The Best Heat Lamp for Bearded Dragons

Written by Joan W.
Updated: February 14, 2023
© Steve Buchus/Shutterstock.com

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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall heat lamp for bearded dragons is the Zoo Med Repticare Ceramic Infared Heat Emitter.
  • Bearded dragons require both UVA and UVB light to thrive.
  • When choosing a heat lamp for your bearded dragon it’s important to consider factors such as the size of your terrarium, your home’s ambient temperature, and the distance of the bulb from your bearded dragon.

Bearded dragons are wonderful pets because, generally, they are peaceful and pleasant reptiles that get even calmer as they age. Unlike many reptiles, beardies enjoy interactions with their people.

There are a few crucial differences in the care of a bearded dragon and other reptiles. They are not tree lizards, so vertical space is not important. Ideally, they should have at least a 120-gallon terrarium with 48 inches of horizontal space. 

Native to the Australian outback, beardies in the wild spend their days basking in the sun, so it’s not just heat but UVA and UVB light that bearded dragons need. A heat mat works with many types of lizards but not beardies. 

Your beardie needs a sunny, warmer side of the terrarium and a cooler, more shaded side to cool off when needed. These oddly cute pets can overheat if the heat lamp is too strong or too close to them. So, you want to use between 50 and 150 watts depending on the size of your terrarium, your home’s ambient temperature, and the distance of the bulb from your bearded dragon.

If you have sweltering summers and frigid winters, you may want to reduce the watts of your heat lamp during the summer (unless the air conditioning or central heat is on full blast). If your home never drops below 59 degrees Fahrenheit, your beardie doesn’t need additional warmth at night.

One type of lamp you never want to use with a bearded dragon is a red light. The red light disrupts their sleeping cycle and can damage their eyes. Red lights used at night can cause stress, reduce their appetite, and lower their immune system’s function.

Since your UVA and UVB bulb won’t emit much heat and your beardie only benefits from sunlight for ten to 12 hours a day, you can use a ceramic heater at all hours to keep the terrarium temperature safe and comfortable.

We’ve reviewed a selection of the best heat lamps for bearded dragons and provided a detailed buyer’s guide to help you make the perfect choice for your pet.

  1. Zoo Med Repticare Ceramic Infared Heat Emitter
    • Muscle-penetrating infrared heat
    • Don’t give off any light
    • Last up to five years
    • Works well in high humidity terrariums
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  2. Lucky Herp Ceramic Heat Emitter
    •  Reach the maximum temperature within 4 minutes
    • Virtually no light output
    • Bulb should last about 10,000 hours
    • Made from thick ceramic, very sturdy
    Check Amazon
  3. OMAYKEY 75W 2 Pack Ceramic Heat Lamp Bulb
    • Doesn't emit light
    • Will last between 9,000 and 15,000 hours
    • Very easy to install
    • ETL Listed
    Check Amazon
  4. Fluker's Ceramic Reptile Heat Emitter
    • Can be used for reptiles and amphibians
    • Emit infrared heat with no light
    • Very good value for money
    • Can be used to supplement overhead heating
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

A-Z-Animals Top Picks for Heat Lamps for Bearded Dragons

#1 Best Overall: Zoo Med Repticare Ceramic Infared Heat Emitter

In our review, the overall best heat lamp for bearded dragons is the Zoo Med Repticare Ceramic Infared Heat Emitter for its muscle-penetrating infrared heat and flat-faced design.

Ceramic heat lamps use infrared heat emitters that don’t give off any light, which is perfect for your bearded dragon day and night. 

This reptile heat lamp is built to last up to five years for your bearded dragon’s lounging enjoyment. This is significantly longer than any of the other bulbs we reviewed. It also works well in high humidity terrariums. Plus, you can use it with any porcelain incandescent socket.

This heat emitter is designed to give off muscle-penetrating heat to keep your reptile comfortable. Plus, the flat-faced design makes it highly efficient.

