The first decision you will make as a new bearded dragon owner is to choose a cage, enclosure, tank, vivarium, terrarium, or whatever else you may call it. A good enclosure is essential to keeping happy and healthy bearded dragons. Beardies kept in the wrong enclosure can suffer from higher stress and injury that will drastically reduce their lifespan.
Finding the right cage for a bearded dragon can be hard. Not all bearded dragon cages are the same. They range in price, size, and design.
Bearded dragon cages should be spacious, sturdy, and secure without breaking the bank. The best enclosures will also be well ventilated, long-lasting, and will retain heat better.
In this post, we give our review of the 4 best bearded dragon tanks. We cover everything from built quality information to what we like and don’t like about each cage. After reading this article you will be able to pick the best cage for your bearded dragon.
Zen Habitat is one of the best bearded dragon enclosures. Your beardie will love the size of this cage. The walls are non-reflective and look very beautiful. It also retains heat better than glass enclosures.
Top Four Best Bearded Dragon Terrariums
|Editor’s Picks||Tanks||Our Ratings|
|Best Overall||Zen Habitat Reptile Enclosure||5|
|The Strongest||Essential 4 PVC & Aluminum Enclosure||5|
|Best for Beginners||Carolina Custom Cage||4.5|
|Most Affordable||Exo Terra Large Tall Glass Terrarium||4.3|
1. Best Overall: Zen Habitat Reptile Enclosure
This Bearded dragon enclosure is produced by Zen habitat, a reputed company in the US that specializes in manufacturing reptile-specific cages. This cage is primarily made for bearded dragons however can be used for many other desert lizards that require a dry environment.
Zen Habitat Reptile Enclosure measures 4 x 2 x 2 which is equal to 120 gallons of ample space for your beardie to run about and exercise. It features two sliding/removable acrylic doors for easy access and cleaning.
This cage also comes with a galvanized screen top that provides good ventilation. The screen top also includes screen support bars and wire grommets that let you install lighting fixtures inside or outside the enclosure.
One of the reasons why we like zen habitat enclosure so much is because of its non-reflective surface and its ability to retain heat. Bearded dragons are territorial animals and will likely to fight their own reflection.
- Featured as our editor’s pick for the best bearded dragon enclosure
- Perfect size for an adult bearded dragon
- Front sliding acrylic doors for easy access
- 3 year warranty
- Non-reflective surfaces
- Not suitable for Under Tank Heating
- One side view
2. The Strongest: Essential 4 PVC & Aluminum Enclosure
This is the strongest enclosure on our list of best bearded dragon tanks. Made and designed by Maximum Reptile based in Ohio, USA.
Essential 4 PVC & Aluminum Enclosure is made from anodized aluminum that not only looks attractive but also very sturdy. It will never rust, peel, rot, or catch fire.
It comes with a full aluminum screen with lots of airflows and 77% of UVB penetration. The screen top is designed to easily mount the lighting fixtures on the outside of the tank that in turn increases the usable space inside the enclosures by up to 50%.
This cage also features a custom ventilation system for airflow control with a unique Humidity Control Panel.
The two sliding glass doors come with key lock security that prevents accidental escapes.
This enclosure is shipped semi-assembled and packs flat to save on shipping costs. The assembly requires the use of tools and could take longer than expected.
Better UVB transmission through the mesh (77%)
Includes a digital thermometer and hygrometer with the probe
Non-reflective PVC walls
Highly water-resistant and perfect for use with high humidity species
10-year warranty available
- Requires tools to put together.
- Not very forgiving of mistakes made during assembly.
3. Best for Beginners: Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium
The Caroline custom cages extra-long is created by Carolina Designer Dragons, a popular breeder based in North Carolina. Over the years, the breeders have established a remarkable reputation for producing healthy Bearded Dragons. They eventually expanded their business into reptile supplies. With such a distinguished history, it is no surprise that their products provide some of the best accommodations for your pet with the high build quality.
The cage we recommend is the extra-long terrarium, which measures 48″ x 18″ x 18″. It is jam-packed with incredible features and amenities that will surely take your Beardie’s breath away!
For starters, putting this cage together is super simple. It comes with equal-sized glass plates and screws, and it’s a snap to put together.
Its metal grate is compatible with all types of heating equipment. Since the top grate is not too fine, it retains heat fairly well. This model also has sliding doors, which makes it much easier to socialize and feed your pet.
Bearded dragons are desert animals, so your cage should be as close to their natural habitat as possible. To create a desert-like environment, choose a cage with plenty of space and decorate it with rockwork and other natural elements, and your beardie will feel right at home!
