Reptiles are cold-blooded creatures that can’t stay warm on their own. A secure and comfortable enclosure is crucial for your reptile’s well-being, long life, and breeding. While heat lamps provide enough heat, it can be hard to screen and maintain an enclosure climate without a thermostat.
So, if you want the best reptile thermostat, this is the article for you. You need to know plenty of things, like what heating system you own, and lots of products to pick accordingly. To find out what reptile thermostat suits your tank best, keep reading.
Reptile thermostats aren’t easy to pick. There are multiple varieties, and each one has a unique feature. You’ll have to figure out what thermostat you require according to your heat source and other criteria.
Type of Thermostat
There are mainly two kinds of thermostats: On/Off and dimmer thermostats. While each thermostat performs the same task, they execute it differently.
On/off temp regulators are most commonly used and for valid reasons. They’re efficient, cost-friendly, easy to control, and offer more flexibility. These devices maintain heat by shutting the lamps off or on according to the enclosure’s current temperature.
On the other hand, dimmer thermostats regulate lamps’ brightness and power output to provide a consistent climate. These devices only function with heat lamps since they require the lights to work. While you can find a small number of dimmer thermostats out there, we don’t recommend installing them.
Instead, use an on/off regulator. In theory, they both have the same function: set your terrarium at a specific temperature. The only difference is that an on/off device does it in half the cost.
A probe is an instrument used to measure the temperature via sensors. They’re thin, needle-shaped objects that connect to the thermostat using a wire. When companies mention a product’s temp probe length, they refer to the wire’s size attached to the probe.
The probe length is vital for several reasons. First of all, it provides you with some wiggle room and more workarounds when it comes to the installation of your thermostat. So, you can position your reptile thermostat further away from its enclosure if the probe connects via a longer wire.
It also makes it convenient to change the thermostat’s position in the enclosure if need be. Heat mats and lamps are useful, but they can be quite space-consuming in small sections. So, having a more extended probe makes adding it to the tank more convenient, specifically in navigating the wire around more objects.
The wattage of any electrical device is crucial. While many users look at power usage to figure out how expensive a thermostat will be, there’s still more to know.
Wattage helps people establish a thermostat’s maximum load. If a thermostat has a max wattage of 1,000, you’ll have to ensure your heat sources work at or below that threshold. Thankfully, most reptile thermal regulators have a wattage of 1,000-1,100, which matches other heating devices.
Here is another essential criterion to observe. The thermal range includes all the temperature values that a reptile thermostat can monitor. Specific devices, for example, can display temperatures from 40° to 220°.
Most reptilian species thrive in a climate ranging from 70 to 85° and bask in temps up to 100°. So, when choosing a reptile thermostat, aim for one built to handle this temperature range.
Reptile thermostats aren’t expensive commodities. However, the price of each device does vary greatly. It depends on the quality and the number of features a thermostat possesses. For example, a thermostat with both cooling and heating properties will be costlier than one with only heating.
The 8 Best Reptile Thermostats of 2021
1. BN-Link – Best Overall
Editor’s Rating: 5/5 stars
- Digital LED
- 6-foot probe
- 1,000W power
- 40-108° temp range
The BN-Link is a digital heating mat that also works as a thermal controller. It has a simple and methodic system, featuring a high-quality LCD that makes it easy to view temperature readings. The display also allows you to view these readings in either Celsius or Fahrenheit, based on your preference. The thermostat can work with heat mats, but not as many heat lamps are compatible with 1000W wattage.
The thermostat includes some other premium features. It consists of a hanging tab that allows you to install the device to the side of your terrarium. Meanwhile, the temp probe connects via a 6-foot cable. With this setup, you don’t have to be apprehensive about ensuring that everything is ideal. You get a lot of setup possibilities when the line is 6 feet long.
The BN-Link thermostat is an outstanding thermal regulator for reptile owners who want a straightforward and convenient thermostat. It only makes use of three controls, and its LCD makes it convenient to view readings. It may not have a premium design, but it’s ideal for anyone who wants a smooth experience.
2. Inkbird ITC-308 – Best Premium Option
Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5 stars
- Temperature alarm
- 6.5-feet long cable
- 1,000W power
- 58-210° temp range
The Inkbird ITC-308 is a modest and compact thermostat that ensures easy temp regulation. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to heat; the thermostat is versatile in its use. It also comes with a minute error margin, with each reading having +/- 1° accuracy.
The Inkbird ITC-308 has dual LEDs that show you the temperature reading as well as the set temp. In this way, you can tell if the thermostat is working correctly to ensure the right temperature. It can also work in conjunction with both heating and cooling devices, a feature that is rare in most other thermostats.
The thermostat is unique because it comes with an inbuilt alarm. If the temp reading falls or rises to a fatal level, the thermostat will immediately warn you with a loud sound. It also uses innovative compressor delay and temp calibration to make sure there aren’t any random temperature variations or spikes.
