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What are the benefits of using an aquarium heater?
A known fact is that aquarium heaters are an integral part of our aquarium, maintaining constant water temperature. Thus, choosing the best aquarium heater is of critical importance, so that a healthy environment is provided for our fish, plants, and corals to thrive.
This means while looking for an effective fish tank heater, we have to make sure it has the necessary safety features and maintains stable water temperature.
However, here we list our pick for top aquarium heaters, which should assist you with the right information when choosing a reliable heater, for all sorts of aquatic environments, whether fresh or saltwater, accompanied by different fish species and their requirements.
To keep a constant temperature in our tanks throughout the year is practically impossible. In most areas of the globe, winters are very cold and although we use thermostats in our houses to aim for a constant temperature, the story in our tanks is typically different by a few degrees.
And that’s not in the optimistic way, meaning the water temperature is few degrees lower than the room’s one.
In the summer, the story is very similar since plenty of households are using air conditioning devices to reach a comfortable temperature. Unfortunately, for our fish, plants, and corals the temperature needs to be a few degrees higher and more importantly – constant.
Here is an informative guide to go through our recommended aquarium heaters’ features and details.
Best aquarium heaters compared
Best Submersible Heater
|EHEIM Jager Aquarium Heater|
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Best In-line Heater
|Hydor External Aquarium Heater|
Wattage: 200W (1/2″ hose)
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Titanium Alloy Heater
|MUCH Aquarium Heater|
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Best Budget Pick
|Uniclife Aquarium Heater|
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Keeps Constant 78° F
|Tetra Aquarium Heater|
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Best Heater for 55 Gallon
|ViaAqua Quartz Glass Heater|
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Includes Diving Thermometer
|Kinbo Aquarium Heater|
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Best Temperature Control
|VIVOSUN Aquarium Heater|
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Wide Range of Heaters
|Orlushy Aquarium Heater|
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|hygger 500W Aquarium Heater|
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What to consider when buying an aquarium heater?
When looking for an aquarium heater, one should consider the following factors:
A budget should be set so that testing cheaper brands is always avoided. Carefully research so that you always get the best out of an aquarium heater within an allocated budget.
Getting a good submersible heater is a must and quality stuff is not available at a throw-away price. A small or a large one, sometimes even an expensive quality heater could fail. However, the ones listed below have been tested extensively, with different settings and they all performed extremely well.
Available wattage power
Most aquarium heaters range from 25W to 300W or even more. You may take note of your tank capacity and buy a suitable heater. Buying a higher or lower wattage heater, will overheat or never heat up the tank evenly. The heaters we listed cover any tank from 10 to 200+ gallons and should you have a bigger tank, then it’s highly recommended to better use 2 heaters instead of just one.
Like this, one heater can be actually considered as a backup one. In case one fails, the other one can take over so there won’t be a sudden temperature drop in the tank’s water.
Different tanks come with specific sets of recommendations. These refer to water type, fish species, but also the ideal aquarium heater and other accessories. It is always recommended to have a look as well at the tank’s specifications as well before purchasing a heater.
In most cases, the submersible aquarium heater is for glass aquariums. Remember when looking for a tank heater, to buy one that keeps plastic from distortion. This is absolutely mandatory in the case of an aquarium made of acrylic.
Adjustable & readability temperature
Checking your fish species and their required temperature should also help tremendously in buying the right aquarium heater and also in meeting their specific range of temperatures. The heater’s temperature should be easy to set or change and at the same time, it should be very easy and convenient for you to properly read its settings and the overall water temperature.
Besides being able to easily read the heater’s temperature and settings, you should be able to quickly adjust or change the heater’s settings without the need to move out stuff from the tank in order to access the heater or even worse, to have to actually remove the heater from the aquarium in order to make any adjustments.
Rest assured though, the heaters from our review are all adjustable and extremely easy to configure. In fact, most of them actually have an external temperature controller that you can use to adjust the heater’s settings.
Extras and safety features
Different aquarium heaters come with plenty of features like external controllers, extra thermometers, adjustable knobs, light indicators, and so on. These accessories can be very handy for instance when setting the heater’s temperature or position.
