The 8 Best Aquarium Heaters

Updated October 30, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

8 Best Aquarium Heaters
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. When it comes to taking care of your fish, environmental maintenance is one of the most important considerations. For that reason, you'll need one of these reliable aquarium heaters to help you keep an eye on your piscine companions. Many function in both fresh and saltwater tanks, can shut off automatically, and can automatically change the water temperature when it fluctuates. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best aquarium heater on Amazon.

8. Marineland Precision ML90652

Good for handling tanks of up to 55 gallons in capacity, the Marineland Precision ML90652 combines the use of both its adjustable, incremental heating dial as well as its high-visibility temperature display to ensure the longevity and comfort of all of your fish.
  • heating element has a mica core
  • advanced mounting bracket
  • cleaning it can be cumbersome
Brand MarineLand
Model ML90652
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Xcellent Global PT027S

Durability describes the Xcellent Global PT027S, thanks to its high-purity, explosion-proof glass construction, which minimizes its chances for becoming brittle or rusting over time. Its thermal conductor is also made from fast-cooling and heat-resistant black gold.
  • eco-friendly design
  • large temperature range
  • indicator light is annoying at night
Brand Xcellent Global
Model pending
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. EHeim Jager

With its fully shock-resistant glass jacket and versatile design, the EHeim Jager not only improves the efficiency of your tank's heat distribution process, but it can withstand use in either fresh or saltwater environments. It's also available in 8 different sizes.
  • automatic shutoff if dry
  • includes double suction cups
  • initial calibration can be a pain
Brand Eheim
Model 3619090
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Milocos 300W Submersible

The Milocos 300W Submersible is constructed with sturdy quartz glass tubing and heat-resistant plastic sheathing. Leveraging its smart induction technology, it will increase the temperature of your tank water should it fall 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit below your preset value.
  • built-in overheat protection
  • ip 68 double sealing
  • instructions are rather confusing
Brand Milocos
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Hydor ETH T08203

Suitable for both marine and tropical fish and built to maximize the space within your tank's interior, the innovative Hydor ETH T08203 installs externally and vertically into the return lines of canister filters or sumps. Its built-in clamps also allow for easy plumbing.
  • durable plastic casing
  • extra-long cord
  • it's a bit on the pricey side
Brand Hydor
Model T08203
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Aqueon Pro 250

At its heart, the Aqueon Pro 250 features a resilient aluminum core that is designed to maintain steady temperatures between 68 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Its electronic thermostat will automatically shut the unit off when removed from your tank water.
  • heater is shatterproof
  • easy-to-use temperature control knob
  • installs vertically or horizontally
Brand Aqueon
Model 100106109
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Fluval A774

The Fluval A774 includes a digital microprocessor and 2 thermal sensors for sampling tank water directly through the glass of the device's heater tube, which greatly improves its level of accuracy and reliability over that of its bi-metallic strip thermostat counterparts.
  • lcd readout changes color
  • integrated fish guard
  • sleek and slender design
Brand Fluval
Model A774
Weight 1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Finnex HC-0810M

In a class all of its own, the Finnex HC-0810M offers built-in precision memory control that allows you to save your preset temperature in the event of a power outage, while its dual relay functionality will disable the heating element in case of potential overheats.
  • audio alert system
  • intuitive control box
  • supports up to 265-gallon aquariums
Brand Finnex
Model TH-800S/HC810M
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Ensuring The Longevity Of Your Aquatic Ecosystem

Regardless of the species of fish you display in your home, an understanding of their biology is important. So, too, is the realization that, as cold-blooded animals, they are unable to regulate their own body temperatures the way other animals do. For that reason, you'll need a reliable heater to maintain a constant environment in your aquarium for piscine survival and longevity.

