What are reptile thermostats and do I need it for my terrarium?
Reptile thermostats are devices that will monitor the temperature of your terrarium’s warm spot. There is a temperature probe attached to the thermostat. You would lower the probe down to the terrarium floor right above where your under tank heating pad is, and secure the probe with either tape or a weighted decor. Then you would set the ideal temperature for your reptile. Once done, plug your under tank heating pad directly into the thermostat.
If the under tank heating pad ever gets above a certain temperature threshold, the thermostat would either turn it off, or lower the voltage on it to reduce its heat. This is important as under tank heating pads are known to overheat. It can happen at anytime randomly, sometimes due to the heating pad malfunctioning. These heating pads do not have temperature controls in place as they are not designed to only heat to a certain temperature.
This is where reptile thermostats come in.
Thermostats allow you to set a temperature threshold as a precautionary measure. This gives you peace of mind and allows you to leave the under tank heating pads plugged in 24/7. If you have a leopard gecko, the ideal temperature is 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit. Once set, the thermostat will make sure your terrarium floor’s hot spot never gets above 95 degrees.
So what’s the difference between proportional and non-proportional thermostats?
Proportional thermostats will lower the voltage when the temperature is above a certain threshold. It does not cut the power off, it keeps the power on to the under tank heating pad. It simply adjusts the voltage to get it hotter or cooler based on your thermostat temperature settings.
Non-proportional thermostats will cut the power off to your under tank heating pad once the temperature goes above the threshold. When temperature goes back down, the non-proportional thermostat will turn the power back on to your under tank heating pad.
For general hobbyists, the non-proportional thermostats should work fine for you. They are more affordable (around $30), and they will give you peace of mind 24/7. For breeders and extreme hobbyists, proportional thermostats are the way to go. Incubators and rack heating will work better with proportional thermostats. They cost more ($100+) but they are absolute must have’s for breeders.
For non-proportional thermostats, we recommend Hydrofarm Digital Thermostat. You won’t find digital readings on other thermostats at this price range.
For proportional thermostats, we recommend Spyder Robotics Herpstat.
This is not to be confused with rheostats. Rheostats are like a light dimmer, you have to manually adjust the rheostat to get the ideal temperature. But if your under tank heating pad ever overheats, and you are not there to test the temperature and adjust the rheostat, your reptiles could get burned. There is no safety mechanism in the rheostats, no peace of mind.