Reptiles need light and warmth to stay healthy. We’ve chosen the best lights for bearded dragons and leopard geckos to help you shop for your pet. These hand-picked selections are based on hours of research. We hope they help you find a perfect match for your reptile’s needs.
Lights for beardies
To begin, let’s discuss the best lighting for bearded dragons. These diurnal animals set their internal clocks by the sun. They have a type of third eye on the top of their head that senses bright light. Therefore, they require ultraviolet radiation and brilliant white light.
UVB, or ultraviolet-B radiation, is easy to obtain with T5 fluorescents (or T8s in smaller enclosures). You can mount one about a foot above the area where your dragon basks. But keep in mind that this type of light does not create much heat so you’ll still need a heat lamp as well.
One thing that some new reptile owners don’t realize is that glass and plastic will block the UV rays. When you mount the lamp, keep it exposed but out of reach.
One advantage to T5 fluorescents is that they don’t need to be replaced for a year. Even if they haven’t burned out, by that time they are putting out enough ultraviolet radiation. T8 fluorescents and mercury vapor bulbs have to be replaced every six months.
While we’re on the topic of mercury vapor bulbs, take note that this type of lamp produces a lot of heat. If you use mercury vapor, chances are you won’t need a heat lamp. On the downside, this type of light is focused and only provides ultraviolet radiation over a small area. Some herpetologists recommend combining both types of lamps in an enclosure.
The following section covers the best lights for bearded dragons.
Carolina Custom Cages Reptile 22″ T5HO UVB Single GU10 Basking Light Fixture
Carolina Custom Cages understands what a bearded dragon needs to stay healthy. They simplify your shopping by providing an all-in-one lighting solution for your beardie’s enclosure. It includes a UV light as well as a basking lamp.
The T5HO high-output UV fixture uses halogen bulbs. You’ll want 50 watts for a 20-gallon tank or 75 watts for 3-foot by foot-and-a-half terrariums. Then Mount the fixture under the screen mesh of the lid with the two included screws or the two included zip ties.
Although we selected the 22-inch light, you can also purchase both larger and smaller versions. The company recommends Zoo Med ReptiSun T5 HO fluorescent tubes.
As for the basking lamp, select from one of four sizes between 20 and 75 watts. Place the heat lamp at least 10 inches above where your dragon basks.
Carolina Custom Cages Reptile 22″ T5HO UVB Double GU10 Basking Light Fixture
If you only want the UV light, this is the same fixture as described above but it lacks the basking light assembly.
Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5 HO Lamp, 24 Watts
This T5 HO lamp is the one that is recommended for use with the Carolina Custom Cages fixture. It provides full-spectrum light without creating a lot of extra heat. You can mount it as high as 20 inches from the surface of the terrarium. Plus, it’s powerful enough to penetrate the screen mesh in case you mount it above the lid, not below.
Zoo Med Repti Sun 10.0 UVB
Here is another one of the fluorescent bulbs recommended for bearded dragons. It emits 30% UVA and 10% UVB to protect your reptile’s vision and help him synthesize vitamin D3 for a healthy metabolism. This size of light suits larger terrariums. Since it’s a T8, plan on replacing it every six months.
Zilla UVB Fluorescent Bulb 18-inch
Zilla sells this T8 15W bulb that produces both UVA and UVB radiation. It doesn’t need to be replaced for a year. The visible light it emits makes colors more vivid.
Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb
The mercury vapor bulb solves two problems with one product. Not only does it put out UVA and UVB radiation, but it also provides enough heat for basking. It’s like a little sun all by itself.
This bulb is compatible with ceramic socket domes that are resistant to high heat and high-wattage lights. Let this lamp run for a while and test the temperature before you place your pet inside the enclosure with it.
Sparkzoo UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb
This product simulates natural sunlight, providing UVA UVB necessary for bearded dragon. Since then bearded dragon can be converted into Vitamin D3 which is beneficial for bone and skin development.
This light bulb is designed to resist burns to bearded dragons. It can provide bearded dragon warmth but not overheating.
UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb – 100W, from Aiicioo
Although you shouldn’t use this bulb with a thermostat or dimmer to control it, you can place it on a timer. It’s best not to move it when it’s hot. It takes about five minutes to warm up completely. Then it features a thermal reset that protects it from damage. It requires about 15 minutes to cool before it turns on again.
Fluker\’s Sun Dome Reptile Lamp
Install a mercury vapor bulb in this reptile lamp. The dome has a polished aluminum interior with a white finish that reflects the light down into the enclosure. The shape of the dome prevents light and heat from escaping out into the room. Everything is concentrated downward.
There’s no clamp to secure the lamp. It’s designed to rest upon a stainless steel mesh lid. It comes with an on/off switch and it’s compatible with incandescent bulbs and ceramic heat emitters, too.
Fluker\’s Repta-Clamp Lamp Ceramic with Dimmable Switch
Fluker’s clamp lamp is compatible with ceramic heat emitters and incandescent bulbs. You can also use it with compact fluorescents, but there are two problems with that kind of light. It may not be strong enough to keep your beardie healthy and it won’t work with the dimmer. The dome is made of thick painted aluminum and has a ceramic socket.
Lights for leopard geckos
Now let’s talk about the best lighting for leopard geckos. Even though these adorable reptiles are semi-nocturnal, they still need a light. They tend to be most active very early in the morning and in the evening. A lamp ensures that they stay on schedule, stay happy, and maintain a healthy appetite.
Even though they don’t need as bright a light as a bearded dragon, geckos still benefit from ultraviolet radiation. It helps their eyesight and keeps their metabolism functioning normally.
Zoo Med Repti Sun UVB
The Zoo Med comes in an assortment of sizes to suit different habitats. It’s a T8 bulb that emits the ultraviolet radiation necessary for your leopard gecko. It helps him stay on a schedule and synthesize vitamin D3. You’ll need to place it within 12 inches of the surface of the terrarium in order for the lizard to get maximum benefit from it.
Exo Terra Reptile Vision Compact Fluorescent Lamp, 13-watt
If you have an albino gecko, use a milder light on their sensitive skin. Lizards with less pigmentation are more sensitive to strong light. This compact fluorescent bulb is made especially for reptile eyes. It provides the wavelengths of light that they use to see colors around them. Keep in mind that this doesn’t emit ultraviolet radiation so you’ll need a different lamp for that purpose.
Exo Terra Repti-Glo 5.0 Compact Fluorescent Tropical Terrarium Lamp
The Exo Terra compact fluorescent tropical lamp emits both UVA and UVB light that’s effective up to 12 inches. Like most other bulbs these days this one has its own ballast so all you need is a regular fixture.
Zoo Med Repti Basking Spot Lamp, 75 Watts
Since your leopard gecko may enjoy basking in the morning, try this spot lamp to warm up his favorite rock. It also puts out UVA radiation, not just heat.
Zacro Reptile Heat Lamp 100W with One Digital Thermometer, Infrared Ceramic Heating
Zacro’s infrared heat lamp comes with its own digital thermometer so that you can monitor conditions at a glance. The solid ceramic element doesn’t emit any light so it doesn’t mess with the sleep cycle of your gecko. Instead, it keeps the temperature steady inside the enclosure.
The perfect temperatures for your leopard gecko
Whether you choose to use a heat lamp or and under the tank heater or a spotlight, it’s important to monitor the temperature in your gecko’s enclosure. His basking surface should stay about 90°F. That temperature helps him digest his food by warming up his stomach as he lays on the rock.
Meanwhile, the air at the hot end of the tank shouldn’t go over 85°. But the cool end of the tank can drop down to 70°. Even though leopard geckos are natives of the desert, they don’t do well over 92°F. High temperatures can cause heatstroke.
There are some colored night heat bulbs on the market that will keep the surface of the basking area warm. Unfortunately, geckos can sense the light. It can cause them to sleep poorly or not at all. Try a ceramic heat emitter instead.
We hope that our reviews of the best lights for bearded dragons and leopard geckos helped you today. We know you want the best for your pet. Check out our articles about the best tanks for bearded dragons. And please also have a look at our reviews of the best substrates and bedding for both beardies and leopard geckos.