For this review, I was fortunate enough to borrow one of the excellent RCOM King Suro incubators from Interhatch when it came onto the market at the end of 2009. I put the Suro through its paces for a few months at home to hatch some chicks.
The RCOM King Suro is a ‘forced air’ incubator. It has a fan circulating warm air inside to provide an even temperature throughout. It is fully automatic, maintaining a set temperature and humidity and turning the eggs by rocking the incubator from side to side.
There is a digital read-out on the lid to make checking readings or setting the temperature or humidity extremely simple. The shaped cover allows precise observation of your eggs through the side, as you can see from the photo.
The automatic humidity control requires an external pumping module that pumps water from a container (I used a Guinness pint glass, as you can see) through a small tube and into the incubator.
The humidity unit tube passes through the cover and drips water into the incubator very slowly when the pump is running. This increases the air’s humidity, and the pump switches on and off to maintain the set humidity.
The King Suro uses an automatic egg turning cradle that looks very similar to some of the Brinsea Octagon models. It also has a universal tray, much like the Octagon, that allows easy adjustment for different-sized eggs. It can hold 24 hens eggs or 20 duck eggs, 12 goose eggs, or up to 60 quail eggs. Again, if you look at the photo at the start of this review, you can see the adjustable egg dividers inside (they are white).
There is a small, adjustable air vent built into the lid to allow the eggs (or chicks) to breathe. Recessed pushbuttons for setting the incubator are behind plastic, so they can easily wipe clean with a damp cloth.
What I liked and disliked
Once you reach the final stages of incubation or ‘lockdown’ as we call it, you shouldn’t open an incubator since it will spoil the high humidity required for the hatch. One of the best features of the RCOM SURO incubator has to be the excellent visibility through the top cover because you want to be able to see what is going on with your eggs during the hatch.
The second thing I noticed was the easy cleaning. I liked the way the incubator came apart into the essential components that made cleaning simple.
Having the water pumped in from outside the incubator allowed straightforward monitoring of the water level. I didn’t need to worry about it running out. With the RCOM 20 that I have used over the last couple of years, you can’t tell how much water is inside the unit.
I found the pumping system a little tricky to set up on the negative side, but once I had figured it out and siphoned a little water through the tube, it worked without problems. The microprocessor control cleverly feeds the incubator with water drips until the humidity increases to the set level and then maintains it perfectly.
I tested the RCOM SURO with a dozen chickens eggs. 10 out of 12 were fertile after candling at seven days, and after the 21 day incubation period, I was delighted that 8 out of 10 eggs hatched. An 80% success rate I felt was reasonable by anybody’s standards!
Since running my tests, I have also read several positive comments on our forum from others who are also getting good results from this incubator.
I have, over the years, bought several different table-top incubators from still air models to the more recent fully automatic microprocessor-controlled forced air units. I was surprised at King Suro’s price tag of £160 (Feb 2011) since it has a fully automatic temperature, turning and humidity control. These features are often only found on more expensive incubator models.
Overall, I was very impressed with the RCOM King SURO incubator. Another competing incubator in this class is the Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance EX, with very similar features.
I prefer the pumping system on the Octagon. Still, RCOM has undoubtedly got the upper hand on price with the King SURO retailing at around £150 – £170 compared to the Octagon Advance EX at around £200 – £240 (the price variation is what I found between the different shops selling the units online in 2011).