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Best Substrate For Bearded Dragons

What is the most important thing to put on the bearded dragon enclosure’s floor? There are multiple kinds of substrates available, and choosing the best one is quite a challenge. 

People have different preferences when it comes to choosing a suitable substrate for their lovely bearded dragons. There is a controversy over whether one substrate is better than the other because such people have different perceptions. 

Some people may depress specific substrates, but they are loved by others. In this review, we shall see the best substrates available and how you can choose the right one for your pet without a doubt.

What To Look For In Good Substrate For Bearded Dragon?

bearded dragon enjoy substrate
bearded dragon enjoy substrate

Choosing a substrate for your bearded dragon is not easy. You may end up buying the wrong material. There have been such cases where someone buys a product but finds it ineffective.

To avoid making such mistakes, you need to know what to look for in a substrate before buying.

If you know how to select excellent material for your bearded dragon, you will also be able to compare the different products available and choose the prominent one. 

Below are factors that you should always remember when you are planning to buy a substrate for bearded dragons. They will help you to buy a product that makes you and your lovely pet happy. 

Ability to Regulate Temperature and Humidity

A substrate plays a vital role in controlling the environment in the enclosure. A suitable substrate is the one that is capable of retaining moisture. This feature is important because the material can maintain a suitable humidity level. 

The best choice product should also be able to emit the absorbed heat when the situation demands. 

Easy to Clean

Cleanliness should be a priority, not only in a bearded dragon enclosure, but it should apply to all other captivated pets. 

Look for a material that you can clean easily without spending much of your time. A clean substrate gives fresh air and helps to keep parasites and infections away. It also makes the habitat look nice. 

Some substrates will require you to wash with water, while others form clumps with the waste and need you to scoop and remove them from the enclosure. 


A suitable substrate is valid for an extended period. It means that it can remain in the enclosure for long and perform its job well without requiring you to replace it. Some substrates will even last for a year under proper management. 

A product with short service will force you to spend a lot of money because you need to buy a new one for replacement frequently. 

A Safe Product

baby bearded dragon needs proper substrate

Some substrates are 100% natural, while others are treated with chemicals for specific reasons. Buy a product that is natural and non-toxic. 

A substrate with chemicals may be toxic to your bearded dragon and can result in severe problems. 

Natural products are safe and will also give the habitat a natural look. 

Loose or Carpet Substrate 

The primary role of a substrate is to provide an environment for your pet to live, which closely mimics their wild habitat. The pet needs to express its instinct of digging, burrowing, climbing, among others. 

Loose substrates are the right choice of products to allow the pet an opportunity to dig and burrow. However, it has its drawback because the dragon can ingest the material and may result in Impaction; it’s not ideal for babies and juveniles. 

Carpet substrates, on the other hand, are easy to clean, but your bearded dragon’s nails may get stuck on the carpet. You need to know the type of product that is good for your pet by observing their behavior, or you can choose to use both substrates.

Odor Control

Look for a product that can absorb, break, and eliminate bad smell from the enclosure. Some brands can naturally control the odor while others are treated for this purpose.

Top 10 Substrate For Bearded Dragon Comparison Chart

Bearded dragon substrates are of two different kinds, namely, the particle and non-particle substrates. Either of the types has its pros and cons, but the significant difference is that the particle type enhances digging, and the latter does not. 

Now that you are familiar with what to look for in a suitable substrate let’s see the best substrates for bearded dragons and their specific features. 

Product NameFeature 1 Feature 2Rating (1-5)
Zoo Med ReptiSandAll-natural sandGood conductor of heat4.3
Zoo Med Eco Cage CarpetWashable, and it is easy to clean. Purely natural green product4.7
Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding Substrate LinerTreated to control odorNon-abrasive material4.6
Zoo Med Repti Cage Carpet for Reptile CagesA non-abrasive and absorbent product All-natural green products.4.5
Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber SubstrateEco-friendly productExpandable substrate4.6
Reptile Sciences Terrarium SandIt is made from calcium carbonate that is 100% digestible. Natural material4.6
Zoo Med Excavator Clay Burrowing SubstrateAll-natural productIt holds its shape. 4.3
Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding Organic Substrate It is made of 100% non-toxic organic coconut coir. Long-lasting 4.5
Zoo Med ReptiFresh Odor Eliminating SubstrateLong service-Up to 12 months before replacing.Easy to use4.5
Zilla Ground English Walnut Shells Desert BlendExcellent heat conductorIt encourages natural digging. 4.7

New to bearded dragon? Check out the bearded dragon care sheet now! We had listed out all the things you need to know about bearded dragons as pets. Check it now!

