The 10 Best Aquarium Heaters to Buy in 2021

The 10 Best Aquarium Heaters to Buy in 2021

The temperature of the water in your tank is important if you want your aquarium to thrive. The fish, plants, and aquatic life that you choose to place in your aquarium deserve an optimal environment. Whether you’re a new or seasoned aquarium owner, to achieve this you’ll need to maintain optimal water temperature. The right aquarium heater makes it easy to keep your aquarium looking and operating at its best.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Aquarium Heater

But with so many different aquarium heater options available on today’s market, it’s challenging to know where to begin. That’s why we’ve examined various factors, including everything from cost and durability to safety features and temperature range.

Tank Size and Water Type

The size of your tank should factor into the decision you make when choosing an aquarium heater. Recommended wattage figures play an important role in helping you determine what kinds of heaters provide consistent and reliable temperatures in your tank. As a general rule, you’ll want about 5 watts per gallon of water.

If you’re looking for an aquarium heater that provides a range of wattage options to match several different tank sizes, then you may want to consider taking a closer look at the Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater with Adjustable Thermostat.

Don’t forget to check for aquarium heaters that meet the needs of a saltwater tank if you have one. Those with freshwater tanks want to make similar buying decisions. You may also want to consider any plans that you have for your aquarium in the future. If you’re planning on purchasing more fish or aquatic life, then these additions may require a larger tank size or a change in temperature.

In such cases, remember that you may want to save yourself some time (and money) by buying an aquarium heater that fits both your current tank setup and provides the functionality you may need to pursue your future aquarium plans.

Safety Features

You should never sacrifice safety for convenience or looks. Without the right safety measures, your aquarium heater can quickly cause more problems than it solves. Be sure to keep an eye out for heaters that offer immaculate safety and backup features, like those found in the Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

Finally, never lose sight of the original intention of your aquarium heater: to regulate the temperature of your tank’s water. Finding a heater with a diverse temperature range gives you the flexibility you need. Some fish and other forms of aquatic life may have special needs that you have to account for as well.

You should also prioritize heaters that are accurate and consistent in their readouts to avoid complications with the health and wellbeing of the life in your tank. Looking at heaters that combine a wide temperature range and accurate readouts such as the hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Tube Submersible Pinpoint Aquarium Heater with Digital Thermostat gives you the best of both worlds.

Now that you know what to look for, you’re ready to jump in to our recommendations for the best aquarium heaters available, all of which will heat your tank up to a temperature that suits a vast majority of fish.

Top 10 Best Aquarium Heaters 2021

1. Best Overall Aquarium Heater: Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater

Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: A well-rounded submersible aquarium heater that delivers reliable operation, sleek design, and safety features at an affordable price point.

Quick Facts

  • Power: 25-300 W
  • Temperature: 65-93°F

This submersible aquarium heater has everything you need. Its submersible design allows for a consistent heat conveyance throughout your tank’s water. A minimal and unobtrusive design also minimizes any visual or aesthetic concerns that may be present with other heaters.

The heater is made with shock-resistant and pollutant-free material so that you don’t have to worry about any artificial compounds being introduced to your water.

When looking for larger wattage options, you may want to consider the size constraints this can place on your tank. That’s one of the only clear downsides to this option. With more wattage demands, you can also expect greater space demands. Keep this in mind if you’re aiming to achieve a clean look in your tank.

Safety Features

The main safety feature here is what’s known as Thermo Safety Control. This feature ensures that the heater operates with “running dry” protection. As soon as the heater is removed from the water, it shuts down. The feature is essentially a fail-safe that allows for easier installation and tank maintenance. When making adjustments and changes to your tank, the feature also guards against those who might forget to turn the heater off.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

With a temperature range stretching from 65 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit, the Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater provides temperatures that meet most aquarium requirements. Crystal clear readouts and an easy-to-view LED display make this heater quite accurate as well. The device’s TruTemp dial allows for simple and hassle-free control within a half of a degree Fahrenheit.

Pros

  • Temperature readouts are clear and easy to check
  • Fully submersible
  • Thermo Safety Control feature ensures safe operation

Cons

  • Larger sizes may occupy too much space in your tank

2. Best Budget Aquarium Heater: Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater

Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: The Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater is an affordable option that’s great for both new and experienced aquarium enthusiasts alike. It carries some unique safety features and offers straightforward temperature controls.

