Having—and properly using—the appropriate thermostat for your pet gecko’s tank could easily spell the difference between having a cozy home to return to and seeing your whole house burn down. So don’t wait until it’s all too late to ensure your gecko’s (and house’s) safety with a reliable thermostat!
We understand that it is difficult to figure out which thermostat is the best out there. But you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars to know which one to buy because the whole Reptile Hero team, along with experienced keepers and breeders, have tested various thermostats throughout the years for you.
The best reptile thermostat for leopard gecko tank setups is the Spyder Robotics Herpstat 2.
If you are on a tight budget, don’t worry! I also have a great option for you. While saving up for the no. 1 thermostat available in the reptile-keeping community, you can instead buy and use the regular thermostat we recommend
Continue reading to know which thermostat is right for you and your gecko!
|Best Overall||Best Affordable Alternative|
|Herpstat 2||Inkbird ITC-306T|
|This is the best all-around thermostat unit you could ever buy for your leopard gecko—good for small fans, water features, and even foggers! You’re sure to find a use for this multi-function stat regardless of how many set-up upgrades you do for that cute little leo.||This affordable thermostat may be a simple on/off type unit but it’s packed with quite a few useful extra features. Plus, with the right dimming device, you can also use this with light-emitting heaters as a great alternative to dimming stats!|
Our Top 2 Best Thermostats for Leopard Gecko Tanks
- Best Overall is Herpstat 2 from Spyder Robotics
- Best Affordable Alternative is Inkbird ITC-306T from Inkbird
|Product Features||Spyder Robotics||Inkbird|
(Pulse and Dimming)
|Total Wattage Capacity||900 Watts||1,200 Watts|
|Tank Control||2 Vivariums||1 Vivarium|
|Probe Properties||12 ft (3.65 m)|
|6.56 ft (2 m)|
|Safety Components||Grounded plug|
| Grounded plug|
|Extra Features||Digital display|
Frankly, it is tempting to choose cheaper and lesser-known units over this pricey Herpstat 2 thermostat model. But most experienced keepers would agree that it is much more cost-efficient to get this reliable professional thermostat from the get-go than to buy multiple dirt-cheap stats that need replacing every month or so.
Plus, all the safety and extra features this unit can make up for such a hefty price tag!
(Length × Width × Height)
|8.75 × 8.25 × 2.5 in|
(22.22 × 20.95 x 6.35 cm)
|Item Weight||3 lbs|
|Type of Thermostat||Multi-functional|
(Pulse and Dimming)
|Controllable Temperature Range||40-150°F|
|Maximum Wattage Load||900 Watts|
(450 Watts per Channel)
Spyder Robotics’s Herpstat 2 model can be used not only to regulate equipment for heating but also for cooling, lighting, and humidity. The clear advantage in this is that you do not need to buy a separate thermostat for a fan, grow light, or mister if your gecko only needs a single heater to stay warm in its tank.
However, specialty probes for misters and foggers for humidity control are not included in the standard package. You need to purchase it separately here on Spyder Robotics.
Operational mode: For heating, this model offers both proportional modes (i.e., pulse and dimming) making it compatible with virtually all types of heatings elements—regardless of whether or not they emit visible light as well.
Price point: Coming up to at least 200 hundred bucks for a single thermostat, this unit is undoubtedly an expensive big-ticket item for most reptile pet parents. But I honestly think its exceptional quality and versatility justify the price tag.
It’s also worth noting that most authorized resellers offer the option of paying in installments.
Wide temperature range: The controllable temperature range of the Herpstat 2 is 40-150°F (4-65°C). This is well within the needed usable temperature threshold for leopard gecko keeping (60-105°F or 15-40°C).
Moreover, if you do plan to use this with your other reptile babies with considerably higher thermal gradient needs—such as bearded dragons—you certainly can.
High-Quality Thermostat Probe
Water resistance: The steel-tipped temperature sensor probes that come with the unit are sealed using epoxy for better water resistance—temporary contact with water will not cause problems. However, I still wouldn’t recommend completely submerging it in water.
