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7 Best Electric Aquarium Vacuum Gravel Cleaners in 2021 – Top Picks & Reviews

Brooke Billingsley

Electric Aquarium Vacuum Gravel Cleaners

Cleaning your aquarium can be a big task because it can be time consuming and difficult. Sometimes, you don’t even feel like your tank is very clean by the time you finish. Electric gravel vacuums may be the answer to your problems! These products can give a thorough clean and many of them are multipurpose products that allow you to perform different types of cleaning and maintenance in your tank. These reviews cover the 7 best electric aquarium gravel vacs to make it easier for you to find the perfect product for your tank.

divider-fishA Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Eheim Quick Vac Automatic Gravel Cleaner Eheim Quick Vac Automatic Gravel Cleaner
  • Includes batteries
  • Submersible up to 3 feet
  • Removes solid waste
  • Best Value
    Second place
    NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner
  • Best value
  • No batteries required
  • Can be used to remove water
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Fluval Aqua Pro Vac Gravel Cleaner Fluval Aqua Pro Vac Gravel Cleaner
  • Fully submersible
  • Replaceable filter inside
  • Built-in LED light
  • Upettools Aquarium Gravel Cleaner Upettools Aquarium Gravel Cleaner
  • 6 in 1 feature
  • Reduces tank cleaning time
  • Includes five different heads
  • hygger 360GPH Electric Aquarium Gravel Cleaner hygger 360GPH Electric Aquarium Gravel Cleaner
  • 5 in 1 feature
  • Replaceable filter foam
  • Reduces tank cleaning time
  • The 7 Best Electric Aquarium Vacuum Gravel Cleaners – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Eheim Quick Vac Automatic Gravel Cleaner – Best Overall

    Eheim Quick Vac Automatic Gravel Cleaner

    Power Source: Batteries
    Tubing Included: No
    Multipurpose Heads: No
    Removes Water: No

    The best overall electric aquarium vacuum cleaner is the Eheim Quick Vac Automatic Gravel Cleaner. This handy device is intended to be used in between water changes. It is battery operated and includes batteries to get you started. This gravel vac pulls water through the vac, pushes it through a filter, and then returns the filtered water to the tank. This allows you to remove solid waste, plant matter, and leftover food from the water. It’s fully submersible up to 3 feet, which includes the battery compartment. The mesh filter can be removed and is washable, ensuring you get a great clean every time you use it.

    It’s not recommended to use this gravel vacuum with sand or small gravel. It typically is not able to suck up gravel larger than a dime.

    Pros
    • Great for quick cleans between water changes
    • Includes batteries
    • Removes solid waste from the tank and returns clean water
    • Submersible up to 3 feet
    • Mesh filter can be removed and cleaned
    • Won’t suck up gravel larger than a dime
    Cons
    • Not recommended for sand or fine gravel

    2. NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner 2 in 1 Sludge Extractor – Best Value

    NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner 2 in 1 Sludge Extractor

    Power Source: Outlet
    Tubing Included: No
    Multipurpose Heads: No
    Removes Water: Yes

    The best electric aquarium vacuum gravel cleaner for the money is the NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner 2 in 1 Sludge Extractor. This product can be used between water changes to filter out solid waste, but you can also connect tubing to it and use it for water changes. It includes a washable mesh filter that helps remove waste before returning the water to the tank. It pulls water up and pushes it back into the tank through a mesh filter.

    It has an electrical cord, so an outlet is required to use this vac. The operation level of this gravel vacuum requires it to be at least 8.5 inches underwater.

    Pros
    • Best value
    • No batteries required
    • Great for quick cleaning between water changes
    • Can be used to remove water
    • Removes solid waste from the tank and returns clean water
    • Mesh filter can be removed and cleaned
    Cons
    • Outlet required
    • Hose not included
    • Minimum of 8.5 inches of depth

    3. Fluval Aqua Pro Vac Gravel Cleaner – Premium Choice

    Fluval Aqua Pro Vac Gravel Cleaner

    Power Source: Battery
    Tubing Included: No
    Multipurpose Heads: No
    Removes Water: Yes

    The premium choice for an aquarium vacuum gravel cleaner is the Fluval Aqua Pro Vac Gravel Cleaner. This fully submersible vac can be used to filter water and return it to the tank or to perform water changes. The mesh filter can be removed and cleaned, and it includes a replaceable filter that provides a separate density to ensure you catch as much waste as possible. It includes an optional long reach nozzle to help you reach the bottom of deep tanks. This gravel vac also includes a built-in LED light to make spotting waste in dark areas easy.

