Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: West Sacramento, CA
Rena Filstar XP3 review - compared to Eheim
Ok, this is opening a door for flame wars (not intended), but I wanted to throw my comparison out there, since I've always owned Eheim, but bought a Rena XP3 recently. Just got one of these yesterday and wanted to write a quick review, but didn't see an actual review section, so here goes.
Upon opening the box, I noticed the large size of the actual canister. It was actually larger than I expected (not a bad thing!) and a good 2-3" taller(but narrower) than my Eheim 2026. The plastic is cheaply made, that is obvious, but it's functional so I have no complaints. I actually broke one of the clips for the suction cups when I was putting it together, something I never did with any Eheim product (own or have owned 3 Eheim canisters).
The housing/impeller assembly seems solid. Not as solid as the one on my Eheim Pro II, but its also less than 1/2 the price. The smaller parts all came in a shrink-wrapped styrafoam box, which didn't seem necessary and was kind of a pain to unveil, but it serves its purpose. I like the semi-transparent look of the canister. I was expecting the solid, light blue color that the other Rena filters I've seen have been. This makes it easier to see the media and determine if things are flowing effectively, etc.. So, kudos to that design idea. The hoses are kind of a clear-bluish/transparent color, which is better than the Eheim tubes IMO, as they are not as much of an eyesore. I also like that the spraybar has many parts to customize it to your liking and/or application. The 3 media baskets contain a large storage capacity. It came with several different sponges of various size pores, but no actual media. That was ok, as I used filter floss and leftover "cocoa puff" balls from my Eheim media. This seems to be working quite well.
Overall, the filter seems very solid and well-enough made. It's not an Eheim, but as the age-old comparison goes, its like comparing a BMW to a Honda Civic. Both are good cars and will get you where you need to go, but the BMW is simply better made and looks nicer.
But, hey, for $89 + shipping, I'm not complaining. I would recommend this filter to anyone not willing to shell out a lot of $$ for a decent canister filter and/or someone looking for good horsepower(gph), as this one delivers.
I can't say I'm overly impressed as you get what you pay for, but I'm sure it will work fine. It's also not as loud as the reviews led me to believe. It's louder than the Eheim, but still pretty quiet.