Best Canister Filter: A List of the Top 10 Filters Available Today

Best Canister Filter

Owning an aquarium requires you to keep it as clean as possible by ensuring that you remove all harmful debris and dirt. However, the concern for most people is which filter can do the work appropriately.  

Over the years, canister filters have become popular, with more people using them. However, the best canister filter should be superior mechanically, chemically, and biologically in terms of filtration abilities.

Canister filters differ significantly in terms of features, functionality, durability, and efficiency. It is advisable to be careful when choosing the best canister filter.

Whether you are a beginner in fish keeping or an expert, you will need to have an effective filter, as it helps keep the aquarium clean.

This article is a review of the best canister filter options in the market. We have carried out this research to help you make an informed decision as far as choosing the best canister filter is concerned.

Canister Filter Frequently Asked Questions

Just like any other pet product, buying an item that will offer you the best results is something that should be taken very seriously.

The following is a list of frequently asked questions about the best canister filter options that we reviewed to help make your shopping experience less stressful.

1. What Is a Canister Filter?

This is an aquarium filter that removes water from a fish tank through a valve, filters it, and then brings it back when clean.

2. What Does a Canister Filter Do?

Canister filters clean dirty water from the fish tank and return clean water with no bacteria or dirt particles into the fish tank.

3. How Does a Canister Filter Work?

Canister filters eject water from the fish tank through the valve and run it into filters through a motor which cleans the water. It is then pumped back into the fish tank.

4. Where Can You Buy a Canister Filter?

This product can be found in any online store such as Amazon.

5. Is a Canister Filter Safe for Fish?

Canister filters are safe for any type of fish and do not have any harmful effects on the fish.

How We Reviewed

We understand how important it is for you to get the best, safest, and most affordable filter for your pet fish. Therefore, we put in a lot of effort and energy into this research to put together a dependable list of the best canister filters.

In our research, we reviewed the products based on their features, and pros and cons. We hope this review will help you find the best canister filter for your needs.

Overall Price Range of a Canister Filter

The best canister filters differ significantly as far as the price is concerned. The prices differ due to the durability, material used in making the product, the ease of use and maintain, and a variety of other factors.

What We Reviewed

The following is a list of the top ten best canister filters that we reviewed.

  • Fluval Canister Filter
  • EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter
  • Fluval External Filter
  • Fluval Advanced Filtration System
  • Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
  • AquaTop Forza Canister Filters
  • API Filstar XP Aquarium Canister Filter
  • Aqueon Canister Filter
  • Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter
  • Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter

1. Fluval Canister Filter

Fluval High Performance Aquarium Filter


This canister filter features a combination of locking nuts and rim connectors for the hoses which give you the assurance of a very tight system that cuts down on leaks significantly. It is made of black plastic and red highlights which gives it a classy look. The plastic material used to make the canister filter is very firm and durable making it very long-lasting.

The canister filter is suitable for both salt water and fresh water aquariums. This implies that it will not corrode easily even with extra salinity.

The canister filter has a multi-stage filtration system that ensures any particle that is left floating in the water is cleared out without any problem.

It also comes with a feature that makes it clog-free hence there is no chance of the canister filter ever clogging up.


  • Durable
  • Powerful
  • High capacity
  • Large storage
  • Multi-stage filtration
  • Used in both salt and freshwater aquariums
  • Clog-proof


  • A bit bulky
  • Quite difficult to clean
  • Higher power use

2. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter


This canister filter features clamps that are made of stainless steel. It is very durable, giving you great performance and ensuring it lasts for a long time. The clamps are very firm and this reduces leakage on the filter.

The motor on the filter produces low noise levels, hence giving you a silent operation. It is also made with an energy efficient filter. it consumes less power and still delivers a high flow rate.


  • The installation process is easy
  • Very effective in water filtration
  • Low energy consumption
  • Does not leak often
  • It is silent
  • Easy to clean
  • Has an impressive capacity


  • The ceramic impeller is prone to break
  • Getting replacement parts is hard

3. Fluval External Filter

Fluval External Filter


This external filter has a unique square-shaped canister design that holds 35 to 50% of water, hence allowing better flow of water through a complex cleansing path that maximizes contact with the filtration media.

It is equipped with clog-proof intake strainer and a dual layer foam screen which prevents water from dripping onto the plug. It also has a multi-stage filtration system for healthy fresh and saltwater aquariums, making it corrosion free.


