independently bake, boil, or steam foods and is a great method for boil-sterilizing water without needing to carry propane around with you.

With dimensions of 24 x 15.5 x 20.5 inches, the All American Sun Oven certainly isn’t compact, but with a weight of just 22 pounds and built-in carrying handles, it’s still reasonably portable. The Sun Oven also comes with all you need to get cooking, including a built-in thermometer and a solar oven-specific cookbook.

What we like:

  • Easy to level – The addition of the EZ sun trackers and self-contained leveling leg makes it very easy to position your oven to take the best advantage of the sunlight.
  • Anti-spill – Your oven will need to be moved as the sun moves, and the spill-proof levelator means you can do that without spilling your food.
  • Portable – While by no means small, the All American Sun Oven is at least light enough to be easily portable.

What we don’t like:

  • Less than durable sun trackers – Some buyers have reported that the EZ sun trackers tend to fall off the body of the oven after about a year of use and need to be reattached.

Overall, the All American Sun Oven gets our seal of approval because of how easy it is to use, the simplicity and effectiveness of the leveling system, and the fact that it comes with everything you need to get cooking.

2. The runner up – Sunflair Portable Solar Oven

By comparison to the All American Sun Oven, the Sunflair Portable Solar Oven is extremely portable. 

In fact, the entire oven weighs under two pounds and folds down almost flat. This makes it ideal for space-restricted activities such as camping, boating, RV-ing, and tailgating. If you’ve got an emergency disaster kit, the Sunflair makes an excellent portable addition to it.

The kit itself comes with everything you need to get cooking, including a solar oven thermometer, two heat-conducting baking trays, two dehydrating racks, an enamelware pot, two silicone pots, and a convenient carrying bag. 

The silicon pots fold down to a 2-cm thickness to add to the portability, while the oven folds down to 2 x 15.5 x 19 inches.

Because it works best in weather with a UV index of 3+, the Sunflair is rated for four-season cooking below 40 degrees latitude and three-season cooking above it. With the right level of direct sunlight, the Sunflair can reach temperatures of up to 285 Fahrenheit.

What we like:

  • Super portable – Folding down to dimensions of 2 x 15.5 x 19 inches and weighing under 2 pounds makes the Sunflair very portable indeed.
  • Great accessories – The addition of folding silicon pots is an excellent addition to this ultra-portable kit.
  • Green manufacturer – Sunflair donates a portion of its proceeds toward green causes.

What we don’t like:

  • No anti-spill – The Sunflair will need to be adjusted to follow the sun and the lack of any anti-spill measures might make that a little tricky, depending on what you’re cooking.

The Sunflair might lack some of the All American Sun oven’s features, but it more than makes up for that with its sheer utility and extraordinary portability.

3. The best hybrid oven – GOSUN Fusion Solar Oven/Hybrid Electric Grill

The only real downside of a solar oven (and you might have already guessed this) is that it won’t cook in poor solar conditions or at night. 

The GOSUN Fusion solves that issue by combining a solar oven with an electric oven to create a hybrid that can run on multiple power sources. 

Mounted below the stainless steel cook tray is a 150 Watt heating element, which draws about as much energy as a standard 60-watt incandescent lightbulb and can be run off any 12V power source.

When using solar energy, the anodized aluminum panels create a maximum temperature of around 550 Fahrenheit in full sunlight.

The Fusion folds down into a pleasingly compact body with a stainless steel hard shell and dimensions of 30.3 x 13.5 x 13 inches. This compact little package weighs just 16 pounds, making it very easy to take with you on your next camping trip.

What we like:

  • Solar/Electric Hybrid – The Fusion offers all the benefits of a solar-powered oven with the ability to cook in poor weather or during the night.
  • Portable – The Fusion folds down into a compact and easily portable package. 
  • Solid – The solid steel outer cover helps to protect the fragile solar reflectors. 

