Are you a hobbyist looking to start hatching eggs and raising chickens? Do you want fresh eggs without having to go to the supermarket? Don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place.
Today, we’ll review the best egg incubators in 2017.Couple of years ago, I became obsessed with the idea of raising chickens in my backyard. Mind you, I live in Brooklyn, so I didn’t exactly have the ideal space to raise farm animals. However, I did have a small backyard with some fresh dirt and wanted to grow some crops along with chickens to feed on the insects and protect my harvest. In New York City, you can’t have roosters but you can own hens as long as they aren’t a nuisance to your neighbors.
Whether you are raising chickens as a food source or as pets, keep in mind that chickens are social animals. You should never just raise one if you want to run the risk of it dying prematurely. If you are planning to raise your chickens in the Northeast like me, I highly recommend getting the Orpington or Rhode Island Red breeds which are hardy chickens that can stand the cold winters. You want to do everything that is within your control to keep these animals alive and healthy.
Since I personally wanted to see the whole process of raising a chicken from scratch, I did countless hours of research and learned about all the egg incubators on the market. Finding the right one suited for your needs is important because these are the machines that will help create the perfect conditions for your eggs to incubate and hatch.
An incubator is designed to regulate the incubation temperature and make sure that humidity are at the right levels. It essentially recreates the best conditions for the survival of the eggs as if they were under the care of a mother hen. Most people use incubators to hatch chickens, but other birds like ducks and even reptiles can also be hatched using an incubator.
Below we’ll take a look at the most popular egg incubators you can easily purchase online. Click here to read reviews on the Best Egg Incubators for Sale on Amazon.
Top 10 Egg Incubators for Sale – 2017 Review and Guide
The guide below is an extensive list of egg incubators, so if you don’t have time to read through all the reviews, at least read the first review on the Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance, which I heavily recommend for first time users as well as people with a lot more experience.
1. Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance – Best Egg Incubator for Chickens
The Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance is what it suggests – an automatic egg-turning incubator designed to be easy to operate. Each tool in the incubator is described as being simple. The digital control system and fully-automatic humidity control system are very easy to use. There is also an optional advance humidity pump.
Small time farmers or hobbyist looking to hatch 24 chicken eggs would find this unit to suit almost all their needs. You can use it for a plethora of different types of eggs without adding anything extra.
Made of ABS plastics, the Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance is very easy-to-clean and maintain. Temperature wise, the unit offers an alarm and periodic cooling, as well as the choice to use Celsius or Fahrenheit.
You can add an advance humidity pump to control the humidity. There are vent sliders which help bring in fresh oxygen. The base of the unit has a two-water reservoir system and is double-skinned and filled with foam. (This makes it use less power.)
Cons: No back lights for night time checks.
1. Brinsea Mini Advance Hatching Egg Incubator – Cheaper Alternative
If you want a cheaper alternative to the Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance and don’t need to hatch 24 chicken eggs at a time, I highly recommend the Brinsea Mini, which can hold up to 7 chicken eggs.
If you plan to incubate duck eggs, the Brinsea Mini can handle up to 5 eggs. I’ve only used this device to incubate 3 to 4 chicken eggs. I prefer not to maximize my incubators since the eggs will be competing for oxygen and warmth, and the chance of failure increases.
The Brinsea Mini-Advance Hatching Egg Incubator has been called one of the top chicken egg-hatching incubators for sale today. With fully-automatic egg-turning features and an auto-stop system which enhances the embryo’s health, the Brinsea Mini-Advance Hatching Egg Incubator comes with a fan-assisted air flow to distribute heat evenly around the eggs.
There is a micro-controller which manages temperature with a digital display. The Brinsea Mini-Advance Hatching Egg Incubator has a clear chamber for viewing the eggs. There is a seven egg capacity rotating disk and a central water reservoir to provide the necessary amount of humidity. A 12-egg rotating disk for smaller eggs is also available separately.
Pros: Ease of use.
Cons: The temperature tends to fluctuate toward the end of the hatching process. The alarm is low.
The Brinsea Mini-Eco Hatching Egg Incubator is similar to the other incubators in that it has a clear viewing area. It does rely on manual turning and comes with a fan-assisted air flow that distributes the heat evenly.
The micro-controller runs on the same process. This incubator has room for ten chicken eggs, along with a rotating disk and central water reservoir for humidity.
Pros: Unlike the Mini-Advance, the Mini-Eco is resistant to weather, oil, ozone, electricity, heat and tearing.
Cons: It doesn’t automatically turn the eggs. The main-lid viewer and cover has been reported to not be scratch-proof.
Farm Innovators Model 4200 Pro Series Circulated Air Incubator with Automatic Egg Turner is more fitted for commercial farmers – smaller farms. It can hold up to a maximum of 41 eggs, and has two viewing windows which make it easy to keep an eye on the eggs during incubation without having to sneak a peek by opening the unit.
There is a built-in hygrometer for keeping temperature and humidity measured. To keep internal temperatures at a consistent level, the unit has a fan to draw fresh air into it. There is an extra thermometer, and it is made of recycled polystyrene foam.
