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The 5 Best UVB Lights For Bearded Dragons

best uvb light for bearded dragon

Bearded dragons need UVB light as much as they need food. Your bearded dragons may develop Metabolic Bone Disease when you pick the wrong UVB light, which is essential to calcium absorption in their bodies. No amount of calcium powder will help if you do not have the right UVB light.

We purchased and tested the majority of the bulbs that we recommend. Also, we measured the specific UV outputs to compare them with their claims.

In the end, we found the top 5 UVB lights that will keep your bearded dragons healthy. Keep on reading to know which UVB light is best for you and your beardie!

Best UVB Lights For Bearded Dragons

Here is a quick rundown of our recommended UVB lights + our reviews of them:

All of these options, as far as those we have tried and tested, have great UVB output. Some of them also emit heat that can supplement the main heat source of the enclosure or be used as the only heat source.

To be 100% sure that the bulbs we recommend truly deliver what they promise, we even measured the UV-Index values of the bulbs with the SolarMeter 6.5R.

Why Buy A UVB Light For Bearded Dragons?

Bearded dragons need a certain spectrum of ultraviolet light, which is UVB. In the wild, they get this from natural sunlight, but in captivity, this can be given by using UVB lights.

UVB lights are needed by bearded dragons to make Vitamin D. Once their skin absorbs Vitamin D, the heat in the enclosure can turn this into Vitamin D3, which produces a hormone in their bodies to help in the absorption of calcium.

Therefore, if there are no UVB lights, calcium cannot be properly metabolized in their systems. Even though you give them huge amounts of calcium powder and other Vitamin D3 supplements, these cannot be activated without proper UVB lighting.

When you have good UVB light, it ensures that your bearded dragon has good bone health. This will prevent Metabolic Bone Disease, reproductive issues, and inadequate development.

Reviews Of The Best UVB Lights For Bearded Dragons

Let’s have a look at our recommended bulbs in detail!

1. Exo Terra Solar Glo

Exo Terra Solar-Glo Mercury Vapor Bulb, 80W, 80 W
$54.99
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02/01/2023 02:04 pm GMT

The Exo Terra Solar Glo is a mercury vapor bulb with a full light spectrum. It is an all-in-one bulb as it can be a heat source, visual light, and UVB light.

This bulb is also durable and more energy efficient compared to other bulbs as it is a mercury vapor bulb.

You can use it as overhead lighting as it produces a high-intensity white light. You do not need a ballast for this due to its own integrated circuit.

It fits an E27 fixture which Exo Terra also has (Exo Terra Reptile dome) but you can also use other fixtures just as long as it has an E27 socket.

In our full review, we tested the 80 watts bulb. The result of our test concludes that it matches their temperature claims, in fact, the temperature levels we measured were higher, so it can be used as a heat source.

In terms of the UVI, the UVB output of the bulb is strong that you can create Ferguson zones 2-4.

What are Ferguson zones? Ferguson zones, named after Dr. Gary Ferguson, give you an idea of a reptile’s natural UV requirements. Bearded dragon require Ferguson Zone 3 which means UV-Index from 1.0 to 2.6. In other words: beardies enjoy mostly full sunlight.

We highly recommend this bulb for its great UVB and heat output. It is also a plus that this bulb is beginner friendly because it does not need much setup.

Pros

  • Has a powerful light
  • Has consistent UVB output
  • A three-in-one bulb
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Can only be used vertically. By nature, when mercury vapor bulbs are set up at an angle, they may give out
  • Some people heard a slight humming noise from the bulb, but this did not happen when we tested it

2. Zoo Med Powersun

Zoo Med PowerSun UV UVB (160 watt)
$66.90
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02/01/2023 08:00 am GMT

The Zoo Med Powersun is another mercury vapor bulb. This is also like the Exo Terra Solar Glo in such a way that it is a three-in-one bulb.

