Best Hydroponic Water Chillers Reviewed + Buyers’ Guide

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Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a water solvent with the required nutrients dissolved in it. It is also called soilless gardening.

This type of gardening is gaining popularity due to its myriad of benefits. It allows the plants to grow faster, and it requires less space. Nonetheless, it is a complicated process, and hydroponic gardeners face many problems. The most common problem is the overheating of the hydroponic reservoir.

Best Hydroponic Water Chillers Reviewed - Gardeners Yards

The rising temperature increases the chance for pathogens to survive in the solvent. These pathogens can cause immense damage to the hydroponic environment. Therefore, it is quintessential to keep the solvent cool.

In this article, we will look at a device called a water chiller, which is used to remove heat from the hydroponic system. We will try to explain how it works. We will then review some of the best Water Chillers available on the market and look at their features.

Why Use A Water Chiller?

Hydroponic gardeners can increase their yield by controlling the temperature of their environment. This can be done by placing iced bottles, ice packs, or any other container filled with ice in your reservoir. You need to continuously replace them to keep your reservoir cool.

There are many methods to cool down the hydroponic system. However, the best among them is to use a water chiller. Although this method is a bit expensive, it is the most effective and reliable one.

It makes the cooling of your hydroponic system very easy and efficient. Also, a water chiller can be used for aquariums and hydroponics of any size.

Moreover, using a water chiller, you can set the optimal temperature required to grow different plants. No fixed temperature can be considered best for hydroponic or indoor gardening. You have to alter the temperature with the kind of plant you are growing.

Normally, the temperature between 16-30 °C (60 – 85 °F) is considered best for hydroponic. A hydroponic water cooler gives you the functionality to set different temperatures as required.

How Does it Work?

There are commonly two types of water chillers. One is a refrigerating unit that has a pump located inside the reservoir. The hydroponic solution is pumped into the unit where it is cooled by the cooling coils. Then, it is pumped back to the reservoir. This type of chiller is mostly used in hydroponic systems.

The other type of chiller is a solid-state thermoelectric cooling system. This chiller removes heat from the reservoir with the help of a probe inserted into the reservoir. Then, a fan in the chiller radiates that heat away.

Best Water Chillers for Hydroponics

ProductsPrices
Hydrofarm Active AQUA ChillerCheck Price
Coralife Energy Saver Aquarium ChillerCheck Price
JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium ChillerCheck Price
Petzilla Aquarium Chiller Fish Tank Cooling Fan SystemCheck Price
S&A 7L Industrial Water Chiller CW-5200DHCheck Price
VEVOR Aquarium Chiller, 92 Gal 348 LCheck Price

We will now look at some of the best water chillers available on the market and discuss their details.

1. Hydrofarm Active AQUA Chiller

Hydrofarm Active Aqua Chiller Hydroponics Water Chiller

What We Liked Most About This Product

This product is from one of the most reliable manufacturers. It comes with all the necessary equipment required for its use.

You don’t need to buy them separately. Also, it has a great cooling capacity, and the price is reasonable too.

Product Overview

Active Aqua is one of the most popular chiller companies. It manufactures a variety of chillers varying in their capacities. But all these chillers come with more or less the same features.

Hydrofarm Active Aqua is an excellent refrigerating chiller manufactured by Active Aqua. It comes in 4 sizes.

  • 1/10 HP – recommended for 13-60 gallons
  • 1/4 HP – recommended for 26-80 gallons
  • 1/2 HP – recommended for 52-132 gallons
  • 1 HP – recommended for 80-250 gallons

Further specifications about the chiller of each size are given in the below table.

HP PowerDimensions(inch)Weight(lbs.)BTU/hr.Current(A)
1/1015 x 21 x 2133.59602.2
1/420.7 x 20.3 x 19.938.423004.7
1/222 x 23.3 x 21.249.440205.4
120.5 x 18.9 x 15.879.210,50010.2

It is a powerful chiller with great chilling capability. The device runs quietly and is energy efficient. It is user-friendly as well. The chiller has an LCD and microprocessor control system, making it very easy to set up and use. You can check the progress through the display and can easily operate it through digital control.

It is safe to use. The device has a temperature control system that turns the machine off when the system reaches the desired temperature and prevents overheating. The device also turns off automatically in case of a power surge.

This chiller comes with the necessary equipment, i.e., a pump and tubing. Pump and tubing are available as per the flow rate (Gallons per hour) and the chiller’s size.

The Product is also environment-friendly. It uses ozone-friendly and Freon-free refrigerant R410a. Moreover, it has an anti-corrosive titanium evaporator, which does not contaminate the hydroponic solution.

