We bought a Solar Oven a couple years ago and use it fairly regularly. It might be for main dishes or just cooking dried beans or vegetable broth. It becomes a lifestyle.
After experimenting with parabolic reflectors and using the sun oven, in the short term we will be spending our time improving the box oven design. However, the Sun Oven at its current price point seems to be pricier than its value. What initially attracted me to buy it, cooking with the sun seemed like a cool idea, when I was working and had extra cash $200 was no big deal. Now I am unemployed and in the boat that most folks are – that is, no cash to goof off with. Solar cooking makes sense, but paying big bucks for mediocre products is not affordable in the long run.
The Sun Oven at $200 is much too expensive for a cooking device that had a 2 year life. One can get a much fancier and more conventional range for a couple multiples of that and it will last 10-30 years.
Its good features include:
- It achieves high temperatures needed for cooking
- The foldable mirrored reflectors are a good design, and make it portable
- It has a tempered glass, tight fitting window
However, being designed for portability means it has to be moved into an out of service. If it is left in an operable position as ours was, the wood frame will deteriorate in a couple of years. The photos show how after two years the screws on the window hinge kept falling out. The metal pieces that secure the window to its closing position are also loose. The other photo on the right shows the wood splitting.
Partially disassembling the Sun Oven to install bolts in place of screws, one gets a view of the inside.
As you can see, the insulation does fully cover the bottom. It also uses fiberglass insulation. On some sites there was concern that the bonding agent in fiberglass insulation might off-gas. But we haven’t noticed any effects, if that is even the case.
After three years of use, the black plastic coating is peeling off the metal.