What we don’t like:

  • Hard to get spares – A number of customers have highlighted how hard it can be to get spare parts for the Fusion from the manufacturer GOSUN.

Folding down into a neat little package, the GOSUN Fusion Hybrid is ideal if you want the benefits of a solar oven without any of the restrictions, like an inability to cook at night. 

4. Best portable – Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven

One of the things we liked about the larger Sunflair was its portability and the Sunflair mini really doubles down on that. The Sunflair Mini has dimensions of just 13 x 5 x 11 inches and weighs in at just 1.25 pounds, making it by far the most portable oven on this list. 

The size of the folded down Mini is around that of that of your standard laptop, just much lighter and much more capable of making you dinner. 

For all its diminutive size, the Sunflair Mini can reach temperatures of up to 200-285 Fahrenheit, making it ideal for slower, stockpot cooking when you don’t have access to other forms of fuel.

What we like:

  • Ultra-portable – As compact as a modern laptop and a fraction of the price, the Sunflair Mini is the last word in portable solar ovens.
  • Ultralight – The Sunflair mini weighs in at just 1.25 pounds, making it by far the lightest solar oven on this list.

What we don’t like:

  • Takes a long time to cook – The smaller the oven, the less solar energy it can repurpose into heat, which means the Sunflair Mini is going to take a lot longer to cook than its larger counterparts.

If you’re going backpacking or want an ultra-small, ultra-light, ultra-portable cooking solution, there aren’t going to be many better options than the Sunflair Mini.

5. Best mid-range – GOSUN GO Portable Solar Oven

A with the GOSUN Hybrid, the GOSUN Go has a unique tubular steel shell around an evacuated tube oven. The vacuum tube acts as the perfect insulator, converting as much as 80% of the solar radiator reflected by the two parabolic reflectors into heat.

In strong direct sunlight, the GOSUN Go can reach temperatures of up to 550 Fahrenheit, meaning meals can be cooked in as little as twenty minutes. The EVA frame of the Go is covered by a stainless steel shell and an EVA foam carrying case, which means it all folds up into one compact package. 

The Go has dimensions of 4.17 x 7.09 x 3.35 inches and weighs just four pounds. Combined with its folding design, its compact frame and low weight make it ultra-portable.

The GoSun Go also comes with a stainless steel cooking tray, silicone cooking pans, stabilizer stand, cleaning brush, and your own little mini solar oven cookbook to get you started.

What we like:

  • High heat – Despite its compact size, the addition of the vacuum tube around the cooking chamber means the GOSUN Go can reach temperatures of up to 550 Fahrenheit
  • Built-in carry case – The folds up back into an EVA foam carrying case, which both protects it and makes it easier to store. 
  • Durable The stainless steel outer, there to protect the more fragile vacuum tube, makes the entire unit surprisingly durable for its size.

What we don’t like:

  • Getting replacement parts – As with the other GOSUN ovens, getting replacement parts, particularly if you break the vacuum tube, can prove difficult.

While it might not be quite as portable as the Sunflair Mini, the GOSUN Go is certainly a compact, durable, portable solar oven that uses vacuum tube technology to reach surprisingly high temperatures.

6. Best budget – SolCook All Season Solar Cooker

Solar ovens are actually a fairly simple idea. They use reflective panels to concentrate sunlight into one spot, heating whatever sits under the concentrated solar radiation. 

The SolCook All Season Solar Cooker takes full advantage of that simplicity of function to create a simple solar oven from reflective panels inside a cardboard outer.

Essentially a large cardboard box lined with mylar, the SolCook All Season Solar Cooker is necessarily large because, like a lot of panel ovens, the heat it can produce is dictated by the size of its panels.

The All Season Solar Cooker has dimensions of 18.1 x 14.3 x 6.7 inches and weighs 4.84 pounds, making it lightweight if not exactly compact. A simple block and pin assembly attached to the upper lid helps the user angle the oven for best results.

