You need reptile thermostats because pet reptiles and amphibians including your bearded dragons, corn snake, leopard geckos, skinks, monitors, chameleons, tortoise, turtle, crested gecko, iguanas, water dragons, and so on require not only specific temperature and humidity to thrive well. Some even require UVB lighting, among other things.
Remember, they are ectotherms (cold-blooded) that regulate their body temperature depending on the ambient temperature of their habitat. In the wild, they depend on sunlight to warm up. However, in captivity, you have to provide them with the required warmth.
Besides measuring, you need an effective control mechanism. Control is where devices such as thermostats and others, such as terrarium humidistat, become a necessity.
What are thermostats
Thermostats are devices designed to regulate temperature, such as it is as close to the setpoints as possible. They do by turning off heating or cooling equipment on and off, limiting power going to the heating devices, or altering heating or cooling fluids.
Keeping the right temperature is vital to most reptiles and amphibians, i.e., excessive may make them overheat while cold ones will make them suffer from hypothermia, be inactive, affect eating habits and health, you need to be able to regulate it accurately.
Thermostats are not thermometers. Their marking in degrees shouldn’t make you assume they are thermometers as they regulate temperature while thermometers only measure it.
Common types of thermostats
Without going to details, it is good you have a glimpse of the various kids. Know them will make things easier when we look at some of the best reptile thermostats, including those for snakes, bearded dragons, leopard geckos, among other reptiles.
- Mechanical, manual, or non-programmable – They are very basic and require you to input setpoints physically. High-quality brands are highly efficient, and some may have a digital display.
- Programmable – These kinds give you a chance to set daily, weekly, nighttime, daytime temperatures, and so on. They are useful if you live in a place with drastic temperature fluctuations.
- Wireless and Wi-Fi – Are programmable kind with the wireless able to communicate with temperature control device wireless. On the other hand, the Wi-Fi thermostats give you a chance to adjust or override any preprogrammed settings while you are away.
- Smart – These are relatively modern types which will learn your habits, study your patterns, preferences, etc., before they can be able to make control temperature using what they have learned from you or other automated equipment or tools.
With a brief introduction, it is time to shift our focus on the reptile enclosure thermostats and begin by looking at the commons before we look at some of the best brands, additional essential accessories, and much more.
1. On/off thermostats (ministat)
They are the simplest, cheapest, and easiest to install of all the type whose control mechanism is to turn on or off the heating equipment.
These thermostats have a probe that checks terrarium temperature at frequent intervals and compares with the setpoint to determine if it will switch the heat source on or off
For instance, it allows the vivarium to reach the set temperature and turns off the heat source, and when the temperature begins dropping, it will turn it on again, and the cycle goes on like that.
On/off thermostats are ideal for controlling temperatures on reptile heat mats, heat cables, and any other source that produces warms by contact. On heat bulbs, it will be turning them on and off.
When using them, set your temperature a few degrees below the optimum point, such as 1-2°. Ideally, place their probe on the heating device and not the air if you want it to be more accurate. Furthermore, regularly check if it is working well since they wear out and get damaged faster.
2. Pulse thermostats reptile temperature controller
They are a little sophisticated means to regulate temperature for controlling non-light-emitting heat sources such as your heat mats, heat rocks, heat cable (heat strip), deep heat projector, and ceramic heat emitters. Otherwise, they will make heating bulbs to pulse or flash, something that can be very uncomfortable for your pets.
They work by sending electrical pulses at varying frequencies. For instance, when their sensing probe detects lower temperatures, they will send higher frequency electrical pulses, meaning that more electricity is passed to your heating equipment, raising its temperature.
On the other hand, if the temperature is high, they send lower intensity pulses to help reduce tit to setpoints. This mode of operation is why it is also called a proportional thermostat.
If you buy them, place their probe at a place where you need the temperature set in your thermostat maintained with a direct light of sight (no obstacles) with the heating device.
One significant advantage of the pulsing thermostat is that its reaction to temperature change is faster, making them very efficient in maintaining it at desired setpoints.
