Getting the best reptile thermostat can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your reptile friend happy, comfortable and healthy. Unlike humans, reptiles are cold-blooded and require areas of varying temperatures to regulate their body temperature.
This is where thermostats and heating devices come in handy. With the help of a heating device such as a ceramic heat lamp, a heat mat, or an incandescent bulb, you can warm parts of the enclosure (the basking spot) while other parts remain cool.
Also overheating or under heating the basking spot can have detrimental consequences a thermostat prevents this from happening. To regulate the temperature levels, you need a quality thermostat.
Best Reptile Thermostat Comparison Table
1. Century Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Controller
Also known as the ‘BN-Link Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Controller’, this thermostat is an on/off switch type thermostat. It has three buttons that are used to determine the temperature levels required.
Once that temperature is reached, the thermostat turns the heat source off until it falls 1-2 Fahrenheits lower, before turning the heat source back on again. This thermostat is obviously designed for heat mats as per the name. But can also be used with any other heating device as far as it doesn’t produce light.
The thermostat has an LED display that displays the temperature either in Fahrenheit or Celsius depending on your preference. The bright led display is highly visible and allows you to see what’s going on whether the room is dark or well-lit.
Other features include a grounded 3-prong plug outlet for the heat mat or heat lamp of your choice. With its 6 feet cord, you to plug the device into an outlet which is far from the reptile’s terrarium. It has a temperature control range of 40 to 108 F and can maintain a constant optimum temperature. It also has a max load of 8.3A 1000 Watts.
Pros of this bestseller are its effective and efficient temperature control, its affordability, its grounded 3-pronged outlet, its convenient hanging tab, its clear LED display, and the wide temperature control range it provides.
On the flip side, it isn’t waterproof and doesn’t have a cooling function (it can’t be used to control cooling devices such as fans).
2. WILLHI Temperature Controller
Another reliable reptile thermostat is the WILLHI Temperature Controller. This simple yet effective thermostat has a wider temperature range (-58 ~ 230 F (-50 ~ 110 C)), a waterproof sensor probe and a standard U.S. outlet. While it can be used with a cooling device as well as with a heating device, we are mainly interested in the heating control aspect of the thermostat.
As required of a modern thermostat, the temperature can be set to display in Fahrenheit or Celsius. The sensor probe which detects the temperature is waterproof.
The probe cable is 9.8 feet long. Additionally, this thermostat has an auto shut timer, which is convenient and adds a layer of safety. With this thermostat, you need to set the minimum temperature and then the maximum temperature.
When the maximum temperature is reached, the thermostat turns off the heating device, and once the temperature falls to the minimum temperature, the thermostat turns on the heating device.
The difference between the low and high temperatures programmed into the thermostat can be as little as 2 degrees Fahrenheit and as large as 229.1 Fahrenheit degrees. This controller has a max load of 1100 Watts at 110 Volts. It also has a temperature accuracy of 0.5, and a temperature resolution of 0.1.
The pros of this temperature controller are its simplicity, its wide temperature range, and the amount of control and features it gives the user.
3. bayite Temperature Controller
With a max load of 1100 Watts at 110 Volts, this thermostat should have no problem with any heating device. As an all-in-one controller, it can regulate one heater and one cooling device such as a fan simultaneously. For the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on how it works with heating devices.
Since the sensor is waterproof, you can use it with an aquarium heater. Similarly, you can set it up in a humid environment such as in a semi-aquatic reptile’s enclosure. This is something you cannot do with the Century Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Controller we reviewed earlier.
The bayite temperature controller also works perfectly well in a dry enclosure. It has a high/low temperature alarm, as well as a compressor delay protection. It has a temperature resolution of 0.1 and an accuracy of ± 0.5.
The pros of this controller include its waterproof sensor, its high/low temperature alarms, its wide temperature range (-58 ~ 230 F (-50 ~ 110 C)), and its minimalist setup.
4. Inkbird Temperature Controller
The Inkbird may be a small controller but it is packed with features. Not only can it regulate heating devices, but it can also regulate cooling devices. Additionally, it has a max load of 1200 Watts and as such can handle any heater. The outlet allows you to regulate both a cooling device and a heating device simultaneously.
Of course, as with all but one thermostats in this article, the temperature display can be switched between Celsius and Fahrenheit. It even has a high/low temperature alarm.
The sensor isn’t waterproof but it can work in enclosures with humidity levels of 85%. The temperature resolution is 0.1. It has a temperature accuracy of ±2 F (±1 °C) and a temperature control range of (-58 ~ 210 F (-50 ~ 99 C).
The pros of this thermostat include its small nature, the high/low temperature alarms, the wide temperature range, and its versatile nature.
5. Zoo Med ReptiTemp RT-600 Digital Thermostat Controller
The last thermostat we will be looking at is from Zoo Med, a brand known for its reliable reptile care products. This temperature controller is no different. Although it is small in size, it works well with all types of heating devices. It has a max load of 600 watts and can handle all reptile heating options. It can also be used to regulate the output of cooling devices such as fans.
This temperature controller has a simple LCD interface that displays the temperatures in Fahrenheit. It also has a high/low temperature alarm as well as a built-in memory that stores settings programmed into it. So even if the controller gets turned off and then back on, you don’t have to reprogram the thermostat all over again.
The pros of the Zoo Med digital thermostat controller includes the built-in memory that stores settings, the high/low temperature alarm, and the easily programmable LCD interface.
Factors to consider when buying a thermostat
There are several factors to look at before getting a thermostat. Considering these factors ensure that you get the right thermostat for your reptile(s) and the enclosure(s).
Maximum Resistive Output
Since the thermostat acts as a middle point between the power source and the heater, it should be able to cope with the power required by the heater. Look for the resistive output or max load(ing) of the thermostat. If the max load is higher than the wattage outputted by the heater then you are in the clear. The temperature controllers reviewed in this article all have high resistive outputs.
Multiple Heating Devices Control
While some thermostats such as the Century Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Controller can only regulate the temperature of a single heating device, some thermostats can regulate two devices simultaneously. This reduces the cost per head since two single device controllers will be more expensive. Also, a multiple device thermostat simplifies the task.
The Required Temperature Range
The temperature needs of the reptile are also important when deciding the thermostat to acquire. The thermostat should be able to control the range needed by the reptile.
Reptiles such as bearded dragons require a basking spot with temperatures of about 100 F, while reptiles such as corn snakes require basking spot with temperatures in the mid-80s. The temperature controllers reviewed all have temperature control ranges adequate for any reptile species you wish to keep.
The Type Of Heating Device Used
The heater type also influences the thermostat type you use. Heat mat thermostats are best used with heat mats. Dimming thermostats are most suitable when used with incandescent bulbs.
You don’t want a thermostat which abruptly turns off the light in the enclosure repeatedly. This can be frustrating for many reptiles. A dimming thermostat will gradually dim the light when it reaches the maximum set temperature. Lastly, pulse thermostats are best for ceramic heaters.
Our top pick is the Century thermostat controller. Not only is this controller easy to use, but it is also very affordable. Setting it up is simple and it’s really effective at controlling the temperature. The LED display is clear and bright. Also, the customer service is great, if you purchase it online. This company readily replace all faulty thermostats on short notice. This is rare as the thermostats are hardly faulty.
However, the best reptile thermostat varies from person to person and depends on the species & the functions you desire. If you wish to control heating and cooling devices with the same thermostat, you may want a thermostat such as the Inkbird temperature controller which allows you to regulate the temperature of both a cooling device and a heating device.