Top 8 best aquarium heaters 2021 reviews & buyers guide
When keeping fish one of the main considerations is water temperature. That is just as important as aquarium filtration. Fish are cold-blooded animals so it's important that we give them the right temperature to stay happy and healthy. This means having the best aquarium heater is important.
Best aquarium heaters review table
The different types of aquarium tank heaters
The main difference between a cheap or more expensive aquarium heater can be how stable it keeps the temperature of the water at a constant level.
There are many types of aquarium heaters to choose from. They all have varied uses and features. This makes it important that you choose the right one for your aquarium.
Best aquarium heater tips
It's always best practice not to rely on one heater. It's always worth having a spare heater at the ready. You also have the choice to run two heaters. This is done by splitting the required wattage in half and having a heater to cover each half. This way, if one heater fails the other will be able to cope. Giving you extra time to get a replacement.
A good rule of thumb when choosing the right heater is to go with the formula of 3-5watts per gallon in your tank.
Immersible aquarium heaters
This is the most common heater. This heating type is a glass tube with the heating element inside that hangs over the tank and is immersed in the water. They are the easiest to set up and use and the best option when just starting with freshwater fish. They can also be used with saltwater aquariums however if the salt gets inside the tube it can lead to some corrosion.
Submersible aquarium heaters
With a submersible aquarium heater, they are placed down in the depths of the tank. As they are placed further down into the aquarium they are more efficient at keeping the water at the pre-set temperature. This is instead of them only being submerged at the top of the tank. They should be placed so not to touch anything inside the tank.
Inline heaters are not placed in the tank. In-line heaters the water that is being circulated through the tank, so they are external to the tank. These are a great option as you don't have the clutter of a heater in the tank. They are also a good option for bigger aquariums.
These heaters do require more room and offer the same benefits as in-line heaters. However, if you lose your sump return pump then you lose the heat for the tank. So not recommended for beginners.
Correctly calibrated tank heaters
If you have a correctly calibrated heater at 78 degrees or as close as possible, allowing for any on/off cycles, which means some heaters turn on and off within 1 tenth of a degree from their setpoint. This means that if it was calibrated correctly would never go lower than 78 degrees or higher than 78.1 which is pretty impressive.
Finnex hps 300-watt heater
The Finnex HPS digital glass heaters are fully submersible and can be used in both fresh and marine aquariums. It is a lower cost option and reasonably priced for a 300-watt heater.
It has a fairly unique design which appears to be filled with some type of sand and has an external temperature probe which could potentially perform better than internal probes. The LED display is nice and easy to read the current temperatures in the tank.
The internal controller keeps the temperature of the aquarium nice and steady with it only taking 15 minutes to go from 77 degrees to 78 degrees.
The internal memory keeps the programmed settings and the temperatures so if you have a power outage it will resume the correct settings.
Hydor In-Line external heater
The Hydor inline external heater allows you to have a heater without seeing it which is the main benefit. Can be used with freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
It attaches in line with your canister filter or a return pump. You have the option with the 200-watt model of having a 5/8" or 1/2" hose connections. The 300-watt model uses a 5/8 inch input and output hose only.
The built-in sensor makes sure there is no danger if it runs dry since it will switch itself off before overheating. This heater comes in two 2 sizes a 200-watt which will take care of aquariums from 26 to 53 gallons and a 300-watt for aquariums 53 to 80 gallons. It will maintain a temperature between and 65 and 93 degrees.
The Hydor does take a little longer than a conventional immersible/submersible aquarium heater to initially get the temperature up to the required temperatures, but once it has warmed all the aquarium water it does a great job of maintaining it.
Colbolt neo therm aquarium heater
The neo therm electronic heater with its modern sleek design is fully submersible easy to set up with the one-touch system.
accurate up to a 1/2 a degree the LED lights will record both set temperature as well as tank temperature simultaneously, Which is a nice feature. you can set the temperature range up to 97 degrees and includes thermal protection circuitry for safety.
The neo therm is available from 25-watt and up to 300-watt models.No matter what size tank you have one of the models will be a perfect fit. They are great for freshwater marine or reef aquariums.