When it comes to safety, that’s a critical aspect of all aquarium heaters regardless of brand, type, or any other characteristics. On the one hand, you have to make sure that the heater is properly installed and configured, but on the other hand, the heater should be equipped with auto-off features or fall-backs in case something goes wrong.
Heaters can suffer glass damage, can receive a power excess or they can simply fail since they are after all just electronic devices.
Furthermore, let’s begin our one by one review of the best aquarium heaters currently available on the market.
1. Eheim Jäger – Best Overall Aquarium Heater
EHEIM Jager Aquarium Heater
Occasionally we hear about the “German quality”, or “German robustness” statements while looking at products in general, especially electronics and aquarium products.
The Eheim Jager submersible heater is an ultra-modern electronic thermal device offering the latest best technology in this spectrum. It simply never fails, and it’s just powerful enough to heat even the largest tanks of up to 200 gallons.
Perfectly designed for use in both freshwater and saltwater tanks, the Jäger TruTemp is a fully-submersible and adjustable aquarium heater built from shatterproof glass.
Build quality and robustness:
Not made of any regular quartz glass, but extremely durable laboratory grade glass, shatterproof, and completely pollutants free. Such glass materials facilitate even heat distribution throughout the aquarium, but also come with a greater ability to handle extreme temperature fluctuations.
Great temperature controls:
Provided with the TruTemp dial, the heater can be precisely adjusted from 18° to 34° C (65° to 93° F). On the same note, we want to emphasize here, the wattage range of this fascinating heater: 25 / 50 / 75 / 125 / 150 / 200 / 250 and ultimately 300W.
In terms of wattage range, this heater is by far the best on the market.
This extremely useful feature comes handy eliminating any temperature guessing and enables us to verify the heater functions without getting our hands wet. At a glance, monitoring is definitely a must-have when looking for the best aquarium heater.
- Shatterproof glass construction
- TruTemp dial adjusts from 65° to 93°
- Thermo safety control enables ‘running dry’ protection
- On/off light indicator
- Made in Germany
- Generous 5.6-foot cord
- No external temperature control
2. Hydor External – Best Inline Aquarium Heater
Hydor In-Line External Aquarium Heater
The Hydor in-line external heater is a fairly priced heater, but worth every penny, especially for enthusiasts who don’t want to compromise any space in their tank with a submersible heater.
Fortunately, such a reliable and effective in-line external heater is available and works like a charm on the external line of canister filters.
Easy to set up and use, it comes with a high precision electronic temperature control, making it ideal for both tropical and saltwater tanks.
Available in three different sizes, it can be perfectly used to heat up tanks of up to 130 gallons.
This is the ideal external aquarium heater which should be installed on the return line of canister filters. It is highly preferred by people who dislike having a submersible heater on the display, which also compromises some of the room inside the tank, therefore they choose an external heater.
Hydor in-line is an external heater, an ideal choice for marine and tropical tanks. It is easy to connect but must be used only vertically to prevent air bubbles from accumulating near the temperature control sensors. It has piping options of 12-16 mm and the temperature control can be easily handled.
The Hydor in-line external aquarium heater is designed in such a way that the water comes back warmed to the tank via the return line from the sumps or canister filters. The equipped PTC (positive thermal coefficient) technology assures no blowing and overheating.
- Easy to install and adjust
- Available in 3 models for tanks up to 130 gallons
- External aquarium heater saving space in the tank
- With external heaters, there’s always more plumbing and a higher risk of water leaking
3. MUCH 500W – Best Titanium Aquarium Heater
MUCH Aquarium Heater Auto Thermostat
This submersible aquarium heater is one of the most efficient heaters on the market, which helps us tremendously in our journey to keep our fish happy.
Nevertheless, it’s built from a titanium alloy, so there’s no risk of breaking it!
It keeps the water temperature constantly warm in the tank. It is designed perfectly for varying size tanks such as 60-150 gallons providing a max power of 500W. It is truly remarkable as it can heat the water really fast.
This submersible aquarium heater keeps the water evenly warm regardless of the season, room temperature, or other external factors. This fish tank heater is upgraded now and has blast-proof and shatter-proof durable titanium alloy materials preventing electricity leakage or physical breakage.
