Best UVB Bulb For Chameleons

Are you setting up a chameleon’s habitat for the first time and want to make sure they have everything they need for a long and healthy life?

One of the best things we can do as owners are providing a stable and healthy habitat for our reptile friends.

There’s a lot involved in setting up a good habitat, but one of the most often forgotten pieces is the UVB lighting.

Many find it difficult to sort through the hundreds of products out there to find the best UVB bulb for chameleons.

The best UVB lights for chameleons are ones with a good radiation output, long life, easy use, and good, affordable price.

Check out the rest of the article for more information on what to look for and in-depth reviews of the products.

UVB Light Requirements

UVB lighting is a must-have for chameleons.

As with most reptiles, chameleons need UVB lighting to absorb vitamin D.

This vitamin D is necessary for the proper absorption of minerals, the most important of which is calcium.

Reptiles in captivity have a higher likelihood of developing a calcium deficiency.

This deficiency may result in serious health problems.

In minor cases, the Chameleon is simply more likely to break bones and get injured.

In the worst case is, they can develop a disease called metabolic bone disease.

This is a severe deprivation of calcium in a weakening of the skeletal structure.

At best, this disease could result in deformities, which may never be fixed.

At the worst, metabolic bone disease may result in death.

To avoid this problem, part of the solution is providing adequate UVB lighting.

We recommend you keep a dedicated UVB light on in the chameleon’s cage for 12 hours per day.

It’s easiest to turn the light on in the morning when you turn the heater on and turn it off when you turn the heater off before going to bed.

It’s not advisable to keep the UVB lighting on all the time.

This will interrupt the chameleon’s day-night cycle and mess with the chameleon’s natural resting period.

Without this rest, the Chameleon will develop other health issues related to stress.

The UVB light should also be dedicated to this purpose, and you should not pick a light doing double duty.

UVB radiation is important enough; it needs its own solution.

What To Look For And UVB Lighting

In this section, we’ll go over some common features to look at for UVB lighting.

Use the information in this section to inform your reading of the reviews below.

UVB Output

For a UVB light to work with our reptile friends, it needs to put out a certain amount of radiation.

The safest option is to choose a light designed for use in reptile cages.

If you’re looking for some other kind of UVB light, make sure it puts out 5 to 10% of UVB radiation.

The best place to find lights like this is at pet stores or online pet stores.

Still, you may want to just save yourself a ton of time and pick one of our options below.

Life expectancy

UVB lights aren’t too expensive, but you still don’t want to be replacing and changing them every few weeks.

When shopping for UVB lights or looking for one to buy, it’s important to consider the life of the ball.

There will always be fluctuations even with the same line of products, but with research and talking to people who use them, we can get a good idea of how long a bulb will last.

Look in our reviews for mentions on how long each bulb will last and use this to decide if the length of time is right for you.

Even a few days without UVB light may cause damage.

When you do buy, buy more than one just in case.


There are two main types of UVB bulbs.

The first is the dedicated UVB bulb, which is usually fluorescent.

These are more affordable, have longer life spans, and avoid overheating.

The other type is mercury vapor bulbs.

These bulbs simulate natural sunlight by lighting mercury vapor inside the bulb.

This results in good UVB output and heat as well.

However, these aren’t known to be energy efficient and also have much shorter lives.

Either style works well, though we typically recommend a single UVB light and a single heating light as separate units.

But the vapor-style bulb will do the job nicely.

Review Of The Best UVB Bulbs For Chameleons

best uvb bulb for chameleons

In this section, we’ll break down each of our picks for the best UVB bulbs into their features for you to see.

Included are also condensed pros and cons for you to reference quickly.

Zoo Med ReptiSun Compact Fluorescent

(2 Pack) Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 Uvb Mini Compact...
  • Perfect for all desert and basking reptiles
  • 10% UVB output& 30% UVA output
  • Uses a special UVB transmitting quartz glass for maximum UVB penetration

These two packs of UVB bulbs by Zoo Med make a great option for anyone looking for a balance of price and quality.

These compact fluorescent bulbs give off light and UVB from any simple lamp socket.

The lights offer 10% UVB output and 30% UVA.

With a 10% UVB in particular, this bulb is more than enough to offer plenty of vitamin D to your chameleon.

One of the ReptiSun line’s best features is the transmitting quartz glass they use in the construction of the bulbs.

Some bulbs lose a lot of their energy by pushing the light through the material.