This is an excellent chiller; however, there have been complaints about its built quality. Some people have a complaint that it starts to leak after a few months. Some have complained that it has sensor problems.

Pros:

  • Easy and Safe to use
  • Environment-Friendly
  • Temperature Control System
  • Comes with Pump and Tubing
  • Effective cooling capabilities

Cons:

  • Inconsistent build quality
  • Slight cooling inaccuracies on the temperature sensor

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2. Coralife Energy Saver Aquarium Chiller

Coralife Energy Savers ACL36061 Hydroponics Water Chiller

What We Liked Most About This Product

The chiller has great customer ratings. It has a great build quality and is energy-efficient. It has an air filter that keeps contaminants away from the motor of the chillers and gives it a long life.

Product Overview

It is one of the famous refrigerating water chillers that is used to cool the hydroponic systems. It is one of the better-reviewed products online, and its online customer rating is better than Active Aqua.

It comes in 5 different sizes, and the specifications of each size are given in the below table.

HPDimension(inch.)Weight(lbs.)Capacity(Gallons)Current(A)
1/1014.5 x 13 x 1618552.0-2.4
1/619 x 12.5 x 1835902.0-2.4
1/422 x 15 x 18.5401254.2-4.6
1/224.5 x 18 x 19602505.6-6.0
124.5 x 18 x 19674008.0-8.3

The product is potent and has a great design. The heat exchanger of this device is made up of titanium, which gives corrosion resistance. Thus, the product is also durable. Along with quality construction and durability, these chillers have accuracy in temperature control.

These filters have an air filter that keeps dust and other contaminants away from the cooling unit to ensure the motor’s longevity and efficiency. This air filter is easily accessible and can be removed for cleaning.

It has a digital LCD, which allows you to adjust the temperature as per requirement. Moreover, the chiller is also energy efficient. It doesn’t consume a large amount of energy.

The product is easy and safe to use. It is environment-friendly.

Though this is a reliable product, it has a few loopholes. It is a bit expensive and noisy. Also, it does not come with a water pump and hose. You need to purchase them separately. However, it has adjustable connectors that allow for hose attachment from any angle.

Pros:

  • Great customer reviews
  • Easy to use
  • Good build quality
  • Energy-efficient
  • Air filter to keep contaminants away from the motor

Cons:

  • A bit expensive
  • Need to buy a water pump and tubing separately

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3. JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Chiller

JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Hydroponic Water Chiller

What We Liked Most About This Product

JBJ is a reputable supplier of Water Chillers. The best thing about this product is that it has many features. It is powerful and has a great design. It is also easy to use because of its digital control system. Moreover, JBJ shows great value for its customers and offers a warranty of 2 years for its chillers.

Product Overview

JBJ is a renowned brand for manufacturing Water Chillers. JBJ Arctica Titanium Chiller consists of a family of 4 chillers. The maximum capacity of each model is given below:

  • 1/10 HP – 130 gallons
  • 1/5 HP – 180 gallons
  • 1/4 HP – 260 gallons
  • 1/3 HP – 340 gallons

Each of these models has a warranty for 2 years while other products on the market have only one year. Further specifications of each of these models are given in the below figure.

Source Website: http://www.jbjchillers.com/contents/en-us/d81.html

Each of these is a refrigerating unit in which the hydroponic solution is pumped into the chiller and then cooled by the special titanium coils. When the solution is cooled to a specific temperature, it is pumped back into the reservoir.

JBJ Chiller has a powerful chilling machine that generates minimal sound while running. It cools the solution in very little time. It also has an outstanding design.

The coil of these chillers is designed to offer a greater area to contact with the solution. In this way, it cools the solutions quickly without consuming much energy. Moreover, these titanium coils are corrosion-resistant and do not contaminate the solution.

Thus, it is suitable to cool fresh water because of its titanium build.

It has an LED display and digital control. The LED display allows you to see the temperature of the system at night. Digital control allows you to operate it efficiently. The device is also free from any temperature fluctuations, and the water is kept at a consistent temperature.

It is also equipped with the latest technology. It has a built-in thermostat, which turns off the cooling when the system reaches the set temperature. It also has a temperature memory. It reminds the set temperature in case of a power loss.

The Chiller is also environment-friendly as well. It uses an ozone-friendly refrigerant R-134A.

Although this chiller is expensive it is recommended to buy because of its many features. Now, we will look at the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Quiet and Energy Efficient
  • Environment-Friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Comes in 4 different sizes
  • Long warranty period
  • Its website allows customers to calculate the capacity of the required chiller

Cons:

  • Expensive than other products
  • Need to buy pumps and hose separately
  • Some non-reputable suppliers are selling this product. So, complaints about the quality of the product.

