Best Aquarium Canister Filters 2022 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

1. Penn Plax 2. Fluval 3. Aqua Clear

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter For Aquariums

Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter


As a lover of fishes and anything aquatic, you will find that an aquarium is a gadget you can’t do without. You want to create a comfortable environment for your pet fishes and turtles inside your home. Most aquariums in today’s market easily step up to the occasion. Filters are essential parts of all aquariums, at least for their ability to keep the water consistently clean and to remove toxins that may become harmful for your pets. Hence the need to know the best aquarium canister filter for it.

Of course, there are several types of filters available for this purpose, but none does it better than the canister filters. This is the main reason why we want this article to focus on helping you get the best aquarium canister filter in the market.

Choosing this equipment is not very easy, but it is achievable if you look in the right direction.

Canister filters have grown in popularity since the turn of 2022. This growth in popularity is mainly because of the level of efficiency it commands. Today, most users consider it to be superior to other types of filters in the market.

These filters are specially designed for easy usage across many different setups, from freshwater tanks, to saltwater tanks and even turtle tanks. Their compatibility with many different installations combines well with the flexibility of the available media to create the perfect filtration you will love.

In this guide, we will focus on everything you should know about canister filters before buying one. We will also be talking about the best aquarium canister filter that will suit different needs, as well as how each is set up.

Please note that we put so much effort into the research, and testing of several different canister filters. So you can trust that the products reviewed here are the best you can find in the market.

Of course, there are so many brands in the market today, but we paid importance to genuine customer reviews while compiling this list. We can tell for sure that each product reviewed here is the best aquarium canister filter you will find in its category this year.

Without wasting further time, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of owning a canister filter.

Benefits Of Using A Canister Filter

For most experienced users of aquarium gadgets, the benefits of using the best aquarium canister filter in the market can never be overstated. However, for the sake of the not so experienced users, let’s take a look at a few benefits of using a canister filter.

1. High Flow Rates

The canister filters, when compared to other types of filters, outclasses them for having better flow rates. We’ve seen situations where some can handle up to 320 gallons per hour, and that goes a long way to show why this type of filter is something to own. At such a rate, you can expect the whole filtration process to take less time, saving you time and energy.

While looking to buy one of these, ensure to read the description of different models. Get to understand their flow rates before making your decision.

2. Flexible Media Selection

The availability of different types of filtration media to select from goes a long way to prove the quality of this type of filters. However, there is a need to find out how each media works before making a particular product your final choice.

The best way to go about this is to read several reviews online and offline. This helps you to see how well it has served past buyers. You should also check out the level of maintenance that the media of each product needs before making your pick.

3. Ease Of Setup

Compared to most other types of filters, the setup process of a canister is smooth and seamless. You do not want a filter that gives you loads of problems during the setup process. Most other filters have this common problem of being so difficult to set up.

The canister filter was designed and produced keeping the ease of setup in mind. Remember that it is vital to follow all instructions given by the manufacturer during the setup process.

4. Quiet Operation

This is a characteristic that most people living in quiet neighborhoods will be interested in. This set of people are always in search for filters that do not create unnecessary disturbance to the neighborhood during operation. You can achieve this by purchasing a canister filter.

According to many reviews, the canister filter is one worth buying for its ability to maintain operation without much noise. A lot of customers agree that they still enjoyed their nap, even with the canister filter on in the same room.

5. Easy To Clean

Canister filters are made easy to clean, especially with the right tools in use. They have a simple and straightforward disassembling process. Hence the ease of accessing the internal components of the unit for cleaning. The manufacturers manual are also mostly easy to read and understand, so maintenance of the canister filter is a very easy task.

Top 10 Best Aquarium Canister Filters 2022

1. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Penn Plax Best Aquarium Canister FiltersIn case you are still asking why you need this particular product, let’s bring to your knowledge, everything it stands for in features and design.

The product stands out in looks and builds when compared to most other similar canisters. Yes, looks might not be your first concern when buying a filter, but it still counts that the Cascade was made to look pretty slick.