The aquarium heater is a device specifically-designed maintain environmental stability inside a fish tank. Its core heating element is usually enveloped in either glass or ceramic, which is further contained inside a watertight plastic, glass, or steel housing fully-immersed in water. The device is also equipped with an adjustable thermostat responsible for turning the heating element on or off. Traditional aquarium heater thermostats employ bimetallic strips composed of two different metals that expand at different rates as the internal water temperature fluctuates. Other types of thermostats make use of microchips for improved maintenance and accuracy. Most freshwater and marine aquariums are maintained at temperatures between 71 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Aquarium heaters are divided into four main categories, including: immersible, substrate, filter, and submersible varieties. As one of the least expensive options, the immersible heater regulates temperature by means of a control pad located above the water line. This placement makes it less efficient than other heater types, especially when it comes to heating large aquariums. It is also easy to break should it fall into the water, hence its low degree of popularity for mainstream use.

The substrate heater is not typically visible inside the aquarium and, instead, lies below the gravel normally present at the bottom of the tank. This heater is especially useful for those piscine aficionados interested in growing aquarium plants to create a more natural habitat for their fish. It also works to distribute heat evenly from the bottom of the tank. The disadvantage to substrate heaters is that everything inside the aquarium needs to be removed prior to installation.

Filter heaters minimize the amount of extra equipment needed inside the aquarium. Water is heated as it passes through the filter, making it an efficient option for use in extremely large tanks. Submersible heaters are the most popular and common of all four types, given that they waste very little energy, they can be placed anywhere inside their tanks with suction cups, and they function completely underwater.

Maintaining Balance And Knowledge

Before investing in an aquarium heater, it's important to introduce yourself to all of the requirements and processes involved in maintaining a healthy environment for your aquarium fish. Sustaining aquatic life within a controlled environment and allowing it to flourish for an extended period of time, requires balance and patience. While it isn't always an easy job, the experience of fishkeeping is definitely a rewarding hobby.

Determining the type of heater that works best really depends upon the size of your tank and the types of substrate and objects you plan to place inside it. However, the majority of hobbyists tend to lean more towards the submersible variety because of its efficiency, durability, compact size, ease of installation, and its relatively inexpensive price point.

One must be sure to check the rating for the heater in question to determine the size of tank it can support. Some submersible heaters are equipped with integrated memory control functionality, which is designed to maintain a preset temperature for the aquarium in the event of a power outage. It's also a good idea to ensure the unit has built-in overheat protection, considering that fish are quite sensitive to even minor temperature fluctuations. If you do need to adjust the temperature of your aquarium, it's not difficult to find an option with a dedicated control knob for manual adjustments. Depending on the size, shape, and nature of your tank, consider a heater that installs vertically or horizontally and is capable of working in both salt and freshwater environments.

A Brief History Of The Aquarium Heater

Archaeological evidence suggests that fishkeeping dates back to the times of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians between 5500 and 2500 B.C.E. For example, the ancient Egyptians considered the fish sacred, even going so far as to worship the Nile Perch among other species. The Roman Empire also maintained rudimentary aquariums for the purpose of piscine consumption.

Records from the Chinese Sung Dynasty suggest that people selectively kept and bred carp for ornamental purposes between 960 and 1279 C.E.

The first practical use of the aquarium heater occurred during the Victorian era in Europe. With the opening of the first public aquarium at the London Zoo in 1853, there was a cultural renaissance of sorts during which people became fascinated with the study of animals and nature. Flames from oil lamps were used to heat fish tanks from below using slate bottoms. With the introduction of electricity into the home, people began to experiment with immersion heaters in glass tubes.

By the 1920s, the first tropical fish were being sold in toy stores. After World War II, fishkeeping became more of a mainstream hobby accessible to the middle class, thanks to advances in aviation that made it possible to transport a more diverse population of fish species all over the world.

The first reliable submersible electrical heater was invented by Eugen Jager in the 1960s. Jager's innovative design served to eliminate the dangers associated with older, over-the-side type heaters with the use of a borosilicate tube and an integrated bimetallic thermostat. Jager's design was later marketed in the United States during the 1970s. Since that time, the device has become an integral part of the hobbyist's aquarium setup.



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Last updated on October 30, 2017 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.


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