When determining which incubator best suits your needs, there are a few questions that you will want to answer first.
- What type of eggs are you incubating, and in what quantity?
- What are your future incubation plans?
- What level of functionality do you/your eggs require for hatching?
- What is your budget?
By understanding your needs, you can better determine which incubators are going to meet those needs, and can make a more informed decision.
Before you can determine which specific incubator or brand is right for you, you will need to determine what type of incubator is best suited to your incubation requirements and plans.
There are four main types of incubators: Mini, Tabletop, Cabinet, and Commercial. Each of these have unique capacity, price, and functionality characteristics.
Understanding incubator features and requirements for incubation
Once you have determined what category of incubator you need, the level of functionality, price, and your personal preference will determine which specific incubator or brand is right for you. Whatever incubator you do ultimately decide to purchase, make sure that you understand what functionality is included, and make accommodations to handle those that are not.
Ultimately, you will need to monitor and control temperature and humidity, and have some process for turning eggs. Incubators that have these features integrated are often more expensive, where those with fewer features are less expensive.
Most incubators include a digital temperature readout, or come with a standard thermometer included. However, humidity control is typically an add-on product, and is only available for some models. Most tabletop and smaller incubators do not even include a humidity readout. This means that you will want to purchase either a hygrometer or wet-bulb thermometer in addition to your incubator to determine if humidity levels are optimal for incubation and hatching.
If you choose not to add an egg turner to your incubator, then you will need to make a plan to have your eggs turned at the intervals appropriate for their type.