One of the most frequent questions we are asked at the Northampton Reptile Centre would be which thermostat do you need. The answer to this question really relies on what kind of heating equipment you are currently using and what you are trying to achieve with the equipment. There are 3 main types of thermostat including pulse proportional, dimming and on/off. Here is what each type of thermostat is best used for:
On/off thermostats are by far the simplest and cheapest thermostats currently available and are brilliant for use with some heating elements. They can be used for any device that won’t be damaged easily and doesn’t put out light. These include Ceramic heat emitters, heat wires, heat mats and surface warmed decorations like ‘heat caves‘. In our set ups they see most use in corn snake and leopard gecko enclosures when used with a heat mat for night time heating. Advantages are that the unit is fairly inexpensive and simple to set up. The main disadvantage is that they are usually low tolerance so will be limited to 100w or 300w heaters and aren’t very quick to correct temperature so it could fluctuate by a couple of degrees.
2. Pulse Proportional
Pulse proportional thermostats are a little more sophisticated as they send packets of energy and will do this more or less frequently depending on whether the enclosure needs to be warmer or cooler. This should mean that your heating element should react quicker to the environment and your temperatures shouldn’t change much. This is perfect for any heating element that doesn’t put out light and would be perfect for use with a ceramic heater, heat mat, surface warmed decorations or heat wire. In the store we tend to use them with our ceramic heaters and will include them for night time heating for reptiles or the sole heat source for heavy bodied snakes like pythons or boas.
3. Dimming Thermostat
Dimming thermostats are similar to a pulse but instead of sending packets of energy it will simply reduce the amount of energy being sent. By doing this it can reduce the temperature of your heating element and control the temperature in your enclosure. As the thermostat is not flicking on and off or sending packets of energy it is putting less strain on fragile filaments making it perfect for use with basking lights. Though the dimming thermostat can also be used with heat mats or ceramic heaters it won’t be quite as effective as a pulse thermostat so we would only really use this for basking light. In our store we tend to use them for our tortoise and chameleon enclosures to keep the basking area at the perfect temperature.
We hope this helps anyone who might be confused about how these thermostats differ or which would be best for your purpose. If you are still not sure you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01604753823.