About Us

Welcome to sunoven.com. We are pleased you have chosen to spend some time with us. SUN OVENS International has a simple business model. We seek to help people in the U.S. save energy and prepare for emergencies while using a portion of our cash flow to promote SUN OVEN® cooking in deforested developing countries.

For the past 37 years, SUN OVENS® has been proudly made in the U.S. We believe in free enterprise and seek to take a private-sector approach to help solve problems, which are often left to governments and nonprofit organizations, by developing self-sustaining projects in Third World nations. We strive to assist entrepreneurs to make and market GLOBAL SUN OVENS® in the country in which they will be used. In addition, we assist in implementing projects to help orphanages to gain self-sufficiency through the sale of bakery goods sun-baked in VILLAGER SUN OVENS®.

The reason we are so passionate about our work in Third World nations is that it saves lives:

  • 2.4 billion people still depend on wood, charcoal, or dung for cooking fuel.
  • Women who cook with wood or charcoal inhale the equivalent of smoking 3 packs of cigarettes each day.
  • Each year, on the continent of Africa alone, over one million children under the age of 5 die from the respiratory-related diseases. The leading cause of respiratory infections is the indoor air pollution of cooking fires.
  • Up to 85% of the smoke can be eliminated with the use of SUN OVENS®.

When you buy a SUN OVEN® you are helping us with our work. We think it is the ultimate win-win situation when we can help more people in the U.S. discover the joys of cooking with the sun as they help us expand the use of SUN OVENS® around the world.

We want to thank those of you who have bought SUN OVENS® for your important role.  Without you, we could not be able to continue.

Sun Ovens International



As populations increase and forests and fossil fuels disappear, the need for an alternative method of cooking around the world is intensifying. SUN OVENS International is committed to providing an alternative.

SUN OVENS International takes a different approach. We have taken a concept that has been around for centuries, and have combined it with more improved materials to make the most effective solar cooking devices in the world. The SUN OVEN® has been designed to overcome most of the cultural barriers that have restricted the widespread use of the sun for cooking.

The SUN OVEN® is often compared with box cookers made out of aluminum foil and cardboard (homemade boxes of various sizes and shapes). While the energy conversion principles are the same, the materials utilized in manufacturing SUN OVENS® have been carefully researched to include the most efficient materials available. In order to capture the maximum amount of energy, achieve the highest possible temperature, and retain the greatest amount of heat, while minimizing the weight, the materials utilized have been selected based on efficiency and quality. SUN OVENS International is determined to disseminate solar appliances that truly meet people’s needs rather than distributing perpetuating cookers that work only under the most ideal conditions.

The initial price of a SUN OVEN® is higher, but due to its long life, ability to cook on partly cloudy days and allowing food to stay warm for hours, the cost per meal is lower than any other solar cooking device.

Redefining Cooking In the U.S.

The fast-paced American lifestyle has cultivated a fast-food approach to cooking and eating; even if it means sacrificing nutrition, taste, health, and the environment. SUN OVENS International is endeavoring to make Americans aware of the enriching health lifestyle and environmental benefits of cooking with the sun.

Redefining Cooking Around the World

In the developing world, the high quality and features of the SUN OVEN® have overcome the cultural obstacles, which have caused other solar cooking projects to fail. The most often-cited reason for the failure of solar cooking projects is that most people in the developing world work while the sun is out and eat their main meal of the day after sundown. Food cooked in most solar cooking devices must be consumed immediately or it will become cold. The SUN OVEN® is very well insulated, which allows food cooked in the afternoon sun to stay warm until it is ready to be consumed later in the evening.

Another reason solar cooking has not been widely accepted is that most solar cookers require more time to cook than cooking over a wood fire. Women in developing countries are reluctant to start cooking many hours earlier than they are accustomed to accommodating a new cooking method. The SUN OVEN® has been designed to cook in the same amount of time as cooking over a traditional three-stone wood fire. NGO’s which have worked with SUN OVENS® have found they have had an easier time getting people to use them because the ovens work so well and maintain cooking temperatures significantly higher than other types of solar devices.

