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5 Best Aquarium Heater Controllers in 2022: Reviews & Top Picks

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By Lindsey Stanton

We all know that aquariums are not the easiest thing in the world to take care of. Between the tank setup, pH, water hardness, filtration, and temperature, there is a lot to deal with when it comes to any home aquarium.

When it comes to your fish and your plants, one of the most important things is to maintain the proper water temperature at a steady level that is ideal for all of your tank inhabitants.

Well, sure, an aquarium heater is a start, but they most often don’t come with thermostats or great controls. However, there are some good tools out there to help you with this, so today we are here to help you find the best aquarium heater controller and cover some of the essentials to help you.

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What Is An Aquarium Heater Controller?

An aquarium heater controller is actually a simple device. First off, it features a temperature probe that gets put in the aquarium water. This temperature probe reads the water temperature and will show it to you on a built-in display. Next, the aquarium heater controller then comes with its own electrical outlets. This is where you plug your aquarium heater into. Now, the aquarium heater controller then allows you to set a specific water temperature.

Depending on your set temperature and what the probe is reading the water temperature as, the heater controller will then turn the aquarium heater on or off to achieve the desired temperature. It’s definitely a nifty and convenient tool to have in your aquarium arsenal.

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A Quick Comparison (Updated in 2022)

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Century Digital Controller Century Digital Controller
  • Very reliable
  • Great for use with heating mats
  • Accurate heating and temperature readouts
  • Second place
    WILLHI WH1436A Temperature Controller WILLHI WH1436A Temperature Controller
  • Compact
  • Nice little display
  • Very simple function
  • Third place
    bayite Temperature Controller bayite Temperature Controller
  • Very durable
  • Dual screens
  • Extremely accurate readings
  • Inkbird ITC-306T Controller Inkbird ITC-306T Controller
  • Super simple use
  • Dual power outlets
  • Wide temperature range
  • Finnex Temperature Controller Finnex Temperature Controller
  • Very durable
  • Very accurate
  • Simple to use
  • The 5 Best Heater Controllers For Aquariums

    1. Century Digital Controller

    Century Digital Controller

    Now, what you need to know about the Century Digital Controller is that it is specially designed for heating mats, and it is compatible with many other heating mats too. This makes it a good option if you want to heat your aquarium from the bottom up, as you can just place the heating mat right under the substrate in your aquarium. What is also nice about this controller is that the heating temperature is extremely easy to set. You just have to press the “set” button, then select the temperature you wish to heat the aquarium to.

    The Century Digital Controller has a range of 40 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit, which is definitely enough for any aquarium. This product does also support Celsius, just in case imperial measurements are not your strong suit. Yes, this item also comes with a digital thermostat, which you just place right in the water. It reads the temperature very accurately, displays the current water temperature on the nifty little display, then automatically turns on or off depending on the current water temperature.

    When it comes down to it, this is a simple but quite effective controller to consider.

    Pros
    • Great for use with heating mats
    • Accurate heating and temperature readouts
    • Very easy to set
    • Very reliable
    Cons
    • Limited durability

    2. WILLHI WH1436A Temperature Controller

    WILLHI WH1436A Temperature Controller

    Here we have another basic yet useful aquarium heater controller to go with. It’s not specifically designed for aquarium heaters per se, as it has a wide variety of possible applications, but aquarium heaters are definitely one of them. Now, one thing we do want to mention right off the bat is that it’s not very durable and you definitely shouldn’t get it wet. However, on the other hand, it is a very simple to use model.

    All you have to do is plug this thing into the wall, and then plug your aquarium heater into it. Once you have done this, this thing will constantly take water temperature measurements, which are displayed on the little digital display. Depending on the water temperature and the desired temperature, it will turn the aquarium heater on or off to reach that desired temperature.

    Moreover, this item is very easy to set, as you just have to press the “set” button, choose the desired temperature, and then hit that same button again. The heater does also have a very wide temperature range, more than wide enough for any home aquarium, and it is very accurate too, to within 0.5 Fahrenheit, which is quite impressive no doubt. The product itself is also quite small, so it won’t take up too much room.

    Pros
    • Very simple function
    • Nice little display
    • Compact
    • Very accurate
    Cons
    • Cannot get it wet
    • Very limited durability

    3. bayite Temperature Controller

    bayite Temperature Controller

    Here we have a more advanced, functional, and durable temperature controller to go with, and it is made with very high-quality components. Although you should definitely not submerge the unit, it can probably withstand being splashed with just a little bit of water. Now, something we really like about the bayite Temperature Controller is that it comes with a dual display. In other words, it has one little screen which tells you what you have set the temperature to and another screen that informs you of the current water temperature.

