This is our in-depth review of the best vivariums available in the market for leopard geckos. The last thing you want is to buy such an expensive piece of equipment to then regret it for years to come. Returning the vivarium is quite annoying, especially after you set it up. You have no choice, you must get this right from the very start.
We spent hours here at Reptile Hero analyzing the pros and cons of different vivariums and discussing our personal experiences with other pet owners that have also tried them out for a long time already.
The best enclosure for leopard geckos is by far the Wood Panel Reptile Enclosure from Zen Habitats.
However, you need to know that this is not the only choice you have. In our analysis, other more commercially available vivariums also made the cut. Though they may not be the absolute best ones money can buy, you should still check them out because they are great choices to consider if you are on a really tight budget, looking for the best compromise between quality and price, or you have limited space available for your gecko’s home within your home.
Now then, let’s dive straight into it!
Our number one vivarium for leopard gecko is from Zen Habitats. This product gives you the best bang for your buck without having to compromise with the quality!
|Dimensions (Length x Width x Height)||48 x 24 x 24 inches (120 x 60 x 60 centimeters)|
|Internal Capacity||120 gallons (1,000 pounds)|
|Floor Space||8 square feet (0.74 square meters)|
|Materials||Composite wood panels, galvanized steel mesh, anodized aluminum |
frames, acrylic doors, and substrate shield, plastic pressure corners, and grommets
Here are the features that made it stand out in our eyes.
This is a vivarium of a pretty generous size for a single leopard gecko.
This can also be used for slightly larger reptiles such as bearded dragons and ball pythons. This means that you are giving way more space for an easier set up which also makes for a way more welcoming and entertaining forever home for your adorable gecko.
You can easily finish assembling your Zen Habitat enclosure in less than 30 minutes and all parts are labeled for easier identification during assembly.
Start with the bottom and top: start with the assembly from the bottom of the enclosure. Join together three frames with two pressure corners and slide in the bottom panel. After that close off the bottom with one frame and the other two pressure corners. Do the same with the top, but slide in the steel mesh instead of another panel.
Continue with the walls: Leave the top aside for the time being and build the rest of the body next. Connect the rest of the vertical frames to the pressure corners on the four corners of the completed bottom section of the tank. Then simply slide in the rest of the panels to the back and sides. Pop the completed top section on all of that and you’re almost done. To completely secure everything in place, you can also use a rubber mallet.
Finish it: To finish it off, just install the substrate shield, sliding doors, doorknobs, grommet, and voila! You’ve got your leopard gecko a big, neat, and sturdy vivarium.
Since this model, in particular, is made of wood panels, it’s lightweight and easy to handle but also sturdy. They offer the option for PVC paneling and tempered glass door replacements too.
All existing enclosure models they offer which are appropriate for leopard geckos have front-access sliding acrylic doors. Thanks to this feature, setting up, decorating, cleaning, feeding, and handling are much easier and safer for leopard geckos. You will no longer come across as a big predator swooping down to eat them. Plus, you can still check on your gecko without having to open up his or her cage with a clear door.
Pet parents of larger reptiles used to have issues with their cold-blooded babies discovering ways to open the doors on their own. Fortunately, Zen Enclosures are proactive, continuously working on ways to improve their products.
Nowadays, they have also started including additional door wraps and a door lock to help make sure your leopard gecko is safe and secure in its tank. If you’re the forgetful or clumsy type, you won’t even have to worry about possibly losing any key, potentially having your gecko permanently stuck in its enclosure.
Still in doubt? Then just check this video out:
Air circulation in a vivarium is essential for proper husbandry. However, you can’t leave one side or the whole ceiling of the vivarium completely open for ventilation. Doing so will put your lovely pet in danger of escaping and place them in a vulnerable situation against your other big pets – no matter how tame and harmless you may think they are.
To find the middle ground for such an issue, this vivarium implemented quite a simple but smart idea. The top is made of an aluminum screen. So the air can pass but not your gecko. This increases significantly the quality of the vivarium airflow with no risk for your pet to escape (something that you really would not want to happen especially in the event that you have a very curious cat around).
