Best Aquarium Heaters

Published on August 5, 2019
Best Aquarium Heaters

Aquascaping is not a hobby for everyone. Only those with skills, knowledge, and passion can withstand the difficulties of the challenge. But it’s all worth it when you create nature right in the palm of your hand.

It is fulfilling to bring a piece of nature to your own home. Fishkeeping is a great hobby when you met all the needs and requirements for a self-contained ecosystem. Your aquarium needs to replicate a habitat where your fish and plants are most accustomed to.

Being an aquarist, you know that each of the species in your tank has its temperature requirements. An aquarium heater guide must always come in handy.

How to come up with the best aquarium heater?

While water parameter is a crucial point to consider in the fish keeping hobby, water temperature is one of its significant concerns. Some fish and plants have a different level of temperature needs.

Therefore, coming up with the best aquarium heater is no joke. If you are an experienced aquarist, there’s no problem because you have the skills, the know-how, and passion.

But if you are a novice in this hobby, you need to ask the experiences of others, consult your local fish store advisor or read reviews of the product over the net.

May this article be of help for anyone who seeks the information.

Aquarium Heater Types:

Way back years, it was confusing to maintain a stable heat temperature for aquariums, but today it is easier because of advanced technology. An ideal tank condition is now programmable through an electronic system.

There are more modern features to make it more functional and lasting. Everyone will feel that absolute satisfaction whenever you end up buying the right water heater. There are five types of aquarium heater in the market today.

In-Line Heater

This water heater will work well with huge tanks. It hooks up with the filtration system,

so the installation is between your aquarium and the filter. This is not cheap and does not work with many filters.

In-Sump Heater

The heater that can save space is the In-sump heater. The function is the same as the in-line heaters, but this fixture is only for sump’s use.

Immersible Heater

It is just simple to install it; all you have to do is to hang it on your tank. Place it near the filter to allow an even heat dispersal through the water flow.

Its glass tube works best only through Immersion. Therefore, I recommend this only for nano aquariums.

The hanging heater is cost-efficient; that is why it is common in the fish keeping hobby.

Submersible Heater

This heater is for complete submersion. It's more flexible in terms of where you can place it in your tank, but never in the substrate or anywhere near it.

I suggest you put it near the outlet of the filter so it can distribute the heat well.

Don’t put it on decors for it might get in a way between spaces intended for the fish.

Substrate Heater

Other aquarists do not rely on using this heater. They said it is not adequate to install the coil under the substrate because the heat dispersal is unequally distributed. The heat on the ground level could be more than the other portions.

It can benefit the plants though but not heating the whole tank. Therefore, this heater is excellent with the Nature type or the Dutch aquarium.

This is not a conventional water heater you see around. The saleable ones are the pricey In-line type and the Submersible type for reasons of efficiency.

How to choose the right aquarium heater?

After knowing all these types of water heaters, you are ready to choose the one that is perfect for the size of your tank. I have some words to share about this, which I will discuss later.

You then need to consider where to put it inside the aquarium, in an area that it won’t get in the way with your fish and thriving plants.

Your preference comes next, what brand and the make. In my case,  I always surf the net. I read reviews to know how product rates in the market.

From there, I also got the information based on the experiences of other hobbyists, the pros, and the cons. I do not visit the product’s website because I could only read positive points from there.

To balance the information, I talked to some fish advisors from the local fish stores. I listened to what the experienced aquarists suggested.

Now, the crucial part begins - the cost. I wanted to settle for the best 500-watt aquarium heater (for my 120-gallon Leiden tank) which only a few are sold in the market.

I know this hobby will cost some fortune, but my passion calls for it; therefore, any amount is within the budget if I get a cost-efficient one, the better.

I should know where the product was made because I look for quality and durability. Considering the technology of how it is made is another thing.

So far, this aquarium heater guide will serve a basket of information for you to come up with a decision.

How to choose one based on the tank size?

