Unfortunately, even if you buy an expensive aquarium heater, it may start malfunctioning at any time. It’s not uncommon for fish owners to come to their aquarium where there’s nothing left – either the water boiled, or fish has frozen to death. To prevent such accidents, you can buy the best aquarium heater controller. How to select one? Our guide is here to help you.

Table of Contents:

What Is An Aquarium Heater Controller?
Compare The Best Aquarium Heater Controllers
Aquarium heater controller reviews
1. Finnex Temperature Controller Digital Heater
2. Inkbird Dual Stage Temperature Controller + NTC Sensor, AC 100V - AC 240V
3. Hydor Smart Level Controller, Automatic Top Off
4. Inkbird ONLY Heating Thermostat Digital 110V, 1100W Heater Temperature Controller 10-42°C
5. WILLHI WH1436A Temperature Controller 110V Digital Thermostat Switch Sous Vide Controller NTC 10K
Frequently Asked Questions
Conclusion & Our Recommendations

What Is An Aquarium Heater Controller?

This is a device that controls the temperature in the aquarium and displays it to the user. A heater controller prevents both overheating and cooling of water, and some models are compatible with heaters – they control the gadgets and switch them off/on when needed.

Compare The Best Aquarium Heater Controllers

ImageProduct 
Best Choice
Finnex Temperature Controller Digital Heater review
Finnex Temperature Controller Digital Heater
  • Temperature range: 67-93 F°
  • Output power: Up to 800 W
  • Installation: Lies on an even surface, the sensor is attached to the aquarium wall
  • Display: Yes

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Also great
Inkbird Dual Stage Temperature Controller review
Inkbird Dual Stage Temperature Controller
  • Temperature range: -50~99°C / -58~210 °F
  • Output power: Up to 1200 W
  • Installation: Hangs on a wall
  • Display: yes

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Also great
Hydor Smart Level Controller review
Hydor Smart Level Controller
  • Temperature range: No limits
  • Output power: n/a
  • Installation: Hangs on a wall
  • Display: No, only lights

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Also great
Inkbird ONLY Heating Thermostat Digital 110V review
Inkbird ONLY Heating Thermostat Digital 110V
  • Temperature range: 10-42°C / 50-108°F
  • Output power: Up to 1100 W
  • Installation: Plugged in the socket
  • Display: yes

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Also great
WILLHI WH1436A Temperature Controller 110V review
WILLHI WH1436A Temperature Controller 110V
  • Temperature range: -58 ~ 230 °F(-50 ~ 110 °C)
  • Output power: Up to 1100 W
  • Installation: Lies on a table
  • Display: yes

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Aquarium heater controller reviews

With the help of these aquarium reviews, you will be able to choose a suitable model to match your requirements.

Finnex Temperature Controller Digital Heater

Finnex Temperature Controller Digital Heater

Review

This aquarium heater temperature controller features everything you need to sustain optimal temperature: LED display, easily adjustable settings, and setting memory (when you switch the device on, it continues sustaining the chosen temperature). The gadget is suitable for all heating elements up to 800 W. It maintains the temperature within 67-93 F° degrees.

Our opinion

An optimal variant if you already have a heater and need a non-expensive controller for it.

PROS

  • Wide temperature range;
  • Easy setting.

CONS

  • Too bulky;
  • The heater is sold separately.
Inkbird Dual Stage Temperature Controller

Inkbird Dual Stage Temperature Controller + NTC Sensor, AC 100V – AC 240V

Review

This is a versatile heater that’s suitable for both cooling and heating (devices can be plugged separately or all together). It supports displaying of both °F/ °C for your convenience. The device is waterproof (IP68 standard), and doesn’t take much space. It has the maximum output load of 1200 W. Once the temperature gets out of the limits, the device alarms owner about it.

Our opinion

A compact, versatile model for owners or multiple aquariums.

PROS

  • Compact and lightweight;
  • Non-expensive;
  • Dual sensor with cooling and heating.