Moreover, this vivarium’s steel mesh top comes with three supporting poles spread evenly across its entire length for added strength. These supports allow for the installation of the most common UVB fixtures that are 2-3 feet in length as well as the dome ones.
With these, you can still install lighting and heating elements inside (hanging or fixed onto the supports) or outside right on top of the steel mesh without having to block off airflow and decreasing the total internal capacity. If you have trouble maintaining humidity with the large tank, PVC tanks are delivered with a thin sheet of acrylic. The acrylic sheet can be set on top of the mesh to increase humidity levels.
All of their products are made of strong materials which allow reptile keepers to stack multiple vivariums of different models on top of each other using 1-inch stacking spacers and deluxe spacers.
These additions are specifically for people who care for multiple different animals – not just reptiles but small mammals like hamsters as well. Using these spacers, you can still install light and heating fixtures either inside or outside the fully assembled enclosures without blocking off airflow.
Using the deluxe spacers, you can install all of the lighting and heating fixtures outside, resting on the mesh. Opting for external light and heat installation has the advantages of 1) leaving more space inside the vivarium, 2) making the installation easier, and 3) avoiding the gecko being burned by getting in contact with the lamp.
The screen top discussed earlier is also of a very durable material. Unlike most tanks with screen tops, this won’t easily bend from weight alone. As a matter of fact, I have even seen other owners let their cats – yes, with an s as in plural – take naps right above the warm enclosure without many issues.
Zen Habitat enclosures also come with optional substrate shields. Most models include one that measures up to a good 6 inches (15 cm). Larger and taller enclosures come with one that is 12 inches (30 cm) tall.
This is very important as it allows you to have any kind of set-up, including the bioactive set-up that, as you might know, requires more height than the more traditional ones. Yes, you can also have real plants in it as you can have a decent soil substrate.
Remember, though, that this is an enclosure built to suit terrestrial or ground-dwelling reptiles that come from arid and semi-arid areas. As such, the bottom of the enclosure is not completely waterproof. Of course, for a gecko or bearded dragon, any leak problem should be addressed using a silicone sealant between the vivarium floor and walls.
You could also choose to get one or two of their plastic liner instead if you still want to be able to disassemble it for whatever reason in the future – moving, upgrading, etc.
After discussing with a few pet owners that have ordered and used this company’s enclosures, the delivery waiting time is not among the fastest. It might take 4 to 6 weeks (and sometimes more). So you might want to plan this in advance. Nonetheless, you can easily email the company for more information. Their Facebook page, fan group, and Instagram account are all quite active as well.
The thing that most of their previous and loyal clients laud them for is their dedicated and responsive customer service. Plus, their enclosures come with a 3-year warranty!
If everything I’ve said so far has had you nodding your head in anticipation but price and size both had you start shaking your head, you can go for their smaller enclosure here. It shares many similar features with its larger model but comes at around half its total capacity. Sure, there is less wiggle room but it’s still more than enough space even for an adult leopard gecko.
The next tank I’ll be discussing provides a great compromise for quality (of the product) and quantity (of money) if you’re looking to give your gecko a good forever home. Exo Terra comes in second because it’s been widely tried, tested, and approved by regular pet keepers, large-scale collectors, and even professional breeders alike for years now.
Most commercially available reptile tanks you will see in pet shops and online stores are made almost entirely out of glass. Exo Terra enclosures are one of such products, and they’re actually among the most popular ones.
|Dimensions (Length x Width x Height)||36 x 18 x 18 inches (90 x 45 x 45 centimeters)|
|Internal Capacity||50 gallons (417 pounds)|
|Floor Space||4.50 square feet (0.42 square meters)|
|Materials||Glass panels, stainless steel mesh, plastic frames|
This long and large vivarium is made mostly from glass allowing for 360° viewing. As such, you can readily see inside the vivarium wherever you are in your room without having to specifically stand in front of it. So if you do hear something out of the blue, you just need to simply swing your head in your gecko’s direction to check up on him or her.
