Aquarium thermometers are a small but essential piece of aquarium equipment. All living things have an ideal temperature range in which they can survive comfortably.
For fish, plants, and corals living in the wild, this temperature range can vary quite significantly. Temperature changes in freshwater rivers or even around corals in tropical areas can vary considerably depending upon the weather and the season. Yet any aquarist will tell you that it is vitally important to keep a close eye on the temperature of the water within your aquarium, as even a small change in temperature can spell disaster.
As with most aquarium equipment, there are many different aquarium thermometers available on the market. And as is often the case with such devices, it can be difficult to pick the best and most suitable thermometer for your needs.
So, to help you out, we’ve put together this list of reviews of the best aquarium thermometers available in 2020.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||HDE LCD Digital Aquarium Thermometer||
|Best Value||Marina Floating Thermometer||
|Premium Choice||JW Pet Company Aquarium Thermometer||
|Zacro LCD Digital Aquarium Thermometer||
|AQUANEAT Aquarium Digital Thermometer||
The 10 Best Aquarium Thermometers – Reviews 2023
1. HDE LCD Digital Aquarium Thermometer – Best Overall
This fantastic digital thermometer from HCE comes with a large, easy-to-read display. It is simple to install and we particularly like the small suction cup that is attached to the cord and probe to ensure it can be securely fastened to the inside wall of your tank.
The digital readout can show the tank temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius, has an exceptionally wide temperature range, and is accurate to within 0.1 of a degree.
The HDE LCD Digital Aquarium Thermometer is also reasonably priced and is easily our choice for best overall aquarium thermometer.
2. Marina Floating Thermometer – Best Value
This floating thermometer with suction cup from Marina is a tried and tested mercury-in-glass type thermometer that is positioned in the tank. It is 4.25 inches tall and has a clearly marked scale that includes a green safe zone for ease of use.
If you are looking for a basic aquarium thermometer that will get the job done, you really can’t beat this model. It inexpensive, yet has been well-built. For that reason, we believe it is the best aquarium thermometer for the money.
3. JW Pet Company Aquarium Thermometer – Premium Choice
If you are someone who simply must have the best when it comes to their aquarium, you should look at the JW Pet Company Aquarium Thermometer.
This large in-tank thermometer is securely fastened to the side of the tank via a strong magnet, meaning it won’t be accidentally knocked free by your fish or the movement of water. It is very well-built and has a clear, easy-to-read display that includes green safe zone markings for ease of use.
With its simple mercury-in-glass design, you don’t have to worry about calibrating your thermometer or changing batteries. This thermometer will always be on and consistently accurate.
4. Zacro LCD Digital Aquarium Thermometer
On first appearance, this digital aquarium thermometer from Zacro is a similar design to the Marina device that we have rated as our best overall thermometer.
It is true, the two thermometers do share many of the same features, including the suction cup mounter probe, large digital readout in either Fahrenheit and Celsius, and wide temperature range. There are, however, a couple of noticeable differences that have caused us to rate this device slightly lower on our list.
The first and most obvious of these differences is the price, as this model is more expensive. And secondly, it’s not as accurate as Marina’s device, having an accuracy to within one degree.
5. AQUANEAT Aquarium Digital Thermometer
The AQUANEAT Aquarium Digital Thermometer is essentially the same device as the Zacro device above, with just a slightly larger suction cup to hold the probe in place.
It has all the same features, including a large easy to read digital display, a choice of Fahrenheit and Celsius, and wide operating temperature range. It is slightly cheaper than the Zacro device, but there isn’t much in it.
6. LCR Hallcrest A-1005 Vertical Aquarium Thermometer
This Vertical Aquarium Thermometer from LCR Hallcrest is a popular stick-on LCD design that is mounted on the outside of the tank.
Despite not being submerged in the water, this type of thermometer is usually quite accurate unless you have a very thick glass-walled tank or the air temperature outside the tank is considerably cooler than the water temperature. In which case, it could be off by a couple of degrees.
The device is, however, extremely easy to install and use and is also reasonably inexpensive.
7. VIVOSUN LCD Digital Aquarium Thermometer
This is yet another digital thermometer that is quite similar in design to the Zacro model we have reviewed above. It works in the same manner, with a probe that is fastened in the tank and connected to the main unit via a cable.
The digital display is large, clear, and easy to read. It can be switched to display the tank temperature in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. It is easy to install and use and comes complete with the necessary battery.
8. Fluval Nano Thermometer
The Fluval Nano is an extremely simple mercury-in-glass thermometer that sticks to the inside wall of your tank.
While the thermometer itself will give accurate readings, it is not the best-designed device as the bare glass thermometer is not at all enclosed in a frame or protected in any way. While fastened to the inside of your tank, this should be fine. But if it falls or is bumped by a large fish, there is a risk that it may easily break and leak mercury into your tank.
