Top 10 Best Canister Filters in 2021 Reviews

For an aquarium, an effective filtration system is vital to maintaining cleanliness and pleasant environment for creatures inside. In the absence of proper filters, it is impossible to present a fresh living environment to aquatic creatures inside. For such purposes, canister filters are used widely. Basically, they are aquarium filters capable to take out water from the fish take. This is accomplished via an intake tube, valve, or sieve that is instilled inside the filter media within a pressurized canister.

Subsequently, you pump the filtered aquarium water again inside the fish take through spray bar or spillway. Generally, canister filters are recommended for both small and large tanks. Moreover, they are suitable for marine enthusiasts. A fresh living environment that is compatible with the bodies of aquatic creatures is guaranteed through such filters. Take a look at the best canister filters available currently to clear the confusion:

List of Best Canister Filters in 2021 Reviews

10. Polar Aurora 3-Stage External Canister Filter:

10. Polar Aurora 3-Stage External Canister Filter with 9-watt UV Sterilizer for Aquarium 265 GPH Builtin Pump Kit Canister

Suggested from the name, this canister filter purifies the water inside the aquarium through 3 stages. The Polar Aurora canister filter is equipped with a self-priming pump that removes the dependence on the manual siphoning. There is the facility of single valve disconnect and simplicity of the priming pump regular maintenance. Now you can improve the aquarium filtration through this large-capacity external canister filter.

Its unique trait is it incorporates excellent media-storing capacity; hence, the water inside the aquarium would easily come into contact with more filter media throughout the initial pass. It’s high-performance, innovative features guarantee superior water quality. Also, it presents a simplified and instant routine filter maintenance. Any debris or organic film present on the water surface will be easily removed.


  • In this 3-stage external canister filter, there is the inclusion of 9 Watt UV Sterilizer. This sterilizer is utilized for controlling bacteria or algae spores and also facilitates clean water.
  • There is the inclusion of 3 media trays competent to handle your choice of filtration media. They enable you to supplement other filtration media like activated carbons of SunSun, bio-balls or ceramic rings. All of these help the filter to attain chemical, mechanical and biological filtration.

9. Fluval FX4High Performance Aquarium Canister Filter:

9. Fluval FX4High Performance Aquarium Canister Filter

The excellent flow rate and hassle-free connections are the key specialties of this high-performance canister filter. With the assistance of simple water changes, there is no need to elevate heavy buckets. You just need to connect housing to output; once this is done, the Smart Pump accomplishes the rest of the process.

Basically, this Fluval aquarium canister filter is a self-starting filter. You simply need to include water and then plug in. In order to guarantee excellent efficiency, the trapped air is automatically evacuated every 12 hours. Compared to other low-quality canister filters, this one is relatively easy to put together. Besides, its operation is silent without any compromise in efficiency.


  • In this unit, the multi-stage filter pumps out 700 US Gal (2650 L) of water every hour.
  • Implementation of the Smart Pump advanced microchip technology constantly supervises and maintains pump performance.
  • In this canister filter, every filter media is included like chemical, mechanical, and biological.

8. Polar Aurora 3 Stage 100 Gallon Aquarium Fish Tank Canister Filter:

8. Polar Aurora 3 Stage 100 Gallon Aquarium Fish Tank Canister Filter + 9W UV Sterilizer 370 GPH

The innovative canister filter from the popular brand Polar Aurora is a 3 stage filter that claims excellent media-storing capacity. Its excellent capacity allows the aquarium water to relate with more filter media through the initial pass. High water quality is guaranteed through the innovative features being included.

Moreover, these features guarantee easy routine filter maintenance. You do not need to worry about the dust present on the water surface; they will be cleaned easily. Its operation is quiet and filtration efficiency is high.


  • Dimensions of this aquarium fish tank canister filter are 10 X 10 X 17 inches.
  • It comes with the adjustable-height inlet tube that can easily accommodate inside the deepest aquariums.
  • This 3 stage canister filter can handle up to 370 gallons per hour through the included 3 flexible media trays.
  • The inclusion of the media trays enables you to include media of your choice.
  • It is found that the filter is convenient to set up and maintain.
  • Different filtration mechanisms supported are chemical, mechanical and biological.

7. Fluval FX4High Performance Aquarium Canister Filter:

7. Fluval FX4High Performance Aquarium Canister Filter

Another aquarium canister filter from the prevalent brand Fluval in the list, this one comes with many innovative features. Excellent performance and reliable filtration are guaranteed without any compromise in the cleanliness. When you are looking for a compactly sized canister filter, this is an ideal choice. Generally, this high-performance filter is a suitable choice for aquariums up to 250 US Gal (1000 L).


  • Due to the multi-stage filtration mechanism, this filter would pump out 700 US Gal (2650 L) of water every hour.
  • It is a self-starting canister filter that removes the burden on the user during its operation. You just need to add the required amount of water and then plug into the electric outlet.
  • The sucked air will be automatically emptied every 12 hours to deliver maximum efficiency.
  • There are no burdens to lift heavy buckets; just connect the housing to output and then the smart pump would operate on its own.
  • In this filter, the presence of detachable, stackable media baskets removes the hassles of water bypass.
  • It comes with all filter media i.e. chemical, mechanical and biological.

6. Polar Aurora 3-Stage External Aquarium Filter:

6. Polar Aurora 3-Stage External Aquarium Filter 265gph with Builtin Pump Kit Canister

It is not difficult to improve the conduct of aquarium filtration when you use an efficient aquarium filter like this model from Polar Aurora. It comes with a huge capacity filter that operates in 3 stages. This cutting-edge filter showcases sufficient media-storing capacity.

