Bearded Dragons all hail from Australia, although they can be found in a variety of different habitats ranging from woodlands and scrublands to deserts and savannas. They are used to higher levels of UV light than they would generally receive in an indoor closed tank. As such, pet Bearded Dragons need UV lighting in their enclosure.
Specifically, they need UVB because it enables them to synthesize vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is used by their bodies to properly absorb calcium and a calcium deficiency, which is common in pet Bearded Dragons with poor living conditions, can lead to metabolic bone disease and other bone-related issues.
Whether your vivarium comes with a light fitting and you are looking for a replacement UVB bulb, or you need the whole fitting to attach to your tank, we have provided reviews of the best UVB lights for Bearded Dragons below, as well as a guide to Beardies and their UV and other general care requirements, below.
A Quick Glance at Our Top Picks of 2023
|Best Overall||Zoo Med Desert UVB & Heat Reptile Lighting Kit||
|Best Value||Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent Mini Reptile Lamp||
|Premium Choice||Repti Zoo T8 UVB Lighting Terrarium Hood & Lamp Kit||
|Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5 HO Reptile Terrarium Lamp||
|Reptile Systems Compact UVB Pro Desert Reptile Basking Lamp||
The 10 Best UVB Lights for Bearded Dragons
1. Zoo Med Desert UVB & Heat Reptile Lighting Kit – Best Overall
|Max Wattage:||100 Watts|
|Dimensions:||11 x 7.25 x 5.75 Inches|
Whether you have made your own enclosure or have bought one that doesn’t have the suitable lamp and light fittings, you will need a fitting to attach any UVB lights. The Zoo Med Desert UVB & Heat Reptile Lighting Kit has a fixture for your UVB lamp and another for a heat lamp. Combining the two into a single hood saves space as well as money.
Both sockets can handle a maximum of 100 Watts of power, which is more than enough for a Bearded Dragon enclosure. The fitting has a double reflector design which directs more of the light and heat into the tank which, combined with the high wattage rating, means you should only need a single fitting to meet all of your Beardie’s needs. The fitting is a very reasonable price, and its double design means it makes the most efficient use of space. But if you are only looking for a UVB fitting, the extra heat lamp is unnecessary, and the fitting does tend to burn through bulbs quicker than most.
However, the convenience and cost of the Zoo Med Desert UVB & Heat Reptile Lighting Kit make it the best available UVB light for Bearded Dragons if you do need the additional heat lamp fitting. The fitting doesn’t have a timer, but the heater and light have separate wiring, which means that you can add separate timers to each, giving you complete control of the habitat conditions.
2. Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 UVB Lamp – Best Value
|Max Wattage:||13 Watts|
If you already have a UV light fitting, but need a replacement bulb, it can be a challenge to find a suitable bulb with the right fitting that doesn’t take up too much space. The Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent Mini Reptile Lamp is a UV bulb designed to fit any standard fitting. It can be installed horizontally or vertically, which means it should be suitable for most setups, although you do still need to check that you have a standard bulb fitting in your hood. The bulb is reasonably priced and makes our choice as the best UVB light for Bearded Dragons if you have limited hood space and an existing light fitting.
Its compact size means it doesn’t take up valuable tank hood space, and because it can be orientated in either direction, you can use this to ensure that the light is spread evenly across the tank. Generally, it is advised that you get a strip light for Bearded Dragons, because this better disperses the light rather than firing it down on a single location, however, so you will need to ensure that your setup works to effectively disperse the light.
3. Repti Zoo T8 UVB Lighting Terrarium Hood & Lamp Kit – Premium Choice
|Max Wattage:||15 Watts|
|Dimensions:||19 x 4.5 x 2.7 Inches|
The ReptiZoo T8 UVB Lighting Terrarium Hood & Lamp Kit is a kit that includes the hood and fitting. The hood is curved and reflective, which helps direct the light around more of the enclosure while its low-profile design means that the hood won’t sit too far into the terrarium itself.
The kit is expensive, and it doesn’t include a bulb, so you will need to buy one separately, but it is a solid addition to a Bearded Dragon vivarium that will make it easy to meet your lizard’s UV requirements.
Although it does have an on/off switch, there’s no automatic timer, so you will need a plug timer or remember to switch the light on and off every morning and night.
4. Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5 HO Reptile Terrarium Lamp
|Max Wattage:||24 Watts|
|Dimensions:||1 x 2.125 x 23.625 Inches|
Zoo Med’s ReptiSun range of lamps and fittings is very popular, with the T5 HO Reptile Hood being one of the most popular. This Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 UVB T5 HO Reptile Terrarium Lamp is a high-output bulb designed to fit the popular model. It produces more light than a lot of other bulbs which, when combined with its 24-inch fitting, makes it especially suitable for large habitats. It will provide ample UVB along the full length of most terrariums.
It is expensive for just a bulb, however, and you do need the hood already because the hood isn’t included in the price, but its high light output and reasonable length of life, up to around 8 or 9 months, make this a good purchase for those with the ReptiSun hood.
5. Reptile Systems Compact UVB Pro Desert Reptile Basking Lamp
|Max Wattage:||23 Watts|
|Dimensions:||6 x 2 x 2 Inches|
Smaller enclosures have limited space, which can be especially difficult when situating everything in the hood or lid of the terrarium. You need a basking lamp, as well as a UVB light, and if the terrarium hood also has a screen to aid with ventilation, the screen can make some of the hood space unusable.
The Reptile Systems Compact UVB Pro Desert Reptile Basking Lamp is a compact bulb that fits in a standard lamp fitting. It takes up less room than bulkier bulbs, and it is designed to be placed horizontally. It can also be placed above a screen and will still bathe the tank with UVB light, making it suitable for your Bearded Dragon terrarium. It is an expensive bulb, doesn’t include a fitting, and isn’t really meant for vertical hanging, so it won’t be suitable for all situations, however.
6. Arcadia ProT5 UVB Kit
|Max Wattage:||24 Watts|
The Arcadia ProT5 UVB Kit is expensive compared to some of the other models, but Arcadia is well known for producing high-quality lighting kits. The ProT5 comes in a range of sizes, with the 24-Watt model being 22 inches long and being ideal for a 2-foot-long vivarium. The desert model includes a 24-Watt bulb that is considered suitable for Bearded Dragons, and the hood is designed to reflect and spread light fully around the vivarium, so your Beardie gets the full benefit of the UVB light emitted.
The kit includes the hood, bulb, power cord, and a link cable. Overall, the hood and fitting are compact, so they won’t take up all the room on your lid and it can be fitted above or below the screen of your vivarium lid.
7. Aiicioo T5 UVB Lighting Combo Kit
|Max Wattage:||24 Watts|
|Dimensions:||23 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches|
The Aiicioo T5 UVB Lighting Combo Kit is a long strip light fitting, which includes the hood and the bulb. It produces 24 watts, and the 22-inch-long bulb can be used to bathe a long terrarium in UVB light. The kit also includes the screws required to hang the hood, and it can be placed above a lid mesh, so it should be suitable for use with most terrariums that meet the dimension requirements. The hood itself is curved and uses aluminum to help dissipate heat and light, further ensuring good coverage of the whole tank.
The kit is very reasonably priced and has a decent output, but the bulb does burn out quite quickly and will need to be replaced, ideally with a longer-lasting bulb that fits the kit, quite soon.
8. Zilla Reptile T8 Strip Desert Pet Habitat Light Fixture
|Max Wattage:||15 Watts|
|Dimensions:||3 x 23.8 x 5.4 Inches|
The Zilla Reptile T8 Strip Desert Pet Habitat Light Fixture is a strip light hood that can be fitted on top of your Bearded Dragon’s terrarium. It is an inexpensive kit that includes the hood and bulb, but while it is marketed as a 24-inch fitting, the bulb itself is only 18 inches, so if you are looking for a longer bulb, you will need to buy a bigger model. It does have a power switch, is designed to sit easily above a mesh without the need to screw or install the hood, and is lightweight and sleek so isn’t too cumbersome for the terrarium.
9. Giangarden T5 UVB Lighting Combo Kit
|Max Wattage:||8 Watts|
|Dimensions:||28 x 2.28 x 1.65 Inches|
The Giangarden T5 UVB Lighting Combo Kit is a lighting hood kit. The kit includes the hood and power cord, as well as clips that enable you to clip two or more of the hoods together to create a substantial lighting rig. It can sit above or be attached below a lid mesh. The hood is reasonably priced, and it can work with a variety of different terrarium designs and setups.
However, replacement bulbs are difficult to find and the whole thing is quite short, which means it will be a struggle to fully light a larger tank. This means buying two of the hoods, to connect them, at which point it becomes quite expensive and it may be more practical to buy a different model.
