What is the best aquarium chiller?
When summer rolls by, staying in a place without air conditioning will make most of us feel like we’re melting. And while it’s merely an inconvenience for us, for fish, it’s a different story.
Even fish that can cope in the warmest water temperatures — tropical fish, for instance — can only live around 83°F. Anything above that will cause fish to become uncomfortable, and may even result in fatalities. The solution? aquarium chillers!
Best Aquarium Cooler
Fish and other aquatic invertebrates are cold-blooded, which means that their internal body temperature of fish is controlled by the environment. It’s the same with reptiles, and why they need thermostats and heat lamps to regulate their environments.
An aquarium cooler is the fish keeper’s equivalent. A chiller’s primary function, as its name suggests, is to cool and maintain the water temperature in your aquarium within optimal parameters.
These machines often come with a thermostat that prevents the chiller from reaching unsuitable temps for fish. And just like home air conditioners, users are free to adjust the aquarium chiller to whatever temperature they deem suitable.
Aquarium chillers come in a variety of options. And although some can be quite expensive, their high longevity and low maintenance compensate for the price. It’s a one-off investment that’ll stay with you for many years before requiring fixtures or replacements.
Who Needs An Aquarium Water Chiller?
Who needs a fish tank cooler?
Generally, we recommend all fish owners buy a chiller for their tanks, as it promotes healthy corals and prevents fish disease. But it’s most important for the following owners:
- Those who own cold-water fish like trout or bass
- Those who live in an area subjected to seasonal heatwaves
- Those who have heat-emitting equipment installed in their aquarium that causes water temperatures to increase
Aquarium chillers are an important piece of equipment that fish need to live a healthy, long life. If you’re a fish enthusiast or just a fish lover in general, consider getting one of the following top units for your aquarium.
JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Chiller: Best Overall
The JBJ Aquarium Chiller is a high-end, premium-grade product that offers a great balance between price and quality.
Designed with a technology that supports and boosts titanium coil heat exchangers, the JBJ Chiller cools your tank efficiently without drawing too much power. This machine efficiency maximizes cooling capacity per amp, which, in turn, reduces energy costs.
This chiller’s fully-automated digital control system allows you to adjust the water temperature at your desired range without overchilling your fish. With its low noise, minimal vibration, and compact size, the JBJ chiller is perfect for those who own aquariums in small living rooms.
- Installation is a piece of cake
- Has a quiet operation
- The LCD controller is easy to read
- Backed up with a two-year warranty
- The thermostat isn’t always 100% reliable
Aqua Euro USA Max Chill: Runner-Up
The Aqua Euro USA Max has everything you need in an aquarium chiller and more. There’s a powerful compressor, corrosion-resistant titanium heat exchanger, and an anti-freezing system.
Best of all, the USA Max Chiller has a high heat removal rating thanks to its heavy-duty condenser. It quickly lowers and maintains your desired water temperature without using too much energy.
Overall, this chiller is a compact, powerful model that’s perfect for those who have tanks from 50 to 700 gallons.
- Made with high quality, corrosion-resistant components
- The anti-freezing system protects the heat exchanger from freezing
- The compressor saves money by using less electricity
- Removable, easy-to-clean filter
- Rubber mounts help reduce vibrations, making its operation near inaudible
- The thermostat isn’t always accurate
Hamilton Tech Aquarium Chiller: Best Value
Highly recommended by professionals and hobbyists alike, the Hamilton Euro Max is one of the most, if not the most, powerful chillers out there.
Made of corrosion-resistant materials, this incredibly durable chiller works in both saltwater and freshwater tanks. It comes with an energy-efficient compressor that allows you to lower water temperatures down to about 20°F without consuming too much power.
With its rust-resistant titanium evaporator and eco-friendly refrigerant, the Euro Max would be easy to clean and maintain throughout its whole lifetime. This chiller comes with various tank size options from 50 to 700 gallons, so be sure to get a size that’s powerful enough for your aquarium.
- Powerful and durable design
- Cools efficiently due to its corrosion-resistant titanium heat exchanger
- Contains an anti-freezing system that protects the machine’s heat exchanger coil from freezing
- Comes with an energy-efficient compressor
- No hard plumbing required
- Easy setup and maintenance
- Operation is pretty audible
Petzilla Aquarium Chiller: Best Budget
For a budget-friendly alternative, Petzilla Aquarium chiller offers great quality for its price.
This fan chiller is perfect for those who own small tanks. It works great in both freshwater and saltwater. Its components can reduce the water’s temperatures to up to 40°F.
The Petzilla chiller comes with easy-to-install fans. No assembly or cutting is required; simply clamp the nano aquarium chiller to the side of your tank and plug it in. That’s it!
Instead of using refrigerants like standard aquarium chillers, the Petzilla uses evaporation to reduce temperatures. It comes with up to four fans, so if you feel that one or two is not enough to cool your aquarium down, you can get another.
- Comes with a great price
- The best option for those with small tanks
- Works great for mild summer temperatures
- You’ll need to add water more frequently as the fans evaporate the water
- Has two speeds only
- Takes a while to cool down the tank
Thermoelectric Aquarium Chiller
The Chill Solutions Aquarium Chiller is another great option for small aquariums. It can handle tanks of up to 30 gallons, but it’s smaller and more compact compared to other chillers in this class.
Its thermoelectric technology converts electrical power into cooling power with only one moving part, which makes it both reliable and efficient. It doesn’t come with pumps or mechanical compressors, which are the main causes of noise, making it extremely quiet compared to other chillers.
