But is it worth paying out for a commercially produced candler, or will a flashlight or mobile device do just as well?
In this article, we'll look at:
If you're looking for information about what other products can be used, and how and when to candle, you need to jump to this detailed page about candling.
If you've ever hatched your own fertile eggs you'll know what an important part candling plays.
From detecting imperfections before they even go into the incubator to telling which are likely to hatch as incubation progresses, going through incubating and hatchingwithout it is a much more hit-and-miss thing.
Yes, it's definitely possible to use either a hand-held flashlight or a home made candler and both can be quite effective - but both have their limitations. For more information about those methods, have a look at this page about how to candle chicken eggs.
Simply to do with quality. I use a lot of Brinsea's products - incubators, humidity pumps and brooder lamps as well as the products reviewed here. I have found them all to be incredibly reliable.
Although they're not cheap, reliability is, in my book, well worth paying for.
So I see no point in using another brand. As far as I'm concerned, Brinsea lead the field.
And, in case you're wondering, Brinsea don't pay me to say that - I don't get any payments whatsoever from them! I say it because of my experience with their products over the last ten years.
The candlers are actually very simple gadgets.
This is the basic one, which I've had since I started incubating chicken eggs ten years ago. It's lit by an LED lamp. that's important, because it emits no heat, so there's no chance of the eggs cooking while you're candling.
It also has a good, strong on-off switch and a compartment for the four AA batteries which power it.
The egg balances on the light, and there's a rubber bung that fits over the lamp so it blocks all light from outside and concentrates it on the egg.
The 'OvaView' should be placed on a solid surface. I always place a towel underneath so that should I let an egg slip - it's not unknown, especially if you're new to candling. It stands less chance of breaking if it falls on a soft surface.
You'll need two hands to steady and turn the egg.
This is exactly the same product as the standard candler, but with a more high intensity light. Brinsea say this helps with the issue of candling dark-shelled eggs - the higher spec light gives a good vision.
I've got both versions. The high intensity candler is the same basic set-up. The quality and the way it works are exactly the same. The difference, as you might expect, is in the strength of the light.
The OvaScope looks a bit like a microscope - and to a very limited extent, that's what it is.
It fits over the OvaView Candler - either the standard or the high intensity version. The egg is placed inside a small chamber which completely cuts out external light.
mirror inside which slightly magnifies the egg. Looking through the
eye hole at the top means this magnified version is what you see.
It does make candling darker eggs far easier, although certainly when combined with the standard candler it's still difficult. Combined with the high intensity version, it's the ultimate solution.
This is the same egg as in the photo above, but used with the OvaScope. You can see how much clearer the embryo is.
This is a simple one: anyone who's incubating chicken eggs, or planning to. I've tried using a flashlight, an iPhone light and a home made LED light (see this article for the results) and none of them work as well.
I've had the Brinsea candlers for ten years (basic) and eight years (high intensity) respectively. Both are still going strong, and I would not be without them when I'm incubating.
My suggestion would be to combine the high intensity candler with the OvaScope. That's the most helpful combination I've found.
The main drawback at the point you buy is the cost. However, divide that between the years' use you'll have, and it's minimal.
If you've read other reviews of chicken-related products I use, you'll know that I award points based on a "golden egg" scheme, where one egg means "don't buy this on any account!" and five means "get this, now!".
For both Brinsea candlers, and the OvaScope, I am awarding...
Although Brinsea have their own website from which they sell these products, the price isn't necessarily the most competitive.
For that reason I use Amazon. They are also excellent in terms of returning any product that's unsuitable or broken (not that any of my Brinsea products have been!).
These links will open on a new page.
Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't stock Brinsea egg candlers everywhere in the world (although it's always worth checking).
If you check Amazon through one of my links and there are no products available there, Brinsea's own site lists all their products.
By following this link you'll find their worldwide distribution list, on which you'll be able to find their outlets in your part of the world.
Some links in the following sections are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product through them I receive a small commission. There is no extra cost to you. Find more details on this page.
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