Reptiles need heat and light to stay healthy. Specifically, there are three kinds of light they require. The first is visible light so that they can see their environment and their prey. The second is infrared so that they can stay warm. And the third is ultraviolet so that they can make vitamin D3. Be sure to choose from the best reptile light bulbs to meet all these needs.
Many reptiles can see more color than humans can. That’s why “natural lighting” for a terrarium may look different than what you’d expect. For example, geckos can tell brown and blue apart in very dim light. In fact, many lizards prefer full-spectrum lighting. Be sure to research what your pet needs before you buy a reptile light bulb.
Also, when placing lamps, it’s better to place the bulbs above the reptile’s head, not on the side. After all, the sun is above us just like their basking lamp and UV light should be for them. Ensure that the correct amount of distance exists between the bulbs and the surface, too.
Table of Contents
- Top Reptile UVB Light Bulbs
- #1 Zoo Med Turtles Heavy Duty Halogen Lamp
- #2 Exo Terra Swamp Glo Basking Spot Lamp
- #3 Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5 HO Lamp, 24 Watts
- #4 Zoo Med Repti Sun 10.0 UVB
- #5 Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent (13 watts)
- #6 Zoo Med Tropical UVB and Heat Lighting Kit
- #7 Exo Terra Full Moon Night Light, 1-Watt
- #8 Zoo Med Nightlight Red Bulb for Reptiles, 60 Watts
- #9 Zoo Med Day/Night Desert Lighting Kit
- #10 Zilla UVB Fluorescent Bulb 18-inch
- #11 Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb
- #12 160 Watts SunForce Mercury Vapor Bulb
- #13 Exo Terra Solar-Glo High-Intensity Self-Ballasted UV/Heat Mercury Vapor Lamp
- #14 UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb – 100W, from Aiicioo
- #15 Zilla Reptile Terrarium Heat Lamps Mini Halogen Bulb
- #16 Exo Terra Reptile Vision Compact Fluorescent Lamp, 13-watt
- #17 Exo Terra Repti-Glo 5.0 Compact Fluorescent Tropical Terrarium Lamp
Top Reptile UVB Light Bulbs
Finally, there are different kinds of reptile light bulbs. As we work our way through the reviews below, we’ll explain each type. We hope our article today helps you find what works best for your pet.
#1 Zoo Med Turtles Heavy Duty Halogen Lamp
Halogen lamps are popular because they are incandescent and supply both heat and light. It’s also easy to control them with a thermostat. If you choose a spotlight, make sure it covers at least 30°. On the downside, halogen doesn’t emit UVB radiation so you’ll need an additional lamp for that purpose.
This heavy-duty halogen bulb from Zoo Med is splash-proof, a handy attribute when you have turtles. It also generates UVA radiation. At the same time, it makes the natural colors of the animal brighter.
The anticipated lifetime is 2500 hours. Moreover, you can purchase this bulb in 50, 75, and 90 W versions.
#2 Exo Terra Swamp Glo Basking Spot Lamp
Exo Terra designed their Swamp Glo basking lamp to resist sprays and splashing without shattering. The warm yellow 75 W light is specifically for humid and aquatic enclosures. Owners of painted and red-eared slider turtles love it.
#3 Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5 HO Lamp, 24 Watts
The T5 HO lamp emits full-spectrum light without extra heat. It’s powerful enough to penetrate up to 20 inches including through mesh if necessary. This particular bulb emits UV radiation to mimic sunlight in the tropics.
You might be wondering what a T5 light is. It’s a tubular fluorescent lamp that measures 5/8-inch in diameter, making it smaller than a T8. The average lifetime is 20,000 hours, but it won’t continue putting out the same amount of UV radiation for that entire period. Plan on changing your T5 bulbs every six months to a year at the latest.
#4 Zoo Med Repti Sun 10.0 UVB
This ReptiSun fluorescent bulb is recommended for bearded dragons. It emits 30% UVA and 10% UVB to care for your reptile’s eyesight plus help him create vitamin D3. This size of light fits larger terrariums.
#5 Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent (13 watts)
A compact fluorescent like this one emits a small amount of UVB (5%) and more UVA (30%) radiation. You’ll need to replace it after six months even if it appears to be working well. That ensures that your herp continues to get enough UV light to stay healthy.
Specifically, this lamp emits full-spectrum lighting and does not need a separate ballast. You can place it vertically or horizontally in a fixture.