Best Substrate For Bearded Dragon of 2020 & Their Reviews

good substrate will create natural look for the tank

Zilla Ground English Walnut Shells Desert Blend

Last update on 2022-12-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you wish your pet’s enclosure to have a beautiful and natural appearance of a desert, I recommend you to buy Ground English Walnut Shells Desert Blend by Zilla. It is an ideal product for the adult bearded dragon, and other animals like skinks, monitors, and uromastyx. 

The brand consists of all-natural walnut shells that are pulverized into a small and uniform size. 

Editor Rating (1-3)Overview
2.8 Materials: ground walnut shells
Size: 25-quart bag
Price:  $32.99 

Product Highlight

The best thing about this product is that it is a good conductor of heat and encourages natural burrowing and digging, which is typical behavior in the majority of the reptiles. 

It is natural making it safe for your bearded dragon. You will also appreciate the enjoyable desert environment it gives. You can view the product from Amazon.com

What I Like

  • This product is 100% natural; therefore, you can compost it instead of throwing the stuff away after use. 
  • It allows the reptiles to express their normal behavior of digging and burrowing. 
  • It is a safe material to use in your bearded glass terrarium, no scratching is evident. 
  • A single bag of the product can last for a long time. 
  • It has multiple uses, used as a substrate, polishing, among others. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The product can cause Impaction when the bearded dragon ingests it.  
Pros Cons 
It is clean, dry, and dust-free.
Great value for its price.
Excellent heat conductor.
It’s a 100% natural product.
It stimulates your bearded dragon to dig because it does not stick to their body. 
Not suitable for juveniles because its grains are a bit larger. 

Zoo Med Eco Cage Carpet

Last update on 2022-12-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Zoo med eco cage carpet is not just an affordable substrate but also has many advantages that will captivate you to own one for your pet. You can easily roll out the carpet from the enclosure and comfortably wash it. 

You don’t need to worry about the size of your pet’s house when it comes to this product because you can easily cut the material to modify it to your needs.

Editor Rating (1-3)Overview
2.8– Material: made from recycled plastic bottles.
– Size: about 47.5 by 12.5 by 1 inch.
– Price: $10.22

Product Highlight

Eco cage carpet by Zoo med is a beautiful product and works exceptionally well. You can easily clean it; it’s a washable material. Unlike the majority of substrates, you don’t have to clean the carpet every day. 

Also, the bearded dragons cannot ingest this material, and it is a safe substrate to use. The dragon can relax and comfortably walk around on the carpet without injuring themselves.

What I Like

  • You can cut the carpet to cover smaller tanks below 55-gallons.
  • No compaction issues when using this carpet, there is no worry that your pet will ingest gravel or sand.
  • The carpet comes in multiple colors. 
  • It is washable, and you can repeatedly use one piece, making it economical. 
  • You are confident that there is nothing to stick in the pet’s footpad. 

What I Don’t Like

  • You may experience sizing issues. 
Pros Cons 
– Easy to clean.
– Safe for your bearded dragon.
– Extremely affordable.It is reusable.
– Eco-friendly. Non-abrasive. 
– It is challenging to un-bend the product.
– Its size may have issues where it does not fit some 55-gallon tank. 

Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding Substrate Liner

Last update on 2022-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Zilla reptile terrarium bedding substrate liner is an affordable and low-maintenance product by Zilla. It is a liner in roll form and can easily be cut to customize it to your need. 

You don’t need to worry about odors or unnecessary moisture in the enclosure; this material is excellent in absorbing moisture and breaking the bad smell. It is treated with a biodegradable enzyme to help it reduce odors. 