9. General Tools AQ150 In and Out Aquarium Thermometer
If you are after a bells and whistles digital thermometer, this device from General Tools may be the right choice for you.
Once installed, the digital thermometer works in much the same way as other devices that we have reviewed, with a probe inserted into the tank which is connected to the main unit via a cable. The display on the General Tools device is large and easy to read and has a light button for use in dark environments.
Where this device differs from others that we have reviewed is that it also contains an audible alarm that will activate if the water temperature in your tank rises or falls outside a set range. This additional functionality does come at a price, though, as this digital thermometer is the most expensive of all the devices we’ve reviewed.
When it comes to choosing the right thermometer for your aquarium, there are a few important things that you should consider.
Ease of use
It sounds simple, but aquarium thermometers only have one job, and that is to tell you the temperature of the water in your tank.
To do that, they don’t need to be overly complicated to set up or difficult to use. Ease of use is often one of the main deciding factors in selecting one thermometer over another.
Of course, that’s not to say that the simplest thermometer is the best, but rather, a suggestion that you consider how easy the device is to use as part of your overall consideration of a product.
The accuracy of an aquarium thermometer is one of the most important factors that you need to consider. After all, there isn’t much point in monitoring the temperature of the water in your tank if you can’t be sure that you’re getting an accurate reading.
As a rule, digital thermometers with an LCD readout tend to be the most accurate. They also effectively eliminate the biggest variable in thermometer accuracy, the human reading the result. With a traditional, mercury-in-glass thermometer, it is quite easy to read the temperature incorrectly, but with a digital device and LCD readout, this is not an issue.
It should go without saying, but you need to ensure you buy a thermometer that is suitable for the range of temperatures you anticipate monitoring.
For the vast majority of aquariums, a range of between 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) and 104 degrees F (40 degrees C) will be sufficient.
They may not be overly expensive devices, but you still want to ensure that you get a thermometer that is well built and is going to last.
The last thing you want is for a cheaply made mercury-in-glass thermometer to slip from the side of your tank, break, and leak mercury into your aquarium. Likewise, having a cheap digital thermometer with an LCD screen that doesn’t work properly or fails quickly is no use to you either.
So, the key takeaway here is to make sure that you get the best quality and the right type of thermometer for your aquarium setup.
Type of thermometer
There are three basic types of aquarium thermometers. Each is mounted and used differently and depending on your aquarium’s setup, any of them could be the best option for you.
As the name suggests, this type of thermometer is designed to be stuck to the outside of the tank. The temperature range is shown down the length of the thermometer, with the current temperature of the water highlighted.
This type of thermometer is typically inexpensive and easy to use. There are some questions about the accuracy and how things like air-conditioning in the room outside the tank and the thickness of the tanks impacts in this. However, in practicality, this won’t be a big issue unless the ambient temperature of the room is considerably cooler than the water temperature, in which case the thermometer may be out by a few degrees.
Floating or Standing Thermometers
Floating or standing thermometers are typically mercury-in-glass type thermometers that are placed inside the tank. They give a more direct measurement of the water temperature than stick-on thermometers. They are usually hung over the lip of the tank or stuck to the inside of the glass with a suction-cup.
The biggest downside to this type of thermometer is that they usually made of glass and can be bumped by large fish or blown from fixtures by the current from a wavemaker or a circulation pump. Another negative is that they often have small scales that can be difficult to read accurately from outside the tank.
Digital Thermometers have a probe that you placed in the aquarium water. The probe can either be placed temporarily when the thermometer is in use or permanently positioned in the tank. The probe is then connected via a cable to the digital readout display.
Most of these products require batteries to run; however, some models can be plugged directly into a wall socket.
Aside from their accuracy and ease of use, the main advantage to this type of thermometer is that models are designed to be left on and in use at all times. They are often fitted with an audible alert that can be programmed to sound if the water temperature in the tank falls or rises outside the desired optimal range.
Maintaining stable water temperature, at least within a few degrees, is vitally important for the health of your aquarium—an almost impossible task without having an accurate thermometer on hand.
Hopefully, now that you have read our list of reviews, had a chance to considered the pros and cons of each device, and taken into account the information in our buyer’s guide you’re now in the position to buy the right thermometer for your aquarium.
Any of the thermometers we have reviewed will work effectively. However, some are better than others. To recap, our top choices are:
- Best Overall: HDE LCD Digital Aquarium Thermometer
- Best Value: Marina Floating Thermometer
- Premium Choice: JW Pet Company Aquarium Thermometer
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Featured Image: HDE LCD Digital Aquarium Thermometer, Chewy