Heating terrariums, habitats. A little trick

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
Old Timer
Aug 8, 2005
All the heating gadgets offered for keeping animals have 2 things in common. Often ridiculously expensive and they are purely resistive heating elements.

This makes every imaginable heat source perfect for controlling by using two very cheap generic components.
-ANY light dimmer. All can handle up to 500 watts and many go up to 2000 watts.
-A remote sensor line voltage thermostat. Like the one found here. This company is extremely expensive. The same thing can be found for about $20 if you shop around.

Use the light dimmer to fine tune adjust the heating element using a quality thermometer. Then add the thermostatic control. The thermostatic control can be used to both turn off and on the heater. It is more of a safety measure that can also turn on an alarm if the temperature goes outside a safe range.

Using these two you are not limited to specific heating mats or pads. You can use anything. Space heaters, heating pads, electric blankets, incandescent light bulbs, even a hair dryer... you name it. They are also remote to the heating unit and can be placed on walls or even a bank of them on a control panel.

One other critical thing. NEVER TRUST HEAT CONTOLLERS. The on-off of many of these is give or take up to 50%.
As example, in a hospital, say an infant ICU chamber, when we calibrate to heat controller, we use two quality mercury bulb thermometers. Their average is the only trustworthy temperature gauge.