Best Heat Lamp for Tortoise (2021) | Buying Guide and Reviews

by Carl Crane | Updated: March 2, 2021

In the wild, tortoises and other reptiles have a good supply of heat of light from the sun.

As cold-blooded animals, they require an external source of heat to keep warm, and that’s why heating is important to them.

As a pet owner, you must ensure that your tortoise lacks nothing including adequate heat, and that’s why we have these reviews of the best heat lamps for a tortoise to help you with your choice.

Animals need to move away from danger, and hunt for food and heat is needed for this agility.

Tortoises also need heat to digest food and other metabolic processes, they need heat for a healthy immune system, to reproduce, and for efficient blood circulation.

And so without a good source of heat, they would die.

In the wild, they move towards the sun when they need warmth, but in captivity, it’s up to you to ensure that your tortoise friend lacks noting and stays healthy.

Reptiles generally do not need as much heat energy as warm-blooded animals, so it’s possible to provide them with the right amount of heat they require.

The amount of heat varies and depends on the species.

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Complete Guide for Best Heat Lamp for Tortoise

Sources of heat for your tortoise come in different forms, and you can choose from them depending on your tortoise specie, your budget, or your preference.

No matter what you go for, avoid overheating the entire tortoise enclosure with a heat lamp that is too powerful for your enclosure size.

Also, place the heat lamp for tortoise away from direct contact to avoid your pet getting burned.

Types of Heating Products for Tortoise

Heat Pads and Panels

Heat pads and panels are available in various sizes and strengths and have the common design of being attached to the bottom or sides of your terrarium.

This way it heats the enclosure by spreading heat through the wall or floor of the tank.

Even though many pet owners prefer to place heating pads at the bottom of the enclosure, they can also be placed at the top so that the heat can be radiated downward.

Since it’s not good practice to heat the entire terrarium at once, place the heating pad at one end of the enclosure so that the opposite side can remain cool.

This way your tortoise can alternate between hot and cold depending on its needs.

Since heating pads and panels don’t emit light, they can be used all day to keep your tortoise warm and that’s an alluring feature.

Tortoise species that don’t require basking lights can also benefit from the use of heat pads as their sole source of heat.

They however make use of adhesives for attachment and once attached, they can’t be taken down.

It is good practice to raise the bottom of the enclosure if the heat pad is to be used at the bottom.

This way, air can circulate beneath and prevent overheating the terrarium or even cracking it.

Radiant Heat Lamp

These lamps come in the forms of halogen and incandescent lamps and are used for tortoises that love to bask.

Halogen lamps are preferable for terrariums where the humidity is necessary as halogen lamps are less likely to dry out the moisture in the air.

Incandescent lamps are the cheaper options and produce a lot of heat, depending on the wattage of course.

There are different types of radiant lamps and they include:

●      Ceramic heat emitters: they give off infrared heat and can be used all day without disturbing the day/night time cycle of your pet tortoise. These emitters are popular used especially in high humidity terrariums because they do not dry the air as opposed to incandescent bulbs.

●      Nighttime incandescent basking bulbs: these types of bulbs warm your reptile without producing light. And so since they don’t produce light, they can be used at night to heat the terrarium.

●      Red heat lamps: these lamps emit infrared radiation together with a soft red glow that allows you to see your pet at night without disturbing their night time. Since it doesn’t interfere with their sleep, the lamps can be used all day to provide heat.

●      Daylight bulbs: daylight bulbs go beyond just providing heat as they also provide UV rays. They provide UVB that is necessary for vitamin D3 synthesis and calcium metabolism. Daylight bulbs that are meant for use with reptiles are tweaked to reduce the emerging yellow light so that the bulb doesn’t change the color of your pet.

●      Spotlight basking bulbs: these bulbs produce both heat and UV light, and directs them onto a specific and smaller area. It creates a hotspot where your tortoise and other reptiles can gather for warmth.

