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The Best Heat Lamps for Your Home

Heat lamps, also known as infrared lamps, are slightly different from regular lamps in one key way. Besides giving off light, which most models will, heat lamps also emit heat and infrared radiation. While well-known for their ability to warm buildings and industrial processes, heat lamps can be a useful item to have around the house as well. They’re a handy way to keep plants alive and healthy, especially during the colder months of the year. If you have a cold-blooded pet like a turtle or snake, a heat lamp is an ideal way to make sure they stay warm at all times in their tank. Many species of reptiles will also love sunning themselves in the light as well as enjoying the heat it gives off. Some baby animals, like chicks, ducklings, and even mammals like kittens or puppies, may require an extra source of heat until they’re old enough to naturally regulate their own body temperature. You may also find a heat lamp a useful addition to your bathroom, basement, patio, or kitchen. Some people like to attach a heat lamp near their shower, so they don’t feel as cold once the water turns off. Basements tend to be the coldest room in a house, so a heat lamp can be a useful addition there. They are also useful for anyone who wants to lounge out on their patio when it’s not particularly warm outside. And since many restaurants use heat lamps to prevent prepared food from losing its heat before being served to the customer, there’s no reason you can’t use one to do the same with food in your own kitchen. They can also speed up the drying of paint or chemicals. For whatever reason it may be, if you’re looking to buy a heat lamp, here are a few we recommend.

What to Consider in Heat Lamps

Here are a few things to think about before buying a heat lamp:

  • Pets: If you’re buying a heat lamp for a pet, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. If your pet is cold-blooded, they’ll need a heat lamp with a bulb that gives off UV light (both UVA and UVB). You may want to make sure the lamp either doesn’t emit a glow at all or has a filter, preferably a red or dark one, whether you’re buying for cold- or warm-blooded pets or animals alike. This safety precaution prevents the glare of the bulbs from harming the animals’ eyes. You’ll want to make sure that the heat lamp can be mounted on top of a tank, aquarium, or cage, well away from your animals so that they don’t accidentally overheat or get burned by standing, sitting, or lying down too close to it.
  • Wattage: As a general rule of thumb, the higher a heat lamp’s wattage, the more heat it’ll be able to provide. A bulb with 100 to 150 watts is a pretty standard baseline for most household heat lamps. If you want something more powerful, look for a 200-, 250-, or even 300-watt model. There are also plenty of less potent heat lamps, offering 50 or 75 watts, or even as low as 25 watts. Some models may even have sockets that are compatible with a range of bulbs with different wattages, which allows you to switch up the power as needed. Always be sure to check the provided wattage before you buy to ensure it’s right for your needs.
  • Features: There are quite a few helpful little features you can look for in a heat lamp that you might find convenient or worthwhile. Some have dark filters or actually don’t give off any light, which is handy for protecting animals’ eyes or if you want to keep your pet’s tank in your room but are sensitive to light when falling asleep. In corded models, look for the longest possible cords to give yourself a better range. Some bulbs are waterproof, which is handy if you own turtles or tropical fish or plan to use your heat lamp outdoors. Others have more than one temperature setting or built-in lamp clamps for convenient placement. Some heat lamps come with a lamp holder; others only provide the bulb. Some models have clamps, which make them quick, easy, and convenient to mount and place. Others have long necks and rotatable heads, ideal for anyone look for a basking lamp for reptiles. Some heat lamps may even come equipped with a thermostat or thermometer so that you never have to guess the temperature and humidity being given off by your heat lamp at any given moment.

Most Portable: Woods Clamp Lamp Portable Light Source

If you plan to use your new heat lamp for multiple tasks, outdoors, or as a temporary way to keep baby animals like chicks and piglets warm, you’ll want to look for a model that is highly portable. Portable heat lamps are not only easy to carry and move around as needed but are also generally easy and convenient to place or hang wherever you want them, as this model proves. It’s a great heat source for chicken and pig brooders, indoor gardens, and much more. The metal guard protects the bulb inside, so you can use it outdoors or indoors. The spring grip lamp clamp allows you to hang or attach it onto almost any surface, from desks to tables to studios to wooden beams and more. The clamp is also adjustable so that you can point the heat lamp in whichever direction you need. The 10-inch size is easy to carry, and the attached 6-foot cord ensures that you don’t have to set it up right next to an outlet. This heat lamp is compatible with any E26 bulb with up to 300 watts (sold separately), so you can use it as a mild or powerful heat source as needed. Besides the standard 10-inch heat lamp, there’s also an upgraded and limited edition model available for purchase.