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4. Petzilla Aquarium Chiller Fish Tank Cooling Fan System

BAOSHISHAN Aquarium Chiller - Gardeners Yards

What We Liked Most About This Product

The BAOSHISHAN Aquarium Chiller is a game-changer for larger fish tanks and hydroponic systems. Its ability to cool water in tanks up to 42 gallons efficiently, dropping temperatures by 8-10°F, is impressive. This chiller is powerful and environmentally friendly, using R134a refrigerant for pollution-free, circulating cooling.

Product Overview

This chiller stands out with its high-efficiency, freon-free compressor, providing more rapid and stable cooling than smaller fans. Its pure titanium evaporator offers excellent corrosion resistance, making it suitable for fresh and saltwater setups. The design includes two built-in fans and ample heat dissipation holes, ensuring the compressor works efficiently all day. It’s relatively quiet (30-40 dB noise level), easy to move with its convenient handles, and simple to connect with the included 3m water pipe.

Pros:

  • Effective for large fish tanks (up to 42gal)
  • Rapid and stable cooling with high-efficiency compressor
  • Suitable for both hydroponics and aquariums
  • Quiet operation with built-in silent fans
  • Easy to move and install
  • One-year warranty for peace of mind

Cons:

  • It may require significant space for proper air circulation and cooling
  • It could be overkill for smaller tanks or setups

This BAOSHISHAN chiller is ideal for those who require reliable and effective cooling for larger aquariums or hydroponic systems. Its efficiency, ease of use, and quiet operation make it a valuable addition to maintaining optimal conditions for aquatic life and plants.

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5. S&A 7L Industrial Water Chiller CW-5200DH

S&A 7L Industrial Water Chiller - Gardeners Yards

What We Liked Most About This Product

The S&A 7L Industrial Water Chiller CW-5200DH impresses with its powerful cooling capabilities. It effectively cools laser cutting and engraving machines up to 180W, thanks to a robust 0.9hp compressor and a 3.4 gpm flow rate. This machine offers a significant cooling capacity of 5699 Btu per hour, making it ideal for demanding industrial applications.

Product Overview

This chiller stands out with its 1.85-gallon water tank designed to minimize evaporation and extend service time. Made with high-quality materials, including corrosion-resistant brass ports and dual cooling fans, it ensures durability and high heat dissipation. The chiller features precise temperature control, maintains consistency within 0.3°C, and offers automatic and intelligent temperature modes. Its compact size and safety features, including multiple protection and alarm functions, make it a reliable choice for industrial settings.

Pros:

  • Powerful cooling capacity, suitable for up to 180W machines.
  • Large water tank with easy monitoring.
  • Precise and dual-mode temperature control.
  • High-quality construction with corrosion-resistant materials.
  • Compact design with operational safety features.
  • 2-year maintenance period and reliable after-sales service.

Cons:

  • The complexity of the operation may require a learning curve.
  • Possibly oversized for smaller or less demanding applications.

The S&A 7L Industrial Water Chiller CW-5200DH is an excellent choice for those who need a reliable and efficient cooling solution for industrial laser machines, offering powerful performance and safety features in a compact package.

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6. VEVOR Aquarium Chiller, 92 Gal 348 L

VEVOR Aquarium Chiller - Gardeners Yards

What We Liked Most About This Product

The VEVOR Aquarium Chiller is a game-changer in maintaining stable water temperatures for up to 92 gallons of aquariums. Its ability to regulate temperatures between 65℉-80℉ is crucial for creating a healthy aquatic environment, especially in the summer.

Product Overview

This chiller boasts an energy-efficient 0.25 HP compressor that uses eco-friendly R134a refrigerant. The provided water pump ensures adequate water circulation. It’s designed with a rapid heat dissipation system, featuring a built-in fan and cooling holes for optimal performance. The titanium evaporator is corrosion-resistant, making it suitable for both freshwater and seawater environments, supporting a variety of aquatic life. Its quiet operation makes it ideal for various settings, including homes and aquariums.

Pros:

  • Efficient temperature control for large aquariums.
  • Energy-saving and eco-friendly compressor.
  • Effective heat dissipation for continuous operation.
  • Suitable for diverse aquatic environments.
  • Quiet operation suitable for multiple settings.

Cons:

  • Requires adequate space for installation due to its size.
  • Might be overpowered for smaller aquarium setups.

In summary, the VEVOR Aquarium Chiller is an excellent choice for serious aquarium enthusiasts and professionals, offering robust temperature control, eco-friendly operation, and quiet performance, all contributing to a thriving aquatic environment.

