The 8 BEST Egg Incubators in 2024

You’ve decided to hatch your own chickens, but there are hundreds of egg incubators to choose from. So, how do you go about picking the best egg incubator for you and your homestead?!

I’ve been hatching chicks since 2014 and have used MANY incubators along the way. In this article, I’ll share all of my successes (and failures) with different incubators so that you’ll start out strong and with a good idea of what YOU need for a successful hatch!

Choosing the best egg incubator is a make-or-break decision and you really do get what you pay for. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to buy a professional-grade incubator for $3,000. We’ll find a good one that fits your budget!

Let’s jump in!

5 of my egg incubators sitting on a kitchen island

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products (including Amazon). I’ll earn a small commission if you make a purchase through my link, at no additional cost to you! Regardless, I only link to products that I personally use on our homestead or believe in.

Key Features for Incubators

Incubators come in a wide variety of options when it comes to size, style, features, and price. It can be overwhelming just searching through them all. Let’s chat about the key features that I look for when shopping for the best egg incubators on the market.

A graphic showing the 9 key features of the best egg incubators

Airflow

All incubators should have vents for air exchange (developing eggs are living and breathing!), but there are 2 types of airflow methods to evaluate: still air and forced air.

  • Still Air Incubator: This is the most basic style that you’ll find in cheap incubators. It relies on simple gravity to naturally circulate the air with a concept similar to a still room with no vents. This often produces hot and cold spots throughout the incubator, resulting in a poor hatch with some chicks hatching early, and some hatching late.
  • Forced Air Incubator: This type of incubator has a built-in fan to evenly distribute the warm, humid air. This results in all of your eggs developing similarly and often, a better overall hatch. Splurging for forced air is worth every penny, in my opinion.

Automated Temperature

This is absolutely critical. Just a 1-degree difference can impact your hatch

  • If it runs 1 degree high, you’ll have an early hatch with chicks prone to splayed legs and trouble walking.
  • If it runs 1 degree low, you’ll have a late hatch with chicks prone to crooked toes, thin legs, and unhealed navels. 

Therefore, it’s helpful to have an incubator that automatically adjusts throughout the day to keep things stable. Such peace of mind! If your incubator has a manual turn dial for temperature and your room temperature goes up… your incubator temperature will also go up.

10 eggs in an incubator

Tip #1: Identify if your incubator is forced-air or still-air. Forced-air incubators should be set at 99.5 degrees whereas still-air incubators are higher at 102 degrees, however, this is a general guideline and I would follow the instructions in your operating manual.

Tip #2: Make sure that you have several additional thermometers placed in your incubator (placed at the height of the top of the eggs) to confirm that your built-in thermometer is reading true. I like to use probe thermometers and poke them through a vent hole. It is common for cheap incubators to run hot or cold. I’ve definitely had my share of hatch losses due to incorrectly calibrated thermometers!

Humidity Control

Humidity is one of the hardest things to get right, in my opinion. Many egg incubators require you to manually add water to channels built into the bottom of the incubator.

Not only is this easy to forget about and makes travel impossible, but it’s not very adjustable either. Plus, in most models, you need to open the incubator to make adjustments, which is not ideal during the hatch.

Purchasing an incubator that automatically controls humidity based on your settings, it’s worth the extra cost. I’ve even gone on international vacations while my automatic incubators were running and could relax knowing they were taking care of it all for me.

Thankfully, the success of the hatch weighs more heavily on overall humidity throughout the hatch and spikes aren’t as big of a deal. However, is important to get it right because:

  • If humidity runs too high, then the egg doesn’t lose enough moisture resulting in large chicks that can drown at hatching time. 
  • If humidity runs too low, then the egg loses too much moisture resulting in “shrink-wrapped” chicks that fail to hatch.

I’ve found my hatch successes to vary even by adjusting the humidity by 3-5%! You’d never be able to achieve that precision with manual adjustments.

TIP: To verify that your humidity setting is correct, I highly recommend buying TWO hygrometers (only $6!). The cheap incubators are notorious for having poorly calibrated digital displays, so using these will make sure you’re on track. 

The Homesteading RD's Product Picks

I love these things! They are cheap and easy to throw into the incubator. They aren't super percise, so I always use 2-3 and take an average to be sure.

