Top 10 Best Canister Filter Reviews and Comparison

Give your aquatic animal the clean and healthy living environment with the best canister filter. This type of filter can filter the massive amount of water within a short time. And the great thing is they not only visibly clear the tank water but also clear the maximum germ from the tank water (UV satirized canister filter).

The consisting technology of any canister filter is straightforward. They intake the water push through the filter and return the fresh water in the aquarium. The filtered water also enriches with oxygen but no filth and crystal clean.

Best Canister Filter Reviews

To keep your aquatic pet healthy and happy and ensuring the proper growth a water filter is a must-have option. But why you need the canister filters for your fish tank especially? What unique performance does it offer? To know the answers keep reading.

Comparison of 5 Best Canister Filter for the Money

 Hydor Professional External Canister FilterPenn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium FilterEHEIM Classic External Canister FilterSunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium FilterFluval FX4High Performance Aquarium Canister Filter
Canister FilterHydor Professional External Canister FilterPenn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium FilterEHEIM Classic External Canister FilterSunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium FilterFluval FX4High Performance Aquarium Canister Filter
Editor's Rating4.3/54.4/54.2/54.1/54.6/5
BrandHydorPenn PlaxEheimFlexzionFluval
Filter SystemBiological, mechanical and chemicalMulti-stageBiological and mechanicalMulti-stageMulti-stage
Capacity60-100 Gal30-50 Gal80-100 Gal75-80 Gal500-700 Gal
Ideal ForFreshwater & SaltwaterFreshwater & SaltwaterFreshwater & SaltwaterFreshwater & SaltwaterFreshwater & Saltwater
Water Flow280 GPH115 GPH116 GPH264 GPH565 GPH
Wattage14-19 Watt10-14.5 Watt5-65 Watt14-20 Watt10-20 Watt
Warranty1 Year3 Years1 Year3 Years1 Year

10 Best Canister Filter Reviews 2018

Here is all tried and tested 10 best canister filter 2018 reviews fit for small to large any aquariums. So, let’s get started.

Hydor Professional External Canister FilterHydor Professional External Canister Filter Reviews

Our first Canister filter review is for Hydor Professional External Canister Filter. It’s a complete ecosystem in one box. It can remove all the visible and non-visible mechanical, biological and chemical dirt from the water pretty quickly.

What the flow rate of the filter is astounding as like the fast cleaning process. Usually, it takes 6-8 hours to clean a saltwater fish tank. The good thing is you will start to see the rank water change from cloudy r to clean within one hour. The complete cleaning will take that time mention earlier.

The canister filter comes with four layers of filtration including the coarse black sponge. Those who don’t want the filter with activated charcoal can try this one. But these layers of filtration are also caused by trouble. No, it’s not with a filter. The problem is it takes time when you start to clean it. Sometimes it takes more than 30 min to open all the layers clear and close them again.

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  • Quite an operation.
  • Clean water pretty quickly.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Remove all type of gunk, chemical, etc. from the water. 


  • Hard to clean.
  • The pipe attachment is wired. 


Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium FilterPenn Plax - best aquarium canister filter

If you want a cheap but high-quality canister filter, then Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter is a reliable option. This vast capacity filter has multi-layer of filtration which removes all the mess from the tank water. The filter has a powerful motor, flow shut-off valves to adjust the water flow and two 360-degree rotating taps.

You can use the filter for the fish tank up to 30 gallons. That’s why this is the best canister filter for the turtle tank. It comes with simple push button prime to fast and easy setup. The great thing about the filter is it’s customizable. Its two big media basket can be added or remove according to your aquarium needs.

Moreover, the flow valve is also removable to clean or service the filter. However, the other parts like motor or hose cannot be replaced if the stopped working. The manufacturer doesn’t make spare parts of the model neither other models’ parts are fit for it. If anything goes wrong, you have to purchase the entire filter. But don’t worry. Usually, Penn Plax Cascade lasts for many years without giving you much trouble.

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  • Powerful and continuous operation.
  • Easy customizable.
  • Very quiet operation.
  • Durable product.
  • Very affordable. 


  • The replacement parts are not available.
  • Not suitable for large aquariums. 


EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with MediaEHEIM Classic canister filter for 55 gallon tank

Fore high level of efficiency you can consider having EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media. This classic filter can cover large aquarium within a short time. It has the powerful motor, multi-layer of the filtration system and a bendable tube. The canisters filter removes every biological and mechanical mess to give constant clear water and simultaneous oxygen enrichment.

The Eheim has the elastic silicon sealing ring fixed with the pump. The ring is smooth to on and off after cleaning. After servicing the filter, it ensures no water leakage or air passing inside the filter. Moreover, this canister filter is very quality while working.

For the filter media, it has Eheim Substrate Pro large surface biomedia, one sponge, a carbon filter floss, Eheim Mech, and the polishing pad. They are all sufficient to clean the tank water very well. The only problem is the polish pad get clogged very fast due to its subtle texture. You can skip the pad unless you clean your filter after 3-4 days.

The filter comes with some additional equipment like inlet pipe, hose, spar bar and other installation accessories.


  • Noise-free operation.
  • No leakage problem.
  • Powerful motor.
  • Very durable.
  • Wired coloring tube.


  • No inside basket to hold or separate the conglomerate.
  • The white polishing filter pad gets clogged easily. 


SunSun HW-302 Aquarium FilterSunSun HW-302 - best canister filter for turtle tank

Here is another high-quality external canister filter which comes at an affordable price. The SunSun HW-302 is specially made for heavily stocked fish tanks. You can use it for both fresh and saltwater etc. up. The filter is good to use up to 75 gallons of the aquarium. The max flow rate of the aquarium is 265 GPH.

The filter is suitable to reduce any dirt of biological, mechanical or chemical. Its massive body allows filtering maximum water in short time. This external filter is simple and easy to use. All the necessary Tools are added with box including spare tubes. The filter comes with two 5 feet flexible tubing, draining trays, curvy output bars, connected bars, spar bars and covers, white-fine cotton pads, etc.

The water force and circulation system are pretty ok. Moreover, it continues its operation without disturbing or reducing internal space inside the tank. Overall, it’s useful to use for a long time.


  • Powerful and noise free operations.
  • Less trouble with cleaning.
  • The water flow rate is reasonable.
  • Easy to install.
  • Affordable price range. 


  • The parts seem flimsy.
  • Less durable. 


Fluval FX4High Performance Aquarium Canister FilterFluval FX4High - best canister filter 2018

Our next canister filter reviews are for Fluval FX4High Performance Aquarium Canister Filter, and it’s a real beast. This multi-layered filter cans 700 US gallon of water per hour. It has advanced technology which monitors and optimizes the performance of the pump. An advanced microchip technology continually works to make it work better.

In addition, it’s a self-starting filter. Only by adding water and plugging in the smart pump will start to work. Also, it evacuated trapped air after every 12 hours to make sure the efficient working.

The great thing about the filter is water changing is more comfortable with a filter. Form now you don’t need those heavy buckets and mugs to change the water. Attach the housing to output and Fluval FX4High Performance Aquarium Canister Filter will do the rest.

The filter is around 17 inches tall. So it’s fit to use with any large to medium aquariums. However, this canister filter for 55-gallon tank is durable and could make your life easier as aquarium hobbyist.


  • Self-priming features.
  • Good housing or connections.
  • Added water is changing the port.
  • Water flow rate is reasonable too.
  • Cleans dirty water pretty well and quickly. 


  • Pricey product.
  • Filter media space is limited due to its size. 


Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter (ML90770)Marineland fish tank canister filter

Would not it’s better to have water filter and polisher at the same price? The Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter (ML90770) is that what you want for your aquarium. It uses three stages filtration to ensure water clarity and oxygen for a long time. It removes all kind of dirt and debris and leaves crystal clean water every time.

The filter can work with 290 gallons of water per hour. You can use it for your small to large any fish tank. But it’s great to use for up to 97 gallons of the aquarium. The filter doesn’t require self-priming. It has the submerge motor which works great with any kind of water set up. Compare then other it’s easy to install. Especially its double chambered media container allows for customizable media.

The main difference between the filter forms other is it has the polisher. The reusable micron cartridge cleans rest of the debris and makes the bright visibly clean and shiny.