But this quartz glass offers a more efficient material to pass through, making the ReptiSun more powerful for less energy.

The bulbs put out light in any direction, whether you install it vertically or horizontally.

The life of these bulbs is impressive as well.

Zoo Med suggests changing them once per year for certain.

In my experience and what others have said as well, 6-8 months is a more realistic option.

Still, the length of time these will stay good is impressive.

Pros For This Product:

  • Good value for two bulbs
  • Powerful UVB output
  • Six-month life span
  • Easy fit to most lamps

Cons For This Product:

  • Some products may come damaged but are quickly replaced by Zoo Med

Exo Terra Repti Glo Fluorescent

Exo Terra Repti-Glo 5.0 Compact Tropical Terrarium...
  • 26-watt compact fluorescent bulb ideal for all tropical and sub-tropical reptiles
  • High UVB output effective up to 12 inches (30 cm)
  • Provides necessary UVB rays for optimal calcium metabolism

As a similar option, you may wish to go for the Exo Terra Repti Glo bulb.

The price of this single bulb is higher than others, but the quality and strength make up for it.

It provides enough UVB and UVA for your reptile to live a healthy life.

This bulb is designed with reptiles in mind.

Its higher energy output results in more activity, appetite, and sexual actions from your pet.

Specifically, tropical pets such as our chameleons will get a lot from the UVB light.

The high UVB output at 12″ inches makes this an ideal option for a basking spot, but the range will still fill the cage beyond this range and help any live plants in the enclosure stay healthy as well.

Exo Terra built this bulb to go with the heating/light Repti-Glo 2.0 for a complete lighting setup for your chameleon.

The light screws into any lamp socket and won’t overheat it, so you don’t have to worry about any specialty sockets.

Pros For This Product:

  • Long life 6-12 months
  • High UVB output
  • Adaptable for any socket
  • Far UV reach

Cons For This Product:

  • Higher price

Exo Terra Solar Glo Lamp

Exo Terra Solar Glo Sun Simulating Terrarium Heat...
  • Self-ballasted mercury vapor bulb fits into a standard ceramic socket (no ballast needed)
  • Optimal levels of UVB, UVA, visual light and heat in one bulb
  • Provides the benefits of natural sunlight

The Solar Glo lamp is at a high price, but the mercury vapor nature of the bulb allows it to produce enough heat and UVB all in one bulb.

This makes setting up a little easier on you and helps ensure nothing is forgotten when changing bulbs. 

Exo Terra’s light here is meant for reptiles and specifically to combat metabolic bone disease by offering plenty of vitamin D.

The mercury vapor style bulb is closer to the natural light of the sun.

This helps with better absorbing UVB rays and gives it a more natural look.

The UVB penetration up to 12″ inches and somewhat beyond.

The heat output is also a powerful 160w.

This would be more than a simple heating light would need for a chameleon cage, but the bulb also produces UVB energy.

The self-ballasted design means it could work with any screw-in lamp socket it fits in.

Still, we would recommend playing it safe with a hot light such as this and use a ceramic socket.

Pros For This Product:

  • Provides a lot of UVB light
  • Also gives off heat for the cage
  • Better matches the natural sunlight

Cons For This Product:

  • High price
  • More heat at the base

AMZ COOL Reptile Sun

As a more affordable option to the Exo Terra vapor lamp, this AMZ COOL bulb will do a similar job at a lower price.

The mercury vapor still gives off enough UVB and heat to do the job of both light and heat.

It releases more vitamin D to help prevent metabolic bone disease.

Its reflective design does a good job of dispersing the heat better than some other mercury lights, which tend to have hot spots with dangerously high temperatures.

AMZCOOL made this bulb to be a little more energy efficient by using more reflection in the heating process.

While not made specifically for reptiles (its but one of a long list of pets on the list), this bulb will work just fine in a chameleon cage.

The heat output is good, but you’ll still probably need another heating element in addition to this light over the basking spot.

Pros For This Product:

  • Medium price
  • Good UVB output
  • Extra heat and sun-like style
  • Energy efficient

Cons For This Product:

  • The base gets hot; watch your socket
  • Burns out quickly (around one month)

Repti Zoo Spectrum Self Ballasted Mercury

REPTI ZOO Reptile Heat Lamp 100W Full Spectrum UVA...
  • The UVA + UVB Sun Basking Spot Lamp Provides the necessary radiation of the sun for reptiles (visibile light,heat,UVA and...
  • UVA provides the warmth which cold-blooded animals are used to in nature;UVB production of Vitamin D3 to maintain healthy...
  • The UVA UVB reptile light Self-Ballasted,no external ballast required,with integrated thermal protection against overheating

Somewhere in between the two mercury vapor options is the ZooMed version of the product.