The size of a tank is a prime concern in buying an aquarium water heater. You should know by now that for every gallon of water you need a wattage of 2.5 or up to 5.

You need to consider the room temperature aside from the size of the tank. If you live in a colder region, you need to do a simple calculation.

Get the difference between your room temperature and with what amount of heat you preferred for your tank. If the required tank temperature is 84°F and your room is 74°F, set the aquarium heater by 10°F because that is what your aquarium needs.

Also remember that the larger the water capacity, the slower it loses heat, whereas if the volume is smaller, the faster the water loses heat.

Therefore, you need to balance the temperature according to the volume of water to come up with the ideal wattage option.

If you are a newbie in this hobby, your first choice could be a nano tank. This is not a hard decision to come up with; in fact, there are lots of 50W-100W heaters in your LFS. They will recommend the best small aquarium heater as per your preference.

If your aquarium is enormous and you need a 500W, you can consider installing two water heaters spaced evenly on your tank. A 200W placed near the filter outlet and a 300W on the other side of the back wall will deliver an excellent performance rather than a 500W heater.

While installing the best aquarium heater for your tank will keep the temperature stable, remember all these tips. Do a little Math and relate to some high school Science.

You now know the advantages of having a heater, decide for your heart’s desire.

The heating authority has come. Here are the top-notchers.

12 Top-notch Tank Heaters You Can Get Today

Tetra HT Aquarium Heater With Electronic Thermostat

The price tag is attractive. It is auto set to 78°F, the best temperature for a freshwater tank.

This temperature is enough for many tropical fish species, but some need more heat dispersal. Therefore, know each of your fish heat preferences.

The red and green indicators are helpful for busy people like me. The red lights up when it is heating and when the green lights up, it’s all heated to the desired temperature.

Tetra HT heater offers better heat dispersal because of the silicon carbide grains composition.

Tetra HT is submersible, and since it is small, you can hide it at the back or behind plants and hardscape. It can heat 2 to 10 gallons of water, but if your tank is enormous, you can choose a higher wattage.

From my experience, this is the best aquarium heater. There could be flaws but minimal considering the amount you saved.

The Edge:

  • Reasonable price
  • Fully submersible
  • Good indicator lights
  • User-friendly
  • Uncomplicated design
  • Simple installation
  • Vertical/Horizontal mounting
  • Concealing is easy
  • Shock resistant
  • With warranty

Some Issues:

  • Non Adjustable temperature
  • Not for a lidless tank
  • Only suited for nano tanks
  • Hard to see the indicator lights
  • Tendency to overheat
  • Not versatile compared to other brands

Aqueon Pro Heaters Submersible Aquarium Heaters

The Aqueon Pro Heater has a feature that you can adjust from 68 to 88°F. You are in full control of the temperature.

This heater has auto shut off feature, so there’s no need to worry about overheating. It resets when it has cooled down.

The LED light is still on, so you know it is functioning. The red means heating is in the process while the green signals the right temperature.

There’s a suitable heater for every tank size. Wattage comes in 50w to 250W, with new versions that just came out. It can disperse heat to 100-gallon tank.

The Edge:

  • Automatic shut off
  • Comes in 5 wattages (some with new versions)
  • Fully submersible
  • Temperature is adjustable
  • With Electronic Thermostat
  • Suits most aquarium sizes up to 100 gallons
  • Modest design (red/green light system)
  • Easy to follow instructions
  • Corrosion-free
  • Affordable
  • Shatterproof
  • Lifetime warranty

Some Issues:

  • Not durable (can crack)
  • Some negative reviews posted
  • Poor customer service

AquaTop Quartz Glass Submersible Heaters (50W-300W)

If you are after the functionality rather than the looks, search for a simple-looking yet the best aquarium heater as reviewed in the net.

There are lots of brands and models in the market, and new versions are even emerging, like the Aquatop Quartz Glass Submersible Heater.