Therefore, the aquarium water would be in contact with the great quantity of filter media while the initial pass. Superior quality water and hassle-free filter maintenance are the key traits of this high-performance aquarium filter. Any debris or organic film present in the water surface will be effectively cleaned.


  • This 3 stages efficient canister filter utilizes high water pressure derived from an appropriately powered pump. This pump would force the required amount of water via the thick filter media.
  • Generally, this filter is found efficient for up to 75-gallon fish tanks.
  • It comes with the flow rate of 264 GPH (1000L/hr) and the pump power of 18W.
  • There is the inclusion of 3 media trays dedicated to handling filtration media of your preference.
  • For proper adjustments of the output flow from the filter, there is the presence of an adjustable spray bar.

5. Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter:

5. Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter

Compared to the conventional power filters, this compact canister filter is unique considering many important aspects. This compact filter from Finnex presents a vacuum tight force filtration that performs better than the conventional canister filters. This is because its unique filtration mechanism would employ excellent cleanliness.

Besides, the quiet operation of this filter makes it suitable for freshwater or saltwater aquariums. With the facility of easily detachable filtration chambers, it is convenient to add/remove preferred media.


  • The PX-360 canister filter is ideal for both turtle and aquatic aquariums up to 25 gallons.
  • All the necessary accessories are included in this Finnex filter. These include spray bar, durable water intake strainer, and filter hanger.
  • To present highly efficient operation, the powerful top mounted 95 GPH sealed motor functions well.
  • Its filtration media contains sponge, activated carbon floss pad, and ceramic rings.

4. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter:

4. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

The hydor professional 350 external aquarium filter is an all-inclusive canister filter equipped with all the basic functionalities. Unlike conventional aquarium filters, this one is easier to maintain. This professional quality filter is capable to absorb a high amount of water and employ a powerful flow of water from the spray bar. Usually, there are no hassles to set up this canister filter. Just open the package, take away all of the filters and position them inside the trays.


  • In this professional quality canister filter, all the mechanical, biological, and chemical filtrations are included. These filtrations are essential for presenting fresh and long-lived aquatic experience.
  • It is easy to operate the telescopic intake tubes and the easy priming functionalities.
  • Every hose is equipped with a valve which is easily accessible when there is a need to service the tank.
  • In order to service the tank, just shut down the inlet valve and allow it to operate for several sections to decrease the water inside the tank. Subsequently, shut down the outlet valve and this process would remove the leakage issues generally found while disconnecting the hoses.

3. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media:

3. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

When you use this external canister filter with media, you will experience easy cleaning operation. This will indirectly present fresh living environment to the aquatic creatures inside. For hassle-free and safe closing after cleaning, the canister filter includes promo-elastic silicon sealing ring present on the pump head.

In this external canister filter, the filter sponges and loose filter media are included. It is possible to position the filter inside the cabinet beneath the tank. There are no hassles to drill holes; you just need to make several slots inside the tank cover.


  • In this classic external canister filter, the inlet and outlet tubes are available.
  • Important accessories included are inlet pipe, spray bar, hose, and installation accessories.
  • All the required filter media are present – EHEIM Mech & Substrat Pro.

2. Fluval External Filter:

2. Fluval External Filter

To employ a fresh environment to your aquarium, the Fluval external filter is a suitable choice. This innovative canister filter is equipped with an advanced motor to deliver flexible and efficient operation. In this filter system, every Fluval Multi-Stage 06 Series filter incorporates convenient features.

They guarantee hassle-free setup, easy customization, and reduced maintenance. What sets this filter system unique from the rest is its filter is capable to hold 35-50% more volume than circular canisters of identical size. This allows enhanced water flow via a complex purification path. This path is dedicated to enhancing contact with the preferred filtration media.


  • This external aquarium filter is suitable for aquariums up to 100 gallons.
  • It comes with the flow Rate of 1450 LPH.
  • In this canister filter unit, there is the presence of a clog-proof intake sieve and a dual layer foam screen. With a view to avoiding water leaking over the container, you just need to place a drip loop in the cord that attaches the aquarium to a container.
  • To present a noise-free operation, it comes with the sound dampening impeller design.
  • Inside the unit, you will find multiple filtration baskets, a patented Aquastop valve, and rim connector assemblies.
  • It comes with the media capacity of 8.5 liters.

1. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter:

1. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

The popular Cascade brand presents top-notch aquarium filters used extensively for marine and freshwater environments. Some of the noteworthy qualities of this aquarium filter are hassle-free setup, efficient 3 stage filtration and reliability. Facility of the large capacity stackable media trays employs multi-stage filtration which is found useful for cleanliness. With a view to clean canister, the included flow valves can be effortlessly discarded.


  • Its flow rate of 65 GPH is suitable for aquariums up to 100 gallons capacity.
  • There is the inclusion of easy push-button primer and two self-governing 360-degree swivel taps.
  • With the assistance of the flow rate shut-off valves, the canister filter adjusts water flow and offers hassle-free maintenance. These valves’ design resembles swimming pool style swivel valves.
  • To successfully meet the requirements of aquarists, there are 3 huge media baskets included.

Now the healthy and crystal-clear water can be effortlessly achieved with the choice of decent quality canister filters. They target to maintain fresh living environment inside the aquarium for aquatic creatures inside. These creatures would stay healthy and would enjoy their marine activities.

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