●      Mercury vapor lamps: these are a new addition to the market and provide both heat and UV rays. They are convenient to use as they fit into regular incandescent lamp fixtures. Mercury vapor bulbs can’t be used with a rheostat, so its important that you choose the right wattage for your pet’s enclosure.

The Right Temperature for Your Tortoise

The right temperature for your tortoise depends on its heat needs and specie.

Generally, with a temperature of 90 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, you would satisfy the heat needs of your pet tortoise irrespective of its specie.

This temperature can be obtained by putting some factors into consideration like bulb wattage and installation distance.

● With a 50-watt bulb, the ideal distance would be to place it about 6 to 8 inches from the basking area.

● For a 75-watt bulb, the ideal distance would be to install it at 7 to 9 inches away from the asking area.

● If you make use of a 100-watt bulb, the ideal distance would be at 9 to 11 inches from the basking area.

● Bulbs higher than 100 watts are to be installed at 11 to 14 inches from the basking area.

With a good reptile thermometer, you can tell the temperature of the basking area and adjustments can be made by moving the bulb closer or further away from the basking area.

Don’t place the bulb too close or you’ll burn your tortoise.

The tank should have cool spots so your tortoise can regulate its heat based on its need, so don’t heat the entire enclosure.

The Best Heat Lamps for Tortoise

1. Zoo Med Repticare Infrared Ceramic Heat Emitter

First on our list of best heat lamps for a tortoise is the Zoo Med Repticare Infrared Ceramic Heat Emitter.

It’s one of the best options if you are looking for a heating solution for your tortoise’s enclosure that can be used all day long.

You have different wattage options available to you from 60 to 150 watt.

Being a type of infrared bulbs, they produce heat without light, so this bulb is strictly for heat and you would need another source of UVB.

Since they produce a good amount of heat, they can be used to heat your tortoise in the cold evenings and during cold winter months too.

A great part of their use is their durability as unlike regular bulbs, these heat lamps can last for 5 years or more.



2.   OMAYKEY 100W 2-Pack Ceramic Heat Lamp with 1-Pcs Digital Thermometer

This OMAYKEY heat lamp is made of ceramic elements that radiate heat perfectly without emitting light in the process.

This way, the lamp can be used both during the day and at night without interfering with your pet tortoise’s night rest.

It comes with a thermometer to help you monitor the temperature of your pet’s enclosure and ensure that it’s within healthy limits.

Installing this lamp is easy as all you have to do is screw into a standard porcelain E27 socket.

The use of a porcelain socket is essential because if the plastic is used, it would melt due to the heat from the lamp.

The attached digital thermometer takes your pet care to a whole new level as you would not have to work with rough estimates but be sure of the heat of your pet’s enclosure.

This way you can care for your tortoise better and meet its heat needs.

Apart from its use with tortoises, this OMAYKEY heat lamp can be used with other pets including lizards, turtle, snake, chameleon, in aquariums, and also for chicken.



3.   Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent

If you require a bulb that takes care of your pet’s heat and ultraviolet radiation needs, this Zoo Med Reptisun bulb is a great option for you.

It produces a good amount of heat and UVB to ensure your pet tortoise stays healthy and comfortable.

Being a two in one bulb, it also takes care of the need to have multiple bulbs and saves you space and extra cash of multiple purchases and lamp holders.

A good feature of this product is that you are not forced to orientate it in a specific position.

You can place it either horizontally or vertically, depending on your design and it would still produce enough heat and light.

This is a 10.0 UVB bulb and can be used for desert and Mediterranean species of tortoises.

But for forest species or others that don’t need to bask often, go for the 5.0 UVB variant.



4.   Evergreen Pet Supplies 100 Watt UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb

This Evergreen 100 Watt UVA UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb is a great bulb for day time use.

It’s a good source of heat and the beneficial ultraviolet radiation that your pet needs to stay healthy and strong.

So with this, you can be sure that your pet would have an abundance of what it misses from the sun, as you keep it in its enclosure.

If you have any other pets apart from your tortoise, this bulb works great with them too. Examples of such pets are bearded dragons, geckos, snakes, iguanas, toads, frogs, chameleons, and a lot more.

