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3 Best Basking Bulbs For Chameleons (Review)

Do you want to set up your Chameleon’s habitat just right so it lives a healthy life?

Are you worried about keeping your Chameleon’s cage warm enough?

As we all know, the correct habitat setup is critical for Chameleon’s health.

One of the important parts of this setup is the basking spot.

The correct temperature for this spot is essential for the cold-blooded reptile to help regulate body temperature.

With so many options out there, it’s hard to find the best basking bulb for a Chameleon.

Good basking bulbs should be at least 75 W and produce enough heat to get the basking spot up towards 95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C). Our picks for the best basking bulbs are:

Fluker's Basking Spotlight Bulbs for Reptiles,100 watts,incandescent light
  • Directs heat and light toward a specific area for basking reptiles
  • Package Dimensions: 14.224 H x 4.572 L x 7.874 W (centimetres)
  • Package Weight: 0.018 kilograms
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Check out the rest of the article for more details.

best basking bulb for chameleon

Light and Heat Requirements of Chameleons

Chameleons are ectothermic creatures. Their body temperature rises and falls according to their environment. They need a range of temperatures to live a healthy life. 

In the wild, the sun is their ultimate heat source. They absorb the heat when needed and then retreat to the shaded areas to cool down. 

As a chameleon parent, you need to mimic this natural setting as best you can in their habitat. 

When it comes to a light and heat source, you need three types of bulbs in your chameleon’s habitat.

  • Basking lamp – The incandescent bulb in the heat lamp provides heat.
  • UVB light – UVB rays from UVB light help chameleons to produce vitamin D3 so they can absorb calcium and stay safe from metabolic bone disease. Compact fluorescent lamps are a good source.
  • Full spectrum lightPet chameleons need it to see things around them and remain alert. It also helps the plants in their enclosures to grow and thrive.  

You can’t skip the UVB bulb. Otherwise, your chammy will get seriously ill.

Baines et al, a veterinary surgeon, conducted research that suggests that a T5 high-output strip bulb with a reflector is the best choice for chameleons. The image below demonstrates why.

UV requirements of chameleons

If you notice the bottom left image, you’ll see that a UVB strip light with a reflector is the ultimate solution for optimal lighting! It’s because this method provides superior breadth and depth of light penetration into the cage.

Different chameleon species have different heat and light requirements. 

Why?

Well, because they all come from different elevation levels and climatic conditions. 

The cool side for veiled chameleons should be between 75-80°F. Keep the warm side in the range of 80-85°F and the basking area at 95°F.

Jackson’s chameleons, on the other hand, prefer the nighttime temperatures drop to 50-65°F. If you have one, maintain the ambient temperature for your chammy at 68-75°F. And don’t go above 85°F in it’s basking zone.

Panther chameleons like their hot spot to be around 80-86⁰F, and their nighttime temperature between 68⁰F and 71.6⁰F.

What Is A Basking Spot?

When it comes to reptiles, a basking area is a place in the cage where the reptile will go to raise its body temperature and soak in extra UVB radiation.

Cold-blooded reptiles, such as the Chameleon, don’t regulate their body temperature internally as we warm-blooded creatures do.

They need external forces to help them heat up and cool down.

The heating up is especially important.

Higher temperatures help with digestion, activity levels, and overall health.

For this reason, you must have the correct setup for a basking spot.

What Makes A Good Basking Area For Chameleons?

The exact requirements depend on your species of Chameleon, but there are some general guidelines you may follow.

The basking spot temperature should be kept between 85° to 95° degrees Fahrenheit (29° – 35° C) in the daytime.

There needs to be a single heat lamp pointed at this spot.

chameleon basking in its basking spot

6″ to 7″ inches (17.78 cm) above the spot is a good goal for placing the basketball.

The temperature of the spot should be checked with a general thermometer or, better yet, using an infrared spa checking thermometer.

The reviews below focus on the basking heating bulb.

However, there also needs to be UVB lighting at the basking area.

UVB lights provide radiation similar to the natural sunlight, which provides the Chameleon vitamin D.

This vitamin B is needed to help absorb calcium.

In captivity, pet chameleons need calcium to avoid diseases such as metabolic bone disease.

A good UVB bulb should provide 5 to 10% output and reach at least 12″ inches (30.48 cm) in its penetration.

In some cases, such as mercury vapor lights, the lamps may provide both heat and UVB.

These bulbs will save you effort, but they often cost more and have shorter lifespans.