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Buying a Hydroponic Water Chiller?

You must buy a water chiller considering the size of the reservoir of your hydroponic system. A more extensive system would require a larger water chiller to cool it.

Estimating the Size of the Required Water Chiller

You need to carefully choose the size of water chillers for your hydroponic system because an oversized one will consume more electricity. In contrast, an undersized one will never be able to cool your system properly.

The water chillers come in standard sizes. The size is proportional to the capacity/ cooling ability. Capacity is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) or Tons (BTU per hour/12000).

One BTU increases the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 Fahrenheit. A unit with higher BTUs quickly removes the heat than the one with lower BTUs.

Following are the sizes with their respective capacities:

1/10 ton = 1,200 BTU’s

1/4 ton = 3,000 BTU’s

1/2 ton = 6,000 BTU’s

1 ton = 12,000 BTU’s

It’s good to know the number of BTUs required to cool your hydroponic system to the desired temperature. And, you must buy a water chiller of the associated size accordingly. However, the rated BTU is not actual. Thus, you must buy a slightly larger chiller. For instance, if you need 3,200 BTUs, you must busy ½ ton water chiller.

To calculate the water chiller’s capacity required for a particular hydroponic reservoir, we have to follow the following steps.

Calculate the amount of water in the hydroponic system.

Turn on everything that produces heat on the hottest day in your garden. In this way, the hydroponic solvent will get to its maximum temperature.

Then, cool the system to the desired temperature. This must be done by any method so that you won’t be adding extra water to the system.

Once you reach the desired temperature, remove the cooling source.

Note the temperature. Let’s say it is ‘T1’.

After an hour, again note the temperature. Let’s say it is ‘T2’.

Temperature differential = T2 – T1

The following formula can calculate the required BTUs.

Required BTUs = Gallons of Water x 8.34(weight of a gallon of water) x Temperature differential

Alternatively, you can convert BTUs to horsepower(HP) by dividing it by 2,545.

However, the manufacturers do not rate the water chiller according to BTUs anymore. Now, water chillers’ capacity is given in horsepower (HP) corresponding to the size (No. of gallons of water) of the reservoir it can be used for.

Things to Look for in a Hydroponic Water Chiller

A good chiller must have the following features:

  • Competitively Priced
  • Fast cooling
  • Small in size, albeit has the power to cool your system
  • Ability to keep the hydroponic solution at a constant temperature without any fluctuations
  • Noiseless
  • Easy to Use
  • Durable and Reliable
  • Energy Efficient
  • Safe to use with Hydroponic Solution
  • Must have an Anti-corrosive Heat Exchanger so that the hydroponic solution must not be contaminated with leached metal
  • Digital Control System and LCD Display
  • Temperature Memory
  • Safety Features, i.e., overheating, surge, etc.
  • The package must contain all the necessary equipment, i.e., pump, hose, and tubing.
  • Environment-Friendly

Note: Make sure to purchase the Water Chiller from a reputable supplier.

Conclusion

It can be inferred from the above discussion that the size and capacity of a water chiller should be looked at before buying it. It is quintessential to do your homework on the size of the required chiller. Each hydroponic system is different and needs a different type of chiller to cool it.

The water chillers discussed in this article are all good. It is usually up to the customer which one they want to buy.

If you are looking for an energy-efficient water chiller with good customer ratings, then you should look to buy a Carolife chiller. It is more energy-efficient than all the chillers discussed in this article.

If a gardener is looking to find a water chiller for his small reservoir, they must try the IceProbe Thermoelectric Aquarium Chiller. It is small in size, energy-efficient, and costs way less than the other water chillers available in the market.

If the price is not an issue, you must look to buy a chiller manufactured by JBJ. It has almost all the necessary features which are present in other chillers. It is powerful and has a two-year warranty. Like other chillers, it is also environment-friendly and safe to use.

A refrigerating water chiller needs to have a pump and tubing, which fits it. Otherwise, the water chiller would not be able to run effectively. Among the products discussed herein, only one chiller – Active Aqua – comes with a pump and tubing along with the package.

Moreover, it is powerful. It comes in different sizes, and you can use it to cool different hydroponic reservoirs. It is energy-efficient and environment-friendly as well. Therefore, it is the best water chiller for the hydroponic system. Every lover of indoor gardening must try it at least once.

All in all, it is necessary to check the specifications of a water chiller before buying it. You must validate whether the chiller that you are buying possesses the capability to cool your hydroponic system’s reservoir. Also, you must buy water chillers from reputable suppliers or manufacturers only.

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