Quick Facts

  • Power: 100-500 W
  • Temperature: 68-89°F

Those who are looking to save some money without having to sacrifice on safety or quality will love this heater. Its sleek and minimal design makes it easy to position out of sight in most tank scenarios. High-quality materials and a few different wattage options also make the heater useful to different types of aquarium owners. The heater is compatible with both freshwater and saltwater tanks.

The largest wattage size here, 300W, is suitable for tanks that are 50 to gallons. However, with the 150W option being the smallest option available, this heater may fail to meet some tank owners’ criteria based on the size of their tank alone.

Those with smaller tanks may want to consider the brand’s heater that’s made for miniature aquarium environments, the Orlushy Mini Aquarium Heater.

Safety Features

The positive safety profile of this aquarium heater is inherent in its materials and build quality. Made with 2mm thickened quartz glass, the heater is explosion-proof. The automatic shut off feature also prevents overheating. Both of these qualities make for a thermal-resistant heater that is both safe and durable.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

As the product description states, the temperate adjustment area on the heater doesn’t always provide accurate readouts. This is a potential issue for those who need to be 100% certain about the temperature of their tank. Those with special kinds of fish and exotic aquatic life may want to steer clear based off of this downside alone.

Nevertheless, the temperature accuracy is generous with this heater. Controls allow for accuracy within one degree. The unit’s temperature calibration system achieves precision without having to adjust the dials over and over again.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Works in both freshwater and saltwater tanks
  • Easy to hide in your tank
  • Thick quartz glass provides safety and durability

Cons

  • Limited wattage options
  • Temperature readouts aren’t always flawlessly accurate

3. Best Premium Aquarium Heater: hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Heater

hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Heater


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: A high-quality submersible heater built with anticorrosive titanium and accurate temperature controls combines durability with precision.

Quick Facts

  • Power: 50-200 W
  • Temperature: 32-104°F

The fact that this heater has the word “pinpoint” in its title is no mistake. The hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Tube Submersible Pinpoint Aquarium Heater offers some impressive temperature controls that allow for precision in many kinds of tanks.

Its unique usage of anticorrosive titanium does away with the glass material that is common in other heaters at similar price points.

Safety Features

Most notable in the realm of safety is the heater’s automatic shut off system. Once the heater reaches the desired temperature, it automatically turns off without having to press any buttons or adjust any controls. This system prevents overheating and decreases the chances of electric shock. The unit’s titanium materials also guard against shattering and corrosion.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

The heater comes with a built-in dual LCD display for pinpoint temperature accuracy. However, the real point of interest in regards to temperature lies in the unit’s temperature range. Upstaging every other heater on this list, the hygger Saltwater Tank Titanium Tube Submersible Pinpoint Aquarium Heater has a temperature range of 32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. If that wasn’t enough, it also allows for control within a half of a degree.

Pros

  • Excellent temperature range
  • A unique use of titanium beefs up its durability factor
  • Accurate temperature controls within a half of a degree
  • Automated shut off system aids safe operation

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only two wattage options

4. Best Looking Aquarium Heater: Fluval M Submersible Heater

Fluval M Submersible Heater


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: Reflective build materials allow the heater to match the rest of your tank. It’s easy to install and offers some high-quality safety features.

Quick Facts

  • Power: 50-200 W
  • Temperature: 66-86°F

This is a great submersible heater option for a few reasons. First of all, the Fluval M50 is made with reflective mirror material that allows the heater to blend into the rest of your aquarium. This helps it stand out from other heaters such as the Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater with Adjustable Thermostat that may be a bit more difficult (if not altogether impossible) to conceal.

Its temperature dial is easy to operate, and it offers a generous temperature range that should be optimal for most tropical water configurations. The heater is also compatible with both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.

Because this heater only comes in a maximum of 200 watts, those with larger tanks may want to go with something that offers more wattage options. Specifically, if your tank is larger than 150 gallons, then a single Fluval M50 Submersible Heater won’t be enough to do the job.

On the other hand, something like the Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater is a good choice.

Safety Features

The bulk of this heater’s safety appeal rests in its materials. It doesn’t have any fancy safety mechanisms that turn the device off automatically or check for overheating. However, there is a high-quality borosilicate glass and a high-density ceramic that makes for exceptional safety in the event of collisions or excess heat.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

While not as ample as some other aquarium heater temperature ranges, this model should be able to accomplish most of your temperature needs. Its range extends from 66 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. With a simple dial, it’s easy to set the temperature too.

