why does a solar oven need a plastic cover while cooking?

by Jessica

I made a homemade solar cooker, the box type, and the site i was following instructions from told me that i should use plastic wrap or glass to cover the cooking chamber while cooking. Is that a important part for the solar oven to work?


Greetings Jessica...and thank you for your inquiry.

Is this for a school science project?

Yes,that is correct, as the site instructed you on placing a plastic or glass cover on your solar box cooker.

The reason for this is so that your solar box/oven will be able to retain the heat that builds up from the reflector panel concentration of the suns rays onto your dark cooking pot, as well as into your box cooker interior. This is what is known as "the green house effect"

Some sites suggest the use of a simple plastic cover, primarily to keep expense down, and because the cooker designs are usually not very "hot" or efficient as solar cookers and therefore will usually not melt the plastic.

If you can, it would be better and safer to use glass for your lid or cover, preferably tempered glass, but that can be a bit expensive.

If your temperatures are not going to get really high; 300 F and above, then a regular pane of glass will do, but you have to take care to avoid breaking it through use and handling.
Many people will use double pane glass for the added strength, though it is still not as durable as tempered.

Lexan, a plastic like substance, is a better alternative than plastic since it will resist UV rays, higher temps. and will not melt or off-gas like plain plastic, but it can cost a bit more money, though not as much as tempered glass.

I hope this information is helpful to you and good luck with your solar cooker.

Nathan Parry


We have many helpful pages and links on our site to help you with your homemade solar cooker needs as well as great tips and suggestions on how to more effectively solar cook.

Comments for why does a solar oven need a plastic cover while cooking?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 29, 2010
by: Anonymous

thank you soooo much!! this helped me alot with my science project!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Do you have a question about Solar Cooking?.

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines

Advertise with us


South Dakota Solar Cook and her Recipes

All Amercian Sun Oven with Accessories package
Summer Sale until 22 September 2014

Regularly $359.00

Sun Chef Cooker

Made in USA

Regularly $359.00

See the new
SolSource Parabolic Cooker

Solar Cooker Protecitve cover

SolSource Information Here

Regularly $463.00

Solar Cooker Specials

SunFlair Compact Solar Panel Cooker

Regularly $119.00

Also, See our newly enhanced Solar Burner Parabolic

Click here for more information

Regularly $170.00


Solar Burner

for only $199.99

Europe's Giant Solar Box Cooker

Regularly $469.00

The Sun Kettle Solar Water Thermos

New, improved and better solar thermos

$66.00 includes shipping

New Financing Options available for purchase of Solar Cookers

International Buyers:

If you would rather purchase solar cookers in your own country, and you reside outside of the United States; see our listings page of International Solar Oven Vendors.

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust

Solar Cooker at Cantinawest

Promote Your Page Too