Digital Display

This is a slick option so you can quickly check the status of your incubator and make any adjustments if needed. Most egg incubators today come with a digital display.

Egg Turner

In nature, a mother hen will periodically adjust her eggs and rotate them throughout the day. When incubating, this practice needs to be mimicked as much as possible. Rotating allows the yolk to remain centered in the middle of the egg, instead of sticking to the shell.

56 eggs loaded into egg turner trays of an incubator

Chicken eggs need to be rotated from side to side a minimum of 3 times per day, every single day, for the first 18 days of the 21-day incubation period

If this seems like too much for you, definitely invest in an incubator that has an automatic turner. I like this option because it means less opening of the incubator (resulting in temperature and humidity fluctuations), plus reduces the risk of accidental egg trauma.

Alarm

Some egg incubators feature an alarm that goes off anytime the temperature goes above or below your predetermined “safe zone.” This can alert you to intervene before things go south, which is great!

Capacity

There is no one right answer to this question; it all comes down to how many chicks you want to hatch! Incubators can be as small as holding just 5 eggs or they can hold hundreds!

Think about your goals and how many chicks you realistically want to hatch:

  • If you live in the city and can only have 5 hens, go for a small size. Keep in mind that roughly 50% will end up being roosters; plus, your hatch rate will likely be 50-80%. Therefore, if you want to end up with 5 hens, I’d plan to incubate 20 eggs to be safe.
  • If you live in the country and/or are thinking about routinely hatching chicks to sell them to your community as a side hobby, definitely go big! I started with a 28-egg incubator and rapidly outgrew that size. 

TIP: Always go bigger than you think you need. Chicken math is a real thing. Hatching chicks is highly addicting and you’ll be expanding before you know it! 

7 dozen colorful hatching eggs sitting on kitchen counter

Ease of Cleaning

This is super important because hatching is messy and ensuring sanitary conditions for the next round is critical for its success. If your incubator doesn’t come apart easily, or if it is made of styrofoam (notorious for being hard to clean), then you’ll have trouble with this. Plastic (as much as I don’t like plastic) is the best choice here.

Viewing Window

This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it makes hatching so much more fun! When hatching starts, you’ll often find me with a chair pulled up and my nose pressed to the glass watching all of my new chicks hatch! If you have kids, definitely go with a big viewing window.

Overview of the 8 Best Egg Incubators

Now that you know what to look for, let’s dig into some of the best egg incubators on the market! I’m confident that one will be the perfect fit for you and your homestead.

Product


Rating


Features

Purchase

Best Small

  • Forced Air

  • Digital Thermostat

  • Automatic Humidity Control

  • Automatic Turner

  • Easy Viewing

7 Eggs

  • Forced Air

  • Digital Thermostat

  • Automatic Turner

  • Easy Viewing


Manual Humidity Control


7 Eggs

Budget Small

  • Forced Air

  • Digital Thermostat

  • Automatic Turner

  • Easy Viewing


Manual Humidity Control


12 Eggs

Best Medium

Best Medium

  • Forced Air

  • Digital Thermostat

  • Automatic Humidity Control

  • Automatic Turner

  • Easy Viewing


28 Eggs

  • Forced Air

  • Digital Thermostat

  • Automatic Turner

  • Easy Viewing


Manual Humidity Control


22 Eggs

Budget Medium

  • Forced Air

  • Digital Thermostat

  • Automatic Turner

  • Easy Viewing


Manual Humidity Control


25 Eggs

Best Large

  • Forced Air

  • Digital Thermostat

  • Automatic Humidity Control

  • Automatic Turner

  • Easy Viewing


56 Eggs

Budget Large

  • Forced Air

  • Digital Thermostat

  • Automatic Turner


Manual Humidity Control


Small Viewing Window


42 Eggs

The 8 Best Egg Incubators in 2024

Want more details about each of these incubators? No problem; I’ve got you covered!

#1 Brinsea Mini II EX – Best Small Incubator

Brinsea Products Mini II Ex for sale on Amazon

If your goal is to have a small backyard flock, look no further! Brinsea is my absolute favorite brand of incubator. All of their products are high quality, reliable, easy to clean, and come with a 3-year warranty (as long as you register your product promptly).

