Abstract The amorphous incubation layer, which is formed in the initial growth stage of hydrogenated microcrystalline silicon (μc-Si:H) thin film deposited at low temperature, is harmful to the electric properties of film. In this study, the effect of the addition of HCl gas on the reduction of such an amorphous incubation layer was investigated during the silicon deposition on a glass substrate at 220 °C by hot-wire chemical vapor deposition process using the Raman spectroscopy, the X-ray diffraction and the field-emission scanning electron microscopy. In the initial stage of deposition where the silicon film deposited without HCl addition consisted almost entirely of the amorphous incubation layer; highly crystalline silicon films could be deposited with HCl addition. As the flow rate of HCl increased, the crystallinity of silicon films increased but the film growth rate decreased. The surface morphology of films prepared with HCl addition became smoother with smaller grain size than that prepared without HCl.