Pros

  • Reflective mirrors allow for a low profile look
  • Easy installation
  • Borosilicate glass protects against bumps

Cons

  • The largest option is 200W
  • Limited temperature range

5. Safest Aquarium Heater: Mylivell Aquarium Heater

Mylivell Aquarium Heater


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: Durable suction cups and a slew of safety features make this heater a great choice if you want to minimize worries when controlling your tank’s water temperature.

Quick Facts

  • Power: 100-300 W
  • Temperature: 65-93°F

As the name suggests, the Mylivell Aquarium Heater Submersible Auto Thermostat Heater uses an automatic thermostat to moderate temperature in your tank. Its temperature range is quite generous, and it’s made from quality material that aids its safety profile.

On the downside, this heater has quite a noticeable design. If you’re looking to completely conceal your aquarium heater, there are better choices out there. You may also discover that certain fish in your tank are even distracted by the heater once it’s installed.

Safety Features

This option excels in terms of safety features. The dual suction cup design quells any worries about the heater slipping and falling into the tank. Its material is also quite robust. The heater is made with durable quartz glass and it’s double sealed. If that wasn’t enough, the heater’s power plug is also polarized, which means you won’t have to worry about shocking yourself.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

The temperature range for this heater is 65 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit. This covers the most common temperatures that are needed to maintain a well functioning aquarium full of tropical fish. An auto thermostat allows you to view the current temperature and make any adjustments that may be needed on the fly.

Pros

  • Two suction cups provide superior grip
  • Easy to read lights and displays
  • Numerous safety features

Cons

  • The design may be off-putting to some

6. Best Adjustable Aquarium Heater: FREESEA Aquarium Heater

FREESEA Aquarium Heater


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: This heater features an intelligent automatic temperature modulation system that allows you to set your temperature and walk away.

Quick Facts

  • Power: 50-300 W
  • Temperature: 65-95°F

Available in a few key sizes, this heater is an excellent option for those who want a wide temperature range, sufficient safety features, and automatic temperature control. An intelligent temperature system ensures that the heater only engages once the temperature inside your tank falls below the threshold you set. It comes with a one-year warranty as well.

Safety Features

The tank features an explosion-proof design that protects against overheating and surface impacts. The automatic temperature system ensures that the heater doesn’t add too much heat to the water in your tank. There’s also an automatic shut-off feature to further enhance the safety of the unit.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

This heater comes with a wide temperature range. Aquarium owners can enjoy flexibility from 63 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. There have been some complaints about the accuracy of the display in customer reviews, however. Excess condensation may make it difficult to establish certainty in the numbers displayed on the heater’s readout.

Pros

  • The automatic temperature control system
  • Generous temperature range
  • One-year warranty

Cons

  • Temperature accuracy isn’t great

7. Best Mini Aquarium Heater: Aqueon Fish Tank Mini Heater

Aqueon Fish Tank Mini Heater


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: Great entry-level heater for beginners or those with smaller tanks and fewer fish.

 Quick Facts

  • Power: 10 W
  • Temperature: ~78°F

If you’re just getting your start in the world of fish and aquariums, then you may be looking for a smaller heater. The Aqueon Mini Heater is an excellent choice for those who have smaller tanks. Not only is the unit inexpensive, but it also gets the job done with easy installation and shatterproof design. For anyone who has a tank larger than 2.5 gallons, you’ll want to choose a larger heater with higher wattage.

Safety Features

The unit includes suction cups for easy mounting to avoid problems with collisions. This heater also uses shatterproof materials to further protect against any unwanted damage to your heater or your tank.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

There’s not much to expect with such a small heater. At just 10 watts, the heater offers warming capabilities for most small tanks looking to hold a few tropical fish. There’s no fancy LED displays or readouts here. The temperature will hold at around 78 degrees, though the small size of the tank it should be used in means that there will be a variation of a few degrees.

Those with mini tanks who are looking for complete accuracy may favor heaters that include digital displays, such as the Orlushy Mini Aquarium Heater.

Pros

  • Perfect for small tanks
  • Shatterproof design
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No digital temperature display

8. Best Saltwater Aquarium Heater: ViaAqua Quartz Glass Submersible Heater

ViaAqua Quartz Glass Submersible Heater


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: Simple heater with high-quality glass and temperature settings that can be used in both freshwater and saltwater environments.

Quick Facts

  • Power: 200 W
  • Temperature: 68-93°F

The construction of this fully submersible heater leaves little to be desired. It’s made from high-quality impact-resistant quartz glass so you don’t have to worry about it shattering. It’s built for use in freshwater or saltwater aquariums, and The suction cups provide an additional layer of user-friendly installation.

Safety Features

Quartz glass protects the unit from shattering in the event of a collision or drop. The material also makes it quite durable over time, so you can expect a healthy lifespan from this heater. The included suction cups also offer an added layer of security when positioning the heater inside of your tank.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

The unit’s temperature range extends from 68 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit. These figures should be sufficient to provide optimal conditions for most tropical fish.

Once installed and fully submerged beneath your tank’s water surface, the heater uses an LED light to indicate when it’s in use. Some users have reported inaccurate readouts, but there may be other factors to blame in these scenarios, such as the position of your tank.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Made with quartz glass
  • Lights make it clear when the unit is on

Cons

  • Temperature readouts aren’t always accurate

9. Best Aquarium Heater for Medium-Sized Tanks: Orlushy Mini Aquarium Heater

Orlushy Mini Aquarium Heater


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: This strong but small tank heater comes equipped with an accurate LED temperature display.

Quick Facts

  • Power: 50-100 W
  • Temperature: 65-93°F

Those with medium-sized tanks may have no trouble finding low wattage heaters to meet their needs. However, many smaller heaters lack the bells and whistles that aquarium owners have come to expect from larger heaters. With the Orlushy Mini Aquarium Heater, a crisp LED display breaks the mold and offers accurate temperature reads.

In addition to being perfect for small aquariums, the heater can also be used in other contexts, such as hydroponic systems. The heater offers external temperature controls so you don’t even have to reach inside your tank to change the water’s temperature.

Safety Features

The unit isn’t protected by any additional layers, so it may be more vulnerable to damage over time. However, as it’s a smaller heater meant for smaller tanks, drops and collisions don’t pose as much of a threat as they might in larger tanks. External controls and a long power cord also make it more difficult for an electric shock to occur when installing and adjusting the heater.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

For a small heater, this unit boasts an impressive temperature range, from 65 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit. The heater’s external LED display also makes for accurate temperature readings. An indicator light shows users when the heater is engaged.

Pros

  • Great for small tanks
  • External LED display
  • External temperature control

Cons

  • Not as durable as other heaters

10. Most Durable Aquarium Heater: Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater

Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: A tough case and high-quality materials make this heater durable and robust. It also comes with a 3-year warranty.

Quick Facts

  • Power: 25-300 W
  • Temperature: 66-96°F

The design of this heater aims to be flat and minimal. This sets it apart from some of the other heaters on this list which are more tube-like in design. The flat, slim profile design makes it optimal for those who may be trying to fit more plants and aquatic life into their aquarium without things feeling too crowded.

But the visual appeal isn’t the only advantage to this heater. It also performs well, offering accurate temperature readouts. It’s durable, too, with an outer casing protecting all of the potentially vulnerable inner workings of the unit.

A generous 3-year warranty goes a long way to bolster buyer confidence. However, all of these elements combine to make this heater run a bit on the pricier end of things. It’s certainly not ideal for those who are looking to save a few bucks on their next aquarium heater purchase.

Safety Features

The heater boasts an internal thermal regulation circuit so that it can shut down in the event of excess heat. This prevents the kinds of breakages that some aquarium owners may be concerned about when shopping for aquarium heaters. There’s also an outer casing that’s shatterproof, so if the unit falls for any reason, it won’t cause further damage to the heater itself, or your tank.

Temperature Range and Accuracy

The Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater is accurate within a half of a degree. This makes it a great choice for those who may have sensitive temperature needs in their tank’s water. Convenient LED displays make it simple to check in on temperatures inside your tank with accuracy and ease of operation.

Pros

  • Available in several sizes
  • Fully-submersible and flat
  • Thermal protection avoids overheating
  • Includes 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Pricier option

Choosing the Right Aquarium Heater for Your Needs

So what else do you need to examine before you buy an aquarium heater? Here’s some common but important questions to ask yourself.
aquarium with fish

What Temperature Should I Heat My Tank To?

The ideal temperature of a fish tank depends on what species it contains. As a simple guideline, anywhere between 75 and 80 degrees will suit most common tropical freshwater aquarium fish that you would find at most pet stores.

Mixing cool water fish and tropical fish is a recipe for complications when looking at heaters. For example, koi fish, goldfish, and some minnows prefer cool water that sits around 70 degrees. Keeping your tank’s temperature too high could lead to some serious health complications for these kinds of fish. Others, like bettas and angelfish, actually prefer water closer to 85 degrees.

