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Best Solar Oven? Hot Pot

Which is the best solar oven?

What I like and dislike about my Hot Pot Solar Panel Cooker.

  • First of all I like the cost; and being one of the least expensive commercial solar cookers this made it my first choice when I initially got into solar cooking. It worked so well I had to purchase a second Hot Pot right a way.
  • I like the fact that it is made with the highest quality materials and is very well constructed yet at the same time it is very simple and easy to use.
  • The polished aluminum reflector panels are very shiny and do very well at concentrating the suns rays on the pot, better than some reflective materials that wrinkle or have surface fading such as with Mylar or aluminum foil.
  • It's also great that the panels are fold-able, with tight well connected aluminum hinges, making it more compact and easy to store out of the way when not in use.
  • The steel pot and glass enclosure are very durable and easy to clean, and because of the materials used in its manufacture; it should last for years.
  • I like the fact that the glass pot and cover are made from thick tempered glass and that it allows for the steel pot to fit perfectly and precisely; creating a half-inch, hot air pocket all around the steel pot for more uniform heating and cooking.
  • I like being able to always see the food cooking in the pot through the transparent lid
  • I like the fact that the Hot Pot is sufficiently heavy, especially with food in it and; that most breezes are not a factor in regards to stability.
  • I like the size of the steel pot because it allows for a substantial amount of food to be cooked at one time, though one does have to remember not to over load the cooker; otherwise requiring longer cooking times.
  • But, if you have the time and the conditions are right, why not cook more.
  • I like the fact that you can set the Hot Pot out to cook and not have to worry about orienting the cooker so often like one would have to do with some cookers. This is due to the technical design of the solar reflector panels which greatly enhance the cooking concentration of the suns rays and thus the cooking temperatures. On good days in the summer you can leave it alone for longer periods of time to cook without turning it as often.
  • I especially like the Hot Pot for stews, soups, chilies and meats; it does so well with these foods. Our Hot Pots have even cooked whole chickens and roasts as well as any solar oven, especially through out the spring, summer and fall.

 ...Do these things make the Hot Pot the best solar oven?

tips and ideas on how to get the most out of your solar cooker

Some things I don't care for about the Hot Pot are:

  • It is not the best solar cooker for baking things such as cookies, breads pies and cakes, although with some experimenting, one can do so on a limited basis. A solar oven is more suited to baking than is a panel cooker, but many people do bake some items with the Hot Pot Panel Cooker.
  • I also have had some issues with the Hot Pot in the middle of winter; because the sun's angle is so low on the southern horizon it can't get the rays of the sun very directly.
  • You have to angle or tilt the Hot Pot in order to get the rays of the sun more directly and this can cause some concerns with spilling and tipping. That being said, the winter time sun though can be a major factor and concern for any type of solar cooker here in the northern hemisphere, but more so for panel style solar cookers.
  • I will say though that panel cookers work great pretty much all the rest of the year.

  • Another thing about the Hot Pot that I have noticed is; when it is quite windy or there are very thin high clouds; its cooking temperatures can decrease slightly due to the fact that the pot is not enclosed inside of a sealed oven chamber. In other words the ambient conditions and temperatures can affect a panel cooker a bit more than a more sealed box style cooker, although this is not a major issue most of the time.

With that being said, I do like my Hot Pot...very much and will be able to get many years of solar cooking use from it.

*Read about a South Dakota Solar Chef who cooks all kinds of foods with her Hot Pots


I have heard very good things about your solar cooker. 

I have a few questions, though I don’t know if you can answer....    If it helps, we live in the Black Hills, altitude around 3,000 to 4,000.  On a sunny day, can you estimate how long it would take to heat a can of beans in the “hot pot”?  How about a large “stew” with canned veggies, cooked meat, etc?  How about on a cloudy day?

Can we use other containers inside the pot, like even heating something in its original can (to save washing because we will have little water)?

Does it come with directions on how to cook in it (especially breads and more unusual things)?

After ordering, can you estimate how long it will take to get here? 

Thanks! Christa Upton

Custer, SD

Greeting Steve and Christa,

Answer to your last question first.
Order and delivery time for a Hot Pot to South Dakota would take about 3-5 days at the most.

With a Hot Pot solar cooker you can cook dry beans, cook roasts, chickens, veggies of all kinds, rice and pasta and even do some baking.

I use one of my Hot Pots (which I keep in my car) to cook and heat up leftovers of stew, chili, tacos, casseroles, Pizza, frozen Burritos, pot pies and such for my lunches almost every day (sunny days of course)
The time required to heat things up is not too much.
Most things are heated up in an hour or less depending on how much food I am heating/cooking.

Yes, you can place the can of beans, soup or stew inside of the solar oven and warm it up in the can if you wish, no problem.

Totally cloudy days you will not be able to solar cook with the Hot Pot, or any solar oven, but days with high thin clouds you can cook, I just would not recommend doing raw meats and such on “high-thin-cloudy” days since it would be more difficult without ideal, sunny conditions. But, heating up already cooked foods is easy on such days.

Wintertime can be a little bit more challenging due to the very low angle of the sun, but even in the winter you can still solar cook if you have sun.

Spring, summer, and fall the Hot Pot does really well, but in the winter it can be a bit slower.
I do use my Hot Pots in winter, but will usually use the ovens (and parabolic cookers) more in the winter.

The Hot Pot can bake, but your ovens are better and more conducive to baking and you can find all the instruction and help you want on our website, beyond the very basic instruction that comes with your solar cooker.

An oven would give you a bit more of an advantage in the winter due to the greater insulation that most box style solar ovens have over panel style cookers.

You should have no problems getting a solar oven up to 350 F. in North or South Dakota, even on a cold winter day.

We had our coldest winter in the last forty years here, -5 below, which is unusual for our area, and the day after the (unusual snow storm) I had my three Sun Ovens out cooking without a problem.

You just need a nice sunny day. (even high thin cloudy days you can cook many items)

Using a solar cooker

We have customers all over the New England States and Canada that solar cook in the winter on the sunny days they do have.

If you have not already seen our pages, you might find these helpful:

when to solar cook

Where to solar cook

Winter time solar cooking

Solar Cooking Tips

Also check out our Facebook page for lots of winter, and year round, solar cooking posts etc.

Throughout our website you will find lots of helpful information and shared stories from people all over who solar
cook at all times of the year in all kinds of places around the world.

I hope this is helpful, and if you need to know any more, just let me know.


Nathan Parry

See video for more tips, ideas, suggestion and helps for using your Hot Pot more effectively

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