Unfortunately, to be able to make a solar appliance that women will use for the majority of their cooking involves cost. SUN OVENS International is working to overcome the cost by assembling the ovens in the country they will be used and by allowing women to pay for the ovens over time via small weekly installment payments using money they are currently spending to buy charcoal or other cooking fuels.

SUN OVENS International manufactures two types of solar ovens that are widely respected around the world. Since their introduction in 1986, these ovens have cooked millions of meals, baked countless loaves of bread, and saved millions of tons of wood.

Diverse peoples use SUN OVENS® around the world for many and varied reasons. SUN OVENS® has been adopted by everyone…

From governments in developing countries looking for solutions to deforestation – to North American families looking for a way to bake without heating up their kitchens.

From women in the rain forests of Africa who can’t find wood to cook with – to deer hunters in North America who love moist venison.

From Americans concerned with power disruptions and increasing fuel costs – to Pakistani women who cannot afford the high cost of fuel to make their dinner.

From ice fishermen in Minnesota baking their catch on a frozen lake – to desert dwellers in Kuwait baking lamb.

From RV enthusiasts looking for fresh moist roasts – to environmentalists trying to preserve the planet for future generations.

From micro-bakeries in Honduras making bread and pastries – to an orphanage in Uganda feeding hundreds daily.

The one thing they all have in common is that they have all discovered… solar energy is the least polluting and most inexhaustible of all known energy sources and it is free.

SUN OVENS® are the foremost and most effective solar cooking devices available anywhere in the world.

History of the SUN OVEN®

SUN OVENS® were developed in 1986 by Tom Burns, a retired restaurateur from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who was very active with Rotary International. From his experience in operating restaurants he knew a great deal about cooking and from his international travel he became aware of the ever-growing problem of deforestation. Tom took a concept that has been around for centuries and engineered into it more recently developed materials to produce the world’s most effective solar cooking devices. With the help of the Sandia National Laboratories, the oven was refined.

From 1986 to 1997, SUN OVENS® were made and marketed by Burns Milwaukee, Inc. Thousands of portable models have been shipped to more than 126 countries around the globe.  SUN OVENS® have helped feed refugees in relocation camps, natives in remote Third World villages, workers at field sites, climbers on the slopes of Mount Everest, and soldiers during the Persian Gulf War.

In 1998 a new company, SUN OVENS International, Inc. (SOI) was formed and the manufacturing of SUN OVENS® moved from Milwaukee to Elburn, Illinois and Tom Burns retired.  SOI has continued to expand Tom’s vision by licensing entrepreneurs in several developing countries to make and market  GLOBAL SUN OVENS® while helping families in the U.S. discover the many benefits of cooking with the power of the sun.

SOI also manufactures large solar-powered cooking ovens called VILLAGER SUN OVENS®. These ovens are designed for large-scale feeding situations that require cooking great volumes of food, and can bake, boil or steam food. Up to 1,200 meals per day can be cooked or hundreds of loaves of bread baked each day in a VILLAGER SUN OVEN®.

SOI has developed a program to assist orphanages around the world to harness the sun to become more self-sufficient. VILLAGER SUN OVENS® are utilized in orphanages in three ways:

  1. To cook food for the children without the expense of purchasing charcoal.
  2. To bake bread between cooking for meals; the loaves can be sold to generate income for the orphanage.
  3. To teach the children a usable job skill of making bread, which helps them earn a living when they reach adulthood and leave the orphanage.

SOI has also developed Sun Bakery programs to provide fresh baked goods while creating jobs and helping to curb deforestation.

The price of the VILLAGER SUN OVENS® has not increased during the 21 years SOI has been making them. Due to the nature of their use in developing countries the cost of making VILLAGER SUN OVENS® is subsidized by the other products we make and sell. Over 250 VILLAGER SUN OVENS® have been exported.

In 2013 SOI introduced the All American SUN OVEN® and after 27 years of great success discontinued the sales of GLOBAL SUN OVENS® in the U.S. Cooking in both ovens is the same, but the All American SUN OVEN® is more user friendly.


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