Does the type of thermostat matter?
Yes, it is important to get the optimum thermostat for how you choose to heat your reptiles enclosure.
Certain thermostats are made for heat mats, other for bulbs.
Choosing the incorrect model can also cost you more money in the long term as it will decrease the longevity of your heat source.
Mat stats are the cheapest on the list costing around £20 ($25).
These are the most tempting due to their low price but often are not adequate for the job.
This type of thermostat should only be used when heating the vivarium with heat cable or a heat mat.
Multiple enclosure can be added to one, always check the maximum Watt capacity and try to stay 10 – 15% below as a safety barrier.
Do not used a mat thermostat for any type of bulb, this not only will cost more in energy bills, but you will find yourself going through bulbs every few months.
Mat stats work off a simple ON/OFF switch, for example:
You set the temperature to 30 degrees.
The thermostat will stay on 100% until it achieves 31 degrees, then complete turn off till the temp drops to 29.
It will then repeat this hundreds of times throughout the day.
More expensive options turn on and off quicker, therefore keeping the temperature more consistent.
A dimming thermostat is the best for keeping a consistent temperature within the enclosure at all times.
These work by adding resistance which limits the power that goes to the heat source by a percentage.
For example, if you set the thermostat to 28 degrees, the thermostat will heat up till 28 is achieved, then it will find the % of power needed to keep it at exactly that throughout the day.
High quality ones even have day/night settings, this allows you to set the time in which you may want the temp to drop slightly for the night-time.
If you are using a heat bulb of any kind, we would recommend investing in one of these as they prolong the life of the bulbs (saving you money) and make the reptiles temps more stable.
You can also use one of these with heat cable or mats, this will have no added benefit, but you will be rest assured of a high-quality thermostat if you decide to change heating option.
These typically rang anywhere between £60 – £150 ($75 – $200) but they are worth their weight in gold over longer periods.
We recommend and use, the microclimate Evo lite, this does the job and we have been using them for years.
The microclimate is the best value for money and has never let us down apart from one replacement fuse across 4 of them.
A thermostat is a confusing choice, but we always recommend buying one that is high quality and from a reputable brand.
These keep your reptile safe and do not need to be replaced at all if you start with the right one off the bat.
Even if you have a snake on a mat thermostat, consider investing into a dimming thermostat as this will show you data and highlight any issues quicker than a mat stat.
Also, you will find a dimming thermostat can handle more vivarium’s as the maximum wattage is often higher.