  • It is quite silent
  • Easy water control
  • Effective priming technique
  • Built with high-quality materials
  • Multi-stage filtration
  • Suitable for both salty and fresh water
  • Clog-proof


  • The impeller is not durable
  • Can start to leak after several months

4. Fluval Advanced Filtration System

Fluval Advanced Filtration System


This advanced filtration system features smart pump advanced microchip technology, which automatically pumps water every hour.

It also has a smart water change port which helps eliminate lifting heavy buckets, making work easier. The motor on the filter produces very little noise, giving you a silent operation.


  • Silent operation
  • Smart water change port
  • Better hosing
  • Self-pumping
  • Easy to maintain
  • Excellent cleaning capacity
  • Enough space for biological media
  • Great outlet with a good flow


  • Filter media space is limited
  • Takes time to remove and replace the lid

5. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter


This Hydor Professional Canister Filter comes with four locking clamps that offer more support to the motor and prevents water leakage as well due to its tight seal. Its motor is designed to produce low noise levels, giving you quiet operation.


  • Strong suction power
  • Great water flow
  • Easy to disassemble for cleaning
  • Simple installment
  • Requires little to no maintenance
  • Smooth running
  • Quiet operation
  • Has a safety lock system


  • Water leak issues
  • Carbon package does not include
  • It is pricey

6. AquaTop Forza Canister Filters

AquaTop Forza Canister Filters


This canister filter comes with an impressive multi-stage filtration system that filters water, leaving your fish tank clean and fresh. It also has a powerful, well-built motor that pumps water very quickly without creating a lot of noise.

It has a UV bulb which provides protection for the fish against bacteria and algae that float in the water.


  • A powerful flow rate
  • Easy  to use
  • It has an easy priming system
  • Comes with a safety lock system
  • It is affordable


  • Does not have many replacement parts
  • It leaks when valves are disconnected

7. API Filstar XP Aquarium Canister Filter

API Filstar XP


The Filstar canister filter comes with three media trays that flush against the sides, therefore, preventing water from bypassing the filtration media.

It also has an up-flow design that allows large particles to settle at the bottom of the filter implying that cleaning and maintenance of the filter becomes much easier.


  • Durable and well made
  • Large media trays
  • Easy and quick to disconnect valves
  • Has a quiet operation
  • Easy to prime
  • Great value for the money


  • Tubing is stiff
  • The tubing comes in multiple pieces that have to be connected
  • Does not include a spray bar
  • Not enough media included

8. Aqueon Canister Filter

Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter


The Aqueon canister filter includes a convenient back-hanging water polishing unit which makes maintenance quick and easy.

It is also easy to replace the carbon cartridge which saves you time and trouble when it comes to maintenance. It is designed for use with both fresh water and salt water tanks with no risk of corrosion.


  • It is cost efficient
  • It is very quiet
  • Has an easy prime


  • The manual has to be read carefully

9. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Cascade Canister Filter for Large Aquariums


This product features a multi-stage filtration system, which means that it gets all the dirt out without leaving any particles.

It comes with an easy push-down button which enables water to be siphoned into the filter for about 5 to 10 minutes. It has a spray bar that helps to make water and aeration circulation easier.

This canister filter features high-quality tubes and connectors that offer great performance for long periods. It also has a price tag that is very affordable hence giving many fish owners the ability to purchase one.


  • Has a self-priming feature
  • High-quality tubes and connectors
  • Multi-stage filtration
  • Comes with a spray bar
  • Very affordable


  • Priming can be a bit difficult
  • Consumes a lot of power

10. Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter

Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter


This canister filter comes with a lot of filter media, which provides plenty of water flow in and out of the canister. It also has a unique valve design that allows the pump to keep operating even after the canister is disconnected.

It has four filtering layers that help in the elimination of toxins in the water column.


  • Has a very reasonable price point
  • The canister does not require priming
  • Has a 3-year warranty


  • Does not work on larger tank
  • The intake pump takes a room in the aquarium

The Verdict

Fish depend on clean water to live healthy lives. Canister filters are a great help in keeping the fish tanks clean. The best canister filters can keep your aquarium clean for as long as it is powered without the stress of having to do a full clean each time. The safety of your fish is very important, and that is why you need to have the best canister filter.

Based on what we reviewed, the Fluval Advanced Filtration System is the best canister filter a fish keeper with an aquarium can purchase.

This conclusion was reached due to its numerous features. This includes its silent operation, total ease of use, its great outlet that has a good flow, its smart water change port, its excellent cleaning capacity, and the way it creates enough space for biological media.


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