A heating pad also called a heating mat or under tank heater (UTH), provides a convenient and easy way to heat your reptile’s tank. They provide constant heat, allowing you to create the optimal temperature gradient within the nursery. Stay with us, because in this post we are about to cover the best tank heaters available today.
Wich is the best reptile Under Tank Heating Pad?
The ReptiTherm Under Tank Heater is manufactured by one of the best brands. It is affordable, made of high-quality materials, does not consume much energy, and is compatible with thermostats.
This guide explains why you need a ReptiTherm Under Tank Heater and if they are safe. We will compare and check the top heating pads for reptiles, and go through the installation process.
Why do reptiles need heating pads?
Reptiles are ectothermic, also called “cold-blooded”. This means that they cannot regulate their own body temperature like humans.
Their body temperature fluctuates according to their environment. To warm up, they must find a source of heat; to cool down, they must move to a cooler location.
In nature, reptiles naturally look for sources of heat in their environment. Corn snakes, for example, can find a sunny spot and sunbathe on top of a rock or log until they are warm enough. Crested geckos do not get hot, as they live in a tropical climate that is warm enough for them all year round.
When a reptile is held in captivity, it is essential to replicate the temperature of its wild habitat as closely as possible. This is especially important for tropical snakes, as their home is probably much cooler than their natural environment.
It is also vital that they provide a temperature gradient within the nursery. There should be a “hot end” and a “cold end” so that your reptile can regulate its body temperature.
You can create this by choosing a heating mat that is approximately one-third the size of your reptile’s tank. Each species of reptile has different temperature requirements, so be sure to do your research.
Under Tank Heater Thermostat.
The producers of Under tank heating pads are aware of the need to control the temperature inside the terrarium and often include the thermostat and the heater under the tank in a combo form. This is very common in the Aiicioo and iPower, although many market them separately. If that’s your case I suggest you take a look at the BN-LINK Digital Heat Mat Thermostat. This is one of the best digital thermostats that you can connect to a UTH. If you want to know more about it just click on it.
Heat Mats vs. Heat Lamps
Heating pads, heating mats, or under-tank heaters (UTH) are rectangular mats that are heated. They are set under the tank and provide heat to the reptile’s stomach.
Heat lamps are very different. They hang over the nursery and radiate heat downwards. They also emit light, illuminating the reptile’s terrarium.
The use of a heat mat or heat lamp will depend on:
- Whether your reptile likes sunlight: Corn snakes or bearded dragons. On the other hand, pythons, boas, and geckos do best with heating pads.
- The type of terrarium: Heating pads work best with glass and plastic tanks. They usually struggle to penetrate the wood, so heat lamps are usually better for wooden enclosures.
- How much humidity does your reptile require? Heat lamps dry the air inside the tank, so they work best for reptiles with low moisture requirements, such as pig-nose and corn snakes.
We prefer heat mats because they do not provide light, which means they can keep your reptile warm 24 hours a day. If you use a heat lamp, you will need to use a different heat source during the night. Leaving a heat lamp on at night can disrupt your reptile’s circadian rhythm (day-night cycle), causing confusion and stress.
Best heating pads for reptiles.
There are many heating pads available. However, not all are the same. You will often find, as with most products, that the more reputable brands tend to be made to a higher standard of quality.
1 Zoo Med ReptiTherm® Under Tank Heater
Zoo Med is a well-known brand of exotic products and pet foods. They sell almost everything needed for reptiles, including enclosures, backdrops, water bowls, and substrates. Among their offerings is the ReptiTherm Under Tank Heater.
This thermal mat is one of the most popular options, both for beginner snake owners and experienced reptile enthusiasts. The ReptiTherm UTHs are suitable for all types of animals, including most reptiles and even insects.
There are several sizes available to choose from: mini, small, medium, and large. No matter what size your reptile tank is, there should be an option that suits you.
They are compatible with most brands of thermostats and are easy to install.
One side of the UTH is adhesive, so it will stick to your tank, preventing it from moving.
The product is supplied with “support legs” that stick to the bottom of the reptile tank. It raises the hatchery slightly so that air can circulate the heating mat underneath.
Although they provide adequate heat, ReptiTherm heaters do not use much energy to operate.
They are extremely affordable, especially for a well-known and reputable brand.
Only the smallest size – the “mini” – is considered suitable for plastic boxes. The manufacturer recommends that all other sizes be used only with glass boxes. This is because there is a risk of the heater melting the plastic.
