Finding the Best Aquarium Heaters in 2020 | iPetCompanion

Finding the Best Aquarium Heaters in 2020

Finding the best heater for aquarium is important because it helps keep the water in the aquarium at a constant temperature all the time. However, there are different types of aquarium heaters available these days and they come with various features. The best aquarium heater is the one that suits the needs of the fish you keep. Be sure to consider the types of heaters available today for proper temperature control. Here are some of the options you can consider.

Aqueon Pro Adjustable Aquarium Heater

Best for Large Tanks

  • Shatter-resistant structure
  • Indicator Lights

Rated by: Amber

Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater


  • High Quality & Durable
  • Easy Installation
  • Small footprint

Rated by: Amber

Aquatop Quartz Glass Submersible Heaters

Best bristly brush

  • Easy to install
  • Insulated glass structure
  • Control knob

Rated by: Amber

The Best Aquarium Heaters: Our Top Picks

1. Aqueon Pro Adjustable Aquarium Heater

Quick Summary

Rated by: Amber

It is ideal for effectively keeping the perfect temperature of the water for healthy fish tanks of both salt and freshwater community. This allows you to find the most popular wattage sizes to get any aquarium with a customized heating experience.

 It has an electronic thermostat designed to continuously keep water at 78 ° F, which is suitable for most tropical fish. This way, the consumer will not have to worry about constantly regulating the temperature. No adjustment will be required hence making it easy for the user. The heater is simple to use and operate in aquariums from 2 gallons to 55 gallons. Due to this, one can make use of the heater for even greater and bigger aquariums.

The heater has a sturdy shatter-resistant heater structure that enables thermal regulation of the aquarium temperature. This way, the fish stay at the most comfortable temperature, sustaining a longer life. All the heaters from the brand have lights signaling when the Heater is on; this way, you can know if you have forgotten to turn it off or not. When the correct temperature is reached, the light will turn to green; however, when the water is being heated, it will stay red, making the consumer aware of the temperature of the aquarium for the wishes.

Overall, it is a great product as an aquarium heater with many beneficial features, especially the LED lights. Just keep in mind that as compared to many other similar products, using this may seem to be a bit expensive way to heat the water.


  • It features a shatter-resistant structure
  • It is suitable for a tank of up to 55 gallons
  • It comes with indicator lights


  • It may be a bit expensive

2. Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater

Quick Summary

Rated by: Amber

Tetra's HT series of heaters are simple to use and operate in aquariums from 2 gallons to 55 gallons. Both heaters have indicator lights to tell you when it's working and when it is on standby. This allows the user to see when the temperature has reached the right point and when they need to turn it off.

The low voltage thermostat keeps the water at 78 ° F without any further modification. Make sure to buy the right Heater for your tank scale. This one's a great choice, also because you can install this submersible heater horizontally and vertically.

 Buying a heater that is too low for your tank will contribute to under-heating. Underwater, allowing a heater too low for your tank will trigger it. Be certain that your tank is fitted with a hood or glass canopy to absorb the heat in the aquarium. All such Heaters can be switched off for your safety if an electrical short is detected. This allows the user to know what the correct temperature is.

Overall, it is a great heater, but there are chances of electrical short of temperature being too high, that is why the consumer should ensure that they keep an eye on the temperature light to regulate it better. Rest, it is a great buy for your aquarium.


  • It comes with a low voltage thermostat
  • It can be installed horizontally and vertically
  • It has a small footprint


  • There's risk of temperature being too high

3. AquaTop Quartz Glass Submersible Heaters

Quick Summary

Rated by: Amber

With a small price tag, this heater is very affordable for someone who has just started keeping an aquarium. You won't face any issue in terms of durability because it's made from top quality insulated glass. It's going to serve you for long and is surely going to offer a good bang for the buck.

You can choose between different wattages, as per your requirements. It has 50 watts of power and the best one with 300 watts, which is more than adequate for most of the larger tanks. If you get a big heater and don't need as much control, the temperature will easily be changed with the control knob.

With all these features, it is easier to maintain a stable water temperature without the daily adjustment required. This Heater is much more efficient because of the submersible function than other heaters that don't equally disperse the heat. With the heater, your tank will always have the right temperature, with minimum effort on your part.

There's no need to worry about anything when it comes to installation – you just need to plug it in, turn it on, and mount it to a tank board. The kit comes with very clear instructions that anyone can obey. 

