Top 5 Best Reptile Thermostats Reviewed (2021 Buyer’s Guide)


Reptiles cannot maintain their body temperature. They need to thermoregulate. Meaning they rely on external conditions to regulate the temperature of their bodies.

That’s why heaters are one of the most important pieces of equipment when keeping reptiles.

But thermostats are just as important as it’s no good using a reptile heater if you can’t monitor or control the temperature!

The heat needs to be stable and consistent in reptile enclosures, so you’ll need an accurate and quality thermostat. 

I’ve tested my fair share of thermostats for reptiles over the years, including some poorly-made ones that failed without my realizing it until it was too late. 

That’s why I’ve compiled a list of some of the best reptile thermostats to prevent this sort of situation happening to you. 

Best Value

BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat

The best thermostat controller if you’re on a budget. It’s an affordable but reliable product, their responsive customer service is a plus.

BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat

If you’re after a good-quality but affordable thermostat for your reptile, the BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat fits the bill. It features a simple setup and has a bright LED screen that is easy to read.

Editor’s Choice

Hagen Exo Terra Day/Night Thermostat

An accurate day/night thermostat that comes with advanced features to help prevent overheating and undercooling.

Hagen Exo Terra Day/Night Thermostat

The Hagen Exo Terra Day/Night Thermostat is one of my personal favorite thermostats due to its accuracy. Better yet, it comes with many advanced features like a day/night function that prevents overheating and undercooling.

Top 5 Best Reptile Thermostats

Top Pick

Inkbird ITC308 Digital Temp Controller

A digital controller that comes with great features such as easy calibration, temp alarm, and dual display window. It’s also easy to set up.

Inkbird ITC308 Digital Temp Controller

The Inkbird ITC308 Freezer Thermostat is my top pick due to its convenient features and easy setup. All you need to do to get the device up and running is plug it in, set the temperature ranges, place the probe, and plug in the heater into the marked outlet.

That’s all there is to it.

Calibration

The unit is a breeze to calibrate, ensuring it maintains accuracy after prolonged use.

It has a dual display window that can read both the measured temperature and set temperature at the same time. This is handy for making sure the device is working correctly.

Alarm

There are high and low temperature alarms too, which is useful as you’ll be alerted if the temperature of your reptile enclosure drops or rises. The power cord length (inout) measures 5 feet, which is a decent size and useful if you don’t have a power output near to your vivarium.

Sensor

From time to time, the sensor on this thermostat can provide an incorrect reading. Using a thermometer with this device is a good way to combat this small issue.

Additionally, the screen on the controller can fail prematurely on some models. 

Specs

  • Dimensions: 7.72” x 4.7” x 3.62”
  • Weight: 14.4 oz
  • Brand: Inkbird
  • Temperature Control Range: 50-160°F
  • Power: 1100 Watts

Pros

  • Setting up is easy
  • Dual display window
  • Simple to calibrate
  • Features low temperature and high temperature alarm timer

Cons

  • Sensor can sometimes give off a false reading
  • LCD display can occasionally fail prematurely

Best Value

BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat

The best thermostat controller if you’re on a budget. It’s an affordable but reliable product, their responsive customer service is a plus.

BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat

The BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat is a great choice if you’re on a budget. It has LED heating and power indicator lights so you can view the controller in low-light conditions.

I really like this feature as you’ll be able to check the temperature of your vivarium with ease during the evenings. 

Setup

This digital thermostat is straightforward to set up – simply place the temperature probe, plug in the controller, and choose your desired temperature. The interface has three large buttons for simplicity too.

The cord for the temperature probe and grounded 3-prong plug are 6 feet in length, which is handy if your power outlet isn’t close to the location of your vivarium. I also like that the controller has a highly visible display and hanging tab.

Durability

The plastic casing of the display looks and feels sturdy, which is another great feature, especially considering the thermostat’s affordability.

However, this digital thermostat can sometimes be a little unreliable as the temperature it reads can be a couple of degrees off. As long as you use a thermometer with the unit, I don’t think this is a huge concern.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 4.5” x 3.5” x 1.6”
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs
  • Brand: BN-LINK
  • Temperature Control Range: 40-108°F
  • Power: 1000 Watts

Pros

  • Heating and power indicator lights that can be read in low visibilities
  • Setting up is easy
  • Long power cord
  • Simple but sturdy design

Cons

  • Temperature reading can sometimes be a little off

Editor’s Choice

Hagen Exo Terra Electronic Day/Night Thermostat

An accurate day/night thermostat that comes with advanced features to help prevent overheating and undercooling.

Hagen Exo Terra Electronic Day/Night Thermostat

One of my personal favorite reptile thermostats is the Hagen Exo Terra Day/Night Thermostat due to its accuracy and wide range of features

While it’s a little pricer than some of the other digital thermostats I’ve looked at, its reliability and strong craftsmanship make it a worthwhile investment.

Features

The Exo Terra Dimming & Pulse Proportional Thermostat has a Day/Evening function so you can create the perfect temperature for your reptile that’s similar to their natural habitat.

