Should You Start With A Bearded Dragon Kit?
As a first time owner, a bearded dragon kit is what you naturally go with.
The starter kits conveniently have most of the habitat supplies and they are usually available in the same store you buy your beardie from.
This article lists the three most common ones you will find at your local reptile store as well as the big box pet stores.
For a properly setup bearded dragon habitat, you will need some extra items (and to replace a few included in the kits). Those are:
- UVB bulb – None of them come with the long bulb which is the best choice
- Temperature and Humidity gauges – The ones provided are inaccurate
- Heat gun – The best tool to check your basking platform.
- Decor – Hammocks and something for a basking platform (grapewood branches or cork bark rounds work great).
- Vitamin and Supplements – Rep-Cal calcium and multivitamin.
Before we get started reviewing the commercial kits, check this out…
Kritter Care 101 Bearded Dragon Kit
I wanted to list out all of the supplies for you to be successful.
A proper habitat allows your bearded dragon to thrive.
Maintaining a proper habitat for your beardie to live its best life is where many new owners fall short.
Here’s our recommended list:
- 40 gallon breeder tank and mesh lid – The perfect cage will at minimum be a 40 gallon breeder footprint (36x18x18 inch) with a front opening door. Carolina Customs Cages offers outstanding cages although they are quite pricey.
- Fluker’s large Sun Dome Reptile Lamp
- Mega-Ray Mercury Vapor Bulb (70 or 100 watt) OR a basking spot lamp (like a 100 watt soft white halogen) and a Reptisun 10.0 UVB fluorescent bulb with a light fixture. Most importantly – Use your temperature gun to ensure proper basking and enclosure temps!
- A non light-emitting bulb (if necessary to keep the enclosure warm enough at night)
- Velcro adhesive or hooks to mount the UVB bulb inside the terrarium
- Lamp stand like the Zoo Med ones
- Reptile carpet
- Digital Thermometer and Hygrometer combo unit
- Infrared Temperature Gun (to test basking platform and temperature gradient of the entire enclosure)
- Rep-Cal Calcium and Multivitamin supplements
- Digital programmable timer (for setting light schedule)
- Hides, hammocks, branches, food/water dishes and other decor
This list of items gets you setup on the correct path to have a happy and healthy bearded dragon.
So, you see – There are quite a few more supplies that you will need that are not included in the common starter kits.
Common Bearded Dragon Starter Kits
Alright, let’s go ahead and check out the top three kits.
Zoo Med ReptiHabitat Bearded Dragon Kit – 40 Gallon
This starter kit is commonly found in local pet stores and chain stores like PetSmart and usually goes for around $200, although found on sale for $165 at times. The 40 gallon breeder size (36x18x18 inch) is great for a growing bearded dragon and they will be able to use the cage for years if not for life.
The supplies this kit comes with are:
- Large food and water dishes
- Thermometer/Humidity gauge
- 100 watt basking bulb
- ReptiSun 10.0 fluorescent UVB bulb
- Dual deep dome lamp fixture
- 12 pounds of ReptiSand substrate
- Care booklet and food sampler (includes calcium supplement, water dechlorinator, different flavored fruit mix-ins and some commercial foods.)
This kit is a favorite with new owners and it makes sense – It provides most everything and it’s found in the same reptile store that you purchase your dragon from.
The Reptisun 10.0 is good, but get the long bulb and a bulb holder - This will provide more UVB light throughout the tank.
Grab a grapewood branch or cork bark round for decor (they make great basking spots as well).
National Geographic Bearded Dragon Starter Kit
Another 40 gallon bearded dragon kit, this one costs around $220. The tank opens up from the front which is preferable (it’s easy to spook your bearded dragon when reaching in from above them).
This kit comes with:
- 50 watt basking bulb (won’t get hot enough)
- Desert UVB Bulb
- Dial thermometer/hygrometer
- Foam background (this will get shredded and end up everywhere). A fun idea here would be to use some strong adhesive and hook up cork bark to the back of the tank.
- Food and water dish
- 2 dome lamp holders
- Reptile carpet
The Reptisun 10.0 is the gold standard UVB bulb. We recommend switching to that.
This kit will also need some decor like grapewood or a cork bark round.
Exo Terra Bearded Dragon Habitat Kit – Large
Exo Terra also offers a front opening bearded dragon kit that has a very low profile. The dimensions of the tank are 36x18x12 inch. So, same footprint as a 40 gallon breeder but more shallow by 6 inches.
This kit also includes:
- Lamp Dome (handles up to 160 watts)
- Stick on terrarium thermometer
- Medium water dish
- Large sand mat
- Light holder bracket
- Solar Glo 125 watt Mercury Vapor bulb
The sand mat is better than loose sand as it will be tough for your bearded dragon to pick any up when eating live feed (which can cause impaction).
Consider some type of decor to make the basking spot.
That Wraps It Up!
And there you have it.
Now you know what you need to know about the bearded dragon starter kits.
You’ve learned how to pick out separate items to build your own habitat as well as what the popular kits include (and the extras you will need to add on).
Regardless of what you go with, just make sure that:
- You have a large enough cage. 36x18x18 inch minimum for an adult. A 20/29 gallon is fine for a baby beardie.
- Proper temperatures. Check out our habitat setup page to learn the proper temps.
- Diet – The correct bearded dragon diet with a mixture of live food, fresh vegetables and the correct dosage of vitamin supplements.
Please feel free to reach out via the comments below if you have any questions. Talk to you soon!