Hydroponic farming is all about providing quality water. The temperature of the water is one of them. A water chiller is the best way to maintain the temperature of the water. So here I have compiled the list of best water chillers for hydroponics. And if you want straight forward answer which is the best, Hydrofarm Active Aqua chiller is my answer.
Best Water Chiller For Hydroponics
1. Hydrofarm Active Aqua , 1/10 HP – For Home
Hydrofarm Aqua Chiller for hydroponics system has one of the highest capacity chillers. It has a refrigeration capacity of 13-105 gal. It has an LCD and microcomputer control system to manage the temperature of the reservoir. Some of the numbers the manufacture shares about its ability is something like this-
It chills 13 gallons by 30 degrees F and 40 gallons by 15 degrees F in 20 hours. These are numbers that are suitable for any hydroponic system.
As far as the connection is concerned, it supports two types of tubes of size ½” HGTB50 and ¾” HGTB75. And the rate of flow that you can maintain using this unit is between 66-317 GPH. This flow rate is thought to be ideal for maintaining the temperature as well as circulating nutrients.
I owned it in the past, and I had used it with a 125-gallon tank. Mostly I was using it with Homasy 400GPH Submersible Pump 25W, which has a nozzle size of 0.51″ and 0.62″. I have also used it with a few other pumps. It works with most of the popular water pumps that use a nozzle size of 0.51″.
Before purchasing, you need to keep in mind its capacity because the kind of plants you plan to grow may require different water temperatures.
Also, I went through several reviews, and many complained about being noisy after a few months of use. It may be true or not, but I think it depends on the application. The unit I used was not noisy at all.
One thing that I observed with this chiller is that after turning off the circulation pump, the chiller still works for a few more minutes. May because of the suction it creates.
As far as the power is concerned, the unit draws 2.2 Amps. And the unit is surge protected and will automatically shut off in case of power surges. Such small features are necessary to make sure of the durability of the product.
- LCD to set temperature limits.
- Surge protection.
- Chills correctly to set temperature.
- Not properly insulated.
- Loud if not maintained.
If you are new to hydroponic systems, it is the best water chiller for hydroponics for beginners. It hardly takes any maintenance, and it is highly durable.
2. Active Aqua AACH10HP – For Medium Setup
Active Aqua presents a 1/10 HP water chiller that has a rating of 1,020 BTU per hour. Its refrigeration capacity is 100-300 L or 10-50 gal, which is enough for large reservoirs.
There is also an anti-corrosive titanium evaporator for both salt and freshwater. Its rate of flow is 400-1060 GPH or 1500-4000 L/hour. There is an LCD from which you can efficiently operate temperature limits. It uses the power of 4.7 A and comes with two tube fittings over it.
To operate it for your hydroponics system, use some pumping set as usual to pump water. It works with most of the big brands of pumps. You also need to buy separate tubing for setup.
One user used it for 45 gallons tank, and it still managed to take the temperature down from 74 to 63 in the bucket within an hour.
But you have to set the temperature according to different factors because chilling depends upon heating source, climate, lighting, connecting parts, and pump size. After following these instructions, you can achieve desired results.
Volume is a huge factor when it comes to chillers. According to Active Aqua, if the water temperature before refrigeration at 100°F, it can be brought down to as low as 39°F. The chiller works for the volume of 13 gal, 26 gal, and 40 gal.
The display uses a green light display which is bright. Hence, you can easily use it at night. One thing that many present users are have mentioned on several review sites is that it is a little loud. The manufacturer knows it, and they have promised to fix it.
- Titanium evaporator for both salt and freshwater.
- The bright light LCD.
- Well performed chilling after adjustment of parts.
- Panel dislodged.
Though I have not used it, it has some great reviews on Amazon. If the numbers put by the manufacturer are true, the chiller is one of the best water chillers for hydroponics for commercial operation.
3. Hamilton Technology Aqua Euro Max – With Anti-Freeze
The water chiller with a LED display is manufactured under the brand Hamilton Technology. The manufacturer is well known for its aquarium products. And The Aqua Euro Max is almost a crown jewel for them.