The device is essentially a great thermostat that prefers multipurpose functionality. You don’t have to go and get more thermostats for heating or cooling separately, and the device is compatible with both heat lamps and mats. It lets you make your own presets, so you need to play around with its controls a few times.
3. Jumpstart – Best Simple Option
Editor’s Rating: 5/5 stars
- 6-foot long probe
- 1,000W output
- 68-108° temperature range
The Jumpstart thermostat is pretty simple in its design. You pretty much get what you’re paying for, and that’s all that you require to keep your reptiles warm and safe. The device includes a probe that connects with most heat mats and lamps, so you’ve got a versatile regulator.
The Jumpstart interface is also digital. It shows the temperature on a bright LED so you can easily view readings, either in Fahrenheit or Celsius. The display itself is quite simple, so you get convenient shows, day or night.
While the thermostat includes a lot of top-tier features, it’s far from perfect. A downside of this device is the absence of a second display. Many thermostats come with dual screens that show both the current and set temperature, so it falls short in that category.
Still, the Jumpstart thermostat is a high-quality product that most reptile owners will appreciate. While it costs more than other reptile thermostats of the same size, the quality makes the price tag worthwhile. So, if you want a simple thermostat that lasts for years, this is the one to choose.
4. WILLHI – Best High-Power Option
Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5 stars
- Compressor delay
- 9.8-foot probe
- 1,100W power
- -58-230° temp range
The WILLHI thermostat is a digital device that makes temperature control an uncomplicated process. The device is compatible with refrigerating and heating devices and comes with an inbuilt alarm for every setting. If the temp rises or falls, the thermostat will inform you. It also delays the compressor while cooling and calibrates temp while heating.
The device is unique since it has the highest wattage on our list and is one of the market’s highest power options. It also offers one of the largest temp ranges and can be set as high as 300°, or as low as -58°.
The thermostat is a pretty feature-packed device, but the LED is a bit of a letdown. The display works alright, but it only comes with a single screen that only displays the current temperature. That’s all well and good, but if there’s no second screen, it’s hard to monitor the climate if you can’t remember the set temp.
Even so, the WILLHI thermostat is great for pet owners who want an uncomplicated, dependable thermal regulator. It doesn’t require any particular assembly or installation and only takes seconds to program and start. This thermostat also has a ton of safety features, so you can relax without checking up on your tank every other hour. It may not be exceptional, but it gets the job done.
5. Bayite – Best Double-Screen Option
Editor’s Rating: 4/5 stars
- Heating and cooling device compatibility
- 9.8-foot long probe
- 1,000W power output
- 58-230° temperature range
The Bayite is a pre-wired device built with precision. It doesn’t have the fanciest design, but it does have premium controls and safety features. Three easy buttons manage the device: these are the up, down, and set buttons. They are present on the front of the thermostat, along with an LED that shows the current and set temperatures.
The Bayite stands out because it has one of the most elongate probes on the market. Not only is this feature fabulous for reptile tanks, but the length also allows for more versatility in other uses. For example, you can use the probe to check your barbecue’s tempo if you choose to do so.
Even though the probe is a massive plus, the overall design is a bit too generic. Bayite tried to provide a thermostat that acts as a multipurpose device, which is quite useful. However, this means that the performance takes a hit instead. Juggling so many different functions makes its primary function too general.
Ultimately, the Bayite thermostat is an excellent choice for reptile owners who want a safe thermal system. It offers a good safety design to minimize the risk of your thermostat collapsing. If you enjoy a simple device, though, it’s better to choose another thermostat.
6. VIVIOHOME – Best Budget Option
Editor’s Rating: 4/5 stars
- Compact design
- 6.5-foot cable length
- 1,000W power
- 40-108° temp range
The VIVIOHOME thermostat is a great digital thermostat that doesn’t break the wallet. While cheaper than other thermostats, it still maintains its good quality. It includes a bright LCD that shows the temperature and three straightforward buttons for changing and setting the temperature. The device also comes with a dependable temp probe that can work with almost any heat mat or lamp.
The standout feature with this thermostat would be the value. Something to remember is that it is not the cheapest thermostat out there, which is a plus. If a thermostat is less expensive than other models by a large degree, it’s likely missing some key features. So. Simultaneously, the VIVIOHOME device is a budget-friendly option; it still manages to do an above-average job.
A drawback to the design would be the lack of alarms or temp calibrations expected in this price range. This downside means the device requires a more hands-on approach in terms of monitoring the tank’s temperature. While it’s doubtful you’ll have to worry about any significant mishaps; it is a bit more effort involved.
The VIVIOHOME thermostat is perfect for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money on a simple procedure. A premium thermostat may have more features, but this affordable device is all you need to keep your reptiles warm and happy.
