There are so many chicken egg incubators to choose from, each with slightly different features, that it can be confusing to work out which is best for your situation.
This article compares nine of the best Brinsea incubators to highlight the differences. To find the size and features you're looking for, use the links below – or read through all three categories.
Let's start by looking at why I assess Brinsea as the best incubators on the market, and what all three categories of incubator have in common.
* Brinsea is a longstanding company based on the UK. Established in 1976, it has become a globally accepted expert in incubating and hatching products.
* Feedback from customers is taken seriously and changes to products take both customers and evolving technology into account. As a result, the products are always user-friendly and incorporate the most advanced technical knowledge.
* Products are long lasting and reliable. I have owned my two Mini Advance incubators for over ten years, and have had in excess of 97% successful hatch rates each year.
* Customer service is quick and efficient, as might be expected from an essentially family-owned business.
* Each incubator is covered by a comprehensive three year guarantee, providing the product has been registered online.
Want to hatch up to ten chicks? These are the absolute best egg incubators for anyone wanting to raise a few chickens at home or at school.
* Humidity: the difference between the Eco and Advance and EX is basically humidity. The Eco and Advance have a pot inside the incubator which you top up from an external chamber. The EX has an external pump and keeps humidity consistent automatically, monitoring it via the digital readout.
** Temperature: all three of these Brinsea incubators keep a consistent temperature. The Advance and EX displays show temperature levels in either C or F. The Eco does not have a display, so relies on a thermometer which is supplied.
*** Turning: the Advance and EX turn the eggs automatically at an angle and time lapse which can be altered. The Advance stops turning the eggs automatically at lockdown; the EX has to be manually changed.
**** Alarm: the Advance and EX have alarms which can be set to sound should the temperature in the incubator fall below safe levels.
So you've used a "Mini" range incubator and decided that this time, you want to hatch more eggs than it can hold?
These medium sized incubators will take anything up to 30 eggs – up to 24 if you want them to be automatically turned.
For such a large number, I would strongly advise an automatic turner. Trying to remember which you have and haven't turned is difficult and could seriously affect hatching rates.
* Capacity: the Eco does not have an egg turning tray since it doesn't turn the eggs automatically. The eggs lie on the floor of the incubator and therefore more can fit than in the other two models.
** Humidity: as with the "Mini" range, the difference between the Eco and Advance and the EX is basically humidity. The Eco and Advance have a pot inside the incubator which tops up from an external chamber. The EX has an external pump and keeps humidity consistent, monitoring it via the digital readout.
*** Temperature: all three incubators maintain temperature; the Advance and EX digital displays show temperature levels in either C or F. The Eco relies on a thermometer which is supplied.
**** Turning: the Advance and EX turn the eggs automatically at an angle and time lapse which can be altered. The Advance (only) stops turning the eggs two days before hatch is due.
***** Alarm: the Advance and EX have alarms which can be set to sound should the temperature in the incubator or the room in which the incubator is placed fall below safe levels, or if there is a power failure.
Full disclosure: I have not used the Ovation range, but know breeders who have. I have used the Octagon 20 which this range replaced. See my full review of the Octagon 20 here.
Each type in the Ovation range (Eco, Advance and EX) has both a 28- and a larger 56-egg version.
* Capacity: all three models have both a 28 and a 56 egg model.
** Humidity: in the Eco and Advance models, humidity is provided by water trays, with an easy top-up function including a level indicator. The EX has a fully automatic humidity control which is said to be extremely accurate.
*** Temperature: all three incubators have a digital display showing temperature.
**** Turning: this is different to the "Mini" and "Maxi" ranges, in that the Ovation incubators all have a fully controllable turning capacity.
***** Alarm: all three models have an alarm system should the temperature in the incubator or the room be above or below desired levels.