Your little aquarium friends deserve the best canister filter to purify the water and help them live a happy and clean life. There is no doubt about it. How do you provide them with that? We’ve taken care of the task for you and come up with a list of the best rated canister filter reviews to help you narrow down the numerous options on the market. Shall we begin?
Table of Contents
- Comparison of 10 Best Canister Filters in 2020
- Top 10 Best Canister Filter Reviews in 2020
- 1. Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter
- 2. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter
- 3. SunSun Hw302 265GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit
- 4. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums
- 5. Fluval FX6 High Performance Canister Filter
- 6. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
- 7. Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter
- 8. OASE Indoor Aquatics Biomaster Thermo
- 9. Aqueon Quietflow Canister Filter
- 10. Eheim 6666 Pro 4+ Canister Filter
- What You Need to Know About Canister Filters Before Purchasing One
- The Different Filtration Stages
- It is Essential to Purchase the Best Canister Filter
- Relevant Resources
Comparison of 10 Best Canister Filters in 2020
|Penn Plax Cascade 1000||Check Price|
|EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter||Check Price|
|SunSun Hw302 265GPH Pro||Check Price|
|Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter||Check Price|
|Fluval FX6 High Performance||Check Price|
|Hydor Professional External Canister Filter||Check Price|
|Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext||Check Price|
|OASE Indoor Aquatics Biomaster Thermo||Check Price|
|Aqueon Quietflow Canister Filter||Check Price|
|Eheim 6666 Pro 4+ Canister Filter||Check Price|
Top 10 Best Canister Filter Reviews in 2020
Canister filters usually have a better flow rate than the other type of water filters, they are easier to set up and clean and their operation is usually a quiet one. However, we’ll get more in detail about that in our buyer’s guide below. So far, let us walk you through some of the top canister filters on the market, from the best aquarium canister filter to the best freshwater canister filter or the best cheap canister filter for when you also need to take care of your budget.
1. Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter
Penn Plax is a quite a respectable brand offering some of the best aquarium canister filter options on the market at the moment. Their reputation is for durability and efficiency. This product we feature here has got a multi-stage filtering process which leads to better efficacy in removing dirt.
Moreover, it is a multipurpose canister filter that works both for saltwater and freshwater aquariums. Goldfish will love it. It comes with an easy-to-read installation guide and all the necessary parts for installation. High-end features are also present to “let you know” you’ve purchased a fine canister filter.
You get flow rate control valves, hose clamps, and a nice rubber feet base for your money. The valves help prevent any unwanted leaks during maintenance, while the rubber feet make the canister sit steady and quiet. This Penn Plax filter comes with sponges for filters, and a good amount of space.
- High-end features like rate control valves, hose clamps, and nice rubber feet base
- A well-established brand with a tradition of durability and honesty
- Quiet operation
- It comes with a spray bar
- It features a nice fold-up handle for enhanced maneuverability
- It is not energy-efficient, so it might add to the electricity bills
- It does not feature auto-priming
- Cheap-looking design for a product that it is more on the expensive side
2. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter
This Eheim Canister Filter comes in three different sizes, and it might very well candidate for the position of the best canister filter for an aquarium on the market, at the moment. Why? First of all, it looks like a very reliable product, from a quite well-known brand. The company has got a tradition of over 70 years of making canister filters.
That is something. This specific product runs at low noise levels. The flexible silicone sealing ring in the pump head allows for easy removal and cleaning. The filter works with a wide range of different filter media, which gives you a great deal of flexibility in using it.
Furthermore, all the installation accessories are in the package, from the inlet pipe to the spray bar, and hose. With its 14-inches high and 4.5 pounds weight, it can filter up to ¾ gallons of water, at a power consumption of 8 watts. Its one-chamber design allows you to customize and separate the filter media into layers, with the help of the supplied Eheim Filter Pads.
- Lowe energy-consumption
- One-chamber design
- It comes with all the filter media you need from the start
- Easy to set up
- It might feel underpowered at times
- It doesn’t have an instant primer
3. SunSun Hw302 265GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit
Moreover, it is very good-looking, certainly more expensive-looking than it really is. It comes with three media trays that you can use with the filter media of your choice, from bio-balls to ceramic rings or activated carbon.
All the necessary hoses and starter pads are in the initial package; this means you can install the filter right away, without having to purchase any additional accessories. The external filter features a self-priming pump, so you won’t need to siphon the water manually to start the filtration process. It is a very nice touch.