You can also tell visually if your leopard gecko is staying in a tank that is too humid once you see condensation forming and dripping down on the glass walls. That’s a big plus if you don’t have a hygrometer yet or are still waiting on its delivery – though I highly recommend that you buy everything first before actually getting a gecko.
Glass tanks used to be the standard when keeping reptiles and amphibians as the whole set-up and not just the inhabitant also serves as a magnificent display – be it at home, your office, a school, or a clinic. Just don’t place it in the middle of these high-traffic areas as some people may fail to notice it. I’ve heard of a few incidents where guests have mistakenly bumped into it as the glass was hard to discern at certain angles.
Similar to the previous product, this tank model also comes with a full steel mesh cover that allows for external mounting of lights and heaters, as well as ample ventilation.
However, this steel screen cover differs from the first one in three different ways:
- Removable. This screen is not permanently fixed onto the product, it can be opened and closed with easy-twist locks on either side.
- Inlets. It has built-in closable inlets for internal installation of fixtures and the likes so there is no need to drill holes into the glass or cut through the steel.
- Material. Instead of being made completely out of steel, this mesh is actually framed with plastic that may melt and warp due to excessive and sustained heat or get deformed from too much weight.
Aside from the screen cover, there is also a ventilation strip just below the front opening for improved airflow. So even when things are set up on the steel mesh – or your chunky cat decides to lounge on top of this vivarium – that in turn partially blocks the holes, the air you gecko breathes in while staying inside doesn’t get musty or stale easily.
Compared to the first vivarium, although this tank also has front-facing doors it is not sliding – instead, this vivarium sports dual hinged front opening doors. It swings easily and smoothly. This in combination with the removable mesh cover makes for hassle-free customization, maintenance, and general reptile-keeping.
To prevent accidental escapes and unwelcome visitors, it has a simple but practical lock mechanism. It’s enough to keep your gecko secured inside its home while also keeping children and other pets out.
In addition, it has a raised bottom so you can place an under-tank heater right below the glass bottom. So in the event that you have no choice but to rely on an under tank heater for temporary heating, you won’t have to worry about the enclosure cracking because of direct heat.
It is also important to note that this product is delivered completely preassembled. You do not need to set it up or apply a silicone sealant to make it waterproof – it already is. You can also readily create a naturalistic or bioactive set-up for your gecko and be a hundred percent certain that no water will leak out even if you were to place a water feature inside.
If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to set-up a gorgeous naturalistic vivarium in this enclosure for your leopard gecko, this video might help:
There is also a height allowance of 7 inches (18 cm) between the base of the enclosure and the bottom of the door thanks to the fixed lower front glass panel. That’s more than enough space for a good multilayered substrate with bottom drainage.
If you didn’t know already, leopard geckos actually like burrowing into the ground. As such, you can encourage your little buddy to engage in this natural and healthy digging activity with a deep substrate layer.
Here we try to be as impartial as possible, so here some minor cons to note.
You cannot simply disassemble the tank for easier transit if you will need to travel or permanently move to another place. Remember as well that glass is much denser than wood. A glass tank of similar features and dimensions to that of a tank that’s primarily made of wood would be much heavier.
Another noteworthy fact is that you can’t readily stack several of these right on top of each other without damaging any or all of them. You will need to buy a separate shelving unit if you do plan to get more than one of these and place them in the same area for better supervision and care.
Last but not the least, we have the cheapest tank perfect for leopard geckos. Of course, if compared to the first vivarium that’s different in many ways or even the second vivarium that shares many of the same features, this will not be of the same quality. However, it’s still high on our list of recommended vivariums for leopard geckos since it’s one of the most affordable options out there if put up against other products of the same size, material, and/or build.
|Dimensions (Length x Width x Height)||24 x 18 x 18 inches (60 x 45 x 45 centimeters)|
|Internal Capacity||34 gallons (284 pounds)|
|Floor Space||3 square feet (0.28 square meters)|
|Materials||Tempered glass panels, metal mesh panels, plastic grommet, and frames|
Like the second-best leopard gecko tank, this enclosure is also made primarily of glass – tempered glass to be exact. This elongated and spacious tank is designed to be primarily made of glass so there is little to no visual obstruction when looking into it.
