SunSun Canister Filter Review – Is This The Best Filter For The Money?

Estimated read time 10 min read

Before you buy that expensive filter you have your eye on, make sure you read our review of the SunSun Canister Filter.

SunSun is a lesser-known Chinese brand that makes quality filters that cost much less than other brands. 

This filter may be the best value for the money and is a great option to keep your fish tank crystal clear.

Find out below if you’re in danger of spending too much money searching for a canister filter.


Quick Overview Of The SunSun HW-302 Canister Filter

The Best Features Of The SunSun Canister Filter

  • Three media trays capable of handling your choice of filtration media.
  • The HW-302 canister filter has a convenient self-priming pump that eliminates the need for manual siphoning.
  • This filter comes with an adjustable spray bar. This is a helpful feature if you want to adjust the output flow from the filter.
  • Easy on your wallet. One of the best-priced canister filters in its class.
  • The HW-302 is quiet and great for living rooms, offices, or bedrooms.

How We Tested The Sun Sun

We rigorously tested this filter for over six months in various setups, and we’re proud to say that it passed with flying colors. 

We tried using this filter with different types of fish, including tetras, goldfish, and cichlids and were impressed with how it worked.

The filter performed admirably in both fresh and saltwater environments. In addition, it was great at keeping the water clean, which is essential for both the fish and us.

In terms of performance, the filter consistently removed waste and debris from the aquarium water, helping to keep the tank clean and clear. 

We were very impressed with the filter’s quiet; although not as quiet as top brands, it would still be near silent in areas where noise can be a concern.

Don’t use it in your children’s rooms.

Our testing showed that our aquarium filter is reliable and practical for any aquarist looking to keep their tank clean and healthy. 

The Sun Sun had excellent durability scores and ease of use, so it’s a great starter canister filter for beginners.

Who Is This Filter For?

This filter may be for you if:

  • You are moving from HOB filters and don’t want to spend much money.
  • You are on a budget and can’t shell out big bucks for a more expensive brand.
  • You are looking for a quiet filter that is easy to set up and keep running.
  • You have a larger tank of up to 75 gallons.

The Sun Sun Canister filter is popular among aquarium hobbyists due to its efficient filtration process and durable construction. 

This filter is made of high-quality materials, including sturdy plastic and stainless steel, making it reliable and long-lasting. 

One of the most noteworthy features of the Sun Sun Canister filter is its filtration process, which includes mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. 

The filter has multiple stages of filtration media, which work together to remove debris, harmful chemicals, and other contaminants from the aquarium water. 

This makes it an effective solution for maintaining a clean and healthy aquatic environment.

Regarding flow rate, the Sun Sun Canister filter offers a range of options to suit different aquarium sizes and water flow requirements. 

It has a powerful motor that can pump up to 265 gallons of water per hour, ample for large aquariums. 

However, it can be adjusted to lower flow rates for smaller tanks, which makes it a versatile choice for various setups.

One potential drawback of the Sun Canister filter is that it can take time to set up initially. 

The instructions can be confusing, and the various parts can be challenging to assemble correctly. 

However, the filter is relatively low-maintenance and easy to use once set up.

SunSun HW-302 What You Need To Know?

SunSun has made a great filter that competes with better-known brands like Fluval, Eheim, and Marineland, but at a much lower price.

Many people who have owned more expensive filters and switched to SunSun are pleased with the value that the HW-302 provides.

Because of its low price, the HW-302 is an excellent choice if you want to leap from hang-on-back (HOB) filter systems.

Like all canister filters, the HW-302 has a cleaner look since the filter itself is outside the tank, and it can filter larger amounts of water than HOB systems.

This filter is quiet. Like, quiet!

Sometimes the only way to tell that this filter is even running is to put your hand on it to feel for vibrations. This is a great feature if the noise level is an issue, and honestly, who wants the sound of a loud filter messing with the calmness of a fish tank?

Overall, the SunSun HW-302 canister filter is an excellent choice, especially if you are on a budget. With the savings from this filter, you can easily afford to upgrade other features of your tank.