When you look at the specifications of the chiller, one major feature stands out. It has an anti-freezing system that doesn’t allow the heat exchanger to freeze. For hydroponic systems where the water temperature is a crucial factor, this is a must-have feature for chiller.
This unit operates on 25% BTU per watt and consists of a corrosion-resistant titanium heat exchanger for powerful cooling. There is also an automatic shut-off in case of sudden power surges.
The LED display could be useful if you want to keep track of the water temperature. It can store past temperature readings.
It has the power of 1/13 HP, which is suitable for a 50-gallon water reservoir. It is enough for a medium-sized hydroponic system. It can easily pull down temperature up to 15°F for 30-50 gallons of water. Some users have successfully used to pull down the temperature of a 75-gallon tank up to 12°F.
In case power gets shut off suddenly, it remembers the last temperature reading and automatically reprograms chilling. Saving the previous readings is useful if you are more focused on automating your system.
The design of the unit is simple and easy to maintain. Its panels have air filters to prevent them from any extra dust. If you take care of the chiller, it could be last long.
Yes, a few things could have been better. For instance, it won’t work for 120 gallons or more. Also, the heat it produces is sometimes irritating.
- Anti-freezing system.
- Reliable compressor.
- Corrosion-resistant titanium heat exchanger.
- Easy to maintain.
- Surge protection.
- The internal thermometer needs to adjust.
- It produces more heat.
If you are looking for a chiller that could support a small or medium-sized hydroponic system is perfect for it Hamilton Technology Aqua Euro Max Aquarium Chiller.
4. Coralife Energy Savers ACL36060 – For Salty Water
Coralife is one of the big brands with a reputation for offering high-quality aquarium products. With the ACL36060 chiller, you get a digital display to monitor the temperature. And there are air filters to ensure the water remains contamination-free.
The use of air filters also ensures maximum efficiency and keeps the water temperature within the required range. Yes, with time filters do get clogged or contained, but the manufacturer has ensured the filters are easy to clean.
It works for both fresh and salty waters. You can set it for reservoirs having a capacity up to 800 gallons.
The good thing is that it has barbed hose connections of 5/8”-3/4”. They are adjustable and easy to plug into the tubing. We have used it for 100 gallons of tank water, and it works fine. The flow rate is enough to suit small or medium-scale hydroponics systems.
Moreover, high-quality material is used in its design. The heat exchanger is made from titanium to ensure there is efficient heat transfer for a long duration.
As per specifications, it can achieve the desired temperature within 1-3 hours max. Depending upon the volume of water, it tries to achieve the set temperature as fast as possible.
As recommended by experts, you should use a water pump rated between 200-300 gallons per hour with a chiller like Coralife.
- Easy to set up and maintain.
- Efficient air filter.
- Less audible noise.
- Limited one year warranty.
Looking at its specifications and capacity, it is perfect for any medium-scale operation. It could be an excellent chiller for growing plants that need precise water temperature for optimum growth.
5. IceProbe Thermoelectric – Budget Friendly
The Ice Probe Thermoelectric water chiller is among the best probe chillers available in the market. Its probes rest directly into the water tank for efficient operation with a quick response.
You need a space of approximately 3-1/8 inches to place it in the water tank. According to the specifications, it can cool 10 gallons of water in 6F to 8F, 40 gallons in 1F to 2F, and 20 gallons in 3F to 4F below ambient temperature.
Regarding the wattage consumption, it requires a 12 V 5A thermoelectric module power supply.
For hydroponics, you need a pump, and after that insert the probe into the tank through small opening. The system is ready to go. The whole process hardly takes ten minutes. Such quick installation makes it one of the most portable water chillers for hydroponic systems.
However, there are a few drawbacks to this water chiller. First of all, it doesn’t have any auto on/off switch. You need to buy an additional temperature controller if you want to automate the chiller. Otherwise, you will have to manually on/off.
Secondly, you can’t rely on it for large-scale hydroponic systems. It doesn’t work for large-capacity tanks.
- Easy adjustment with a small size.
