Exo Terra Terrariums: 2023 Comprehensive Buying Guide

Every reptile lover who wants to have a pet reptile at home needs a terrarium, and Exo Terra terrariums have been the industry’s best since 2013, revolutionizing the home reptile habitat for the first time.

They have continued to develop under the ownership of the Rolf C. Hagen Inc. company, always incorporating new features and innovations to this day.

Exo Terra Terrariums come in a variety of sizes, designs, and prices. In this article, we will compare the cost-benefit of the most popular models to help you decide which one is right for you.

Why do Exo Terra Terrariums dominate the market?

We know they’re the favorite choice of most herpetologists, but… What are the keys to the undeniable success of the Exo Terra brand terrariums?

Front window ventilation system: The patented dual ventilation system keeps the front glass free of condensation. The dual ventilation system also creates an optimal and heat exchange in the terrarium
Door Locks and Easy-to-twist mesh cover lock: A reliable specially designed lock prevents unwanted opening from children or pets and is an extra security measure to keep the animals in the terrarium.
Closed cable or pipe entries: In the back of the screen cover, and the terrarium rear are five closable wire or tube inlets on both sides to install Heat Wave Rocks, Waterfalls, sensors, etc. inside the terrarium.
Double doors for leak-free access: Double front opening doors allow easy access for maintenance, misting, and feeding. During terrarium maintenance, a door can be kept closed at all times; reducing the risk of escape of a fast reptile or feeding insect, and better-retaining heat and humidity inside at the same time. Pivot doors are far superior to sliding doors, as sand and other debris can clog up the sliding doors.
Natural-looking rock terrarium background: The natural-looking rock bottom is from the same color family as other Exo Terra accessories, combining well for a natural-looking habitat. The backdrop provides an extra dimension of climbing and endless terrarium design opportunities. The bottom also provides channels to run ropes and tubes from the bottom to the top of the terrarium without being seen.
Stainless steel mesh cover: The full-screen top allows UVB and infrared penetration and is completely removable for easy access while decorating or cleaning. Durable locks at the sides secure the screen top to the terrarium frame. The top has built-in closable inlets on both sides to securely run wires and tubing inside the terrarium and keeps small reptiles and feeder insects inside the terrarium.
Waterproof base: A high bottom front panel allows to create deep layers of substrate, providing space for glass mounted decoration such as the Exo Terra Reptile Lair. It also can be used to create a water feature as high as the ventilation strip.
Extended floor area: The Exo Terra terrarium is wider than the “aquarium style” tank, resulting in an extended floor area. This gives the necessary space for desert and land reptiles and amphibians to thrive.
Raised bottom frame: The bottom glass panel of the terrarium is raised to facilitate the mounting of a substrate heater or heating cable and avoids the heating accessory problems normally associated with standard “aquarium style” terrariums. It keeps the entire bottom panel well ventilated to ensure optimal hot and cold spots.

Most Popular Exo Terra Terrariums

1 Exo Terra 18” x 18” x 24” Small/Tall


  • Dimensions: 18″x18″x24″ (WxDxH).
  • Weight: 40.9 lb (18.55 kg).
  • Shipping Weight: 48.6 lb (22 kg).
  • Volume: 33.66 gallons (0.127 m3)
  • Ground area: 2.25 ft2.
  • Glass thickness: 0.24 in.

What Reptiles/amphibians might be housed?

A couple of tree frogs, a green anole, an adult crested gecko, a velvet chameleon or garden snake

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Very versatile. Excellent for host native rainforest reptiles or amphibians. It is designed innovatively, facilitating ventilation and maintenance of temperature and humidity. This terrarium is made with quality materials that make it functional and very durable.
  • Cons: When comparing competing terrariums of the same dimensions, such as Zoo Med Naturalistic Terrarium, we found that the reptile tank has higher prices. This is due to the design being superior to that of the competition.


2 Exo Terra 36” x 18” x 18” Large Wide

Exo Terra 36x18x18 TerrariumSpecifications

  • Dimensions: 36″x18″x18″ (WxDxH).
  • Weight: 58 lb (26.3 kg).
  • Shipping Weight: 61.6 lb (27.94 kg).
  • Volume:  50.49 gallons ( 0.1911 m3)
  • Ground area: 4.5 ft2.
  • Glass thickness:  0.24 in.

What Reptiles might be housed?

Juvenile bearded dragon, a male, and 2 female leopard geckos, a juvenile blue tongue skink, or any medium-sized desert reptile.

Pros and Cons (Complete  review here)

  • Pros: Terrarium is designed for desert configurations, preferably for ground-dwelling reptiles, such as the bearded dragon.
  • Cons: It’s a little pricey, costing $100 more than its closest competitor, the REPTI IZOO glass terrarium 36 X 18 X 18 knockdown


3 Exo Terra 12” x 12” x 18” Mini/Tall


  • Dimensions: 12″x12″x18″ (WxDxH).
  • Weight: 17 lb (7.71 kg).
  • Shipping Weight: 21.5 lb (9.75 kg).
  • Volume:  11.22 gallons (0.04 m3)
  • Ground area: 1 ft2.
  • Glass thickness:  0.24 in.

What Reptiles might be housed?

Velvet chameleon, baby crested gecko, baby garden snake.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Very versatile. Ideal for hosting arboreal pets from the rainforest. Its shape and innovative design facilitates ventilation, prevents fogging, and reduces the risk of escape of reptiles or amphibians.
  • Cons: Terrariums of the Exo Terra brand are usually somewhat more expensive than those of the competition. But at the same time, the quality of the materials used, their design, functionality, and performance justify it.


