Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

8 Best Heat Lamps & Basking Lights for Turtles in 2023: Reviews & Top Picks

Codee Chessher

By Codee Chessher

red-eared turtle in a home terrarium sitting under a heat lamp

Turtle parents know how essential heat lamps and basking lights are to not only keep your turtle comfortable but healthy too. Turtle heat lamps do more than just radiate heat, they supply your turtle with UVB rays to help them produce vitamin D, promote bone health, regulate their circadian rhythm, and more. On average, turtles need 10–12 hours of light every day to stay in good health, whether it’s from the sun or a heat lamp.

If you’re looking for the best of the best in this wheelhouse for your shelled buddy, we have you covered. Join us as we review the best turtle heat lamps and basking lights you can order today, as well as info to help you make a more informed buying decision.

A Glance at Our Winners in 2023

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Buddypuppy Reptile Heat Lamp Buddypuppy Reptile Heat Lamp
  • Bulbs included
  • Flexible and lets you adjust the lamp to the perfect angle
  • Adjustable timer and temperature controls
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Fluker’s Ceramic Repta-Clamp Lamp Fluker’s Ceramic Repta-Clamp Lamp
  • Affordable
  • Quality aluminum construction
  • Wide bulb compatibility
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Zoo Med Desert UVB & Lighting Kit Zoo Med Desert UVB & Lighting Kit
  • 50W heat and 50W UVB bulbs
  • Deep housing amplifies light production
  • Compatible with E26 bulbs
  • Petboda Reptile Heat Lamp Petboda Reptile Heat Lamp
  • Dual gooseneck design for large tanks or separate smaller habitats
  • 4 included bulbs
  • Secure foam pads don’t scratch
  • Simple Deluxe Clamp Lamp Light With Aluminum Reflector Simple Deluxe Clamp Lamp Light With Aluminum Reflector
  • Works for reptile lighting or all-purpose lighting
  • Huge aluminum reflector amplifies light and heat for any sized tank
  • Compatible with any E26 bulbs up to 150W
  • The 8 Best Heat Lamps & Basking Lights for Turtles

    1. Buddypuppy Reptile Heat Lamp – Best Overall

    Buddypuppy Reptile Heat Lamp

    Wattage: 25W/50W
    Bulb Type: Halogen
    UVA/UVB Output: Both

    Our top pick for the best turtle basking light is the Buddypuppy Reptile Heat Lamp, which comes with everything you need to make your turtle’s habitat comfortable. There are 25W and 50W halogen bulbs included, and the socket fits nearly any bulbs out there. The lamp’s head is on a long, flexible stainless-steel tube that bends 360 degrees to fit nearly anywhere, and the durable clip holds the lamp in place all day.

    To make scheduling easier for you, the power cord comes with a programmable remote. Simply set your desired heat and brightness levels, then schedule how long you want the lamp to stay on at a time—it’ll automatically cut off at the end of the cycle and turn back on at the same time the next day.

    There’s not much to gripe about here, but several reviewers note the flexible tube starts to droop or sag over time, which may merit replacement later on.

    Pros
    • Bulbs included
    • Flexible and lets you adjust the lamp to the perfect angle
    • Adjustable timer and temperature controls
    • Durable clip
    Cons
    • Flexible body may droop over time

    2. Fluker’s Ceramic Repta-Clamp Lamp – Best Value

    Fluker’s Ceramic Repta-Clamp Lamp

    Wattage: 75W
    Bulb Type: E26 (not included)
    UVA/UVB Output: Both

    The best basking light for the money is definitely Fluker’s Ceramic Repta-Clamp Lamp, which gets straight to the point with quality aluminum construction and a secure fit clip to adjust for any terrarium. It can be fitted with ceramic heat emitters for cold nights, incandescent, fluorescent, or LED bulbs, UVB bulbs to supplement other bulbs, or anything up to 75W. It doesn’t have any fancy features like a timer, but it’s sturdy and long-lasting when you consider the low price point.

    Sadly, you lose the extra features offered by some competitors like a flexible lamp head, reflectors, and timer control. For a basic heat lamp that gets the job done, though, you can’t beat it.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Quality aluminum construction
    • Wide bulb compatibility
    • Secure clip
    Cons
    • No timer control
    • Limited adjustment

    3. Zoo Med Desert UVB & Lighting Kit – Premium Choice

    Zoo Med Desert UVB & Lighting Kit

    Wattage: 200W (2x 100W bulbs)
    Bulb Type: Halogen
    UVA/UVB Output: Both

    The Zoo Med UVB & Lighting Kit is a great all-in-one light solution to supply all the UVB and heat your turtle could need, and it works great for all types of reptiles with high lighting needs. There’s a deep, reflective aluminum lamp housing where you have both a UVB bulb and a halogen heat bulb within ceramic sockets. Together they can put out a max of 200W of power, so any bulbs 100W or under work great.