The Brinsea Mini II EX holds 7 eggs, so this is a great place to start. Brinsea has 3 lines for each incubator: Eco, Adv & EX. While the EX line is more expensive, it has fully automatic humidity control and is worth every penny in my opinion. I’ve gone on vacation with mine running and didn’t have to stress one bit!

#2 Brinsea Mini II Advance

Brinsea Mini II Advance

While my favorite Brinsea incubator is the EX line, I know that not everyone wants to shell out hundreds of dollars on an incubator. Therefore, the Mini II Advance is another excellent option from this same dependable company. The price reduction comes from the manual humidity control compared to the Mini II EX.

It still has automatic temperature control, an egg turner, a great viewing window and it’s easy to clean. You can even adjust the intervals that your eggs are turned from 15 to 180 minutes. This is a best-of-both-worlds option!

TIP: If you have plans to hatch duck eggs, look for a larger incubator. This one is a bit too small for ducklings.

#3 KEBONNIXS 12 Egg Incubator – Budget Small Incubator

KEBONNIXS 12 Egg Incubator

Fertile eggs are often sold by the dozen, so the fact that this KEBONNIXS incubator holds 12 eggs is great! It has a digital display of humidity and temperature, however, I highly recommend verifying their accuracy by adding your own thermometer and hygrometers.

While this model does require you to manually add water to control the humidity level, it is nice that you can add water externally. No need to open the lid!

This model also features a built-in egg candler so you can watch your baby chicks develop. Plus, the egg turner automatically stops 3 days before the hatch so that you don’t have to remember to turn it off. So nice!

TIP: The flooring is slick and can result in the chicks slipping and injuring their legs, so consider adding a layer of traction material to the bottom.

#4 Brinsea Ovation 28 EX – Best Medium Incubator

Brinsea Ovation 28 EX

The Brinsea Ovation 28 EX is my absolute favorite incubator. Hands down. I’ve been debating buying a second one just because I love it so much. It really is the perfect size and I’ve had excellent hatches every single time.

It is fully automatic so it’s a true “set it and forget it” kind of incubator. I’ve gone on international vacations with this thing running and I didn’t have to worry about it at all! All of the pieces come apart for easy cleaning and it has a big viewing window to watch the hatch.

The best part of this incubator is how accurate and precise it is. I’ve thrown multiple thermometers and hygrometers in there to cross-check and this incubator is calibrated perfectly. I love that I don’t have to fuss with it or worry that something is off.

TIP: Don’t feel like you need to buy fancy replacement humidity sponges from the supplier. I just cut up basic $2 kitchen sponges to fit and it works great!

#5 Manna Pro Nurture Right 360 Incubator

Manna Pro Nurture Right 360 Incubator

The Manna Pro Nurture Right 360 Incubator is one of the most popular incubators on the market and it fits a decent number of eggs (22). I added this one to my incubator collection last year and I’ve been pretty impressed with it!

It is fully automatic, with the exception of humidity control, so you’ll still need to manually add water yourself to keep it consistent. A nice feature is that it has a 21-day countdown and automatically stops turning the eggs 3 days before the hatch.

Based on the reviews, the turner tends to struggle to turn heavier eggs, however, I haven’t experienced this so far. This incubator can be a little noisy and the built-in egg candler is also pretty weak. I had to use my own egg candler to really monitor egg development properly. 

TIP: Be careful when removing the lid. It can be easy for eggs or chicks to fall out because there is no lip on the edges.

#6 Chickcozy Incubator – Budget Medium Incubator

Product view of the Chickcozy incubator

The Chickcozy incubator is the newest addition to my incubator collection and so far, I’m really impressed! I did a test batch with 11 eggs and 9 of them hatched (that’s a hatch rate of 82%), which is excellent!

This is one of the most affordable options on my list, and despite that, I had a fantastic hatch and surprisingly the temperature and humidity were spot-on when I cross-checked with a couple of thermometers and hygrometers. 

Humidity is controlled by manually adding water, but the tray is external, so there’s no need to open the lid, which is great. The other really cool feature is that there is a holder for an external thermometer in the front of the incubator, so it’s easy to cross-check those temps!

