Because reptiles are cold-blooded, they can’t control their internal body temperature as we do. Instead, their bodies reflect what is happening in the surrounding environment. Pet reptiles require the sun or heat lamps to survive.
That’s where a thermostat comes in handy. These devices control your heating gadgets based on the real-time temperature. In this article, we’ll review the best reptile thermostats that you can easily install to your setup.
Reptile Thermostat Guide
Heating devices are readily available in different markets today. Heat lamps, incandescent bulbs, and heat mats are affordable and effective. But if you’re not careful, you may increase the temperature beyond what your pet can handle.
Before reviewing the products, let’s first look at the big picture. Here are the most important factors you should consider before getting a reptile thermostat.
As the name implies, these thermostats completely turn off your heating device when the probe picks a high temperature. It automatically restores power after a certain amount of time or when the temperature decreases by a preprogrammed amount.
Some reptiles can be quite sensitive to the frequent changes in temperatures between the cycles of on/off thermostats. In this case, a pulse thermostat would be efficient. It keeps pulsating the power to maintain the temperature lying closely around the specified value.
As you must’ve noticed, the previous models can’t work with incandescent bulbs. The continuous flicking will inevitably shorten their lifespan. Alternatively, you should use a dimming thermostat. This type will limit the power instead of completely shutting it off.
Naturally, before picking a thermostat, you should have an idea about the amount of power that your heating devices need. Then, you should purchase a thermostat capable of generously providing that power.
With those things in mind, here are our top picks. How does every thermostat perform? How does it fit in the terrarium? Are there any downsides to consider? These are some of the questions that we’ll answer in each of the following reviews.
Want to control a heat mat or a ceramic lamp? In this case, consider this on/off thermostat from BN-Link. The control unit measures 4.5” by 3.5” by 1.5”. It has a small numeric display at the top, which shows the current temperature.
Your heating device will connect to a 3-prong output socket placed at the bottom of the device. Then, you should set the desired temperature by a long press over the “set” button. The thermostat will cut the power off the heating device when it exceeds the specified temperature. It’ll automatically turn on the heat source again after the temperature drops by 2-3 °F.
For an easy setup, the temperature probe comes equipped with a suction cup that can be stuck over any wall.
Overall, the reviews came out positive about the performance. However, the numeric display is made with rather poor quality. Since it doesn’t illuminate strongly enough, it’ll be hard to read it in bright environments.
Temperature control range: 40-108 °F
Power: 8.3 A, 1000 W
Poor numeric display
Exo Terra Electronic Day/Night Thermostat – Best Dimming
The second thermostat on my list is primarily intended to control light bulbs with its dimming mode. But Exo Terra preferred to equip it with a secondary pulse mode for other heat devices.
With measurements of 9” by 11” by 2”, this device can sleekly fit on top of your terrarium. Instead of having the plug outlet on the device, Exo Terra placed it on a long extension cord. I like this design more since it gives the ultimate setup freedom.
Over the front, this thermostat has a blue display screen that shows the current and set temperatures. There’s also a small red LED indicator to let you know when the device is active.
On the back, you’ll find two buttons bearing the symbols of a sun and a crescent. These will enable you to set different temperatures for the day and night. I like that because it perfectly mimics the pets’ natural habitats.
By the nature of the beast, such features cost a bit more than the average. But I think it’s totally worth it.
Don’t like hassling with wires? If so, I think you’ll love this on/off Inkbird thermostat.
This device measures 3.5” by 2.5” by 1.5”. Its power plug is mounted directly to the back without any wires. And the output socket is on the front, nearly at the same level. This way, it’ll act like a compact bridge between the wall and your heating sourcing, taking the least footprint possible.
The temperature probe is made of waterproof stainless steel. Instead of being permanently attached to the device, this probe can be plugged on and off its interface. I don’t really see a use for this, but at least you can easily get a replacement if the sensor broke down.
Just like the Exo Terra, it’s possible to specify different temperatures for the day and night. The screen will show both temperatures next to the current temperature. But unfortunately, this screen doesn’t have any lighting parts. It’ll be clear enough in well-lit environments, but it’ll be impossible to read in the dark.
Temperature control range: 58-212 °F
Power: 13.5 A, 1500 W
Compact setup without too many wires
Wide temperature and power range
The screen doesn’t have light
Vivarium Electronics VE-200 Thermostat – Best High-End
If you want to invest in the best thermostat on the market, search no further. Unlike the previous models, this ingenious device from Vivarium Electronics comes in a tabletop, stackable design.
It works via 2 modes: on/off and pulse proportional. This means that it can operate all the heating devices except incandescent bulbs to avoid flickering.
The solid-state circuit featured in this thermostat guarantees the most silent operation possible. This is ideal if the faint humming of other thermostats seems to annoy your pets.
I only wish if Vivarium Electronics had made the display screen a bit larger. It shows the clock, the current, and set temperatures, which may feel a bit cramped in such a small area.
For maximum safety, this thermostat has a built-in shutoff relay to protect your setup in cases of power surges, outages, etc. It also has a built-in memory to remember your settings after a power failure.
Temperature control range: N/A
Power: 700 W
Equipped with a safety shutoff relay
Works via 2 modes
Thermostat For Reptiles
Picking a reptile thermostat from this list should be based on your needs. In our opinion, the Exo Terra Electronic Day/Night Thermostat is the best reptile thermostat. Through its dimming and pulse modes, you can control any heating source you have.