Hova-Bator Buying Guide

Header Picture for Hovabator Poultry Incubator Comparison Article

Hova-Bator Buying Guide

Hello and welcome to Stromberg’s Chicks and Gamebirds guide to Hova-Bator Incubators.

We sell four different styles of Hova-Bators, and we wanted to walk you through the differences and similarities. Stromberg’s has been selling Hova-Bator incubators for decades, and we have expertise in using and trouble-shooting these incubators. We can assure you that these are great economical incubators that can provide years of use.

In this guide, we want to help you understand the core features of these Hova-Bators and how they’ll impact your usage. We’ll address these issues:

  • What are the differences between the Hova-Bator incubator models?
  • What are the similarities of the incubators?
  • What are the differences in the Hova-Bator thermostats?
  • What do the different viewing windows look like in the Hova-Bators?

Similarities of the Hova-Bators

First, let’s talk about the similarities of these incubators:

Styrofoam Body of the Incubator

Each of the four incubators’ bodies are made from styrofoam. This styrofoam body is an efficient and economical way to build the structure of the incubator and insulate it at the same time. The insulation allows the thermostat and heating element to provide a consistent temperature throughout the incubation time period. As temperature is a critical component to incubation, this is an obviously important feature.

Plastic Water Tray for Humidity

The next common feature is the plastic liner that lines the bottom and holds the water for humidifying the incubator. These troughs are specially designed to allow the correct amount of surface area of water to be exposed for the box size and temperature. As you can see, there are four troughs, and each of them is numbered. You will want to fill trough #1 during the first incubation time frame, which, for chicken eggs, is the first 18 days. Then you will want to fill trough # 1 and 2 during the last three days, or the hatching period. This raises the humidity during the critical hatch period. You will always want to keep the proper trays filled with water, as running out will lower the humidity in your incubator.

Picture of the Clear Plastic Liner for Hova-Bators

Plastic Floor

They also all come with this plastic floor. This is what you lay the eggs on during the hatch, and it also prevents the baby birds from stepping directly in the water after the hatching. Its plastic construction makes it easy to clean and sanitize. Ask anyone who has hatched, and they will know it can be a little messy! Since sanitation is key to success when hatching, having this easy to clean plastic tray is a great way to contain and clean up the hatch time mess. Picture of the Clear Plastic Floor for the Hova-Bator

Capacity of the Incubators and Automatic Turners

All of the Hova-Bators have the same stated capacity. However, true capacity will depend on if you install one of the automatic turners, or if you choose to manually turn your eggs. So while the turner will reduce the capacity of the incubator, there is the upside of automatically turning your eggs. Since this is a critical portion of incubation, automatic turners are highly useful. If you choose to manually turn your eggs, you will have to do so at a minimum of 3 times per day. An automatic turner turns them about once per hour. This prevents the yolk from sticking to the side of the egg and will make your hatch results much better. For capacities see the chart below.

Hova-Bator Incubator Capacity
  Manual Incubator – Without Turner Automatic Egg Turning Incubator – With Turner
Universal Egg Racks (Holding Partridge Size Eggs to Duck Eggs, including chicken eggs.) 50 42
Quail Egg Racks – This is for the small Eggs 130 120
Goose Egg Racks – This is for the big eggs. 20 12-16

Differences of the Hova-Bator Models

Now let’s talk about the differences among these models. We sell four different models, so that we can offer our customers different price points and features, getting the best incubator for their budget, with the features that matter to them.


The biggest difference between all of these models is the thermostat, how they work, how you adjust them, and their accuracy. This feature of incubators is so important that we’ve created a comprehensive guide to Hova-bator incubator thermostats — read all about the different types of thermostats here


Another difference to note about incubators is how the air is moved around within the incubator. This is done one of two ways: with a fan, or with convection. Proper airflow provides oxygen to the developing embryo and will also eliminate hot and cold spots within the incubator. The 1588, 1583 and 2362E Hova-Bators models all have fans. This allows the air to be evenly heated, with more oxygen forced into the incubator. The only Hova-Bator incubator that does not have a fan is the 1602 model. This model uses convection to circulate the air, using the natural process of warm air rising and cool air falling to circulate the air throughout the incubator. The simple addition of a fan is a great way to achieve better hatch results.

Differences in Air Flow Between Forced Air or fan Incubators and Still Air of Convection Incubators

Viewing Windows

The last big difference between these incubators is the viewing windows. The 2362E and the 1583 have the picture window, while the 2362E and the 1602 have the smaller windows. These do not affect the performance, however, it’s fun to be able to get a great view of those baby birds popping out. Something that everyone enjoys watching!

If you have any questions about these incubators, please don’t hesitate to call us here at Stromberg’s at 800-720-1134 or send us an email at: [email protected].

Happy hatching, from all of us at Stromberg’s!!!