The Best CPU Coolers (2022 Reviews)

Every PC build needs a CPU and that CPU deservices some proper cooling! It allows you to increase the performance of your PC. Here are the best CPU coolers.

AMD and Intel have been locked in a fierce rivalry for the past few years and both of these companies have released incredibly powerful and great-value chips. However, that power comes at a cost: high-temperature output.

We imagine that the thermals of AMD’s Ryzen 6000 series and Intel’s 12th Gen are going to be even more challenging to deal with.

This is why it is important to have a suitable CPU cooler that can handle the heat and dissipate it properly.

With so many cooling options on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which cooler is the best for your rig. To ensure that you make an informed choice, we created this article to provide you with a list of the best CPU coolers available.

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The Pros:

  • Rated for over 150,000 hours of running time
  • Comes with some of the best fans on the market

The Cons:

  • Awful beige/brown fan color
  • No option for a different color except Chromax edition which is considerably more expensive

Noctua is prominent in the PC enthusiast world and with good reason. This company has been releasing some of the best CPU air coolers for years. If Noctua doesn’t sound familiar, you must have at least seen their signature brown/beige-colored fans. They might look unsightly to a lot of people but, considering their dominant performance, it’s easy to ignore their appearance.

The NH-D15 rocks two of these “mocha” colored fans and it is considered the best air cooler on the market. Priced at around $120, it is a great option even if you prefer liquid cooling. Getting a good AIO is going to cost you at least several dozen dollars more.

So, what makes the NH-D15 so good? That’s an easy question to answer. It is valued accordingly, is 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 cooler 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 widely compatible variant of the NH-D15.

The Pros:

  • Great RGB lighting
  • Quiet

The Cons:

  • Better alternatives at $170 MSRP

Corsair, like Noctua, has been a major player in the CPU liquid cooling market for years now. In fact, it was one of the first companies in the world to produce AIOs. AIO is an abbreviation for All-In-One cooling solution.

Those years of experience with AIOs are a major reason why Corsair dominates the market with their H115i, specifically the H115i RGB Platinum. It is not their flagship model but, considering its price, it is an absolutely great value cooler.

The 280 mm radiator with its included RGB fans and the RGB pump makes for a great-looking AIO. It will 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 aspect 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.

The Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Cool and quiet
  • Overall good design

The Cons:

  • Could use a better stock fan

It isn’t always about getting the best of the best of the PC market, wasting hundreds of dollars on negligible performance improvements. In fact, most of the time, people are looking for the best value. Naturally, budget options will end up on this best CPU coolers list.

The be quiet! Pure Rock 2 definitely deserves to be one of those budget picks. This heatsink might not be as fancy as Corsair’s AIO, but it is still attractive and simple-looking. It’s also much smaller, so it should fit into most mid-tower cases.

Despite being smaller, it still provides solid thermal performance and stays quiet even during long gaming sessions.

Admittedly, it won’t be better than the NH-D15 but, considering you can get the Pure Rock 2 for around $40, it’s a great deal.

Looking at some temperature results, it seems this air cooler is even comparable to some higher-end AIOs. Impressive.

The Pros:

  • Easily best design
  • RGB and LED display on the pump
  • Great performance and quiet too

The Cons:

  • Expensive
  • CAM software is useful but can often be unusable/buggy

NZXT offers some of the most popular picks for AIO out there and the Kraken Z63 is definitely one of the favorites. And, it is a favorite for a couple of reasons.

First, we’ll start out with the Z63’s strongest point, its design. NZXT has always had a type of minimalist style and we can see that in the Z63 too.

Even though it is entirely black and pretty simplistic in design, it has an LED display on the pump which adds just a bit more flair to this AIO. Overall, the Z63 looks like a very high-quality product.

However, this quality feel comes at a cost. And that cost is the $255 price tag. And if you want the RGB fans on your Z63, you’ll have to pay $20 extra. This is pretty aggressive pricing, so why do PC enthusiasts still give in to NZXT’s AIOs?

Well, NZXT has a pretty good record when it comes to AIOs, so PC enthusiasts can trust that the cooler won’t fail after a few years.

Performance is also one of NZXT’s stronger characteristics, with the Z63 easily staying in the top 5 cooler charts while keeping noise levels pretty low.

The NZXT Kraken Z63 is an AIO with a 280mm radiator and we heavily recommend it. If you’re looking for a 360mm rad, check out the Kraken Z73. And, if you are on a tighter budget, look at the Kraken X63.

The Pros:

  • Pump fan for additional VRM cooling
  • Best price to performance ratio on the market
  • Overwhelmingly positive ratings

The Cons:

  • No significant disadvantages.

Arctic is definitely not as popular as NZXT, Corsair, Deepcool, Noctua, and others, but they are still ranked as one of the best AIO providers. Tech enthusiasts that prefer AIOs know them very well.

Whether it is Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II 240 mm or the 120 mm version, you won’t have to worry about performance, because it will definitely deliver. Of course, the 240mm will always outperform the smaller radiator.

With thousands of positive ratings on Amazon and dozens of reviews touting the incredible performance of the Liquid Freezer II, we are confident that it deserves a spot on this list of best CPU coolers.

Gamers Nexus, one of the favorites among the PC-building community, has had a lot of good things to say about this AIO. Considering how extensive and in-depth their testing is, that means a lot.

Keep in mind that the review linked above focuses on the 240 mm version of the Liquid Freezer II, but we can imagine that the 120 mm variant performs similarly. It is also cheaper.

This AIO is priced at just $100 which is remarkable considering that it can go up against even the Noctua NH-D15. If you want the best possible performance, you can upgrade to the 280mm or even 360mm edition. Of course, those are a bit more expensive.

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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 about aesthetics, the Arctic Liquid Freezer II is the Best Overall liquid cooler on the market. However, we understand that many people do not want to go with liquid cooling, so we suggest the Noctua NH-D15 as an alternative to the Liquid Freezer II.

Our Premium Pick goes to NZXT’s Kraken Z53. This cooler is expensive but it looks absolutely incredible with its LED display on the pump and infinite mirror RGB.

Naturally, the two remaining coolers are also great options. The Pure Rock 2 is a great 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.

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Branko Gapo
Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is almost impossible. That's why Branko will be using his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements related to CPUs.