Visitors can simply take a peek into the vivarium and observe your pet gecko without disturbing or stressing it out – which commonly happens when they are handled by strangers whom they may view as possible attackers.
You will need to finish building this vivarium upon arrival though, only the base comes readily set up. So keep that in mind. Don’t worry, it is nothing complicated and it can easily be done in less than 10 minutes. What’s more, is that they actually give you a pair of gloves for easier and safer vivarium set up – you won’t have the bad experience of accidentally cutting yourself while handling the panels and frames.
Furthermore, you don’t need any special tools or equipment to complete this. Assembly is similar to the first product, start from the bottom then make your way to the top.
The top metal mesh cover is removable and can easily be locked into place. You will find inlets for wires and tubes along the lid of the vivarium for fixtures you will need in ensuring that your baby leopard gecko lives a happy and healthy life.
One of the side glass panels also has an allotted hole for a 3-part grommet.
One of the major differences this enclosure has compared to the average glass tanks sold in physical and online stores is that you also have metal mesh panels not only on top but also on both sides of the vivarium. These provide more than sufficient ventilation to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria as well as the stagnation of air inside your gecko’s home sweet home.
When setting the side panels in place, I would recommend that you slide the thinner wire mesh panels in first before glass panels. Most newbie keepers think that leopard geckos can’t climb onto things. This, however, is not completely true – they are actually great rock climbers!
It may sound ridiculous but some leos have even been caught (with the help of mini cameras in their enclosures) scaling the rock formations in their tanks. Some even venture out farther, scaling the mesh lids of their tanks as if they had sticky feet too, defying gravity as we know it.
But the truth of the matter is, although leopard geckos do not possess lamellae, they have tiny but sharp claws that help them climb and explore their surroundings. If you place the wire panels right behind the swinging front doors, your gecko may fall on its back while trying to scale the wall. They may even escape from the gap between the door and mesh.
Make sure to double-check the front glass panels as well. The sets for the front are labeled for the right and the left side. Here’s a short but straightforward instructional video to help you out with assembly:
Another feature that sets this tank apart from the rest is that it is designed with front double-hinged swinging doors. Two keys are also included in the package, both of which can also be used as handles as they are each linked to a suction cup. To make sure you never lose the key, you can simply attach them to the top ends of the two doors and use them like doorknobs. In case you misplace or lose both keys, you can easily pick the lock with a pen or two since it isn’t anything fancy or unnecessarily complicated.
Similar to the previous one, this vivarium also has a waterproofed raised base and front panel that gives you the option of doing a naturalistic or bioactive set-up for your leopard gecko. Compared to the previous tanks though, this will only allow for more or less 3 inches (7 cm) of substrate depth.
On the bright side, if you are looking to have more than one gecko or reptile in your care, you can easily stack vivariums of similar dimensions (length and width wise) by adding a few sets of their stackers to your virtual cart before checking out.
This last enclosure is definitely cheaper than the earlier two I have included in the list and it does combine great features of the top one and two enclosure on the list:
- Glass build
- Front doors
- Removable top mesh
- Multiple inlets
- Raised bottom
- Waterproof base
- Option to disassemble
Whether or not this last one is the best choice for you is for you to decide. However, I do hope that the in-depth review I shared with you helps.
Reach out to us!
Penny for your thoughts? I know this list might be shorter than you were expecting, but I wanted to keep it brief but comprehensive by only including vivariums that our team members and friends have actual experience with.
With that said, do feel free to send us what vivarium you would like for us to consider including in this list and why here. We love hearing from you guys!
To summarize, Reptile Hero’s top three vivarium choices for leopard geckos are:
Take the 1) internal capacity, 2) dimensions, 3) opening, 4) ventilation, 5) material, and 6) type of build into careful thought before deciding on what vivarium to house your leopard gecko in.
All in all, the best choice for leopard gecko vivarium is this Zen Habitats enclosure that goes beyond simply meeting the necessary requirements for your terrestrial lizard to live a long, happy, and healthy life.