    The deep, reflective housing helps produce more heat for your turtle, and you can always swap out the bulbs for more or less heat at will. We also like that the dome housing allows you to place the lamp flush without the bulbs dangling out or becoming obstructed.

    Despite those great benefits, several reviews stated their kit arrived with a broken or nonfunctional UVB bulb, so buyers beware!

    Pros
    • 50W heat and 50W UVB bulbs
    • Deep housing amplifies light production
    • Compatible with E26 bulbs
    Cons
    • Numerous reviews say the UVB bulb arrived broken or defective

    4. Petboda Reptile Heat Lamp

    Petboda Reptile Heat Lamp

    Wattage: 100W (2x 25W bulbs & 2x 50W bulbs)
    Bulb Type: Halogen
    UVA/UVB Output: Both

    This offering from Petboda has a familiar design: long, flexible yet strong metal gooseneck with clip. However, you have not one but two separate lamps to cover even the largest terrariums or to heat two different habitats side-by-side. For added security, the clip has foam pads to prevent scratching or damaging habitats. There are two sockets, which you can fit with any mix of the included 25W and 50W bulbs to fit your turtle’s ideal heat and UVB levels.

    You have even more control with either continuous mode or one of three timed modes at 2-, 4-, and 6-hour intervals. Set the timer and forget it or run it 24/7 if you want. However, it’s more of an egg or kitchen timer that automatically cuts off, so you’ll have to reset it from time to time. Just know that running this lamp constantly, like any other, will drastically lower the bulbs’ lifespans.

    Pros
    • Dual gooseneck design for large tanks or separate smaller habitats
    • 4 included bulbs
    • Secure foam pads don’t scratch
    • Programmable timer with 4 time settings
    Cons
    • Timer needs to be reset
    • Using it 24/7 will shorten your bulbs’ lifespans

    5. Simple Deluxe Clamp Lamp Light With Aluminum Reflector

    Simple Deluxe Clamp Lamp Light With Aluminum Reflector

    Wattage: 150W
    Bulb Type: E26 (not included)
    UVA/UVB Output: Both

    Simple Deluxe made a really nice, versatile lamp that you can repurpose as a desk light, anchor as a workshop light, use it as a grow light for indoor plants, or just clamp to your turtle’s tank with the robust steel clip. The adjustable head is on a pivoting ball joint for 360-degree angling at will, and it works with any E26 bulb up to 150W—LED, halogen, incandescent, LED, and most fluorescent bulbs work great.

    The star of the show is the large Hollywood-style conical aluminum reflector that amplifies light production by up to 30% for no extra power drain, keeping even jumbo-sized terrariums comfortable at all times.

    While it offers a lot of power, we can’t help but point out the lack of control. You only have an on/off switch and no timer of any kind, so you’ll have to use another way to track your turtle’s lighting schedule. There are also no bulbs included, so you’ll need some of your own.

    Pros
    • Works for reptile lighting or all-purpose lighting
    • Huge aluminum reflector amplifies light and heat for any sized tank
    • Compatible with any E26 bulbs up to 150W
    Cons
    • On/off switch without timer
    • No bulbs included

    6. Catcan 50W Reptile Heat Lamp

    Catcan 50W Reptile Heat Lamp

    Wattage: 50w
    Bulb Type: Fluorescent
    UVA/UVB Output: Both

    The Catcan 50W Reptile Heat Lamp gets the job done with no frills for cheaper than the average heat lamp. You have the standard yet versatile flexible tube body, which rotates a full 360 degrees and can be securely fastened with the easy-to-use clip anywhere you please.

    It comes with one 50W fluorescent bulb, but the ceramic socket is compatible with nearly any E27 bulb on the market. To adjust the heat level and brightness, simply use the rotary dial to choose the right level for your turtle’s needs.

    Sadly, more than a few user reviews state this lamp stopped working after extended periods of regular use. We’d recommend this product if you need to save a few bucks for now, but it may not be a long-term solution.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Easy to use
    • Compatible with any E27 bulb
    • Rotary dial makes temperature control easy
    Cons
    • Questionable longevity

    7. Dxophiex Deep Dome Reptile Heat Lamp

    Dxophiex Deep Dome Reptile Heat Lamp

    Wattage: 100W
    Bulb Type: E26 (not included)
    UVA/UVB Output: Both

    Though nobody knows how to pronounce Dxophiex, their Deep Dome Reptile Heat Lamp is made of quality stuff. Sturdy aluminum, to be exact. Thick, reflective aluminum disperses heat well, especially aided by the deep well design and ventilation holes on the side of the lampshade. But wait, there’s more! A heat warning sticker on the side turns red if the lamp’s getting too hot.

