A Review of Brinsea's EcoGlow Brooder Heat Lamps.

Got or getting baby chicks? Did you know they can easily become chilled and die?

It's imperative to have  a safe, reliable heat source to keep them warm when they're little.  Traditional lamps can be dangerous.  Here I tell you why, and review two of the best and safest brooder lamps on the market - Brinsea's EcoGlow 20 and the larger EcoGlow 50.

I'm reviewing them together because they're essentially the same - the 50 is just a larger unit although it does have one design feature which, in my view, makes it preferable to the 20.

If you want to buy one of these brooder lamps and you live in the USA, click on any of the pictures.  If you live in the UK, click here.   If you live in neither, you will need to look for local distributors by clicking here to go to the Brinsea worldwide distribution page.

Here's what I cover in this review.  Click on any of these links to go to that section, or just scroll down and read the whole thing.



Why not use a traditional heat lamp?

An inexpensive but, in my view, dangerous heat lamp.

This is a traditional heat lamp.  Its main advantage is that it's very inexpensive.  Its main disadvantage is that it's very dangerous. 

And that's why I will never use this type of heat source for either a brooder box or a chicken coop. 

I've seen too many examples of livestock - usually but not only chickens - killed by fires started by one of these.  They come specifically recommended for brooders but if the front of the lamp touches anything flammable - like  a cardboard brooder or chick bedding for example - there is a huge risk that the heat will set it on fire.

Which is why I have always used the Brinsea brooder lamp.


Please note : I have not been paid for reviewing these items, nor was I given a sample. I'm reviewing them simply because I use them personally and rate them highly.  It is obviously up to you to consider all the options and decide which of all available heat sources is best for your circumstances.


How does the Brinsea brooder heat lamp work?

Unlike a traditional heat lamp, the Brinseas work on radiant heat. Whereas normal heating relies on a heat source warming the air, this works by an element warming only on contact.

One of my Golden Wyandotte chicks snuggling up against the radiant heat element of the Brinsea EcoGlow 50.

A Wyandotte chick against the heat element of the Brinsea heat lamp.

So the black contact sheet on the underneath of the unit does not get hot.  When the chick's body is placed against it, it transmits direct warmth from the element to the chick.  There is no heat source to spark a fire.

In that sense it's much more like the way a mother hen would transmit warmth, which is partly why I like it.

A lot of reviews of this product don't understand this principle and people get very worried that the unit itself does not get hot.

But - it doesn't need to. 


The EcoGlow 20 brooder lamp : pros and cons.

Pros.

  • The EcoGlow 20 consists of one flat panel which is the heating element, and two side panels with slots where the yellow panel fits.  Because this works on radiant heat it never gets hot to the touch, so children touching it by accident, for example, won't get burned.

My Brinsea EcoGlow 20 lamp ready for action in my brooder box.

The Brinsea EcoGlow 20 brooder lamp.
  • There are three levels on the side panels so that the brooder lamp can be set very close to the ground when the chicks are newly-hatched, and raised as they get bigger.
  • For bantams I simply leave one side panel off altogether and put the other on the middle or top level, creating a tiny space at one end and a bigger space at the other. This means that bantams and large breeds can use it at the same time.
  • This unit uses much less electricity than a traditional heat lamp.  Because I was hatching different batches of eggs during the winter I had both of mine switched on for three months and didn't even notice a difference in my electricity bill.
  • The average saving over a traditional heat lamp is estimated at around $11 - $15 per four week period.
  • But the main advantage is that this heat lamp is completely safe.  I can set it up and leave it in the brooder without any anxiety about chicks getting burned or the brooder setting on fire.

Cons.

Brinsea say that up to twenty chicks can fit under this brooder lamp.  I would say that's right for very new chicks but if you've hatched large breed chicks and they're going to need it for any longer than about three weeks - if you're hatching in the winter, for example - it won't be enough for more than about eight chicks at a time.

Even at this size - 3 weeks old - my 18 chicks were cramped under the EcoGlow 20 and needed to graduate to the larger EcoGlow 50.

A larger number of chicks, especially large breeds, will quickly outgrow the EcoGlow 20 as this picture shows.
  • For the lamp to work effectively the temperature of the room it's in needs to be around 13ºC (55ºF).  I've used it in a cooler room during winter and I needed to supplement the room heat.
  • I find the heat panel extremely difficult to fit into the side panel slots.  So much so, in fact, that the tabs on the heat panel snapped off and I needed to superglue them back on.  After this, I kept the legs at the same panel height and raised or lowered them using bricks.  Not an ideal solution though, particularly for a fairly expensive piece of equipment.
  • Neither of these brooder lamps is cheap.  But for me, the peace of mind is priceless.