You don’t have to worry about its compatibility with your pet’s enclosure, as it is perfect for a large variety of enclosures.

You can install this for your tortoise in vivarium, tanks, terrariums, vision cages, and others you may have. There is no limit to its use.



5.   Exo Terra Sun-Glo Basking Spot Lamp

Last on our list of best heat lamps for a tortoise is the Exo Terra Sun-Glo Basking Spot Lamp.

It ensures that your pet tortoise and other reptiles you may have got an adequate amount of light and heat to meet up with their metabolic needs.

A beautiful part of using this bulb is that your animals and the plants you may have all maintain their natural appearances due to the presence of neodymium in the glass sleeve of the bulb.

Apart from the heat, it’s a good source of UVA which is important for behavior in your tortoise.

The plants you may have in your pet’s enclosure can also benefit from the broad spectrum light this bulb emits.

So in all, you would have a happy and healthy pet, and plants too.



Things to Look Out for in A Good Heat Lamp for Tortoise


The major difference between heat lamps is their wattage.

Most heat lamps come in wattages of 50, 75, and 100 watts and these are ideal for different tortoises depending on the number of tortoises you have, their size, their heat demand, and the size of the enclosure.

So when making your choice have these factors at the back of your mind.

Nighttime or Daytime Use

Not all heat bulbs produce light as some of them are specifically for heat.

So if you want a bulb that is just to provide warmth for your tortoise, you can make use of the infrared heat lamp.

But if you want to provide light as well as heat for your pet, you should look for a bulb that does both.


Apart from the heat needs of your pet, they also require UVB for vitamin D3 synthesis and UVA for physiologic function.

Some heat lamps provide all these too and you could get an all in one bulb.

But if you want a bulb that heats the air only, then you can go for a heating bulb.


Just like other bulbs, heating bulbs tend to explode fast.

This is especially because of the heat they produce.

So go for a well-recognized brand, and test the bulb for some days before use with your pet t be sure that it isn’t going to explode.

Follow the manufacturer’s guide to improving the lifespan of your bulb.

Commonly Asked Questions About Heat Lamps for Tortoise

How Many Hours of Lighting Does a Tortoise Need?

Tortoises need about 8 to 10 hours of both heat and UV light each day.

This would mimic their natural life in the wild and give them an adequate amount of heat, UVA, and UVB that they need to stay healthy.

How Long Can a Tortoise Go Without a Heat Lamp?

Juvenile tortoises in particular can’t handle the long absence of heat as they require a continuous supply of heat and UVB.

If you would be transferring them to another location, or cleaning their enclosure they can manage the short interruption but longer than that, it could lead to adverse health effects.

Do Tortoises Need a Heat Lamp at Night?

No, tortoises don’t require the heat lamp on at night. Just as in the wild, the heat lamp should be on at the same time the sun is up.

The exception to this is during winter.

Since the days are usually short, you can leave the heat lamp on for a little longer.

Can You Use a Regular Light Bulb for A Tortoise?

No, you can’t.

This is because regular bulbs don’t produce enough heat to keep your tortoise warm, and they don’t emit UVB or UVA that your tortoise needs.


Providing your pet tortoise with food and light isn’t enough as they need to stay in an environment that is a replica of their life in the wild.

And so with these best heat lamps for the tortoise that have been reviewed, you can choose from amongst the bulbs to improve the health and comfort of your pet.

The Zoo Med Repticare Infrared Ceramic Heat Emitter is a great source of heat and can be used all day as it doesn’t interfere with the night rest of your pet tortoise.

OMAYKEY 100W 2-Pack Ceramic Heat Lamp is another great heat bulb that can be used at night too in the cold winter months.

If you require a heat bulb that also produces UVB, then Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent is the right choice for you.

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Carl, the reptile-obsessed creator of this website, got his first turtle years ago and he made a ton of mistakes along the way. His goal now with TheCritterCove is simple: help others to not make the same mistakes that he did!