Pros: The unit is a 100 percent automatic. A red light tells you the heater is running, and the machine itself turns the eggs every four hours.
Cons: The thermostat is reported to be sensitive, and the built-in thermometer may be inaccurate.
The Magicfly Digital Egg Incubator with Egg Turner is made from PVC pipe and is very durable. It is a high-efficiency incubator with an automatic thermometer and has semi-automatic egg turning features.
The unit comes with a full display for enhance clarity and confidence. The unit has a capacity for 10 eggs, and measures at 24.5 x 24.5 x 15 cm and rates at 110 volts. It is for domestic use.
Cons: Lack of hydrometer.
The Brinsea Octagon 20 ECO Auto Turn Egg Incubator is one of the top egg incubators that money can buy. It takes care of everything for you. It has a flashing temperature indicator, as well as an accurate conventional thermometer. There is a fan for assisting in air circulation. Simple, yet accurate proportional band-electronic temperature control, and has insulation for temperature and low energy use.
The unit has a capacity of up to 24 eggs for most of the avian breeds. The cabinet is injection-molded from high-grade ABS material. The unit is easy to clean. Dividers are in place for the removable egg tray and help with cradling different-sized eggs. The incubator has a clear top for watching the eggs as they are rocked side-by-side. The unit has a full factory warranty.
Cons: The thermometer is not always included.
The HovaBator Advanced Egg Incubator Combo has a digital hygrometer/thermometer, egg turner, fan kit, and the incubator itself. It has a snap-action thermostat and an easy-to-clean sanitary liner, which is made of Styrofoam – durable enough to help the incubator retain warmth.
The viewing windows allow for the eggs to be easily observed, and is great for educational purposes. It has a capacity of holding 41 chicken-sized eggs. The eggs are turned automatically six times per day. The unit has an air fan kit which balances temperatures and gives fresh air to the incubator. The digital hygrometer and thermometer is battery operated and easy to operate. There is a minimum/maximum temperature and humidity warning signal when adjustments are required.
Cons: Having to adjust the temperature and humidity is bothersome.
GQF 1588 Genesis Hova-Bator Incubator is geared for small-scale poultry farmers, and is normally used for laboratory and classroom settings. There is a thermostat for automatic regulation of temperature. Temperature settings can be as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
The unit has a capacity to hold 50 chicken or duck eggs. It measures 18 ½ x 18 ½ x 9 ½. There is a picture window, and a plastic bottom liner. There is also an LCD display, and it comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
It also includes a picture window and a plastic bottom liner, as well as an LCD display for actual temperature, humidity, and set temperature.
Negative: Lack of plastic shell protection – it is a Styrofoam box. You also have to buy the automatic egg turner separately.
The Brinsea Octago 20 ECO Incubator has non-thermal foam and forced fan, along with a 99.5 degree Fahrenheit present option and flexibility to change present temperatures.
More geared toward ‘poultry hobbyists’, this incubator is great for those with smaller budgets. This one will allow you to hatch a batch of two dozen eggs in one setting.
The unit has a conventional thermometer with accurate readings, and it is present at 99.5 Fahrenheit. The incubator is made of high grade ABS which is easy to clean and long-lasting. There is a clear incubator top which allows for easy viewing. Tehre is a computer-grade fan that does all the air-circulation with a vent slider to control it.
There are two water reservoirs at the base of the humidifiers. The dividers in the egg tray can be moved to accommodate different egg sizes. You can rock the incubator side to side, and this will manually turn the eggs. The eight-sided cabinet makes this easy to do.
Brinsea Products Fully Automatic Egg Incubator for Hatching 24 Chicken Eggs or Equivalent is the one for the cost-conscious consumer who wants minimum fuss when it comes to hatching eggs. It is very similar to the Octagon 40 Advance as its cabinet is made of the same tough materials and is insulated.
This Brinsea controls temperature with a proportional band electronic controller with an easy tamper-proof adjustment.
The fresh air is then controlled like the others with a vent slider, and humidity is controlled by water in two reservoirs in the base of the unit. There are removable trays in the Brinsea which allows for the use of different sizes of eggs, and the user can position to suit their eggs in order to maximize the number of eggs that can be incubated and hatched.
The eggs are turned during incubation when the incubator is automatically rocked from side-to-side. The Brinsea is ideal for beginners, and comes with a full two-year warranty.
The Farm Innovators Still Air Incubator holds up to four dozen eggs. The unit includes a built-in hygrometer which monitors internal temperature and relative humidity.
Their solid state circuitry helps give this device a better temperature setting. There is a red indication light which lets you know the heater is working. There is a clear window which allows for easy observation of the eggs. The unit also includes an additional thermometer. This incubator is great for education and for those ‘backyard chicken farmers.’
Radical Deal Automatic 48 Eggs Digital Clear Egg Incubator has a digital temperature control for easy operation, and accommodates up to 48 eggs. There are auto-turners which help keep the eggs turning every two hours to improve hatch speed.
