10 Best Canister Water Filters Today

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In Brief: Best Canister Water Filter

  1. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter
  2. Fluval External Filter
  3. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter
  4. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums
  5. SunSun Pro Canister Filter Kit
  6. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
  7. Polar Aurora External Aquarium Filter
  8. Cobalt Aquatics External Canister Filter
  9. ZooMed Nano 30 External Canister Filter
  10. Aqueon Canister Filter
How We Decided

24 products considered. 300+ reviews analyzed, 31 research hours spent, 15+ info. sources referred

More about our Methodology

Review of Best Canister Water Filters

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Key Specs Overview:

  1. Aquarium capacity up to 100 gallons
  2. 265 GPH flow rate
  3. 3 media baskets

The family owned and operated business Penn Plax has been selling pet staples since 1956. They care about providing you with only the highest quality products for your pets.

This high capacity aquarium filter is so easy to install you’ll be in business in 30 minutes with cleaner water on the first day. This system comes fully loaded with everything you need to create a comfortable environment for your marine life.

Pros
360 degrees of rotation on the flow valve
High capacity media baskets
Push button primer
Comes with spray bar, tubing, directional spout for customization, and filter medium
Flow rate control valves
Swimming pool style hose clamps
Quiet functionality

Cons
Trays don’t fit together perfectly
Weak tray clamps
This kit has everything you need to keep your larger aquariums safe and clean.

Fluval External Filter

Key Specs Overview:

  1. Aquarium capacity up to 70 gallons
  2. 303 GPH flow rate
  3. 3 media baskets

Fluval has been an industry leader for years. Their breakthrough filter technology is a unique and effective product that’s still used in many different products.

Fluval also uses their position in the industry to give back by protecting the coral reefs and endangered fish.

The powerful motor in this external filter canister pumps out 303 GPH in higher capacity aquariums. Fluval’s user friendly design makes their canister easy to install, maintain and clean. Multiple media baskets and flow control allow users the ability for maximum customization on this filter.

Pros
Multi stage filtration system
Sound dampening for quieter operation
Clog proof intake strainer
Dual layer foam screen
3 year warranty
Aquastop valve
Rim connector assemblies
Four filter sizes

Cons
Valve setup can be confusing
Micro bubbles can make tank look cloudy
We trust Fluval to make the highest quality aquarium technology to help keep our tanks beautiful and clean for longer.

Eheim Classic External Canister Filter

Key Specs Overview:

  1. Aquarium capacity up to 92 gallons
  2. 164 GPH flow rate
  3. 2 media baskets

German made for over 70 years, Eheim is one of the biggest European aquatic brands. The inventor of the first aquarium suction filter, Eheim is committed to providing home aquarium enthusiasts high quality equipment.

With a unique canister design for ultimate customization, the Eheim canister filter has so much to offer. This canister is suitable for use with freshwater and saltwater applications.

Pros
Pump head has a permo-elastic silicon sealing ring
Comes with filter sponges and loose media
Includes spray bar, inlet pipe, hose and installation accessories
Eheim Mech & Substrat Pro media included
Flow rate maintains mechanical and biological balance

Cons
Polishing filter needs to be replaced quickly
Instructions can be confusing
At such a great price there’s nothing holding you back from getting this amazing canister filter and adding it to your home aquarium.

Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums

Key Specs Overview:

  1. Aquarium capacity up to 55 gallons
  2. 220 GPH flow rate
  3. 4 media baskets

The original owner of Marineland originally designed special tanks for lobster tanks for high end restaurants and grocery stores. He brought his knowledge of filtration systems to the U.S. pet industry and it hasn’t been the same since!

Marineland’s Magniflow uses a powerful motor for smaller sized tanks with all the same customization ability of canisters for higher-capicity aquariums. The specially designed filtration system uses multiple stages to insure you’ll have the cleanest water with longer time between cleanings.

Pros
Water tight seal on canister lids
Polishing pad removes fine debris
Uses black carbon diamond to remove odors and discoloration
Filter foam pads keep water cleaner
Three-stage filtration
Bio-filter balls and ceramic rings
Easy set-up and maintenance

Cons
Moving the filter can loosen hoses
Some air bubble issues
Your fish and other marine life will thank you for buying this great addition to their tanks!

SunSun Pro Canister Filter Kit

Key Specs Overview:

  1. Aquarium capacity up to 150 gallons
  2. 525 GPH flow rate
  3. 4 media baskets

Sunsun is a Chinese company that dates back to 1985. They specialize in all things aquarium.

