Plastic vs. Glass Vivariums – Which is Better?

Plastic or Glass Vivariums - which is better?Glass and plastic vivariums are two popular choices of reptile tank – particularly for snake owners. But choosing between them can be a tough decision.

Both plastic and glass vivariums provide excellent visibility and very easy to keep clean. But there are a few major differences that you should know about before you decide which one to buy.

Read on to find out about the differences between glass and plastic vivariums and for the answer to that all-important question – which is better?

Glass vivariums

Glass is a popular choice of material for a vivarium – particularly for reptiles that need a high humidity. And to help you decide whether this is the right choice for you, here are the advantages and disadvantages of a glass reptile tank:


The main advantage of a glass vivarium like this is that it’ll look good in any home. It’ll let you have full visibility inside your reptile tank and be a stylish addition to the rest of your furniture.

It’ll also be very easy to clean – all you need is a cloth and a disinfectant spray and you won’t need to worry about bacteria getting stuck between the panes (which can be a problem between the panels of a wooden vivarium).


Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages to glass vivariums. Firstly, they’re easy to break if you drop them and they’re fairly heavy, making them difficult to move around.

Secondly, it can also be very difficult to fit electricals into vivarium that is completely made of glass as they don’t usually come with pre-drilled holes. This means you’ll need to use undertank heating or shine your lamp into your vivarium from the outside of the tank.


Plastic vivariums

The alternative to glass vivariums is plastic vivariums. which you can get hold of fairly cheaply on Amazon. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of plastic vivariums:


The main advantage of plastic vivariums like these is that they’re light and easy to move around. Not to mention they’re much more durable than glass vivariums; they won’t smash if you drop them.

Plastic vivariums are also very easy to keep clean with a cloth and a disinfectant spray, making them a very hygienic environment for your snake. (To find out more about keeping your vivarium clean, read this blog post).


Despite all the pros of plastic vivariums, there are a couple of disadvantages you should be aware of before you buy one for your snake or other reptile.

Plastic tanks aren’t available in quite as many sizes as other types of vivarium, so it can be finding the right size if you have specific requirements. Saying that, if you own a corn snake, you’ll be able to find one on Amazon just fine.

If you’re buying a plastic vivarium for a snake, it’s also important to make sure you choose a plastic enclosure that has been specifically made for them. Some plastic vivariums will have larger ventilation holes than others, which will make it easy for your snake to escape. Snakes are notorious escape artists so also make sure the lid of your tank is tightly clamped down!

Just like glass vivariums, plastic vivariums are also hard to modify. You’ll need to be able to fit electricals like lamps and heaters and if the pre-drilled holes are big enough for the wires, you won’t be able to drill extra ones.


So is it better to have a glass or plastic vivarium?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this – glass and plastic vivariums are both suitable choices for snakes and other reptiles, and it’s largely down to personal preference.

To help you make a final decision, here’s a quick summary of the differences between them:

Glass vivariums Plastic vivariums
Good for reptiles that need a high humidity Lightweight and easy to move
Easy to clean Durable
Not very durable Easy to clean
Hard to modify Hard to modify


Ready to buy a vivarium? We’d recommend making Amazon your first stop – there’s a great choice of reptile tanks available from all the top brands including VivExotic, Exo Terra and many others.

Alternatively, stay on the Vivarium World blog for even more reptile care advice: