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No matter what type of small animal you own, your pet will benefit from some sort of heating appliance. Even if you own a mammal, such as a hamster or a mouse, keeping its habitat warm will help prevent hibernation and encourage digestive health.
If you own a reptile, amphibian, or another ectothermic, or cold-blooded, animal, a reptile heating pad will be necessary to help your pet maintain the body temperature it needs to survive. But are reptile heating pads safe for your pet and your household?
Heat-generating appliances are always a little concerning, even if they only operate at low temperatures. Reptile Heating pads run at lower temperatures than heat-generating bulbs and are therefore considered the safest type of heater for your pet's tank.
That doesn't mean they're no-risk, however; we recommend carefully reading the instructions and installing rubber feet beneath your tank to ensure maximum safe usage of your reptile heating pad.
Reptile heating pads are a must-have for any small pet habitat. They don’t give off any light, so you can leave them on without disrupting your pet's sleep cycle. They're also typically made to be waterproof, so you don't have to worry about excess water from the tank causing issues. Let's look at which heating pads may be best for you.
Every animal has different needs, so before you consider getting a reptile heating pad, make sure that this kind of heating source would work for your pet. Here are some things to consider when looking for the best heating pad to fit your pet's habitat.
Another easy way to figure out which size mat to buy is by looking at the wattage. For every 20 gallons a tank can hold, you need about eight watts of power in your heating pad. So for a tank between 30 and 40 gallons, look for about 16 watts. For 50 to 60 gallons, look for around 24 watts.
You will need to regulate the heat inside your tank to keep cold-blooded pets from overheating or from freezing. Here are a couple of things to consider when deciding how to regulate the temperature of your pet's habitat.
Some reptile heating pads come with a built-in temperature knob. While these won't give you exact numbers on the ambient temperature of your tank, you can pair them with a thermometer or temperature gun to adjust the heat of your new heating pad until it best fits your pet's needs.
A thermostat is an even more refined method with which you can control the temperature of your pet's habitat. It allows you to manually set and maintain the temperature of your heating pad, which is extremely important for more sensitive animals.
However, most reptile heating pads do not come with a thermostat, which means that you might have to buy one separately.
While a temperature knob or thermostat works to control the ambient temperature of your pet's environment, you may need a temperature gun to ensure that the reptile heating mat itself hasn't gotten too hot for your pet. A temperature gun, or an infrared thermometer, measures the temperature of an object via laser and thermal radiation.
Like us, our pets can get burns from touching things that are too hot and reptiles especially are at risk, as they move pretty slowly. This is why a temperature gun would be helpful with keeping their environment at the right levels.
According to Petco, reptiles need their environment to be kept at a temperature ranging from 70 - 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Other experts recommend keeping heating pad temperatures below the threshold of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you invest in a temperature gun, it should be easier to maintain a safe basking zone for your pet.
Adhesive pads are great if you have no intention of changing layouts. They’re also good for burrowing animals. Since having a heating pad under the tank might make things too hot for animals that burrow, an adhesive pad allows you to stick it to the side of the tank instead, which gives animals more control over their temperature.
Non-adhesive heating pads, on the other hand, are easier to transfer around and allow for more airflow than adhesive pads. These are better for animals that require lower temperatures like frogs and geckos. Of course, you can always use an adhesive pad without removing the seal, too.
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ReptiTherm Under Tank Heater
A Popular Heater That Can Raise Tank Temperatures
Waterproof Reptile Heat Mat
Powerful, With a Handy Temperature Knob
Adjustable Temperature Reptile Heat Pad
A Flexible Pad for Indoor Use
Reptile Heating Pad
Creates a Consistent Hot Spot for Reptiles
Under Tank Heater｜Heater & Thermostat Combo Set
A Pad and Thermostat Set Perfect as a Secondary Heat Source
Heat Mat Terrarium Heater
Provides Consistent, Low Heater for Reptiles
Reptile Heat Pad
Use as a Decently Effective Supplementary Heater
Reptile Heat Pad
An Acceptable Secondary Heat Source With Sturdy Adhesive
Premium Heat Mat
Low-Wattage for Belly Baskers
Some reviewers complain that the ReptiTherm doesn't get warm enough to suit more sensitive reptiles and amphibians. If you own a pet that requires a very specific and high temperature to survive, we recommend pairing ReptiTherm with a secondary heat source. Otherwise, this is a popular and reliable pad available!
KABASI's powerful Reptile Heat Mat has a simple design and is easy to use. A temperature control knob on the wire allows you to regulate the temperature anywhere in the range of 32 - 95 degrees Fahrenheit, but it should be noted that the highest temperature this heating pad can reach is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Reviewers are very satisfied with the amount of heat the Reptile Heating Mat gives off, and some have even been able to use it as a solo heating source. Many recommend using a temperature gun if your pet is sensitive to small changes in temperature, as the knob that comes with this heating pad isn't very precise.