The adhesive is permanent. Once you have glued the heater pad to the tank, you cannot remove it again later. This can make it difficult to clean the outside of the terrarium.
ReptiTherm UTHs are not self-regulating, so a thermostat is necessary. Some people have found that, without a thermostat, the product can get hot enough to cause severe burns.
The disadvantages of this product can be overcome by do-it-yourself measures. For example, to remove the heating mat for cleaning, many reptile owners recommend sticking a sheet of aluminum foil on the adhesive side and then taping the mat to the bottom of the tank with electrical tape. That way, when you need to clean the tank, you can remove the tape to remove the mat without breaking it.
Overall, the advantages of the ReptiTherm UTH Zoo Med outweigh the disadvantages. We rate it as the best heating pad available today, as long as you follow the instructions correctly.
2 iPower Reptile Heating Pad and Digital Thermostat Combo.
iPower is a company that specializes in products designed for the cultivation of plants, such as lighting and ventilation of greenhouses. However, they have launched a specific UTH for reptile enclosures. It is a well-known brand in the horticultural world that receives good reviews.
The main advantage is that it comes with a heating pad and a temperature regulator.
Because the heating pad comes with a thermostat, there’s no need to buy any additional equipment. You can connect the plate to the thermostat and adjust the temperature immediately.
The thermostat is digital, which means it is very accurate and will keep the temperatures in your room within a set range.
The heating pad is adhesive and sticks to the bottom of the tank.
Due to the inclusion of the thermostat, it is suitable for use with strong plastic containers (provided the temperature is not set too high).
The heating pad is made to be water-resistant (although we do not recommend using it inside the nursery).
It heats up very quickly to the desired temperature.
The quality of this product can be a bit of success. Some reviewers have complained of receiving a faulty thermostat, or that the heating pad does not heat to an adequate temperature.
There is only one size of heating pad available – 4″ by 7 ” (4W). This is fine if you have a smaller enclosure, but not suitable for large nurseries.
The package indicates that the product is supplied with feet under the tank; however, some reviewers have stated that they did not receive them, so you may need to purchase them separately.
The heating mat is not suitable for thinner or fragile plastic tubs, which may have a lower melting point.
Despite the above, most of the reviews for the iPower Power Heat Mat Combo and Thermostat are positive. It is a more economical option than Zilla or Zoo Med, considering that the thermostat is included in the price.
In general, although this product is a little lower in quality than the more reputable brands, it is certainly not bad. We would certainly recommend it for smaller enclosures.
3 Aiicioo Under Tank Heater
There is not much information about the Aiicioo company. The truth; its online presence is almost non-existent, of course, excluding the Aiicioo Under-Tank Heaters that they sell like hotcakes on Amazon. A large number of American herpetologists appreciate Aiicioo Under-Tank Heat Pads. They are reliable, durable, and economical. In addition to the advantage that they are sold together with the thermostat, an essential element for the automatic control of the temperature.
The Aiicio Under Tank Heater is one of the best terrarium heating sources on the market. They have several features that make them the favorite of thousands of reptile lovers. It is durable, versatile, waterproof, and provides stable heat with a power-efficient consumption of 8, 16, or 24 watts maximum, depending on the selected model. The new design upgraded the adhesive material, The new one is more solid, forming a stronger bond for optimum heat transfer. They come with a digital thermostat, which is an advantage above the competitors. The cord for the temperature probe and grounded 3-prong plug measure an extended 6 feet in length, designed to suit almost any application you can imagine.
Digital thermostat and under tank heater combo. Reptile under tank heat pad for 24 hours of use. Upgraded adhesive material, stronger than others. Thermostat easy to use. 3-button interface. Waterproof and easy to clean. 1-year warranty. The thermostat can regulate the temperature between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which means it is suitable for almost all types of reptiles.
The heating pad does not consume much energy, even when adjusted to the highest setting.
The product is a bit pricey.
The Aiicio heating mat has almost the same quality as some of the others we have reviewed. That said, most critics seem very happy with it, even when considering the price. It is an excellent option, suitable for reptile keepers working on a loose budget.
We recommend using this UTH with its digital thermostat always, to be on the safe side. Be sure to closely monitor temperatures inside your nursery while using the mat.
