Panel Cookers

Panel Cookers

Solar panel cooker designs incorporate elements of Box and Parabolic cookers. They often have a large reflector area and the cook pot has some form of enclosure to retain heat. Panel cookers are capable of cooking up to approximately 140 °C (284 °F). They are the easiest style to make and relatively inexpensive to buy.

Panel cookers, due to their ease of construction and low-cost materials, are the simplest solar cookers to build and the most common. Tens of thousands of these are in use in refugee camps around the world.

Simple Panel Solar Cooker:

The simple panel solar cooker cooks like a slow cooker (crock pot,) and is generally the least expensive solar cooker on the market. Although the models vary they have three main design elements: a heat absorbing pot or pan (usually darkened,) an oven roasting bag or glass bowl and a grouping of non-metallic reflective panels. The reflective panels are made of a reflective aluminum film or aluminum foil adhered to a paper or cardboard based backing,

The Sun’s UV rays are concentrated by the reflective panels through the glass bowl or roasting bag, and onto the pot or pan containing the food. The glass bowl or or roasting bag lets the UV rays heat the pot or pan, and holds the heat inside.

Panel cookers are easier and cheaper to build than other types of solar cookers. Some simple panel cookers reach comparatively high temperatures depending on the pot or pan, and the food that you are cooking. Food cooked in panel cookers usually have more liquid (stews, meats and soups) and cook at 225-250° F.

Examples of these type of cookers are:

The CooKit, Shahjee and Sunflair,

Advanced Panel Cooker:

Structurally related to the Simple Panel Cooker , Advanced Panel Cookers have reflectors made of a more long-lasting substance like anodized aluminum or Vinyl, and can collapse for storage in seconds.

Examples of these type of cookers are:

Copenhagen, Hot Pot, Haines, All Seasons




General characteristics


  • Many models are collapsible for easy
  • transport and storage

    Can be used to bake breads and cakes

Achieves lower temperatures

  • Can’t fry foods
  • Cooks only 1-2 pots of food


Comparison Chart
Scale 1 (Bad) – 10 (Good)

Simple or Advanced

Time to Boiling



Suggested Price

Cooking Temp.

Haines Simple 1 hr 4 $65-$90 200-265 f
Copenhagen Simple 2+ hrs 6 $49.00 200-255 f
Hot Pot Advanced 2+ hrs 9 $185.00 200-285 f
Sunflair Advanced 2+ hrs 8 $135.00 200-285 f
All Seasons Advanced 2+ hrs 9 $99-$149 200-285 f

*compared to other panel cookers. Simple Panel Cookers because of the nature of their construction are not extremely durable.


Based on side-by-side tests comparing the Haines Solar Cooker with seven other commercial panel and box cookers the Haines boils water 50% faster than any other panel or box cooker. The Haines Solar Cooker heated a liter of water to boiling in about an hour, while the next-best cooker took an hour and a half. and some cookers did not reach the boiling point at all.

For the full report, go to

The Haines reflector is made of MPET (metalized polyester) film bonded to 3mm of IXPE (cross-linked polyester) foam, with a white PET film backing. The reflective polyester will not oxidize, cannot be scratched off, and has a high melting point. Importantly, the new material is easy to recycle and is environmentally safe through the whole production and recycling process without pollution. In the U.S., this material is used to make high-end auto windshield sunshades that last more than 10 years.


The Copenhagen Solar Cooker Light is a small, compact, inexpensive solar panel cooker made from durable, reflective vinyl covered panels . The cooker is also available as an easily assembled kit containing four flexible vinyl panels, four clips and two base plates and a sturdy bootlace. The panels are held between the base plates with the bootlace threaded through holes in corners, and clip to each other to create the panel cooker shape.

Because the cooker is held only with clips and a sturdy bootlace, disassembly is easy. The panels then stack neatly, making this cooker quite portable.

The curved shape of the cooker is more stable than typical panel cookers in windy conditions. For best results, the cooker is meant to be used with a dark pot with a glass cover, to reach temperatures of 150°C to 190°C (300°F to 375°F). An oven bag can be used around pan in cold weather.

The panels can also be laid flat for use as place mats. Sit a lantern inside to reflect more light at night.

Hot Pot

The HotPot solar oven comes with a large heavy duty black enameled steel pot and glass cooker. The cooker, 5 1/2 quart capacity, is a large thick clear tempered glass bowl, fitting snugly inside the glass is a strong black steel pot surrounded the glass cooker. There is 1/2 inch between the metal and the glass allowing a small pocket of air space to surround the pot for added heat retention. Temperatures up to 350-400 degrees. The cooker rests inside a super shiny metal reflector, which is composed of several metal panels the easily fold out to capture the direct and indirect energy of the sun. The collapsible reflector folds flat for easy storage and sets up in 30 seconds.


Sunflair Solar Ovens are affordable, fun and easy. They’re also highly portable, weighing only 1 lb, 2 oz. and folding down to the size of a seat cushion. • State-of-the-art closed cell insulation. Oven can reach temperatures of up to 285 F. Temperature varies depending on season and location. Compare to slow cookers that range between 180 – 300 F or a stove top that reaches 212 F (boiling) with simmering at 180-190 F. Simmering is a gentler method of cooking, ensuring more tender and flavorful food. • Four-season cooking below 40 degrees latitude and three-season above. A UV index of 4+ is best for solar cooking.

  • Oven folds to 2 x 15.5 x 19 inches
  • Silicone pots collapse to 2 cm. Good to 485 F. Dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe.

All Seasons
This design will provide more cooked food on any solar day than any other cooker of similar size and design.
Light weight and portable, this cooker folds compactly for easy transportation to camp sites.
This is the ONLY panel/box hybrid cooker that can perfectly capture the sun from sunup to sundown.
Works any time of the day, any day of the year, anywhere on earth, as long as the sun is shining and
Users of the All Season Solar Cooker can take full advantage of the sun, whenever the sun is available.
Easily prepares 3 or 4 different meals in a day and 2 to 3 quart capacity.