Because reptiles are cold-blooded, they can’t control their internal body temperature as we and other warm-blooded creatures do.
Instead, their bodies reflect what is happening in the surrounding environment. It’s a bit like how many aquarium keepers in hot climates require a fish tank chiller.
Pet reptiles require the sun or heat lamps to survive. Sometimes they need humidifiers or cooling equipment.
That’s where a thermostat comes in handy. These devices control your heating and cooling gadgets based on real-time temperature.
In this article, we’ll review the best reptile thermostats that can be easily installed into your setup.
Reptile Thermostat Guide
Zoo Med Digital Thermostat Controller
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BN-LINK Digital Reptile Thermostat
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REPTI ZOO Reptile Thermostat
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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.
A thermostat can control the many devices you use for heating and cooling in your reptile habitat. That could be a turtle tank or a tortoise enclosure, or it could be a terrarium or habitat of another kind for reptiles or amphibians.
Some thermostats can control 4 or more humidifiers, coolers, heat mats, lighting, and so on, whereas some can only control a single device. Keep that in mind when choosing the best model for your setup.
1. Zoo Med RT-600 Digital Thermostat Controller
This Zoo Med Thermostat is one of the best-selling temperature controllers for terrariums.
It’s very basic and no-frills – it is affordable and gets the job done.
That’s perhaps why it’s so popular. Some thermostats are very complicated and require studying large instruction manuals to learn how to use them. Not so with this Zoo Med controller.
It has two modes: heat and cool. It will turn on either device – a cooler or a heater – depending on what you’ve set it to when it reaches the set temperature bounds.
This product can only be used with a single device (unlike some of the others on our list which can take multiple), and most people use it for controlling a heating pad.
It can be used with many different devices with many different pets, even something like a nano-fish tank.
Other features include a temperature sensor with a 6-foot cable, built-in memory for settings in case it’s switched off, and an alarm for when the temperature gets dangerously high or low.
- Easy to set up and then use
- A small number of units defective
- Unlikely to last for many years
2. BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat – Best On/Off
- Temperature control range: 40-108 °F
- Power: 8.3 A, 1000 W
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.
- Accurate performance
- Sturdy construction
- Poor numeric display
3. Exo Terra Electronic Day/Night Thermostat – Best Dimming
- Temperature control range: 50-140 °F
- Power: 600 W
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.
- Day/night temperatures
- Works on dimming and pulsing modes
- Sleek, convenient design
- Slightly pricey
4. Inkbird Digital Heating Thermostat – The Smallest
- Temperature control range: 58-212 °F
- Power: 13.5 A, 1500 W
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.
- Day/night temperatures
- Compact setup without too many wires
- Wide temperature and power range
- The screen doesn’t have light
5. Vivarium Electronics VE-200 Thermostat – Best High-End
- Temperature control range: N/A
- Power: 700 W
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.
- Equipped with a safety shutoff relay
- Works via 2 modes
- User-friendly interface
- Most expensive
Types of Reptile Thermostats
Thermostats differ in the way they react with power whenever the temperature exceeds the specified value.
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 may have noticed, the 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.
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.
If you want to stay compact, consider the Zoo Med Terrarium Controller.
Now that you’ve got your thermostat for reptiles, check out these basking platforms for turtles.
Thanks for stopping by!