Best Aquarium Heater Controller For Stable Temperatures Reviewed 2021

Aquarium heaters aren’t the most reliable electronic devices out there, and we know that. Electronic devices might fail at any given moment without warning, and you might not know that there’s a problem until it’s too late to save your fish’s lives.

And sudden, dramatic swings in temperature will quickly end the lives of your aquarium’s habitants.

This is where heater controllers come into action. Aquarium heater controllers can turn your heater on and off, depending on the measured aquarium temperature and how it compares to your desired temperature.

All controllers are different, and each unit is designed with certain conditions in mind. To save you the headache of research, I’ve gathered everything you need to know about heater controllers.

Here’s what you need to know before purchasing your next controller, as well as my top picks on the market with an in-depth review of each unit.

TLDR – Top Picks For Aquarium Heater Controllers

Overall, the Hygger Heater and Controller is the best aquarium heater controller if you don’t need much tech.

But, if you’re not a home most of the time, the Inkbird Smart Temperature Controller is your best option.

And your best budget aquarium heater controller would be the Inkbirt Heating Thermostat ITC306T

Preview Product
hygger 200W Titanium Aquarium Heater for Salt Water and Fresh Water, Digital Submersible Heater with External IC Thermostat Controller and Thermometer, for Fish Tank 20-45 Gallon hygger 200W Titanium Aquarium Heater for Salt Water and Fresh Water, Digital Submersible Heater with...
Inkbird C929A Smart Digital WiFi Temperature Controller for Aquarium Fish Tank Wireless Thermostat for Reptiles Terrarium Inkbird C929A Smart Digital WiFi Temperature Controller for Aquarium Fish Tank Wireless Thermostat...
Inkbird Heating Thermostat Aquarium Reptile Submersible Probe Sensor ITC306T Relay Digital Greenhouse Temperature Controller Dual Stage Timer Switch Only Heat Plug Outlet No Cooling Inkbird Heating Thermostat Aquarium Reptile Submersible Probe Sensor ITC306T Relay Digital...

Last update on 2021-10-01 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How to Choose a Heater Controller For Your Tank

When it comes to choosing a heater controller for your aquarium, there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself first. So, let’s get right into what you need to consider before settling on your next aquarium heater controller.

Do You Need Heating and Cooling? Or Just Heating?

Even though most controllers on the market only turn the heater on or off, you can still find more advanced options. There are dual-channel controllers that can control both a heater and a fan and run whichever is needed to reach your desired temperature.

Let’s say your aquarium’s temperature is lower than the desired range. Then the controller will turn on the heater until the appropriate temperature is reached, then it’ll turn the heater off. On the other hand, if the water got too hot, then the controller will turn on a fan that’ll cool down the aquarium until the temperature is acceptable.

So, do you actually need a dual-channel controller? Well, if you live in an area where the weather changes drastically throughout the year, having a dual-channel controller really can come in handy. You can just connect both the heater and the fan and leave the controller to do its own thing all year round.

Contrarily, if you live in a cold area and you don’t really need a chilling fan, even during the summer, going for a typical heater controller is the way to go. However, keep in mind that during hotter days where the tank’s temperature is higher than what you’d prefer, you’ll have to manually turn on the fan.

Is It Wi-Fi Compatible?

There’s no doubt that having a Wi-Fi-compatible heater controller is a game-changer. You can easily adjust a WiFi-compatible controller using a phone app from the comfort of your couch. Also, there’s always room to grow with an application because more features can be added over time.

Let’s say you’re on a trip out of town, but you need to keep checking on your fish. Well, a phone application could be a lifesaver in that case. Even if you don’t open the app to check the temperature yourself, you can rest assured that it’ll send you notifications with any important alerts. Then, you can contact someone you know in town if the aquarium requires immediate action.

However, if you don’t want to constantly adjust and keep an eye on your controller, going for a traditional unit that can be set or adjusted manually is the more budget-friendly option. Still, Wi-Fi compatibility is a good feature to have, even if you don’t see yourself using the app too often.

Does It Come With Its Own Heater?

If you don’t already have a heater at home, you might want to consider settling for a controller that comes with its own heater, so you’ll be getting two devices in one.

Also, getting a full unit with a heater and a controller is quite convenient because you wouldn’t need to connect two devices together and potentially run into issues of the devices having different voltage requirements and not really working together.

If you decide to go for a controller without a heater, you have to make sure that your controller of choice is compatible with your heater, especially in terms of voltage requirements.

Does It Have an Alarm for High/Low Temperatures?

At the end of the day, heaters are electronic devices that might fail or malfunction at any given point. In order to avoid harming your fish, some controllers have an alarm that warns you when the aquarium’s temperature is too high or too low so that you can take action immediately.

As you can guess, that feature is a must-have in any aquarium because the safety of your fish is your priority. So, try to opt for a controller that has an alarm if you can.

Is the Temperature Probe Waterproof?