- Large 120-gallon tank perfect size for adult bearded dragons.
- Strong mesh top on either half of the cage.
- 360° view glass.
- With an under-tank heater, thin glass may become too hot.
- Once installed, the mesh top is difficult to remove.
4. Most Affordable: Exo Terra Large Tall Glass Terrarium
The Exo Terra Tall Glass Terrarium is one of the best bearded dragon enclosures. It allows you to mimic any type of environment suited for your reptile, whether it’s a desert, a tropical environment, or something else.
It comes with a water-resistant base, which is useful when making a miniature lake for your pet. This gives the terrarium a realistic appearance!
It also has a large ground base that you can fill with sand, dirt, or whatever substrate your Beardie enjoys scooping up. Its base is much deeper than the majority of glass tanks, giving your Beardie plenty of room.
The ventilation system is one of the Exo Terra tall Glass Terrariums best selling points. It does a great job of retaining and regulating humidity. It provides continuous airflow regardless of how the cage is set up. Similarly, the tank’s top is a stainless steel cover that allows infrared and UVB light to pass through. The cover can be removed for cleaning at any time.
Furthermore, this reptile glass terrarium is easily accessible. It has two front-facing doors, just like the Carolina models. It makes feeding and interacting with your pet much easier. It also makes cleaning easier. Escape is unlikely because the pivoting doors open and close one at a time.
|Dimensions||18 x 18 x 12 Inch|
- Great ventilation system in the sides
- Durable screen top made of metal that can support a heat light
- Natural looking background
- Does not hold humidity well
- Background is made out of Styrofoam
- Can be hard to find a substrate to fit these dimensions
- Extreamly heavy
Things to Know Before Buying a Bearded Dragon Cage
When choosing a bearded dragon cage, the first thing to consider is size. Bearded dragons need a relatively larger enclosure to live a healthy and happy life.
Bearded Dragons Cage Size
Size is the most important thing to look for when buying a bearded dragon terrarium. Smaller tanks will increase your dragon’s risk of stress, obesity, and injury.
Baby Bearded Dragon Cage Size
A 20 gallon (30 inches long by 13 inches wide by 12 inches deep) tank is the minimum size for baby bearded dragons.
But, you’ll be much better off purchasing a 40 gallon (48 inches long by 12 inches wide by 14 inches deep) tank because you’ll probably need to upgrade to this size by the time your bearded dragon reaches 3 to 4 months.
Some babies might have a difficult time trying to catch and eat their food if their enclosure is too big. If they’re struggling too much, you might want to hand-feed them or get a smaller cage until they get older.
Juvenile Bearded Dragon Cage Size
In just a few months, your beardie will grow from 10 inches to around 18 inches as a juvenile! As a result, they will undoubtedly need way more room to develop during their first year of life.
When a Bearded Dragon reaches the age of a juvenile, it should be able to catch live food in its tank, so you shouldn’t be concerned about keeping the cage to a suitable size for this.
So, based on the size of your juvenile Bearded Dragon, it should have a tank that is at least 50 gallons and up to 75 gallons or more.
Full Grown Bearded Dragon Cage Size
A full-grown lizard or one that is 15 to 18 months old will do best in a tank or cage that is 100-120 gallons… especially if they’re on the verge of becoming a big lizard (over 18 inches)!
However, for a relatively small adult bearded dragon, you could get away with a 55-gallon, though I still suggest sizing up from here and doing at least a 75-gallon bearded dragon tank.
Just make sure that whatever size cage/tank/terrarium you choose allows your dragon to pivot and turn around easily.
Full Metal Screen
Many reptile tanks or vivariums come with a heavy metal screen cover that sits high over the enclosure. These are ideal for use with a glass or acrylic cage.
You can use a full metal screen cover for maximum safety and security. Plastic screens can easily melt when heat lamps are used to warm the enclosure. Avoid using a glass top for your bearded dragon cage. Glass can filter out UVB rays, limiting exposure to important lighting.
The lid or top of a beardie cage is an important feature to consider when purchasing one.
Bearded dragons spend a lot of time basking and hunting in trees, as well as climbing on rocks and other natural elements. Because of this, they’re pretty good at escaping from their cage.
The majority of cages have a single lid that sits on top, which is ineffective. You must either find a tank with a lid that is locked to the tank or replace the lid or install a locking mechanism yourself.
Even though adult bearded dragons can grow quite big, you’d be amazed how challenging it is to track them down if they flee.
If you have young kids and other pets in the house, a locking lid is a good idea. You don’t want your cat or children exploring your bearded dragon’s tank.