Keeping it away from tall plants is always safer, to be sure that it does not fire up the water around them more than is suggested. Overall it's great; however, you will have to be careful about how much it's heating up.


  • It is durable with insulated glass
  • It is available in different wattages
  • It comes with a control knob for temperature control


  • It may lead to overheating

4. Fluval E Electronic Heater

Quick Summary

Rated by: Amber

Perhaps this heater is among the most sophisticated aquarium heaters on the market. The remotely operated heater is fitted with digital microprocessor innovation, which continuously tracks and view the water temperature in the aquarium. It has a thermal monitor, which constantly measures the water temperature for better precision and accuracy.

The heater is available in 4 sizes of 50, 100, 200, and 300 watts and all of these are resilient to wear and corrosion. The heater is also shatterproof, which avoids injury. It is able to handle a range of temperatures of 68 °F-93 ° F.

The Heater's biggest selling point is that they have two temperature sensors, which keep track of the water temperature in the tank in real-time. The Heater has a unique color-coding function, which alerts you to any changes in temperature. If the water temperature differs from the predetermined temperature by-/+2oF, then the color of the read will change. The green light, for example, means the safe zone, the red light is a high-temperature warning, and blue light signifies extremely low temperature.

The Heater's LCD display helps you to control the temperature, and it offers the flexibility of showing temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit. The Heater has a "quickfire" system that allows very rapid heating of the water in the tank, and the protection shut-off mechanism shuts off the heater in case the water gets too hot. 

While it is one of the best ones in the market, you may have to worry about its price.


  • It has digital microprocessor for better control
  • It comes with two temperature sensors
  • It has indicator lights


  • The price is on the higher side

FAQ - A Buyer's Guide

What is the Most Reliable Aquarium Heater?

In order to choose one of the best aquarium heaters, it is important to educate yourself about various types available on the market. For instance:

  • Immersible Heaters: These are quite common and also called hanging heaters because they stay on the back of your aquarium. They come equipped with a heating element housed in a glass tube that stays in the water.  If you're looking for a cost-effective and reliable aquarium heater, you can surely opt for one of these types.
  • Submersible Heaters: These are the most popular types of heaters for temperature control. Staying full submerged in the aquarium, they provide you with relatively more flexible placement options. Just be a bit careful when you have tank decorations because the heater should never touch the surface.
  • In-Line External Heaters: These heaters will attach to the filtration system in your aquarium. If you have a larger tank and need a reliable heater for fish tank, you may benefit a great deal by buying an in-line heater.
  • In-Sump Heaters: These heaters go on your sump system. They are quite reliable but people choose them because they save a lot of space.
  • Substrate Heaters:  They come with heating coils that you need to install at the bottom of your aquarium. Though they work well, they're not as efficient as submersible heaters.  You may find them effective when buying for planted tanks but they're not as reliable for total-tank heating.

By having better knowledge about the available heater types, you will be in a better position to decide which one to buy for your aquarium. The submersible aquarium heater is usually the most reliable one, but you can pick any so long as it helps maintain stable tank temperature.  In case you're going for an immersible aquarium heater, you may want to keep it near the outlet of the filter to ensure the water warms up to the ideal temperature. It also ensures an even distribution of properly heated water throughout your aquarium.  

Thankfully, you don't have to worry too much about the placement with submersible heaters because they stay in the water, so there's no need to keep them close to the top of the tank.  If reliability is a concern, you may also opt for two smaller heaters instead of a larger one because one heater will continue working even if one fails any time.

What is the Best Aquarium Heater Brand?

When you ask about the best fish tank heater brand, you will find quite a few options. It actually depends on your unique circumstances, the tank size, and, of course, the fish you keep. However, some brands are surely more popular, like some people just love what Aqueon has to offer.  

Similarly, if you're looking for a submersible aquarium heater, you will benefit a lot by putting your money on what Tetra has to offer. The Tetra HT submersible heater is especially popular because it works great for a tank with overall capacity of up to 55 gallons.  It is quite suitable for most tropical fish species and is quite affordable and dependable at the same time. The brand is also popular because it offers heaters with inbuilt electronic thermostats. These thermostats ensure proper temperature control all the time. And of course, the presence of an LED display is an added benefit.

The bottom line is that you can find a number of aquarium heater brands these days, but be sure to consider your budget as well as the types of fish you're going to keep in the tank to make the best buying decision. However, it doesn't matter which heater you buy, it will fail if you don't know how to use it properly.  Once you've bought an internal or external heater for your tropical fish, it is important pay attention to the following tips.

