The 10 Best Egg Incubators
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in September of 2015. If you want to increase poultry production on a farm or teach students about the life cycles of small birds or reptiles, one of these egg incubators is well suited for the job. With large viewing windows, efficient air systems, and an ability to regulate their temperature, humidity, and turning intervals, they provide a nurturing environment that promotes successful embryo growth and hatching. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
October 08, 2020:
I distinctly remember my third grade year being the year of animals and outer space with regard to learning in the classroom. Along with learning about the planets and how spaceships work, I recall having many opportunities to babysit various animals throughout the year, including a garter snake, mice, a cat, and of course my own dogs. I also remember my teacher placing a rather large egg incubator on her desk with a capacity for around 20 chicken eggs. This device always fascinated me because I was accustomed to associating hatching eggs with a mother hen. As a young kid, I also thought of eggs as something I'd normally see poached or scrambled on a plate and placed on the breakfast room table for consumption. I wouldn't have appreciated the development of a fertilized chicken egg until I watched the embryos develop from inside the incubator in our classroom. Therefore, I consider these machines as useful for both farming and teaching purposes.
The compact size of the Magicfly Mini, Brinsea Mini II Advance, and Yosoo Mini make them ideal choices for classrooms, the first of which delivers automatic temperature control and turning functionality for up to 12 eggs.
Newly added this year is the Harris Nurture Right 360, which is preprogrammed to deactivate its automatic turning system three days before the scheduled hatching date. Like several others on the list, this one also provides a built-in candler to check on the status of developing embryos.
What I find useful about the Kebonnixs 12 is that it leverages recorded temperature changes several times each second to predict climate trends and adjust its heating system accordingly so that developing eggs aren't subject to radical temperature fluctuations from inside the unit. Eggs are also automatically rolled once per hour.
Both the HovaBator Genesis 1588 and Little Giant 9300 can accommodate reptile eggs, the latter of which features two separate viewing windows, an integrated hygrometer, and water channels for maintaining optimal humidity levels.
Although the GQF Digital Sportsman is very expensive, its large capacity, integrated thermostat, and computer come in handy for monitoring the conditions inside it.
July 04, 2019:
If you want a high hatch rate, then you're going to need an incubator that is up to the task. While evaluating, you'll want to consider whether it is is a still-air or circulating-air unit, and the degree of automation it offers. Some models are fully automatic--offering egg turning at regular intervals as well as temperature and humidity control, all of which are important factors in a successful hatch. Other units are completely manual. You'll pay less for them, but will spend more time monitoring the environment and turning eggs by hand.
Our selections include both automatic and manual models. In this update, we evaluated units based on their ease of use, value, and reputation among users. We removed one item due to concerns about its availability and added the Noeler Digital as an automatic option that is a good choice for beginners because it is so easy to use and clean.
Rite Farm Pro-528 The Rite Farm Pro-528 is a cabinet-style incubator and hatcher packed with many features, including a large transparent viewing window, commercial-grade chain drive egg turner with built-in power switch on its control panel, sterilizer bulb for use after each hatching, and an integrated candler. Its on-board digital display provides both temperature and humidity readings with an alarm to alert you when these values fall below acceptable levels. The humidity tray also comes with a float that can be connected directly to your water line, so you don't have to worry about opening its main door to fill it. ritefarm.com
Grumbach 8104 Despite a high price point, the Grumbach 8104 delivers a variety of high-tech features that make it a relevant option when it comes to professional egg incubation. Equipped with four hatching trays, this one has a capacity for up to 168 chicken eggs and offers the benefits of a large seven-inch touchscreen with electronic temperature controls, intuitive navigation menu for adjusting its settings, gentle circulating air system for even heat distribution, and a programmable turning frame. Additionally, this unit can connect to both LAN and WLAN networks with an ability to log recorded data via USB interface, detect faults, and send automatic email status notifications based on its operation. grumbach-usa.com
Raise Your Chicks Right
However, during the last three days of the incubation process, the eggs should not be turned, as the embryos are getting into their hatching positions.