Probe length: Herpstat 2 includes two 12 ft (3.65 m) probes in the package for farther reach. You won’t have issues having it reach well into your gecko’s cage even if the nearest wall outlet is on the other side of your reptile room. If—for some weird reason—that’s still not long enough for you, get the probe extension.
Replaceability: In cases of probe malfunction or damage, you won’t have to buy a new unit because the sensor probe is easily detachable and replaceable. You can purchase backup probes.
Even better? If a Herpstat probe reports Invalid Temp, Shorted, and Missing error messages despite not having any physical damages whatsoever, they will give you a brand new probe for free in exchange for the faulty one you have! (Terms apply.)
No locks: The only issue people have with the Herpstat 2 probe is that it does not have a suction cup or any other locking mechanism for easier placement. As a result, keepers have been improvising with steel paper clips and the like.
Perfect for All Tank Set-ups
Tank control: This Herpstat model in particular is equipped with two channels and, as mentioned earlier, two corresponding probes. So if you have two leopard geckos housed separately in their tanks with only one heater each, you can regulate their environments with one Herpstat 2 unit.
Simultaneous independent configuration: What’s more, is that each thermostat outlet can be configured independently—so yes, you can use this for a variety of different animals while simultaneously catering to their specific needs (e.g., arid for leos and tropical for cresties, etc.).
Can Handle High-Powered Devices
Generally speaking, leopard geckos only need heaters with a power rating of 10 to 150 Watts (depending on the specific type of device and tank set-up).
Lots of power: Each outlet of the Herpstat 2 can handle about 450 Watts, adding up to a total wattage load of 900 Watts. Though this seems comparably limited to the maximum capacity of other regular thermostats which typically amount to more or less 1000 Watts, the truth is that Herpstat 2 can provide more power than necessary for the average leopard gecko heating system.
Remember: Although leopard geckos come from the very hot and rocky grasslands of South Asia, they do not normally stay out in the open during high noon. Instead, they seek shelter in cooler and more humid spaces, away from intense heat.
In the same manner, high-powered heaters will do more harm than good for our precious leos.
Multiple Safety Features for Pets and Owners
Grounded plug: You can expect the housing of the Herpstat 2 unit to warm up a bit during operation. But because it comes with a grounded plug, you don’t have to worry about getting shocked during contact.
Security passcode: One thing reptile owners with kids especially like about this multi-functional thermostat is that all the settings can be locked with passcode—keeping settings as they have been configured regardless of how much children play with the unit.
Automatic shut-off: In addition to that, this unit comes with an automatic shut-off feature which is triggered when there are internal and external malfunctions detected (e.g., the sensor gets accidentally disconnected from the stat, fuse blows). Herpstat 2 is equipped with both a replaceable fuse and a mechanical safety relay.
Alarm system: Asides from all that, it also has a great sound alarm system that comes on when the temperatures in your leopard gecko tanks shoot above or fall below the temperature threshold you have initially set.
However, since the Standard Herpstat 2 is not WiFi-enabled, you won’t be notified of any errors or alarms in real-time unless you are at home.
Several Useful Extra Features
All Herpstat 2 units have a backlit digital display screen that visibly shows the most important information at a glance:
- the current ambient temperature within the gecko vivarium, and
- the target temperature value it is trying to reach, or
- the corresponding amount of power being supplied to the heater.
The latter tidbit of information on power is especially helpful in determining whether your choice of heating element is under or overpowered.
Day-night cycling: You also have the option of manually setting the day-night cycle for your gecko’s heating system to even account for a naturalistic nighttime temperature drop.
Temperature ramping: The additional temperature ramping feature further lets you mimic the gradual change in temperature experienced during sunrise and sunset—the duration can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as 10 hours. This setting can now also be used for non-heating lights such as LEDs, which is better than having it simply hooked up to an on/off timer.
