Solar Cooking Australia Solar Cookers and Cooking

Sun Cook Solar Cooker Test / Review

Decide which to use - or buy...

Last year we did a test between 3 common solar cookers to report on the findings. The Global Sun Oven ® came out a clear winner.

This winter we decided to test an oven that is being advertised as 'Australia's Best Solar Cooker' - the Sun Cook.

We have found that this is a false claim, not only is the unit European not Australian, it may actually be Chinese. The same Chinese company that makes the counterfeit ‘SunOven’ also makes a design the same as the 'Sun Cook' so we are not sure which is being offered in Australia.

We can not vouch for the safety of this oven so offer this test as an information only guide.

The Line Up:

The Global Sun Oven ® - a Solar Oven with built in 4 way fold - down reflectors

Sun Cook Solar Oven
- a solar oven with one reflector and 2 reflector inserts.


The Test:

2 Solar Cookers would be used side by side over a number of hours to heat up 2 L of water in identical pots.

The oven temperature and water temperature was to be measured every 10 minutes.

After 2.5 hours the solar cookers being tested would be turned away from the sun to see how well they kept the water hot (insulation value).


The Figures:

2L of water in a black pot
Air Temperature = 15.5ºC
Water Temperature = 17.1ºC
Conditions - fine for 60 minutes then some light intermittent clouds


Notes:

The temperatures of both ovens would get higher in normal use as you wouldn't be opening the lid every 10 minutes.

The SunCook was brand new - the Global Sun Oven ® had dirty reflectors and glass from being well used for quite some time.

2000g of water by weight was used in each pot. Due to the instability of the SunCook 10 - 30g of it's water was lost during temperature measurement. This favoured the SunCook slightly as the water would heat up slightly quicker but would not be noticeable in the final results.

The lid of the Global Sun Oven ® opens completely to allow easy access, while the SunCook lifts up from the front which has the effect of keeping some heat in the oven. This (hindrance in operation) helps the SunCook in this test as the ovens were opened every 10 minutes.

To start with we treated each oven with the attitude 'must try to get it as hot as possible'. After about an hour we only had this attitude with the SunCook as it was obviously struggling. The Sun Cook received 3 times the attention and adjustments trying to eek every last degree of heat out of it.
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The below test is the temperatures in the ovens recorded every 10 minutes for two and a half hours. At the one hour mark a few light clouds passed over but in general the skies were clear.

At 2 and a half hours the ovens were turned away from the sun altogether and the temperatures were taken every 30 minutes.

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The Global Sun Oven ® heated up very quickly and stayed at a very constant heat even with cloud cover.

The SunCook was very sensitive to the direction of the sun. While the Global Sun Oven ® could be left for hours without much negative effect on the temperature, the Sun Cook needed continual adjustment even to achieve the lower temperatures recorded.





The below are the results for the water temperature on the same test. The water temperatures were measured every hour
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Both of these ovens have great insulation. Far better than the cheaper indian (Tulsi) models. Good insulation is vital to keep constant temperatures in the event of cloud cover or to keep the food warm after dark.
As can be seen, both ovens heat the water, though the SunCook doesn’t heat up as quickly nor as high a temperature. In practise this means we would think twice about sing it for cooking, baking and would leave it unable to roast. It could be used a slow cooker, though the price is very high for this type of device.

It would be interesting to see how the SunCook compares to the Tulsi solar cooker regarding temperatures as that oven is far cheaper and likely similar in temperature effectiveness.

We have covered the Global Sun Oven® before, but the benefits over the SunCook are clear:
Easier to set up, Much easier to use, Higher temperatures.

Summary:

This test reminds me of the 'Tablet market share wars'. On one hand we have Apples iPad, which operates with speed and ease, on the other there are a host of imitators that are very vocal about 'better specs' - but in actual use they fall short.

The SunCook is marketed with claims that don't reflect truth - but the unit as a whole is just not quite up to the task. It has some very annoying traits that will leave this reviewer a Global Sun Oven ® fan.

POSITIVES:

The Global Sun Oven ®

PROS
- Very hot temperatures,
- Great Insulation,
- Easy to set up
- Lid opens all the way and stays open to adjust food
- Large reflector surface Area,
- Even temperatures in light cloud cover,
- Large cooking area, Usable cooking area (height),
- Light, compact and easy to move,
- High quality,
- Tilted lid so condensation runs off easily.

CONS
- Can be unstable in side wind
- Not as wide cooking area (though higher)


Sun Cook Solar Oven

PROS

- Reasonable temperatures,
- Good insulation, Unstable design,
- Wide cooking area (though restricted height)
- No levelling base,
- Fair quality

CONS
- Low lid opening (Hard to add / remove or attend food)
- Not hot enough to roast (baking / cooking may be hindered as well)
- Very fiddly reflector insert,
- Less angled lid would mean condensation would be an issue.
- Low cooking area (too low for our roasting pots and full sized loaves)
- Poor Quality accessories (pots are flimsy painted tins)
- Heavy to carry
- Unstable when the lid is lifted

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The World's Best Solar Oven - The Global Sun Oven ® available worldwide from www.sunoven.com.au

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The Global Sun Oven was designed to defeat the problems of solar cookers. It is well insulated to keep food hot - but is light to carry. It has built in reflectors but is easy to fold up & compact. It has the benefits of extra heat but doesn't burn food easily. It is safe and very easy to use - your best choice!

Sun Oven Solar Cookers - the Worlds' Best!

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