  • Suitable to use for all type of water aquarium setup.
  • Clear the tank water fast and nicely.
  • Very lightweight and easy to install.
  • Affordable product. 


  • The cleaning process is little hard.
  • Some complaint of buzzing sound of the filter. 


SunSun-China HW-304B Aquarium FilterSunSun-China HW-304B Aquarium Filter

Here is another best canisters filter form SunSun. This filter is large so that it will capture a lot of space for setup. However, SunSun-China HW-304B is one of the best canister filters for long time usage. It comes with built-in UV sterilizer which cleans better than an ordinary tank filter. The regular water filters don’t clean bacteria or algae spores in the water. But this one does. So your fish live healthy and happy their new world of the aquarium.

The filter is suitable for using tank up to 150 gallons. It can filter 525 gallons of water per hour. For the best performance, it comes with 5 layers of media trays. These contain activated carbons, ceramic rings or bio-balls. This multi-stage filtration system is dealing with all possible biological, chemical and mechanical debris of your tank water. The great thing about the filter is you get much more features form one single product at the much affordable price.


  • Easy to set up.
  • Make the water crystal clear within a short time.
  • Kills algae spores and bacteria.
  • High flow rate. 


  • Poorly translated instruction guide.
  • Large then shown in the picture. 


Aquatop CF Series Canister FilterAquatop CF Series Canister Filter

Another top-notch aquarium water filter with UV ray system. The Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter is a great option to make your water clean and healthy at the same time. This one is little pricey than the first one, but offers an excellent service that you want to form a filtration system. It’s fit to use up to 175 gal fish tank. The filter provides a complete five stage of the filtration system and can filter 525 gallons of water per hour.

The UV sterilizer of the tank is 9 watts same as the SunSun-China HW-304B. It successfully kills the harmful bacteria and algae spores and keeps the environment of the fish tank healthy.

You can use the filter for all type of water setup. Its three excellent filter pads, one coarse sponge block the mechanical dirt’s. The ceramic rings, activated carbon, and bio-balls handle biological and chemical debris. Result? All crystal clear and germfree water every time the filter supply.


  • Offer extremely silent operation.
  • High water flow rate.
  • Comes with UV ray sanitization system.
  • Multi-layer of effective filtration.


  • Expensive water filter.
  • Difficult to clean. 


Marineland Multi-Stage Canister Filter for AquariumsMarineland Multi-Stage Canister Filter for Aquariums

Here is another reliable option to use for a long time. The Marineland Multi-Stage Canister Filter for Aquariums is suitable for any saltwater or freshwater aquarium. It’s appropriate to apply for up to 150 gallons.  It comes with three layers of filtration stage with contains foam, biofilter balls, and charcoal.

These active three layers of filtration clean the toxic like diluted ammonia and nitrites. It could handle other chemical or biological debris that polluted your tank water. Unlike the other filters, it doesn’t have the bypass option that can release the residue of dirt. It only produces clean water that does not contain anything form filtration system.

However, the filter has high water flow rate and fast cleaning capacity. To understand the setup and maintenance it has a DVD guide to learn more about the filter.


  • Cleans the water fast and well.
  • Comes with step by step instruction DVD.
  • Last for a long time.
  • High-rate water flow. 


  • Expensive filter.
  • Hard to disable and clean. 


Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 FilterFluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter

Another best canisters filter form Fluval. This one is one of the high capacity and heavy duty aquarium filters that will never disappoint you. The Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter is the multi-stage filter which produces clean and healthy water in minimal time. It has a high water flow rate that process and recirculates dirty water 563 gallons per hour. The media basket can hold more than 1.5 gallons of dirt and debris. However, it’s specially made for a large fish tank like 400 gallons.

But it’s short enough to fit under most large aquariums. In addition, the FX6 comes with the multi-direction output nozzle, aqua stop valves, maintenance reminder, clog-proof intake strainer and many other useful things. A large aquarium needs a lot of care. That is why you should invest something that could handle this type of aquarium singularly. And FX6 fish tank canister filter defiantly fits the bill.


  • Set up is extremely easy.
  • Suitable to use for any type of water.
  • Heavy water flow rate.
  • Self-starting filter.
  • Monthly maintenance reminder.  


  • Costly filter.
  • Does not contains spray bar. 