Record-keeping: It can also document the time and date of instances when record-high or low temperatures have been detected. This is incredibly helpful in anticipating annual weather extremes which may be detrimental for our soft-scaled buddies.
Settings Retention: Last but not the least, this thermostat has a setting retention feature. After an extended power outage, you won’t have to personally configure the thermostat as the settings are retained in the device’s memory.
Lacks connectivity: Unfortunately, though, this model does not have much to offer in terms of connectivity. There are no mobile applications or online servers compatible with the Herpstat 2 which, in theory, could provide you with remote access to your thermostat.
Highly Customizable but Complicated Set-Up
Each order of a standard Herpstat 2 model includes a very detailed user’s manual. However, a considerable number of reptile keepers find that the instructions are a bit complicated—that includes even some of my friends in software engineering.
Other people have read it from start to finish a couple of times before understanding how to properly set up their thermostat.
It is recommended for newbie reptile keepers to search for hands-on tutorials as the manual itself can be overwhelming for those who are new to thermostats.
Spyder Robotics is also well-known for its superb customer service. So if all else fails, don’t hesitate to contact them directly for some assistance with setting adjustments and other related concerns (e.g., warranty and repairs).
Practical Tips for Herpstat 2 Set-Up:
- If you plug in a light-emitting heating element (e.g., halogen floodlight) to the Herpstat 2, make sure to enable the Basking Assist function.
- Placing the probe 1-3 inches below such heaters eliminates the issue of flickering that some people experience
- The ramping down feature, which mimics how the sun sets, only begins after the scheduled Nite Cycle Start Time. So if you want your halogens off by 7 PM, set the start time to 6 PM to allow for 1 whole hour of gradual drops in temperature until it shut offs exactly at 7 PM.
Out of Stock?
Currently, there are only limited stocks available for all Herpstat models.
This is mainly due to the effect of the global pandemic on the manufacturing industry, causing worldwide shortages in essential electronic components for this model and most other units.
So if there are no more stocks available directly from Spyder Robotics, check-in with their authorized retailers.
However, using a reliable on/off thermostat like the Inkbird ITC-306T for heat regulation in your leopard gecko’s enclosure is much better than having no thermostat at all!
Let’s face it, not every single reptile pet parent out there has the money to splurge on a high-quality professional thermostat that has all the bells and whistles for both safety and convenience.
(Length × Width × Height)
|2.67 × 1.29 × 5.51 in|
(6.8 × 3.3 x 14 cm)
|Item Weight||0.9 lbs|
|Type of Thermostat||On/off|
|Controllable Temperature Range||58-210°F|
|Maximum Wattage Load||1,200 Watts|
(600 Watts per Channel)
Best Budget Option for Heat Regulation
Operational mode: Inkbird’s ITC-306T thermostat models only offer an on/off operational mode—on its own, it cannot be used on light-emitting heating equipment. If you do, such heaters could be a serious fire hazard or undergo premature burnout.
But it can serve as a reliable fail-safe when used with halogens or heat projectors together with a dimming device (e.g., dome, switch, etc.).
This improvisation does not give you the same security and functionality as a high-end dimming stat. However, this alternative will allow you to give your gecko sun-like heat and light using a heat lamp without the undesirable flickering you would otherwise experience.
More importantly, keep in mind that this kind of heat regulation setup requires constant monitoring and manual adjustments.
Good Quality Probe
Probe length: The standard ITC-306T model sports a considerably long temperature probe (6.56 ft or 2 m).
Water resistance: Although the probe is highly water-resistant, it is not advisable to be completely submerged in water. So if you need a waterproof probe, choose the version that comes with an aquarium-safe probe (here on Amazon).
Replaceability: Unlike the sensor probes on the Herpstat 2, this unit has a sensor probe directly wired into the unit’s main body.
On the bright side, if it does fail or get damaged, you can purchase a replacement probe complete with a female jack (here on Amazon). This can be soldered into the unit in place of the old probe for easier replacement should it ever be necessary in the future.