What we like:

  • The simplicity – The simple design makes the All Season Solar Cooker remarkably easy to use. Just fold it out and point it at the sun.
  • The size – The All Season Solar Cooker is large enough to cook a family-sized turkey, or accommodate two one-gallon cooking pots.

What we don’t like:

  • Also the simplicity – There are no bells and whistles to the All Season Solar Cooker. No hybrid energy sources or parabolic reflectors, which makes it more reliant on a good strong source of sunlight than other models.

If you are just looking for a simple reflective panel solar oven with a large enough capacity to cook a large meal, then the All Season Solar Cooker is ideal. Just don’t expect it to have any other features. 

7. Best bundle deal – GOSUN Solar Kitchen Bundle

If you’re looking to upgrade all of your camping equipment to solar in one big bundle, then the GOSUN Solar Kitchen Bundle is exactly what you need. The kit comes with the GOSUN Fusion hybrid solar cooker, the Chill Solar Cooler, with included PowerBank+, and a SolarTable 60 charging table.

Taken together, this kit gives you a table, oven, and chiller that can also be used to charge your electrical devices. The dual-power-source Hybrid and the inclusion of the PowerBank+ means you can run your set up from any 12V power source or use the charging table to store solar energy for cooking in the evening by charging the PowerBank+.

While each of these items of their own is a viable way to harness the power of the sun to do what would normally be done with grid electricity or propane, buying them all together allows you to stop paying for fuel without needing to stop your glamping. 

What we like:

  • Dual fuel – The combination of the 12V hookup and PowerBank+ battery means this kit can be run on multiple power sources.
  • Phone charger – Even when not in use, the PowerBank+ can be charged up by the SolarTable 60 to provide energy for other electrical devices or to power the oven or chiller when the sun goes down.
  • Convenience – Having all these solar energy kits in one bundle makes it simple and easy to upgrade your camping kit in one purchase. 

What we don’t like:

  • Not portable – While these items might be individually portable, the combination of all of them rules them out for person-portable situations like backpacking.

An all-in-one portable kit for environmentally conscious glampers, the GOSUN Solar Kitchen Bundle has everything you need to harness the sun to power your home away from home.

Best solar oven buying guide

Now that we’ve shown you some of the best solar ovens on the market, here’s a quick guide to what to look for when you’re buying one for yourself and what factors you need to consider.

Where and how will you be using your solar oven?

Solar ovens are best suited to places with a high solar value. It’s that simple. Some ovens, like the Sunflair, come with ratings that indicate that they are rated for four-season cooking below 40 degrees latitude and three-season cooking above it. 

If you happen to live somewhere with a very poor solar value, then you might want to consider a different cooking technology. If you’ve only got a middling solar value, it’s best to go for a model with parabolic reflectors, which help to focus the sunlight, or a hybrid mode, just in case.

US annual solar irradiance map
US Annual Horizontal Irradiance
Image source: NREL

When it comes to how you’re using your solar oven, if you’re just hoping to set it up and cook a meal in twenty minutes, that’s probably not going to happen. Solar ovens work best with a low and slow cooking approach.

It’s true that some of the ovens on this list can get up to 550 Fahrenheit, but that’s only in perfect conditions. Going for the slow and low approach adds in a little more wiggle room to allow you to deal with variable solar conditions.

What will you be cooking?

As we’ve mentioned above, solar ovens work best for slow and low cooking, so it’s best to aim for cooking meals that work well with that technique. The second factor to consider is the capacity of your cooking area. 

If you’re cooking for multiple people, then the smaller cooking area of something like the GOSUN Go, combined with the longer cooking time, might leave you with some hungry friends. 

If you are cooking for a larger group of people, build in a lot of lead time to cover changes in the weather and go for a larger panel solar oven like the SolCook All Season Solar Cooker.

What style of solar cooker do you need?