    As for the downsides, several user reviews say the lamp blew out their higher-wattage bulbs. Be careful using your powerful bulbs in this lamp! The other biggie that could be a dealbreaker is that it only has a simple on/off switch with no type of granular temperature or heat control at all.

    Pros
    • High-quality aluminum construction
    • Several anti-heat safety features included
    • Reflects & amplifies both heat and light
    Cons
    • Reputation for blowing bulbs
    • Only has an on/off switch with no dial or control

    8. Small Gooseneck Reptile Light

    Small Gooseneck Reptile Light

    Wattage: 75W
    Bulb Type: E27 (not included)
    UVA/UVB Output: Both

    This small but serviceable heat lamp has a familiar gooseneck design and a lampshade compatible with any E27 bulb up to 75W, and it has dimming control for precise light control to boot. It’s ceramic and designed to not crack under extreme heat, but just to be safe it has ventilation holes on the back too. The gooseneck body is an impressive 15 inches, which helps for lighting any and all tanks.

    Tragically, there are a couple of key flaws. First, the dimmable control doesn’t work for bulbs over 75W and may not work for certain bulbs. The other flaw is that lots of online reviews say the gooseneck body droops badly over time.

    Pros
    • Long gooseneck design for easily adjustable lighting
    • Dimmable light & heat control
    • Ceramic body and ventilation prevent heat buildup and cracking
    Cons
    • Neck droops over time
    • Dimming only works for certain types of bulbs up to 75W

    Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Turtle Heat Lamps & Basking Lights

    Turtles, like all reptiles, need to be kept at a comfortable temperature by external means to stay comfortable and for their bodies to stay healthy. What you need to do indoors is simulate the sun’s rays, including UVA and UVB rays from special bulbs. When searching for the right heat lamp for your turtle, there are a few major things to consider: bulb type, UVB vs heat lamps, and wattage. Check ‘em out below.

    Bulb Type

    There are myriad types of heat lamp bulbs to choose from, each with their own pros and cons. For a brief walkthrough, we’ve bulleted some below for quick reference.

    Turtle Heat Lamp Bulb Types:
    • Incandescent: these bulbs are cheap and produce lots of heat, but don’t last very long.
    • Halogen: halogen bulbs are just as hot and bright as incandescent bulbs but cost more.
    • Ceramic heat emitters: ideal for night heating, these produce heat without light and last a long time compared to traditional bulbs.
    • Fluorescent: the most popular type, fluorescent bulbs last a long time and produce both UVA and UVB rays, but not as much heat as other bulbs.

    UVB and Heat

    The two important components in sunlight for your turtle are UVB and heat. Heat helps keep your turtle’s body at their ideal temperature of roughly 95 degrees, while UVB rays are a type of radiation. No, not the bad kind—UVB rays are essential for supplying vitamin D, regulating their metabolism, sleeping patterns, and even affecting bone health.

    You can look for things like dimmable controls and dial mechanisms that allow you to precisely control your tank’s temperature at will and reconsider the angle you’re using your lamp at. Too close can be uncomfortably hot for your turtle, while too far can make them sluggish and cold.

    Yellow-bellied sliders gather on heat lamp
    Image Credit: Isabel Eve, Shutterstock

    Wattage

    Wattage in this case roughly refers to power consumption by your bulb, and running high-wattage bulbs 24/7 can rack up high power bills. A small terrarium can get by with a single 50W bulb to stay within your turtle’s preferred temperature range, while very large or multiple tanks may require multiple lamps or dual-headed heat lamps.

    We suggest starting with a lower wattage to start and taking the temperature inside your turtle’s habitat periodically. A temperature that sticks on the side is a valuable investment here. If it’s too cold, you can try a 75W bulb. Unless your tank is fairly big, though, we doubt you’ll need 100W for anything but jumbo-sized terrariums.

    Conclusion

    Your turtle deserves to stay warm and cozy in his terrarium, and it’s hard to do that without the right heat lamp in your hands. When in doubt and you just want the best, we recommend the Buddypuppy Reptile Heat Lamp. If you just need something cheap that works, you can’t go wrong with Fluker’s Ceramic Repta-Clamp Lamp. Regardless, all of these reviews should provide you with some excellent options to choose from and offer your turtle a basking light they love.

    You Might Also Be Interested In:


    Featured Image Credit: Liubov Sydorenko, Shutterstock

    Related Articles

    Further Reading

    Vet Articles

    Latest Vet Answers

    The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database