The container is protective as it has a double-sealed material that assures safety for children and fish.
Intelligent LED Temperature:
It comes with a superb built-in LED display thermometer showing the tank temperature accurately at all times, thereby overheating or “freezing” are out of the table. In this way, a warm environment is assured, and our fish stay healthy no matter salt or freshwater.
Controlling temperature in the aquarium is important. There is an easy to adjust and set temperature external controller that works like a charm.
- Simplistic and very easy to install
- Top-notch constructed heater
- Accurate temperature display built-in
- Heats up the water quickly
- External temperature control for easy changes
- The cord is rather short
4. Uniclife – Best Budget Aquarium Heater
Uniclife Aquarium Submersible Heater
The Uniclife aquarium heater qualifies as our pick for any 30-80 gallon tank. The aquarium temperature is a crucial factor for the well being and comfort of the fish.
Fish cannot produce body heat, unlike other mammals and humans.
Thus, such a submersible tank heater is absolutely a must to keep the temperature within the optimal range.
Heat resistant case:
Suitable for both fresh and saltwater, the Uniclife aquarium heater comes with a stronger protective container case to prevent any potential melting and punching.
Easy to use:
Installing and using a heater has never been easier. This submersible aquarium heater is definitely one to look into, as its main advantage lies in the fact that it can be submerged fully. Placing it near the tank filter helps to ensure no overheating and durability of the heater while the water gets warmed up more efficiently.
Convenient temperature check:
The aquarium stick-on thermometer accompanying the heater comes in great aid, such as checking the fish tank water temperature is possible at all times with no effort at all. The heater works in intermittent operation mode and will automatically turn on/off to achieve the configured temperature settings.
- Simple installation
- Value for money
- Ideal for a wide range of tank sizes
- Ideal for both saltwater and tropical tanks
- Thermometer included
- Turning the knob to adjust the temperature is a little bit stiff
5. Tetra – Best Heaters for Constant Temperature
Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater
The Tetra HT submersible heater is our budget pick for smaller tanks.
There are two available models: 50w and 100w power options, perfectly suitable for up to 30 gallons tanks.
Not being very large, thus taking a limited space in the tank, makes it the ideal candidate for the best submersible heater for small aquariums.
Built-in electronic thermostat:
The Tetra HT submersible heater comes with a built-in electronic thermostat and this facilitates keeping the water at constant levels way more effectively. The temperature of the fish tank will automatically stay at 78° F making it perfectly suitable for tropical fish.
There is a light indicator as one of the best features coming with the heater. It allows you to know by turning green when getting activated, red while heating, and upon reaching the desired temperature settings.
Convenient to use:
The Tetra HT submersible heaters are convenient to plug, due to their longer cord compared to other heaters. Also rather small in size compared to other heaters, it conceals very well behind decorations or plants.
- Small footprint
- Fixes temperature automatically at 78° F
- Light indicators notifying the status of the heater
- Two different models available
- Limited to smaller tanks of up to 30 gallons
6. ViaAqua – Best Heater for 55 Gallon Tanks
ViaAqua Quartz Glass Submersible Heater
The ViaAqua submersible heater is an affordable option and it’s worth every penny.
It is a fully submersible heater and offers a clear display to see the temperature.
It is suitable for salt and freshwater tanks. Being available in a variety of sizes makes an ideal candidate to look at for many enthusiasts.
Whether you have a nano planted tank or a large reef tank, there are just the right options to choose from.
The body is made of extremely high-quality glass material. It is a break-resistant material, water proof featuring a double glass wall preventing leakage and providing insulation.
High safety levels:
Placing the heater in the tank where there is good water circulation is mandatory for maximum efficiency. Using the two suction cups provided, fix the heater inside the aquarium. There haven’t been any malfunctions reported of the ViaAqua heater.
Make sure the tank’s water level is visible at all times, so that the heater’s visible as well when checking if it’s still submerged or not.
The ViaAqua heater is suitable for fresh and saltwater tanks. As they are in different sizes, buying the corresponding heater for optimal performance is an easy task.
