The 5 Best UVB Bulbs For Chameleons

Reviewed by: Mike Corcoran, DVM, DABVP (R/A), CertAqV
Chameleons Reptiles & Amphibians Jun 12, 2021
Written by | Updated Oct 3, 2021
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The 5 Best UVB Bulbs For Chameleons

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uvb bulb chameleon

Chameleons are some of the most amazing reptiles, between their vibrant colors, unusual eyes and adorable feet; however, they are some of the most challenging reptiles to care for properly.

They should be considered advanced reptiles and should be adopted by people who have a good deal of experience caring for other reptiles.

One aspect of chameleon care that can be particularly tricky is finding the right lighting. Chameleons need both UVA and UVB light. UVA is within their visible light range and without lighting in that range, they may have effects to their normal behavior and physiology.

UVB is vitally important for normal production of vitamin D3. Without D3, they are unable to properly absorb and utilize calcium, a mineral essential to good muscle function, bone strength, proper nerve function, and a healthy immune system.

At A Glance: The 5 Best UVB Bulbs For Chameleons

We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Compare Best Chameleon UVB Bulb

Overall Best
ZooMed 5.0 Reptisun Mini Compact Fluorescent Bulb

1. ZooMed 5.0 Reptisun Mini Compact Fluorescent Bulb

Runner-Up
Canopy Series Fluorescent UVB/UVA Bulbs - Tropical

2. Canopy Series Fluorescent UVB/UVA Bulbs - Tropical

Best For Small Terrariums
Exo Terra Reptile UVB 100 Tropical Terrarium Bulb

3. Exo Terra Reptile UVB 100 Tropical Terrarium Bulb

Best For Large Terrariums
ZooMed Powersun 80W Mercury Vapor Bulb

4. ZooMed Powersun 80W Mercury Vapor Bulb

Best Basking Spot Lamp
Exo-Terra Solar Glo/ Sun Simulating Bulb 80W

5. Exo-Terra Solar Glo/ Sun Simulating Bulb 80W

Type
Compact fluorescent
Type
UVA light, UVB light
Type
UVA light, UVB light
Type
UVA light, UVB light
Type
UVA light, UVB light
Size
13w
Size
13 watts
Size
13 watts or 26 watts
Size
80 watts
Size
80 watts
Features
Compact design, vertical or horizontal placement
Features
Low intensity light, affordably priced
Features
Compact design, multiple wattages
Features
High UVB penetration, doubles as a heat lamp
Features
Doubles as a heat lamp, high UVB penetration

What To Look For In UVB Bulbs For Chameleons

Choosing the right cage for your chameleon is important because these reptiles have specific needs. Because they are arboreal, they need lots of vertical space to climb.

On top of that, they need proper heat, humidity, and lighting. When it comes to lighting your chameleon cage, you’ll need to include UVB lighting and that requires a special bulb.

Here are some important things to look for in chameleon UVB bulbs:

  • Type – There are many different types of lighting available for pets. The balance is found between cost, size, and light output. Some will also provide heat, while others require a second source for heat.
  • Fixture – When shopping for UVB bulbs, consider the type of fixture required and purchase according to the type of lighting that’s best for your cage setup.
  • Rating – Light bulbs for reptiles are rated for the percentage of radiation emitted in the UVB range. The rating system varies by company. Generally for chameleons, the UV rating should be in the middle range. Most companies have guides to help you select the proper bulb and the distance it should be from the basking site.
  • Size – On top of choosing the right percentage rating for your chameleon cage, you’ll also need to choose a bulb the right size. Consider the type of fixture you have and the type of cage you have to determine where you can mount the fixture for the greatest benefit.

Now that you have a better idea what to look for in a chameleon UVB bulb, it’s time to start shopping! Keep reading to see our top 5 picks for the best chameleon UVB bulbs.

The Top 5 Best UVB Bulbs For Chameleons

Overall Best
1.

ZooMed 5.0 Reptisun Mini Compact Fluorescent Bulb

Product Info

  • Type: Compact fluorescent
  • Size: 13w
  • Features: Compact design, vertical or horizontal placement
Pros
  • Excellent source of UVA, UVB, and visible light
  • Small size and easy to mount
  • Compatible with all types of enclosures
Cons
  • Fairly small, may not work for larger terrariums
  • May continue to work after UV spectrum is exhausted (replace every 6 months)
Ideal for all desert and basking reptiles, this compact fluorescent bulb produces both UVA and UVB wavelengths. This bulb can be installed vertically or horizontally and there its cool burning feature eliminates the need for a separate ballast.
Runner-Up
2.