However, we did not brand this bulb as the best mercury vapor bulb due to the fact that it has varying temperatures in terms of heat.

You can see in our review here that we tested this 100 watts bulb and the heat that it emits is still lower compared to the heat that was produced by the Exo Terra Solar Glo which is just 80 watts.

On the other hand, it works really well in creating various Ferguson zones which is why we called it the one that has the best UVB reach. The UVB outputs are consistent at different distances.

However, we still think that the power of this bulb is best suited for desert-dwelling reptiles or partial sun or open-basking reptiles such as the bearded dragon which is in Ferguson zone 3.

Therefore, if you choose to get this bulb, it is best to not depend on it as your sole heat source. But in terms of UVB, you are all set.

This will also be perfect for bigger enclosures as it has a wide reach for the UVB output.

Pros

  • Its UVB output has a wide reach which is perfect for creating different Ferguson zones
  • Can be used as a supplemental heat source
  • Works great for bigger enclosures
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • May not last as long as its full warranty (12 months)
  • The heat that it produces is weak for a 100 watts bulb

3. Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0

(2 Pack) Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 Uvb Mini Compact Fluorescent
$28.06 ($14.03 / Count)


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02/02/2023 12:40 am GMT

In a world that is hyping the power of a mercury vapor bulb for UVB light, there is still a compact fluorescent lamp that can rival the mighty and it is the Zoo Med Reptisun.

This is also a three-in-one bulb, but it is slightly different in such a way that it provides UVA, UVB, and visible light. Therefore, this one does not emit heat.

With this lamp, you can create Ferguson zones 2-4 which is perfect for bearded dragons that are in Ferguson zone 3. You can view our measurements of the UV output in our full review here.

This lamp will enable you to easily customize a Ferguson zone due to its powerful UVB output. However, the results are still a bit lower than the Exo Terra Solar Glo.

In order to get accurate results in terms of UV output, you can remove the screen cover of the enclosure so as not to block the UV rays.

The best thing about this lamp is that you do not have to worry about overheating your beardie. You can create different Ferguson zones without getting too near the bulb.

Pros

  • Affordable option
  • Durable (can last for a year, but it is best to replace after 6 months)
  • Good UVB output
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Has a specified burn-in output within which after the period is observed, you have to move it closer to the basking spot to get accurate UVB measurements
  • The bulb does not provide heat
  • Using a screen cover can distort the UV output

4. Exo Terra Reptile UVB 150

Exo Terra Repti-Glo 10.0 Compact Desert Terrarium Lamp, UVB Light Bulb for Reptiles, PT2189
$15.85
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02/01/2023 08:14 am GMT

The Exo Terra UVB 150 is the former Repti Glo 10.0. This is a bulb that was designed specifically for desert-dwelling reptiles.

This bulb provides UVB and does not emit heat. So you need a separate heat source. Even when it tends to get hot, the temperature is not that noticeable to act as supplemental heat.

You can take a look at our full review here to see the UV measurements as well as the Ferguson zones that you can create with this bulb.

What is so special about this bulb is the fact that the UV rays that it provides can penetrate into screen covers that are dense. Therefore, you do not need to remove your screen cover in order to get an accurate UVB output.

Further, it is extremely affordable compared to other UVB bulbs. So this is a good option if you do not want to break the bank but at the same time want a good quality UVB bulb.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Strong UVB output
  • Durable (can last for a year, but it is best to change every 6 months)
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Some users have noted a slight buzzing sound when turned on
  • Not suited for non-desert dwelling reptiles as the light may hurt their eyes

5. All-In-One High-End Kit: Arcadia Pro T5 UVB D3+ Dragon Kit

Arcadia Reptile Pro T5 UVB D3+ Dragon 14%UV-B 24inch Single Lamp Kit
$141.99
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02/02/2023 12:35 am GMT

This is a good option if you are looking for a UVB bulb that has all the attachments and even accessories to maintain the best UVB output. The price may be surprising to some, but keep in mind that it comes as a kit.