At a medium price for such a bulb, Zoo Med offers an efficient heat-UVB combination.

With a strong UVA output, this bulb will heat cold-blooded reptiles such as the chameleon.

This is important due to the chameleon’s natural, tropical habitat.

With reptiles in mind, Repti Zoo can make a product to avoid calcium deficiencies and metabolic bone disease. 

The self-ballasted design reduces and moderates the heat at the base of the bulb.

This allows you to use any socket type with the mercury light (though we still suggest ceramic sockets as the best option).

One feature Repti Zoo adds is a temperature shut-off to prevent overheating and potential fire problems.

For heat, this bulb is available in 100w and 160w options.

Either will do well at the basking spot, but the 160w is more likely to heat the whole cage area well.

The life of the heating light is shorter, much like the other heating lights.

If you want a pure long life, you may wish to check out the UVB only options.

Pros For This Product:

  • Great UVB output
  • Good heating as well
  • Self-ballast works well in protecting the light and socket

Cons For This Product:

  • May shut off in warmer rooms more often to avoid overheating
  • Shorter life span (around one month)

Direct Comparison

For quick reference, use this chart of the pros and cons of each product.

If you can’t narrow it down past this, go back and read more into the details of each product or check out the user reviews yourself by clicking the item button in each section above.

UVB Bulb Pros Cons
Zoo Med ReptiSun Compact Fluorescent   Good value for two bulbsPowerful UVB outputSix-month life spanEasy fit to most lamps   Some products may come damaged but are quickly replaced by Zoo Med.  
Exo Terra Repti Glo Fluorescent   Long life 6-12 monthsHigh UVB outputAdaptable for any socketFar UV reach   Higher price
Exo Terra Solar Glo Lamp   Provides a lot of UVB light Also gives off heat for the cageBetter matches the natural sunlight High priceMore heat at the base
AMZ COOL Reptile Sun   Medium priceGood UVB outputExtra heat and sun-like styleEnergy efficient   The base gets hot; watch your socketBurns out quickly (around one month)  
Repti Zoo Spectrum Self Ballasted Mercury   Great UVB outputGood heating as wellSelf-ballast works well in protecting the light and socket May shut off in warmer rooms more often to avoid overheatingShorter life span (around one month)

Commonly Asked Questions

In this section, we answer questions related to UVB lights for chameleons.

For more details, reference any linked articles.

Can my chameleon absorb UVB through the window? – No, sunlight’s UVB doesn’t penetrate through the window.

We don’t recommend keeping the chameleon near a window at all.

A window is a place where the humidity is likely to be less and will dry out the chameleon’s skin.

Check out more help in controlling the humidity with the best misting systems for chameleons.

Do chameleons need UVA or UVB? – Both. UVA is produced with almost any light and any heat, so this usually isn’t the concern.

UVB is the one to watch for as it provides the all-important vitamin D.

Can chameleons get too much UVB? – Yes, it’s possible, though unlikely.

If you follow our 12-hour per day guidelines, your pet won’t be overexposed unless you use multiple lights or extremely high UVB bulbs.

Going beyond 14 hours per day may result in overexposure, causing other illnesses.

Can I use a regular bulb for my chameleon? – Yes, but not as a replacement for heat or UVB lights.

The heat must be kept up to 85° at the basking spot, and the chameleon must be exposed to at least 10 hours of UVB light per day (12 is better) from a bulb, putting out 5-10% UVB.

Your regular bulb isn’t going to do this, so you must use other light along with it.

How long do UVB bulbs last? – Generally, a UVB will last around six months.

Some may stretch longer than this, but six months is a good rule of thumb. 

One of the major issues to be aware of with UVB lights is how the bulb will still give off light but not UVB towards the end of its time.

This is why you should change them based on a time limit you set rather than waiting for the whole thing to burn out.


We hope you use this review of the best UVB bulbs for chameleons to help you decide which is going to be the best for your situation.

Any of these will do great, but you need to pick one and see if it works.

Remember to look for a 5-10% UVB output and leave it on for 12 hours per day.

Do this, and your pet will have one part of its best habitat set up just right.

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