Heating Pad for Leopard Gecko
Leopard geckos require little space. An adult can live comfortably in a 10-gallon terrarium, but a 20-gallon reptile tank would be nice for extra comfort. It should be noted that since their habits are nocturnal and most of their activity is at ground level, the heat source should be located under the tank. Each heating pad is designed with dimensions and power capable of heating most commercial terrariums. One of the most common heating pad used in Leopard Gecko enclosures (10 to 20-gallon low tank height) is the 6¨ x 8¨ under-tank heater that emits up to 8 watts of power in the form of heat. I would particularly recommend the iPower brand but Zoo Med also produces excellent reptile heating mats
Under Tank Heater’s Size for 10-20 gallons terrariums
The Under tank heat pads are produced in sizes and powers, which ensures the proper heat transfer for most commercial terrariums.
In the case of a 10-gallon reptile tank, the majority of them have a rectangular base of 20 ” x 12 “. They are not usually very high, so the placement of the heater is usually below the base. In the case of the 20-gallon terrariums, the case is somewhat more complicated. There are more diverse in terms of dimensions, although the favorites still have a rectangular shape, as are the cases of the Exo Terra 24″ x 18″ x 12″ 20-gallon terrarium.
In both cases, 8-watt under tank heater can be used, as long as they conform to the dimensions of the terrariums mentioned above. Therefore, any heater with dimensions of 6″ x 8″ or 8″ x 8″ and 8 watts of power will do the job.
Right under tank heat pad for a 30-40 gallon reptile tank.
With 40 gallon terrariums, measuring 36 x 18 x 18, you’ll need a more powerful heater. The specialists strongly recommend the use of 16-watt heaters, capable of heating the interior of the terrarium stably, at all times, even when the temperatures drop in winter.
Fortunately, there are a variety of very good heaters in that range. one of the most popular is the Zoo Med Reptitherm 16 watts. But if you prefer the complete set you can get the Ipower Under Heat Mat 8 “x 12”, 16W that comes with its digital thermostat.
Are the under tank heater safe?
Reptile tank heating pads are perfectly safe, as long as some basic safety guidelines are followed:
Read and follow all instructions carefully when installing your heating pad.
Never place the heating mat directly inside the reptile enclosure. There is a risk of burns if your reptile touches the heating mat directly and you do not want your reptile to get entangled in the wires. Spilled water or urine could also damage the heating mat.
Always use a thermostat with your heating mat.
Thermostats keep the temperature inside the nursery within 2 or 3 degrees of the optimum level. They continuously monitor the temperature and automatically turn off the mat when it reaches the correct level. When the temperature drops below the optimum level, the thermostat turns the heating mat back on.
If you are using a reptile tank heating pad, a thermostat is required. Unregulated heating mats can heat up too quickly for your reptile, which can result in serious burns.
According to Veterinary Clinics Exotic Animal Practice, ambient temperatures that are too high or too low can also weaken the immune system. This can predispose the animal to various diseases such as respiratory infections.
Can heating pads malfunction?
Heating pads, like any electrical device, can malfunction. An article in the Daily Express details a case of a Woma python that ended with severe burns from a malfunctioning heating pad.
If a heating pad does not work properly, it can heat up too quickly. This can cause glass nurseries to break and wooden shelves, floors, or carpets to burn. And it’s not just heated carpets: heat lamps, ceramic heat emitters, and heat rocks can also malfunction.
Of course, how this incident made the news is a testament to how rare it is. However, this is why it is vital to use a high-quality thermostat, and also to choose a good heat mat from a reputable brand.
How to Install a Reptile Heating Pad
The configuration of the reptile heating mat is quite simple. Here are some general guidelines:
Plug the heating plate into the thermostat. Follow the instructions to set the thermostat to the optimal “hot end” temperature for your reptile. For example, if you have a ball python, you can set it around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember that the temperature above the substrate will be slightly cooler than the plate itself.
For ideal placement, place the heating pad under one end of the tank or reptile housing.
Place the thermostat’s temperature probe in a sandwich between the heat plate and the bottom of the cabinet. You can use electrical tape to secure it there. Do not place it inside the enclosure as your reptile should not be able to touch the wires.
Check your heating mat and thermostat closely for the first five or six hours to make sure everything is working properly. Use an infrared thermometer (temperature gun) to check the temperature inside the enclosure, just above the substrate. Adjust the thermostat if you find it getting too hot or too cold.
From there, you should not have to do anything else. Your thermostat will do all the work of monitoring and adjusting the temperature. Just make sure you check it from time to time to make sure everything is still working as it should.
Where to place the under tank heat pad?
Heaters can be placed under the base of the tank or on the tank wall. This last configuration is usually used in high terrariums, where tropical climbing species are housed.
Which is the best under tank heat mat for a leopard gecko?
