Best Light For Leopard Geckos

Do you get lost looking at the hundreds of heating lamp options for reptiles?

Are you a concerned owner who wants the best gear for your leopard gecko’s habitat?

Most owners get lost in all the heating lamp options, and since most of them are designed for all reptiles, you may wonder which is the best heat lamp for your pet.

Don’t worry! You’re not alone!

We’re here to help with our guide to the best light for leopard geckos.

The best lights for leopard geckos need to heat the air well and provide a day-like light to help regulate the pet’s light cycle. The wattage may fluctuate from 75-120 watts depending on the type of bulb used.

Our picks for the top 5 are:

Look ahead for our buyer’s guide, detailed review of each product, and commonly asked questions about each product.

What Makes The Best Heat Lamp For Leopard Gecko

This is our buyer’s guide on the best heat lamps for leopard geckos.

Each quality is something you need to keep in mind when shopping on your own.

This will also help inform your decision when looking at the five products we recommend.

Type

There are different types of lightbulbs you may stumble across when searching for reptile heating lamps.

Sadly, not all of these are good for leopard geckos, who are nocturnal creatures.

They don’t need as much heat from above and need the heat to come from closer to the ground.

This is why most owners start with a heating mat or heating pad and adding a heat light to even things out a little.

Here are the different types you may stumble across along with brief descriptions:

Incandescent – Incandescent is the standard light bulb most people will use.

For reptiles, this light bulb produces a good amount of heat and light, though it won’t last as long as an LED.

These don’t produce much UVB to speak of, but this is just fine.

Leopard geckos don’t need it.

They’re often the most affordable of the types, and when they die, they die.

There’s no drop in output until the end of its life.

This is one of the bulbs we recommend for leopard geckos.

Halogen – Halogen is an interesting type of bulb which has high wattage and produces heat, light, and UVB.

Generally, this is a fine choice for reptiles, but this isn’t the case with leopard geckos.

Don’t use this kind.

They last a good amount of time, but they gradually lose UV output and are unobservable without a meter.

They often cost more.

Infrared – Infrared bulbs look kind of funny to most people.

They don’t seem to have bulbs on them at all, but a flat disc.

These guys last a long time, are energy-efficient, and put out a good amount of heat.

We recommend this type as a heating lamp for leopard geckos.

They may require a special socket in the lamp.

Ceramic or porcelain will do the job.

These usually cost a little more, but this is often offset by how long it lasts.

LED – LED lights are all the rage now with many sorts of lighting needs.

These lights are tiny and very efficient.

They last an extremely long time.

Usually, these lights don’t give off any heat, so this wouldn’t be the best choice for a heating lamp.

But if all you need is light and the heating mat is good enough for heat, an LED light may be what you want.

For this article, we won’t be looking at LED and instead focus on heat lights specifically.

Wattage

Wattage is the amount of energy used by the bulb.

In general, the higher the watts on the package, the more heat is put out.

This differs depending on the type (halogen has higher numbers but doesn’t put out equal amounts of heat compared to other bulbs at the same watts).

Leopard geckos hide during most of the day, so the air temperature isn’t as important as the ground heat.

Because you’ll be using a heating mat, the bulb doesn’t need to be as powerful as other desert reptiles.

A range of 60-100W bulbs should be enough.

Make sure to check the temperature regularly to make sure it’s right.

For reference, leopard geckos need a 90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C) temperature at the ground and an air temperature no lower than 72° degrees Fahrenheit (22° C).

Lifespan

The lifespan of the bulb isn’t something most people think about right away, but this light will be on for 12 hours per day.

It’s going to run out quicker than most other ones.

A cheaper product won’t last as long, and you’ll be spending to replace it more often.

In the long run, you may not save money.

We’ll mention each product’s general lifespan in our reviews and let you decide what’s acceptable.

Price

Price is important for any budget-conscious owner.

Typically, heating lights will be the second-highest cost of owning a leopard gecko behind food and vitamin supplements.

Don’t just go for the highest or lowest priced option, though.

You may end up with something outside your needs, but do keep it in mind.

We’ll mention general price ranges in our reviews below, but be sure to click any buttons to check the most current pricing (including sales) on Amazon.

Color

The color of the bulb may not seem like a big deal, and it mostly isn’t.

There’s some debate whether blue, white, or yellow is best for daytime.

Some owners say white and yellow are most like the sun, and the leopard gecko will enjoy it the most.

Others say yellow and white are too bright when this is close to the reptile, so blue is the way to go.

In our opinion, this isn’t a big deal, but if you have a preference one way or another, pick which one you like best and think looks best with your tank.

Socket Required

Whatever heat light you decide to get, make sure you know what type of socket is required.

While all bulbs will mostly fit any lamp and work, the hotter ones may end up melting the lamp socket if it’s not tough enough.

Do some research if you’re going away from our list, but we’ll mention what each product needs below.