What A Good Basking Bulb For Chameleon Needs

This section will talk about the features of heat lamps you need to know when shopping.

Use the information to help you inform your reading of the reviews below.

Ensure these features are met for those who want to shop outside this list.

Or you could save yourself some time and pick one of the ones on our reviewed list.

Wattage/Heat Output

The first and most important element of a heat bulb is how much heat is put out.

Know the wattage required depends on the type of bulb you are using.

A good rule of thumb is to look for a basking bulb of at least 75 W.

Getting a bulb with these specifications will provide enough heat for the basking spot.

Less than 75 W, your light won’t produce enough heat to get the basking spot up to the required temperature.

Higher than 175 W, and the heat bulb will provide too much heat and could burn your pet.

The exception is with the double-duty mercury vapor bulbs.

They need a higher wattage to provide both UVB and heat.

With these, it’s OK to go up higher.

Just make sure you spot-check the temperature with this bulb as well.

Heat Range

In most cases, basking light either provides a spot of heat or general heat.

basking bulbs for a chameleon's enclosure

Either one works just fine for a basking spot, but those which provide a wider range of heat may also heat your cage to the appropriate amount.

On the downside, these wide-range ones sometimes won’t provide enough heat at a specific spot.

Always make sure to check the temperature with any bulb you buy.

Whichever type you buy and whatever range they have, make sure the bulb’s placed 6″ to 7″ inches (17.78 cm) above where the basking spot is.

Any closer, and you could run into some problems.

The Chameleon may end up touching the bulb and get burned, or the heat is just too close to the basking spot in your Chameleon will get overheated.

Lifespan

Whether UVB or heating, lights are recurring costs of owning a Chameleon.

Heating lights, such as those used in basking spots tend to have a shorter lifespan.

In the worst cases, the last about two weeks.

In general, the best heat bulb may last up to two months.

Check out how long each bulb lasts and balance it with the cost when you read the reviews below.

Socket Requirement

Since heating lights provide a lot of heat, they also store a lot of heat in their bulbs.

Where they connect to a socket can get hot depending on the brand and design of the bulb.

Be sure to check what the manufacturer says the bulb needs for a socket.

In many cases, a heating bulb will need a ceramic socket to connect to.

The ceramic handles the higher heat better without cracking or melting.

Porcelain is another common option, but this one doesn’t tend to work out as well.

Some bulbs are self-ballasted, which means they provide an extra piece to absorb the heat between the bulb in the socket.

This doesn’t always work effectively, so make sure to check with actual users who have said in their experience.

We helped you out with this in the reviews below.

Review Of The Best Basking Bulbs For Chameleons

And this section will talk about the features of each product and how they affect the use of the bulb.

We will also mention the price point of each product, but since prices often fluctuate, make sure you click the button to check for the most current price.

Fluker’s Basking Spotlight Bulb 100W

Fluker's Basking Spotlight Bulbs for Reptiles,100 watts,incandescent light
  • Directs heat and light toward a specific area for basking reptiles
  • Package Dimensions: 14.224 H x 4.572 L x 7.874 W (centimetres)
  • Package Weight: 0.018 kilograms
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Fluker’s is a well-respected brand in the reptile world.

This affordable bulb comes in various sizes to meet the needs of different reptile cages.

Look for different bundles, including the following:

  • 2 pack
  • 60 W
  • 75 W
  • 100 W
  • 150 W

For Chameleons, the best choices are 75 W and 100 W.

This will also heat the basking spot and much of the rest of the cage.

Higher than this is also an option.

A higher wattage will heat the whole cage and save you some time, but you increase the risk of burning or overheating.

However, keeping the lamp outside the cage pointing in and moving the bulb a little farther away should go a long way in fixing this problem.

Fluker’s light here is a spotlight option. It directs most of its energy and heat in a narrow path.

This keeps your basking spot right where it needs to be without losing its efficiency.

The light is bright, but the color of the light is warm, so you won’t be blinding when looking at your pet.

Depending on the wattage selected, expect to use a ceramic socket to avoid burning out the lamp it’s in.

The light heats through infrared heating, usually more efficient and effective at heating reptiles.

Pros For This Product:

  • Great value
  • Lasts for 1-2 months
  • Different wattage options to meet your tank needs

Cons For This Product:

  • Bulb gets quite hot

Zoo Med Repti Basking Spot Lamp 150W

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Zoo Med’s medium-priced spot lamp 150 W option is perfect for those who want to make sure the basking spot gets to the right temperature or has a larger cage.

This 2-pack comes in at a medium price per bulb.

