Recommended Setup

Here is everything we use for our own bearded dragon set up. We have only included two types of items. Listed first will be what we currently use, recommend, and would buy again. Listed second, if applicable, will be what we would buy as an alternative or upgrade. Most links go to Amazon which we have found to be the quickest and most reliable place to buy these things.

Our beardie’s home

It’s easy to get lost in the sea of options out there. We have put in hundreds of hours of research combined with a lot of trial and error. Make use of our mistakes and experience!

If you stick to the items on this list, you will create an amazing home for your beardie and set them up for a happy and healthy life!


For a complete guide to enclosure size, see our article here. The short version is that you should only need to buy one enclosure. Don’t start small and then plan to get bigger down the road when your beardie grows. Buy the right size the first time!

We use a front opening 36″ x 18″ x 18″ vivarium. This is the minimum size recommended for a bearded dragon. The one we use is by ExoTerra, but they don’t sell this size online due to it being fully assembled and impossible to ship without breaking. If buying online, we recommend buying a “flat pack” option (one that comes unassembled and packed flat so it doesn’t break).

Repti Zoo 36″ x 18″ x 18″

  • Smallest recommended enclosure size
  • Packed flat
  • Very easy to assemble
  • Can be unassembled and easily moved
  • Front opening doors w/ locking mechanism
  • Side ventilation panels for airflow
  • Screen top
  • Raised bottom to securely hold your substrate
  • Cable passthrough so you can internally mount your UVB light

Buy your ReptiZoo enclosure here on Amazon

Carolina Customs 48″ x 24″ x 24″

  • Recommended bearded dragon enclosure size
  • Best packing of any online option
  • Packed flat
  • Very easy to assemble
  • Can be unassembled and easily moved
  • Front opening doors w/ locking mechanism
  • Screen top
  • Raised bottom to securely hold your substrate

Buy your Carolina Customs enclosure here on Amazon

Lights & Heat

Getting your lighting, basking temps, and overall tank temperatures right can be tricky. See our article on basking temps here for guidance. You will have to tinker a little with this when you set up your enclosure, but having the right lights to start with is a huge advantage.

Zoo Med Reptisun T5 HO UVB Ballast & Bulb

Despite what you may read, DO NOT use a standard fluorescent bulb here. It will not have the level of UVB needed to keep your bearded dragon healthy. Instead, use a reptile-specific light and fixture.

Match your ballast and bulb width to your enclosure size. Here is the full array of available sizes. These should be changed every 6 months.

See the ReptiSun T5 ballast & bulb on Amazon

Zoo Med Deep Dome Ceramic Basking Fixture

You need a reflective dome for your basking light. Basking lights get extremely hot. Do not use anything other than a ceramic fixture for this or you risk a fire! We recommend a deep dome fixture so that your bulb is protected. You may need two of these, one for your basking lamp and one for your CHE (if needed, see below).

See the Zoo Med deep dome basking fixture here

Zoo Med Basking Bulb

You shouldn’t use an incandescent household bulb for this. The heat output will vary too greatly over time. Proper basking temps are critical to your beardie’s health and shouldn’t be left to a cheap bulb (see our basking temp guide here).

These should be changed every 6 months, so we buy them in two packs to save money and so that we always have one when it’s time to change.

Pick up a Zoo Med basking bulb two-pack on Amazon here

Zoo Med Ceramic heating element

If the ambient temps in the room you keep your beardie in will dip below 65℉ (18℃) at night, you’ll need a secondary heating element. Simply add a second deep dome fixture (listed above), and instead of a bulb, use a ceramic heating element.

Buy the Zoo Med CHE on Amazon here


It’s really important to keep an eye on your tank temps at all times. You’ll want to pick up a pair of in-tank thermometers (one for each side hot/cool) that are either analog or digital. You’ll also need a temp gun (trust us, you’ll use this every day!). None are expensive, all are necessary! Here are some quick links to Amazon to pick up these necessities.

In-tank analog thermometer/hygrometer

In-tank digital thermometer/hygrometer

Temperature gun


We would only ever use one of two types of substrate for our beardie. The first one we list, ReptiChips, what we use. The second, excavator clay, is something we may use in the future. The easiest to use, by far, is ReptiChips.

Zoo Med Reptichips

Easy to use, easy to clean, and safe for your bearded dragon, we think Reptichips by Zoo Med are the ideal substrate. Our breeder, local reptile shop owner, and vet all agree. Check out our full guide to bearded dragon substrate here.

Because several products go by the same name, make sure to follow the link in the button below to see exactly what substrate we use.

Get Zoo Med Reptichips here on Amazon

Zoo Med Excavator Clay

This is the closest thing possible to a bearded dragon’s natural environment that is safe to use. It’s a bit of work to set up, but once you do, your beardie will absolutely love it! You can get just the clay, or a very cool “cavern kit” that allows you to craft tunnels and burrows for your little friend. Both are linked below.

Get Zoo Med Excavator Clay here

Get the Zoo Med Excavator Clay cavern kit here


Once you get your enclosure, lighting, and substrate, you are pretty much home free. The rest is up to you and there are a million options. Here is a list of what we chose to add to our beardie’s home along with links so you can see exactly where to buy them.


A great bearded dragon home has two hides. One on the warm side of the enclosure and one on the cool side, our beardie uses both regularly. She loves to hide under them as well as climb on top of them.

Get your beardie a half-log critter cave!

Get your beardie a basking ramp/cave combo!

A Hammock

Trust us, your beardie will looooooooove their hammock!

Get your beardie a hammock!

Something to climb

We like these cool grapevine branches, but there are lots of options.

Get your beardie a branch to climb!

The Essentials

And, of course, you’ll need these two essentials.

Don’t forget a food dish for salad!

Don’t forget a corner water bowl!

A webcam

We love ours and check in with our beardie several times every day. For just a few bucks, we think this is something that every bearded dragon owner should have.

Get a beardie cam here!

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