“ Brand: Arcadia / Type: Ceramic Bulb Holder „
* Prices may differ from that shown
Arcadia are known to be a leader in the field of reptile lighting - they have recently released products that are brand new to the market, and are a brand I fully trust. I have two of these holders and have found them very useful, but I do have my grumbles. They are intended to be used with compact UVB bulbs, and a separate reflector shade (to maximise the output of the bulb) is available to buy. This was something that bugged me as all together it adds up to a pretty penny! The first one of these I bought from a local exotics shop and it cost me £15. The reflector was about the same again. Of course now I know where to find the best deals online, these prices do not apply if I were to need another bulb holder. I bought the second one on eBay and paid about £5 including postage! I actually use these to hold basking bulbs anyway, which do not need a reflector like UVB bulbs do although it doesn't hurt.
They consist of a ceramic socket to hold the bulb, and this is attached to a black metal bracket. You can screw the bracket into the walls or ceiling of a wooden vivarium, in any position you like and the bracket actually has some flexibility too, and can be bent to some extent. This is handy as you can mount it pointing downward by screwing in, then bend it slightly so when the bulb is in place it covers a wider area. They also have a long cable with an inline switch and can be used with timer switches or thermostats for accurate control.
I however actually use spare clamp attachments to mount these, by attaching the clamp to the ceramic socket and clamping it on to the side of my enclosures (one is on my tortoise table for their basking light, another is on a turtle tank).
My biggest gripe about these, is that nowhere on the unit itself or the packaging does it state the maximum wattage! I am a regular user on a discussion forum for reptile keepers and I've seen many people asking this exact question about this item. I took a shot the first time with a 100w bulb, as I guessed they should surely be rated for that since there is no shade to restrict airflow and the socket is tough, heat resistant ceramic. Luckily I was right, and I have been using them for bulbs up to 100w since although I still do not know if they are rated higher! I should hope the reflector that matches this states a maximum wattage though.
They are sturdy, and to date I have had no problems with them. No randomly blown bulbs, no loosening of parts. They both work just as well as they did when I got them. The fact that they do not come equipped with a reflector is a big downfall - these also work to protect you from glare by concealing to some extent the bulb within. Since you have an open bulb in these they do hit you in the eyes! For that reason I do not use them in the main rooms of my house and I am used to it now anyway. You should never look directly at bulbs though, particularly high output UVB bulbs as they can damage your eyes if you do.
Overall, I am not pleased with paying £15 for one these days, but at the time I didn't know much better and I needed it there and then so I didn't care. This is in the past now and it wouldn't stop me buying another if it was a bargain, as bulb holders are always handy to have in this hobby. I would however give preference to the Zoo Med or Exo Terra clamp lamps which come equipped with a shade and can be bought for similar prices to this alone. They are also more multipurpose and are safer in use as well. I actually think it's more than a little cheeky to sell this separately from the reflector, as they are aimed for UVB compact bulb mounting and rarely will you find a keeper using an unshielded, unreflected UVB bulb. It's just not efficient and really lowers the output of your bulb. For a company that is dedicated to reptile lighting I think this is a bit poor show.
However, the product does work and the build quality and longevity is excellent. So I am awarding 3/5 stars, marking this as satisfactory. I would really like to give it 3.5 though, as I feel 4 is too much but 3 is a little low!