If you are breeding reptiles, one of the first pieces of equipment that you will need is an incubator. This vital item controls the temperature and humidity of the environment while the fertilized egg grows. In the wild, the natural habitat and parent animal’s body control these factors. In captivity, they must be replicated with things like an incubator. Too hot, too cold, too humid, or too dry and the eggs will not grow and develop properly.
There is no shortage of reptile incubators on the market. If you are just getting started on this path, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming. We’ve researched and reviewed some of the top reptile incubators to compile our list of top recommendations for owners of a variety of types of reptiles.
Look for a reptile incubator that has the right type of monitoring technology for your experience. Some more economical options require more knowledge from the reptile keeper. Other more expensive options take a lot of the guesswork out of the process. There is a reptile incubator for every experience level and budget.
#1 Overall Best Reptile Incubator: Hova-Bator Still Air Egg Incubator Kit for Reptiles
In our review, the best reptile incubator is the Hova-Bator Still Air Egg Incubator Kit for Reptiles. Considered the gold standard among reptile breeders, this kit is easy to use and very effective. It comes with a thermostat, thermometer, and hygrometer. It is heated by a radiant heat tube and has ventilation on the top to keep the air fresh and at levels that you need to hatch your reptiles.
This is a relatively small incubator but suitable for most uses. It comes with hatching substrate to make your eggs even cozier and gets you set up in record time. There is also a hole in the top to run wires for other items that you might want. Some people prefer to use a probe when incubating eggs. This incubator allows for additional tools and accessories to make the process easy for you.
“This kit is perfect!” said one reviewer. “It was very easy to set up and so far, it has been able to keep the temperature and humidity pretty consistently, even in my apartment with terrible airflow. The kit comes with a lot of substrate and containers for keeping the eggs! I should be set for at least 3 breeding seasons with my one pair of geckos.
2. Best for Budgets: Ubrand Reptile Incubators
The Ubrand Reptile Incubator is low-tech but one of the most affordable options on the market. Each incubator can hold up to 14 eggs and has a translucent cover to keep an eye on your eggs. It doesn’t have any sort of temperature monitoring or control. You will need to purchase and set those up separately. If you have some experience with breeding reptiles and can confidently set those extras up, this is an economical way to create a custom environment for your eggs to hatch.
“Make sure you order soil and water heater,” recommended one reviewer. “This is the storage for the eggs and we only have one so far but we love this incubator.” You can set up the vermiculite on the bottom layer of the incubator and then add the water heater. This is also a good option to use inside another larger container to hold the eggs themselves. Then you can add the thermometer and hygrometer to monitor the environment.
Best for Budgets
3. Best Premium Option: Happybuy Reptile Incubator
While expensive, this reptile incubator is top of the line. It looks almost like a mini-fridge, with digital temperature control on the top. The LED display is bright and easy to see and monitor. There are two removable trays and a water tray to control humidity. With a glass front door to keep an eye on your eggs, this incubator is as easy to use as it is effective.
What we love about the Happybuy Reptile Incubator is that you can use it beyond just getting your eggs to hatch. It has a carrying handle, making it ideal to take on the go. Whether you are transporting your eggs or your reptiles after they hatch, it’s easy to control the temperature and environment to keep them comfortable and healthy. It can be plugged into your car’s power adaptor as well. This helps maintain a safe environment even when on the go.
This incubator comes in three different colors: black, red, and white. It makes quite a statement in your home or professional space. It is quite a bit more than some of the other options on our list, however. If you are new to breeding reptiles, you may not want to get a high-end incubator to begin with. Once you have a bit of experience and know that this is a great hobby for you, investing in an incubator that can provide plenty of options is well worth the cost.
4. Best for Beginners: Zoo Med Reptibator Egg Incubator
With a clear top to check on the eggs (and everyone wants to check on the progress, especially those new to reptile breeding), the Reptibator Egg Incubator from Zoo Med is a great choice for those just getting started. It has an LCD display that is easy to set, including memory controls. The temperature can be set between 59 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity can be set between 10% and 95%.
Zoo Med makes plenty of accessories for after your reptiles hatch as well. They have a great line of habitats, enrichment toys, and other things to put in their cage. If you are new to owning reptiles or breeding reptiles, finding a brand that can provide recommendations and kits is a great resource.
This reptile incubator is on the more expensive side and some beginners may not want to spend this much when they are just getting started. The nice thing is that it really does take a lot of the guesswork out of the process. Just be ready for a premium price tag to go with all the helpful technology that is included in this incubator.
Best for Beginners
Choosing the Best: What to Look For
Your experience with keeping and breeding reptiles can dictate what you look for in a reptile incubator. Here are a few factors to consider, including monitoring technology, ease of monitoring, and cost.
Most of the top-rated reptile incubators have thermometers and hygrometers. Many also have thermostats that allow you to adjust the temperature. Some even have alarms and other ways to notify you if the environment gets out of predetermined criteria. All of this technology can make the incubator more expensive but easier to use.
Low tech options require manual monitoring or extra accessories. This can be an economical option that allows for customization. At a minimum, you should have a way to keep track of the temperature and humidity levels. These are the two most important factors to create an environment where reptile eggs can thrive.
Ease of Monitoring
The last thing that you want to do is continuously open the door or lid to your incubator to check on your eggs. This can introduce changes to the environment that can have a negative impact on your eggs’ growth and development. An incubator with a clear or translucent cover or door is very helpful. You can see your egg’s progress and keep an eye on the environment impacting it.
Alarms are also helpful to keep track of the conditions in your incubator. You can be alerted if the temperature or humidity changes outside of the parameters that you set. This provides peace of mind for you as well as keeps the eggs safe as they grow.
High-tech reptile incubators are easy to use but they do come with a higher price tag. If you want the most economical option, you may be better off getting a low-tech incubator and adding your own thermometer and hygrometer. Depending on your experience and time invested, it may be better to go with a more economical option to start with. Some beginners prefer to start with the high-tech option even though it costs more until they learn enough to make their own custom setup.
The Different Types of Reptile Incubators: Pros and Cons Compared
Most reptile incubators function very similarly. You do have options when it comes to monitoring, either technology monitored or manually monitored. Each has pros and cons which we show here.
Tech Monitored Incubator
|Easy to see the temperature and humidity||Often more expensive|
|Can be alerted when the environment changes||Needs to be plugged in|
|Makes it easy for beginners|
Manually Monitored Incubator
|Most economical||Requires some knowledge of the environment|
|Can make a custom setup||Not great for beginners|
|Often takes up less space|
Verified Review: User Experience
The Hova-Bator is a top choice because it is so economical and includes everything that you need to get started. “I bought this to incubate painted turtle eggs. I’ve been very happy with it so far – it was easy to assemble and came with everything I needed,” wrote one reviewer.
“If you are planning to breed snakes, you need to get this product. It comes with everything you need to be successful,” said another. This includes the substrate, incubator to hold the eggs, monitoring technology, and the heat lamp to control the temperature.
Some reviewers did end up replacing the thermometer with one that was easier to monitor or more accurate. “I like how lightweight it is. Works great but it is a few degrees off and the tubs did not come with lids,” said one reviewer. “I use a different thermometer with a probe because the one that came with it does not accurately measure the temperature.”
Zoo Med is another reputable brand that is known for its reptile expertise. The Reptibator is a favorite among new reptile breeders. “This incubator is AWESOME!,” said one reviewer. “Rock solid electronics! Holds temperature and humidity better than other incubators due to the Styrofoam construction! By far the best incubator on the market in its price range, and outperforms other expensive incubators. Excellent for the hobbyist or professional with a small breeding operation!”