Thankfully, in almost all cases, a temperature right around 78 to 80 degrees will be fine for almost all common aquarium fish. Certain species may prefer warmer or cooler temperatures, but it’s a good compromise that won’t cause problems in most community tanks.

How Many Watts Should My Heater Have?

As a general rule, you’ll need about 2-5 watts per gallon to adequately heat your tank. This number varies depending on how much you want to raise the temperature, as well as external circumstances like lighting and room temperature, but if you purchase a heater within this range it should be enough to properly heat your aquarium.

Do You Have Any Special Fish or Aquatic Life to Care For?

Many of the heaters on this list are made to account for tropical fish. That means they keep water warm to simulate a tropical environment. After all, the whole goal of an aquarium is to mimic your aquatic life’s natural environment without too many barriers or exceptions. However, if you are intent on bringing certain types of fish into your tank, then your heater could affect their quality of life.

Even if you’re aiming to host a diverse set of aquatic life, you can do so by performing thorough research on fish types before you purchase a heater. Informing yourself on optimal water temperatures based on your aquatic life can help you to sidestep problems that can become even harder to correct once you’ve made them.

Are You Looking to Make Major Changes to Your Aquarium in the Future?

Routine maintenance tasks such as water changes can exhibit some immediate impacts on your water temperature. It’s a good idea to account for these when choosing an aquarium heater.

However, you should also bear in mind that larger and more structural changes to your setup will likely dictate alterations to your aquarium’s heater. If you’re looking to add more fish in the future, then you’ll probably need to upgrade your tank size. In most cases, a larger tank size means you’ll need a larger heater to keep the water temperature consistent throughout the tank.

If you have plans to breed fish in your aquarium, then you’ll also want to keep the water temperature in mind. Once again, the end goal is always to simulate, as accurately as you can, the natural environment of the fish and aquatic life that you’re bringing into your aquarium. This means you need to account for any plans that you have for your setup when shopping for the ideal aquarium heater.

How Easy Is It to Set Up an Aquarium Heater?

Most aquarium heaters offer hassle-free setup and installation. Look for those that make use of multiple high-quality rubber suction cups, such as the Mylivell Aquarium Heater Submersible Auto Thermostat Heater for an even easier installation process. You may also want to bear in mind the fact that some heaters make you reach inside the tank to adjust temperatures and set your thermostat. Others allow for external control.

What External Factors Influence the Water Temperature in My Tank?

When looking for heaters, also consider the physical and environmental factors that have an impact on the temperature of the water in your aquarium. Depending on the positioning of your tank, you may be fighting an uphill battle.

If you position your tank right up against a window that gets lots of direct sunlight, the water temperature inside your tank may be raised without the use of a heater. Too much sunlight can create uneven temperatures throughout your tank. On the other hand, too little sunlight can make it so that your heater is working much harder than it has to.

Insulation may also play a key role in your tank’s temperature. Try to position your tank in an area that benefits from balanced temperature and humidity conditions. If you live in a particular muggy or dry climate, then you may also want to invest in a humidifier or dehumidifier to achieve optimal air quality in your room.

Do You Need More Than One Aquarium Heater?

Many times, those with larger aquariums feel much better with two (or more) heaters for their tank. Of course, this is by no means necessary for every setup. However, having a backup aquarium heater on hand means you won’t have to worry so much if your current heater has some problems.

Furthermore, those looking to sustain higher temperatures may want to consider the potential longevity concerns of a single heater setup.

If you need to keep your aquarium at higher average temperatures to accommodate a large tank size or a particular type of fish, then pushing a single aquarium heater to its limits may present a problem for its long term operation. In such cases, it’s far more preferable to lighten the heater’s load by giving it a companion.

With two aquarium heaters, each one can “split the difference” so that neither one has to work overtime to produce consistent water temperatures. This not only delivers more even, balanced temperature regulation, but also saves your heaters from the kinds of stress and overuse that can lead to malfunctions, errors, and eventual failure.
neon tetras

Final Thoughts

There’s no denying the fact that there are more aquarium heaters to choose from than ever before. However, if you can take some time to focus on your personal needs and goals with your aquarium, it becomes that much easier to make an informed decision.

After all, the right aquarium heater should make your tank maintenance and upkeep easier and less complicated, not more complicated and time-consuming. By keeping these considerations in mind, we have full confidence that you’ll be able to find the best aquarium heater to fulfill your needs.

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