CONS

  • No heater is included.
Hydor Smart Level Controller

Hydor Smart Level Controller, Automatic Top Off

Review

This electronic controller features a dual alarm and lights to notify a user about errors and malfunctions. It works for aquariums of any size and has a large temperature range. It’s easy to install thanks to the cable clamp for cord and magnetic suction cups.

PROS

  • Compact and lightweight;
  • Easy to install.

CONS

  • According to aquarium heater controller reviews, it’s very hard to calibrate;
  • Expensive.
Inkbird ONLY Heating Thermostat Digital 110V

Inkbird ONLY Heating Thermostat Digital 110V, 1100W Heater Temperature Controller 10-42°C

Review

If your aquarium is standing near a socket, you should definitely opt for this model: it’s very easy in installation. Simply plug in and submerge the sensor in the water. The device can display three values: measured temperature, the low and high temperature. You can choose between both °F/ °C. The stainless steel sensor is totally waterproof (IP68). There are no limits on water temperature sustained.

Our opinion

A very compact and simple controller for those who need nothing extra – just sensor and display.

PROS

  • Cheap;
  • Wide temperature range.

CONS

  • Doesn’t actually control heaters – only displays temperature.
WILLHI WH1436A Temperature Controller 110V

WILLHI WH1436A Temperature Controller 110V Digital Thermostat Switch Sous Vide Controller NTC 10K

Review

This is an improved controller that can switch between heating and cooling mode. This versatile model can be used not only with aquarium water – it has a lot of spheres of application. Its precision level is up to 0.1 degree. It has 1 outlet, so feel free to connect it to a heater.

Our opinion

A cheap and versatile model for any type of aquarium – feel free to buy if you need only one value to be shown.

PROS

  • Non-expensive;
  • Versatile;
  • Wide temperature range.

CONS

  • Might be unreliable for some users.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I Turn My Aquarium Heater Temp Up When Using A Controller?

A: No, the controller allows keeping the temperature precisely in the range that you need. If the heater connects to a controller, switch both devices on – the second one will control the settings automatically.

Q: How To Control Aquarium Heater With Controller?

A: You can connect the heater to the controller and follow instructions to set up the required temperature. If the heater cannot be connected to a controller, you should keep tabs on the controller’s alarm.

Q: How Does An Aquarium Heater Controller Work?

A: Essentially, an aquarium heater controller is just an external thermostat, which regulates the heater functioning. It consists of a sensor, which continuously measures the current water temperature, a controller block, and the socket for a heater to be plugged in. As soon as the temperature gets high enough, the sensor sends a signal to the controller, which, in turn, transmits the information to the socket, and the heater turns off.

Q: How do you calibrate a temperature controller?

A: Two days after you have installed your aquarium heater, check the water temperature with an accurate thermometer. Make sure the heater indicator light is off as this will mean the heater has brought the water to the necessary temperature. If the water is the same temperature as the heater is set on, you don't need to alter in its functioning. However, if you need to calibrate a temperature controller of your aquarium heater, adhere to the following steps: turn the temperature ring till the white arrowhead shows 18⁰C; rotate the ring clockwise gradually so that the heating indicator light turns on; the moment the light is on stop turning the temperature ring; pull the black button on the temperature ring and lightly turn the ring until the white arrowhead shows the same temperature you have recorded with your thermometer; press the button down and you will secure the ring at the necessary temperature; set the heater temperature ring to the temperature you need for your little fish to thrive.

Conclusion & Our Recommendations

Even if you buy the best aquarium heater, it is prone to errors and can overheat or freeze water. With a heater controller, you eliminate such risks and keep the aquarium water in the optimal range. This is a great device that helps to keep your livestock healthy and happy.
If you are ready to spend some $60 on proper water temperature control system, choose Hydor Smart Level Controller – this device doesn’t have temperature limits and features a convenient interface. Inkbird Dual Stage Temperature Controller is a decent cheaper alternative to such a device. Remember that the temperature range in both heater and controller should correspond.

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Lorraine Barnes

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