“Given the price point….I am delighted with my purchase. I use it on a 50-gallon tank with plants, which has almost eliminated the need to do water changes…almost.”


  • It is rated for 265 gph, making it great for larger tanks up to 75 gallons.
  • Small enough to fit under cabinet-style tanks. The dimensions are 9″ L x 9″ W x 15.5″ H.
  • Three media trays that can take your own choice of filtration media.
  • Easy set up, especially with the many YouTube videos explaining the process.
  • Extremely quiet. You won’t even know this thing is running.
  • A price much lower than other filters with similar features and functionality.


  • The instructions could be better. But consider this a pro if you enjoy better English translations.
  • Does not come with any filtration media.
  • Hoses can be stiff at first.
  • Make sure to prime with water in the system.

Overall the HW-302 is a solid filter for the money.

SunSun Filters What’s In the Box?

The HW-302 has a filter unit, all hose connections, an intake tube and outlet bar, and an instruction book.

This filter feels nice and hefty and is meant to be used. This is a quality filter, not some cheap Chinese knockoff.

This filter does NOT come with filtration media, so you must purchase this separately. However, the three media trays allow you to use different media types, and you can easily buy poly-fill for cheap on Amazon.

One downside is that the instructions could be more adequate. However, this is a minor issue since this filter is easy to assemble, primarily if you’ve previously worked with a canister filter.

If you haven’t, here’s a video from Life With Pets that shows you How to Set Up a Sunsun Canister Filter;

Comparison To Other Top Brands

Compared to other filters like Fluval and Eheim, the Sun Sun filter falls short in several key areas.

Firstly, the flow rate of the Sun Sun filter is lower than that of Fluval and Eheim filters. 

Filtering the same amount of water takes longer, which can concern larger aquariums. 

Considering the money you’ll save, this is a manageable issue.

In addition, the filter media capacity of the Sun Sun filter is also lower than that of Fluval and Eheim, which means that it may need to be cleaned or replaced more frequently.

Although it holds less media, it still performs great.

Another issue with the Sun Sun filter is its noise level. 

Compared to the near-silent operation of Fluval and Eheim filters, the Sun Sun filter can be pretty loud, which may be a nuisance for those who keep their aquarium in a quiet area.

This is an issue for me; nobody wants to hear a filter’s humming vibrations or mechanical noises.

Regarding ease of maintenance, the Sun Sun filter is relatively easy to disassemble and clean. 

However, the Fluval and Eheim filters have a more user-friendly design allowing easier access to the filter media, making maintenance even more effortless.

It takes a lot of work to compete with years of experience.

Regarding filtration performance, the Sun Sun filter effectively removes debris and impurities from the water. Still, it may not be as effective as Fluval and Eheim in eliminating harmful substances like ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. 

Additionally, Fluval and Eheim have undergone rigorous testing and have proven to be highly effective in removing harmful substances from the water.

Overall, while the Sun Sun filter is a decent option for those on a budget, it may not be the best choice for those who prioritize performance and ease of use. 

Fluval and Eheim filters provide superior flow rate, filter media capacity, noise level, and filtration performance, making them a better choice for serious aquarium enthusiasts.

How To Set Up The SunSun Canister Filter

Priming the filter can take a little effort initially, but it runs great once you get it running. We recommend filling the filter with water before priming it.

The hoses are stiff initially, but a quick soak in hot water makes them more flexible.

How To Clean The SunSun Canister Filter

How about cleaning this filter? No worries, Life With Pets has you covered (yet again!).

Buy The SunSun Canister Filter

If you are looking for a durable, quiet filter that does the job and does it on a budget, you can’t beat the SunSun HW-302 canister filter.

Sure, other great filters have similar features, but you’ll pay more than the HW-302.

The HW-302 is also a top-rated canister filter on AmazonBig Al’s, and PetSmart, so you can be confident that you are picking a great product that will keep your water clear for a long time.

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