In this article, we will show you our top 5 aquarium heaters available in 2017, allowing you make sense of the overcrowded aquatic supplies market. It is never an easy task to determine what sort of brand suits your needs – especially given how every single one of them promises to keep your fish stress free, healthy and happier than ever before. We did the research for you and went to great lengths to verify the quality of each hand picked product’s quality.
But first, we have to show you why you need to invest in an aquarium heater. In our opinion, an aquarium heater is a critical piece of equipment, a necessity, so to say, much like a filter, to the livelihood of your aquarium inhabitants. The vast majority of aquariums have a heater, these days, and they do so for good reason. Let us show you why.
Why you Need an Aquarium Heater
When it comes to body temperature, fish are wildly different than humans or other animals. Fish are poikilothermal animals – they are incapable of producing their own body heat, and thus are unable to keep their body temperature constant like we do. Their body temperature depends entirely on their surrounding environment. And since fish have a rather small range of temperature they can live in – which depends on their type and species – you can imagine that wild, random ups and downs in their living environment’s temperature can be quite harmful, if not outright dangerous.
For some fish, your room’s temperature might be just fine. But do you really want to risk this and leave it to chance? Even slight deviations from their ideal body temperature range can be problematic. Your fish might not die, but they are definitely going to experience stress and struggle every day of their lives. By getting a quality aquarium heater you will never have to worry about temperature again. But how are you supposed to know what makes for a quality aquarium heater?
What Makes a Good Aquarium Heater
Now that we have established the importance of a good aquarium heater, we need to set in stone exactly what we are looking for. A simple hot stick will not do. What we want is an aquarium heater that has high precision in its heating, and strong durability by design, so that it lasts you for as long as possible. Ideally, we would also prefer our heaters to have extra features, like auto shut off options, adjustable heats and long term warranties.
You now know what you need to look for in an aquarium heater. Let us see if our proposed products match your needs.
Aqueon: 50W Pro Heater
Nearly indestructible, Aqueon’s Pro Heater attributes its noteworthy durability and sturdiness to its aluminum core – which makes for a much tougher heater than the standard glass ones. There are different sizes available – our proposed one is 9 inches long, but these can go up to 15 inches. The bigger they are, the bigger their power output goes, with the 15 inch long heater being 250W.
This product has proven to be accurate and reliable under any conditions – it is suited for both fresh and saltwarer aquariums, with its electronic thermostat being fully capable of giving accurate temperature readings even when fully submerged. The thermostat also shuts itself off automatically, when put out of the aquarium and resumes working automatically, as soon as it is placed back. We also loved how the heater produces a green light when it is ready, and a red light when it is still heating, so that you know exactly what it is doing at any moment.
You can get the product at just $22.49 on Amazon. And in all honesty, you should, given how the heater enjoys a 4.3 out of 5 star rating, even after 1.169 different, customer reviews. If that has not yet convinced you, the product also has a lifetime guarantee.
Benefits – At a Glance:
- Extreme durability.
- Can work when fully submerged with no problems, at both fresh and saltwater aquariums.
- Very accurate thermostat with plenty quality of life features – auto shut off, different lights to monitor activity.
- Affordable price and great reviews, as well as a lfetime guarantee.
Fluval: 50W Advanced Electronic Heater
Much like our previous entry, Fluval has created differently sized products to ensure versatility and cover the needs of all aquarium sizes. Starting from 50W this brand goes up to 300W. To help you better understand their differences, our proposed 50W size will be good for heating roughly 15 gallons of water.
What’s incredible about this heater, is how precice it is. Due to it’s heat adjustment level, and its dual temperature sensors, you can set the temperature exactly where you want to, in 0.5 degree increments. Monitoring will be easy and comfortable, as the product features an LCD display, so that you always know the exact water temperature in real time, and can make any changes you might want.
Finally, you will be pleased to know that the product features integrated “fish guard” protection, that will keep your underwater inhabitants from getting in contact with its heating element by accident, thus keeping them safe from harm.
You can get Fluval’s 50W advanced eletronic heater at just £32.95. The heater sits comfortably on a 4.1 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon, as of the writing of this article.
Benefits – At a Glance
- Very high precision in temperature setting
- Easy real time temperature monitoring through LCD Display.
- “Fish Guard” integrated protection.
- Great reviews by past customers.
Hydor: In-Line External Heater
What is really special about Hydor’s heaters is their heating technology. Their elite PTC heating technology is self constraining and ensures protection by eliminating the risk of overheating through prolonged use. They are suitable for both marine and tropical aquariums and really easy to set up and use.
What we don’t like is how we find the product’s glass tube somewhat vulnerable – if it is broken, it can potentially start leaking off. Also, it needs to be stressed that this heater is intended for external use only. It will not work if fully submerged in your aquarium.
Hydor’s heater cost $56.98 and shipping is completely free. It stands on a 4.1 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, which speaks volumes of its consistency and quality.
Benefits – At a Glance
- Exclusive PTC heating technology.
- For external use only.
- More expensive than previous produts, but still competitivel priced.
EHEIM: Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater
Don’t let the aged look of the Jager fool you – it is made to resemble an older model from Germany. The heater comes in different sizes, from 25W all the way to 300W, and is thus capable to work for tanks as large as 260 gallons. It is made to last long, and is highly durable, capable of withstanding even extreme stresses. It is made of heavy, shatter resistant glass, and has a thick, industrial feel to its power cord.
The Jagger has many extra features, such as a heat shield that protects fish from touching it, and protects the heater itself from large fluctuations in water temperature. It also is capable of shutting off automatically, as soon as it goes dry. Moreover, it autoregulates itself, meaning that as soon as the water reaches the desired temperature, it will stop heating.
All in all it is a very reliable and durable heater, capable of heating both large and small aquariums. We would recommend it with no second thoughts. The product is currently listed at $31.99 with free shipping on Amazon, and it stands on a 4.2 out of 5 stars rating, after 1.147 customer reviews.
Benefits – At a Glance:
- Old school feel and durability standards.
- Heat shield feature.
- Autoregulation and shut-off feature.
- Very affordable price.
ViaAqua: 50W Submersible Heater
Our final proposed heater is simple and straightforward yet does the job admirably. ViaAqua has created a fully submersible product, with a built in thermostat and visible temperature settings that can rapidly adjust the heater to your needs – from 50W all the way to 300W. It is made of high quality quartz glass that will ensure your product won’t break down easily. That being said, admitedly, this is probably less durable than our previous entries. However, we firmly believe it is going to exceed your expected value vs price ratio.
You see, this heater is by far the least expensive one on our list. It costs just $12.79. We recommend you give this a try if you have a smaller budget. Otherwise, you can use it as a secondary back up heater to give yourself a reasonable window of time to respond if something goes wrong with your main one.
Benefits – At a Glance:
- Simple and straightforward.
- Fully submersible.
- Visible temperature settings and accurate thermostat.
- By far the most affordable heater on our list, ideal for tight budgets.