If you buy the attachments and accessories separately from the UVB bulb, you will still end up with a higher price.

This is best suited for larger enclosures as the reach of the UVB output is wide, so you can create different Ferguson zones with it.

It comes with a T bulb, fixture, power cord, free link cable, mounting hardware, and a reflector that is removable. The light that it emits is a powerful and bright white light, so do not look at it directly as it will hurt your eyes.

The bulb provides both UVA and UVB, but it does not emit heat. It is natural to replace UVB bulbs every 6 months to maintain consistent UVB output, however for this bulb, it was specifically designed to last longer than 6 months.

Pros

  • Comes with everything you need for UVB lighting
  • Good UVB output
  • UV has a wide reach
  • Best for bigger enclosures
  • Durable

Cons

  • A bit tricky to set up, especially as the bulb is not the screw-in type
  • Expensive compared to other bulbs

What Type Of UVB Bulb Is Best For Bearded Dragons?

what type of UVB is best for bearded dragons?

It depends on the size of the enclosure, your intended placement of the basking spot, and your energy efficiency needs. Based on these criteria, you can more or less assess which type of UVB bulb will be best for your bearded dragon.

Here are the three types of UVB bulbs:

Mercury Vapor Bulbs For Bearded Dragons

This is a bulb that is gas discharged and filled with mercury vapor.

Without getting too much into the technical details in terms of how this bulb works (quartz tube acts as a light insulator and the borosilicate glass bulb prevents the escape of UV light), it is a good option if you want UVB and heat.

Tip: Also have a look at the best heat lamps for bearded dragons here!

It is a favorite among beardie owners as it is more energy efficient compared to fluorescent bulbs but at the same time, there is consistent UVB output.

The Exo Terra Solar Glo and the Zoo Med Powersun are both mercury vapor bulbs. Both of these bulbs have a good UVB reach so you can use this type of bulb on small and big enclosures.

Even when the basking spot is a bit farther from the bulb, the UVB that your beardie will get is still enough.

Fluorescent Bulbs For Bearded Dragons

These are the bulbs that we are most familiar with. You may be even using this bulb inside your house! There are two types of this bulb: T5 and T8.

The biggest difference between the two is their diameter. Hence, the T5 is a bit smaller than the T8 but the light output is the same for both.

It is just with the T5, the light is more concentrated in a certain area. This is also the reason why owners tend to use T5s which are perfect for the basking spot of beardies.

Fluorescent bulbs also do not emit much heat, some even do not emit heat at all. So this is a good choice if you already have a heat source and you just need a separate UVB bulb.

The Arcadia Pro T5 UVB D3+ Dragon Kit has a fluorescent bulb. It will work great on bigger enclosures and even when your beardie is directly under this light, it will not hurt its eyes.

Coil/Compact Fluorescent Bulbs For Bearded Dragons

Coil or compact fluorescent bulbs are fluorescent bulbs that have a spiraled structure. This enables the bulb to emit light without consuming much energy. Therefore, these bulbs usually do not emit heat.

Even when they do emit heat, they cannot act as the main source of heat in the enclosure. So if you choose to get this type of bulb, you should have another bulb that supplies heat.

The Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 and the Exo Terra UVB 150 are compact fluorescent bulbs. You can use both for small and big enclosures.

You just have to measure the UV output so as to determine whether you should or should not remove the mesh or screen cover for full results.

Are Coil Fluorescent Bulbs Bad For Bearded Dragons?

A lot of bearded dragon owners are apprehensive about getting coil fluorescent bulbs as there were instances in the past that caused damage to the eyes of bearded dragons.

It is good to note that manufacturers have already made adjustments to their coil fluorescent bulbs to correct this mistake.

The new compact fluorescent bulbs (just like the ones that we recommended) are perfectly safe for your bearded dragon.