It is an affordable aquarium heater that is submersible. You can choose between 50W to 300W.

It can provide the precise temperature at any area you submerge it within your tank, freshwater or saltwater. Its temperature ranges from 68°F to 93°F.

It has an auto turn-on feature; when the temperature of the water drops lower than your thermostat setting, it stops, and when it reaches your desired temperature, it turns off in an instant.

Take full control of the temperature as you can adjust it now and then. Its thermometer is accurate and easy to read.

The Edge:

  • Submersible
  • A wider range of temperature (68°F - 93°F)
  • Thermostat bearing over-wind protection
  • User-friendly instructions and usage
  • Choices from 50 to 300 Wattages
  • High-quality glass construction

Some Issues:

  • Unreliable shatterproof feature
  • Faulty temperature reading

FREESEA Aquarium Fish Tank Submersible Heater

This aquarium heater is fast gaining popularity, so I went curious to purchase it for my 100-gallon tank. I never regret buying it for this product is good-performing even to date.

It is compact in style, simple in design, and I could hide it behind rocks and plants in a position that I could see the indicator lights.

The LED display is more significant and clearer to read, unlike the one I bought for my nano tank. I can control the temperature (59F to 94F) through an exterior button.

Its one-year warranty has already expired, and the fixture is still delivering well. If this doesn't convince you yet, surf the net, and it will prove you right.

Read reviews, and it will serve as the best aquarium heater guide in case you’re on the lookout for a dependable product.

The Edge:

  • It is easier to hide behind a big rock for its oval shape design camouflages with the rockscape.
  • Installation becomes more comfortable because of integrating suction cups.
  • Auto set temperature feature.
  • You can adjust the setting through an external button.
  • It has a larger LED display that makes reading the temperature more comfortable.

Some Issues:

  • The heater works fine only in well-circulated water.
  • Its 3.5-ft power cord is short.
  • You need to submerge the heater all the time.
  • Its temperature control panel is not waterproof.

Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater

There’s nothing to worry now about cracks and breakage. Hygger Aquarium Heater comes with a titanium tube that neither won’t break nor wear out.

Titanium made an excellent alternative for glass because it won’t shatter.

Therefore, every purchase of this product carries the name of dependability and assurance.

This aquarium heater is submersible and ideal for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

The 100-watt heater is ideal for aquariums with a water capacity of 10 to 25 gallons.

It has a digital thermostat that will allow you to achieve the precise temperature for all the inhabitants of your tank. You can set it from 32°F to 104°F.

The thermostat will show the temperature of the water before and after the programmed setting.

The price is not low but reasonable enough for unmatched quality.

The Edge:

  • Automatic shut-off feature
  • External Temperature Control Box
  • Accuracy range is +/- 0.5° F
  • Can switch from Celsius to Fahrenheit
  • Longer power cord (5.5 feet) to reach any tank size
  • Space-saving style, small and compact
  • You can hide it, but why? It’s titanium!

Some  Issues:

  • For horizontal installation only
  • You cannot use the heater in sumps.
  • Putting  under the substrate is a big  “No.”
  • Off limit to plastic and acrylic tanks.

ViaAqua 500 Watt Titanium Heater

For a large tank of 100 gallons or more, a 500-watt water heater is better than two or more heaters of low wattages. The problem is a few brands in the market offer 500W.

It’s tough to maintain a large aquarium where water parameters are a prime concern - pH, hardness, and temperature. Your fish and plants need a stable water temperature, and ViaAqua 500 Watt Titanium Heater can take care of the job.

The heater is submersible, shatterproof, and durable because of its Titanium composition. It has a built-in automatic thermostat which will maintain the temperature in your tank (ranging from 64F-88F).

You can set and adjust it as per the temperature requirement of all the inhabitants of your tank. The digital readings are visible in red numbers through an LCD controller (100% accuracy).

The water heater features a remote temperature sensor. It can measure the temperature of water away from where the heater is...