3. Reptile dimming thermostats
These are even more advanced kinds that can control heat even on light-emitting heating lamps as they will smoothly dim or brighten heating lamps, unlike the pulsing one that will cause pulses. They will also work well with ceramic heat emitters, heat pads, heat tape, and heat cables.
They work by steadily raising or lowering (sliding) power that goes to your heating device depending on whether temperature needs to go up or down to reach a set point, making it more consistent when compared to the on/off thermostats.
Place their probe on the point where you want the temperature set on your thermostat detected.
4. Digital reptile thermostats
They are the latest technologically with more capability and can run as on/off, pulsing, pulse, or dimming thermostats. Furthermore, they give you a great way to control temperature, such as the Microclimate EVO.
Choosing a thermostat for your vivarium
Some of the critical factors to put into mind with shopping for the best thermostat for reptile rack include the following.
- Heat source – Are you using contact heat sources such as mats, ceramic heat emitters, heat cables, etc., or a light heating lamp.
- Features – Some pets such as the Uromastyx, bearded dragons, and other desert lizards require a temperature gradient as well as day and night settings. Choose one that has day and night settings. Additional features such as multiple control, overload circuit, calendar, timers, and so on may make control easier.
- Maximum wattage– Check the maximum wattage that can go through your thermostat. On-off will have up to 100w, running 20-30w should not be an issue while dimmers can go as high as 600w or more. Bigger terrarium needs a higher wattage heater to achieve desired temperatures.
- Easy to use – Setting it up should be easy. Follow the manufacturer’s direction. Furthermore, it should be easy to set and read.
- Durable and reliable – You need a device that will not only last long but also be dependable to avoid overheating or coldness, i.e., temperatures beyond setpoints.
- Silent – Avoid any noisy brands.
- Sensor wire length – Depending on where you want to house your thermostat, you need to choose one that has a long enough wire (one connected to the probe).
Best reptile thermostats – snake, beardies, Geckos, etc
Our reviews of the best thermostat consider the best of each type, i.e., best on/off, best pulse proportional, best dimming thermostats as well as multiple zoned, Wi-Fi, etc., to ensure you can get what suits you.
You will not fail to get one that suits your needs including those for basking bulb, ceramic heater, heat cable, heat tape, heat mats, radiant heat panel or any other heating device
1. Hydrofarm Jump Start MTPRTC Digital Controller
The Hydrofarm Jump Start MTPRTC Digital Controller thermostat will help control mat temperatures for your reptile terrariums, arachnids, and rodents enclosures with a maximum current of 8.3A/1000W.
- It is very safe. It is ETL (Edison Testing Laboratories) certified. ETL belongs to Intertek, one of the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs).
- Will provide optimal or precise temperatures closest to setpoints you have on your terrarium or enclosure for other small pets.
- Digitally controls temperature ranging from 68°F – 108°F in Fahrenheit or Celsius
- Has a one year warranty
- The water-resistant probe comes with an extended code (6 feet), making it ideal even for larger terrariums.
- Easy to use and operate. It features an LED light indicator, a three-prong ground plug, and digital temperature selection: plugin and set temperatures.
- It is pricing is a little higher but certainly will give you value for every penny you spend on.
Most people are happy with how effectively it works and rated it highly. However, if you don’t know how it works, you may think it doesn’t work well.
2. WILLHI WH1436A Temperature Controller 110V Digital Thermostat
This WILLHI WH1436A digital on/off temperature controller has a maximum load of 1100W at 110V. You need to set the temperature at which it will turn on your heater and when to turn it off from as little as a difference of 0.1 between the on and off to as large as a difference of 230.
- Operates within a vast range of temperature, i.e., -58 ~ 230 F(-50 ~ 110 C)
- It has high and low-temperature alarms in case you need any notification to avoid temperature exceeds.
- Countdown auto shut timer that turns your heater but not this thermostat
- Easy to operate (plug and play) and set the minimum and maximum temperature when it goes on or off, thanks to the digital readout in centigrade or Fahrenheit
- It retains its temperature settings in case power goes off.
- It comes with a 3 meter 9. 8ft sensor cable and a waterproof probe
- Value for money
- It is not compatible with two hotlines 220V plugs
WILLHI WH1436A is a practical, easy to use a thermostat with a user-friendly interface, many possible uses but very affordable when compared to others of the same caliber.