It prevents overheating and undercooling on a hot day or cold evening, ensuring your reptile is well within their comfort levels. The daytime and nighttime temperatures can be controlled separately to prepare for any potential temperature fluctuations.

I like that the dimming and proportional pulse function accurately maintains the temperature of the desired setpoint. This almost entirely removes the possibility of temperature swings in your reptile enclosure. 

Display

It has a blue LCD display that shows both the measured and set temperature. The display is also automatically brighter in the day mode and dimmer in the night mode, which is a nice attention to detail.

The LCD turns to red and displays a heating symbol when the heating device is turned on. When the set temperature is met, the LCD turns back to blue. This is useful for keeping an eye on the temperature of your reptile enclosure and alerting you to any issues.

Dial System

Another aspect of the Hagen Exo Terra Day/Night Thermostat I appreciate is its button/dial system as it makes it harder to accidentally change the set temperature. I’ve done this a few times in the past but, thankfully, I realized straight away!

My main gripe with this pulse proportional thermostat for reptiles is the unreliability of the day/night function. Some models don’t automatically switch between each mode.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 7.72” x 4.7” x 3.62”
  • Weight: 14.4 oz
  • Brand: Inkbird
  • Temperature Control Range: 50-160°F
  • Power: 1100 Watts

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Dimming and pulse proportional function
  • Dual display window
  • Simple to calibrate
  • Features low temperature and high temperature alarm timers

Cons

  • Sensor can sometimes give off a false reading
  • LCD display can occasionally fail prematurely

Inkbird C206T 1500W

A temperature controller that comes with a sensor that can monitor a wide range of temperature and other great features.

Inkbird C206T 1500W

Next up is the Inkbird C206T that controls the temperature of your reptile environment with high accuracy. It has a 6.56ft temperature sensor that can monitor from 50°F to a maximum of 210°F.

That’s a pretty wide range, so it’s ideal if your pet needs their habitat to be extremely tropical. The digital device has a three display window that can show the current temperature, the set temperature, and the time. 

Features

I like that this digital thermostat has an NTC waterproof stainless steel probe to increase its longevity and safety. That way, if water accidentally splashes onto the sensor, it will still maintain effectiveness. 

One of the best features of the Inkbird C206T thermostat is its accurate day and night function. You can adjust the day and evening temperature separately to connect your heating device, then adjust the temperature that you’d like to maintain. 

The main downside of this product is the slightly complicated controller, which can make using it a bit hard at first. 

Specs

  • Dimensions: 5.6” x 3.2” x 2.6”
  • Weight: 0.35 lbs
  • Brand: Inkbird
  • Temperature Control Range: 58-212°F
  • Power: 1500 Watts

Pros

  • Day and night program
  • Wide temperature range
  • Waterproof sensor for safety
  • Three display window

Cons

  • Controller can be hard to use initially

VIVOSUN Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Temperature Controller

An easy to use thermostat controller with a highly sensitive sensor that can regulate a considerable temperature range.

VIVOSUN Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Temperature Controller

Last but not least is the VIVOSUN Digital Heat Mat Thermostat, a relatively reliable and accurate model that helps you provide the right temperatures for your pet.

Temp Control

It has a temp control range from 40 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to its highly sensitive sensor probe, allowing you to easily change the output. I like how easy the model is to use and set up due to its simple design (it only has 3 buttons) and detailed instructions. 

The product has an unique hexagonal shape that’s easy to grip, as well as an extra fortified plastic construction.

The latter helps prevent the device from rusting or malfunctioning, which is a great safety feature.

Inclusions

You get a hanging tab, wall mount, and angled socket with the model, which is convenient for keeping the cords untangled and tidy. This is definitely something I’d find helpful for my pet reptiles. 

The digital thermostat is safety guaranteed and compatible with all heat mat heaters and any North America outlet too. Additionally, the power cord for the product measures 5.10 ft, so it’s ideal if your power outlet isn’t close to your pet’s enclosure.

The main downside of this thermostat is it can sometimes output inaccurate results. Additionally, some models can break after a couple of months.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 3.94” x 3.94” x 9.84”
  • Weight: 13.1 oz
  • Brand: VIVOSUN
  • Temp Control Range: 40-108°F
  • Power: 1000 Watts

Pros

  • Sensitive sensor probe
  • Hexagonal shape to make it easy to grip
  • Made from extra fortified plastic to prevent rusting
  • Comes with a hanging tab, wall mount, and angled socket for convenience

Cons

  • Can sometimes be inaccurate
  • Some models can break after a couple of months

What Is a Reptile Thermostat?

Orange Bearded Dragon
Orange Bearded Dragon

A reptile thermostat controls a heating device for a reptile, such as a heat mat or ceramic metal. It allows you to monitor and regulate the temperature of your reptile’s enclosure, ensuring they get the right amount of heat.

The majority of reptile thermostats automatically shut off once the temperature hits a certain point, preventing overheating. 

How Does a Reptile Thermostat Work?

How a reptile thermostat works differs slightly depending on the type (more on this later!), but they all essentially adjust the amount of power to your heater to increase or decrease the warmth to match the desired temperature of the device. 