Keep in mind that coil fluorescent bulbs tend to have a narrower focus than the other bulb types. Therefore, you have to be strategic about the placement of the basking spot.

What Is The Best Wattage Of UVB Bulbs For Bearded Dragons?

what wattage should uvb bulbs for bearded dragons be?

When it comes to UVB bulbs, the wattage doesn’t matter unless it is a UVB bulb that also puts out heat, like Mercury Vapor bulbs.

For those bulbs, 100w to 150w are sufficient, depending on tank size and the temperature in the room where the tank was placed.

If your UVB bulb only puts out UVB and not heat, make sure it is a 10.0 bulb and not a 5.0 bulb, as 5.0 bulbs are weaker and don’t have a sufficient UVB output for bearded dragons.

How To Set Up UVB Light For Bearded Dragons

  • Placement of fluorescent UVB light for bearded dragons

It is best to place these bulbs inside the tanks to get the full UVB output. If this is impossible, you can remove the screen cover or the mesh at the top of the tank to reap the full effects of the UV output.

You can also make use of reflectors if you do not want to remove the screen cover.

  • Placement of mercury vapor UVB light for bearded dragons

You do not have to remove the screen cover or mesh of the tank to attach this bulb as the UV output is strong enough to penetrate through that layer.

Instead, you should place it a few inches above the mesh of the tank. You can use a lamp stand for this (like this one here).

How Far Should The UVB Light Be Placed From The Basking Spot

Given that the fluorescent bulbs are placed inside the tank, they should be 6-10 inches away from the basking spot.

If you are using a mercury vapor bulb, it should be placed 3-4 inches above the screen cover, which is approximately 7-11 inches away from the basking spot.

No need to worry if you feel like these distances are too far for your bearded dragons. They can still get UVB.

Per the results of our measurements (measured up to 11 in.) in our reviews, you can still create Ferguson zone 3 with our recommended bulbs, which are perfect for bearded dragons.

How Often Should Your Replace The UVB Bulb In Your Bearded Dragon Tank?

when should I replace the UVB in my bearded dragon tank?

You should replace your UVB lights every 6 months. As we continuously use the bulbs (even when switched off at night), their UVB output decreases.

This is the reason why most UVB lights have a 6-month warranty. If a UVB bulb claims to last with a full UVB output for a year, it is still best to measure the output on the 6th month, just to be safe.

How Much UVB Do Bearded Dragons Need?

The rule of thumb is to get a UVB light with an output of 8-10%. As for the hours that are needed for your bearded dragon to be exposed to UVB, they are as follows:

  • Summer: 14-16 hours
  • Winter: 10-12 hours

You can tell that your bearded dragon has had enough UVB when it permanently moves to the cool sport or stays inside the hide. Usually, this happens when the sun starts to set, which is also your cue to turn off the lights.

If you notice that your bearded dragon is just staying in the hide or even staying near its water bowl during the day, check your UVB lights as well as heating to make sure that the tank is not overheated.

How Long Can Bearded Dragons Survive Without UVB?

According to this study, bearded dragons can survive for a week, even without UVB. However, that does not mean that they are healthy. In fact, the study showed that on the first two days without UVB, their health started to decline.

Surprisingly, the digestive system was the first one that encountered problems, which was followed by bone problems.

This shows us that even though UVB is closely associated with the bone health of our bearded dragons, it also plays a huge role in other bodily systems.

In the event that your UVB light gives out, you should have a backup ready to go. You should not let your bearded dragons live without UVB for more than 2 days.

If you do not have a backup UVB light, it is a good alternative to let your beardie out in the open to let it get UVB from the sun.

Recap Of The Best UVB Bulbs For Bearded Dragons

Conclusion

Be mindful of the placement of the UVB bulb as well as the basking spot and cool area. No amount of good UVB bulbs can benefit your beardie, if it is not getting the proper UVB output due to the wrong setup.

Pierre And The ReptileCraze Team
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