- Best ‘probe’ water chiller.
- Efficient cooling.
- It has proper seal to prevent leakage.
- Easy to install.
- No on/off switch.
If you own a small-scale hydroponic system, and also you have very little space to fit the chiller, the Ice Probe Thermoelectric water chiller is one of the most compact chillers.
6. JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium – Most Efficient
If your requirement is a water chiller with more advanced features, then the JBJ Titanium water chiller may suit your needs.
It consists of a titanium coil for quick chilling with maximum contact. There is also a digital display to set precise temperatures. The design is simple and productive. Even on the front panel, there is a condenser that sends cold air in and warm air out.
Well, the unit requires space for installation. This 1/10 HP chiller is rated for tanks up to 130 gallons. Hence, it could be an excellent addition to your commercial hydroponic setup.
As per specifications, you can connect the pump with a rating of 240-960 gallons per hour. You can connect it to a power supply of 2.63 amps in 100 gallons of the water tank. It uses a voltage of 115 V with a maximum flow rate of 4/16 GPM.
Moreover, the chiller comes with an anti-freezing feature, which helps to prevent it from freezing damage. Also, the pad is easy to use with only two-button controls. While installing, you need to open its caps and adjust the washer so that it connects to the hose. You can connect ¾” tubing with the system.
It can store the last temperature setting. When the settings are reached it shuts off immediately. It is a powerful chiller, and it hardly makes any noise.
The unit has integrated handles if you won’t carry it around. However, the chiller is heavy
- Bright LCD.
- Silent operation.
- Anti-freezing feature.
- Corrosion-resistant coil.
- Memory feature.
- It needs some prior adjustments with caps.
If you are looking for a chiller that can support 70-100 gallons of water, JBJ Aquarium Arctica Titanium Chiller is perfect. However, it is heavy. So you won’t be able to use the chiller for different systems.
7. EcoPlus Commercial Grade 1/2 HP – For Commercial Use
It is a commercial Grade water chiller of ½ HP by EcoPlus. Using EcoPlus, you can chill 100 to 250 gallons of water. It provides 5,115 BTUs of cooling. There is a titanium heat exchanger for optimum performance.
Also, the chiller is suitable for salty as well as freshwater systems. It runs on 120 V, and you need the right pump to operate it at its best capacity — recommended pump size is 1056 GPH. There are two tube fittings of 1”. The unit uses an environment-friendly refrigerant of R410A.
Before setting up any water chiller, you need to set the temperature according to the environmental conditions. For instance, if the ambient air temperature is high, it will decrease the cooling capacity of the chiller.
Make sure to prevent it from direct sunlight. Without knowing the exact tank size, you may be confused. So, see its specifications of pump size and capacity for optimum performance.
If you connected it to 150 gallons and set the temperature to 39°F, it cools down the water within half an hour. The response of LCD is quick, and you get all the necessary information in one glance.
Also, it has a quiet operation. Even if you install a couple of them, you will hardly know it’s there.
There is one drawback. Its front panel is dust-prone. There are air filters, but they are not so efficient. So, we recommend you maintain it regularly.
- Suitable for fresh as well as saltwater.
- Efficient cooling capacity.
- Quick response display.
- Quiet operation.
- Ergonomic design.
- Requires good care and regular maintenance.
- Big in size.
If you are planning or own a commercial hydroponic garden, EcoPlus could be a great addition to the system.
Buyer’s Guide – What To Consider?
Water chillers for the hydroponics system are essential to maintain the temperature of plants. It may lead to severe consequences if you try to balance the nutrient solution in hydroponics without the use of the best water chiller. Furthermore, a water chiller is the most reliable and efficient way to keep the solution cool and calm in the hydroponics system.
Your plants in the hydroponics system need sufficient oxygen for their growth. This oxygen supply gets hampered by excessive heat and temperature usually found in hydroponics containing bulbs etc. It’s another factor that calls for the requirement of a water chiller to supply sufficient oxygen to different plants.