- Thick, durable hoses
- It comes with a spray bar
- Easy to install and clean
- It comes with a self-priming pump
- It only comes with one type of media
- By the look of it, the spray bar sits too high in the aquarium
4. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums
Continuing our best canister filter reviews, we arrive at this Marineland Magniflow Canister filter which offers great value for money. The tight-water-seal design makes for easier access to the media baskets by taking the top off.
The strong pump in its “bowels” gets the water flowing fast, while the tubes and lid are reinforced to make sure you don’t experience any more leaks and backflows – some of the most annoying issues of these kinds of products.
It also features self-priming, so you can start it faster and easier. The “magical” quick prime button on the filter will surprise you, giving you the best performance possible. This model also comes with a valve block which enables you to shut it down quickly in case of an emergency. All in all, this is a very good value-for-money product, no wonder it’s also got some of the best canister filter reviews on the market right now.
- The smooth-running motor is quiet
- Easy to set up
- It features large media trays for improved flexibility and customization
- It is a little bit on the bulky side
5. Fluval FX6 High Performance Canister Filter
Maybe the best-rated canister filter on the market at the moment, this Fluval FX6 has got a capacity of 400 gallons and a multi-stage high performance that’s impressive, coming from a compact canister filter that can fit in almost any aquarium cabinet.
Dubbed as a very technologically-advanced canister filter, this Fluval product comes with a high-tech microchip for optimal performance. The media baskets are stackable which means you can remove them easily. Moreover, it features a self-priming system for ease of use.
It also looks quite heavy-duty and durable, and even more expensive than it is. Overall, it is a product that you’ll either come to love or hate, but I think you’ll be more on the love side of things. It does the job well and it deserves its spot in our reviews. To sum it up, this is what we liked and didn’t like about this Fluval Canister Filter.
- Good capacity, and a powerful motor in the lid
- Self-priming system
- Quiet functioning
- Smart pump technology
- It is a little bit on the bulky side and might a lot of space
6. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
Setting it up is very simple, you just push the self-priming button 3 times (yes, it comes with a self-priming function) and job done, the filter will start. Many people praise this motor for its durability and quiet functioning.
In the kit that comes with the aquarium canister filter, you will get all the essential media, except for carbon. I didn’t understand why, but that’s the way it is. The best canister filter has got a nice rectangular shape and can hold a large volume of media nicely set up so that water won’t bypass it in any way.
The bigger the canister filter you choose, the more room you’ll get for media trays. For this specific 5-liter, 40-75 gallons-of-water filter, you’ll get 3 media trays. For the biggest one, you’ll get 5.
During maintenance, you can shut off the flow completely and remove the filter. When you order it, you’ll also get a spray bar for evenly spreading out the water flow in the tank. So, it looks like a dream. Is it a dream? Let’s take a look at its major pros and cons.
- Powerful motor and efficient, quiet functioning
- Easy to set up for the first time
- It can hold a large volume of media
- You can prime it easily
- It comes with a spray bar
- It might be tricky to take it apart for maintenance
- In case you’ll need more technical info, you’ll not find that in the instruction manual (I’m beginning to think that writing a proper one is the hardest job in the world)
7. Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter
This Cobalts Aquatics 26000 couldn’t have missed its place on our list of top canister filters on the market, right now. As you can see, it’s got a quite singular design which makes it quite interesting from a single glance.
Is it worth your attention? Well, first and foremost, you need to know that it boasts 4 separate stages for the water flow. Basically, it pushes the water one stage at a time, unlike other canister filters that get the water flow from one side of the unit to the other.
The inline pump will spare you the usual clogging and messy cleaning process. Moreover, it will continue to move water while you’re doing its maintenance. You just open it in half and clean it; also replacing the pump looks like a child’s play.
So, all in all, it looks like this product will last you a couple of years. The canister can sit below, beside or above your tank and it comes with a 3-year warranty, which is nice. However, is it perfect? Nothing is perfect.
- It features an inline pump
- Good design and one-stage-at-a-time filtration process
- 3-year warranty
- It doesn’t feature any spray bar
- Only one size available
8. OASE Indoor Aquatics Biomaster Thermo
First, the company has been founded in 1949, as a repair workshop for agricultural machines. They have begun the development of their first agricultural pumps in 1960, but only penetrated the US market in 1994. Since then, they’re quite a name in the water pumps and filters business.
Second, this unit comes with a flow regulator which enables you to adjust the water flow; it also features a pre-filter. The overall good design allows for easy maintenance. The filtration process is almost perfect, from flowing the water into the 1st mechanical stage, then to the other parts of the filter. The filter process has got 4 stages: mechanical, biological, chemical, and prefiltration.