No locks: Like the previous product, there are no locking mechanisms on the probe cord for easier placement. You would need to use a suction cup or some silicone.
Great Set-Up Compatibility
Tank control: Similar to the Herpstat 2, the ITC-306T is also a dual-channel thermostat. Unfortunately, because only a single probe is attached to the unit, it is not advisable to use this thermostat to regulate different tanks.
Single configuration: Moreover, the two outlets cannot have independent temperature settings. So if you plug in two different heaters, say a carbon projector and a ceramic emitter, they will operate while competing with each other and cause undesirable tank temperature.
What you can do instead is to simultaneously plug in two of the same kind of heater (e.g., halogen bulbs) which will work together with better coordination for one leopard gecko tank.
Temperature range: Besides that, this model has a controllable temperature range of 58-210°F (50-99°C). Simply put, there is ample wiggle room to account for possible abnormal drops or increases in temperature due to potential malfunctions—be it internal or external. You can rest assured that your baby neither gets too cold or too warm.
Generous power load: Then again, with a total wattage load of 1,200 Watts, this thermostat unit can also be used for high-powered heaters (e.g., ceramic emitters, radiant panels) in larger enclosures of reptiles much bigger than your leopard gecko.
Features for Added Security and Convenience
This thermostat unit is also well-equipped in terms of safety features, it has:
- Grounded plugs
- Automatic shut-off system
- Sound alarms
Sad to say though, the alarm is not customizable at all—it is preprogrammed for over-temperature and sensor fault detection.
Meanwhile, the ITC-306T also has a couple of convenient bonus features:
- Dual displays show the real-time temperature reading or the probe as well as the set target temperature at the same time
- A built-in timer for day-night cycling that can be set to regulate different temperatures during the day and at night
- Setting retention for up to 20 days of an extended power loss
Looking for more options for connectivity? The ITC-306T from Inkbird also has a WiFi version available (here on Amazon) for remote adjustments and monitoring using their mobile application.
Even though the unit comes with a short and simple user manual—complete with a flow chart for all settings—it has been confusing for many reptile keepers
The great majority of the symbols shown on the thermostat display window for settings during the configuration are different from the abbreviations indicated in the user manual that comes with the unit.
For example, the letters T and M in CTM—short for Current Minute Setting—are displayed as t and ͞n respectively.
This is the main reason why keepers have trouble with setting up the Inkbird ITC-306T. But once you’ve familiarized yourself with those symbols, the configuration is relatively easy.
Still, you could directly reach out to their customer service agents via email for related concerns. Another option is to join their Facebook group for users in North America to get installation tips, help with resolving issues, request for replacement, or keep yourself up-to-date regarding promos and sales, among many other things.
How Do You Install a Thermostat in Your Gecko Tank? [6 Steps]
Overall, there are 6 basic steps in the proper installation and configuration of a thermostat for leopard geckos:
- Inspect the thermostat. Check for visible damages on all parts of the unit (e.g., cracks, exposed wiring, etc.). Do not open the device in an attempt to try repairing any broken or faulty component yourself. If you do that, you will surely void your warranty for the product.
- Assemble the unit. Put together all of the thermostat’s hardware components if it has yet to be done by the manufacturer before shipment. Such components normally include the power cord, sensor probe, and main body of the unit.
- Provide power supply. Directly plug the thermostat into the nearest wall outlet or power strip to turn it on. In times of emergencies and power failures, you can also use a power bank, provided that it has an adequate wattage rating.
- Hook up heaters. Link up your heating system to the thermostat channel and check the preprogrammed settings. Ideally, your heater(s) has already been installed in the tank (s) beforehand.
- Configure settings. If the factory or default settings do not match the needs of your leopard gecko, or any other pet for that matter, configure them as needed.
- Test it out. To ensure your gecko’s safety and wellbeing, it is highly recommended to test out this set-up for a minimum of 24 hours before introducing a live animal into the vivarium. Have both a thermometer and temperature gun ready for fast and easy monitoring.