LED displays temperature, humidity, hatching day and egg turning time. There is also a temperature and humidity alarm. The incubator is just right for chickens, ducks, and other fowl eggs. There are built-in water channels that control humidity levels. There is a built in fan to circulate the air for balanced temperatures and humidity. Best of all, it is easy to clean and use.
Digital Auto Temperature Small Brooder 7 Mini Egg Incubator Hatchers for Chicken Birds Pigeon Quail features several neat aspects. It is a great mini-intelligent incubator. It is a cute gift for children. There is a built-in temperature control system, and the egg capacity is seven.
You will have to add water when you start to use it, and you have to preheat before the machine starts to work. Set it to be 38 degrees. Check whether the two LED lights are on or not. Fill the water pan with water, put it under the egg tray and put eggs in to egg tray, and then put on the lid of machine and turn on power.
Why Should You Use an Incubator to Hatch Eggs?
Chicken eggs need to be kept around 99.5 degrees at all times – just one degree higher or lower can terminate the embryo. A 40 to 50 percent humidity must be consistent for the first 18 days – with 65 to 75 percent humidity for the final days of hatching. Egg shells are porous – allowing oxygen to enter and carbon dioxide to exit. Incubators need to have holes or vents that allow fresh air to circulate so the fetuses can breathe.
As you can see there are a lot of variables involved in properly hatching a chicken egg. Slight changes or relapses in any of these variables could mean the difference between a healthy chick and a terminated embryo. In order to ensure the highest success rate, it is highly recommend that you use an incubator to hatch your eggs.
Mother Hen vs. Incubator
For those of you who plan to use a mother hen over an incubator and want to go the all natural way, please consider the following:
Incubators can hatch more eggs and is, ironically, more reliable than a mother hen. A hen will stop laying eggs for a time, and rear her offspring. Where as a hen will hatch around 30 chicks per year, an incubator can hatch up to 350 chicks per year from the same hen. In addition to its efficiency, an incubator helps provide a stable environment in which the eggs can hatch. When a hen incubates her eggs, many things could go wrong. For instance, a wild animal could get the hen or the eggs. If the eggs are in an incubator, it remains for the most part in a controlled environment.
One thing to remember, so you are not disappointed is that not all the eggs you set in an incubator will hatch. Research has shown that approximately 80 percent of the eggs you place in an incubator will hatch. So, before you make a decision on what type of incubator to purchase, you need to plan where you will keep the incubator for at least the 20 plus days it takes for eggs to hatch. Some people have placed incubators in a spare bedroom or in a shed in the backyard or even in the garage.
Things to Consider When Buying an Egg Incubator
Today’s incubators come in all shapes and sizes – you can hatch just a few eggs or up to a few thousand. There are lots of other names for incubators. Breeders of chicken refer to incubators as breeding machines, hatching machines, hatchers, setters, artificial incubation equipment, hatcheries, egg breeding equipment, egg hatching equipment, bators and hovabators.
As you take this into consideration, there are also other things to think about. Do you want to be able to watch the process? If you do, then you need to look for an incubator with a window in the front or on top so you can see the eggs. Don’t forget to not take the lid off the incubator in the last days of incubation and during the hatch! Another important factor to consider is how easy it is to clean the incubator. Make sure that the incubator is easy to take a part to allow for a deep cleaning after the chicken eggs hatch.
Also one must remember the most vital issues during incubation – temperature and humidity. Whatever incubator you choose, you need to remember that the temperature and humidity need to be consistent. Do you want to keep a watch on this yourself or let the incubator do this automatically? Moreover, you need to consider the type of eggs you plan to hatch. Are you hatching chicken eggs? Duck eggs? Reptile eggs? For example, chicken eggs need to be turned to keep the embryo from sticking to the shell. Keep in mind when purchasing an incubator to look for features that may make your life easier if you are brand new to the art of hatching eggs.
How Much is an Egg Incubator?
Lastly, before picking your incubator, you need to look at your budget for this project. Incubators can cost anywhere from thousands of dollars to less than a $100. Some incubators require accessories – some do not. Think hard about how much money you want to invest in your endeavor and go for what you can afford.
Where Can I Get Eggs to Hatch if I don’t own a Chicken?
Before picking out the incubators, we did leave out one important aspect – picking out the type of eggs.
You may already have a flock of chickens with a rooster. As soon as the hen lays the eggs, grab them up and get them to an incubator. If you don’t already have chickens, look around. Find the local agriculture agent for your community or check out the Future Farmers of America or 4H Club or a nearby farmer. See where you can get some fertile eggs. There are websites available that sell eggs or can link you to others who may have eggs. Feed stores, like local hardware stores and Tractor Supply stores may sell eggs in the spring.
When picking eggs to incubate, make sure you use the ones that are clean, full-size and well-formed. Don’t clean the eggs. Keep your hands clean.
Incubators offer beginners’ guidance and resources. Incubators offer tangible resources for those in the egg hatching business. There are a plethora of other models of egg incubators available for those who want to do egg hatching. Be it through a large scale chicken farm or a child needing to do a chicken project for school – there are tons of resources available.