3. Inkbird C929 Smart Digital Wi-Fi Temperature Controller
With this Inkbird C929 smart thermostat, you can control and monitor temperature from your smartphone once you are sharing to the same Wi-Fi network. It operates on 120 volts, 10A, 60 Hz AC source with maximum heating or cooling load of 1200W and temperature range of
- You can control it via a smartphone using the free InkbirdSmart Android or iOS app once you connect the device and your phone to the same network device.
- Compatible with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi router
- Has a high and low limit reminder alarm
- Easy to install and use, i.e., this plug and play device supports temperature readouts in centigrade and Celsius.
- It comes with a 2-year warranty for the device and a year warrant for its stainless steel probe.
- You cannot control it remotely if you if not on the same Wi-Fi network.
Convenience, value for money, and it’s easy to use are some of the reasons why most users are happy with this Wi-Fi reptile thermostat.
Inkbird have other excellent thermostats including:
- Inkbird ITC-608T – Heating, cooling, and humidity with periods timer. Useful if you have a humidifier or dehumidifier.
- Inkbird ITC-308 – Heating and cooling)
- Inkbird ITC-306T – Heating only with day and night feature
- Inkbird ITC-310T-B – Heating and cooling with a periods timer
4. The iPower reptile heating pad with thermostat
This iPower Combo for reptiles has both an under tank heating pad and a thermostat from iPower, ideal for glass terrariums for your amphibians, reptiles, plant vivaria, or small pets.
- It is energy-efficient with the ability to achieve optimum temperatures within a short time while consuming less power, thanks to its new, improved proprietary heating film technology.
- The 3M adhesive paper that will stick to your terrarium bottom will ensure maximum heat transfer.
- Easy to use with a temperature control range of 40-108°F and can display 32 -140°F both in Celsius and Fahrenheit.
- It has a three-prong, grounded outlet compatible with most heating devices, including other heat mats, ceramic heat emitters, lamps, and so on.
- Comes in various dimensions suitable for 1-5, 10-20, 30-40, 50-60 gallons.
- Value for money
- People with larger vivarium cannot use it as it can support only up to 60-gallon vivaria unless you combine two.
Its affordability, precision, adhesion, and excellent temperature control are among the most mentioned features by users.
iPower also have
- iPower 40-108 Degrees Fahrenheit Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Controller – On/off, highly rated thermostat.
Pro tip: Avoid reptile heat mat with a built-in thermostat, since it will limit its use to just that mat, and if damaged, it will be unusable.
5. Zoo Med ReptiTemp Digital Thermostat Controller
The ReptiTemp digital temperature controller operates by turning your heater (heat-mode) on to raise the temperature or turning on your cooling system, such as a fan to cool your reptile tank (cool-mode).
The heat load is a maximum of 600 watts while the cooling mode can control up to 150 watts load of cooling equipment.
- It can regulate temperature over a wide range, i.e., 50F to 122F.
- It features a long sensor cable, 6 feet tall attached to the probe.
- Has alarm sound and flashes to notify you when your it attains the extreme set temperatures either coldest or hottest
- Value for money
- Precise or accurate
- Easy to use featuring LCD and a plug and play (switch one)
- Comes with a one year warranty
- You require a cooling device to be able to lower temperature. Otherwise, it will work as an on/off and will have to wait until temperate fall to minimum setpoints.
Its affordability, easy to use, and accuracy is what most users are happy about it. Therefore, it is a suitable temperature controller to include in your collection.
6. Habistat Dimming Digital Thermostat High range – Dimming
To effectively control basking lamp heat, you need a dimming temperature controller. The Habistat digital dimming Thermostat is an excellent choice to settle for, especially to the people in the UK.
It operates with a minimum load of 40W and a maximum load of 600W at 230 volts.
- While designed to control basking light of an incandescent bulb, you can still use it on other types of heaters.
- It is very precise and useful in measuring controlling temperature.
- Affordable considering it is quite sophisticated and operates with the latest technology
- Since it requires a minimum load of 40W, people with pets that require tiny space or small voltage cannot use it.
