Heat tape versus heat cable?

Hubs and I are exploring options for our first rack system. We are bouncing between building and buying (trying to save $ but be safe and efficient).

I found one on LetGo a few hours away from us for what seems like a great deal. It has heat cable installed. I see everyone using heat tape. What are the differences and would you use heat cable in this instance?

Heat tape is ultimately cheaper and has a larger surface area. Most people shy away from heat cable for a variety of reasons (some reasonable/true, some not) but generally it’s more expensive and there’s a risk of small hot spots depending on the installation.

Either solution needs a thermostat especially with ball pythons. Ask them to cycle it for you and/or explain the heat cable choice. They shouldn’t have a problem with it and you can bring a little IR temp gun to verify.

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Worst case scenario if you buy the rack is to just uninstall the heat cord and replace it with heat tape. If it’s a good deal then take it. But I would strongly caution letting it stay plugged in without any animals inside for a few days just to see how it holds up if you are going to leave the heat cord. I myself have no experience with heat cord so I cant give you my firsthand experience but hopefully it works out for you!


@nathan_e and @asura Thank you for your input! We decided to pass on it after the person selling it was kinda wishy washy and it would require us to drive 4 hours. Still good to know about heat cable as I have seen a couple breeders selling older used racks with the cable in them.