Ball pythons don’t need artificial light, UVA, or UVB rays to survive, but they do need warmth. Heat mats and heat pads are the best option for heating a ball pythons enclosure since they’re space-saving, energy-efficient and easy to control.
You will need a thermostat that will turn off the heat to avoid burns or overheating and it still takes up less space than a lamp set up. We’ve compiled a list of the heat mats and heat pads for your reptile plus I’ll give you the best heat mat and thermostat combo.
- Best Overall
- Best Energy Saver
- Best Runner Up
- Best Budget-Friendly Heat Mat (Under $15)
- Maybe a Heat Lamp Instead
- DIY Heat Tape
- Other Brands to Consider
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VIVOSUN Thermostat and Heat Mat Combo
VIVOSUN makes products for plant growth, including heat mats, but this one is changing the heat pad game. It’s marketed for reptiles and it’s our top heat mat on this list.
They dominate over reptile brands like Zoo Med and Zilla. Here’s why.
Top quality. This particular brand uses 3M adhesive for their heat mat and that is the #1 game-changer for heat mats since most people complain about the adhesive losing stick after a while.
Most other heating mats and heat pads lose their stickiness over time, but 3M is the company we all know and love for the quality of adhesives.
What you get in overall quality is a sacrifice in electricity used(kinda). This mat uses 120v, 1,000 watts max which is a significant amount of electricity when it’s on, but it’s constantly going on and off with the right thermostat setting.
As for the quality of the mat: it’s thick and sturdy. The cord is 6.25’ long so it gives you lots of wiggle room.
The best thing about this product is that the thermostat is included! Don’t go searching around for the right thermostat and heat pad combo when it’s here all-in-one. This one gets 5 stars for temperature accuracy and is the mat I recommend for any reptile.
Summary: VIVOSUN Thermostat and Heat Mat Combo
|Size Options||6×8″, 8×12″|
|Pro||No need to search for the perfect heat mat/thermostat combo|
|Con||Customer service isn’t that responsive|
Best Energy Saver
Fluker Farms Heat Mat for Reptiles
Fluker Farms has been around since 1953 and started as a cricket supply company. They have since expanded and now sell reptile supplies.
They heat mat they created only uses 12 watts, the lowest out of all medium-sized heat pads on this list. The average heat mat around the same size uses about 16 watts. It’s a small difference but will add up over time.
Since the wattage is so low, you have less risk of burning your reptiles from the mat getting too hot especially if you don’t want to get a thermostat. I would still recommend a thermostat to be on the safe side.
Sadly, this heat pad does not come with adhesive which would be beneficial for optimal heating BUT this makes it great for someone who wants to move the heat pad around without having to mess with stickiness.
Summary: Fluker Farms Heat Mat for Reptiles
|Size Options||4×5″, 6×11″, 11×11″, 17×11″, 29×11″|
|Pro||Trusted brand and reliable company.|
|Con||Adhesive not included|
Best Runner Up
iPower Reptile Heat Pad Under Tank Terrarium Warmer Heating Mat
The next best heat mat on the market is iPower’s heat mat. Make sure it’s the iPower heat mat that doesn’t come with a thermostat. For some reason, the same brand with the thermostat does not work as well.
This heat mat is just as good as the VIVOSUN thermostat. The only problem is you have to buy a thermostat separately. It has 3M adhesive, it works at 16 watts and it’s a great value.
The iPower heat mat WITH the thermostat has issues with accuracy, lower quality and surprisingly, bad adhesive. We assume that they have a different distributor for their heat mat with a thermostat.
Definitely go for this option if you already have a thermostat in mind or have one handy already. If not, thermostats are easy to find on Amazon or your local hardware store.
Summary: iPower Reptile Heat Pad
|Size Options||4×7″, 6×8″, 8×12″, 8×18″|
|Pro||Includes 3M adhesive|
|Con||Thermostat not included|
Best Budget-Friendly Heat Mat (Under $15)
Believe it or not, there is a heat mat to fit your budget. If you’re looking for a medium-sized heat mat for under $15 this is the perfect one.
This mat is marketed for hermit crabs but the temps get high enough for a ball python warm spot and works just the same. It’s also the same size as other heat pad sizes offered by other companies.
Like all of the other heat pads, you should use a thermostat with this one. There are not many complaints about this one overheating, but it’s better to be safe. For this price, you sacrifice quality and a good adhesive, but definitely choose this one when you are on a tight budget.
|Size Options||8×6″ 12×8″|
|Con||Not the best quality|
Maybe a Heat Lamp Instead
Heat pads and heat mats accompanied by a thermostat are great for any reptile but it’s not the only way to keep your animals warm.
Heat lamps work great for raising the ambient temperature in your pet’s enclosure. It also creates a basking spot if that’s what your reptile needs.
If you don’t want your enclosure illuminated, ceramic bulbs work best. Just remember to adjust the distance of the lamp to get the right temps in the enclosure.
DIY Heat Tape
Another option for you to choose from besides heat mats is Flexwatt heat tape. This heat tape is completely customizable.
You can decide how long you want your heat tape to be! The only reason this didn’t make the list for the best overall is that you have to wire it yourself.
This can easily be done with a power cord like the one shown and electrical tape. You absolutely have to use this one with a thermostat since these can get extremely hot if you let it. Let me know if you want a tutorial on how to make this yourself in the comments below!
Other Brands to Consider
Should I get a heat rock instead of a heat mat?
Heat rocks are known to cause burns so it’s best to avoid them. There are plenty of horror stories to prove this.
Should I get a heat lamp instead of a heat pad?
Heat lamps will warm up a ball pythons enclosure but they do have their pros and cons. CIick here for an ultimate debate on heat lamps vs heat mats.
What size heat mat should I get for my tank size?
The size of your heat mat depends on the size of your enclosure. It should take up no more than ⅓ of the tank you’re using, but big enough to fit your reptile comfortably. For ball pythons a medium size(8”x12”) works best in a 20 gallon tank.
Should I stick the heat pad to the side or on the bottom of the enclosure?
You get the most out of your heat pad when it’s underneath your enclosure since it doesn’t provide much ambient heat.