The EcoGlow 50 brooder lamp : pros and cons.

The EcoGlow 50 is considerably larger than the Ecoglow 20.

Brinsea's EcoGlow 50 brooder lamp, out of the box.

Pros.

  • Large - measures 22" (56 cm) long by 16" (41 cm) wide.
  • The principle of this heat source is exactly the same as for the EcoGlow 20 - the difference is simply the size.  So the issue of not having problems with heat and fires is the same.
  • I far prefer the legs on this unit.  Rather than snapping into the side, the legs screw into the base.  Raising and lowering the platform is just a question of screwing the legs higher or lower and all four legs can be at different heights to accommodate large and small chicks at once.  Simple and brilliant.
  • Again, the issue of running cost is exactly the same.  I ran this lamp and the EcoGlow 20 in my brooder for three months and didn't notice any difference at all in my electricity bill.

Cons.

  • Brinsea reckon this brooder lamp can fit up to 50 chicks and again I would say that's probably right until the chicks start to grow.  I have used it for 18 large breed chicks at once and it was perfect.
  • Like the EcoGlow 20, it's an expensive item.


Do the chicks like it?

They love both the small and the large units. I've never had any problems with the chicks taking to them straight away - they seem to find the radiant heat comforting.

My chicks disappear under these brooder lamps as soon as they come out of the incubator and on day 1, tend to spend a lot of time sleeping underneath them, occasionally peeking out at the world. 

A one day old Wyandotte chick under a brooder lamp.

By day 2 they venture further out to get food and water, scuttling back underneath if anything startles them. 

Chicks venturing out from under the EcoGlow 20 brooder lamp on day 2.

By day 4, the more adventurous (like this Wyandotte chick) will be experimenting with using it as somewhere to take a break from everyone else ...

A Wyandotte chick experiments with using the brooder lamp as a good place to sit.

... and by the end of the first week you'll find they'll all be using it to do acrobatics, as a launchpad for their first attempts at flying, and as a good place to start trying to jump out of the brooder.  It makes great entertainment - for them and for me!

Chicks using the Brinsea EcoGlow 20 brooder lamp as a place to perch.

Do I like them?

As you can probably tell, I have both these brooder lamps and love them both, with only a slight reservation for the EcoGlow 20 because of the issue with fitting the side panels.

They're reliable, inexpensive to run and most importantly of all - my chicks are kept warm and safe underneath them.

What do reviews say?

  • More than 80% of reviews on these lamps are positive. 
  • Of the negative (2 star or less) a lot of comments are about the units not getting hot or not heating the air - but that's the whole point of the radiant heat.  It only heats the chick and so is far less of a fire risk.
  • Some people don't like the fact that the top of the unit gets dirty because the chicks sit on it.  Well, that's the nature of chicks! 

Yep - chicks make a mess!  My EcoGlow 50 before cleaning it.

Chicks make a mess of brooder lamps!

It's very easy to clean - I use a scraper and then sponge it down - or you can use a non-slip covering such as we put into the incubator at lockdown time.

Brinsea's EcoGlow 20 is easily kept clean with a non-slip covering.
  • Other comments relate to what seems to be "cheap plastic", particularly for the legs - and that's a comment I would have to agree with.
  • Overall, though, the reviews of both these heat lamps are excellent.


Would I recommend them?

Absolutely - they score my highest award of ... 

Five Golden Eggs!

Brinsea's brooder lamp scores a perfect five golden eggs!

Which one would be the best brooder lamp for you?

  • If you intend to hatch no more than ten chicks at a time I'd say the Ecoglow 20 is ideal and will be fine until your chicks are not needing extra heat any more.
  • If you think you might want to hatch more than ten chicks, particularly if they're large breeds, I'd go for the larger Ecoglow 50.


Where to buy them.

Click on this egg to buy the smaller EcoGlow 20 from the USA

Click on this egg to buy the smaller EcoGlow 20 from the UK

Click on this egg to buy the larger EcoGlow 50 from the USA

Click on this egg to buy the larger EcoGlow 50 from the UK

Click to buy the EcoGlow50 from the USA

Do you have any questions or comments about these brooder lamps? 

Or perhaps your chicks have used them too?  Leave a message in the comments box below.

Tell me all - I'd love to hear from you!

If you're thinking of incubating and hatching chicks, you might find the pages below helpful.

Click on any of these pics to go to the page.

Come hatch with me! Information about my free 28-day guide to incubating and hatching.
Candling eggs - all you need to know!
How to keep your baby chicks warm in the brooder.
Incubator lockdown - what is it and what needs to be done?
10 steps to choosing your perfect egg incubator.
The best book about incubation and hatching? Read my review!

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