Apart from its beautiful look, we found that the Cascade still holds its ground when it comes to construction quality, especially in comparison to most other models we tested. We found that the locking clamps were built to secure tightly and that the base unit would not easily tip over. This quality surprisingly extends to all other accessories too.

At a measurement of 17″ x 10″ × 11.5″ and a weight of about 12 Ibs, it is easy to see that it is not the biggest in the market, but it certainly balances size with durability in an admirable manner. Of course, you want your filter to be big enough and not fall apart, but you also want a filter that you can carry to the sink if you need.

We also found that this particular product is quite easy to clean. All you have to do is to turn the filter off, undo the hoses, and it’s good enough to be taken to the sink for a good rinse. There’s a lot to desire in this product, but one of the most obvious features that is a draw to customers is the sturdy and durable look it comes with. It is one of the most durable in the market. So, if durability is something you desire, then this is a product to go for


  • Decently priced
  • Very quiet operation
  • Sturdy and durable


  • Consumes much power
  • Quite challenging to prime.

2. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter For Aquariums

Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter For AquariumsWith the market for canister filters becoming very complex these days, it has become easy for people to get lost in the sea of options available in the market.

However, it will be difficult for any experienced aquarium keeper to forget long-running canister filter brands like Marineland. After all, this is a brand that has been consistently manufacturing quality aquarium equipment since the 70s.

It is therefore not surprising that while we were doing our research, we found this product from the company to be very good.

As expected for a product from a company with such a long-standing history, the Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter comes with several upgrades from most other filters. Talking about its look, we won’t deny the fact that it is a big, heavy, and sturdy option.

But all those do not in any way take away the desire to use this product, considering all the amazing things it can do. Everything locks tightly in place, with no fear of getting loose during operation. The thickness level and substantiality of the hoses are also impressive.

As mentioned before, a major drawback is its immense size when compared to other filters. But, it has an operational strength that will make you forget all the energy you put into moving it.
During our review, we also found the Marineland to include a series of impressive quick-release features.

It also comes with an easy-access design for the filter trays, and, of course, additional seals that will help to prevent accidents.

This unit was also specially manufactured for easy disassembling, unlike most other filters that require you to summon so much strength when trying to budge the locks out.

From the looks of this product, you can tell that the brand behind its production has learned from the shortcomings of most other brands in the setup of their product. While they do not boast of a simple user manual, the inclusion of a friendly DVD instructional is a step in the right direction. With that, we can call the setup easy.


  • Excellent flow rate
  • Good construction
  • Strong hoses


  • Longevity yet to be proven.

3. Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter

Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 FilterNot many filters in today’s market can be compared to the Fluval FX6 canister in quality. Yes, it is a small package, but its unique design more than compensates for its size.

A look through the reviews from people that have used the FX6 revealed that it is indeed a worthwhile upgrade from the FX5.

While the FX5 had a capacity that could only handle a 300 liters aquarium, the FX6 was upgraded to be just right for handling an aquarium up to 1500 liters. Of course, that is something worthy of note, but it doesn’t just stop there. There is much more about this model that sets it apart from the rest.

This particular model has been able to earn a place as the update filter, because of an ability to deliver far more than an ordinary user will expect. With such a high-performance level, you can already tell that the canister will work perfectly on large aquariums too.

Of course, it also does not matter how many aquariums you intend to filter, considering its ability to handle up to 924 gallons of water per hour. This incredible capacity takes the ease of filtering aquariums to a whole new level.

With such an incredible capacity comes increased expectations for its size applicability. We found that despite its impressive capacity, the model has a height of only 21 inches. This means that it will not be a problem to fit it under most large tanks.

Apart from its capacity, the FX6 had several other qualities that make it one of the best. One such characteristic is the quietness of its operation. You will need to get so close to finding out that it is on. The quiet motor of this model uses precise engineering that will keep your room as quiet as it should be throughout its working time.

During manufacture, an electronic circuit board was installed to monitor the working condition of the filter. This will help to ensure that the output level of this model during any operation is topnotch.


  • Specially designed aqua valves for easier maintenance
  • It comes with a clog-free strainer.


  • Quite expensive.

4. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

Hydor Professional External Canister FilterIf you are familiar with aquarium equipment, then you should know the Hydor Company by now. The Hydor company has been producing aquarium related components for many years now. Considering the kind of quality that they are able to put out every time, it is not so difficult to see why they are still one of the best in the industry.

It was not difficult for us to conclude that this is an amazing product, as it shows off some incredible functionality from the first sight. It has a construction that can withstand anything an average user can throw its way as long as filtration is concerned.

It eliminates whatever worry caused by the cheap materials used for the construction of most other brands.
During our research, we found that this filter comes with a 4-locking clamp system designed to offer more support to the motor and of course, to keep it working well. The design also helps prevent water leaks, considering the tightness of the seals at all the different points.

One thing we found really interesting about this product is the availability of different shapes for the various parts of the unit, all designed to ensure that the installation process is correct. You do not want to have a wrong assembly; hence, the need for this feature.

The flow rate is worth talking about too. It is something that will easily impress you. As an aquarium owner, you would want to get a filter that can deliver excellent flow rate at all times. And as it stands, only very few brands can deliver as much as this one.

The unit also emits very low noise when turned on, so you won’t have to worry about disturbing your neighbours with your new filter. Unlike most other brands, the Hydor canister works silently; hence, you will not even know that it is working until you come close enough. It is a bit expensive, but that’s something you can deal with if you desire good quality. After all, most products of the same quality are expected to be in the same price range.


  • Easy installation
  • Less noise output
  • Great flow rate


  • A bit too pricey

5. Sunsun Hw304B 525GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit

Sunsun Hw304B 525GPH Pro Canister Filter KitBy now, you should have known for sure the importance of owning a good filter for your tank. If you have your sights set on buying the best canister filter for your tank, then this one manufactured by Sunsun is certainly a must-own.

After all, the company ranks high in the production of aquatic equipment, so it is not surprising that we found a product from them to be worth it.

There is no better option to turn to when you find that your aquarium is getting dirty more often. It can constantly maintain clean water in your aquarium. Below, let’s highlight some of the reasons why we think this is a canister filter worth owning.

First, it can easily handle large aquariums, so you can expect it to function well for larger aquariums with bigger capacity. The ability of this model to handle tough jobs makes it quite popular among many users.

The filter is built to handle an overall capacity of up to 525 GPH, making its filtration process faster than most other models in its category. If you are looking to filter your aquarium pretty quickly, then this should be a model to try out.

This brand also offers better water filtration, which is the whole point of getting a canister in the first place. This model presents a water filtration ability that should be able to live up to your standards quite easily.

It has a three-stage filtration process which increases the chances of cleaning water effectively. The model also comes fitted with a 9W UV sterilizer. This sterilizer helps to give the model more power to kill harmful bacteria and algae.

This is not something you will find in many other canisters. While looking through reviews, we found that a lot of customers are drawn to its ease of usage. It is probably the easiest product to use in its category. Beyond usage, however, disassembly is also easy, so maintenance will not be difficult.


  • Ease of usage
  • 3-stage filtration process
  • More power.


  • Relatively expensive.

6. Eheim Classic External Canister Filter

Eheim Classic External Canister FilterThere are so many options in the market that it can be confusing to simply take a look at the sea of options and decide which is best for your needs.

If ease of cleaning is top on your priority, then the EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter is definitely worth a try. Beyond the ease of cleaning it offers, this model also comes with a wide range of accessories that makes its usage more manageable and efficient.

This canister filter comes with all the features you would require for a smooth operation. The manufacturers of this brand paid particular attention to ease of installation too. So setting up would not be a challenging task. From the first sight of this product, you can already tell that it is built to last long and offer great functionality. No wonder it is gradually, but consistently taking over today’s market.

On its performance, the EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter is designed to handle aquariums up to the size of 350 liters. Yes, their pump output is also designed to get up to 620 liters per hour, so you can expect heavy workload as far as this one is concerned. It doesn’t matter where you are keeping your aquarium since this product offers just the right functionality to suit your needs.