What Settings Do You Have to Manually Program in a Thermostat?
On average, there are 2 main settings in a reptile thermostat that need to be manually programmed by the leopard gecko keeper:
- The target temperature value(s)
- The daily schedule for day-night cycling
Needless to say, different types and models of thermostats will have various other programmable settings.
For example, Herpstat 2 has a Basking Assist function which can be enabled specifically if the heating device connected to the unit emits not only infrared radiation but visible light too.
In case you end up getting a thermostat not mentioned in this article, check its manual and make sure that you are using it to its fullest potential.
How Should You Configure a Reptile Thermostat’s Temperature Settings?
The value at which a thermostat’s temperature settings should be configured is determined by whatever temperature reading the probe captures at which point the ideal thermal gradient—as well as basking temperature during daytime—is reached.
For leopard geckos, the lowest and highest ambient temperature limits should fall between a minimum of 70°F (21°C) on the cool end to a maximum of 90°F (32°C) on the warmest side.
Additionally, the surface temperature of the basking spot should never exceed 100°F (38°C).
Let the connected heater operate on such temperature settings for a couple of hours. Then, double-check ambient temperatures with a regular thermometer and the surface temperature with a no-contact infrared gun.
If the temperature readings from the thermometer and temp gun are less than optimal, adjust the settings accordingly—either lowering or raising set temperature values as needed.
Where Should You Place the Thermostat Probe in Your Gecko’s Tank?
In all honesty, there is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to probe placement inside your leopard gecko’s tank. More often than not, you need quite a fair bit of trial error to find the sweet spot for that sensor.
The most common placement of the thermostat temperature probe for reptile tanks is on top of the basking tile or spot—more or less 2 in (5.08 cm) from the centermost portion of the infrared and/or light beam below the heater (e.g., halogen)
Other options for probe placement are as follows:
- Directly under basking tile
- Hanging a few inches directly underneath the heat source
- Partially encased in a metal pipe covered in substrate
- Fitted into a hole drilled into the basking rock or tile
- Fastened into one corner of the warm side above the substrate
- Inside the warm and dry hide
- Right at the edge of the basking zone
- Suspended halfway into the tank over the warm side
- In a shaded spot on the cool side (for temperature probes with light-sensitive tips)
Test it all out to find the perfect probe placement for your precious little leopard gecko.
How Much Does a Thermostat Cost?
Depending on the type of thermostat a keeper or breeder intends to purchase, the price will vary. Moreover, extra features (e.g., password protection, connectivity) also come with additional costs.
|Type of Reptile Thermostat||Cheapest Price Available (USD)|
Unfortunately, there are a lot less affordable options available for reptile keepers in North America as the only thermostat types commonly found in the region are either on/off or multi-function stats.
The prices for single-function proportional stats in the table above are based on models available in the UK reptile community. If you ever do find such thermostats in the US, they are typically over a hundred bucks due to shipping and other such factors.
Got Recommendations for Us?
Putting things into perspective, our suggestions are barely scratching the tip of the iceberg—numerous brands and models are available. However, I want to provide you with the best thermostats without bombarding you with a long-winded list that is filled with highly similar products.
Once again, Reptile Hero’s top picks for premium and budget thermostats are:
- Best Overall is Herpstat 2 from Spyder Robotics
- Best Affordable Alternative is Inkbird ITC-306T from Inkbird
If you have other reptile thermostats in mind that you have personally used without any issues for years on end aside from these two, tell us all about it here!
When choosing the right thermostat for your leopard gecko, make sure to consider: 1) type of thermostat, 2) temperature range, 3) sensor probe, 4) set-up compatibility, 5) maximum wattage load, 6) safety features, and 7) practical bonus features.
Based on the overall experience of reptile keepers, the best thermostat for leopard gecko tanks is—without a doubt—the Herpstat 2 from Spyder Robotics.