For your protection, the redesigned version has an automatic shutoff feature in case of overheating or power shortage. If the unit is short of submersion (run dry), it will shut off in an instant. An alarm will function, and the LCD will display an Error.

This latest technology includes a built-in memory. When a power outage arises, the temperature returns to its original temperature.

ViaAqua offers the best small aquarium heater in 50 watts for 10-13 gallons of water. It also comes in 300 watts, which can heat to 80 gallons of water.

Four Wattage options will best suit your tank - 50W, 150W, 300W, 500W. There is an appropriate heater for any tank type and size.

The latest upgrade of 500-watt Titanium Heating tubes incorporates the finest electrical components with the new technology they are using now.

ViaAqua is becoming a household name in the fish keeping hobby today, hence the best 500-watt aquarium heater.

The Edge:

  • With Titanium elements (crack-resistant)
  • LCD controller
  • Adjustable setting
  • Built-in memory
  • Safety Alarm feature
  • Auto shut-off feature
  • Remote sensor
  • Readout in Celsius/Fahrenheit.
  • With suction cups for easy installation
  • Power cord measures 15.5 inches long
  • For any water type (fresh or saltwater)
  • A quality product of  USA

Some Issues:

  • For glass aquariums only
  • Not for plastic or acrylic tanks
  • Not for sump use
  • No protective rubber end
  • Calibration needed
  • Fragile

Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater

This product comes in four Wattages (100 Watts,150 Watts, 200 Watts, and 300 Watts). The manufacturer might come up for higher wattage. There will be a suitable heater for every aquarium.

Orlushy brand of water heaters is submersible, sturdy, and proven durable. You can use it in freshwater, brackish or saltwater tanks.

Its modern and sleek design match its versatility that you can regard this as the best aquarium heater.

I could prove that when I purchased a 200W and 300W for my 100-gallon Dutch aquarium. Each weighs 1.6 lbs., still lightweight for two units.

The automatic shut-off feature works well for any colossal tank. The moment it achieves the ideal temperature I set it turns off.

It never fails me even once. I am enjoying a piece of nature in my underwater landscape ever since I regulated the water temperature.

The Edge:

  • Shatterproof (quartz glass is thick)
  • The thermostat has two suction cups
  • Free Thermometer
  • Automatic safety shut-off
  • Overheating protection features
  • Adjustable knob
  • Good value for the money

Some Issues:

  • The indicator light is sometimes acting up
  • Temperature gauge becomes inaccurate over time because of environmental factors.
  • The heat function is tricky and uncontrollable  at times
  • There’s a need for a separate thermometer to check if the heater disperses heat.

Inkbird Heat Temperature Controller with Day Night Control

If you keep a large aquarium, chances are you have several water heaters installed in it. Therefore, you need to have a heater controller.

This product by Inkbird is not a heater but a controller. It is a digital outlet that controls the temperature of all the heaters in your tank.

It works well with any water heater brand in the market. Just plug all your tank heaters in here, and the job begins.

This is best for breeding and hatching fish and reptiles. It can regulate the temperature (from 50°C-99°C range) in an all day-all night basis (convertible to Fahrenheit).

There are lots of features like an alarm to calibrate temperature, or if there’s a sensor fault or overheating.

The Edge:

  • The accuracy range is higher (within 1°)
  • Easy control of the heater from the outside
  • This is an additional tool that can deliver excellent benefits for your fish and plants.
  • Great value for your money.

Some Issues:

  • Too many extra features complicate the setup.
  • It can just function on two or more water heaters
  • It takes much of the cost

U-pick Aquarium Heater with Extra Thermometer

The 100-Watt water heater by U-pick is submersible and easy to operate. You can adjust the temperature to your desired heat ranging from 68°F-94°F.

When your fish gets nearer the fixture, you do not worry because it has a protective casing that won’t scald your fish.

This product comes with a thermometer for added accuracy. It is lightweight at only 11 ounces that you can hide the unit in any area of your tank.