    This gravel vacuum can be used to remove water, but you will need to provide the hose. It is battery powered and batteries are usually not included, so you will need to purchase these separately. It requires a depth of 8 inches to function.

    Pros
    • Fully submersible
    • Mesh filter can be removed and cleaned
    • Replaceable filter inside
    • Can be used to remove water
    • Great for quick cleaning between water changes
    • Removes solid waste from the tank and returns clean water
    • Includes long reach nozzle
    • Built-in LED light
    Cons
    • Doesn’t include batteries
    • Minimum of 8 inches of depth
    • Hose not included

    4. Upettools Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

    Upettools Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

    Power Source: Outlet
    Tubing Included: Yes
    Multipurpose Heads: Yes
    Removes Water: Yes

    The Upettools Aquarium Gravel Cleaner is a 6 in 1 gravel cleaner that can also be used to perform water changes, wash sand, filter water, improve water flow, and serve as a shower over your tank. It includes five head attachments and a mesh filter bag that can be detached for cleaning. This gravel cleaner can remove up to 360 gallons of water per hour, so it can greatly reduce the time it takes you to clean the tank. It comes with four extension tubes measuring 8 inches each.

    This gravel vacuum requires an outlet for use but has an easy-access on/off switch on the cord. If turned on before being put in the water, it will fill with air and may take a few minutes to create suction underwater.

    Pros
    • 6 in 1 feature
    • Includes five different heads
    • Mesh bag is removable and washable
    • Reduces tank cleaning time
    • Includes four 8-inch extension tubes
    Cons
    • Outlet required
    • Will fill with air and take time to regain suction if started out of water

    5. hygger 360GPH Electric Aquarium Gravel Cleaner 5 in 1

    hygger 360GPH Electric Aquarium Gravel Cleaner 5 in 1

    Power Source: Outlet
    Tubing Included: Yes
    Multipurpose Heads: Yes
    Removes Water: Yes

    The hygger 360GPH Electric Aquarium Gravel Cleaner 5 in 1 comes with five different heads and four extension tubes that measure 7 inches each. It can be used to clean gravel or remove water in water as shallow as 2 inches. This gravel cleaner can also be used to filter water, wash sand, and clean in the corners of the tank. The filtration function contains replaceable filter foam. It’s powered by an electrical outlet and includes an on/off switch. It can remove water at 360 gph, reducing tank cleaning time.

    Does require an outlet within 9 feet for use. It may drain water too quickly and too powerfully for small tanks, making this a better option for large tanks.

    Pros
    • 5 in 1 feature
    • Includes five different heads
    • Replaceable filter foam
    • Includes four 7-inch extension tubes
    • Reduces tank cleaning time
    Cons
    • Outlet required
    • Drains too quickly for small tanks
    • May be too powerful for small tanks and delicate plants and animals

    6. Boxtech Upgraded Electric Aquarium Cleaner 6 in 1

    Boxtech Upgraded Electric Aquarium Cleaner 6 in 1

    Power Source: Outlet
    Tubing Included: Yes
    Multipurpose Heads: Yes
    Removes Water: Yes

    The Boxtech Upgraded Electric Aquarium Cleaner 6 in 1 is made to be used with tanks from 10-200 gallons. This product’s features include water changing, gravel cleaning, sand washing, filtration, showering, and increasing water flow. It comes with five heads, a removable mesh filter bag, and tubing for water changes. The filtration and water flow features include an adjustable water flow.

    It is not recommended to use this pump for vacuuming or water removal in tanks with substrate that is smaller than 3mm. If started outside the water, it will take time for it to begin working correctly when placed in the water. It does require a nearby electrical outlet for use.

