The 10 Best Temperature Controllers

video play icon

This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in August of 2019. Whether trying to keep a hydroponic garden cool, a pet's terrarium or aquarium warm, or a carboy of lager brewing at just the right temperature, many hobbyists depend on temperature controllers to help automate their processes. Our rankings in this category cover a variety of reasonably affordable options, including single-stage, two-stage, hardwired and plug-and-play models. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Inkbird WiFi ITC-308

3. Digiten Digital Thermostat Outlet

Editor's Notes

January 15, 2021:

Most of our picks from last year continued to be great choices for the category. However, we did decide on removing the Poniie PN160 due to availability issues, and we removed the Johnson Controls A421 – which we felt was overpriced for the functionality it offered – in order to make room or a couple new additions.

The Inkbird ITC-306T – another device that closely resembles the Inkbird ITC-308, which is seen so ubiquitously through the hydroponics world – operates quite similarly to comparable options from the company, but also offers the ability to set separate daytime and nighttime temperatures, which is a great option for terrariums and grow rooms.

The BN-Link BNQ-T9 caught our eye with its 1,875-watt power rating, which is larger than the rated capacity of any circuit that that can service it, so you can expect this device to competently control any equipment you plug into it. We also took note of its impressive temperature rating, which makes it a smart choice for use in extreme environments.

August 15, 2019:

Whether they’re trying to mitigate the heat caused by their indoor grow lights, make sure the temperature’s just right to perfect the next batch of beer they're brewing, or control the climate in their pet’s aquarium, terrarium or chicken coop, hobbyists of all sorts depend on temperature controllers to help automate their activities.

While some advanced options in this category depend on proportional, proportional-integral or proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control methods to minimize fluctuations in temperature, a simple on/off controller (that essentially operates like a basic thermostat) is more than good enough for the job, in many cases.

A few things to look out for when shopping in this category:

Are you heating? Or cooling? Or heating and cooling? If your purposes are limited to a one-or-the-other type situation, then you’ll be fine with a single-stage timer. However, if you’re looking to control heating and cooling equipment simultaneously, you’ll need a two-stage.

How handy are you with electrical? Several options in this category are hardwire-only, which might save you some money and wind up looking like a much nicer install (if done right), but for the less electrically inclined, there are plenty of plug-and-play options available, as well (which is exactly what we recommend to anybody short of a licensed electrician).

And lastly, what are you powering? If this controller is intended to fire up any sort of a compressor (say in the case of a repurposed fridge or freezer in a basement microbrewery), make sure that the option you select is properly equipped with a compressor-delay function – which will help prevent burnout due to racing equipment.

4. Inkbird ITC-308

5. Inkbird ITC-306T

6. Inkbird ITC-106VH

7. Bayite BTC201

8. Inkbird ITC-1000

9. Willhi WH1436A

10. Umlife W1209

Will Rhoda
Last updated by Will Rhoda

After deciding that the pen was mightier than the pliers, Canadian electrical contractor William Rhoda abandoned his career and headed back to college, where he majored in marketing and advertising and won a scholarship along the way to earning a diploma in creative communications. His past career landed him a depth of knowledge in tools and hardware, while his current career schooled him in audio, video and camera equipment. During his leisure time, he’s learned lots about outdoor gear, and years of tiresome backyard maintenance have taught him all about pools and hot tubs. His recreational pursuits include rest, relaxation and revolutionary action, and his roommate’s a hairless cat.

Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For more information on our rankings, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.