Gear Reviews

SolSource Solar Cooker Review: Concentrated Sunlight Energy for Your Cooking Needs

SolSource Solar Cooker review
Samuel Funt
Written by Samuel Funt

For all the hype we hear about how electricity from solar energy has become cheaper, little has been said about how sunlight can be concentrated for cooking purposes. Actually, did you know concentrated sunlight using a parabola is 5-7 times more efficient than photovoltaic panels?

Most people may be aware of solar ovens and homemade solar cookers from school science projects, but few have heard about the high-powered cookers that have now become available.

One of them is the SolSource Solar Cooker, claimed by the company One Earth Designs to quickly heat up to temperature levels of 550°F. Having learned how such a solar cooker can enhance Preparedness by not having to use any fuel for purification or cooking, is the SolSource Solar Cooker really as good as it is supposed to be? We decided to test it ourselves.

Unpacking

We received the package a few days after purchase. The product arrived in a big box containing many parts. The hardware was all stainless steel, and the reflectors came with a thin protective
film. Inside the box, there were two wrenches, nuts and bolts, and a user manual that contained clear instructions on how to set up the cooker.

SolSource Solar Cooker unpacking

These instructions were important, as there were lots of pieces and not so easy to know exactly where to start the assembly. By ordering the bundle deal, we also received a cast aluminum pan and a cover that came to good use. The pan has certainly been created for this cooker, as it fits nicely into the ridges of the pot stand and convey a quality feel.

Assembly

To assemble the unit, we first had to put up the basic metal framework and put the pot stand on top, before we attached the parabola that concentrates the sunlight into one single spot. The
parabola contains five reflective mirrors made of plastic, that are held together in a perfectly shaped circle by 18 screws.

Even though the instruction manual was easy to follow, the assembly videos on the company’s website came in handy to understand the full assembly task.

In total, it took us around half an hour to get the whole unit set and ready to go. That said, we could have speeded up assembly by using a handheld electric screwdriver. This solar cooker is smartly designed.

Assembly of SolSource

There is a small black mirror below the pan that you can utilize to make sure the parabola is correctly aligned towards the sun. If you need to realign the parabola, you simply adjust it left or right, or tilt it up or down. It’s quite intuitive.

Actual Use

As there will be times in a survival situation when you need to boil water and rehydrate food, we decided to put it to work by heating up a pot filled with dehydrated spaghetti and one quart of
water. Immediately, we were surprised by the sheer power of the cooker.

Keeping track of how the water heated quickly, it took less than ten minutes to get the water into a full boil. As we were getting hungry, not having to wait was exactly what we needed.

Actual Use of cooker

The most striking feature of the SolSource Solar Cooker is how quickly it generated incredible heat. This opens up many opportunities for an experienced prepper. Purifying water for drinking and cooking small meals would be easy to do.

The cooker can also be used for other practical purposes, such as heating water for bathing and to stay warm in the evening (with a hot water bottle) or even bending PVC pipes directly.

Tips

Even though you would quickly get a hang on using it yourself, here are some quick tips:

  • Choose cookware with a matt / dark bottom which absorbs heat better.
  • Heat tinned soup and food directly with a metal mesh to hold the tin up.
  • Never look directly on below the surface of the grill pan to assess alignment. Instead, use the small black mirror and realign accordingly.
  • When not in use, detach the parabola and hang it on a wall for easy storage.
  • Speed up the the assembly by using a handheld electric screwdriver.
  • Keep the box that arrived with the unit, to safely repack the solar cooker and easily transport the parts in a survival situation.

Verdict

Positive:

  • How the cooker reaches surprisingly high temperatures in few minutes.
  • The versatility, that lets you easily cook food and purify water
  • It doesn’t generate any fumes when being used, which is important if you need to hide. / Enhancing your capability to survive when hiding, the cooker doesn’t generate any fumes
  • Stainless steel that enhances the durability.
  • Easy to clean by using a soft cloth.
  • Particularly useful in sunny environments

Negative:

  • You need enough sun to use it consistently, may not work on a cloudy day.
  • Setup and disassembly could have been easier. Though there could be creative ways to do
    a partial disassembly.
  • Can only use one pot at a time.
  • It’s relatively heavy due to its sturdy construction.