Usually, a reptile heat lamp will come with a ceramic socket to better absorb and handle the high heat.

UVB Light Or Heat Light?

All this talk, and you may notice we don’t mention UV light much when it comes to leopard geckos.

As we’ve touched on before, leopard geckos are nocturnal.

Specifically, they are most active at sunset and sunrise.

During the day, they hide and absorb heat from the ground.

At night, they burn this heat-energy to do their bug hunting.

Because they’re nocturnal, they don’t need any UVB light at all to stay healthy.

Experts agree a UVB light won’t help their health at all, but it won’t hurt either.

So it’s up to you.

However, if you keep safe, live plants in the tank, these will need UVB to stay healthy.

Review Of The Best Lights For Leopard Geckos

best light for leopard gecko

This section covers each of our picks and discusses their features in practical terms.

Use this information to help you decide which is right for you.

Zoo Med Day & Night Reptile Bulb Combo Pack

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Zoo Med Day Night Reptile Bulbs (60 watts) Combo...
  • Pack of two bulbs - one daylight blue and one nightlight red
  • Blue bulb provides heat with bright naturalistic light for day
  • True red glass heat lamp offers 24 hour heating

This Zoo Med combo pack is one of the most popular choices for reptile owners.

This affordable product gives you two bulbs, each with its specific purpose.

Each bulb is incandescent; this is perfect for leopard geckos as it won’t blast them with too much direct heat.

The bulbs are 60W, suitable for heating the air, but not enough to heat the ground.

This is just fine for leopard geckos as the primary heat source comes from the heating mat you’ll need to use.

What makes this product unique is the use of colors with each bulb.

One is blue, and one is red.

The blue one is meant to be used during the day.

It provides a soft and clear color that some owners feel is gentler in the reptiles’ eyes.

The other bulb is red for use at night.

Since leopard geckos are nocturnal, you may want to look at your pet without blasting it with bright light and disrupting its sleep cycle.

The light still gives off heat.

This would help some reptiles who need more heat all the time, but not the leopard gecko as much.

Still, using the light to watch your pet may be fun, but this other bulb shouldn’t be on all the time.

The drop in temperature is good for your pet at night.

For lifespan, this bulb is about average and nothing to write home about.

Some owners have said it lasts up to a year, but most agree you’ll get around six months out of it.

Pros For This Product:

  • Good heat output for leopard gecko
  • Lasts a while
  • The blue color is gentle on the gecko’s eyes
  • A red bulb for nighttime may be enjoyable for the owner

Cons For This Product:

  • May have trouble heating a 20-gallon or larger tank

Zilla Premium Reflector Domes

Zilla Premium Reflector Dome, Black 8.5"
  • Powder-coated black on the outside and reflective white on the inside for added luster and long life
  • Large 8.5" size fits a wide varitey of incandescent, fluorescent and ceramic heat emitting bulbs
  • Topped with a ceramic socket that lasts under high heat

Zilla’s medium-priced dome isn’t a light in and of itself, but it provides a vital part of the whole setup.

This dome is essentially the lamp.

You’ll need to get a bulb to use it with, so this product should be where you start.

We always recommend the reflector dome for reptile owners because of its quality and durability.

The specialized socket handles all bulbs at high heat, so you don’t have to worry about melting down.

The outside is coated with a powder black to keep the electric parts cool, while the inside of the dome is treated white and shaped to reflect more of the energy out into the tank.

This helps make even mediocre heating bulbs more energy-efficient and powerful.

It comes with a spring clip allowing you to clip it on any tank easily.

Many users rave about the 6′ foot cord and on/off switch, making it easy to use.

This lamp will last for many years before it has any problems.

It’s designed to be used with many bulbs over a long time.

In the leopard gecko’s lifespan, you probably won’t even need to buy another one.

Pros For This Product:

  • Safe for all bulbs
  • Last for years
  • Easy to use
  • Attaches anywhere on the tank

Cons For This Product:

  • No bulb included

Zacro Reptile Heat Lamp 100W with One Digital Thermometer

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Zacro Reptile Heat Lamp 100W with One Digital...
  • Perfect 24 hour heat source for all types of reptiles, amphibians, birds, hamsters, and one digital thermometer included
  • 99% high thermal efficiency, the non-light heater lamp will not disturb animals sleep pattern
  • Solid ceramics element has a good heat radiation feature(also works in sealed box), which can works

This Zacro heat lamp is more pricey than most other bulbs, but the features and efficiency of this ceramic bulb make it all worth it for many.

As a ceramic bulb, the Zacro’s product is more efficient than other types of bulbs.

This bulb uses infrared heat to warm up the air.

The flat disc-like shape allows for heat to expel into the air faster.

This bulb uses 100W, which is more than enough to heat even a larger tank for a leopard gecko.

The lifespan of one of these is much longer than a standard bulb.

