Turtle Peaking Head Out of Water

Top 5 Best Turtle Basking Light in 2020 (Buyer’s Guide)

Turtles are cold-blooded, which means they are unable to make their own body heat and regulate their temperature. All turtles need a basking or heating lamp in their tank to keep them healthy.

UVA light is necessary for your turtle’s moods and metabolism, whereas UVB light provides your turtle with vitamin D3, which is vital for their bones and organs.

Finding a suitable basking light for your turtle can be complicated as there are certain factors to keep in mind, such as wattage, temperature, and security.

To make your search a little easier, I’ve reviewed a variety of basking lamps ideal for turtle owners.

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Review Summary

Best All-Rounder

Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA/UVB Mercury Vapor

The bulb is very bright and emits a large beam, so it should provide your turtles with plenty of light and heat.

Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA/UVB Mercury Vapor

Out of all the basking lamps I’ve reviewed, this is my overall recommendation for turtle owners. 

This basking bulb is my top pick for turtles as it offers heat and UVA/UVB light. The beam is bright and has a large spread to make sure it covers the entirety of your turtles basking area.

Best on a Budget

Exo Terra Swamp Glo Basking Spot Light

This 75-watt basking light is a budget-friendly but good-quality choice for turtles. It’s available in 50-watt and 100-watt versions.

Exo Terra Swamp Glo Basking Spot Light

This turtle basking light is the most affordable option.

Exo Terra’s basking light is a cheap but good-quality lamp that provides your turtles with UVB rays. It’s also splash- and mist-restant.

Editor’s Choice

Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle UVB Lighting Kit

This 100-watt UVB lighting kit from Zoo Med is a fantastic option for turtles. It comes with two fixtures for extra convenience, so you are able to use two bulbs if one isn’t enough. Alternatively, you could use one of the fixtures for a ceramic heat emitter.

Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle UVB Lighting Kit

My personal favorite turtle lamp. It’s high-quality but a little pricier as a result.

The Zoo Med UVB lighting kit is an excellent option as it comes with everything you need for your turtles’ basking area. It features a dual fixture so you can add more than one light.

Do Turtles Need a Basking Lamp?

All species of turtles require a basking lamp. Your turtle needs to bask every day to keep them at peak performance. 

As UVA and UVB light is crucial for the health of your turtle, you need to make sure their basking platform is at an appropriate temperature. UVB light provides your turtle with vitamin D3 to keep their bones, shell, and organs strong and healthy. 

When turtles are deficient in vitamin D3, metabolic bone disease can occur…

When turtles are deficient in vitamin D3, metabolic bone disease can occur. This condition can also happen when your turtle is not getting enough phosphorus and calcium in their diet.

Metabolic bone disease causes your turtle to have a soft, pyramid-like shell. It can also cause limping, bowed legs, and hard lumps around your turtle’s jaw, legs, and spinal column.

The disease can be crippling or fatal if left untreated. That’s why having a basking lamp is essential in your turtle tank. Vitamin D3 is crucial for your turtle, so you should make sure they always have access to UVB light in their basking area. 

NOTE

You might find that some basking lamps or heating lights are targeted for tortoises. This isn’t an issue, as both turtles and tortoises require the same type of lighting. A tortoise UVB lamp or a heat lamp for tortoise can be used in a turtle setup provided it is an appropriate wattage.

Wattage and Temperature 

When choosing an appropriate basking light for your turtle, you need to think about the wattage and heat output of the bulb. The amount of watts you need for your turtle depends on the size of your aquarium.

RECOMMENDATION

In smaller turtle tanks, a 50-watt or 75-watt bulb should be plenty. Larger setups might require a higher watt bulb, such as 100 watts. 

The temperature of your turtle’s basking platform is also important. Most turtles need the temperature of their basking areas to be about 85 °F to 95 °F. If your turtle’s basking area is too cold, then they can become inactive and might be reluctant to bask.

Light Bulb with Metal Guard
Light Bulb with Metal Guard

How Long Should a Turtle Basking Light Be On?

Typically, you should only keep your turtle’s basking lamp for around 10 to 12 hours a day. The basking lamp doesn’t need to be turned on overnight.

Typically, you should only keep your turtle’s basking lamp for around 10 to 12 hours a day…

At nightime, either use a night light in your turtle tank or no lamp altogether. Keeping your lamp on for extended periods of time can disrupt your turtle’s sleep cycle.

Can I use a Regular Bulb for a Basking Light?

You can use a regular household bulb in a basking light provided it is a suitable wattage. However, I’d have a couple of concerns doing this and wouldn’t recommend it. 

a regular bulb might not provide your turtle with enough heat as they’re designed solely for light…

For one, a regular bulb might not provide your turtle with enough heat as they’re designed solely for light. With a turtle or tortoise heat lamp, you don’t need to worry about this. 

Secondly, a regular lightbulb is a lot more fragile than one designed for reptiles, so it might shatter easily. A broken basking light is the last thing your turtle needs!

UV Light Bulb In The Dark
UV Light Bulb In The Dark

Turtle Tank UVB Lighting Options

There are a few different varieties of UVB lights to choose from, but the most common type is a fluorescent strip light. You might notice this type of light in offices or businesses. 

The only difference is that regular fluorescent strip lamps do not produce UVB light…

The only difference is that regular fluorescent strip lamps do not produce UVB light. They cover a large space of area, so they’re a good option in large turtle setups.

Another type of fluorescent light is a compact fluorescent bulb. It’s small and has a similar appearance to a corkscrew. The only negative with this type of light is that it doesn’t cover a large area, unlike a fluorescent strip light.

Fluorescent light bulbs normally need to be replaced after around 6 months, so they aren’t very long-lasting. 

Mercury Vapor Bulbs

Mercury vapor bulbs are an excellent option for your turtle tank. They’re an all-in-one bulb as they produce heat, UVA light, and UVB light. They also tend to have a longer lifespan than fluorescent lights. The only downside with this bulb is that it can be a bit expensive. 

TIP

If you can afford to spend a little bit extra, Mercury lamps are a great choice for your turtle enclosure.

Ceramic heat emitters don’t give off light, just heat. They need to be used in conjunction with a UVB light.

How Far Away Should The UVB Light Be From a Turtle?

For fluorescent strip lights, you don’t really need to worry about placement as they will have a wide spread. Small bulbs, however, need to be positioned close to your turtle’s basking area to be effective.

The correct placement for a UVB light in your turtle tank is near the basking platform…

The correct placement for a UVB light in your turtle tank is near the basking platform. Your turtle will spend a large portion of their time basking, so it’s important that you put the lamp near the area they will be lounging in.

NOTE

Ideally, you should put your lamp around 8 to 15 inches away from your turtle’s basking area. Bulbs with a higher wattage might not need to be positioned as close.

Other Important Information 

Don’t look directly into the light

Never look directly into your turtle’s basking light when it is switched on. This can severely damage your eyes or even cause blindness. You should also make sure that you don’t position the light in a way that you can see the glare reflected on a surface.

Security

Your turtle’s basking lamp needs to be secured properly as you don’t want it falling into the water.

For hanging fixtures, regularly check that screws and knobs are fastened and tightened firmly. For clamps, keep an eye on the strength of the springs. You can check this by pushing the clamp with your finger. It shouldn’t slide or move around.

Turtle Basking Light Reviews.

Best All-Rounder

Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Light

The bulb is very bright and emits a large beam, so it should provide your turtles with plenty of light and heat.

Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Light

The 100-watt mercury vapor bulb from Evergreen Pet Supplies is my overall recommendation for turtle owners. It provides UVA and UVB light to keep your turtles happy and healthy.

It provides UVA and UVB light to keep your turtles happy and healthy…

The lamp also gives off heat. This means you don’t need to get an additional heating light for your turtles, which is handy. 

The bulb is very bright and emits a large beam, so it should provide your turtles with plenty of light and heat. For the most part, the lamp is able to maintain the temperature of your turtles’ basking area.

Durability

Mercury vapor bulbs are supposed to be more long-lasting than other lamps, such as compact fluorescent bulbs. However, this one from Evergreen Pet Supplies can have a shorter lifespan than what it is normally expected of this type of light. 

In some cases, the bulb becomes less effective or stops working altogether after a few months. As an owner of a couple of red-eared slider turtles, I’m a little concerned with the unreliability of the light. The last thing I’d want is the bulb breaking when I’m not around to fix or replace it!

RECOMMENDATION

Personally, I’d recommend always keeping a spare basking light so you or your turtles aren’t caught short.

Specs

  • Size: 6” x 8” x 6”
  • Weight: 8.8 oz
  • Material: Glass, mercury vape
  • Wattage: 100 w

Pros

  • Provides your turtles with UVA and UVB light
  • Emits heat
  • Bright beam that covers a wide area

Cons

  • Short lifespan

Best on a Budget

Exo Terra Swamp Glo Basking Spot Light

This 75-watt basking light is a budget-friendly but good-quality choice for turtles. It’s available in 50-watt and 100-watt versions.

Exo Terra Swamp Glo Basking Spot Light

This 75-watt basking light is a budget-friendly but good-quality choice for turtles. It’s available in 50-watt and 100-watt versions. 

The bulb is splash- and mist-resistant, so it’s great for aquatic and humid environments…

The bulb is splash- and mist-resistant, so it’s great for aquatic and humid environments. Other basking lamps might shatter or burn out from water spillage, but this one is much less likely to. The outer sleeve of the lamp is made from strong neodymium glass.

The only downside with this basking lamp for turtles is it does not last a huge amount of time. The bulb stops working fairly quickly, which isn’t ideal. 

Specs

Pros

  • Great value
  • Splash- and mist-resistant
  • Made from extra-strong neodymium glass

Cons

  • Bulb has a short lifespan

Editor’s Choice

Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle UVB Lighting Kit

This 100-watt UVB lighting kit from Zoo Med is a fantastic option for turtles. It comes with two fixtures for extra convenience, so you are able to use two bulbs if one isn’t enough. Alternatively, you could use one of the fixtures for a ceramic heat emitter.

Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle UVB Lighting Kit

This 100-watt UVB lighting kit from Zoo Med is a fantastic option for turtles. It comes with two fixtures for extra convenience, so you are able to use two bulbs if one isn’t enough. Alternatively, you could use one of the fixtures for a ceramic heat emitter. 

The lamp comes with a UVB bulb and a halogen heat bulb, which is convenient as you don’t need to purchase them separately. The only downside with the heat bulb is that it isn’t very powerful so it can struggle to maintain the temperature of your turtle’s basking area.

The lamp features a polished aluminium dome that increases its light and UV output by up to 30%…

The lamp features a polished aluminium dome that increases its light and UV output by up to 30%. The dome also extends beyond the face of the lamp, which stops it from sticking out. 

The light doesn’t come with a stand, so you are unable to attach it to your turtle enclosure without buying one separately.

NOTE

Additionally, the provided UVB bulb can burn out fairly quickly, so it might need to be replaced after a short period of time.

Specs

Pros

  • Comes with a dual fixture
  • Includes a UVB bulb and heat bulb
  • Aluminium dome to increase UV and heat output

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a stand
  • Included bulbs aren’t very high-quality

CTKcom 25W Halogen Basking Bulb

The CTKkom 25-watt halogen basking light offers both UVB and UVA light to keep your turtles’ moods, metabolism, and vitamin D3 levels at peak performance.

CTKcom 25W Halogen Basking Bulb

The CTKkom 25-watt halogen basking light offers both UVB and UVA light to keep your turtles’ moods, metabolism, and vitamin D3 levels at peak performance.

offers both UVB and UVA light to keep your turtles’ moods, metabolism, and vitamin D3 levels at peak performance…

You get 4 lights in the pack to make sure you don’t run out too quickly. The price is also really affordable, which isn’t always the case for some lamps that contain multiple lights. I like to keep a couple of basking lights spare for my turtles to be on the side of caution, so I really appreciate this. 

One of the main downsides with this lamp is that it is only 25 watts, so it might not provide your turtles with enough vitamin D3 in their basking area. For this reason, I’d advise only using this lamp in small turtle tanks.

NOTE

The lifespan for each light is quite short, so they might need to be replaced frequently.

Specs

Pros

  • Great value
  • Provides UVA/UVB light
  • Comes with 4 lights

Cons

  • Only 25 watts
  • Short lifespan

Fluker’s 27002 Repta-Clamp Lamp with Switch For Reptiles

This 75-watt clamp light fixture from Fluker’s suitable for incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs, or ceramic heat emitters. It’s easy to attach to your turtle tank thanks to its secure clamp.

Fluker’s 27002 Repta-Clamp Lamp with Switch For Reptiles

This 75-watt clamp light fixture from Fluker’s suitable for incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs, or ceramic heat emitters. It’s easy to attach to your turtle tank thanks to its secure clamp. It’s a good choice for any turtle tank and is very affordable.

It’s a good choice for any turtle tank and is very affordable…

The light comes with an on/off switch, as well as a polarized plug (one blade is wider) for safety. The size of the turtle/tortoise lamp itself is 5.5 inches, so it’s small and compact. The lamp is also available in 8.5-inch (150 watts) and 10-inch (250 watts) versions. 

I really like the design of this clamp lamp. It’s sleek, glossy, and looks a lot more expensive than it is. It would look great in any turtle habitat.

The lamp is housed in a ceramic casing, so it’s built to last unlike those that are made from plastic…

Unfortunately, the lamp does not come with any written assembly instructions, so it can be difficult to put together. The included clamp can be a bit stiff and has limited flexibility, which makes them a bit hard to position.

In addition to this, the lamp does not come with a bulb. You will need to purchase a UVB light bulb separately, which is a little inconvenient. 

Specs

Pros

  • Attractive, stylish design
  • Affordable but good-quality
  • Fairly long-lasting

Cons

  • Can be difficult to put together
  • Lamp is a little stiff
  • Doesn’t come with a bulb

Conclusion

Here’s a quick look on all our top picks.

Best All-Rounder

Overall, I think the best turtle basking light is the Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA/UVB Mercury Vapor. It emits both UVA and UVB rays, as well as heat. This is ideal for keeping your turtles’ basking platform at an adequate temperature. It also means you don’t need to purchase a separate heat lamp.

The biggest drawback with this lamp is that it isn’t very long-lasting, at least compared to others of a similar type.

Editor’s Choice

If you can afford to spend a little extra, then I also think the Zoo Med Aquatic Turtle UVB Lighting Kit is a fantastic option. The feature I like most about this lamp is that it includes a dual fixture for two lights. 

It’s the perfect starter kit if you’re new to keeping turtles. Although the lamp includes two bulbs, they don’t have the longest lifespan.

Best on a Budget

Finally, if you’re looking for a basking light that’s great value, then I recommend the Exo Terra Swamp Glo Basking Spot Light. It’s not as high quality as some of the other lamps I’ve reviewed, but it is a decent option if you’re on a budget.

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