7. ReptiTemp RT-600 – Best Low-Power Option
Editor’s Rating: 4/5 stars
- Illuminating LCD
- 6-feet probe length
- 150W cooling and 600W heating power
- 50-122° temperature range
The ReptiTemp RT-600 by Zoo Med has a ton of great features. It displays temperatures with one-degree accuracy, in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.
The thermostat is unique because it provides a premium design while working at a low wattage, making it ideal for people who have smaller tank systems. Another aspect that makes it stand out is the memory option. It is a useful setting that backs up the device’s temp readings, so in case of a power outage, the temperature resets automatically to the backup temp.
The RT-600 is a very popular reptile thermostat. It’s not simple to provide a multitude of features while maintaining a low price tag. Even so, it’s not perfect. One drawback is that it isn’t compatible with high-power heating devices. The max power it can manage is 600W, which isn’t great.
Even so, Zoo Med’s ReptiTemp thermostat is great for anyone who owns simple heating devices that run on lower power. It can manage the average heating mat or lamp, making it one of the safer thermostats to use.
8. Zacro – Most Accurate
Editor’s Rating: 3.5/5 stars
- ± 0.1° accuracy
- 4-foot short probe
- 1,000W output
- 41-108° temperature range
The Zacro digital thermostat comes with different features. It includes an LCD that stays illuminated even at night, making the readings visible, so you’re comforted knowing your reptile is safe. It can show readings in both temperature scales, and you can choose which one to display.
Typical reptile thermostats have an error margin of around one or two degrees. The Zacro is unique in that regard since it’s one of the most precise thermal devices on the market. This accuracy is remarkable most other several thermostats are more expensive while having larger error margins.
The thermostat is precise, but the temp probe length isn’t something to boast. The average probe length of a reptile thermostat is around six feet, but the Zacro only provides four cable feet. While not a big dealbreaker for most reptile owners, most owners would prefer a more extended probe at half the price.
Still, the Zacro thermostat makes up for its literal shortcoming with its high accuracy. Probes are rarely perfect, even in more extended models, but having 0.1 accuracies is a huge plus. If you own an exotic reptilian animal that needs specific temps for breeding or basking, it’s best to have the most accurate device out there.
What is the ideal temperature for reptiles?
Reptile thermostats should typically range from 70 to 85 degrees. Some tank systems also set specific regions for cooling or basking. Reptiles like to bask in high temps early in the morning to increase their body temperature quickly.
Not all reptiles like basking, but if your reptilian friend prefers to bask, you’ll want to have a separate section. Basking spaces should regulate a temp from 90 to 100 degrees. So, reptile thermostats are needed to control the ideal temperature.
Generally, reptile thermostats have a temperature range of 40°-120°. For most reptile owners, that’s all they require. Even so, if you own an exotic pet that needs higher temps, it’s best to buy a reptile thermostat boasting a more extensive temp range.
An example of this is the Bayite thermostat, which can maintain higher temp sets in more exotic reptile tank systems.
How do reptile thermostats work?
Reptile thermostats work by offering a ‘sliding’ quantity of electric supply to their heat source that allows the heat source’s light collection to either illuminate or dim enough to regulate the temperature.
What is the best reptile thermostat?
The best reptile thermostat is one that can regulate the temperature properly to maintain the ideal temp in your reptile tank. You can check our reviews to help pick the most effective thermostat among the eight options above to determine which one works best for you.
How do a rheostat and a thermostat differ?
A rheostat doesn’t come with a probe to measure temperatures, while thermostats do. The probes are essential since thermostats monitor temp readings without trusting on room temp. Also, in most scenarios, thermostats provide more precise readings.
Can I connect more than one heating source to a thermostat?
Depending on the device you opt for, yes! Specific devices can work with both heating and cooling devices. What establishes this feature is their number of inputs. If a thermostat comes with two or more three-pronged sockets, you can connect multiple heating sources.
Do I need a reptile thermostat?
Technically, you could run a heating source without a reptile thermostat, but it’s best if you didn’t. Reptiles have specific temperature requirements, including basking spaces. So, it’s best to use a thermostat to maintain these particular environments. If you don’t own one, you can use a regular thermometer till you find one.
Looking for a reptile thermostat is not always easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard either. It’s essential to buy a thermostat according to your needs without worrying about other things. If you buy the incorrect reptile thermostat, you can end up with broken heating sources and a sick reptile.
Thankfully, picking the best reptile thermostat is easy when you have the best options to research. So, take your time to consider the requirements of your pet before buying any one product. We chose the BN-Link as our best reptile thermostat because it offers the most versatility, ease of use, probe functionality and accuracy, and affordable price tags.
The Inkbird and Jumpstart thermostats are our second and third runners-up, respectively. The Inkbird offers the most superior design, while the Jumpstart maintains a more simplistic temperature reading approach. If these match your specific needs, they’re great options as well.