    In terms of the current temperature, this product is very accurate in its readings, up to 0.5 Fahrenheit, which is also true for the heating. When it notices the water is too cold, it will automatically turn the aquarium heater on, and vice versa when the water has achieved the set temperature. And yes, the bayite Temperature Controller is very easy to set to the desired temperature using the intuitive onboard controls.

    What can also be said is that this aquarium heater controller is very reliable and accurate, both for heating and measuring the temperature. It also has an extremely wide temperature range, both for heating and taking measurements, which is another big bonus indeed.

    Pros
    • Very durable
    • Dual screens for set temp and current temp
    • Extremely accurate readings
    • Very easy to set
    Cons
    • Has been known to overheat

    4. Inkbird ITC-306T Controller

    Inkbird ITC-306T Controller

    Yet another simple and basic aquarium heater controller to go with, the Inkbird ITC-306T provides you with everything you need to keep your fish tank at the proper temperature. It’s a very simple device because all you have to do to use it is plug it into the wall and put the temperature probe in the water. After that, plug in your aquarium heater to the power outlet, and you are good to go. Simply use the “set” button to decide which temperature you want.

    Once you have set the desired water temperature, the Inkbird Controller will measure the water temperature and turn your aquarium heater on or off accordingly. It could really not be any easier than that. What’s also nice is that the heater controller comes with dual displays, one of which displays the current temperature of the water, and the other displays the temperature you have set.

    This aquarium heater controller features a fairly wide temperature range, and there should be no issues in that regard. However, as seems to be the case with many aquarium heater controllers, it’s really not the most durable item around and should definitely never get wet.

    Pros
    • Super simple use
    • Dual displays
    • Wide temperature range
    • Dual power outlets
    Cons
    • Not the most durable
    • Not the most accurate

    5. Finnex Temperature Controller

    Finnex Temperature Controller

    Here we have a higher-quality aquarium temperature controller. Now, the temperature range for the Finnex Temperature Controller is not awesome, but more than good enough for any aquarium. It is 67 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit which is not much, but any saltwater or freshwater aquarium needs to be within this range anyway, so you should have no issues there.

    Moreover, when it comes to both heating and measuring the temperature, this product is extremely accurate, to within a fraction of a degree, which is quite important for your fish and aquarium plants. The Finnex Temperature Controller does not have the highest quality display, but it works well enough to take temperature readings and set the desired heat level. Just like all of the other heater controllers here today, this thing is exceedingly simple to use.

    You can switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius, then just use the “set” button to choose the desired temperature. What we also really like about the Finnex Temperature Controller is that it is absolutely one of the most durable and long-lasting options that you could go with.

    Pros
    • Very durable
    • Simple to use
    • Very accurate
    Cons
    • The temperature range is not fantastic

    Benefits Of Using A Heater Controller

    The fact of the matter is that using a heater controller for your aquarium comes with more benefits than just one. So, what are the benefits of using an aquarium heater controller?

    1. Accuracy

    One of the biggest benefits that you get from using an aquarium heater controller is that you can control the water temperature much more accurately. A normal aquarium heater may be able to control itself to a certain degree, in terms of turning on or off, but they usually are not all that accurate when it comes to achieving a very specific temperature. However, most aquarium heater controllers have extremely accurate temperature reading probes, which thus allows you to maintain a much steadier temperature in your aquarium.

    2. Automation

    Another benefit is that everything is automated. With a normal aquarium heater, some don’t even come with temperature controls. This, therefore, means that you constantly have to check the thermometer to see where the water temperature is, and then turn the aquarium heater on or off based on the readouts. It’s just a pain in the neck. An aquarium heater controller allows you to set a specific temperature and then walk away, with the controller doing all of the work for you in terms of taking readings and controlling the actual heater.

    3. Walk Away

    The other benefit that you get here is that you can leave for a couple of days without having to worry about the temperature. If you just have a basic aquarium heater, you can’t really leave for a couple of days, or even for a few hours really, because you never know what’s going on. With a nice aquarium heater controller, you can simply set it and walk away.

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    Conclusion

    Having a temperature controller for your aquarium is very useful. It’s valuable because you can rest assured that your aquarium will always be heated to the proper temperature, and it has other benefits too. It’s one of those pieces of modern tech that helps make life a whole lot easier. In terms of making a decision on which of these aquarium heater controllers you want to purchase, it really comes down to a matter of personal preference. At the end of the day, all of them are fairly similar with minor differences, and the choice is yours.


    Image Credit: Flups, Shutterstock

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