Accuracy, effectiveness in temperature control, and reliability are what make everyone given it almost a maximum rating to this thermostat for reptile heat lamps.
7. Zilla thermostat – analog
The Zilla temperature controller is an on/off analog thermostat that works with heat emitters, pads, and other heating devices with a maximum heating load of 500W.
- It is reptile safe as it maintains temperatures from 60°F to 105°F (16°C – 40°C) and shuts heating source off once it reaches 110°F (43°C).
- Easy to use
- Vintage or antique value to people who love analog products
- Like any other on/off the thermostat, it will not work well with bright or white-colored bulbs as it will be turning them on and off as it tries to control the temperature.
If you have been buying various Zilla heating products, including Zilla heat lamps, heat emitters, heat pads, and so on, this temperature controller will work well.
8. HabiStat Pulse Proportional Thermostat
This HabiStat pulse thermostat works with a heater load not more than 600 watts at 250 volts, 50Hz alternating current. It sends pulsating power at a frequency proportional to the energy required to either heat or cool your terrarium. It is ideal for controlling 26 to 40 degrees centigrade.
- This electronic thermostat controls temperature more precisely.
- It provides a faster response to temperature change when compared to any other type of thermostat.
- It will prolong the lifespan of your heater element.
- It has both the Fahrenheit and Celsius on its display unit.
- Features a chemical resistant and waterproof probe
- Value for money
- It cannot work with heat bulbs that produce light as they will be pulsating. Therefore, buy it if you intend to use it with non-light emitting heaters such as heat pads, mats, cables, or ceramic heat emitters, among others.
Most users are excited about its accurate temperature control and affordable price, considering it’s a current technology device.
9. Exo terra thermostat 600w with day/night function – dimming and pulse proportional
This night and day, Exo Terra dimming and pulse proportional thermostat is a must-have if you want to control varying night and daytime temperatures to suit your desert pets such as bearded dragons or tropical ones.
It can control a heater with a load of up to 600W and works well with heat cables, ceramic heaters, daytime basking lamps, or infrared basking spots.
- It prevents overheating or overcooling during summer days that are characteristically hot and freezing summer nights, respectively.
- The dimming and pulse proportional function will ensure a more stabilized heat without fluctuations.
- You can separately set nighttime and daytime temperature, and it shows both the set and actual temperature
- It has a blue LCD making it very easy to read, and it brightens during day mode and dims during night mode settings for comfortable viewing.
- Its probe is waterproof and has an inbuilt light sensor for switching to daytime and nighttime temperatures.
- Uses state of the art technology to ensure precise temperature control and avoids accidental settings since it has a push-button/dial
- It offers a vast temperature control range, suitable for all types of pets, i.e., 10- 60°C (50 -140°F).
10. Vivarium Electronics VE-300×2
Vivarium Electronics VE-300×2 is usable as an on/off or digital pulse proportional dual zone thermostat, i.e., it has two independent heating meaning it can independently control the temperature of two heaters.
Running on a 110v, it has a maximum total load of 900 watts and has a replaceable fuse.
- Dual heating zones, allowing you to control two heating devices at the same time, each with different settings. You no longer need two thermostats.
- It is one of the reptile thermostats with multiple probes with 10 feet sensor cables and replaceable 6 feet power code.
- The device is stable and easy to table-mount. You can easily mount on your pet racks, including your snake, bearded dragon, geckos racks.
- Easy to use, i.e., it has a full-backlit display and display probe and set temperature.
- Has high and low alarms and history for each zone
- Has a battery-backed alarm and it remembers settings in case of power failure,
- Night drop inbuilt capability in each zone that works independently as well as inbuilt shut-off relay.
- It is not ideal for incandescent bulbs since both the on/off or pulse proportional will either turn on and off these bulbs or make them flicker.
If you are looking for two independent thermostats with independently set parameters, this is the right thermostat you need. Also, there are the Vivarium electronics model HobbyStat, VE-100, VE-200, VE-200D a VE-300, which will serve you well.
11. Microclimate ministat 100
The Microclimate ministat 100 is an on/off thermostat able to control the temperature for loads of up to 100W.