The only drawback to this product is that it does not have a power light to visibly show when it is switched on and working.

Pros and Con of the Zoo Med Repticare Ceramic Infared Heat Emitter

ProsCons
This heat lamp is designed to last for up to five years.There is no power light to show that it is switched on.
It works well in high humidity environments.
It emits muscle-penetrating heat which is perfect for reptiles.
The flat-faced design is highly efficient.
Overall Best
Zoo Med Repticare Ceramic Infared Heat Emitter
  • Muscle-penetrating infrared heat
  • Don’t give off any light
  • Last up to five years
  • Works well in high humidity terrariums
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best for Rapid Heating: Lucky Herp Ceramic Heat Emitter

If you require a lamp that heats up quickly then we recommend the Lucky Herp Ceramic Heat Emitter.

This heat emitter is a sturdy ceramic reptile heat lamp that heats up fast. You can feel the heat beginning to rise within ten seconds of turning it on, and it will reach the maximum rated temperature within four minutes. 

It emits natural heat with virtually no light output, so your bearded dragon can be comfortable during the day and sleep peacefully at night when the UVA/UVB light is off. With continuous use, this bulb should last about 10,000 hours, approximately 14 months. The manufacturer also offers an unconditional refund for broken bulbs.

You’ll get optimal performance from your LUCKY HERP reptile heat lamp when you use a quality ceramic lamp holder and avoid frequently turning it on and off. When you turn it on, let it build to full heat and stay on before turning it off again.

These ceramic bulbs need to be at least 12 inches above your bearded dragon — so that would be at least 12 inches above the highest perch where they may bask and hang out. 

Do not touch this or any ceramic heat lamp with your hands when it’s on or for at least an hour after turning them off because the surface gets so hot it will burn your fingers. That is why it’s also important to keep the lamp an appropriate distance above your beardie.

Pros and Cons of the Lucky Herp Ceramic Heat Emitter

ProsCons
This heat emitter begins to heat up within ten seconds and reaches full heat within four minutes.It needs to be left for one hour after switching off before being handled as it is too hot to touch.
It emits natural heat with virtually no light output so that your reptile’s sleep cycle is not disturbed.
It is designed to last for up to 10,000 hours.
The manufacturer offers an unconditional refund for broken bulbs.
Best for Rapid Heating
Lucky Herp Ceramic Heat Emitter
  •  Reach the maximum temperature within 4 minutes
  • Virtually no light output
  • Bulb should last about 10,000 hours
  • Made from thick ceramic, very sturdy
Check Amazon

3. Most Efficient: OMAYKEY 75W 2 Pack Ceramic Heat Lamp Bulb

The most efficient heat lamp we’ve come across is the OMAYKEY 75W Ceramic Heat Lamp Bulb.

The OMAYKEY ceramic reptile heat lamp is a practical choice for a 24-hour heat source for your bearded dragon. The manufacturer estimates it will last between 9,000 and 15,000 hours or longer, essentially 13 to 23 months. Plus, it uses only 75 watts of power to make it even more energy-efficient.

The infrared heat radiates without emitting light that would disturb your beardie’s sleep cycle. Like other similar bulbs, it does require a standard porcelain E27 screw socket to function effectively and safely.

Unfortunately, a small number of customers have reported that it has occasionally switched off of it’s own accord.

Pros and Cons of the OMAYKEY 75W 2 Pack Ceramic Heat Lamp Bulb

ProsCons
This product is designed to last for between 9,000 and 15,000 hours.Some customers reported that it switched off of it’s own accord.
It is suitable to uses as a 24-hour heat source.
it produces heat without emitting light so as not to disturb the sleeping pattern of the reptile.
It uses only 75 watts of power.
Most Efficient
OMAYKEY 75W 2 Pack Ceramic Heat Lamp Bulb
  • Doesn't emit light
  • Will last between 9,000 and 15,000 hours
  • Very easy to install
  • ETL Listed
Check Amazon

4. Best for Heat Output: Fluker’s Ceramic Reptile Heat Emitter

Our selection as the best heat lamp for heat output is Fluker’s Ceramic Reptile Heat Emitter.