10. Reptile Heat Lamp UVA UVB Reptile Light
|Max Wattage:||50 Watts|
The Reptile Heat Lamp UVA UVB Reptile Light is a uniquely designed double-headed lamp that the manufacturer claims provides UVA and UVB light, or can be used as a heat lamp. It clips to a surface, similarly to a desk lamp or reading lamp, and directs light to a specific area. The lamp is cheap considering you get the bulbs and the lamp. It also has settings so you can adjust the brightness and heat of the lamp, and a timer so that you can set it to turn on for 12 hours and off again, automatically.
However, the design is difficult to place in a closed vivarium, and the lamp does not produce much UVB. It may prove useful as an additional light in a vivarium or to give your Beardie some light while it is adventuring out of its vivarium but is unlikely to give the required amount of UVB in a vivarium setup.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best UVB Light for Bearded Dragons
Bearded Dragons can make great pets and are considered one of the best starter reptile or lizard pets. However, they do have specific and somewhat demanding environmental requirements. You need to keep the vivarium at the right temperature and humidity levels, which typically requires a combination of lights, heat lamps, and ventilation. You will also need to offer a UVB light to emulate the sun that your Beardie would get if it was living outdoors in the wild.
Why UVB Light Matters
UVB is one part of the UV spectrum emitted by the sun’s rays. UVB can cause cancers and melanomas in people, even though it doesn’t penetrate the skin as far as UVA. Although it only makes up a small portion of the rays it is high energy, and it is extremely important to Bearded Dragons. In particular, it enables the Bearded Dragon to synthesize vitamin D3. However, too much UVA can also be dangerous to Bearded Dragons, so you need to ensure that your lizard is getting the right amount.
The Role of Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin. Its primary role is to aid the body in the absorption of calcium. If your Bearded Dragon isn’t getting enough D3, it will almost certainly be deficient in calcium, and calcium deficiency can lead to brittle bones and metabolic bone disease. You can give a vitamin D3 supplement as part of your Beardie’s diet, but it is best to provide as much of this essential vitamin via UVB rays as possible.
How Much UVB Does a Bearded Dragon Need?
Generally, a Bearded Dragon needs between 10 and 12 hours of UV exposure a day. Typically, a Beardie needs around 7% UVB exposure, although this does depend on several factors. Generally, though, if you get a UVB light that is designed for the size of the vivarium you have and takes into account the placement of the light, you should provide a suitable amount of UVB by leaving the light on for a 10 or 12-hour cycle.
Ideally, you should use an automatic timer to ensure an appropriate light cycle. This means you don’t have to remember to turn the light on and off every day.
Where to Place the UVB Light
There are several factors to consider when placing a light. It is generally accepted that the best approach is to place a slightly stronger UVB light further away from your Dragon. This makes it easier to bathe the vivarium in UVB, rather than having it all glaring down in one spot, so your Beardie will be getting the right levels of exposure over more of the cage. It also means that your Bearded Dragon won’t be hit by the strong glare of the light, which can cause eye damage and may deter your lizard from seeking out the UVB it needs.
Linear tubes are considered the better option, rather than vertical bulbs, because they spread the UVB across more of the tank and prevent UVB hot spots.
A UVB light should run along three-quarters of the length of the vivarium. This creates a gradient of UVB so your Beardie can get respite at the edges of the cage, as well as in any hides or shaded areas, but a large portion of the tank will be getting the required exposure. At the very least, the bulb should be as long as the full body length of your Bearded Dragon.
The light should be placed slightly towards the basking end of the tank. This would closely replicate natural conditions because UVB levels would be higher in areas that get more heat and UV rays from the sun. If you are struggling to emulate the ideal lighting conditions and light placement in your vivarium, you may need to consider a different vivarium setup to ensure your Beardie is getting all the light and heat it needs.
Bearded Dragons need ideal temperature, humidity, and lighting conditions to ensure they don’t get ill and that they are comfortable and healthy. This includes providing UV light, consisting of UVA and UVB. This is usually achieved through the use of a UVB light because most indoor Bearded Dragons do not get any natural exposure to UV. Above we have included reviews of 10 of the best UVB lights for Bearded Dragons including full kits that include the hood and bulb, as well as replacement bulbs for some of the most common fittings and vivarium hoods.
The Zoo Med Desert UVB & Heat Reptile Lighting Kit is reasonably priced for a full UVB light kit and does a good job of dispersing light around the vivarium. The Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 UVB Compact Fluorescent Mini Reptile Lamp is a decent quality bulb that is inexpensive and can be oriented horizontally or vertically according to your setup although it doesn’t come with a hood or fitting so you will need to have one already.