by Laura Leavitt January 25, 2018

Solar cooking is growing in popularity because people are realizing two valuable truths: no one wants to pay for fuel when there is plentiful free sunshine, and many are becoming concerned with their environmental impact. Using the sun to harness enough heat to cook food is a great method to both reduce one’s greenhouse gas emissions and save some money from using less fuel at the same time.

Different models have different advantages; as people look for the best solar ovens online, they are often tempted to try the model they run across first. However, in the cases of dish solar cookers and vacuum tube solar ovens, they are valuable in different contexts. Some people, like adventure travellers, are looking for an extremely portable oven or stove, while people who want to cook in their backyard may value a range of available cooking options over the ability to move their stove.

Dish solar cookers are great for speed of cooking, durability, and versatility. Dish solar cookers use a large parabolic dish to focus the sun’s rays to create a spot of intense heat. You can use them to cook or fry a variety of items since they concentrate the sun’s energy on a single pot or pan in the center. The downsides are that they need to be adjusted to where the sun is, and they can be costly and somewhat dangerous if operated incorrectly. They can often be a bit expensive and take up a lot of space, which isn’t a problem if you have plans to keep your Dish in a particular location long-term and use it frequently. Some successful models includeSolSource andSK14, and on a sunny day they can truly shine.

Vacuum tube solar ovens, on the other hand, have some very different contextual advantages and disadvantages. One of the most interesting positives is that they are quite portable and don’t need a lot of attention, since their design allows them to capture light for long enough to cook without constant adjustment. While they are not always inexpensive, they excel in weight, versatility, and ability to work with cloudy or low light environments. Two models, the GoSun Grill and the GoSun Sport are good examples of this technology; the GoSun Grill stands out for the larger capacity and the GoSun Sport stands out for the speed of cooking, which is often as rapid as a conventional oven.

If you need your food quickly and don’t mind using a large device to do it, a Dish Solar Cooker will often be a good option. However, if you want a cool-to-the-touch item that requires less space and has increased portability, you might be a better candidate for a Vacuum Tube Solar Oven. Both styles are fairly versatile, but your needs will ultimately determine which fits your choices most.

While Dish and Vacuum Tube cookers are certainly popular options in the solar oven world, there are even more options to explore. To see all major solar cooking technology compared, check outthis blog post.

Laura Leavitt
Laura Leavitt

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