If you are first-timer, you deserve to know that many types of thermometers are either analog, digital, or infrared.
Thermometers are temperature monitoring devices that will ensure you know and, therefore, the proper temperature in your vivarium, terrarium, or aquariums needed for optimum health and safety.
Different types of reptiles require various optimum temperatures (night or daytime) to keep their metabolism, digestion, and health at its best.
They measure infinite temperature using various techniques depending on the type. Ordinary analog thermometers include liquid in glass (use mercury or alcohol expansion), gas (uses volume or gas pressure), and bimetallic (use metals of different expansivity index).
Digital thermometer use sensors, which are either solid-state, thermistors, resistance temperature detector, or thermocouple. All these produces either a current, resistant, or voltage change to detect the temperate variation.
These signals are analog and need an analog to digital (AD) converters for are them converted to digital ones.
The digital thermometers are accurate, safer, and produce results faster compared to analog types.
Infrared thermometers (laser, non-contact or temperature guns)
Since all objects above absolute zero temperature emit heat (thermal radiations, infrared energy, or black body radiations), the infrared thermometer detects the extent of thermal emissions from a body to determine its temperature. It does so using a detector.
Infrared thermometers have a lens that helps them focus thermal radiation to their detector or thermocouple, which then turns them to an electrical signal. Afterward, there is a conversion of analog to a digital signal, and hence you get their temperature.
The visible pointing light does not measure temperature but only makes you see the point where your lens is measuring infrared energy.
Finally, these infrared devices don’t measure temperature through glass or liquid (as they will give that one of the glass surfaces) and have specific distances you can use them.
Which are the best types?
Digital and infrared thermometers are accurate and more reliable than stick-on, liquid other analog thermometers.
What to look for in good thermometer
- Reliable and accurate – It must reliably give you accurate readings, i.e., no false readings, as this will ensure you keep the temperature at required levels.
- Cost – Expensive doesn’t always mean good. There are many excellent cheap thermometers you can buy. However, don’t compromise on reliability and durability.
- Durability – Buy a brand that will serve you for a long time without having to replace it now and then as you are likely to spend more.
- Easy to use – Buy for one that is easy to install and read. A good brand should allow you to take both the Fahrenheit and Celsius.
- Type – Decide on the kind you want between the analog (they must be in your cage), digital that uses a probe, or infrared.
- Battery life – Buying a brand that is power economical or has a long battery life will save on the cost of buying new batteries regularly.
Best reptile thermometers – Beardies, Geckos, Snakes, tortoise, etc.
By now, you know some basic science jargon on thermometers, it is time to look at some of the best brands to use in your pet’s tank (cage, vivarium or terrarium).
As you noted, while we were looking at the best terrarium hygrometers, most will be dual, i.e., they measure both temperature and humidity.
Zoo Med Digital Thermometer
This Zoo Med digital reptile thermometer with a probe is an excellent choice if you have reptiles, including your bearded dragons, geckos, iguanas, snakes, tortoise, and so on.
- Specially designed for dry or wet enclosures including your terrariums, aquariums, or incubators.
- It has a waterproof remote sensor or probe for accurate readings at the point where you place it while the digital display can be mounted outside in a dry place.
- Easy to mount as the sensor cable comes with suction cups.
- Easy to use. It comes with a digital LCD readout, which you can switch to Fahrenheit or Celsius and an on/off power button and comes with batteries.
- It can sense a wide range of temperatures, i.e., from -10 to140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most experts and buyers are happy about its practical mounting suction cups, easy to read, and accuracy. If you want a combo, go for the Zoo Med Labs Digital Thermometer Humidity Gauge.
Lucky Reptile LTH-31 Thermometer Deluxe
Unlike most of the other brands, Lucky Reptile comes with dual probes making it measure the temperature of two different zones inside your vivarium. It has a temperature range of -50 to 70 degrees Celsius,
- It can measure the temperature of two distinct zones independently since it has two probes. Furthermore, the probes are waterproof, making them usable even in your fish aquariums.
- It features a large easy to read LCD as well as a clock function.
- Has long sensor wires (1.5 meters) making it ideal even for bigger cages
Most users and experts hail Lucky Reptile Thermometer for its dual function, affordability, and easy to use features.