How to Choose the Best Canister Filter

When it comes to aquarium maintenance aquarium filters comes top of the list of essential maintenance tools. It not only makes the tanks visibly clear but also promotes the health of your water creatures. To get the best canister filter, you need some research and knowledge of some critical factors before the money. Such as,

The Motor

The motor works to keep the tank water filter continuously and make it clean. It’s a continuous process, so filter motor needs to robust and durable also. A powerful and high-quality motor should efficient, require low maintenance, quiet and does not get hot quickly. So, it’s better to look for a filter of a reputed brand that offers quality canister filter and motor and has a good feed to its customers.

Right Size

Knowing the size and capacity of your fish tank is essential to determine which size of filter you need. Also, what type of fish or creature you are going to have in the tank. For example goldfish, turtle, etc. tend to make mess frequently. So, a filter that covers up short time filtration or right to choose for them.

In addition, aquarium filters are little complicated to maintain. It takes a lot of time to clean up, so you have to remember that too. Be sure about your canister filter and its maintenance factors well. It’s better to have something that is easy to clean and don’t require much time and energy.


Canister filters need to place in a particular location near the aquarium. If you have shelf/stand for keeping the filter that it will save a lot of trouble. But many bulky filters need more space then cabinet. So, choose a screen that fit for the area you keep for it and can be hidden easily.

The Budget

It’s natural every person has a limit of willingly spend money for particular items. But we will suggest you research on the different price of filters before fix a budget. And the good news is canister filters has the all the option from low to high. 

How does a Canister Filter Work

A canister filter has some sectors that perform different works to filter the water completely. You may have seen the filter is mounted outside of the tank and an inlet and outlet fittings stay inside the tank. These outlets or tubes allow the water flow in or out of the filter. You can adjust the tubes and filter them as you want to the filter and tank.

The filter has an in-tank pump which forces the water into the canister to filter. Some filters come with mounted motors and depend on gravity to proceed to work. The internal pump troops the dirty water out of the water refining machine back in the tank once the filter filled with it.

The entire time this process repeats again and again until you stop the refiner. The tank water goes through a different layer of the filter and al the debris trap inside the filter membrane. And the result is maximum clean water.

Benefits of Using Canister Filter

An aquarium filter is a life saver for any marine hobbyist indeed. But what does a canister filter offers best from another type of filters? Here are some top benefits of using a canister filter for all kind of fish tank. Like,

  • Efficient Filtration

Canister filters include 3 or up to 7 layers of the filtration system, and they could handle different type of dirt and debris of aquarium water. Using the canister filter to remove all kind of chemical, biological or mechanical debris and prevent to going back in the tank.

  • High Water Flow Rate

The main advantage you get form canister filter is the high water flow rate. It usually can filter 300-500 gallon of water every hour. That means it filters the entire tank water within minimum time. It saves your money and energy to keep the aquarium neat and clean for a long time.

  • Easy Installation Process

Installing a canister filter is less complicated than others. Most of the filter in this category is possible to setup and just by following the instruction manual single-handedly.

  • Easy to Maintain

Another significant advantage of the canister is you don’t have to clean them every day or interval of every 3/4 days. Also, the manufacturers try to make them easy to separate and clean by one person. Yes, there is some exception too. But compared to other filter consider are simple to clean.

  • Noise-free Operation

You definitely don’t want to set up a tool that creates loud sound in your room. The best possible option for noise-free filter has a canister filter. Many of us place the fish tank in the bedroom or study room beside living room or corridor. It creates less sound and vibration that could ruin your peace in the room.

Final Words

When you own or want to have an aquarium you need to consider having one of the essential equipment in order to keep the water health well. All your investment like time money and energy will be daily if your fish tank nothing has to remove or remove the daily dirt away from the water. That is why investing in a good canister filter is a wise step to do. We tried to bring different quality and capacity of canister aquarium filter in the separate budget so one can buy or compare them or get the idea what the best canister filter would be.

Out top pick for best aquarium canister filter SunSun-China HW-304B External Canister Filter. This filter comes under the budget, has many layers of useful filtration and bonus the UV sterilizer. If you want a high capacity best canister filter then having this one will save you from most of the trouble related aquarium water filtration.

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