  • Always decide on the money you can spend to buy a heater and then opt for the highest quality product. Be sure to follow all the instructions listed for the product to ensure that the heater stays in prime working condition.
  • No matter how efficient a heater is, it will still need some maintenance. Ensure that you clean your heater regularly – no less than once a month to ensure you don't end up dealing with algae accumulation.
  • Pay attention to find the right place to install your heater and then choose the best position for your aquarium. Under no circumstances should you be placing your aquarium in direct sunlight. It is equally important to keep it away from an air vent, as these factors will render the heater ineffective and make it difficult to maintain a stable aquarium temperature.
  • Consider using a drip system whenever refilling the aquarium or you should try ways to match the new water to the temperature of water you already have in the tank.
  • Always consider which aquarium lighting fixtures are the best and work in conjunction with your aquarium heater to deliver the best results. Keep in mind that aquarium lighting can also product a lot of heat, which is especially true when you opt for metal halide lights that often need an aquarium chiller to function properly.
  • Be sure to replace your aquarium heater at least once a year. This is to ensure that the heater keeps working fine and doesn't fail unexpectedly, leaving you with no other option to maintain temperature control.

So, remember, while there are better brands, it will always come down to how responsible you behave when maintaining the aquarium heater you choose.  If you pay no attention to its proper maintenance and cleaning, even the best heater would break eventually.

Where Should Heater be Placed in Aquarium?

Depending on the type of aquarium heater you choose, you can decide on the best location to place it. The temperature in your room/home will also play a role here.  For instance, if your room is not very cold, you should at least be going for a heater of up to 5W for each gallon of water. It means that a 20-gallon heater would need a 100w heater, and you can pick a place to install it depending on its size.

In case you have an aquarium larger than 40 gallons, you will be better off buying two heaters instead of one. You should place each heater at opposite ends of the aquarium. It means you should not buy a 200w heater but buy a couple of 100w heaters and install on both sides of the aquarium to ensure proper distribution of heat.

The right placement of your heater will also depend on its type. For instance, if you're buying a submersible heater, you should consider placing it where it gets the best water flow, as it will enable it to circulate the warm water more effectively.  Ideally, it should go horizontally inside the tank but stay at least a few inches from the substrate.  Keeping it placed horizontally will also ensure that it covers more area as a whole.

This works well for heaters designed for horizontal placement. Not all of them are designed this way, even if you opt for submersible heaters. If you choose a different one that is designed mainly for vertical placement, be sure to place it next to the filter to maintain proper circulation.

While placing the aquarium heater, it is of immense importance to consider the current of the water flow. Here, you should also pay heed to the instructions you find on your aquarium heater. If the water flow is good, it will be much easier to find a place for your heater, which in turn will continue maintaining regular temperature throughout the fish tank.

What Heater Do I Need for My Aquarium?

With a variety of aquarium heaters available in the market, it has become much easier to select the right one for your aquarium needs. However, you need to pay attention to certain factors in order to make the best purchase. For instance, you can't pick the right one if you don't consider the ambient temperature as well as the size of your aquarium first.

In order to make a decision, consider the start water temperature of your fish tank first. Then, consider it in relation to the temperature needs of your fish. For instance, you can do with a smaller water heater if the temperature in your room is 75F and your fish can survive at a minimum temperature of 78F.  If the difference in the room temperature and the temperature your fish need is quite significant, you will have to opt for a much larger heater with a better capacity to distribute aquarium heat evenly.

If your aquarium is small, a small heater would do just fine. For a 10-gallon tank, your heater needs to be of 25W at least, but you can opt for a 75W heater to be on the safe side. If it is a 75-gallon aquarium, you will need a heater with a power of up to 300W. You should also consider the temperature range you want to achieve.  If you want to increase the temperature by 1-5 degrees, a heater with fewer wattage will work as well. If the temperature range is high and you need to raise the temperature by more than 5 degrees, opt for the larger heater to keep your fish comfortable.

The Best Aquarium Heater

Without proper heating, most species of fish can live comfortably in freshwater and saltwater tanks. As fish can't regulate body temperatures, you need to help them with the right type of aquarium heater. A number of options are at your disposal, but if you're confused, you can always put your money on Tetra HT Submersible aquarium heater, which features a built-in internal thermostat and is easier to install, both vertically and horizontally.

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