Best Set: Simple Deluxe Ceramic Heat Emitter Lamp

You may need to buy more than one heat lamp for your home. Maybe you have an extra-large tank for your pet reptiles, or you have two different types of pets that require heat lamps that live in separate tanks. Maybe you have a large or especially drafty basement or bathroom that needs the extra heat. Whatever your reasoning, if you’re in the market for more than one heat lamp, consider this pair of ceramic bulbs. Each bulb has 150 watts of power. Install them into any standard E26 lamp base, and they can last you for up to 10,000 hours each. Unlike some heat lamps, these bulbs actually don’t emit a visible glow or luminescence. Therefore, you can mount them on your pet’s tank or aquarium and run them 24/7 without worrying about disrupting their sleeping cycle or your own. However, be careful not to leave these heat lamps too close to your animals or any flammable materials as they might cause burns, and be careful not to touch them for at least an hour after turning them off so avoid scalding your hand. If you want some extra accessories, you can buy these bulbs with a thermometer, hygrometer, or both. These tools allow you to more precisely track the temperature and humidity given off by your heat lamps.

Best for Reptiles: DADYPET Reptile Basking Heat Lamp

Reptiles, amphibians, and fish are all cold-blooded animals. This means that they can’t regulate their own internal body temperatures, so their body temperature changes to match that of their environment. They thus require a warm environment to live in; otherwise, they become lethargic and sleepy and may even go into a state of total torpor or hibernation. If you own any of these types of animals, a heat lamp is a great way to ensure their cage or tank stays warm enough to keep them happy, healthy, and active. This basking heat lamp was designed with all species of reptiles and other cold-blooded animals in mind. It’s also great for any other type of pet or animal that may need some extra warmth, like birds, spiders, or hedgehogs. It gives off both UVA and UVB waves, with a new and improved reflector that allows reptiles especially to absorb the heat more easily and promote healthy bone growth. The lamp has an adjustable head and can rotate a full 360 degrees so that you can angle it any way needed for your pet’s benefit. The clamp on the end can clip onto the rim of a tank, hang like a hook, or even be mounted on the wall or ceiling. The clip is made of high-strength plastic that won’t loosen over time, and the lamp itself is plated to prevent oxidation and explosion. The light fixture inside the shade is made of metal with a ceramic interior that’s resistant to high temperatures and accommodating to many types and lengths of bulbs. This model does, however, come with two compatible 25-watt bulbs, with spares readily available for purchase as well.

Best for Nighttime: Zilla Reptile Terrarium Black Heat Lamp

If you own a smaller pet, you likely keep their cage or tank in your bedroom. However, if the pet in question requires a heat lamp to keep their environment warm, you may find that the glow from the lamp may interrupt your sleep at night or make it harder for you to fall asleep. And the light may be disrupting your pet’s sleeping schedule as well, especially if they’re naturally nocturnal. This black heat lamp was designed specifically to address this problem. While it still gives off the ambient warmth that makes a livable and healthy environment for reptiles and other cold-blooded animals, the incandescent bulb gives off an extremely gentle glow. The black color acts as a filter so that the bulb doesn’t emit visual light. This means you can keep the heat lamp running all night without disturbing your or your pet’s sleep. You can buy this heat lamp lightbulb with 50, 75, 100, or 150 watts of power, and with a red filter instead of a black one if you prefer.

Best for Nighttime

Zilla Reptile Terrarium Heat Lamps Incandescent Bulb, Night Black,100W

A heat lamp with a gentle glow and black color that warms your pet's environment without interrupting your or their sleep.

Most Variety: BOEESPAT Ceramic Heat Emitter Lamp

Depending on how often you use heat lamps and the compatibility of your light fixtures, your power or quantity needs may vary considerably. This ceramic heat lamp offers several different purchasing options that make it easier to find the right one to fit your personal needs. You can buy it as a 60-watt, 100-watt, or 150-watt bulb, as a single model, or in packs of two or three. All have an E26 lamp base. These bulbs are made of heavy-duty and high purity ceramic clay, which is waterproof and anti-crack so that it’s safe for outdoor use or in aquatic animal environments. The pattern on the bulbs’ heads ensures that the heat emits in a uniform manner to mimic the sun. This heat lamp has high thermal efficiency to better promote the health of your pets, and each bulb may last as long as 15,000 hours, ideal for 24/7 use. They also don’t give off any light, just heat, so you won’t find yourself or your pets’ sleep habits disturbed by this heat lamp, no matter the time of day.

Most Variety

BOEESPAT Ceramic Heat Emitter 60W Reptile Ceramic Heat Lamp Brooder Coop Pet Ceramic Heat Lamp Bulb

A strong, waterproof, ceramic heat lamp that gives off heat but no light and offers a variety of power and quantity options.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »

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