The Sunsun pro is great for freshwater or saltwater. It uses a five stage filter and even comes with a UV light for extra clean water filtration and crystal clear water in your aquarium.

Pros
Comes with a 9 Watt UV light to kill bacteria
Four white filter pads and 1 course blue pad included
Set of bio balls and 1 pound of ceramic rings included
Self-priming pump means so manual siphoning

Cons
Air may leak from intake attachment
UV light may damage trays over time
This filter can keep up with any fish’s mess with no problem, if you don’t have a canister filter for your tank yet, what are you waiting for?

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

Key Specs Overview:

  1. Aquarium capacity up to 250 gallons
  2. 225 GPH flow rate
  3. 3 media baskets

This Italian brand specializes in aquarium products and has done so for over 35 years. They’re a one stop shop for all your aquarium needs.

The Hydor professional external canister filter is no exception. It’s an entire eco-system in a single box and it’s so easy to set up you’ll be pumping out clean water in no time.

Pros
Easy priming feature
Adjustable strainer for different tank sizes
Telescopic intake tubes
Low noise
3 media trays that are customizable for your tank
Easy to clean

Cons
Hose connection points may leak
This filter comes with all the biological, mechanical and chemical filtration applications your fish require for a healthy life. Even beginner fish enthusiasts will appreciate this filter.

Polar Aurora External Aquarium Filter

Key Specs Overview:

  1. Aquarium capacity up to 200 gallons
  2. 525 GPH flow rate
  3. 4 media baskets

Polar Aurora sells a variety of products online.
Their external aquarium filter boasts an impressive flow rate for even large capacity aquariums. With four stages of filtration and a built in light to kill algae and bacteria, you’ll be looking at fresh clean water and your fish will thank you.

Pros
Adjustable spray bar so you can change output flow
Self-prime pump eliminates need for manual siphoning
9 watt UV light built in
Single valve disconnect
Use activated carbons, ceramic rings or bio-balls
Quiet functionality
Strong plastic hooks for tank

Cons
Requires some time to set up
No elbow on spray bar to direct water
At such a great price this is a fantastic choice if you’re in the market for a new canister filter for you home or commercial aquarium.

Cobalt Aquatics External Canister Filter

Key Specs Overview:

  1. Aquarium capacity up to 55 gallons
  2. 210 GPH flow rate
  3. 3 media baskets

Cobalt aquatics is a newer company but it was founded by a group of specialists that truly know their fish. They combined their knowledge of fishkeeping with their years of experience to bring a great company with high-quality products to the U.S. market.

The inline pump is one of the features that make this a unique product. It allows complete flexibility with your tank setup.

Pros
Can sit below, above or on the side of your tank
No priming necessary
Valve keeps working even when canister is disconnected
Clips are easy to open and close
Pump is submersible
Filter media can be stacked in any order

Cons
Plumbing kit isn’t the most stable
No spray bar
One size pump only
If you’re looking for a versatile canister for your terrarium, reef, fresh water or saltwater fish, look no further!

ZooMed Nano 30 External Canister Filter

Key Specs Overview:

  1. Aquarium capacity up to 30 gallons
  2. 160 GPH flow rate
  3. 3 media baskets

Zoo Med Laboratories has specialized in reptiles for over 40 years. Their products have innovated and changed the reptile equipment game over the years and they even support conservation efforts to help protect reptiles and avian.

This external canister filter is perfect for your smaller tanks. It uses mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration to keep your little tanks clean and safe for your freshwater or marine life.

Pros
Spray bar system, mechanical filter sponge and bio ceramic media included
Priming is easy
Greater aeration capabilities
Anti-vibration bushings
Hose-connecting device is removable

Cons
Setup may be difficult
Larger debris may get stuck
If you have a small tank that requires filtration, this is a great choice from a great company.

Aqueon Canister Filter

Key Specs Overview:

  1. Aquarium capacity from 55-100 gallons
  2. 300 GPH flow rate
  3. 2 media baskets

Aqueon’s mottos is: It’s all about the fish! We think that’s a great attitude for a company that was founded by fish enthusiasts.

This quiet flow canister is suitable for freshwater and saltwater applications. It uses a high-quality canister with biological, chemical and mechanical media for crystal clear water.

Pros
Option for spray bar or water director
Maintenance is easy due to design on water polishing unit
Functions quietly

Cons
Cartridge must be replaced monthly
For small and medium-sized tanks, this versatile filter is sure to get the job done.

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