Another feature we found interesting about this product is the ease of usage. Unlike most other products, the canister filter from this brand is easy to use and maintain. There are only a few products that can offer the level of ease in usage and maintenance that this one offers. Dismantling is very easy so that cleaning wouldn’t come with any additional stress. This is a brand that makes filtration easier and better. It is indeed worth trying.


  • Offers ease of cleaning
  • Easy to use and maintain


  • Relatively expensive

7. Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter

Aquatop CF Series Canister FilterIf you are having any issues with the management of algae, or want to have the best water quality for your tank, then this is an option worth trying. After a series of researches and proper testing, we found this model to be good enough to make our list of best aquarium canister filter for a lot of reasons.

The most significant feature of Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter is its special build. It comes with a special light inside that is designed to kill bacteria and control algae. Beyond its ability to kill bacteria and other harmful organisms in the water, we came across a few other great functionalities. Hence, the reason for the rush of this product in the market.

Thankfully, despite the numerous features that are packed into this product, it is still fairly priced. So, you will not need to break your bank to get the level of quality you desire.

Beyond the affordability it offers, this brand is also designed to serve users of larger tanks, as it can serve efficiently for up to 175 gallons aquarium. Further, it is designed in such a way so as to eliminate the task of manual siphoning, hence, making life easier.

While testing this product, we found that it is a quiet model. Thus, if you’re looking for a product that does not disturb your neighbors, then this is the perfect choice to go with.

We all know that external filters are mostly noisy, but the manufacturers of this one did well to make it suitable for indoor usage, even in the dead of night.

In addition to its quiet operation, this brand is also made to be easy to set up, so you don’t need to have any prior-experience to set it up.


  • Less noise, suitable for indoor use
  • Easy to set up


  • Too big

8. API Filstar XP

API Filstar XPA quick look into the market of canister filters will reveal that there are only very few products at the level of this one. It is not only qualitative, but it also incorporates a look that is worth talking about. The fact that this is one of the best selling canister filters in the market speaks a lot about the effort that has been put into its production.

Having put over 50 years of experience in the production of this product, you can only expect to get more for less. The XP is probably the best product you will get for your bucks if you are looking to filter for a tank between 100-175 gallons.

On the best features of the API Filstar XP, is its durability. It is built with the best of material, allowing it to withstand the toughest usage and still come out without any dent.

It comes with many design features, so that you can be assured of the best filtration possible for your tank. There’s a whole lot about this brand beyond its ease of usage and quality build that you will only experience when you actually begin to use it.


  • Comes with large media tray.
  • Offers great value for your money
  • Relatively quiet operation


  • Doesn’t come with a spray bar

9. Marineland Multi-Stage Canister Filter For Aquariums

Marineland Multi-Stage Canister Filter For AquariumsWith the market for canister filters becoming so big these days, it is easy for people to get confused. In such cases, you could turn to the brand name. Marineland is one such long running canister filter brand that focuses on producing filters that can make your job easier.

One interesting feature of this particular product is how well it combines good design with an excellent level of functionality.

According to reviews from satisfied users, the product offers more in terms of functionality compared to most others in its class. Although larger than most other regular filters, it compensates for its size with quality and ability to handle tougher tasks.

This filter is designed to be useful for handling filtration of large aquariums, so you can expect it to function well for aquariums of up to 150 gallons of water capacity. The ability of this model to handle tough jobs makes it quite popular among many users.

This brand also offers better water filtration, which is the whole point of getting a canister in the first place. This model presents a water filtration ability that should be able to live up to your standards quite easily.


  • Easy to use
  • Offers better water filtration


  • Quite expensive.

10. Fluval FX4 High Performance Aquarium Canister Filter

Fluval FX4 High Performance Aquarium Canister FilterIt is not surprising that this product has made our list of best canister filters, considering how much it offers for so less. It is obvious that the company has put in a lot of effort into the production of the filter.

And we have to say, it has all paid off. It is just the right product for you if you are looking for one that combines good looks with excellent functionality. It is also portable.

While testing this particular model, we found that one major reason why it is ranked high is its ability to deliver far more than any ordinary user will expect. Such high level of performance has made it one of the most sought after in the canister filter market.