This bulb was designed with desert and tropical reptiles alike.

Hailing from the tropical rainforest as Chameleons do, this makes it a solid choice for your pet.

Zoo Med uses its special double-reflector design in this bulb.

This increases the bulb’s heat on point and energy efficiency beyond other comparable bulbs.

The company claims a 35% increase over its competition.

While we haven’t measured the exact energy levels, we’ve seen efficient heating with this powerful 150W bulb.

This bulb may be placed outside the Chameleon cage pointing in and still be powerful enough to work.

As a plus, this light is also powerful enough to use with other reptiles, such as bearded dragons, which require an even higher temperature.

You’ll need a ceramic socket with this higher energy bulb.

Anything less will burn out your lamp.

Pros For This Product:

  • Good value
  • Powerful heat
  • Energy efficient
  • Lasts for 1-2 months

Cons For This Product:

  • Hard on sockets
  • More likely to blow when handled by bare skin (use rubber gloves to avoid oils from your skin)

Zoo Med Repti Basking Lamps 75W

Zoo Med Repti Basking Lamps 75 Watt (4 Pack)
  • Spotlight lamp for focus on defined areas
  • The Reptile Basking Spot Lamps have a unique patented double reflector
  • UVA output
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

This is a more moderator (and affordable) bulb option for Chameleons.

Zoo Med took the same double-reflector design from above and lessened the wattage.

With this bundle, you get four bulbs at a much lower price per bulb than either product on our list.

75 W is more in line with what a standard size Chameleon cage will need.

This wattage will heat the basking spot well when placed 6″ – 7″ inches (17.78 cm) above the spot.

Unfortunately, it likely won’t heat the rest of the cage enough.

You may need to consider an additional heating element such as a heating pad or heating rock.

This bulb doesn’t get as hot at lower power and won’t require as much of a special lamp to use as the higher wattage options.

The life of these bulbs tends to be higher than other, more powerful options.

While 1-2 months is a good range, this one sticks close to the two months (or a little longer) mark much more consistently.

Pros For This Product:

  • Excellent value
  • Provides enough heat for basking spot
  • Lasts 2+ months
  • Not hard on the lamp sockets

Cons For This Product:

  • Won’t heat the rest of the cage as well

Other Sources of Heat for a Pet Chameleon

Chameleons prefer their peace and quiet during the night. And no lights. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep their enclosure heated during the dark hours. 

There are other sources of heat you can use to maintain a comfortable temperature in your pet’s habitat.

Ceramic Heat Emitter

Ceramic heat emitters provide heat without light. This makes them ideal for use at night in a chameleon’s enclosure, as it won’t disrupt the natural day and night cycle of your pet.

These emitters are made from ceramic material that is able to withstand high temperatures without shattering, making them safe for use with reptiles.

Heat Panels

Heat panels are another option for heating a chameleon’s habitat at night. These panels are placed on the side or back of the enclosure, providing a gentle and consistent heat source throughout the night.

Some models come with built-in thermostats to maintain a constant temperature, while others require an external thermostat to regulate the heat output.

Heat Rocks and Heat Mats

These two options are a complete no-no for chameleons. They are not able to detect high levels of heat and can easily get burned if they come into contact with these heating elements.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can I Use A Regular Bulb As A Basking Light?

No, these lights won’t produce enough heat directed at a single spot to get the spot up to 95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C).

Is There a UVB Bulb I Should Avoid?

Yes. Compact coiled UVB bulbs have a history of causing eye problems in pet chameleons. Plus, they don’t provide UVB coverage like a strip bulb does.

How Many Watts Does A Chameleon Need?

75 W is the baseline for heating the basking spot.

If you want to heat the whole cage or keep the heat more consistent, a 100 W or even 150 W bulb will do.

How Hot Does A 100Q Bulb Get?

Typically, the 100W produces enough heat to get a basking spot up to 95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C).

The bulb’s surface gets up to 250° degrees Fahrenheit (121° C), which is why you need to keep the bulb itself far from the reptile.

Should I Turn My Chameleon Light Off At Night?

Yes. Turning the light off lowers the temperature and lessens the brightness of the cage.

This allows the Chameleon to follow a natural day-night cycle.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about the best basking bulbs for Chameleons.

These products are all excellent choices, but you need to decide what’s best for what you have available and your current situation.

Feel free to reference this page repeatedly as you try different heat lamps.

Once you find the right one, don’t be afraid to stack up, so you don’t run out on your Chameleon.

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