Zilla reptile terrarium substrate liner is ideal for the juveniles and baby bearded dragons because they cannot ingest it. It comes in different sizes and can either be green or brown. It’s also an economical product because you can reuse it multiple times. 

Editor RatingOverview 
2.7– Material: made from recycled materials
– Size: 35.2 by 17.5 by 0.1 inches.  

Product Highlight

If you are looking for something that will not cost much of your time while cleaning, a terrarium substrate liner will be the best choice.

You just have to rinse it in clean and cold tap water, and you can use it again and again. For additional information, visit Amazon.com

What I Like

  • It is easy to replace the liner.
  • You can easily clean the material. 
  • The liner makes the cage look beautiful.

What I Don’t Like

  • The product is not natural.
  • 0.1 inches is quite thin to have for my bearded dragon. 
  • It takes more time to dry.
  • The liner can snag on the bearded dragon’s nails or teeth.
Pros Cons 
– It is super easy to clean and maintain this pet carpet.

– It is easy to cut the material.Great price.It’s durable
– You will want to trim your pet’s nails to prevent them from being caught on the liner.
– It requires you to buy at least two carpets so that when one is drying, you can put the other one into the enclosure.

Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate

Last update on 2022-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Loose coconut fiber by Zoo med is an all-natural product that will be a perfect choice to emulate tropical environments. It naturally absorbs and ultimately breaks down the lousy smell and waste products. 

It is the product you need to have a natural-looking enclosure and is ideal for all types of reptiles, amphibians, and also invertebrates. Eco earth loose coconut fiber comes in a variety of different sizes, all with affordable prices. 

Editor RatingOverview
2.7– Material: husks of coconut.
– Size: 17.5 by 9.8 by 4.8 inches in an 8 quarts bag.

Product Highlight

The loose coconut fiber substrate is a perfect option if you prefer natural and eco-friendly products. It is high absorbency and successfully eliminates odor from the habitat. 

 It will give you a reasonable service because the substrate can stay for six months without completely replacing it. The product is easy to clean and reduces compaction issues. See the product on Amazon.com.

What I Like

  • Your bearded dragon can naturally dig through the substrate, and you don’t need to worry that it will ingest the material. 
  • It gives a pleasing look to the enclosure and has a soft texture that allows the pet to move quickly around in. 
  • The substrate does not smell bad at any time like other beddings that smells horribly; it only produces a pleasant earthy smell that I promise you will enjoy. 
  • This brand is excellent in holding moisture, and it always stays clean. 

New to bearded dragon? Check out the bearded dragon care sheet now! We had listed out all the things you need to know about bearded dragons as pets. Check it now!

What I Don’t Like

  • It can welcome mites and gnats into the habitat
Pros Cons 
– Easy to clean.It is a light and soft product.
– Environmentally friendly brand.
– It is 100% natural.
– Excellent in eliminating odor. 
– It can stick to the teeth while the bearded dragon is feeding on it.
– It has a non-resealable package; thus, you need to look for something sealable to store it. 

Reptile Sciences Terrarium Sand

Last update on 2022-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Terrarium sand by Reptile sciences is a great product to have in your bearded dragon habitat. It contains natural calcium carbonate that is completely digestible.

This product helps to maintain cleanliness in the enclosure, and it clings to the dragon’s waste, forming a clump that you can easily remove. I rank terrarium sand high because it has many beneficial characteristics, and I’m glad to recommend even the company. 

Editor Rating (1-3)Overview 
2.7– Material: sand
– Size: 10-pound bag

Product Highlight

I’m sure if you try this beautiful sand, you will love it, but perhaps not all of you will be certain of course, a few will find it not useful to them. It’s a controversial subject among the people involved, where everyone differs in the substrate they prefer. 

This product has a natural white color. 