If you are in the US, it is available on Amazon.com, while those in the UK can get it at Amazon.co.uk.
Zoo Med ReptiTemp Digital Infrared Thermometer
This digital infrared (no-contact or gun) thermometer with a minigun for pointing on surfaces is suitable for places where you want to measure temperature accurately.
It is ideal for routine spot-checking of your terrarium temperature at different spots such as the basking place, thermal gradient, brumation or hibernation areas, or even in your incubators, shelters, and so on.
- It gives instant and very accurate temperatures at a click of a button, thanks to the infrared technology.
- It is easy to use. You only need to point it to where you want to measure temperature.
- Has a wide range of temperature, i.e., -28° to 230°F (-33° to 110°C)
- Easy to read digital readout that in either degree Celsius or Fahrenheit.
- It comes with a durable CR2032 Lithium cell battery.
- It is small in size (pocket size)
- It has a minimum and maximum temperature function to help you know the highest and lowest values achieved in your reptile racks.
- Like any other infrared temperature indicating equipment, it cannot be read temperature through glass or liquids and has a distance at which it operates.
What we liked most about this thermometer is its value for money, easy usage, and its precision, or accuracy.
Etekcity Lasergrip 774 Non-contact Digital Laser Infrared Gun
The Etekcity Lasergrip 774 is state of the art multi-purpose infrared thermometer that uses a laser-guided beam. It will help you check the temperature at different points in your vivarium accurately from a distance of about 17 inches.
- It is easy to read, thanks to its crisp-clear, backlit display
- Holds readings for 15 seconds to give you time to record them where necessary.
- It has a durable construction that will withstand use for a long time.
- Has a wide temperature range, i.e., -50℃ – 380℃ (-58℉ – 716℉ ) with a 2% accuracy, meaning you can use it for many other purposes in your home with
- Auto-off function to help elongate battery life.
What we liked most about this Etekcity Lasergrip 774 thermometer is its durability, long battery life, quality material of construction, accuracy, and easy usage.
Qooltek Mini Hygrometer Thermometer
Instead of buying a thermometer and hygrometers separately, go for this combo device that will help you take temperature and humidity. Besides using it in your reptile vivarium, you can use it in your brooder, cars, cigar humidor, incubators, and so on.
- Can measure humidity from 10% RH to 95% RH and temperature from -40°F to 140°F with a humidity and temperature accuracy of 5% and ±2°F respectively.
- Being small, it will not take much of your space
- Features a digital LCD readout
- Not setting required.
- The LCD readout for humidity is smaller when compared to that of temperature, making it difficult to read it if you are far away.
- It is not easy to mount as it doesn’t have a suction cup or a mounting hole on its backside.
If you buy it, its durability, low price, easy to read, and use will be things you will definitely like so much.
Exo Terra Digital Thermometer with Probe, Celsius, and Fahrenheit
Durability and precision are two important considerations in buying the best reptile thermometer. This Exo Terra equipment gives you that and much more.
- It keeps the highest and lowest readings (has a programmable maximum and minimum memory)
- Easy to use as it features only a single button to operate.
- Easy to read LCD, which you can toggle between degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit.
- It has a long sensing probe cable with a suction cup for easy attachment.
- It gives accurate measurements.
- The instrument comes with a fastening hoop and loop. If you are using the Exo Terra Linear Fluorescent Top or Exo Terra Compact Top, you can slide it into place.
Features we bet you will like about this temperature meter include it being easy to read, accurate, and straightforward to use.
Zilla Terrarium Digital Thermometer
Zilla gives you the option of buying a digital thermometer alone or a combo that has a hygrometer too. A combined one will be an ideal choice since you can measure temperature and humidity at the same time.
Critical features of thermometer alone
- It has a temperature range of -58 to 158°F (-50°C to 70°C).
- It has two long probes, 39 inches long, making it the right choice for people with a very large vivarium. The sensor cables have suction cups for attaching them.
- Easy to use and read as it has an LCD readout as well as a Fahrenheit/Celsius slide button.
- It is very precise for aquatic and terrestrial use.
Fluker’s Digital Thermometer/Hygrometer for Reptiles
Fluker’s equipment is an excellent addition to your terrarium or reptile tanks, as it will measure temperature and humidity. Why spend money buying each of these two meters separately?
