Let me guess, you want to set up a new terrarium and you are just overwhelmed by the mass of products you can buy in the reptile niche? No? Well, maybe you are angry because your basking bulb just burned out after two weeks and you are looking for a better solution?
Anyway, you need help to find the right bearded dragon heat lamp? You get the help you need! This article is not a guide on heating your bearded dragon tank. If you need that, simply have a look at my temperature guide here and come back to this article afterwards to choose a lamp. Or if you are looking for a complete guide on beardie lighting, which means heating and UVB, have a look at my Ultimate Lighting Guide.
This article will simply show you which heat bulbs you need and when you are going to need it. It will also show you which bulbs you should avoid. Come on, there are so many bulbs like ceramic heaters, infrared bulbs, blue bulbs and so on. Who would not be confused?
Need A Fixture?
Before I start showing you heat bulbs that you should get, I want to show you some fixtures that are compatible with all of the bulbs you will see below. You can simply place those fixtures together with the bulb on the screencover of your tank. If you do not have a screencover and you are looking for a way to hang those bulbs above your tank, I recommend to get a lamp stamp. Have a look at the products below.
Reptile Lamp Stand
Get One Of These Basking Lamps
So let´s start with normal basking lamps that you need to create a hot spot for your bearded dragon to get on temperature. Those bulbs should be around 100W or more for bearded dragons. There are a lot of bulbs out there and a lot of them burn out quickly. However there are a couple of good bulbs as well.
A Normal Incandescent Bulb
Believe it or not, you can take one of these without any problems. You just have to make sure that those bulbs get hot (and produces light, obviously). As you know most standard light bulbs today do not get hot anymore, so here is a bulb (click) that you can use for your bearded dragon enclosure.
Heat Bulbs For Reptiles Only
If you are in the reptile world for some time or if you just started to set up your beardie tank, you probably noticed that there are a couple of brands that always appear when it comes to reptile equipment. Those brands are for example ZooMed, Zilla or ExoTerra.
Of course those brands produce basking bulbs for reptiles only. Unfortunately those bulbs get a lot of mixed reviews. Often times people complain that those bulbs burn out quickly. Further those bulbs were more expensive as a normal incandescent bulb. However a lot of vendors offer now bigger packs to affordable prices. For example you can now get six 100 W basking bulbs from ZooMed for around 40 bucks. Have a look at the bulbs below.
Zoo Med Repti Basking Spot
Basking Lamp With UVB
The majority of reptile keepers does not use such bulbs without any real reason. Probably because everybody gets a UVB bulb and a heat bulb separately. However those basking lights with UVB are actually really good. For example the Mercury Vapor Bulb (click) is one of the best bulbs you can actually buy in this market and it is really cheap as well.
So they produce great day light, they produce UVB rays and they don´t burn out quickly. In my book that´s a clear win.
Mercury Vapor Bulb
Looking For A Bulb To Reach The Right Temperature At Night?
I often get the question: “How do I maintain the right temperature at night, the temperature in my terrarium always drops below 70 °F. What should I do?”
The easy answer to this question is, you should get a ceramic heat emitter. I know you most probably thought of getting a heat mat or of getting an infrared bulb or something like that. However the easiest solution is to get a ceramic bulb with low wattage (you don´t want to bake your reptile) and no infrared light.
Further those bulbs mostly are excellent in quality. Wherever you go and look for those bulbs they always have the highest rating. For example the Aiicioo Reptile Heat Lamp (click) is one of the best ceramic emitters you can get reach the recommended temperature at night of around 70 °F.
Aiicioo Reptile Ceramic Heat Emitter
Why I Don´t Recommend Infrared Bulbs
Unfortunately those bulbs are still pretty common in reptile tanks. This is the result of misinformation. A lot of times people buy their equipment in pet shops and get information from a seller that has no clue at all how a beardie habitat should look. That´s why they recommend to get an infrared bulb to get the tank warm even during the day.
Bearded dragons need a lot of light. It can never be bright enough. Remember, they come from Australia and are used to being exposed to the sun the whole day as long as they do not crawl away into a hole in the ground. Bearded dragon associate light with heat. If you use an infrared bulb for heating during the day, this can irritate your bearded dragon´s basking behavior.
The second reason why I do not recommend infrared bulbs is, because infrared penetrates the skin. It was found out that it can even burn a bearded dragon´s tissue. The problem is that you have to have at least a distance of 20 inches from bulb to animal. In many beardie tanks the dragon can get closer to the bulb by climbing on something in the terrarium or due to a low height of the tank, which will make things even worse.
So why not just use a normal basking bulb and avoid all that stuff?
Again if you need some help with heating your beardie habitat, have a look at my heating guide. It will definitely help you to get to know what the right temperatures are and how you can achieve them
If you have any questions, simply leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.