What is the difference between a solar cooker and a solar oven (and for that matter a solar stove)? Fundamentally the difference is that there is no difference, a solar cooker, solar stove and a solar oven are the same thing, literally. The only difference is semantics and terminology.
Wikipedia makes the following statement on solar cookers and solar ovens " A solar oven or solar cooker is a device which uses sunlight as its energy source. Because they use no fuel and they cost nothing to run, humanitarian organizations are promoting their use worldwide to help slow deforestation and desertification, caused by using wood as fuel for cooking. Solar Cookers are a form of outdoor cooking and are often used in situations where minimal fuel consumption is important, or the danger of accidental fires is high."
In terms of a more specific definition Wikipedia defines an oven as "An oven is a thermally insulated chamber used for the heating, baking or drying of a substance. It is most commonly used for cooking". The Wikipedia defin ition of a cooker is "A kitchen stove, cooking stove, cookstove or cooker is a kitchen appliance designed for the purpose of cooking food. Kitchen stoves rely on the application of direct heat for the cooking process and may also contain an oven, used for baking...Cooker and stove are often used interchangeably.".
Reevo.com at the link www.reevoo.com/pages/ovens_buying_guide describes the difference between an oven and a cooker as "A cooker is made up of at least one oven cooking zone as well as a set of either gas or electric hobs on top, and will always be freestanding. An oven is the same as a cooker but will always be built in. As ovens are built in units they do not have hobs. For the purposes of this guide it will be helpful to think of a cooker as a freestanding oven with hobs included.
If one looks at the various definitions it becomes obvious that there is very little difference between an oven and a cooker in conventional cooking terms. It appears that a cooker (also known as a stove), consists of two sub-components, a top set of hobs or heating plates and a bottom oven (an enclosed and insulated chamber, cavity or box-type device that is heated) where food is baked, grilled or roasted.
From a solar cooking perspective the differences would seem to be negligible or arguably non-existent. The potential counter-argument is that a solar cooking purist might find it mildly disingenuous for a parabolic solar device to be referred to as an oven. A parabolic solar cooker has no association whatsoever with an internal, enclosed chamber and on the contrary is an open, curved, reflective dish. A highly effective reflective dish, but a dish nonetheless.
In the same vein it would be difficult to describe a solar hot dog cooker, a solar open grill or a solar bowl as a solar oven. On the other hand there is a clear association with some form of internal insulated,chamber, cavity or box with a solar box oven, a solar funnel cooker, a panel solar cooker and a hybrid solar oven.
This discussion has the propensity to become even more complex when both categories are used to describe the same solar cooking device, for example when there is reference to a solar box oven and a solar box cooker for the exact same solar cooking apparatus.
Bottom line is it is all solar cooking semantics, with the term solar cooker, solar stove and solar oven being used interchangeably all the time, at least in solar cooking circles!
To read more on solar cooking and the the different solar cooking devices click on this link to get instant access to my ebook Sun Solar Cooking.
In addition you can get immediate access to my free mini course on solar cooking by clicking here.
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