The large circular emitter of Fluker’s ceramic reptile lamp heats an increased basking area for larger terrariums or when you need to mount the heater at a higher distance above your bearded dragon. Plus, it emits heat without light so that it does not interrupt the sleeping pattern of your pet. Also, this heat emitter is 100 watts and is ideal as a 24-hour source of heat.

Unfortunately, some customers reported that this product stopped working after six months.

Pros and Cons of Fluker’s Ceramic Reptile Heat Emitter

ProsCons
The large circular design of this product makes it suitable for heating larger terrariums.Some customers reported that it stopped working after six months.
It emits heat without light so that it does not interrupt the sleeping pattern of your pet.
It is 100 watts.
It is ideal as a 24-hour source of heat.
Best for Heat Output
Fluker's Ceramic Reptile Heat Emitter
  • Can be used for reptiles and amphibians
  • Emit infrared heat with no light
  • Very good value for money
  • Can be used to supplement overhead heating
Check Chewy Check Amazon

What Wattage Should I Use?

Many of the reptile heat lamps we reviewed come in a range of watts from 50 to 150. The question is, how do you know what wattage to use for your bearded dragon?

The best choice will depend on how warm your home usually is, the size of your terrarium, the heat produced by your UVA and UVB lights, and the distance the heat lamp will be from your beardie.

Since beardies need ventilation, it’s likely you have a screen on top of your terrarium, though some people have screens on the sides instead. It’s generally recommended to mount the bulb above the screen outside the terrarium to prevent your beardie from ever making any contact with the very hot surface of the bulb.

If your lamp will be twelve inches above the basking spot, a 65-watt lamp may be more than sufficient. If you have 18 inches of height between the lamp and your beardie’s basking spot, you may need 100 watts. However, these are not hard-and-fast recommendations because the temperature in your home will also impact it.

The best thing to do is track the temperature in your terrarium with a digital reptile thermostat and adjust the number and intensity of the bulbs you use to maintain your beardie’s ideal temperature on the warm side of the terrarium.

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

When selecting the best heat lamp for bearded dragons, there are two factors you will want to consider. Specifically:

  • Durability
  • Does the wattage match my setup?

Durability

Our #1 top-rated reptile heat lamp costs two and a half times more than some of the other options, but it also lasts up to five times longer. So, you want to balance the cost you pay today and how long your lamp will last and keep your beardie warm and comfortable.

Ceramic bulbs emit a lot of heat, so much that you shouldn’t touch one that’s been on until it’s been cooling for at least an hour. They also have to be used with porcelain E27 sockets because they can melt a plastic socket or shatter. For your and your bearded dragon’s safety, you want a ceramic reptile heat lamp that is durable and made to withstand humid, wet conditions and resist cracking.

Does the Wattage Match My Setup?

Bearded dragons can be damaged by too much direct heat. If you have a small terrarium and hot UV lights and live in a hot climate, you can easily overdo your basking heat. Many ceramic heat lamps are available in different watts.

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About the Author

Joan Weisman is an experienced freelance marketing strategist and copywriter who helps small businesses expand their audience and stay top of mind with customers. She loves animals and dotes on her cat and dog.

The Best Heat Lamp for Bearded Dragons FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What sort of light do bearded dragons need?

Bearded dragons require both UVA and UVB light to thrive.

What wattage lamp do I need?

If your lamp will be twelve inches above the basking spot, a 65-watt lamp may be more than sufficient. If you have 18 inches of height between the lamp and your beardie’s basking spot, you may need 100 watts. However, these are not hard-and-fast recommendations because the temperature in your home will also impact it.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.