- Precise thermal control
- Recessed dial-safe temperature setting button to avoid accidental pressing
- Has long cables
- It supports a small heater load hence not suitable for large reptile tanks and not suitable for basking lights or light-emitting heat lamps.
12. Others – VIVOHOME, Exo Terra, Herpstat
Besides the above best thermostats for your reptile tank, you can also buy the below brands. They are also excellent brands but couldn’t make it to your top 11 best in the market.
- BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Controller (formally Century Digital Mat Thermostat) – ON/OFF
- Bayite pre-Wired Digital Outlet Temperature Controller BTC201 (1100W) and BTC211(1650W)
- VIVOSUN Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Temperature Controller
- BohoFarm Heat Mat
- VIVOHOME 68-108°F Temperature Digital LED Heat Mat
- Poniie PN160 Digital Temperature Controller 2-Stage Controlled Outlet
- Sequoia with NTC Sensor Probe
- Encompass All 1000W Combined – Terrarium Heat & Habitat Lighting Temperature Controller
- Advanced Reptile Thermostat
- Istat reptile thermostat
Vivarium thermostat setup
Setting your reptile heat controller should be a simple task if you correctly follow the given instruction by the manufacturer’s manual. Some have videos, or you can get videos on YouTube or elsewhere detailing how to install them.
Some of the setup steps may include:
- Connecting the three cables. Typically, they have three wires, one connected to the heater, the second one to the sensor cable, and the third one to the power source.
- Place the probe at an appropriate location, depending on the type of reptile thermostat you chose. The ON/OFF works well with the sensor on the surface for effective control with the others can be either at a central location or other areas depending on how many heaters you are using. However, it shouldn’t touch your pet, and it should be on a direct line of sight with the heat source to avoid wrong readings.
- Turn it down and give it time to stabilize
- Set it to desired temperature ranges for day and night if it has such features. Ensure you have a good thermometer such as the Etekcity Lasergrip 1080 Non-Contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer Gun. Read the temperature on your thermostat, and surface as you adjust it accordingly until you get desired values.
- Test it thoroughly to be sure it does control temperature according to the setpoints. Do this for at least 24 hours before introducing your pets.
Having a safety alarm is one great way to detect if your reptile thermostat has failed or not quickly. Buy one with has this alarm to notify you when it has failed.
Where to get reptile thermostats for sale
The prominent places you will get reptile thermostats is your local pet stores, manufacturer’s stores, Walmart, PetSmart, Petco, Amazon.com, eBay.com, and so on.
Depending on where you are, there are stores, especially those out of the US, to get quality reptile thermostats.
- Amazon Canada – Amazon Canada has most of the top brands of reptile thermostats we have looked at and others we did not.
- Reptile Center (UK)- They have several brands, including Lucky Reptile Thermo Control II, Microclimate Evo, Exo Terra 100w Electronic On/Off, Microclimate OLED dimmer, Microclimate Ministat, Microclimate pulse and so on.
- Pangea Reptiles – They stock mainly the Herpstat like Herpstat EZ1, EZ2, Intro+, Herpstat 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, Zoo Med Hygrotherm humidity and Temperature controller, Vivarium Electronic thermostats, among others. They also have accessories, especially the replacement probe cable.
- Swell Reptiles – At Swell Reptiles, you will get most types of reptile thermostats, such as Habistat Mat Stat, Komodo dimming thermostat, Exo Terra, Microclimate, Lucky Reptile Control 2, and so on. They also have accessories such as HabiStat spare fuse, Microclimate fuse pack, Habistat Sun Switch, and so on.
- Pets and Ponds (Canada) – Have the Zoo and Exo Terra brands
- Reptile One (Australia) – The have a great brand, the EziStat
- Pets at Home (UK) – They Have Microclimate Pulse B2, Habistat Dimmer including the B1, and the Microclimate HH6 Dual Heating Thermostat.
- PetBarn (Australia) – PetBarn has many reptile products, including live food, lighting, heating, habitat, and so on. If you are looking for an Ecotech Reptile Thermostat with Timer, this the place to buy it.
While everyone wishes to buy cheap reptile thermostat, cheap ones may not, at times, be the best. Comparing prices will help you get cheap ones. However, they have to be functional, durable, and safe.