Wrap Up

As a tool for disaster preparedness, the SolSource Solar Cooker is surprisingly applicable for many purposes.

By not having to gather or transport any fuel such as wood, charcoal or LP gas, you are always ready to purify water or heat up your food, as long as you have sunshine.

SolSource Solar Cooker

In fact, we were surprised by the power output of the cooker, which would be important in a situation where things need to happen quickly. To conclude, this solar cooker could be a very useful tool for a disaster prepper, as long as you live in a sunny area.

If you want to learn more about how the SolSource Solar Cooker can enhance your survival capabilities, click here: https://www.oneearthdesigns.com/solar-cooker-for-disaster-preparation.

About the Author
Samuel Funt
Samuel Funt

Samuel is a prepper with over 15 years of experience. Samuel is excited to share his knowledge and the things he learns while travelling in British Columbia, Canada where he lives and around the world.

  • Tom Warren

    I had the opportunity to experience a solar cooker first-hand this past summer and I can’t wait to invest in one myself. The first thing that hits you about a solar cooker is just how big they are, immediately followed by how effective they are. I live in SoCal so perhaps it may not be quite the same for those living in cloudier / cooler areas. However, these things get seriously hot. Our first test was boiling water and within around 3 minutes of having the cooker setup, we had a pan of boiling water. The speed in which it is able to cook your food is incredible, but also necessary, as they give off a tremendous amount of heat, so spending too long stood by it tending to your food could leave you feeling slightly overheated.Whether you are trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, are of the survivalist mindset or simply want a really cool way to cook at outdoor parties, a solar cooker has to be the way to go.

  • Samuel Funt

    Solar cookers are highly affordable to fuel when compared to gas or electric cookers. They are also Eco-friendly and easy to maintain.

  • Doug Summers

    I eventually invested in the SolSource after weeks of debating its practicality and utility, however, after now owning one for almost a year, I guess I can now call myself an avid solar cooker.

    OK, so it wasn’t the easiest thing to put together, but after reading and rereading the instructions, we got there in the end and it now works great! There is a bit of a learning curve to using them, as unfortunately products don’t seem to come with instructions for cooking with solar, however, you eventually learn how long things will generally take to cook.

    I have to admit, I really do love mine, not only is it environmentally friendly, which is always great, it is economical (as you don’t have to spend money on fuels) and it’s a really interesting talking point, every person who has joined us for a solar dinner has a ton of questions and get just as excited as I did on the first day it arrived. Highly recommended!

  • Samuel Funt

    The SolSource Solar Cooker is without a doubt a powerful 1000-watt cooking gear. This review should positively motivate you to make a purchase.

  • Ben Kelechi

    One Earth Designs claimed that SolSource cooker is a highly concentrated solar cooking gear that can quickly heat up to a temperature of 550* F. During your outdoor adventures, you will not be able to carry stove, fuel, or wood to make fire. Do you think this device can sustain you outdoors at all seasons of the year? What are the possible limitations you may encounter?

  • kelechi uleh

    Cooking with the energy from the sun could be a good experience for preppers, hikers, and mountaineers. The Solsource solar cooking gear is designed to make outdoor adventures easier for anybody that dares to embark on it. You do not need to buy fuel or gas for your journeys. Just assemble your cooker before the solar system and get ready to cook your meals. However, what can you do if there is no sunshine?

  • Samuel Funt

    The SolSource Solar cooker is definitely a reliable cooking gear. A thousand watts can do so much for you, including boiling and grilling.

  • Samuel Funt

    Hi Kelechi,
    The SolSource solar cooker is solar-powered. Therefore, common sense dictates that you can cook when there is sun. You definitely cannot cook when there is a heavy downpour.

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