Expect it to last at least one year.

On top of this, the bulb comes with a digital thermometer to help you get better readings on what the tank is heating up to in different places.

Take note; however, you MUST have a ceramic socket in the lamp part when you use this.

The heat put off by the bulb is too strong for standard lamps to handle.

Pros For This Product:

  • Puts off a lot of heat
  • Energy-efficient design and infrared heat
  • Lasts a long time
  • Handles the air heating in a large tank

Cons For This Product:

  • Requires a ceramic socket
  • May need to add more visible light to simulate the sun.

Exo Terra Sun-Glo Basking Spot Lamp

Exo Terra Sun-Glo Basking Spot Lamp,...
  • 100-watt broad spectrum daylight spot lamp for terrariums
  • Neodymium gives terrarium animals and plants a more natural appearance
  • Increases ambient air temperature; Creates a basking area for thermoregulation

This Exo Terra basking lamp is an affordable product without many extra features.

It merely produces good heat and light, so if this is all you want, check this product out.

The incandescent light comes in different wattage amounts, including:

  • 25W
  • 50W
  • 75W
  • 100W
  • 150W

For leopard geckos, we recommend the 100W or the 75W option.

The 150W is too strong, and less than 75W is too weak.

The light is bright and produces a good amount of heat.

Combined with a good lamp or reflector dome, this will be enough to heat some of the air.

The lifespan is shorter than other bulbs.

Some report it was lasting only a month, but most users experience it lasting 2-3 months.

The lower price will offset this shorter lifespan for some.

As a basking lamp, this bulb will heat one spot much more than others.

This is fine for leopard geckos as long as the temp at the ground doesn’t get much higher than 90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C).

Leopard geckos may respond well to such a variety of temperatures (hotter by the light and cooler away from it).

This will allow them to choose where they are and regulate their body temperature.

Pros For This Product:

  • Affordable
  • Provides good heat
  • Lights up the tank like the sun

Cons For This Product:

  • Doesn’t last as long
  • May heat one spot too much

Zilla Reptile Terrarium Heat Lamps Incandescent Bulb

Zilla Reptile Terrarium Heat Lamps Incandescent...
  • Provides light and heat that encourages reptiles to bask and regulate their body temperature
  • Creates a natural environment for reptiles by simulating the daytime sun
  • Full spectrum lighting enhances natural colors of the animal and environment

This Zilla bulb is a medium-priced bulb designed to heat a space of 10 to 20 gallons.

This is the recommended habitat size for leopard geckos.

The bulb is a simple heat lamp like the last product with more quality in its construction.

The heavy-duty filaments help the bulb last longer than other incandescents, at least six months on average.

Its color is a bright white, but still soft enough, it won’t hurt the gecko’s eyes.

The bulb comes in at 75W, which is within the range you’d want for geckos.

Zilla designed this bulb as the perfect match for its reflector dome mentioned above.

Pros For This Product:

  • Good price for the lifespan
  • Designed for reptiles
  • Perfect 75W for leopard gecko tanks 10-20 gallons

Cons For This Product:

  • May not heat edges of the tank

Commonly Asked Questions

What lighting do leopard geckos need? – Leopard geckos need, at the least, a light to help regulate the day-night cycle.

In some cases, the heating mat will be enough for heat, but you still need a light to tell the gecko when it’s rest time and active time.

Should I turn my leopard gecko’s light off at night? – Yes!

The rule for all reptiles is 12 hours lights and heat on and 12 hours lights and heat off.

This simulates the day-night cycle.

As cold-blooded creatures, reptiles like the leopard gecko need these changes to tell them when they can rest and store energy.

Without it, their bodies get confused and stressed out, causing other health issues.

Do leopard geckos need a heat lamp? – Yes and no.

While it’s possible to get away with the correct heating without a heat lamp, it’s still strongly encouraged.

The light will help even out the air temperatures and help keep a moist hide with higher humidity.

Are LED lights safe for leopard geckos? – Yes! High wattage lights aren’t needed for leopard geckos, and halogen should be avoided.

LED may produce light only or low heat, both of which are fine for a leopard gecko as long as the heating mat gets the temperatures up to where it needs to be.

Are red lights bad for leopard geckos? – The jury is out on this one.

For some reptiles, there seems to be evidence a red light will affect their eyes negatively.

For leopard geckos, it doesn’t seem to cause a problem. If you’re nervous, don’t use it.

Remember, no heat lamp should replace a heating mat for leopard geckos.

They MUST have heat rising from the ground to absorb the heat properly.

Conclusion

We hope this guide for the best light for leopard geckos helps you make a decision.

Each of these five products will do the job you need it to, but now it’s a matter of personal preference and exact habitat.

By doing the research, rest easy knowing you’re a caring owner who wants the best for your pet.

Now you know what it is, so get one and see how easy it is to use.