Solar ovens come in a number of different styles and the one that will suit you best depends on when and how you’ll be using it.

The Heat Box/Panels

The heat box design of solar oven uses large reflective panels to reflect sunlight down into a box. The convergence of this reflected light is what creates the heat that is used to cook your food. 

The larger the panels, the more heat the oven produces. 

solcook heat box style solar cooker
Heat box style solar cooker by SolCook

The SolCook All Season Solar Cooker and the SUN OVENS International All American Sun Oven are great examples of heat box/panel ovens and they are both typified by having a large cooking capacity and being quite simple to use.

Parabolic reflectors

Parabolic reflectors use a curved mirror to focus the sunlight when they reflect it onto an object, much like you can do with a magnifying glass. This focussed sunlight is much more efficient, making parabolic reflector ovens better for places with a poorer solar value.

parabolic solar oven
Solar over with parabolic reflectors

Because the panels don’t need to be as large as in the heat box design, parabolic reflector ovens are often smaller and more portable.

The vacuum tube

Vacuum tube solar ovens make use of the fact that vacuum insulation preserves entrapped heat very well. Vacuum tubes can be used to cook on their own by just being placed in the sun and trapping and magnifying its heat.

Gosun go solar oven with vacuum tube
Gosun Go solar oven with a vacuum tube

However, if you combine them with parabolic reflectors, as most of the GOSUN models use, the heat from the reflectors constantly heats the vacuum tube, allowing it to reach much higher temperatures.

Vacuum tube solar ovens cook much faster than using parabolic reflectors alone, but they tend to have a smaller cooking chamber and the glass vacuum tube is fragile.

Do you want any special features or accessories?

There are a few features and accessories that are worth investing in if you have the option to get them alongside your chosen solar oven.

A carrying case

Especially in the case of a vacuum tube solar oven, having a protective carrying case is a great way to protect fragile parts, like the glass vacuum tube and the parabolic mirrors.

A sundial

Normally a simple block and peg design, the sundial lets you know in which direction you’ll get the most sunlight and when you’ll need to reposition your oven to follow the sun.

Anti-spill measures

As the sun moves through the sky, you’ll need to reposition your solar oven to get the best effect. Ovens like the SUN OVENS International All American Sun Oven come with anti-spill features to stop your food from slopping about while you’re moving the oven.


So you’ve got all the information you need, we’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions on solar ovens and answered them for you:

How do solar ovens work?

In the simplest terms, solar ovens work by reflecting solar energy, as light, onto an object. When the light hits the object, some of that energy is transformed into heat. The design of a solar oven focuses that heat on a single point.

The effect is similar to getting into your car after the windscreen has been facing the sun on a hot day, or that building in London that melted cars, just a lot more useful. 

How long does it take to cook with a solar oven?

This depends entirely on the design of the oven and the solar conditions in your area. An oven that uses a vacuum tube and parabolic reflectors can reach up to 500 Fahrenheit, cooking as fast as a home oven. 

Simpler heat box models cook far slower and are better suited to a low and slow approach to cooking. The simple answer is, the hotter the sun, the faster your food will cook.

What can I cook in a solar oven?

Solar ovens can be used to cook anything a home oven can. The only thing holding you back is the cooking time and the capacity. You probably won’t want to try your hand at cooking a chocolate souffle in a solar oven, but pretty much everything else is on the table, as long as you can actually fit it in. 

Cooking with the power of the sun

Solar ovens allow you to cook with the limitless green energy of the sun and mean you don’t have to lug propane canisters or wood chips around. We were hugely impressed with the effectiveness of ovens like the SUN OVENS International All American Sun Oven and the GOSUN Go, while the Sunflair and its little brother Sunflair Mini represent a super portable cooking solution.

So, whether you’re looking for a greener set up for your next glamping trip or a light and compact cooker for your bug-out bag or emergency kit, adding a solar oven means you’ll never run out of fuel again. 

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