The leopard gecko is a small animal, this is usually held in terrariums of 10 to 20 gallons capacity, low height, so it is recommended to use heaters 6x 8 inches and 8 w of power. Preferably from Zoo Med, Ipower, or Aiicioo.
Can I use an under-tank heater as a secondary heat source for a bearded dragon?
Bearded dragons are majestic reptiles that reach great size. When juveniles may be housed in a 40-gallon tank, but adults require a terrarium above 60 gallons. These reptiles have diurnal habits and need in their configuration periods of light and darkness of 12 hours each. The main source, in this case, is the mercury bulbs, but if the weather conditions prevent reaching the temperatures required by the animal, you can use a 16 watts heater for the 40-gallon tank and one of 24 for the 60-gallon tank. These heaters are an excellent secondary source of heat.
A simple way to check if our reptile is comfortable and the temperature is optimal is to observe its feeding and displacement.
When temperatures drop they lose appetite and tend to lethargic.
May I use an under tank heater for plastic terrariums?
You may place an under tank heater in a plastic terrarium without the risk of melting. Yes, you may, if you take some safety measures.
To avoid overheating and the unlikely melting of the plastic is that as a rule, you MUST use a thermostat. It will be configured for a maximum of 100 Fahrenheit, in the case of green iguanas.
Considering that the melting point of different types of plastic varies widely, generally at temperatures above boiling water (212 Fahrenheit). The probability that a heater of 8, 16, and even 24 watts of power will reach those temperatures.
Should I use an under tank heater for plastic terrariums?
No, you shouldn’t. Plastic is a terrible heat conductor. To heat the reptile tank, reaching the optimum temperature, the UTH would have to work above its normal parameters. This has at least 3 downside effects.
- Unnecessary expenditure of money.
- The terrarium hot zone now occupies more than half of the reptile’s tank, altering its habitat.
- Plastic terrariums are neither aesthetic nor durable and tend to turn yellow with heat and time.
How to set an Under Tank Heater properly.
At this point, we will assume that the pad size and type have already been selected. It is common sense to place the heating pad before any other operation when the terrarium is still empty. Trying to orient the pad and ensure good contact is difficult without turning the terrarium.
As a rule, people place the heater at one end of the base, covering 1/3 of the base of the terrarium. Nevertheless, you may also place it on any wall. This area is the hot zone. The temperature emitted will pass through the terrarium walls and substrate, creating a temperature gradient throughout the enclosure. The hot zone is just above the heater. In the opposite zone, the cold zone is where the live food and the water bowl should be placed. To check temperatures are within the recommended range, you can make measurements at different points of the terrain, at different times. For this you can use a simple thermometer o if you want to make things easier, you can purchase a reliable infrared thermometer, so you can take measurements fast and effortless.
The bottom of the terrarium should be clean before installation. A good glass cleaner will be sufficient to remove any dirt or grease that may affect the adhesive of the pad over time.
Determine in advance the final position and orientation of the pad. Once the pad contacts the glass, it is quite difficult to remove.
Installing the under tank heating pad
You will see the adhesive of the pad after remove the paper cover, leaving the pad as if it were a big sticker. The next step is to rest a short edge of the pad along with the glass. Then, with a swaying motion, gently slide the pad over the glass. Apply gentle pressure, avoiding not to bend the pad too much.
Once in place, press firmly against the glass, paying close attention to the corners and around the power cord. An added benefit of installing in an empty tank is the ability to look through and see where the pad is or is not making good contact.
Spacers to Avoid Overheating
The last step is to install the plastic “feet” included in the lower corners of the terrarium. These tiny bumpers adhere permanently to the terrarium molding and effectively elevate it from the surface on which it rests ¼” or so. This space allows for easy exit of the power cable from the bottom of the terrarium, and also allows excess heat to escape, preventing malfunction or overheating.
If you need a heating pad for the leopard gecko or any other reptile tank, we recommend using Zoo Med, Power, and Aiicioo under the tank heaters, although there are many others with excellent results.
For 10 to 20-gallon glass reptile tanks we use 8 watts 6″ x 8″ heating pads. In slightly larger tanks from 30 to 40 gallons capacity, we should use 8×12 inch thermal mats, that emit about 16 watts of power.
and for large terrariums, such as Carolina Custom Cages from 50 to 60 gallons the 24-watt heaters with 8 x 18 inches.
ALWAYS connect a digital thermostat to the Under Tank Heater. This will prevent possible accidents and your terrarium will stay warm 24 hours if supervised.