Electric Propagator Review
Owners of electric propagators enthuse about their success. On the other hand, there are sceptics of electric propagators who say that there is little benefit to ‘forcing’ early germination, as seeds planted later soon catch up with their older siblings.
So who is correct? Our electric propagator review looks at whether they are worth the investment. See all electric propagators on Amazon UK.
The case for electric propagators
- Seeds germinate faster in a heated propagator
Examples include tomato plants or cucumbers germinating in 2 days rather than 7 to 14 on a sunny windowsill. If warm space is an issue, this means a gardener can grow more plants, as there is less time to wait for one batch of seeds to germinate before the next batch can start.
- Electric propagators give gardeners more options
This could include helping cuttings become established in Autumn, or starting seedlings in January.
- Savings on seed
Seeds germinate more reliably in heated propagators so you need less.
- Avoid heating a whole greenhouse
Rather than heat a whole greenhouse, a large heated propagator can be a very efficient way of growing seedlings through late winter or early spring
- Electric propagators save work
Germination is faster and requires less manual intervention. They eliminate the hassle of putting seeds in an airing cupboard or on a sunny windowsill. Seedlings have a place outside of the home ‘living space’.
- They are fun
There is satisfaction from having a gadget that works, that helps speed on nature and reduces the impact of weather. A gardener can feel more successful with heated propagators.
Arguments against electric propagators
- After germination, where do the seedlings go?
Electric propagators are most useful for gardeners with greenhouses, growhouses, hotbeds or cloches. Otherwise, when seedlings are moved the shock of cold may negate the advantage gained by fast germination. You may like to see our article on allotment growing tunnels.
- The same results can be achieved with a sunny windowsill or airing cupboard
These may not be quite as fast as heated propagators, but nevertheless still pretty fast and reliable.
- The cost of electric propagators
Depending on functionality and size, the price range is upwards from £20 with some best selling brands at nearer £200.
- Care and maintenance
Supervision is still needed with heated propagators. Heated propagators do not cool down the soil on sunny days – they simply turn down the heat (if they have a thermostat). This means that in hot weather the gardener will need to open the air vents. Equally, in very cold weather, it may still be necessary to cover heated propagators, for example if sited in an unheated greenhouse. The heating element may be overwhelmed if outside temperatures plummet too low.
It may be obvious to say, but electric propagators need to be put somewhere. If the only location available is a windowsill in your home, then this may be hot enough anyway for good germination. Heated propagators are most useful in greenhouses, or cold light rooms in a house, garage or garden shed.
Electric propagator review – summing up
If you have room for heated propagators and space for growing on seedlings then buying a heated propagator is likely to be an enjoyable investment that will allow you to grow more.
If space and budget is an issue, alternatives include unheated propagators and sunny windowsills combined with plastic growhouses and cloches. You may like to see our post on the best plastic growhouses.
Electric Propagators – Features
Here is a list of common features found on heated propagators:
- Heating elements with different temperature settings
This is found on the basic heated propagators
- Heating elements with thermostat
The thermostat automatically adjusts the heat setting to maintain the desired temperature. This is a feature on the premium models of heating propagators.
It is worth considering not only the ‘footprint’ of heated propagators, but also their height and this will determine how long a plant can stay inside before needing to be moved.
- Power consumption
Is the heated propogator efficient compared to similar models?
- Size of heater element
A more powerful heating element is likely to cope better in colder weather by being able to produce more heat.
- Air vents
Does the model have air vents that can be opened in hot weather to prevent the plants drying out?
Some models are expandable to allow extra space and plant height.