Yes, this is an issue that you might actually run into because not all heater controllers on the market are meant to be used underwater.

In other words, make sure that you are getting a controller meant to be used in an aquarium and has waterproof probes. Units with metal probes tend to fail after a year or so. All of the controllers listed below have waterproof probes.

So, take a closer look at each of the following products, and rest assured that they’re all meant to be used in aquariums!

Best Aquarium Heater Controller Buyer’s Guide

Before settling on the first aquarium heater controller your eyes land on, make sure you know everything about the product you’re buying and trusting your aquarium with. Here are the four best heater controllers on the market with their pros, cons, and everything in between.

1. Hygger Titanium Aquarium Heater with External IC Thermostat  Controller and Thermometer

I’m kicking off this list strongly with the Hygger Aquarium Heater and Controller, which is a unit you can’t go wrong with. As you can guess from the name, this unit comes with its own heater, so it’s perfect if you’re in the process of getting your aquarium ready.

The heater itself is made of shatter-proof titanium that is also corrosion-resistant, making it suitable for saltwater aquariums, too! The tube-shaped heater has two suction cups, so you can place it wherever you like in the aquarium. Besides, you can choose from different wattage options to find the perfect unit for the size of your aquarium.

What’s more, if you already have your own heater, this unit is compatible with other brands of heaters as well.

As for the controller, it has an audio alarm that warns you if the temperature of the aquarium is too high or too low. It also has an LED display that shows the water temperature and the set temperature. You can set the controller to temperatures ranging from 32 degrees up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the controller detects that the aquarium’s temperature is more than 1 degree Fahrenheit lower than your set temperature, it’ll turn on the heater until the water reaches the desired temperature. Also, there’s a little red light that lets you know when the heater is on, which is quite convenient and user-friendly.

Unfortunately, this Hygger aquarium heater controller unit isn’t dual-channel, meaning it can only control a heater and not a fan. This means that this controller is best for colder areas where you’d mostly need to heat the aquarium.

Another thing to complain about is that this controller isn’t Wi-Fi-compatible, so you’d need to adjust it manually. However, it’s quite easy to adjust using the up and down buttons.

hygger 200W Titanium Aquarium Heater for Salt Water and Fresh Water, Digital Submersible Heater with External IC Thermostat Controller and Thermometer, for Fish Tank 20-45 Gallon
hygger 200W Titanium Aquarium Heater for Salt Water and Fresh Water, Digital Submersible Heater with External IC Thermostat Controller and Thermometer, for Fish Tank 20-45 Gallon

    Last update on 2021-10-01 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    2. Inkbird ITC308S Dual Channel Temperature Controller

    Moving on to the next controller on this list, the Inkbird ITC308S is another excellent unit that leaves nothing to be desired. If you constantly find yourself having to turn on and off the heater and the cooling fan, this dual-channel controller will do all the work for you.

    It has two power outlets, one for a heater and one for a cooling fan. The unit detects the aquarium’s temperature then turns on the appropriate device to reach your desired temperature. If the aquarium is too warm, it’ll turn on the fan, and if it’s too cold, it’ll turn on the heater.

    Also, you can see both the measured and the set temperatures on the controller’s screen. The controller’s temperature range starts at -40 degrees and goes up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

    For safety, the controller is equipped with an alarm for high and low temperatures. The alarm will alert you of any abnormal change in temperature so you can take action and potentially save your fish’s lives.

    It’s worth mentioning that this unit doesn’t come with a heater or a fan—you’ll have to purchase them separately if you don’t already have them at home. That’s not really an issue here because this controller offers excellent value for the money; it’s definitely worth the investment.

    Even though this controller isn’t Wi-Fi-Compatible, it’s quite easy to adjust. It has three buttons (up, down, and set) that you can use to specify your desired temperature. Also, it has two red lights that indicate if it’s in heating or cooling mode; you can just look at the controller, and you’ll know how it’s operating and if either the fan or the heater is on.

    Inkbird ITC308S Temperature Controller for Aquarium with Submersible Probe, Heating Cooling Outlets Thermostat for Heater and Cooling Fans
    Inkbird ITC308S Temperature Controller for Aquarium with Submersible Probe, Heating Cooling Outlets Thermostat for Heater and Cooling Fans

      Last update on 2021-10-01 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      3. Inkbird C929A Smart Wi-Fi Temperature Controller

      Who said technology can’t help you take care of your pets? Definitely not the Inkbird C929A Temperature Controller! This smart controller uses Wi-Fi to connect to an application on your phone, so you can control and monitor the unit wirelessly.

      The free InkbirdSmart app is extremely user-friendly and easy to set up, so you can get your controller ready to use within minutes. Via the app, you can monitor the temperature of the aquarium and adjust your desired temperature. Did I also mention that it’s compatible with both Android and iOS devices? Because it is!