What Is the Ideal Temperature for Reptiles?

As reptiles are cold-blooded, they cannot regulate their own body temperatures. The majority of reptiles need a consistent temperature between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and basking areas that are over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you need info about the temperature requirements of a specific reptile, click here.

How to Use a Reptile Thermostat

How you use a thermostat for pet reptiles depends on the type of heater you use and thermostat you have. Personally, I use heat mat heaters for my animals, so I normally use on/off thermostats.

Here’s a quick explanation on how I personally use my thermostats so you get a general idea of how to operate one:

  1. Thermostat devices have three cables: ‘mains’, ‘heater’, and ‘sensor’. First, set up your heater at one end of your enclosure. This allows for a temperature gradient, which means one end will be warmer than the other end. That way, your pet will be able to warm up or cool down if they need to.
  2. Put the thermostat sensor in the middle of your vivarium (if heating from the bottom). Set the temperature on the thermostat to the middle of the preferred temperature range for your reptile species.
  • Plug in the thermostat and let it regulate for a couple of hours.
  1. Use a thermometer to test the temperatures of the hot and cold end to make sure they’re suitable for your reptile. 
  2. If necessary, use the dial on your thermostat to change the temperature. Make sure you allow enough time for the temperature to stabilize.

Types of Reptile Thermostats

What’s The Best Type Of Reptile Thermostat? – Benjamin’s Exotics

On/Off

An on/off thermostat is best for controlling the temperature of heat mats, heat cables, and other heating devices that provide heat through contact.

This type of thermostat works by tracking the temperature at the thermostat probe at various times, followed by switching the heat to the thermostat on or off based on the temperature. 

When the temperature at the probe gets to the desired temperature on the controller, it will power off. In contrast, if the temperature drops lower than the temperature on the controller, it will power back on.

On/off reptile thermostats should be positioned near to the heat source, otherwise, they will not maintain the set temperature effectively.

NOTE

Additionally, on/off thermostats are not the best option for light emitting heat sources like bulbs, as well as ceramic heat emitters. That’s because they’re prone to blowing the bulb.

Dimmer

Dimmer reptile thermostats are ideal for controlling most reptile heating devices, including light emitting heat sources. The way this type of thermostat works is by dimming the power up or down to the heat source depending on the set temperature.

Dimmer thermostats are most accurate and work best when placed close to the heat source.

Multiple Device

Some reptile thermostats can be used to control the temperatures of multiple heating devices, which is handy if you have multiple reptile enclosures.

You only have to connect and use one thermostat, which saves you a bit of money and hassle!

Additionally, some models let you control both a heat source and a cooling source. 

Proportional Pulse

Proportional Pulse reptile thermostats are normally used with ceramic heaters.

They work by sending constant rapid pulses of energy to the heat source. If the temperature of the enclosure needs to be higher, they send faster and harder pulses until the desired temperature is achieved.

If the temperature needs to be lower, they send slower and less frequent pulses of energy. 

NOTE

Due to constant pulsing of proportional pulse thermostats, they cannot be used with heating devices that emit light such as light bulbs. Doing so can cause the bulb to blow.

Where to Place a Reptile Thermostat?

Pet Snake Close Up
Pet Snake Close Up

A reptile thermostat should be placed outside of your vivarium, whereas the probe should go inside close to the heater. The exact placement of the probe depends on where the heat is coming from.

  • If you’re heating your vivarium from the bottom, it’s best to place the thermostat probe underneath the heating device inside your vivarium. Try to make sure it’s not touching glass, decorations, or directly on the substrate as this can affect its effectiveness.
  • If you’re heating your vivarium from the top, insert the probe through the ceiling so it dangles in the air, ideally a few inches away from the heating device or heat lamps.

If you have trouble setting up your vivarium, this guide will surely help.

Final Thoughts

Editor’s Choice

After looking at a variety of thermostats for reptiles, I think the best one overall is the Hagen Exo Terra Day/Night Thermostat as it’s hard to beat in terms of quality and accuracy.

It boasts a huge number of features, including a convenient day/night program to prevent your enclosure getting too hot or cold during the day and evenings. The dial/button system is also great for ensuring you don’t accidentally adjust the heating when you’re handling the unit.

Top Pick

My other top recommendation is the Inkbird ITC308 Freezer Thermostat. It’s ultra simple to install and use, and comes with high and low temperature alarms. 

This alerts you to if the heating decreases or increases suddenly, which is useful no matter what cold-blooded animal you own, be it turtle, snake, or bearded dragon.

Best Value

If you’re after a more budget-friendly reptile thermostat, the BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat is a great option. It’s low in price without being low in quality, ensuring your reptile environment stays at the best temperature.

Thanks For Reading

I hope I helped you find the best digital thermostat for your reptile enclosure. Which one did you decide on? Be sure to let me know in the comments.

Take a look at some of our other reptile product reviews and guides if you need some more advice and suggestions on the best equipment!

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Mollie Newton
Mollie Newton
Founder of PetMeTwice. I love all types of animals from fish to fluff-balls! I also enjoy writing short stories and helping train animals 🤩