When adventurers, environmentalists, and anyone who wants to take advantage of a free energy source looks into a new way to cook food, they are never far from solar cooking. Solar ovens and cookers are good for the local environment because they produce no smelly or toxic waste and they emit no greenhouse gases. They also require no fuel other than plentiful sunlight, which means no fuel costs. Many are easy to maintain and clean, and so it makes sense to adapt one’s cooking habits to use a solar cooker or oven.
Given that solar cookers are growing in popularity different solar ovens and solar cookers create different experiences for the user. Some solar chefs want portability above all else and are willing to pay for durable materials and a compact design. Others want the economic impact of a cooker to be low, so that it can be mass-produced and distributed quickly, even if some of the features are less impressive. Regardless of how you want to use your solar oven, it is valuable to look at the options before you settle on a particular model.
Box Solar Ovens, for example, are quite simple in design. Some of them are designed to be effective, inexpensive, and able to be created quickly and easily by anyone using common materials. The structure involves a reflective box which contains the pot for the food, along with a lid and a single reflective panels that concentrates sun into the cooker. There are also more complex models which have multiple collapsible reflective panels rather than just the one flap. Regardless, these ovens tend to be on the less expensive side, though depending on the materials they are also more vulnerable to wear and tear over time. They can bake and create meals for large amounts of people, sometimes even 8-10, but they do poorly with low angle light and are somewhat less portable than other solar cookers.
Vacuum Tube Solar Cookers, on the other hand, have some very different benefits. These cookers concentrate the sun onto a vacuum tube, which slowly absorbs all of that heat without letting it escape. The food inside the tube can become cooked or baked quite quickly and the reflectors use relatively less surface area. Stoves like theGoSun Sport are quite portable cookers, with a fold-up design that allows them to be moved easily, while theGoSun Grilloffers more capacity for cooking without being extremely bulky. Both of these grills cost more than many Box Solar Ovens, and while they are unlikely to degrade over time, they are vulnerable if dropped because of their glass vacuum tubes.
At the same time, Vacuum Tube and Box Solar Ovens offer different options to the world, they also both offer quite good capacity for cooking and the option for doing some baking, which can be a struggle in other forms of solar cookers. These are certainly popular options in the solar oven world, but there are even more options to explore. To see all major solar cooking technology compared, check outthis blog post.