AMD and Intel have been at each other’s throats for these past few years and both of these companies have been releasing incredibly powerful and great value chips. But, that power comes at a cost. That cost is high-temperature output.
This is why it is important to have a suitable CPU cooler that can handle the heat and dissipate it properly.
However, with so many cooling options on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which cooler is the best for your situation. To ensure that you make a good choice, we’ve made this article to provide you with a list of the best CPU coolers available.
• Dimensions (with fans): L: 150 mm, W: 165 mm, H: 161 mm
• Fans: 2 x NF-A15 140 mm
• Max noise level: 24,6 dBA
• 6-year warranty
- Rated for over 150,000 hours of running time
- Comes with some of the best fans on the market
- Awful beige/brown fan color
- No option for a different color except Chromax edition which is considerably more expensive
Noctua is prevalent in the PC tech enthusiast’s world and for a good reason. This company has been releasing some of the best CPU air coolers for years now. If Noctua doesn’t familiar, you must have at least seen their very popular brown/beige-colored fans. They might look ugly for a lot of people, but considering their dominant performance, it’s easy to ignore those ugly colors.
The NH-D15 rocks two of those “mocha” colored fans and it is considered to be the best air cooler on the market. Priced at around $120, it makes for a great option even if you prefer liquid cooling. Getting a good AIO is going to cost you several dozen dollars more at least.
So, what makes the NH-D15 so good? That’s an easy question. It’s valued accordingly, it’s incredibly quiet, keeps any CPU cool, and comes with some of the best 140mm fans available. It’s also compatible with a dozen different platforms/sockets. Whether you have LGA 1150 or AM4, this guy will fit on your motherboard.
The only downside of this CPU cooler is its size. It is pretty wide and tall which might be a problem for certain PC cases, so make sure to check your case’s clearance before you buy it. If it is too large, you can always consider getting the NH-D15S, a more compatible variant of the NH-D15.
Corsair H115i RGB Platinum
• Radiator dimensions: L:322 mm, W: 137 mm, H: 27 mm
• Fans: 2 x ML RGB PRO 140mm
• Noise levels: 10 – 36 dBA
• 5-year warranty
- Great RGB lighting
- Better alternatives at $170 MSRP
Corsair, just like Noctua, has been part of the CPU liquid cooling market for years now. In fact, they were one of the first companies in the world to bring AIOs. AIO being an abbreviation for All-In-One cooling solution.
Those years of experience with AIOs are one of the reasons why Corsair dominates the market with their H115i, specifically the H115i RGB Platinum. It may not be their flagship model, but considering its price, it is an absolutely great value.
The 280 mm radiator with its included RGB fans and the RGB pump makes for one great-looking AIO. It’s going to fit great in your case, that’s for sure.
Of course, performance should be the most important factor when choosing a cooler and the H115i delivers in that segment too. Looking at this review, we can see that this AIO performs quite well compared to some other liquid cooling alternatives. It might not be the best of the bunch, but it is certainly up there.
Be Quiet! Pure Rock 2
• Dimensions: L: 87 mm, W: 121 mm, H: 155 mm
• Fans: 1 x Pure Wings 2 120mm PWM
• Max noise level: 26.8 dBA
- Cool and quiet
- Overall good design
- Could use a better stock fan
It’s not always just about getting the best of the best of the PC market, wasting hundreds of dollars on minuscule performance improvements. In fact, most of the time, people are looking for the best value. So, naturally, budget options will end up on this best CPU coolers list.
Be quiet! Pure Rock 2 definitely deserves to be one of the budget picks. This heatsink might not be as fancy as Corsair’s AIO, but it’s still pretty attractive and simple-looking. It’s also much smaller, so it should fit into most mid-tower cases.
Even though it is smaller, it still provides solid thermal performance and stays quiet even during long gaming sessions.
Yes, it won’t be better than the NH-D15, but considering that you can get the Pure Rock 2 for around $40, it’s a great deal.
Looking at some temperature results, it looks like this air cooler is even comparable to some higher-end AIOs. Impressive.
• Radiator dimensions: L:275 mm, W: 123 mm, H: 30 mm
• Fans: 2 x Aer P 120 mm
• Noise levels: 21 – 36 dBA
• 6-year warranty
- Easily best design
- RGB and LED display on the pump
- Great performance and quiet too
- CAM software is useful but can quickly become unusable/buggy
We couldn’t write an article about the best CPU coolers without adding at least one NZXT AIO in here.
It is no secret that NZXT is a people’s favorite. However, the reason why so many people love these might not be because of their performance, but because of their design. And of course, it does perform great, but not so much to justify the $230 price tag.
Either way, if you are not on a budget and you want something sleek, reliable, or long-lasting NZXT’s Kraken Z53 is what you should go for.
Keep in mind, this is the 240mm variant. If you want a bigger radiator (280mm) get the Kraken Z63.
Looking at reviews, we see favorable temperature and noise level results.
Arctic Liquid Freezer II 120
• Radiator dimensions: L: 157 mm, W: 120 mm, H: 38 mm
• Fans: 1 x P12 120mm PWM
• Max noise level: 22.5
- Pump fan for additional VRM cooling
- Best price to performance ratio on the market
- Overwhelmingly positive ratings
- No significant disadvantages.
Arctic is definitely not as popular as NZXT, Corsair, Deepcool, Noctua, and others, but they are definitely ranked as one of the best AIO providers. Tech enthusiasts that prefer AIOs know that very well.
Whether it is the Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II 120 mm or the 240 mm one, you won’t have to worry about its performance, because it will definitely deliver.
With thousands of positive ratings on Amazon and dozens of reviews boasting the incredible performance of the Liquid Freezer II, we are certain that it deserves a spot on this list of best CPU coolers.
Gamers Nexus, one of the favorites of the PC-building community has had a lot of good things to say about this AIO. And, considering how extensive and in-depth their testing is, that is a lot coming from them.
Keep in mind, the linked review above is focused on the 240 mm version of the Liquid Freezer II, but we can imagine that the 120 mm variant will perform quite good too. It’s also cheaper.
This AIO is priced at just $75 which is incredible considering that it can go up against even with the Noctua NH-D15. If you want the best performance, you can upgrade to the 240 mm variant for $115.
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Which CPU Cooler Should You Get?
With so many good options to choose from which CPU cooler should you get?
Well, if you don’t care as much for aesthetics, the Arctic Liquid Freezer II is the Best Overall liquid cooler on the market. However, we understand that some of you may not want to go with liquid cooling, so we suggest the Noctua NH-D15 as the alternative to the Liquid Freezer II.
The Premium Pick goes towards NZXT’s Kraken Z53. This thing is expensive, but it looks absolutely incredible with its LED display on the pump and infinite mirror RGB.
And, naturally, the remaining two coolers are also great options. The Pure Rock 2 is a good choice for those on a budget and for mid-range CPUs. The H115i RGB Platinum would also fit great in any PC and provide solid thermal results.