One thing that surprised me is how quiet this incubator is. The fan noise is minimal and even the egg turner hardly makes a sound. I also LOVE the large viewing window – it really made the hatch fun! Lastly, the non-stick mat at the bottom helped protect my chick’s legs and cleanup afterward was a breeze. I have ZERO complaints so far on this one!!

#7 Brinsea Ovation 56 EX – Best Large Incubator

Brinsea Ovation 56 EX

The Brinsea Ovation 56 EX is the big brother to my favorite incubator the Brinsea Ovation 28 EX. It’s also fully automatic, but twice as big. If you’re really wanting to hatch lots of chicks, this is an excellent option if you have the space.

It is fully automatic so it’s a true “set it and forget it” kind of incubator. I’ve gone on international vacations with this thing running and I didn’t have to worry about it at all! All of the pieces come apart for easy cleaning and it has a big viewing window to watch the hatch.

The best part of this incubator is how accurate and precise it is. I’ve thrown multiple thermometers and hygrometers in there to cross-check and this incubator is calibrated perfectly. I love that I don’t have to fuss with it or worry that something is off.

*TIP: Don’t feel like you need to buy fancy replacement humidity sponges from the supplier. I just cut up basic $2 kitchen sponges to fit and it works great!

#8 HovaBator Genesis 1588 – Budget Large Incubator

HovaBator Genesis 1588 Advanced

This wouldn’t be a complete incubator list without the classic HovaBator foam incubator. While I have a love-hate relationship with them, this is often where most of us begin our incubating journey! They can be finicky and definitely require multiple thermometers and hygrometers, but this is an inexpensive way to hatch a lot of eggs. 

While there are a lot of foam incubators out there that look similar to the HovaBator Genesis 1588 (and are a bit cheaper), don’t get swayed by the other options. I know you saw that $50 one at Tractor Supply… don’t do it! Many of them are junk and there’s nothing more heartbreaking than losing an entire hatch.

I spent some time digging into each one and this one really seems to be the best budget-friendly pick out of them all.

Watch Me Hatch Chicks With These Incubators!

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Summary

That was fun!  As you can see, egg incubators come in many different styles, features, and price points. Spend some time reflecting on my 8 best egg incubators table to really feel out which one seems like the right fit. You can’t go wrong with any of them, really!

Once your incubator arrives, read the instruction manual and let it run for a minimum of 24 hours. After 24 hours, make sure to double-check its accuracy by inserting additional thermometers and hygrometers. If your digital reading is off, adjust your settings as needed.

Next, it’s time to actually incubate those eggs! Make sure to read my articles Hatching Chicken Eggs: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide and Candling Chicken Eggs: Day-By-Day Development. Once your chicks hatch, you’ll definitely want to check out my best tips for Brooding in Poultry.

Happy hatching! 🙂

Baby chicks together in a plastic bin

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17 thoughts on “The 8 BEST Egg Incubators in 2024”

  1. Great article – I purchased the Brinsea Ovation 28 EX through your affiliate link. I have 22 chickens and it is time to add to the flock. I would love an article about flock integration. Thank you for sharing ! ❤

      1. Thank you for your honest review. I’ve been incubating chicken eggs for 15 years in the spring with my old workhorse HovaBator. It’s never let me down but I decided it was time for an upgrade. Because of your recommendation I went with the Ovation 56 EX. My question is… have you ever used off brand silicone tubing? If I have to replace it as often as I am understanding I want to buy some elsewhere. Thank you.

      2. Hi Dana and I hope you love your new Ovation 56 EX! It really is amazing!!! As far as the tubing goes, I’ve only used what I received directly from Brinsea. If you can find something similar, it’s worth a try! Just test it out a week or two before you plan to incubate that way you’re sure it works and can change direction if needed.

  2. Wow! I already like this website. It’s so informative on poultry farming and other agribusiness activities.

    Keep it up and thanks!

  3. Mind blown. Who knew there were so many considerations when incubating eggs. Growing up, my parents made a make-shift incubator; they would have a bulb that warmed the eggs, and most of the eggs would hatch. I guess in the absence of turning, humidity, and temperature control, we lost a few.

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