Some long-term users have complained that this reptile heating pad is prone to mechanical issues after 10 months or more of use. Still, it's a great source of heat for most small pets, and with its adjustable temperature knob and waterproof design, the Reptile Heat Mat is a sturdy option for your tank!
Tikaton's Reptile Heat Pad offers a unique, flexible design that you can fold as needed and has double-sided, sturdy 3M adhesive for application. In addition, the wire sports a temperature knob for general control. This doesn't give you the precise control that a thermostat would, but it's still very helpful.
Reviewers are very happy with how warm Tikaton's heating pad keeps their cages. Many warn that it's important to read the application instructions and allow the pad to warm up before applying the tape to your tank.
According to some users, this reptile heating pad tends to lose its effectiveness in extremely cold temperatures. The company's page even warns that this reptile heating pad might not be as strong in an environment colder than 68 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this is still a useful and warm heater for indoor tanks!
VIVOSUN's Reptile Heating Pad has a non-slip, moisture-proof surface and a three-year warranty that will be quickly fulfilled if you end up dissatisfied with the results. It does have an optional adhesive side, but plenty of customers have had good results without using the tape as well.
This is a very powerful heating pad and shouldn't be directly placed on surfaces like plastic or wood. Many reviewers recommend using substrate in the tank for extra safety. As with other standalone reptile heating pads, we recommend getting a thermostat so you can keep your pet's environmental temperature regulated.
Some users have complained of inconsistency with power or heat when using VIVOSUN Reptile Heating Pad. However, as the unit comes with such a long warranty and is powerful when it works properly, we think it's a great choice for your pet!
Aiicioo's Under Tank Heater comes with the full package: a versatile heating pad with optional adhesive, a digital thermostat, and rubber feet for mounting your tank if you want to keep the heating pad beneath it.
This reptile heating pad is waterproof, so you can safely use it with aquariums or tanks that have water in them. The range of adjustment for the thermostat is 68 - 108 degrees Fahrenheit, but reviewers have warned that these temperatures apply more to the direct surface the heat is applied to than the inside of the tank.
Some reviewers have had bad experiences when trying to use Aiicioo's Under Tank Heater as the sole source of heat for their cold-blooded pets. Still, given the great quality of the thermostat and its cost performance, we recommend Aiicioo's Under Tank Heater as a secondary heat source for your pet.
Zilla promises reliability and consistent heating with the Heat Mat Terrarium Heater. This reptile heating pad comes with adhesive mounting and unique carbon fiber make guaranteed to keep a uniform distribution of heat in your pet's tank.
Reviewers affirm that the heat mat provides a gentle but reliable hot spot for their reptiles. While the maximum advertised temperature is 113 degrees Fahrenheit, many owners who used this heating pad in tandem with a thermostat say between 65 - 85 degrees Fahrenheit would be more realistic.
The most common complaint about Zilla's Heat Mat is that the adhesive mounting doesn't last very long. Reviewers recommend buying more reliable adhesives on your own, but otherwise, Zilla Heat Mat is a great choice for low, consistent heat that will energize your reptile.
iPower's newest update to their Reptile Heat Pad includes a temperature control probe, which now accompanies the device. You can adjust the temperature between 40 - 108 degrees Fahrenheit, although users have noted it isn't 100 percent accurate.
Some snake owners warn that this heating mat doesn't heat a tank well enough to keep their pets healthy. However, reviewers with hermit crabs or pets that aren't sensitive to small temperature changes are delighted with the ease of use iPower offers.
FOCUSPET's Heat Pad is designed to be a supplementary heat source for reptiles, but hermit crab owners have reported immense success with it as well. The gentle temperatures ensure that your pet won't overheat, and also make this a great choice for plastic tanks or surfaces.
While the smallest six-by-eight-inch version of this reptile heating pad has no option for temperature control, the larger sizes come with a dial for heat adjustment. Reviewers have noted that this is far from a thermostat and that a different tool will be necessary if you want to know the temperature of your tank.
Some users have complained that FOCUSPET's heating pad gives off so little heat it's useless to them. It's important to remember that this reptile heating pad is not meant to act as the sole heat source for your pet's tank. If you're looking for a gentle source of basking heat, however, it's a solid choice!
As with almost every under-tank heating mat, Fluker's Premium Heat Mat is not meant to be used as the sole source of heat for your pet. Some reviewers have complained that even as a supplementary heater, it's too weak for more sensitive pets. Still, if you have another heat source, this is a great choice for your tank!
Setting up your new reptile heating pad can be daunting. Check out this informative video by Zoo Med for a step-by-step guide!
How to Set Up a Reptile Heating Pad:
Additional steps if applying to the bottom of your tank:
If you're looking for some products you can spoil your other critters with, check out these handy lists from our pet section!
No. 1: ZooMed｜ReptiTherm Under Tank Heater
No. 2: KABASI｜Waterproof Reptile Heat Mat
No. 3: Tikaton｜Adjustable Temperature Reptile Heat Pad
No. 4: VIVOSUN｜Reptile Heating Pad
No. 5: Aiicioo｜Under Tank Heater｜Heater & Thermostat Combo Set
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