RHPs are the best heat source I've come across. Just set them up and they last a guaranteed ten years. My snake room gets really cold in the winter, and the heat panels do the best job of keeping the cages nice and evenly heated during those cold days. I've seen temps into the low 50s, and haven't had to worry about the cages heated with RHPs, but sometimes toss blankets over my racks. If you can afford to get the RHPs, do it.
Nothing wrong with being a newby, btw :)
:Radient heat panels are probably the best as far as long term cost, bulbs and pads or a combo work in most cages.
:The temps are low = night, ambient = both, high = basking