The design is very simple and easy to use , drop it into its holster snap it into place. The thermostat will sense your aquarium water temperature allow you to then dial in the temperature of your choice it will reset and begin heating it will continue heating until it locks it in at your set temperature and will hold within a 1/2 a degree. fully submersible and very durable.
Fluval E series heaters
Fluval is a well know and respected brand. The E series aquarium heaters feature an LCD temperature display that indicates water temperature in both Celcius and Fahrenheit in real time. It uses a dual microprocessor with dual temperature sensors to keep an eye on things inside your aquarium at all times.
One of the nice features of the Fluval aquarium heater is the integrated fish guard. It offers good protection so the fish and any invertebrates do not come into contact with the heater element.
A nice feature of the Fluval is the temperature readout will change color to give you a visual warning if the aquarium water varies by plus or minus 1 oC (2 oF) or more from the pre-set temperature.
Blue color means the water temperature is below the range you set it at. Green means the aquarium is at the pre-set temperature all is good. And red is the aquarium is above the pre-set range. Also, the screen will flash to indicate potential risk if the aquarium water temperature rises or falls beyond 3oC (5.5 oF). So you will have peace of mind knowing you can keep an eye on things even from a distance.
Also, it detects the flow around the heater if it's too to low you get an LF warning on the display so you know you need to move it to where there is better flow.
Aquatop D2HT Aquarium Digital Dual Display
The Aquatop D2HT series aquarium heater is another great choice for our best aquarium heaters. It's also suitable for freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
With the dual digital display, the temperature is very easy to set with the push buttons on top. The current tank temperature is displayed along with the desired temperature you set for the tank. When Aquatop heater is in operation and heating a light comes on to let you know it is on and heating aquarium. It heats the water fast and cycles as needed to keep the tank within the desired preset rang.
The tank temperature is read from a separate probe that you mount in the tank. You can mount this in different locations in the tank to see if there are any areas that aren't heating up as well as other areas. This will give a good accurate reading of the current tank temps and any fluctuations.
Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Tank Heater
The Tetra name has been around for a long time in aquatics their HT line of heaters are up there with heaters in the same price bracket with the benefit of good after sales customer service.
The HT range of aquarium submersible heaters is from small 2 gallon tanks up to 55 gallon tanks.
The electronically controlled thermostat keeps the aquarium at a constant set 78F temperature. This is the optimum temperature for most tropical tanks without having to adjust anything. This is a very good option for the beginner.
The indicator lets you know when the heater is heating the tank with a red LED and green when the heater is on standby. This allows you know everything is working as it should. The updated model now has a safety cut-off switch. This is due to some users reporting that the heater wasn't shutting off at the 78F.
The only downside to this heater is that it only has 1 suction cup
Aqueon 50W Pro tank aquarium heater
This Aqueon Pro heater is a nicely designed heater with an easy to use temperature control knob. This can be set from 68°F to 88°F which is accurate to +/- 1° degree.
It features a durable almost indestructible shell that also distributes the heat nicely around your aquarium.
The LED light lets you know when the tank is at the set temps with a green light and turns red when it is heating up the tank. So you always know the heater is working and not having to worry about it. The safety shut off switch will turn the heater off if the water level becomes too low and the heater isn't fully submerged.
JBJ True Temp Titanium Heating System Kit
JBJ best aquarium heater is a full heating kit, that features a digital heating controller that is accurate to +/- .05°F. This is very accurate indeed and highly impressive. This is due to the microprocessor that can monitor in real time and react quickly to any temperature fluctuations in your aquarium. Also, the heater can be calibrated.
The JBJ has a remote quick connect temperature probe that you can place in the aquarium up to 5 feet away from the main heater to give a more accurate reading of the temps in the tank. This does make it more accurate than a temp probe that is built into the heater.
The display is nice and easy to read with current temps of the tank. It has a light that lights up red when the heater is on and off in the cycles. The built-in memory chip will store your pre-set temps. If you get a sudden power outage it will resume the correct set temps.
Maintaining the correct temperature for tropical fish may be the single most important factor for a successful aquarium. Since fish do not have the ability to regulate their own body temperature, it is crucial that we can provide consistent water temperatures with minimal fluctuations.
Some species of fish cope with the stress of water temperature fluctuations better than others. My advice is to buy the best aquarium heater you can afford. Heating and filtration are the two most important parts of keeping a healthy and happy aquarium.