Thus, to make your indoor gardening successful in precise terms, the use of a water chiller should not be overlooked. They may cost you a few dollars extra but are the best solution, especially in the summer season when the outside temperature rises. To help scan out the best water chiller for hydroponics we have compiled several important factors.
1) Refrigeration Unit
This unit works on cooling the roots for healthy growth. A water pump is located inside the refrigeration unit, which is responsible for circulating the nutrient solution within hydroponics. When the pump transmits the solution with the help of tubing, it gets cooled down through cooling coils before recirculation.
2) Solid-State Thermoelectric Cooling System
This type of unit is known to be an ideal water chiller for small reservoirs. It operates by eliminating the heat within hydroponics with the help of a low-speed fan. A probe is inserted into the reservoir to chill the liquid and raise the latent heat through a fan.
Let us consider a few more factors to be considered if you are a beginner in buying a water chiller for hydroponics.
2. The ideal temperature for plants
As such, there is no suitable temperature for your indoor plants in hydroponics, but you can keep the limit within the threshold. Temperature requirements also vary due to the root zones of different plants. Well, according to the hydroponics experts, you should never go below 16 degrees Celsius and above 27 degrees Celsius. Thus, if you are buying a water chiller, make sure to consider the temperature requirements.
3. Estimates your needs
First of all, make sure to purchase a water chiller with regards to the ideal size of your hydroponics. It is because size inaccuracy may let the system consume more power or keep it inefficiently cooled without meeting the specific requirements.
The capacity of a water chiller is measured in BTU (British Thermal Unit) or Tons. Check the following sizes with 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
One BTU increases the temperature by one Fahrenheit of one pound of water. However, you should buy a big water chiller as sometimes the specified BTU is not actual. To do all calculations, you must know the amount of water required in your hydroponics system.
Make your hydroponics to its maximum temperature. You can do it by turning everything that produces heat in your garden or hydroponics system. After reaching the desired temperature, remove any cooling system. Note the temperature instantly. Let’s assume it is T1. Note the heat again after an hour. Say it T2. Thus, the equation will be as follows.
Temperature differential = T2-T1.
Required BTUs per hour = Gallons of water × 8.34(weight of a gallon of water) × Temperature differential
BTUs can be converted to Horsepower by dividing it by 2,545.
So, this is how you can calculate the requirements accordingly.
4.Ease of use
The convenience of use is the most important thing to be considered every time you invest. Some water chillers come with very complex systems to use, while others have a bit simple method to get started. So, as per your convenience level to handle the complex system, you can choose the water chiller.
If you have any problem with noise, you should also keep in mind the noise-producing limits in each water chiller for the hydroponics system. However, it also depends upon the size of the water chiller you are using. If the size is big, so it may be possible that you will hear loud sounds while it is operating. In these cases, consider the overall quality also.
A water chiller must be power-saving so that it may not add up to your additional costs. For that, check out the overall power usage of the unit and match it with your requirements and budget to cope up with the extra cost.
7.Other safety features
There are some other additional features to consider while buying a water chiller such as protection, display, temperature memory, etc. Try to go for a water chiller with an LCD screen as it is easy to operate. Also, check for features such as overload, overheat, or surge protection. Moreover, the package should contain all the necessary equipment for installation, such as a hose, pump, and tubing.
Along with the advantages mentioned at the top of the article, do not skip to read other additional benefits. Its two important benefits are as follows.
-Keep your plants oxygenated
A water chiller is an ideal system to get your plants enough oxygen. This is because excessive temperature decreases the oxygen level in plants. With the help of a water chiller, dissolved oxygen in the nutrient solution can be properly supplied to plants.
-Keeps your large hydroponics system in balance
Especially if you have large hydroponics, it is impossible to get it in control without the use of a water chiller. It gets difficult when the ambient temperature goes out of control in such a big system. Thus, it is mandatory to use a water chiller.
And, as per our recommendation, if you are a serious planter and want to see your plants grow at the best rate, then you should invest in a water chiller for hydroponics to get a good ROI.
Each plant requires certain conditions, so before making any decision make sure you know what you require. Also, go through specifications in detail to make sure you purchase the best water chiller for the hydroponics system you own.