4 Exo Terra 24” x 18” x 12” Medium Low


  • Dimensions: 24″x18″x12″ (WxDxH).
  • Weight: 33.5 lb (15.2 kg).
  • Shipping Weight: 36.1 lb (16.4 kg).
  • Volume:  22. 44 gallons (0.084 m3)
  • Ground area: 3 ft2.
  • Glass thickness:  0.24 in.

What Reptiles might be housed?

A couple of leopard geckos, a baby bearded dragon, or any small ground-dwelling desert reptile.

Pros and Cons (Complete  review here)

  • Pros: The 24¨ x 18¨ x 12″ terrarium with a capacity of approximately 20 gallons is the ultimate leopard gecko terrarium. With its large surface area and low height, it is ideal for housing ground-dwelling reptiles. It can accommodate a pair of adult geckos or several juveniles.
  • Cons: The Exo Terra 20 gallon terrarium is one of the most wanted by herpetologists, both professional and amateur. It costs over $150 and in limited edition, over 200, which is more than the average price for competing terrariums.


5 Exo Terra 18” x 18” x 36” Small/X-Tall

exo terra rainforest terrariumSpecifications

  • Dimensions: 18″x18″x36″ (WxDxH).
  • Weight: 59 lb (26.76 kg).
  • Shipping Weight: 68 lb (30.84 kg).
  • Volume: 50.49 gallons ( 0.1911 m3)
  • Rear area: 4.5 ft2.
  • Glass thickness:  0.24 in.

What Reptiles might be housed?

Tree frogs, garden snakes, crested geckos, green anoles, fat tail geckos, velvet chameleons, and other tropical animals.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: The Exo Terra Rain Forest Terrarium 18 X 18 x 36 is extremely versatile and can be configured to accommodate several reptiles and arboreal amphibians. Its unique naturalistic background represents the roots and vines of the rainforest, which in addition to giving it a natural look gives the reptiles or amphibians an area to prepare and hide.
  • Cons: Like all Exo Terra terrariums, the price is the highest on the market. This is due to the high quality of the product, its innovative design, and its durability.


Exo Terra Starter Kits

1 Leopard Gecko starter kit

The Exo Terra Leopard Geckos Starter Kit is one of the best in the industry. All of the elements contained in the kit are of excellent quality and each element is tailored to the needs of the Leopard Geckos. The Starter Kit uses a 10-gallon terrarium, which provides enough space for the development of this small reptile. Another aspect that is worth emphasizing, is that it provides a heating mat of 8 watts of power that provides the temperature needed. Having said that, there are some negative aspects. I find the absence of a thermostat for temperature control and the hygrometer for humidity very inconvenient. Also, I see not so necessary for the LED lamp for day and night lighting.
Leopard Gecko starter kit


  • Terrarium Dimensions: 18″ x 18″ x 12″.
  • Terrarium Volume: 16.83 gallons ( 0.063 m3)
  • Exo Terra Day/Night LED Fixture Small.
  • Exo Terra Heat Mat 8W.
  • Sand Mat Small.
  • Terrarium Thermometer.
  • Exo Terra Water Dish Medium.
  • Exo Terra Reptile Cave Medium.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: The starter kit has most of the elements necessary to raise an adult leopard gecko. The 10-gallon terrarium provides enough space for the reptile to develop healthily.
  • Cons: The starter kit is not equipped with a thermostat for temperature control and a hygrometer for humidity monitoring.


2 Bearded dragon starter kit

I’m not a fan of starter kits. While there are starter kits that are very well designed, there are others that include elements that are unnecessary or do not completely serve their purpose. That’s the case with the bearded dragon starter kit.

Although this Starter Kit consists of several excellent elements from the Exo Terra brand, it should be noted that it was originally designed for a fast-growing reptile. The Bearded Dragon has specific requirements and needs a considerable area to develop and thrive. You as an owner should consider that the minimum space required for this beautiful reptile is 40 gallons, with a terrarium of over 65 gallons is recommended. Another negative aspect of this starter kit is the use of sand mats. These are very abrasive and are not recommended when housing hatchlings or juveniles. In these cases, it is recommended that you use absorbent paper or a floor tile.


  • Terrarium Dimensions: 36″ x 18″ x 12″.
  • Terrarium Volume: 33.66 gallons ( 0.127 m3)
  • Reptile Dome 8″ (160W)
  • Solar Glo 125W.
  • Exo Terra Light Stand.
  • Terrarium Thermometer.
  • Sand Mat 24.6″ x 16.9″.
  • Exo Terra Medium Water Dish.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: All of the Exo Terra items that make up this bearded dragon starter kit including the 36″ x 18″ x 12″ terrarium are excellent.
  • Cons: Bearded dragons with proper care double their size in 6 months. So if you want to house a bearded dragon using a 30-gallon starter kit, it will lose its usability in 6 months.


The Bottom Line.

Exo Terra has many glass terrariums, from very small ones like the Exo terra Nano terrarium to true works of art like the 40-gallon reptile tank. Some of them are better suited to tropical habitats and others are designed for desert animals. But they all agree on one thing. Their design, reliability, durability, and unbeatable quality. Whether you have a small leopard gecko or a large bearded dragon as a pet, you’ll find the perfect enclosure at Exo Terra.