Zoo Med Ceramic Heat Emitter Review

Zoo Med Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter

Zoo Med Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter helps keep your box turtle warm without any light. This makes it a great choice for nighttime heating without disrupting the animals’ day/night cycle. It also lasts longer than light-emitting bulbs, and high-humidity habitats don’t shorten its life. It’s even UL listed when used in approved Zoo Med lamps.

Keep reading for more about Zoo Med’s Ceramic Heat Emitter:

Jump to the Section You’re Most Interested In
.        Sizes                          Life Expectancy                         How to Use
.       Cautions        Pros & Cons         Accessories           Where to Buy


Zoo Med’s ceramic heat emitter comes in four wattages, so you can choose the one best for your habitat size.

  • 60 watt
  • 100 watt
  • 150 watt
  • 250 watt

For the most part, you will probably want either a 100W or 150W bulb. The 60W may not supply enough heat except in a very small enclosure, while the 250 will likely be much too hot for all but the biggest habitat. You will have to decide based on the size of your enclosure. Keep in mind that a glass terrarium will hold more heat than other habitat choices.

(Back to Top)

Ceramic Heat Bulb Life Expectancy

Zoo Med claims these bulbs can last up to five years (average life is 25,000 hours). Your actual life expectancy will depend partly on how many hours you keep it on. If it’s on 24/7, you probably shouldn’t expect much more than two to three years.

The bulb has a flat face, which Zoo Med claims helps it be more efficient and last longer. This design reduces the amount of heat retained in the bulb. Since excess heat can reduce bulb life, it makes sense that these bulbs would last longer.

The bulbs are UL listed, but only if you use them in a few of Zoo Med’s own clamp lamps (specifically the LF-10, 12 or 15). They’ll fit and can be used in any ceramic socket, but they’re not UL rated for anything other than the specified Zoo Med lamps. In fact Zoo Med’s data sheet (PDF) for these bulbs warns against using them in any other lamps.

Zoo Med does offer a 2-year warranty on these bulbs. But only if you have not subjected them to “improper usage.” It looks like using lamps other than the three specified would be considered improper usage and would void this warranty.

(Back to Top)

How to Use the Ceramic Heat Emitter

Although it doesn’t emit light, it’s still a bulb, so it’s pretty darn easy to figure out how to use it. Screw it in and turn it on.

The ceramic heater gives off low wavelength infrared rays. These are the “muscle penetrating” rays that help keep your pet toasty and comfortable.

It’s generally best to put the heat emitter at one end of the habitat. The heat emitted stays in the general area of the bulb. So by keeping it at one end, the other end should stay cool. This way you have a heat gradient that will help your pet regulate her temperature. You might have to experiment with the bulb wattage to make this work best. A rheostat can also help you maintain better temperature control.

Keep in mind this is not intended to be a basking light. Some reviewers were disappointed that it did not create one hot spot for their pets to bask. Although the heat does not spread too far from the bulb, it also does not focus on one spot. It spreads to a wider area than a basking bulb.

You can help keep more of the heat focused into the enclosure by using the bulb in a dome lamp. The open cage style lamp can let a lot of the heat escape out through the top (although this is the style Zoo Med actually recommends with this bulb).

Remember that the ceramic heat emitter does not emit UV rays. If your pet does not go outside regularly, you will also need a UV bulb for daytime use.

(Back to Top)

Cautions When Using a Ceramic Heat Emitter

Because the bulb itself does get very hot, you do need to take precautions when using it:

  • Only use it in a porcelain socket. Using any other kind of lamp is a fire hazard. And as mentioned, if you’re not using one of Zoo Med’s recommended lamps, the company may not honor the warranty.
  • Make sure the bulb is screwed firmly into the socket. If it’s loose, it can cause a short circuit or even a fire.
  • It’s best to mount the lamp above a screen over your habitat. You want to be sure it cannot fall into the enclosure and burn your pet (or start a fire … this bulb gets very hot!).
  • Do not use a glass cage cover for protection; the heat could cause the glass to break.
  • Do not touch the emitter while it is turned on (or even right after turning it off). You risk burning yourself, even if the amount of heat an inch or two away does not seem like much. If you have kids or other pets, it might be a good idea to use a safety cover over the lamp.
  • Do not mount inside the habitat, only outside. Mounting inside risks burning your pet or starting a fire.
  • Make sure the lamp is firmly attached to the cage, or attach it to a lamp stand.
  • Keep it away from any flammable materials, like curtains.

Depending on your set-up, you might find even a low wattage bulb makes your pet’s home too warm. In that case, you can use a thermostat or rheostat to better control the temperature (see Accessories section below).

(Back to Top)

Pros and Cons for the Zoo Med Ceramic Heat Emitter

Zoo Med Ceramic Heat Emitter

This bulb has several of each. Although we list one more con than pro, we think overall the pros outweigh the cons. You’ll have to decide for yourself if you agree.
zoo med ceramic heat emitter prosPros:

  • Keeps your boxie nice and warm even if you’re running the air conditioning full blast!
  • Lasts up to five years
  • Does not emit light, so it’s perfect for nighttime use. It won’t disrupt your animals day/night cycle and if you have the habitat in a bedroom, it won’t disturb your sleep either.

zoo med ceramic heat emitter consCons:

  • Indoor use only
  • Expensive (but if you break the cost down by the number of years it should last, it’s not all that expensive after all).
  • Tends to dry out the air, so you need to keep an eye on humidity
  • Have to use in Zoo Med lamps to avoid voiding warranty

(Back to Top)


To help regulate the temperature in your boxie’s home, you might want to use this bulb with a thermostat or rheostat. Zoo Med sells both:

Also, if maintaining humidity becomes a problem, you can use Zoo Med’s Thermometer/Humidity Gauge to help (the link takes you to Zoo Med’s description). (Amazon sells this, too)

If you’re not comfortable attaching the lamp to your pet’s habitat, you can also use Zoo Med’s Repti Lamp Stand. Also available on Amazon.

(Back to Top)

Check Prices and Availability

Not all merchants sell these ceramic heaters. Here are a few that do.

As of this writing:


You may also want to browse these options:

(Back to Top)

One thought on “Zoo Med Ceramic Heat Emitter Review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *