Keeping the water temperature of the reservoir at the right temperature is essential for hydroponics. Water chillers prevent the water in the reservoir from overheating and ensure the water remains at the right temperature for plant growth. Choosing the best water chiller for hydroponics can be the difference between healthy plants and ones that won't thrive.
However, deciding which hydroponic water chiller is the right one to purchase can be a challenge. There are different types of water chillers, and some models will be best suited to tanks of different sizes.
Read on to discover which water chiller will be the right fit for your hydroponic gardening needs! We've reviewed some of the top products on the market, and we'll also share some key criteria to keep in mind as you shop!
Top 5: Water Chillers For Hydroponics
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Active Aqua's AACH25HP Hydroponic Water Chiller Cooling System is specifically designed for hydroponic gardening. It can help keep your reservoir's water temperature at the ideal level to help your plants grow and thrive.
This model does not require freon, rather is uses a R134a refrigerant. It has a large capacity and is recommended for 40-to-92-gallon systems. The flow rate is ¼ horsepower and the BTU rating per hour is 3,010.
To prevent corrosion and leeching of harmful substances to your plants, this water chiller features an anti-corrosive pure titanium evaporate that is designed for use in fresh water and salt water. The top of the unit offers easy-to-use controls. This model also operates quietly to keep noise to a minimum.
The BAOSHISHAN Aquarium Chiller features a microcomputer control system paired with electronic refrigeration to ensure the nutrient solution in a hydroponic system is kept at the optimal temperature. The electronic refrigeration cooling method offers a much quieter operation level that chillers with compressors. This means this unit offers a suitable match for in-home hydroponic gardens where noise level is a concern.
This water chiller is suitable for use with tanks with a capacity of up to 60 liters. It can bring this volume of water down to a temperate around 77 degrees. Lower temperatures are also possible with smaller quantities of water.
It has a pure titanium coil evaporator that can be used with both salt and fresh water. An easy-to-use control panel sits at the top of the unit for simple adjustments.
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If you need a water chiller that can handle more volume, consider the Active Aqua AACH50HP Hydroponic Water Cooling System. This water chiller offers a recommended volume between 90 and 172 gallons. It has a ½ HP flow rate.
One of the standout features of this model is the boost function. When this function is selected, it will speed up the cooling process to arrive at an ideal nutrient solution temperature when setting up a system.
This chiller also features an anti-corrosive pure titanium evaporator suitable for use with salt water and fresh water. To control the chiller and set it to the desired temperature, simply use the digital control panel.
You'll also find that this is a durable and high-quality option. The housing is made from a heavy duty-ABS plastic. This material also resists rust and corrosion.
If you need an aquarium chiller for a smaller tank, consider this model from JBJ. The Arctica Aquarium Chiller is a 1/15 HP model that is designed to operate quietly and efficiently. It can be used with smaller tanks around 40 gallons.
Its premium titanium coils resist corrosion. They are also very effective at exchanging heat and cooling the water in a hydroponic system.
Installation with this model is designed to be quick and easy. It also features a contemporary design and has a small footprint, so it won't take up much space in your garden area.
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This water chiller from Poafamx can both heat and cool water to ensure your hydroponic system remains at the ideal temperature for plant growth. It is designed for use with reservoirs with a capacity of up to 60 liters.
It uses electronic refrigeration technology. This technology is better for the environment, does not yield any emissions, and is still highly effective at ensure your reservoir is kept at the right temperature for your plants. Additionally, it allows the chiller to operate at a very low noise level, so it won't cause disruptions or interruptions.
The controls allow you to adjust the temperature to the precise level you desire. The display offers an accurate reading within 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since there are a lot of options on the market when you're looking for a water chiller for hydroponics, it is important to identify which features are most important to you before you begin to shop. Laying out exactly what you want to see in the water chiller you select will help ensure that you are satisfied with your purchase.
Types of Water Chillers for Hydroponics
The first step is to decide which type of water chiller is best for your setup and needs. There are three different types:
Next, consider the size of each water chiller and look for one that is appropriately sized for your setup. Choosing a water chiller that is not too small is important as it won't be able to adequately cool the nutrient solution. However, bigger isn't always better as choosing a unit that is way too large will just waste energy and cost more to operate.
To choose an appropriately-sized unit you need to know the capacity of your reservoir. Add the volume of the reservoir with the volume of the buffer tanks in your system. Finally, add in an extra 10% or so to account for any heat loss.
This volume, in liters, can help you choose the right size water chiller. Look for a water chiller that offers at wattage that is as close as possible to the total number of liters you calculated. With a 100-liter system, for example, a water chiller with a 100-watt output should be ideal. If you can't find a water chiller with the same output as the volume of water, choose one with a higher wattage; don't select a model with a lower wattage as it won't be powerful enough for your needs.
If your hydroponic system is set up in your home or another area where noise will be a consideration, be sure to take the volume of each water chiller into account. This may not be important if you have a more dedicated area for your hydroponic garden, though.
Ventilation in the Space
The way water chillers work causes them to release some heat into the space. Some models operate more coolly than others, however, so take the ventilation of your space into account as you shop. A water chiller that emits more heat shouldn't be as much of a concern in a space with good ventilation as it would be in a poorly ventilated space.
Today, most water chillers are designed with anti-corrosion parts. However, you will still want to confirm that this is the case for the specific model you choose. Otherwise, if the metal corrodes, it can leech out contaminants and kill your plants.
Some water chillers may offer other features that make them easier to use. One of these additional features is a design features that prevent the unit from over-heating. This is important as an overheated unit could be a potential safety hazard.
Another feature found in some hydroponic water chillers is temperature memory. These units can remember the last temperature they were set to and be ready to cool to that temperature right away.
Finally, some units may also offer an LCD display. These displays can make it easier to adjust the temperature and easily see the temperature the chiller is set to.
Finally, keep your budget in mind as you shop. Determine a reasonable price range and try to stick to it. However, be advised that overly cheap models may not work well, and without a reliable water chiller your plants may suffer.
The right water chiller for you will largely depend on your setup and tank size. Any of the products we reviewed above could be a great addition to your hydroponic garden. That being said, the Active Aqua AACH25HP is our top pick.
This water chiller features a large capacity for systems with a capacity between 40 and 92 gallons. It uses a R134a refrigerant instead of freon and offers a high flow rate. The titanium evaporator in this unit is anti-corrosive and suitable for use in either fresh or salt water.
This chiller from Active Aqua is also easy to control with the user-friendly control panel at the top of the unit. The Active Aqua AACH25HP water chiller would be a great addition to a hydroponics garden set up. But, as we shared, if you think one of the other chillers will be a better fit for your setup and reservoir size, all of our recommendations are quality options!
Frequently Asked Questions
Hydroponic water chillers are designed to keep water temperatures at a stable and ideal level for plant growth. Many water chillers that are used for hydroponics were originally designed to keep aquarium water at the right temperature for fish, but hydroponic gardeners quickly realized how beneficial these chillers could be for their purposes too.
Different types of hydroponics work in different ways, but the most popular types of units are refrigeration modes. These models feature a pump that is placed in the reservoir that pushes the nutrient solution through tubing. Coils cool the liquid before sending it back into the reservoir.
A water chiller is certainly an invaluable addition to a hydroponic system. Without a water chiller, maintaining an ideal water temperature can be challenging. If the water is not at the right temperature, it can prevent plants from growing properly.
However, a water chiller is not always necessary. There are other ways to cool the water in a reservoir, but they will be much more tedious and time-consuming. Water chillers offer a simple and effective way to cool the water and ensure it consistently stays at the right level to allow plants to thrive.
The right water temperature will vary depending on what you are growing. Finding the ideal root zone temperature for the specific plants you plan to grow can help you determine which temperature is ideal for your setup. In general, plan to cool water to between 68- and 72-degrees Fahrenheit, but again, check with the requirements for the specific plants you wish to grow.
While there are many benefits associated with using a water chiller for hydroponics, there are a few downsides to be aware of as well. Hydroponic water chillers can cost a good deal of money and will require regular maintenance to ensure proper operation.
However, compared to the hassles and time that you'll need to put into manually cool a water reservoir, you'll likely decide that it is worth the investment.
Hydroponic water chillers are a type of electrical equipment. They should not be used without door setups or in other spaces where this is not enough ventilation.