We know the struggle: setting up your turtle for the first time isn’t easy by any means, and the basking area is one of the most challenging. If you’re unfamiliar, heating is super important for all reptiles, and especially turtles. In the wild, they bask in the sun for at least 10 hours per day to maintain healthy body temperature.
That’s why we’re writing this guide. We’ll review 5 of the best turtle basking lights currently on the market. Make sure to stick till the end where we’ll explore some factors that should help you choose the best lamp.
The 5 Best Turtle Basking Lights
How does every light perform? How many watts does it need? And are there any downsides to consider? These are some of the questions that we’ll answer in each of the following reviews.
This ingenious gadget from Zoo Med can be the ideal option for beginners who want to keep the setup as minimal as possible.
This kit comes as an aluminum dome that’s designed with two sockets. The first one accepts a regular halogen bulb that’s responsible for generating heat and visible light. The second is intended for a UVB bulb that’s essential for developing your turtle’s bones and shell.
Best of all, Zoo Med ships the dome fixture alongside a UVB lamp and a splash-proof halogen bulb. But it’s worth mentioning that both of these bulbs have a low wattage. The dome can supply 100 W for every socket, while both lamps are rated slightly below 50 W. Still, 50 W can actually be enough for small setups and folks restricted on budget.
The second Zoo Med product on our list is intended for people who’re looking to save some bucks. It comes as a 6-inch-long lamp that emits 30% UVA, 10% UVB, in addition to a yellow visible light.
Thanks to its special quartz construction, the UVB penetration ramps up to the maximum possible value. We like that because it compensates for the somewhat low UVB output while keeping the price affordable.
On the downside, with 13 W only, this lamp won’t generate enough heat for your turtles. You can put it right above the basking area to increase the temperature, but we recommend combining it with a standalone heat lamp for the best results.
Special quartz construction for optimal UVB penetration
If you want a lamp that’s merely intended for heat, search no further. This 100-watt lamp from Omaykey is capable of imitating an intense sunny environment in any terrarium, no matter how large.
Through its ceramic construction, this lamp can guarantee exceptional heat radiation with little to no visible light. We always prefer such sleek designs over conventional bulbs because they can fit much better with other terrarium elements.
For the best value, Omaykey ships a free digital thermometer with this lamp. Placing this thermometer over the basking platform should help you maintain the perfect conditions for your turtle at all times.
The only negative aspect here is related to ceramic lamps in general. Because of their whopping power, they’ll need porcelain E27 sockets. Regular plastic sockets might melt, and even start a fire, under such high temperatures.
Comes with a free digital thermometer
Needs a special porcelain socket to avoid fire hazards
Ideally, the basking light should be installed into your terrarium cover. But if you don’t want anything to limit the visibility of your precious turtle, you can opt for this clamped lamp.
As you probably deduced, this lamp can be easily attached to the rim of almost any terrarium by the means of its clamp. And if you’re not happy with the setup, you can always relocate the lamp without the slightest bit of effort.
Better yet, right above the clamp, this lamp is equipped with a sturdy swivel joint. This way, you can fine-tune the angle of your lamp to achieve the optimal temperature.
It’s worth noting that the shipment doesn’t include an actual bulb. Furthermore, you’re limited to 75 W bulbs smaller than 5.5”. This can be a bit irritating for folks who have large terrariums.
What to Consider Before Buying Turtle Basking Light
In this section, we’ll explore some of the technicalities behind the turtle basking light. This is an essential read for first-timers.
Types of Basking Lights
In essence, basking lights aren’t intended to emit anything but heat. They can do that mostly by generating infrared rays that humans can’t see. However, to make things more affordable, brands have been competing to produce lamps with more versatile potential.
In the first and most basic upgrade, you can find lamps that generate visible light in addition to the heat. The GE Heat Lamp 48069 is one of the best in this category.
If you want to step up the game, you can purchase lamps with UVA and UVB capabilities.
What Are UVA and UVB?
In the wild, turtles don’t bask in the sun merely for the heat. The sun acts as their only source of ultraviolet rays.
Scientifically speaking, UV has three types: A, B, and C. UVA are essential for turtles to regulate their feeding, mating, besides other everyday activities. Turtles that don’t get enough supply of it might suffer from a wide array of problems.
UVB, on the other hand, is more specific. It’s the only way with which turtles can create vitamin D, which is essential for calcium uptake. Without it, your turtle will be exposed to the risk of metabolic bone disease (MBD). This usually manifests as discoloration and flaking over the shell.
Which Wattage Should You Get?
Lamp wattage is the main technical specification that relates to the amount of light and heat that a lamp can produce. You shouldn’t always aim for the highest value. Rather, you should consider your whole setup in the process.
The lamp height, for instance, plays an important rule. Moving your light closer to the basking platform will soar up the heat, and the opposite applies. Generally speaking, 50 W should be more than enough for small to medium tanks. With larger setups, we recommend opting for 100 W.
Compact vs. Tubular Bulbs
This is probably the most famous question that we receive, “should I opt for a compact or a tubular bulb?” Well, it depends.
Compact bulbs suit small terrariums because they can concentrate the heat into the basking area. Tubular bulbs, on the contrary, are intended to cover larger setups. They’re not the best in terms of heat capacity, though.
Best UVB Light For Turtles
Based on our search, we believe that Zoo Med UVB & Heat Lighting Kit is the best heating lamp for turtles. It combines heat, visible light, and beneficial UVB in one compact double-fixture.
And finally, if you’re searching for the cheapest, most effective light, you already have it right up in the sky! We always recommend getting your turtles a sunbath for at least 1 hour each week. This should keep them in the optimal state.