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Halogen vs Mercury Vapor Bulbs - This or That?

June 20, 2024 2 min read

Halogen vs Mercury Vapor Bulbs - This or That?

Putting together the perfect lighting array for your reptile or amphibian's enclosure is essential for maintaining the conditions they need to thrive. For basking reptiles, there are many heating choices to choose from including Halogen Heat Lamps and Self-Ballasted Mercury Vapor Bulbs. But which bulb is right for your reptile's basking spot? Let's compare and contrast these Halogen and Mercury Vapor Bulbs to determine which is the right light for your pet!

You can also watch our video on the topic here!

About The Bulbs:

To start, let's describe the bulbs themselves!

Halogens Bulbs

Pangea Halogen Heat Lamp Bulb and Package

Halogens bulbs are a type of incandescent bulb that use a tungsten filament surrounded by inert gas and a small amount of halogen gas. 

A reaction loop, known as a halogen cycle, allows for longer life, brighter light emission, and more efficient heat distribution than typical incandescent bulbs.

Mercury Vapor Bulbs

Self-ballasted mercury vapor bulbs in the reptile hobby are like linear fluorescent tubes in that they pass an electrical current through a small amount of vaporized mercury to emit light, heat and UVB.

Comparing the Bulbs:

Both Halogen and Mercury Vapor Bulbs emit heat, visible light, and UV-A light, making both great options for providing heat and light for your reptile.

Halogens also have the benefits of being sturdy, relatively inexpensive, and dimmable. Dimmability is a particularly strong feature, as this allows them to be used with dimming thermostats to dial in exact temperatures. The downsides of using Halogen lamps is that the visible light emitted is very warm colored, and they do not emit UV-B, so a separate UV-B bulb would have to be provided alongside it. 

On the other hand, Mercury Vapor Bulbs do provide UV-B making them all-in-one basking spots for reptiles that love the sun! These bulbs are not dimmable, however, so care must be taken to use an appropriate wattage, and position it to create a basking spot with appropriate levels of heat and UV-B. They tend to carry a premium price tag, and are somewhat more fragile, so they should be handled with care.

Our Recommendations:

So, which heat lamp is right for you?

We recommend Halogen heat lamps for keepers that already have a UV-B fixture, or are keeping a reptile with low UV-B requirements. They are also great for keepers looking for extra customizability, and keepers on a budget.

We recommend Mercury Vapor Bulbs for keepers looking for an all-in-one solution to provide heat and UV-B light to a sun loving reptile.

If you have any questions about whether halogen or mercury vapor bulbs are right for you and your reptile, feel free to contact us! We'd be happy to help you find the heat lamp that's perfect for your enclosure.