The best-bearded dragon cages are all well-crafted, long-lasting, and sturdy.
Even if you can afford it, you shouldn’t be changing enclosures all the time if you can avoid it. Keep your bearded dragon in a safe and comfortable environment whenever possible.
A vivarium that crumbles on you should be avoided. You won’t know unless you try them, that is why we spent time testing them out so you didn’t have to.
Other Things to Look for in a Pet Bearded Dragon Enclosure
- Must allow for proper air circulation.
- Must be able to retain the correct temperature.
- The shortest dimension of the cage should not be less than the length of the adult bearded dragon.
- Must be secure enough so your beardie cannot escape it.
- Should be easy to clean.
- It should have enough space to house at least basic furniture.
- There should be enough space so your beardie cannot come into direct contact with a heat lamp.
- The cage should be made of safe material and should not emit toxic fumes when exposed to heat.
- It should be high enough to accommodate bearded dragons’ arboreal activities.
Type of Bearded Dragon Tanks
There are many different types of bearded dragon tanks available in the market. Below is the list of the most common cages for bearded dragons.
- Glass Aquariums
- Melamine cages
- PVC cages
- ABS Cages
- Vision Cages
Glass aquariums are the most used type of cages for bearded dragons and many other reptiles. These enclosures can be found easily at any local pet store or online stores like amazon.
The only problem with glass aquariums is that it can be heavy compared to other types of enclosures for bearded dragons. Also, glass is not very great at holding heat very well; however, it’s not an issue for bearded dragons.
Melamine bearded dragon terrariums are built out of melamine board. You can either build one yourself from a melamine board available at hardware stores or buy a ready-made one from a store.
Bearded dragons love melamine enclosures; however, they can be very expensive and also extremely heavy.
PVC and melamine cages are almost identical except PVC cages are made out of plastic. These enclosures look better than melamine cages since the plastic is smooth and attractive. However, PVC cages can be very costly, even than melamine cages.
ABS cages are made out of ABS plastic which is lightweight and sturdy. Other than the material, ABS and PVC enclosures look and work almost the same.
As they are made out of lightweight and sturdy material, ABS cages can be stacked and moved easily.
Vision cages are made out of one molded piece of plastic, which makes it sturdy and stackable. Vision cages are very expensive but still, most of the breeders use them because they are stackable which saves space.
Cages to Avoid
You should avoid the “all in one” or “starter kits” for bearded dragons or any other reptiles that are usually advertised as beginners friendly because these are usually very low quality.
These starter kits may seem like a good deal at first as it offers almost everything needed to take care of a bearded dragon however, these tend to be crap. From low-quality bulbs that don’t emit enough UVB to the size of the cage being too small….. you are better off buying stand-alone bearded dragon terrariums and then set it up yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
What tank size do bearded dragons need?
Different sizes and ages matter when it comes to its tank size, but a simple rule an owner can follow while getting a terrarium is that it should be three times the size of its pet beardie including its tail. A full-grown adult beardie can be accommodated in a terrarium ranging between 70-120 gallon bearded dragon tank.
Should I use live plants instead of fake ones inside the terrarium?
The simple answer is yes you can but if you’re willing to replace it every now and then because it will get chowed down in a week or two by your beardie.
An opening door of terrarium on the top or at the front?
Front opening doors to access the terrariums are recommended in your bearded dragon tanks, it’s better that way to handle your beardie or the things around its enclosure with closable inlets at the front.
Terrariums that open at the top are not recommended because first and foremost beardies don’t like being picked from above and you’ll be disturbing all the lights & bulbs which are so difficult to set up.
Are special lights needed for my bearded dragon?
Pet bearded dragons away from the wild oftentimes suffer from bone diseases due to inadequate amount of exposure to UV rays. UV lights help us achieve this by making sure it gets enough vitamin D and in turn strengthen its bones & keep bone diseases at bay.
There’s a variety of lights you can choose from such as mercury vapor bulbs, fluorescent tubes & compact fluorescent blubs, etc.
All the bearded dragon terrariums should be a secure and safe place for pet beardies to enjoy since it’s now your responsibility to take care of it after it’s brought home. You can do that by providing it with a large, safe & sturdy cage. It should have a front opening door to have easy & pet-friendly access.
Have a good amount of lighting, ventilation, heating systems if the weather requires it even a few hide huts, water bowls, and other ornaments. Other than all of these its style and brand is a matter of personal choice.
So make sure you have a complete terrarium ready & waiting for your pet bearded dragon before it’s brought home.