About GoSun Stove
When you were in grade school, did you ever make a solar cooker in science class? The kind that uses a cardboard box and tin foil? When I was young, I remember thinking how cool this idea was, and wondering what kind of results I’d achieve after spending more time developing my design.
In a classic case of “I wish I’d thought of that,” GoSun’s line of solar stoves use patented technology to provide fast, practical, fuel-free cooking in a simple setup that can go wherever—and cook for however many people—you need. In fact, GoSun Stoves can steam, bake, fry, roast, and boil meals in as little as 20 minutes, while reaching temperatures of 550°F or more. And it doesn’t even have to see the sun to work!
While cooking, your GoSun Stove’s reflectors will catch and absorb as much sunlight as possible, while the patented Hideaway Tray system stows discreetly when in use, and its dishwasher safe design makes for easy cleanup when you’re finished.
Whether you’re a science geek or not, you’ve got to admit that the concept behind GoSun Stoves is compelling. Cook wherever, whenever? Yes please! But is this really what you’ll experience with GoSun? And even if you do, will the results be worth the money?
Is GoSun Stove a “Miracle of Science”?
Each GoSun Stove’s cooking technology consists of two main parts: 1) two folding parabolic reflectors made of anodized aluminum that direct light toward a 2) central borosilicate vacuum tube.
According to the company, GoSun’s reflectors can effectively capture light for a broad range of angles, making it a mostly hands-off and low maintenance device. When combined with the vacuum tube that acts as a near-perfect insulator (mostly due to its high absorbency aluminum nitrile coating), GoSun is able to convert almost 80% of all sunlight that enters GoSun’s reflectors into useable heat.
Despite this, the exterior of GoSun’s tubes remains cool the touch, so there aren’t any safety concerns, even around small children and pets.
GoSun claims their solar stoves feature proprietary technology that can cook food in just about any weather.
Given this technology, is there anything else quite like GoSun Stove?
The reality is that there are several commercially available solar stoves and cookers on the market (along with hundreds of DIY projects that use inexpensive materials). However, much like my grade school science project, they often won’t work as well as GoSun Stoves—and if they do, portability is generally not their strong suit.
From this perspective, it certainly seems like GoSun is in a class of its own. Does this necessarily mean that it’s a good value, though? We’ll address this important question in a moment, but let’s firs talk about GoSun’s different models.
What’s Different Between GoSun’s Models?
Overall, GoSun offers four different solar stove models and one accessories package.
GoSun’s smallest model, the Mini, is about 12” long, 6” tall, and 8” wide, and weighs a pound and a half. Its oven can hold about 9.5oz of food, reach cooking time in as little as 10 minutes, and temperatures up to 700°F.
Based on its size, GoSun recommends the Mini for things like “roasting garlic, cashews, peanuts, hot dogs, sausages, pumpkin seeds, trail mix, or any other small appetizer or snack.” And based on its price, the company claims Mini is ideal as an intro to solar cooking, or as an educational tool.
Next is GoSun’s Sport model, which, at 24” long, 16” tall, 12” wide (when in use), is roughly double the size of the Mini model. However, at 40oz, the Sport model provides more than four times the food capacity.
GoSun claims the Sport Stove is ideal for taking with you on an adventure, and for cooking things like egg rolls for 2-3 people. Meals will take approximately 20-30 min to cook.
GoSun Sport Pro Pack
If you’re looking for everything you need to make full use of the Sport Stove, GoSun offers the Sport Pro Pack, which includes an extra cooking tray for meal prep, a carrying case with a custom fit padded interior pocket, an ergonomic shoulder strap, and an easy-clean tray pocket.
GoSun’s premiere consumer model, aptly named the Grill, can cook a meal for up to eight people in anywhere between 10 minutes and two hours, depending on the food.
Despite its much larger volume though, it’s almost the same size as the Sport cooker, and it features lower maximum and working temperatures than the Mini (at 250°F - 425°F, though, it should handle just about anything you need to cook). However, you’ll also gain an external temperature gauge, which means you’ll be able to cook more accurately.
GoSun Station Solar Oven
If you’re looking to cook on a large scale using nothing but the power of the sun, GoSun’s Station model is a commercial grade solution that features four vacuum tube cookers, cooking trays with lids and handles, an all-metal adjustable stand, tilt-angle adjustment, rotational swivel, and more. And despite its size (60” high, 32” wide, 75” length, and 200 pound weight), the Station cooker can be broken down and transported on a single pallet.
In addition, with the Station’s insulated tubes, they’ll be able to retain heat for hours, which means you could be “serving hot meals, even at night.” Let’s continue this thought into the next section.
Can GoSun Stoves Really Cook When It’s Cloudy?
Although GoSun is clearly a legitimate company with an advanced, research-based product, we definitely think there are a couple creatively-worded phrases on their website that could easily be misconstrued if you’re not paying attention. For example, on their home page, GoSun claims that, “You don’t have to see the Sun to solar cook!”
If you don’t see the sun, what is it behind? Clouds, of course! As such, it’s easy to believe the average consumer might interpret this to mean GoSun stoves can be used when it’s cloudy. However, this definitely isn’t the case. How do we know? According to GoSun’s FAQ:
“The one requirement for cooking with the sun is (yep, you guessed it) SUNLIGHT! If the sun is sitting behind clouds all day long, you won't have much opportunity to cook with GoSun. You might be able to heat up some leftover soup, but that's about it.”
