Build Your Own Solar Cooker!

Today’s blog comes courtesy of Solar Cookers World Network and SolarCookers.org

Build a solar cookerEdit Build a solar cooker section!

See also the old plans page on the Solar Cooking Archive.

There is a wide variety of solar cooker designs, many of them very simple to build from inexpensive, easy-to-obtain materials. Some can be built in as little as an hour for less than US$5. Start by choosing a cooker design type based on your requirements. The table below lists strengths and weaknesses of the most common types, and shows some popular cookers of each type. Below each table are all cooker plans of that cooker type. You can also buy a solar cooker from a variety of companies.

Three Simple Designs

Panel-style cookersEdit Panel-style cookers section

Advantages Disadvantages
General characteristics
  • Easy and cheap to make
  • Can be collapsed for storage or transport
  • Lower temperatures.
  • Can’t fry foods.
  • Cooks only 1-2 pots of food.
Fun-Panel

Fun-Panel 45 degree view.jpg
  • Built in about an hour from one large cardboard box or from two medium-size sheets of cardboard
  • Doesn’t require a large flat sheet of cardboard like the CooKit does
  • Easy to adjust for different sun angles
  • Great cooking power
  • Very good for winter cooking in temperate regions
  • Not waterproof
  • Might be difficult to use in equatorial climates where sun rises to straight overhead.
Windshield Shade

Windshield shade.jpg
  • Fastest cooker to make.
  • Waterproof
  • Only feasible where windshield shades are sold
Cookit

CooKit.jpg
  • Folds to the size of a large notebook for storage or transport
  • Not waterproof
  • Cooks best when the sun is high in the sky.
Sunny Cooker

Sunny Cooker - LSA 1.jpg
  • Uses less cardboard than other panel cookers
  • Not waterproof
  • Might be more difficult to use at mid-day in equatorial climates where sun rises to straight overhead.

See all Panel cooker plans.


Box-style cookersEdit Box-style cookers section

Advantages Disadvantages
General characteristics
  • Can cook in multiple pots simultaneously
  • Can be built from many different materials
  • Can be built any size to cook large quantities of food
  • Don’t have to be turned to follow the sun while cooking
  • Construction time longer than panel.
  • Can’t fry foods.
The “Minimum”

Minimum Solar Box Cooker Photo small.jpg
  • Simple to build from two cardboard boxes
  • Not waterproof
Easy Lid

Happy Sunshine Cooker.JPG
  • Same as “Minimum” Cooker but there is no need to construct a lid since the top of larger box becomes the lid
  • Not waterproof
Heaven’s Flame

Heavensflame.jpg
  • Extra power due to multiple reflectors
  • Can heat multiple pots simultaneously
  • Must be turned a bit more often to follow the sun
  • Bottom of oven not level as cooker tilts toward sun
  • Not waterproof

See all Box cooker plans.


Parabolic cookersEdit Parabolic cookers section

Advantages Disadvantages
General characteristics
  • Cook as fast as a conventional electric burner.
  • Can fry foods.
  • More expensive than other models
  • Tricky to make without imported materials.
  • Requires periodic realignment to the sun.
  • Can’t bake bread
  • Can damage eyes.
DATS

DATS solar cooker.jpg
  • Can be made out of cardboard
  • Doesn’t require the pot to be in a heat resistant plastic bag
  • Must be realigned to the sun every 45 minutes
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