But the truth is that terrarium sand is an excellent substrate, and its work is evident. It is a natural and excellent odor neutralizer; this is made possible by the presence of the essential magnesium, potassium, and strontium elements. See more on Amazon.com

What I Like

  • This material is soft and has fine particles; thus, you should not worry that your pet may suffer from Impaction. Its components are 100% digestible. 
  • Maintains a clean environment and can remain useful for a long time, you can replace it after six months. 
  • It gives the habitat a natural look. 
  • It is an excellent absorbent and diminishes the bad smell until you remove the waste. 
  • It’s a multipurpose product; you can use it even in your garden. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Terrarium sand is only suitable for adults and never useful to the babies or juveniles. 
Pros Cons 
– It’s excellent and quality sand.
– The digestibility of the available calcium carbonates avoids external and internal abrasion.
– Superb odor eliminator.
– It has natural orbicular grains.
– Some people are afraid that excessive calcium carbonate can neutralize the dragon’s stomach acid.

Zoo Med Repti Cage Carpet for Reptile Cages

Last update on 2022-12-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Repti cage carpet by Zoo med is a safe product for your pet and has many benefits. A single pack contains two pieces of the carpet, and it is gray, brown, or green. 

It also comes in a variety of different sizes, all at a reasonable price. It provides an excellent base for loose substrates. 

Editor Rating (1-3)Overview 
2.7 – Material: recycled materials
– Size: 48 by 13 inches in a 55-gallon package.

Product Highlight

This cage carpet is soft and non-abrasive. It enables the bearded dragon to move around comfortably.

This substrate gives comfort to all types of reptiles.

It is far much better than the Astro-turf kind of carpets which are made from recycled plastic bottles. 

It can make a perfect protective layer when using loose substrates. Purchase on Amazon.

What I Like

  • The bearded dragons cannot ingest this material. 
  • You can cut the carpet to tailor it to the desired size. 
  • You can use it as a single substrate, or it can serve as a perfect liner when you add another material on top of it. 
  • It is easy to wash the carpet and reuse it again. For proper hygiene and fresh smell in the habitat, clean the carpet at least once in a week. 
  • Two carpets in a packet are easy for replacement. 

What I Don’t Like

  • There are different colors of this carpet, but you don’t get to choose the color you want. 
  •  It can take a long time before drying when you wash the material.
Pros Cons 
– A soft carpet.
– Easy to clean.
– No impaction issues.
– High quality and exceedingly affordable carpet.
– The dragon’s nails can be caught.

Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding Organic Substrate

Last update on 2022-12-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Coconut reptile substrate is a natural product that is made of 100% coconut coir or husk. Coconut husk is entirely natural; therefore, it is a safe material for your pet. 

It is an ideal substrate for many animals such as bearded dragons, ball pythons, tortoises, arachnids, tarantulas, geckos, lizards, among others. It is the best choice material if you need a loose substrate. 

Editor RatingOverview
2.7– Material: coconut husks
– Size: 21 quarts bag

Product Highlight

The great thing about critters comfort substrate is that it naturally absorbs and breaks down odor to remove bad smell from the enclosure. It is also capable of holding humidity to the required level. 

Critters Comfort has a fine texture, and it lacks chemicals; in case the dragon ingests it, they are safe. 

What I Like

  • You can easily compose the material after removing them from your pet’s habitat. 
  • You don’t need to worry that your bearded dragon will have impaction issues, critters comfort material is safe. 
  • A 21 quarts bag can last for quite a long time. 
  • This material is sustainable, biodegradable, and recyclable. 

What I Don’t Like

  • It can attract mites.
Pros Cons 
– Eco-friendly product.
– It is Parasite free
– Clean and ready to use the product.
– It has a natural look and smells natural.
– A soft and fluffy material that is easy for the bearded dragon to dig. 
– The material is quite pricey for a small bag. 


Using the right substrate will make your bearded dragons comfortable and also upgrade the overall look of the enclosure. 

Zilla Ground English Walnut Shells Desert Blend is the best substrate for your bearded dragon if you prefer to have a natural look in the habitat. It is an excellent heat conductor and simulates a wild environment where the dragons can burrow and dig. I highly recommend it.

Another significant substrate is the Zoo Med Eco Cage Carpet-It is eco-friendly, reusable, and is safe for your pet, no compaction issues. This brand is extremely affordable.

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