- Power Lamp(Indicate ON/OFF Cycle)
- Fully submersible
- Waterproof double insulation
- Easy to adjust the temperature
- Only manual temperature adjustment is possible
7. Kinbo – Best Heater with Thermometer
Kinbo Aquarium Heater
The Kinbo aquarium heater is ideal for any 30-80 gallon fish tank and works perfectly in both fresh and saltwater.
Being a fully submersible heater, it is absolutely mandatory to have it completely submerged at all times.
Do not even attempt to switch it on if some parts of the heater are outside the water. Otherwise, it might overheat and burnout.
The aquarium heater is made of ABS material double insulated, quartz glass-reinforced, ensuring waterproof, shatterproof, durability, and safety. It ensures more than 1.5 times longer life.
The heater comes with a wireless diving thermometer powered by a battery. This can be used to effectively monitor the temperature of the tank water at all times. Therefore, buying a separate thermometer is not required anymore.
The Kinbo heater must be kept completely submerged at all times, to prevent dry burning. If there is any part seen outside the water, put it off, then ensure it’s fully submerged again, and only after that it should be turned on.
- Very stable, durable, and long-lasting heater
- Kit includes a wireless diving thermometer
- Made of reinforced glass
- Has a strong ABS cover
- Fully submersible
- Comes with a rather short power cord
8. VIVOSUN – Best Temperature Control Heater
VIVOSUN Aquarium Heater
Maintaining the right temperature is the key comfort factor of our marine and tropical fish. With the Vivosun heater, reading and setting the aquarium temperature has never been easier!
The submersible aquarium heater, being equipped with an explosion-proof case proves to be an ideal heating device, offering a steady warm temperature to our fish tanks.
The Aquarium heater has extra thick 1.5mm quartz glass that is shatterproof, and more durable in comparison to other glass conventional heaters.
This submersible heater is appropriate for 30 to 80 gallon aquariums. It is suitable for marine and tropical freshwater aquariums alike.
It has a plastic protective sleeve ensuring safe operation and scalds prevention, providing high safety levels for our fish. The IP68 double sealing technology averts any electricity leakage, while the strong suction clamps tightly fix the heater easily to the tank glass.
- Fully submersible aquarium heater
- Suitable for tanks up to 80 gallons
- Splendid LED built-in temperature display
- External temperature controller
- Titanium tube material with strong suction cups
- A little bit more pricey than other heaters, but definitely worth the money
9. Orlushy – Wide Range of Aquarium Heaters
Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater
Choosing the Orlushy submersible heater means getting a large variety of wattage ranges. It comes in the following power ranges: 100 / 150 / 200 and 300W so thinking about how many aquarium options we have nowadays, such a heater can meet the expectations of any tank regardless of its capacity.
With the Orlushy heater, it’s extremely easy and handy to adjust the temperature and it can be set at small intervals.
This heater can be horizontally or vertically placed, and it can be nicely hidden in the tank, among decorations of behind the plants.
The Orlushy submersible heater is made of a quartz glass shatter-resistant material providing safety for our fish. There is the advantage of using it conveniently in salt and freshwater aquariums. As the quartz glass is 2mm thick, it is also explosion-proof.
The Orlushy Submersible Aquarium heater is a super durable choice as it can easily handle impacts or shocks. The power indicator of the heater is lit until the heater trips. Place the heater vertically or horizontally, no issues there, since the 6-foot cord helps tremendously.
The safety feature automatically shuts the heater so that it protects the fish and the tank itself. Suitable for both tropical and saltwater fish tanks.
The water heater is reliable and sensitive so that it effectively maintains constant temperatures. Besides this, its automatic feature to shut off upon achieving the desired temperature is truly amazing.
- Highly efficient heater
- It shuts off automatically
- Includes a digital thermometer as well
- Suitable as a fresh and saltwater tank heater
- Bulky shape, rather large in size
10. hygger – Best Aquarium Heater for Large Tanks
hygger 500W Digital Heater
The Hygger aquarium heaters can be labeled among the heavy-duty heaters out there, that do a highly effective job while heating very fast large tanks of up to 120 gallons.