With the use of its highly efficient PWM (pulse width modulation) technology, it allows users to maintain a set temperature that’s fully proportional to the tank they’re using.
- High-quality construction
- Easy to install without drilling
- Quiet operation
- Not suitable for aquariums over 30 gallons
- Doesn’t cool down as quickly as machine chillers
CoolWorks Ice Probe with Power Supply: Easiest to Install
For those who are a bit worried about space, you may want to look at the CoolWorks Ice Probe.
Thanks to its compact design, you don’t have to fret about where to store the chiller after purchasing it. This chiller uses a thermoelectric liquid in its chilling process, which absorbs heat using the probe mounted on the machine.
Furthermore, the Ice Probe is made to be a low-voltage device. This means that you won’t have to be concerned about how much energy it’s consuming. In fact, it uses about the same power of a standard 40W light bulb!
For maximum efficiency, only use this machine for aquariums smaller than 10 gallons. Unfortunately, it isn’t suited for larger aquariums as it’ll take twice as long to cool.
- Built with high-quality components
- Quiet operation
- Doesn’t require a water pump
- Easy installation
- Cooling power isn’t the best compared to other aquarium chillers
- Not suitable for large aquariums
Active Aqua Water Chiller Cooling System: Best Eco-Friendly
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly aquarium chiller, it’s best to opt for the Active Aqua Water Chiller.
This chiller is freon-free. It uses an eco-friendly refrigerant called the R134a. Its evaporator is made with pure anti-corrosive titanium, which makes it perfect for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
With its impressive flow rate of 132 to 396 gallons per hour at 1/10 HP, this model is certainly one of the most powerful chillers out there.
- Easy plug-and-play installation
- Greatly reliable
- Environmentally friendly
- R134a refrigerants keep the nutrient solution in the unit’s reservoir at the perfect temperature
- Doesn’t come with aquarium-related instructions or guides.
- Isn’t as durable as the other models on this list
JBJ Mini-Arctica Chiller: Best For Small Aquariums
Best suited for aquariums up to 40 gallons, the JBJ Mini-Arctica is a smaller version of the JBJ Titanium Chiller with a few differences.
Although not as powerful as its predecessor, the Mini-Arctica has a high cooling capacity per amp compared to smaller aquarium chillers. Just like the JBJ Titanium, the Mini-Arctica comes with a corrosion-resistant condenser that draws cool air from the front and exhausts the warm air from the rear vents.
Everything is automatic with the Mini-Arctica. Its anti-freezing system is certainly a big plus, as well.
- Simple plug-and-play installation
- Quiet and vibration-free
- Compact size fits anywhere
- Backed with a 2-year warranty
- Only suitable for small aquariums
Coralife Energy Savers: Best for Huge Aquariums
Coralife is a trusted brand when it comes to marine aquarium parts and supplies. They offer a wide variety of high-quality products; one of which is the Coralife Energy Saver Aquarium Chiller (also check out their small saltwater nano tank).
This machine supports tanks as large as 800 gallons, the biggest we have on this list! Featuring a non-corrosive titanium heat exchanger, the Coralife Chiller efficiently transfers heat from the aquarium at the lowest possible time.
It contains a reusable air filter that’s easily accessible, so cleaning and maintenance will never be a problem with this chiller.
- Installation is quick and easy
- Reusable air filter
- Reliable thermostat
LONDAFISH Aquarium Chillers: Best For Small Fish
If you’re a huge fish lover, you’ve probably heard of the company Londafish. Among their many professional fish equipment, the Londafish Aquarium Chiller works brilliantly for small tanks of up to 30 gallons without the need to spend hundreds of dollars.
The cooling fans in this product provide powerful ventilation that reduces the heat transfer from other aquarium equipment. It has an extremely quiet operation, which is always a plus. It even comes with adjustable positioning!
Being suitable for both salt and freshwater tanks, this chiller doesn’t require lengthy assembly or any complicated installation.
- Low power consumption
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Works as advertised
- Comes at an extremely low price
- Only made for rimless tanks
- Isn’t suitable for large tanks
Factors to Consider Before Buying an Aquarium Chiller
Before buying an aquarium chiller, you’ll need to closely consider the following:
Choose the Right Chiller
Aquarium chillers come in different varieties. Some are made specifically for freshwater fish, and some for saltwater aquariums. Not all aquarium chillers are designed for use in both, so make sure that you’re getting the right chiller that suits the fish you own.
When shopping around for aquarium chillers, you’ll probably notice that each comes with tank capacities in gallons. Make sure to purchase a chiller that fits the size of your aquarium.
Models meant for small tanks won’t work as effectively for large tanks. This may also shorten the product’s lifespan since it’s not suited for such a heavy load.
We all hate noisy equipment, especially if they’re running almost 24/7. When choosing a chiller, you’ll want to get a machine that doesn’t operate too loudly. Most chillers come with a bit of operation noise. Although unavoidable, the real question you should ask is this: how loud is the noise?
Some come with a slight buzzing noise, while others generate a soft rumble. Make sure that you’re getting a chiller that isn’t too loud as you’ll probably run it throughout most of the summer.
Just like air conditioners, some chillers come with a heat exchange option that allows you to control temperatures in both ways. Not all chillers come with this feature, but it’s a great option as it allows heat to be exchanged faster when compared to other chillers.
Best Aquarium Cooler
Aquarium chillers regulate your fish tank to appropriate temperatures.
All of the listed products above are some of the best aquarium chillers available for purchase today. If we had to choose, our top pick would be the JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Chiller, primarily due to its efficient, powerful operation. Plus, it’s quiet and vibration-free, which makes it perfect for any room in your house!
(Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy here.)