Yes! The product’s capacity is worth commendation. However, beyond its capacity, you can easily see other qualities that stands it out from other products in its category. We particularly found the ability of the product to work with less noise as an interesting feature worth mentioning. You will need to get so close before you find out that it is actually on.

The productivity level of this product is something to look out for. A lot of people would rather overlook its size because of the level of productivity it has, but it is still worth mentioning that it occupies more space than a lot others.


  • Less noise
  • Better productivity level


  • A bit too heavy

How To Choose A Canister Filter For Aquarium

Today, there are so many canister filter options in the market that it can be quite difficult for you to find the perfect one for your needs. Of course, there are several great options, as much as there are options that are not so great too. Hence, the need to apply some level of cautiousness if you desire to pick a brand that’s worth it.

Over time, we’ve found that people find it difficult to identify the best aquarium canister filter. Hence, we’ve put together a definitive guide of things to look out for, if you desire to know the best and perfect canister filter to suit your requirements. Here, take a look at some of the most important of them:

1. Purpose Of Canister

Like most other purchases, your reason behind the purchase of the canister should go a long way in determining the exact specs you expect for it. This simply means that you have to keep your filtration needs in mind and buy a filter that can satisfy them. While price is important, it is also important to check and be sure that you are buying a product that can satisfy your reason for buying it.

Ask yourself important questions like what flow, volume, and level of versatility you want. Then think about the possibility of your choice to satisfy all these. Only then can you think of a particular product as the best aquarium canister filter for your particular needs.

2. Adaptability And Durability

These are qualities to look out for in every purchase, so it shouldn’t be a new one for you. An important aspect is the location of your filter. Bearing the conditions of where you intend to keep the filter in mind, you can then go for one that suits them perfectly.

Talking about durability, you should look out for a filter with the perfect build, since build guarantees longevity to a reasonable extent. Most filters are made of plastic, so just ensure that you are picking one that is made of strong plastic if you want it to last long.

3. The Capability Of The Motor

If you are looking to buy the best aquarium canister filter in the market, then the motor capability is something you want to look into. Yes! The motors are very important for pumping water into the filter before the filtration process gets started. It is not so difficult to see that if you require better filtration, then a bigger motor will come in handy.

You also need to make sure that the motor is reliable in terms of efficiency, and of course, ease of maintenance. While some motors require more maintenance, others simply get going with very little maintenance. It is important to pick a filter that does not require much maintenance, as this will help to determine the longevity of the filter too.

4. Size Of Tank

Tank size differs, and not all canister filters work perfectly for all sizes of tanks. Hence, the need to put the size of the tank into consideration when looking for the best aquarium canister filter.
For this, there is a need to read the description of each product thoroughly, to know the size of tank that it can handle.

If you find that this information is missing in the description, then you might need to contact the company to find out how their product works before purchasing it.

5. Budget

Before setting out to buy a canister filter, it is important to have a set budget for it. Yes, this is not the number one thing to look out for, but it is also very important.

While setting your budget, it is important to compare the prices of different products against their specifications to know which is best. Thankfully, this information is on the internet these days, so you can do your research thoroughly before setting up your budget for a filter.

6. Ease Of Maintenance

While it is great to buy a canister filter for their quality, you also want to check out their ease of Maintenance before making them your choice. These products are mostly very pricey, so, you don’t want to be needing a new one just within a few weeks or months of purchase.

For this purpose, it is important to select one that you won’t need much to maintain. Thankfully, there are a lot of options on the market with a simple design to aid easy maintenance. It just takes a look in the right direction to find what’s suitable for you.

Best Aquarium Canister Filters: Have You Made Your Choice?

There you have it, a review of the best aquarium canister filters in the market. With hundreds of new products making their way into the market every year, it can become quite a difficult process to select the best aquarium canister filter for your needs.

We understand this difficulty. Hence, we’ve put together a review of some of the best based on brand reputation, product features, genuine customer reviews, and performance rates. The buying guide is also included to ensure that you pick the perfect choice for your needs. This guide includes a lot of other information that we consider to be very important for buying the best aquarium canister filter for your aquarium needs.