#6 Zoo Med Tropical UVB and Heat Lighting Kit
Zoo Med provides a kit that includes the fixture, a daylight blue 60 W bulb, and a Repti Sun 5.0 13 W mini compact fluorescent. The combo dome appeals to pet owners with small terrariums who don’t want to use two separate fixtures. One advantage of the blue bulb is that it’s made from true blue glass.
#7 Exo Terra Full Moon Night Light, 1-Watt
Exo Terra offers this night light that mimics the moon. In other words, it gives off a small amount of light without adding any heat. Once the terrarium lights dim, the moon turns on. It comes with a magnet to mount it on the inside of a screen cover.
#8 Zoo Med Nightlight Red Bulb for Reptiles, 60 Watts
Zoo Med suggests this true red glass nightlight for nocturnal animals like ball pythons or leopard geckos. It provides heat without much visible light.
#9 Zoo Med Day/Night Desert Lighting Kit
If you have a desert reptile, you might enjoy this kit from Zoo Med. It contains an aluminum fixture with dual sockets plus 2 lamps. Lamps include a 75 W infrared heat lamp for nighttime warmth and a 75 W daytime spot lamp for basking. But be sure to check temperatures since some desert animals do better with a temperature drop at nighttime.
#10 Zilla UVB Fluorescent Bulb 18-inch
If you hate having to replace bulbs every six months, try this T8 15W bulb that produces both UVA and UVB radiation. It doesn’t need to be replaced for a year. But the light it emits isn’t just for reptiles. It makes the colors in your terrarium more beautiful for you, too.
#11 Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb
Mercury vapor bulbs cannot be controlled by a thermostat. They put out a lot of heat and light so they suit large enclosures. Furthermore, this one emits both UVA and UVB radiation. Mounted in a ceramic socket dome that is resistant to high wattage and high heat. And if this is a new lamp for you, please double-check the temperature before you let your pet experience the light himself.
#12 160 Watts SunForce Mercury Vapor Bulb
For even more light and heat in a large terrarium, try this 160 W mercury vapor bulb. It has a certified output of 200 microwatts of UV-B plus 400 microwatts of UVA. It’s able to penetrate down to 3 feet from its fixture. Put it in a 10-inch dome with a ceramic socket that can withstand the heat.
#13 Exo Terra Solar-Glo High-Intensity Self-Ballasted UV/Heat Mercury Vapor Lamp
Once again, mercury vapor bulbs are incompatible with rheostats or dimmers and thermostats. But this one has its own ballast so you can place it in a regular fixture that resists high heat. Additionally, besides UVA, it provides UVB radiation down to 12 inches. Once you turn it off, the manufacturer recommends allowing the light to completely cool before you try to turn it on again. Even jostling it might cause it to turn off automatically for a cool down period.
#14 UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb – 100W, from Aiicioo
Although you can’t pair this bulb with a thermostat or dimmer, you can control it with a timer. It takes about five minutes to warm up completely.
#15 Zilla Reptile Terrarium Heat Lamps Mini Halogen Bulb
The mini halogen bulb from Zilla needs a special fixture. It doesn’t have a bottom that twists into the socket.
This one daylight white bulb may be rated for 50 W, but it’s equivalent to a 100 W incandescent bulb. It’s more energy efficient and can last up to 1000 hours or more.
#16 Exo Terra Reptile Vision Compact Fluorescent Lamp, 13-watt
If you have an albino reptile, use a mild light to protect their sensitive skin and eyes. Lizards with less pigmentation are sensitive to bright light. This compact fluorescent bulb provides the necessary wavelengths of light that reptiles use to see colors around them. But take note that it doesn’t emit ultraviolet radiation so you’ll need a different bulb for that function.
#17 Exo Terra Repti-Glo 5.0 Compact Fluorescent Tropical Terrarium Lamp
The Exo Terra compact fluorescent has a spiral shape so you can mount it horizontally or vertically and still get the same amount of light. It provides UVB radiation that’s effective up to 15 inches. It’s made to match the natural environment of reptiles living in tropical locations that provide filtered sunlight.
We’d love to hear what kind of lighting setup you have for your pet. Drop us a comment to tell us which of the top reptile light bulbs works best for you. Also, see our articles about species-specific lamps like those for bearded dragons and leopard geckos.