With the digital LED display controller, you can easily set the desired temperature and observe when the heater is operating or not.
Fast heating & automatic control:
With two available models, 300 and 500W, the Hygger aquarium heaters are by far the fastest ones to heat up the tank’s water. The temperature control is done afterward in a fully automatic manner, using the digital LED display controller.
The controller’s secondary function is to show as well when the heater is operating or not. When the red LED is on, means the heater is currently operating, while the green LED being on, means the heater reached the desired water temperature and is idle.
Over temperature protection:
As a safety measure, the Hygger heaters have a built-in auto shut-off capability, which is triggered if the aquarium water reaches 97 ℉. Upon reaching this temperature, the heater shuts down and starts operating again by itself, when the water is below 95 ℉.
Included thermometer probe:
The heater’s accuracy is enhanced due to the thermometer probe which comes included in the package. It is used in parallel with the heaters itself, communicating with each other so that the heater’s operation is more accurate and effective, by knowing exactly the tank’s water temperature.
- Comes in 2 wattage models: 300, 500W
- Ideal heater for very large tanks
- Solid plastic cover with suction cups
- A digital controller to manage settings
- Very fast heating
- Comes at a rather high price
How to choose the best aquarium heater?
Choosing an aquarium heater is typically determined by:
Follow the manufacturer’s specified liter or gallon capacity to warm a particular tank. Following the thumb rule of 4W/gallon or 1W/1 liter of water can work as well if such specifications are not provided with the heater’s package. Getting a larger heater can be a useful thing if the tank has the necessary space to house it.
Submersible or In-line
The aquarium heaters are typically submersible or in-line in most cases.
In-line aquarium heaters are installed on the outflow line of your aquarium filter, heating the water as it flows back into the tank.
Most submersible heaters can be placed inside the tank: vertically, at sides, horizontally, or at the bottom center of the tank. Each such aquarium heater comes with clear instructions how to best place it the tank.
Sometimes two small heaters are better than just a larger one. Depending on the tank size, one might not be sufficient to keep a constant temperature throughout the entire tank. Having a backup heater could help as well, in case one fails, there’s no risk of having a sudden drop in the tank’s temperature.
To conclude – what’s the best aquarium heater?
Our tropical or saltwater fish well-being lies heavily in selecting the best aquarium heater. After going through all the choices listed above, we hope you can get a powerful and reliable aquarium heater that will last for many years and spread heat in your tank keeping the fish happy.
For tanks: 159 to 264 gallons
Wattage: 200W (1/2″ hose)
For tanks: 26 to 53 gallons
For tanks: 60 to 150 gallons
To sum this up, our pick for the best submersible aquarium heater is the Eheim Jäger TruTemp Submersible Heater. The controls are adjustable and very easy to setup.
They come in a different range of watts that maintain the tank temperature at the optimal levels. It offers durable and reliable performance and the light indicators are extremely helpful.
For the best in-line aquarium heater, Hydor External Heater is our pick. It is a bit expensive, yet it’s a reliable heater that is widely used and favored by plenty of enthusiasts who don’t want to compromise any space in the aquarium with submersible heaters.
Frequently asked questions
Where is the right place for an aquarium heater?
The tank heater should be placed such as the heat is evenly spread throughout the tank. It is recommended:
- In a narrow and tall tank, place the heater horizontally at the bottom, so that warm water flows to the top.
- In a wide and short tank, place the heater diagonally so that the tank evenly enjoys the warm water.
Does the room temperature influence the heater’s capacity to warm the aquarium?
The answer is Yes. Cooler rooms will determine the aquarium heater to operate for longer periods and more often. Consequently, a warmer room temperature requires a heater to work less. Yet, it would be best if you accurately determined the heaters’ required wattage based on the tank’s capacity.
When is a heater needed for the aquarium?
In climates and environments with high-temperature fluctuations. When the temperature changes suddenly, the heater helps keep the temperature in control, and the fish stay happy and healthy.
Also, during breeding, most fish species require a certain temperature (mostly higher) to boost the breeding process and using a heater can increase the offspring chances of survival and their numbers as well.