      Safety-wise, this unit houses an audio alert that warns you if the aquarium’s temperature is too high or too low. Besides, the alarm will alert you if it detects more than a 5-degree (Fahrenheit) difference between the two probes of the thermometer. So, the C929A can instantly detect any abnormal change in temperature and alert you of that change.

      As for its temperature range, you can set the controller to anywhere from -40 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a decent range to choose from. However, this unit can only control a heater, so you can’t connect it to a fan.

      It’s worth mentioning that this is strictly a controller—the C929A doesn’t come with its own heater, which is a let-down, to be honest. You’ll have to purchase an external heater or use one you already have if you decide to go with this unit.

      Inkbird C929A Smart Digital WiFi Temperature Controller for Aquarium Fish Tank Wireless Thermostat for Reptiles Terrarium
      Inkbird C929A Smart Digital WiFi Temperature Controller for Aquarium Fish Tank Wireless Thermostat for Reptiles Terrarium

        Last update on 2021-10-01 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        4. Inkbird Heating Thermostat ITC306T

        Moving on to another Inkbird product, the Inkbird Heating Thermostat ITC306T is as simple and economical as it gets. This little device has two heating outputs, so you can plug two heaters at once, making it the perfect unit if you have a large aquarium with multiple heaters.

        What’s more, this controller has a unique feature, which is that you can set it to two different temperatures. It has two time cycles for the night and day, meaning you can set a different temperature depending on the time of day it is.

        It also has a dual LCD display that shows both the set temperature and the measured temperature, so you can see the numbers for yourself and compare them. Speaking of set temperature, you can choose any temperature from its amazing control range starting at -58 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit. Such range is perfect for most fish owners out there.

        Moreover, it has two little lamps that indicate if the heater is currently on. For ease of use, the controller has three buttons: increase, decrease, and set. You can use them to adjust the desired temperature of the aquarium.

        This budget-friendly unit is equipped with an alarm system that alerts you to any abnormal change in temperature, ensuring the safety of your pets.

        Sadly, this unit doesn’t come with its own heater, but it’s compatible with multiple heaters on the market, so you can just plug in your own heater, and you’re good to go. Also, keep in mind that this unit can only control heaters and not cooling fans, making it more optimum for those who don’t usually use fans or are okay with having to turn on the fans manually when needed.

        Inkbird Heating Thermostat Aquarium Reptile Submersible Probe Sensor ITC306T Relay Digital Greenhouse Temperature Controller Dual Stage Timer Switch Only Heat Plug Outlet No Cooling
        Inkbird Heating Thermostat Aquarium Reptile Submersible Probe Sensor ITC306T Relay Digital Greenhouse Temperature Controller Dual Stage Timer Switch Only Heat Plug Outlet No Cooling

          Last update on 2021-10-01 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          Which Aquarium Heater Controller Is Best?

          Now that you’re at this point of the article, you should have a clear idea of how heater controllers work and what you might need in your next controller—you may even have settled on one! Either way, here’s a quick recap of everything we discussed to refresh your memory.

          Overall, the Hygger Heater and Controller is the best heater controller for most peoples needs and will do a good job monitoring your aquarium heater. It comes with its own heater, so you just need to plug it in, and you’re ready to go! Besides, the heater itself is durable and corrosion-resistant, so that’s a plus.

          If you live in an area where the weather is unpredictable and you need both heating and cooling, the Inkbird Dual Channel unit is the perfect choice for you, especially considering that it offers excellent value for the money.

          For travelers and busy workers who can’t stay near their aquarium at all times, the Inkbird Smart Temperature Controller is the way to go. It uses a phone app to send you notifications, and you can use it to monitor the current temperature of the aquarium.

          Lastly, the Inkbirt Heating Thermostat ITC306T offers both simplicity and budget-friendliness. This little unit will provide you with everything you might need in a controller without costing an arm and a leg.

          Preview Product
          hygger 200W Titanium Aquarium Heater for Salt Water and Fresh Water, Digital Submersible Heater with External IC Thermostat Controller and Thermometer, for Fish Tank 20-45 Gallon hygger 200W Titanium Aquarium Heater for Salt Water and Fresh Water, Digital Submersible Heater with...
          Inkbird C929A Smart Digital WiFi Temperature Controller for Aquarium Fish Tank Wireless Thermostat for Reptiles Terrarium Inkbird C929A Smart Digital WiFi Temperature Controller for Aquarium Fish Tank Wireless Thermostat...
          Inkbird Heating Thermostat Aquarium Reptile Submersible Probe Sensor ITC306T Relay Digital Greenhouse Temperature Controller Dual Stage Timer Switch Only Heat Plug Outlet No Cooling Inkbird Heating Thermostat Aquarium Reptile Submersible Probe Sensor ITC306T Relay Digital...

          Last update on 2021-10-01 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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          Christopher Adams
          Hey there, my name is Christopher and I'm the creator and editor of this site. I've owned successful aquariums for the past 23 years. My mission is to educate, inform, and entertain on everything that's fish.

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