The ReptiPro 6000 is our favorite incubator!
This incubator gets our highest rating for a number of reasons, mainly the combination of style and function that is lacking in most other incubator models.
First, it is simply a good looking incubator. It is made of a durable molded plastic that is easy to clean and maintain. It also has a large viewing window that lets you see the entire inside of the incubator at any given time with a quick glance. With the silver finish and blue accent lights, it is an incubator you wouldn’t be ashamed to sit on your counter and show off to visitors. The clear shelves just help give it that little extra something.
Next, it is dead simple to use. Although we found that it required a little bit of setup regarding humidity, once we found our sweet spot, it was ready to go. The water tray in the bottom provides grooves that you can fill with water to raise your humidity. We started with it half full, and found that we only needed about 4 rows filled to get the humidity that we wanted. The temperature was easy to adjust with the touch of a button, either up or down.
While this was originally intended as a reptile incubator, it both heats and cools. It can hold temps as low as 40 degrees F up to 140 degrees F, making it ideal for all types of egg incubation, both bird and reptile. For bird egg incubation, there are also egg turners for the ReptiPro 6000 available. It can hold up to 2 turners for a capacity of 32 chicken/duck/goose eggs. It also comes with small cups to hold smaller eggs such as quail or pheasant.
Overall, the ReptiPro 6000 gets high marks for performance, style, value, and durability, making it our recommended choice for most breeders.
The best of the best of the styrofoam incubators!
Although this has the shortcomings consistent with being made of styrofoam such as difficulty in cleaning and storage, it is by no means an inferior incubator! The 1588 can be set as low as 60 degrees F, making it possible to incubate either reptiles or birds, and the versatility doesn’t stop there.
Unlike the other Hova-Bator models, the 1588 features all digital temp controls as well as a automatic shut off to prevent “burn up” of eggs. It also has a read out of the humidity inside the incubator, making it easy to see all your necessary information in one place. It also has the large picture window, giving you great visibility of all your eggs.
As far as the styrofoam incubators go, this one is our recommended choice. It is worth the extra money (over the other Hova-Bator models) for the features that it provides.
While many are not fans of styrofoam incubators, it is important to recognize that GQF is trying to marry features with affordability. This incubator still features the wafer thermostat, unlike the 1588 that boasts digital controls. However, this incubator does come with the Turbofan system, making it a circulated air incubator. This is the main upgrade of this incubator over the 1602. There are turners available to add to this unit, but without it can hold about 130 quail eggs or 50 chicken eggs.
Although the turbofan does help, this unit still has many of the same problems that the other styrofoam incubators have. It is just asking for bacteria growth as it can’t be cleaned with a lot traditional cleaning solvents. It also has a pretty small viewing window, but that is pretty much what you get when you pay less than $100 for an incubator. Expect to replace it every couple of years due to wear and tear. As with most things, this incubator will last longer the better care you take of it. Make sure it is stored in the box during off season to help prevent cracks and breakage.
As far as HovaBators go, this model is pretty nice.
This incubator features the styrofoam construction that is lightweight and easy to move as needed. However, this construction is not typically as durable as other types of materials. Still, this incubator does have some features to help make up for the construction.
The GQF 1583 has a large picture window that allows you to see all of your eggs, which is a huge improvement over the 1602 and 2362. This one also features the Turbofan system, which means that it uses circulated air to keep temps consistent and even throughout the unit.
Although this unit still uses the wafer control system, it is pretty easy to set it and forget it, making this a good incubator for beginners or low-volume breeders. Just make sure you are storing it properly to keep it from becoming damaged. It is important to use a cleaner that is safe on styrofoam as well, as some cleaners will eat through the material making it virtually unusable.
The 1602 is about the most basic, inexpensive incubator you can get. Made from styrofoam, this unit does not offer the durability that other incubators boast, but for the price, it is hard to complain.
This provides very little in the way of features. It has a manual thermostat setting (wafer-style), no digital temperature readout, no humidity reading or display, and egg turners are not included, but can be added on separately. That being said, it can still be a great choice for someone who wants to try incubating without investing a lot of start-up money into the project. If you decide breeding is not for you, then you aren’t out that much. If you decide you enjoy it, then you can upgrade to a better incubator and continue to use this unit as a hatcher.
All in all, while I wouldn’t recommend this incubator to experienced breeders, the HovaBator 1602 can be a great introduction to incubation.