Depending on the types of food you like to eat, eggs are considered a breakfast staple by many. They can be boiled, scrambled, poached, and they go great with bacon. However, those eggs you buy in the store are kept refrigerated to prevent growth of their embryos inside each egg shell. Each egg intended for sale is also inspected by the shining of a candling light designed to highlight any irregularities, such as a developing chick.
So, whether you're teaching young students about the miracle of life in a classroom or looking to ensure efficiency in sustaining a large group of hens for your livelihood as a farmer, one of these egg incubators will be needed to get the job done in either scenario.
An egg incubator is a machine that regulates its internal temperature and humidity levels in order to provide the ideal conditions for an egg to develop and ultimately hatch. In so doing, the machine plays the role of a broody hen that ordinarily has an instinct to lay and hatch eggs.
For farmers, egg incubators not only improve efficiency of hatching multiple eggs at once, but they also remove the dangers associated with a broody hen's vulnerability to predators. Unlike a broody hen that stops laying eggs when sitting on them and rearing her offspring, the egg incubator offers continuous operation. Furthermore, it keeps internal environmental conditions consistent throughout a twenty-one-day period during which the embryos develop.
Humidity control is one major component of importance for proper operation of an egg incubator, as it limits the unnecessary loss of egg moisture. Ideal humidity levels are between twenty-five and sixty percent from the time the incubator is set until approximately three days before hatching. During these last three days of the incubation period, the humidity level should be increased to between seventy and eighty percent.
Frequent monitoring of the water level will help to ensure adequate humidity. If maintaining humidity is a problem, adding wet sponges to the inside of the incubator can be helpful, as this increases the wet surface area for additional water evaporation, which ultimately increases the level of humidity.
Temperature is also an important consideration. The average internal operating temperature for an egg incubator is typically around 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit (or 37.5 degrees Celsius). This can be adjusted slightly depending on what you find works best for your environment and it may take a little experimentation to perfect.
Egg turning is another crucial part of the incubation process. Eggs should be turned up to three times per day during the first eighteen days of their incubation periods. But wait, doesn't this hurt the developing embryo? Actually, quite the contrary. Whether turning the eggs manually or automatically, this action helps to prevent the developing embryos from sticking to their shells. However, during the last three days of the incubation process, the eggs should not be turned, as the embryos are getting into their hatching positions.
Egg Incubation Throughout The Centuries
The long history of egg incubation dates back to the times of the ancient Egyptians and Chinese. Both cultures devised distinct solutions used to hatch chicks from eggs not being reared by a broody hen. This allowed for continuous laying of eggs.
Ancient Egyptian incubators consisted of large rooms or mud huts with shelves for burning straw, dung, and charcoal.
Ancient Egyptian incubators consisted of large rooms or mud huts with shelves for burning straw, dung, and charcoal. These rooms were heated by fires with attendants to turn the eggs manually. Ancient Chinese incubators were also heated by fires in large rooms featuring brick ovens.
The Chinese also made use of rotting manure for heat, while also realizing that developing embryos would release their own heat source. For this reason, those eggs in a later stage of development could be interspersed with younger, less-developed eggs to produce extra heat.
Building on the ancient incubator designs, 18th century French scientist Rene-Antoine Ferchault de Reaumur revived an interest in egg incubation around 1750 following a period of difficulty in hatching eggs in Europe due to harsh winter conditions. Reaumur's incubator was warmed by a wooden stove equipped with a thermometer as its temperature control.
Many modern egg incubators are quite large and can handle up to a million eggs at a time.
Choosing An Egg Incbuator
Since temperature, humidity, and turning are all important factors when considering an egg incubator, a user must be certain to invest in one made from sturdy materials, such as ABS plastic, with automatic egg turning functionality, and a modern digital control system that maintains the proper internal temperature.
Assembly of an incubator should be quick and easy. If its parts are dishwasher safe, that's even better for simple cleaning.
Some incubators also offer large viewing windows for monitoring your eggs without having to open the units.
Finally, depending on your purposes, incubators come with different available capacities, so one must be sure to invest in one that can handle multiple eggs simultaneously.