U-pick manufacturer heard your call for an upgraded version. The price it commands is just all worth it.

The Edge:

  • Automatic shut-off feature
  • An upgraded version of the previous product
  • Reliable indicator light
  • Bonus:  Free Thermometer (100% accurate)
  • Ease of operation, uncomplicated
  • No overheating issue

Some Issues:

  • Looks flimsy
  • Lack of quality and sturdiness
  • The temperature gauge is inaccurate like the former heater
  • Not for nano aquariums
  • Pricey

ISTA Inline External Heater Aquarium Heater

ISTA offers quality Aquarium Heaters in six wattages to suit every size of an aquarium.

Its 500-watt model is only available in North America where a region is colder in winter.

The product is UL-listed, and the house plugs are US-styled. The temperature readout comes in red numbers, so it’s conspicuous anywhere inside the tank.

It has adaptors that you can connect to a 5/8-inch hose. You get the precise temperature because the accuracy range is within 2.5 degrees.

What’s good news about it? You get it for the money. The heater is perfect for freshwater and different salinity levels.

With these, External Heater by ISTA is fast becoming the best 500-watt aquarium heater.

The Edge:

  • The price is affordable for a 500W heater.
  • ISTA In-line External Heater has two temperature sensors.
  • This product of Asia now has US-style plugs (no need for adaptors)

Some Issues:

  • It recommends a vertical installation only.
  • The readout displays in Celsius, but North America uses Fahrenheit.
  • Manual is short of information and illustrational directions.
  • A product of China

SZELAM 25W Mini Fish Tank Heater

Do you like to own a mini fish tank heater for your nano aquarium? With the features  SZELAM Heater is offering, you will end up buying it.

This 25-watt mini heater is small in its size, but for the quality, it’s the best small aquarium heater in the market today. I’ll tell you why.

It’s inexpensive, durable, shatterproof and won’t rust because of its ABS plastic composition.

It suits glass or plastic tank and is safe for freshwater or saltwater.

If you have a 5-gallon tank, you only need a small heater to do the job. This is perfect for nano fish like Bettas, Tetras, and Guppies.

Attach it anywhere inside a tank, plug it, and it functions.

It’s easy to operate due to its automatic features.

It can set the temperature from 73°F to 82°. The unit turns off when it achieves the desired temperature that you set.

This is an excellent value for the money! But then, we cannot avoid negative comments. The manufacturer is open to that to improve their products further.

The Edge:

  • Submersible
  • Well-assembled
  • Waterproof
  • Shatterproof
  • Includes two suction cups to fit
  • Auto turn off
  • Bonus gift:  free artificial plants as decor
  • With security protection
  • One-year warranty

NICREW Submersible Aquarium Heater

The NICREW Submersible Aquarium Heater features an adjustable temperature ranging from 68 °F-94 °F.

It has an automatic shut off feature when submersion falls short. This is to prevent damage and malfunction.

This easy-to-hide aquarium heater is sleek and compact that you can place behind decorations and plants. Place it in an area where you can read the LED temperature display.

You can control the temperature without the need to soak your hand in the tank. It has an external control that protects the unit and is convenient to use.

The shatterproof glass design is of high quality and is best to use for a 5-gallon tank.

The Edge:

  • Compact design
  • Shatterproof Quartz design
  • Precise LED Display

Some Issues:

  • New product of which track record not yet proven
  • Intended only for nano aquarium (5-gallon)


As you draw lots of benefits from using a water heater, remember that some fish and plants vary in their temperature needs. Balance the needed heat by getting the average temperature of all the inhabitants in your tank.

I recommend a complete setup first before choosing any fish or plant. Choose the ones with the same temperature needs.

As the water changes its temperature from time to time due to changes in climate, the best aquarium heater is what you need. Let your plants thrive, and your fish adapt well in a stress-free miniature environment that you offer.

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