    Pros
    • 6 in 1 feature
    • Can be used for tanks from 10-200 gallons
    • Includes five heads and removable mesh bag
    • Adjustable water flow
    Cons
    • Not recommended for substrates smaller than 3mm
    • Will fill with air and take time to regain suction if started out of water
    • Outlet required

    7. HiTauing Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

    HiTauing Aquarium Gravel Cleaner

    Power Source: Outlet
    Tubing Included: Yes
    Multipurpose Heads: Yes
    Removes Water: Yes

    The HiTauing Aquarium Gravel Cleaner is a good pick for tanks with sand substrates. It includes three heads, filter sponges, two extension tubes, and a water change hose. It can be used to perform water changes, wash sand, vacuum fine substrate, and vacuum coarse substrate.

    This electric vacuum gravel cleaner is prone to leakage with water changes and works best with tanks that are 20 gallons or smaller. You will need to be close to an outlet to use this product. The filter canister on this vac is small and becomes clogged easily, which may make this difficult to use for heavy bioload tanks.

    Pros
    • Includes three heads, filter sponges, and water change hose
    • Includes two extension tubes
    • Can be used to vacuum fine and coarse sand
    Cons
    • Prone to leakage
    • Works best for small tanks
    • Outlet required
    • Filter clogs easily

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    Buyer’s Guide

    Choosing the Right Electric Aquarium Vacuum Gravel Cleaner for Your Tank

    • Tank Size: Choose an electric gravel vac that suits the size of your tank. Some vacs are intended for large tanks, making them a poor pick for a 5-gallon or 10-gallon tank. Ensure you are choosing a size appropriate product to keep your plants and animals safe.
    • Substrate: Many electric gravel vacuums are not compatible with sand and other fine substrates. If you attempt to use a non-compatible gravel vacuum with your fine substrate, you may end up ruining the vacuum. Small substrate can lead to burning the motor out or clogging the vacuum, so ensure you choose an electric vacuum gravel cleaner that is compatible with your substrate type and size.
    • Plants and Animals: Consider what is living in your tank before you purchase an electric gravel cleaner. Many electric vacs won’t be a great pick for tanks with small fry or invertebrates, like dwarf shrimp. If you choose a vac that produces too much suction for the plants or animals in your tank, you may end up with injured, or even dead, plants or animals.

    What Kind of Options are There?

    • Battery vs Outlet: Battery powered electric vacuum gravel cleaners are much more convenient since they don’t require you to be near an outlet to use them, and you don’t have to worry about water dripping down the electrical cord to the outlet. However, batteries may run out quickly in some vacs, leading to frequent battery changes. Outlet powered electric gravel vacs can be more difficult to manage since you are connected to the wall, but they do not require updates to the power source over time.
    • Attachment Heads: There are multiple types of attachments that come with electric aquarium vacuum gravel cleaners. You can find some vacs that only provide the ability to vacuum or vacuum and perform water changes, but others will come with multiple attachments that allow you to do things like wash sand, create a shower over your tank, and even increase the water flow within your tank.
    • Filtration: Most electric gravel vacuums provide some type of water filtration within your tank. If you are just looking for a quick clean up of solid waste, then a basic vac with mesh filter is a great option. If you are hoping to use your vac as a filter for your tank, then choosing a vac that allows for filter media to be used in the filtration setting is the better option.
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    Conclusion

    The best overall electric aquarium vacuum gravel cleaner is the Eheim Quick Vac Automatic Gravel Cleaner, which is highly functional and affordable. The best value is the NICREW Automatic Gravel Cleaner 2 in 1 Sludge Extractor, which suits any budget and provides great substrate cleaning. The premium choice is the Fluval Aqua Pro Gravel Vac Cleaner, which lives up to the Fluval product name, but for a premium price.

    All of these reviews cover some of the best electric gravel vacuum products on the market. This allows you to find a starting point to identifying what your tank needs and then choosing a product. This type of convenient product can make caring for your tank incredibly easy.

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    Featured Image Credit: M-Production, Shutterstock

    Brooke Billingsley

    Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping has become a hobby of Brooke’s and she is continually learning how to give her aquarium pets the best life possible. Brooke enjoys plants and gardening and keeps a vegetable garden during the summer months. She stays active with yoga and obtained her 200-hour yoga teacher certification in 2020. She hosts a podcast focusing on folklore and myth and loves spending her free time researching and writing. Brooke believes that every day is an opportunity for learning and growth and she spends time daily working toward new skills and knowledge.