Several of the most common types of solar collectors are presented in this paper. The various types of collectors described include flat-plate, compound parabolic, evacuated tube, parabolic trough, Fresnel lens, parabolic dish and Heliostat field collector (HFC). The optical, thermal and thermodynamic analysis of collectors is also presented as well as methods to evaluate their performance. Additionally, typical applications are described in order to show to the reader the extent of their applicability. These include water heating, space heating and cooling, refrigeration, industrial process heat, desalination, thermal power systems, solar furnaces and chemistry applications. It should be noted that the applications of solar energy collectors are not limited to the above areas. There are many other applications which are not described here either because they are not fully developed or are not matured yet. The application areas described in this paper show that solar energy collectors can be used in a wide variety of systems, could provide significant environmental and financial benefits, and should be used whenever possible.