What about GoSun’s claims that their stoves can have you “serving hot meals, even at night”? Again, if you’re skimming the GoSun website, you might believe that their stoves can work at night. However, their FAQ once again clarifies:
“The best cooking times of the day are the hours when the sun is shining brightest! Anytime between 9AM to 3PM should be best. However, as long as the sun is shining you can cook. This means you can start out cooking at sunrise 7AM or cook up some appetizers for happy hour at 5PM. If the sun is shining bright and hot - you can cook with GoSun. Also, if you start cooking a large dish at 6PM, GoSun will retain heat and continue cooking even after sunset.”
In other words, because of GoSun’s insulated vacuum tube, you’ll be able serve food hot soon after sunset, as long as it’s finished cooking and you don’t wait too long (there’s no mention of how long it’ll remain warm). This does not, however, mean that GoSun Stoves ‘work’ at night.
Finally, even if you’re using your GoSun Stove during the day in the sun, the amount of sun you get and the foods you’re cooking can greatly impact overall time. For example, using the chart below, cooking 10oz hot dogs in full sun probably won’t take more than 10 min, but could take almost 1.5 hours in low sun (again, no mention of what this constitutes)!
As you can see from this cooking chart, although GoSun Stoves will still work in low sunlight, it can greatly increase cooking times.
Are GoSun Stoves Durable?
Considering the fact that they’re basically hollow glass tubes surrounded by metal, one of the first things you might have wondered is, “Are GoSun Stoves durable?” The company often pictures them being used at campsites and wedged into backpacks—they even claim it can be used on “adventures”—but does this reflect reality?
To answer this, GoSun claims that the borosilicate glass found in their vacuum tubes is “more durable than the type of glass many people use in the kitchen daily.” Also, they claim their stoves “will withstand normal use day in and day out. Normal use consists of unfolding the legs, adjusting reflector base, tons of cooking, sliding the tray in and out, folding the cooker back up when done, and taking it on the go. We cannot guarantee the GoSun will survive if you drop it out of an airplane and into a pig pen -- but otherwise you should be good!”
Now, let’s talk about price.
How Much Do GoSun Stoves Cost?
GoSun Stoves are priced as follows:
- GoSun Sport: $279
- GoSun Mini Kit: Sold out at the time of research
- GoSun Sport Pro Pack: Sold out at the time of research
- GoSun Grill (preorder): $599
Regardless of which option you choose, GoSun Stoves come with free shipping, a 30-day money back guarantee, a two-year warranty on the vacuum tube, and a one-year warranty on parts and labor.
Note: You’ll find some of these models sold through many other third-party companies, include national retailers like Amazon and REI.
With prices like these, do customers feel like they’re getting a good value?
Are Customers Happy With Their GoSun Stove?
GoSun’s Sport model had a stellar 4.6-star average rating on Amazon, based on 62 customer reviews. There, common compliments revolved around ease of use, portability, solid cooking performance (even that it keeps food warm for hours), and easy cleanup.
On the other hand, more than one customer complained that its biggest drawback is the small tube size, which limits what you can cook. Or, it at least changes how you’ll cook some items, especially meat. Other common complaints that you can’t know cooking times in advance (the heat it reaches depends on the time of day and intensity of the sunlight), that you can’t see what you’re cooking, and longer cooking times than advertised.
GraywolfSurvival also gave the GoSun Sport a 4-star rating after testing a unit for a few months. Quick side note: Remember how we mentioned GoSun’s ambiguous wording about being able to cook on overcast days? Even this author thought the same thing, which they mentioned at the beginning of their review.
Nonetheless, the author liked that the Sport worked without requiring any power, that it worked even when it was cold outside (22 degrees), and that it was easy to use. However, they felt that the Sport’s capacity was its only real drawback, and that they wouldn’t recommend it for long hiking trips due to durability concerns.
What Do We Know About the Company Behind GoSun Stoves?
GoSun Stove is the brainchild of Patrick Sherwin, who, after “a long morning disassembling a solar water heating device,” realized that this same technology could be used to heat food. Patrick had lived off the grid extensively in the past, so he was eager to explore the possibilities and built a prototype.
After quickly finding out how well it worked, Patrick started a campaign on the popular Kickstarter crowdfunding website, where backers pledged more than $560K over the course of 30 days. Today, the company claims to have sold thousands of units to happy customers. Does this mean you should invest in a GoSun Stove, too?
Are GoSun Stoves a Good Match for You?
Look, there’s zero doubt that GoSun’s line of solar stoves is off-the-charts cool. Plain and simple. From this perspective, if you’re passionate about getting your hands on the newest tech and are accustomed to paying a premium for the privilege, we’d be hard-pressed to think of a reason you shouldn’t buy GoSun.
In fact, from camping and outdoors enthusiasts to avant-garde cooking methods, we think GoSun Stoves might appeal to a lot of different demographics that are willing to pay a premium for access to the technology. Just be sure to keep in mind GoSun’s limitations; namely, the small capacity, especially with the Sport model. This also includes the fact that you can’t control temperature, you might not be able to see your food cooking (on everything but the Grill model), and it’s probably not an ideal solution for deep wilderness camping or extended backpacking.
Outside of that, GoSun Stoves come with a 30-day refund policy, so you might be out some money in S&H charges. But other than that, if you can justify the price and work within its limitations, we think they might just be right up your alley.
Did you buy a GoSun Stove? Was it everything you dreamed, or a nightmare? Tell us about it by writing a review below!