- It operates from 0-50 degrees Celsius (32-122) temperature range with 0.1 degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit’s resolution and 20-99%RH temperature range at 1% resolution.
- Easy to read LCD with both where you can select Celsius or Fahrenheit.
- It has a memory that stores minimum and maximum temperature and humidity
- Easy to mount with a glued magic sticker.
- Compact design
While value for money, accuracy, and easy to use are the most mentioned features, a few users are not happy with its humidity stability and efficiency of the humidity sensor.
REPTI ZOO Reptile Terrarium Thermometer Hygrometer Digital Display
Made by Repti Zoo, a reptile supply exerts, this thermometer is an excellent choice for not just for your reptile tanks but also for hatchers, brooders, propagators, and so on.
- This digital device will measure temperature and humidity accurately
- Has a visible, large easy to read digital readout
- Come with an extra battery giving you up to a year of usage before you can buy another battery.
- It can measure temperature from 14℉ to 122℉ and relative humidity from 20% to 99% with an accuracy of +/-2℉ and +/-5% RH, respectively.
- It is easy to install since it has a suction cup on its back. You can attach it almost anywhere you want.
- It has a 12-month guarantee
Most users are happy about its large easy to read display, its compact size, and value for money.
Zoo Med Economy Analog Dual Thermometer and Humidity Gauge
Temperature and humidity are two vital parameters that must be accurately measured, controlled, and closely monitored. This Zoo Med analog equipment measures both temperature and humidity at the same time.
- It has an easy to read, colorful reading scale making it easy to read it even from a distance.
- It features a velcro hook and loop support, making it easy to remove it when you want to relocate or clean it.
- Value for money.
Since a few people have complained about its accuracy, if you still need an analog device, go for the Precision Analog one designed with the Precision German movement.
Zoo Med High Range Reptile Thermometer
This brand uses thermochromic liquid crystals ideal for enclosures for amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates or even aquariums. Most vendors sell these pets or cages for any first-time buyers with this thermometer.
- It can measure temperature from 70 to 105°F (21 to 40°C)
- The colored liquid crystals make it easy to read inside a plastic strip.
- It measures temperature effectively.
This Zoo Med brand is a low-cost brand that you need when you start using your cage for the first time. Most reptiles and others come with it.
Other including reptile temperature guns
Besides the above best reptile tank thermometers, you can still buy any of the below brands. They will not disappoint you.
- Luganni Stick-on Adhesive Strip Essential – analog
- Carolina Custom Cages Reptile Digital IR (Infrared or gun)
- SunGrow – digital with the waterproof probe
- Pet Magasin Digital Thermometer and Hygrometer for Terrariums and Aquariums
- Coralife – Digital
- Nubee Gun Non-contact
- Penn Plax Reptology – digital
- Seapora – Digital with Probe
- CNZ Digital LCD – Aquarium Fish Tank Vivarium Reptile Terrarium
- SensorPush Wireless Thermometer/Hygrometer for iPhone/Android
Where to buy them?
Once you have decided the one you want, try looking for them in your local pet stores, especially those that sell reptile supplies. Alternatively, buy them online on Amazon, PetSmart, Pet Mountains, eBay, among other places.
Mounting and setup tips
Depending on the type you choose, you need to correctly mount or install them in a manner that they measure the temperature at various points in your vivarium. While one thermometer placed centrally may help, more will work efficiently.
Some necessary setup and placement tips include the following:
- For contact heaters such as heating pads, heat tapes, and heat mats, you need to mount your thermometer on their surface. You should do this will ensure they don’t burn your reptiles or amphibians.
- If you are using heat lamps or ceramic heat emitters, place one in the space between the cage surface and heat source.
- If you have a warmer and cooler surface, have at least one each in these areas and a centrally located one.
- Ensure your pets or other objects don’t touch them as they will give false readings.
Once you have set them correctly, don’t forget to install and adjust your thermostat to help regulate temperature.
Finally, specifics including minimum and maximum temperatures will be pet dependent, i.e., the temperature will depend on whether it is a bearded dragon, turtle, leopard gecko, skink, frog, snake, or what you have.