Choosing the Right Incubator - An English Study

Author: Aussie Chook Supplies  

A number of low cost Chinese made egg incubators have appeared on the market in recent years, sold mainly on Amazon and eBay, and several other websites raising concerns about their electrical safety. Incidents of imported incubators melting, catching fire and even exploding have been reported on many Facebook groups and on poultry forums.

North Somerset Trading Standards initially approached Brinsea following reports of these faults with the imported incubators and we advised that they should be sent for assessment. Tests were then carried out by an independent testing centre in Colchester, Essex. For more information on these incubators please contact North Somerset Trading Standards directly.

Please note: These tests only looked at electrical safety and compliance, performance and incubation results were not assessed.

Why is electrical safety so important?

Egg incubators involve mains electricity, heating and water and are used in the home, sometimes by children and these factors mean a poorly designed incubator can pose particular hazards, hence Trading Standards’ interest.

Trading Standards have assessed a selection of these machines and are currently in the process of contacting importers of any equipment which doesn’t comply with EU safety regulations.

What should I be looking for as a 'warning sign' a product could be unsafe?

It requires some experience to spot dangerous incubators but there are a few things to look for when buying an incubator which should raise concerns:

  • Price. A product that is selling significantly below the market average should set alarm bells ringing. Everyone loves a bargain, but no-one wants their fingers burnt – literally.
  • Don’t assume a CE mark on the product means it is safe. A CE mark can be applied to an unsafe product by a manufacturer as it is the importer into the EU that is responsible for electrical safety – although some may not be aware of this.
  • Look for a manufacturer’s address on the product or instructions. Alarm bells ring for Trading Standards when a manufacturer or importer can’t be traced from its product.
  • If the product is unbranded or is a brand that you don’t recognise then do an internet search for the manufacturer. If there is no English language website for the manufacturer with full contact information be suspicious.
  • Product instructions should include warning of electrical safety hazards and recycling symbols – if these are absent, the language is imprecise and badly translated then the product doesn’t comply with EU regulations and may be dangerous.
  • Is the distributor/seller contactable by phone and do they give a full trading address? What is their returns policy? Reputable distributors will have this information readily available, if not, be suspicious.

In Australia we have the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) as our Governing Body for Product Safey issues. Please read their information, released about selling equipment online, which can be found here.