Canopy Series Fluorescent UVB/UVA Bulbs - Tropical

Product Info

  • Type: UVA light, UVB light
  • Size: 13 watts
  • Features: Low intensity light, affordably priced
Pros
  • Provides full-spectrum light, UVA and UVB
  • Easy to mount
  • Recommended by zoos and veterinarians
Cons
  • Produces some heat, caution required
  • May not be strong enough for large terrariums
Sold in a two-pack, these 13-watt UVA/UVB bulbs are perfect for reptiles that require low-intensity lighting. These bulbs provide both UVA and UVB light to support calcium absorption and optimal health.
Best For Small Terrariums
3.

Exo Terra Reptile UVB 100 Tropical Terrarium Bulb

Product Info

  • Type: UVA light, UVB light
  • Size: 13 watts or 26 watts
  • Features: Compact design, multiple wattages
Pros
  • Supported with research
  • Full-spectrum with UVA and UVB rays
  • Easy to mount
Cons
  • May burn out more quickly than some bulbs
Available in 13- and 26-watts, this compact fluorescent bulb produces both UVA and UVB light. These bulbs are sold singly or in a two-pack and they deliver high UVB output effective up to 12 inches.
Best For Large Terrariums
4.

ZooMed Powersun 80W Mercury Vapor Bulb

Product Info

  • Type: UVA light, UVB light
  • Size: 80 watts
  • Features: High UVB penetration, doubles as a heat lamp
Pros
  • High output of UVB and UVA
  • Provides heat as well
Cons
  • One of the more expensive options
  • May be too bright for small terrariums
  • Produces some heat, caution required
Ideal for larger terrariums, this 80-watt bulb delivers high output UVB as well as UVA light. Designed to fit a standard ceramic socket, this mercury vapor bulb is convenient and easy to install.
Best Basking Spot Lamp
5.

Exo-Terra Solar Glo/ Sun Simulating Bulb 80W

Product Info

  • Type: UVA light, UVB light
  • Size: 80 watts
  • Features: Doubles as a heat lamp, high UVB penetration
Pros
  • Provides UVA, UVB, and heat source
  • Good visible light spectrum
  • Good when distance is needed, but usually requires 24 inches from basking area for chameleons.
Cons
  • One of the more expensive options
  • May be too bright for small terrariums
  • Produces some heat, caution required
This 80-watt bulb doubles as a heat lamp and provides high-penetration UVB up at to 12 inches. In addition to UVB light, this bulb delivers the benefits of natural sunlight with UVA and visual light.

Tips For Lighting A Chameleon Cage

Chameleons are arboreal creatures, so they require a cage that is taller than it is wide to accommodate branches for climbing. They also need the cage to be kept warm and humid with several areas for basking.

On top of heat, humidity, and basking areas, you also need to provide the right lighting. Chameleons require proper lighting to be able to absorb the calcium that keeps their bones strong.

Here are some simple tips for lighting a chameleon cage:

  • Choose a fluorescent bulb that provides both UVA and UVB light – keep in mind that most broad-spectrum bulbs do not produce UVB light.
  • Consider which type of lighting to choose. Fluorescent lights don’t produce heat, so they can’t also function as a basking lamp. Mercury vapor bulbs do, but they are more expensive.
  • Place the lighting in a way that your chameleon will get the exposure it needs at the top of the cage in a comfortable basking area.
  • Keep the lighting system on a cycle with 10 to 12 hours of exposure per day.
  • Pay attention to the lifetime of the bulbs you purchase – they may lose strength over time, so swap them out every 6 months or monitor the strength of the bulb with a UV light meter for guidance. The UVB spectrum will taper before the light stops coming on.

To determine the best lighting system for your chameleon, you need to research the species you plan to keep and find out the specific requirements. The companies listed above have helpful charts on their websites to determine how far above the basking area to mount your bulb for the species.

Now that you understand the basics of lighting a chameleon cage, you can see how UVB lighting fits in. Choosing the right UVB bulb is important because your chameleon won’t get what it needs without one.

Final Remarks

Chameleons make wonderful pets, but they can also be fairly challenging to keep. On top of choosing a cage with the right dimensions, you also need to provide for your chameleon’s needs for proper temperature, humidity, and lighting. When all of these things come together, you’ll have a happy and healthy chameleon. Don’t forget about UVB lighting!

If you’re still not sure where to start in looking for a chameleon UVB bulb, try out one of the top 5 best chameleon UVB bulbs we’ve reviewed above. Good luck!

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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