Pros - Stable temp, temp resumes after opening in minutes, Works reliably, Customer service is excellent, can manual turn if need be easily
Cons - Expensive, Requires multiple plugs, NOT designed for use without humidity pump/ can't get humidity high without pump, small hatch area
I am on my second batch of eggs with this machine. I spent countless hours researching prior to buying this unit and had my heart set on it really from the beginning. After my first hatch, I was a bit irritated I spent so much on it. It is amazing in its ability to maintain stable temperatures and if you need to open the incubator, it resumes temps within minutes. This alone is a fantastic feature and likely the best thing about it. Unfortunately it utilizes a separate cord for the heating unit and the turner. If you buy the humidity pump, that's a THIRD plug you will need. Additionally, the turner is of questionable quality and looks cheap; mine had to be replaced by the end of the first batch of chicks due to an odd light clicking noise. It was still working just making an odd noise and it smelled burnt out. Customer service was great, took only a few rings, went right to a person and no questions asked I had new parts for my turner in my mail within days. I was not asked to return anything and so it took me only the effort of a phone call to get my turner fixed. I will say there were no instructions with the replacement parts and someone less savvy may have been more flustered.
For this second batch I did need to manually turn the first several days while waiting for the parts and that was super simple. Because of the octagon shape, I only had to turn the entire machine a few times each day; no need to open the bator and fuss with each egg. I think the unit is small for hatching and could not imagine having 24 eggs in there at once hatching. There is only one tiny vent. The metal bars are a bit concerning and hard to fit eggs in, some fall and I wish it came with the foam covers that are included in the Octagon 40 model.
BOTH hatches I had the most aggravating experience attempting to get the humidity high enough for hatch. This machine has a very poor water reservoir design. Despite there being ample room for at least 3, there are only 2 very narrow reservoirs for water. With both filled, the machine can get no higher than 50% humidity at best (I'm in Southern California). My experience was also that humidity lowered within a few hours. I resorted to using a wet paper towel as suggested by another BYCer to increase surface area for the water to get a higher humidity level. I have yet to accomplish the 80% in this batch which is the recommendation for turkey eggs. For this reason I would guess that, though sold separately, the Octagon 20 Advanced and the Humidity Pump are intended for use together. The Octagon 20 on its own simply cannot reach even moderate levels of humidity needed for hatch time and while this can be remedied through tricks etc., its a poor design, and something I find unacceptable for an incubator that retails at $400. It feels as though you are being cheated since you are led to believe you can use the incubator without the addition of the humidity pump.
With all that said. The incubator works and I had a great hatch rate my first go around. Eggs were shipped from TN to CA with bad air cells and I had 8/8 fertile eggs hatch. I currently have 10 left of 13 shipped turkey eggs from WA, 2 clears and 1 quitter(only bad air cell), in lockdown. With the humidity pump I would imagine this machine would be extremely efficient.
So I had my heart set on this incubator almost two years before I even had chickens or could even think about getting chickens, as I was living in town at the time. I love that you can just set it and not have to worry about it. I purchased the humidity pump right away also.
Some of the pros are :
~Simple set up
~Very easy viewing (for those every 15 min walk-bys, you just never know right). With the whole top being a window, you can sit right beside it and stare instead of hovering over the top trying to see through a little hole.
~Temperature is held within .01 degree
~Very easy to clean
~Has the cooling feature (which would simulate a hen getting off the nest for a breather)
~No fusing around with humidity, if you get the pump
I like to think of it as my little chick machine; just tap a few buttons, load up the eggs and "ding", chickies are done . I work 53 hrs a week and cant babysit the machine (even though I would love to) but it seems to be able to take care of itself just fine.
A couple cons:
~ Very expensive, I saved and saved for two years (but totally worth it)
~The egg racks are a little "chinsy", I think they could have came up with something better here. I hardly use the racks unless I have a smaller bunch of eggs (which will probably never happen, incubating addict), preferring to stuff that puppy full. With the racks in you can only fit 18-24 large eggs, without the racks its more around the 30 range.
~The lid sometimes doesn't slip on perfectly (like when you sneak a peak inside, and have to quick shut it so you don't get busted). Its sometimes easy to leave it open just a crack which = disaster. If you pay attention though, its pretty easy to get it on right.
In summary, if you work long hours and you have it within your budget, it is definitely worth it. To (as another reviewer said, "set it and forget it") is amazing!
Pros - This is a hands-off device – set it and forget it
Cons - For the auto-turner and humidifier options it’s quite expensive ($350 on sale) Humidity readings get confused above 50%
I bought this to try hatching some eggs since I lost my flock from binging in a sick bird. I have hatched many eggs in it and I really like the "set and forget" ease of use. It holds about two dozen eggs and I would probably buy this same item again.