This Biomaster Thermo 350 model has also got an integrated heater that fits right into the filter for more efficiency and better design. However, if you take a quick look at the price tag, you might not like what you’ll see. As with everything in life, there are good parts and not-so-good parts. Let’s take a look at them:
- Integrated heater
- You can remove the mechanical filtration without any mess
- The brand power and tradition
- 4-stage filtration design
- You might find it a little bit too “exclusive”
9. Aqueon Quietflow Canister Filter
Freshwater canister filter features an efficient filtration process and a lot of media space. The mechanical filtration stage is done through a sponge which can be cleaned in a bucket and re-used multiple times. Furthermore, there are two biological filter media chambers with media included in the package.
The quick disconnect valves help you clean the filter easily. It also features pump locking heads, water intake, and output connections. In addition to that, you get hoses, a water polishing unit with a cartridge, and four types of filter media: bioceramic ring, activated carbon, coarse foam, and bio balls.
The water polishing unit is essentially a power filter attached to the back of the tank. Overall, this best canister filter can fit aquariums of up to 155 gallons capacity. The canister comes preloaded with the biological, chemical and mechanical media
- It features quick disconnect valves for an easy-clean process
- Good filter media space
- The water polishing unit at the back might be just a marketing move
10. Eheim 6666 Pro 4+ Canister Filter
The last canister filter on our list is this Pro series 6666 model from German manufacturer Eheim. This unit comes with a self-priming feature for easy install and quick start. You can control its water flow, redirect the water from different chambers to preserve the media.
The pump has got high-quality bearings and ceramic axles for increased durability. Some say these canister filters can operate for up to 10 years. That’s massive.
- It comes complete with filter pads and all the necessary media for installation
- Good media space
- You don’t only pay for the product, you also pay for the brand
What You Need to Know About Canister Filters Before Purchasing One
There are a lot of things to know about canister filters. If you’ve just purchased an aquarium and a fish you’ve got a lot to learn, but you’ll learn as you go along. However, there are a few characteristics that top canister filters have and that you should know about before making your first purchase.
The Different Filtration Stages
As you probably have seen in the reviews above, canister filters usually come with three filtration stages. There is also a fourth one, but that’s not standard on all filters.
The Mechanical Filtration
This should be the first stage. The mechanical filtration process should trap any kind of solid waste, including feces, dead plant matter, uneaten food, or debris.
The Chemical Filtration Process
The decomposing waste will leave behind a trail of chemical traces that need to be removed thoroughly to keep the water clean and healthy for the fish, and also allow for longer periods between water changes. The chemical media is usually activated carbon which can absorb almost all the toxins and reduce the chemical change of the environment.
The Biological Filtration Process
This one should be the final stage of filtration and should neutralize the toxic ammonia resulted from plant matter, fish waste, or uneaten food.
Look at These 5 Characteristics Before Making the Purchase
Well, yes, before you decide on an aquarium canister filter, you need to go through these 5 important characteristics and how they apply to you.
The Aquarium Size and Volume
The canister filter needs to be able to handle the volume of water that your tank is holding. Usually, all the products have a note about the quantity of water they can efficiently filter. Check that!
Also, make sure that the physical dimensions of the canister filter are fit for your aquarium. Some filters, for example, are more on the bulkier side, and they might take too much space in the water tank or just not fit at all.
We haven’t discussed this in the reviews, because you can easily read it on the product description. GPH stands for gallons-per-hour. Make sure you compare this number with the volume of water that your aquarium can hold.
A 3-year warranty is a nice start here. Look for that! Usually, every aquarium canister filter you’ll find will be made of plastic, but make sure it is a durable plastic and that it’s got some of the best canister filter reviews possible.
The motor is the heart of the filter. It needs to function properly, be strong enough to keep the water flowing, without having much of an impact on your electricity bills. Moreover, make sure it is not too noisy or too high-maintenance.
You’ve seen us talking about valves in the reviews above. Why? These valves control the intake and output of the filter. The longer they stay firmly closed, the better because it means you won’t have to take apart the filter for maintenance. Furthermore, if you can disconnect them completely, all the better.
It is Essential to Purchase the Best Canister Filter
We hope that we’ve convinced you why this is not a trifling purchase and why it is important to keep the water in your aquarium as clean and clear of toxins as possible. Only the best canister filter that can fit in your water tank can do that.