AMD and Intel have been locked in a fierce rivalry for the past few years, and both of these companies have released extremely potent and excellent-value chips. However, that power comes at a cost: high-temperature output.
We believe that the temperatures of AMD’s Ryzen 6000 series and Intel’s 12th Gen processors will be even harder to manage.
This is why it is important to have a suitable CPU cooler that can handle and dissipate heat 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 guide to provide you with a list of the best CPU coolers available.
- December 21, 2022: Replaced Kraken Z63 with Kraken Z73 and Be Quiet! Pro Rock 4 with Scythe Fuma 2.
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Noctua NH-D15 – Best Air Cooler
Specifications:rn• Dimensions (with fans): L: 150 mm, W: 165 mm, H: 161 mmrn• Fans: 2 x NF-A15 140 mmrn• Max noise level: 24,6 dBArn• 6-year warranty
- Rated for over 150,000 hours of running timernComes with some of the best fans on the market
- Awful beige/brown fan colorrnNo option for a different color except Chromax edition which is considerably more expensive
Noctua is well-known in the PC enthusiast community, and for good reason. This company has been producing top-notch CPU air coolers for a long time. If Noctua doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve probably noticed their distinct brown/beige-colored fans.
They might appear unattractive to many people, but considering their dominant performance, it’s easy to overlook their appearance. And, if the color is too much of a concern, the slightly pricier “Chromax Black” variants are always available.
The NH-D15 has two of these brown fans and is regarded as the top air cooler available. It is priced at about $120, making it an excellent choice even if you like liquid cooling. Purchasing a decent AIO will require spending several dozen dollars more.
So, what makes the NH-D15 so excellent? That’s an easy question to answer.
It is priced accordingly, is extremely silent, keeps any processor cool, and includes top-notch 140mm fans. It also works with many various platforms/sockets. Whether you possess LGA 1150 or AM4, this cooler will fit on your motherboard.
The only drawback of this CPU cooler is its size. It is quite broad and tall, which might be a concern for certain PC cases, so make sure to check your case’s clearance before you purchase it.
If it is too large, you can always consider getting the NH-D15S, a more widely compatible variant of the NH-D15.
Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240 – Best Dual-Fan AIO
Specifications:rn• Radiator dimensions: L: 277 mm, W: 78 mm, H: 38 mmrn• Fans: 2 x P12 120mm PWMrn• Max noise level: 22,5
- Pump fan for additional VRM coolingrnBest price to performance ratio on the marketrnOverwhelmingly positive ratings
- 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, especially with a $100 price tag.
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.
ADVISORY: Some Liquid Freezer II units sold from May 2021 to March 2022 are impacted by a faulty seal, which can be fixed with Arctic’s complimentary DIY kit.
Corsair H115i RGB Platinum – Dual-Fan AIO Alternative
Specifications:rn• Radiator dimensions: L:322 mm, W: 137 mm, H: 27 mmrn• Fans: 2 x ML RGB PRO 140mmrn• Noise levels: 10 – 36 dBArn• 5-year warranty
- Great RGB lightingrnQuiet
- 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 absolutely a 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.
Scythe Fuma 2 – Best Value Air Cooler
Specifications:rn• Dimensions: L:137 mm, W:131 mm, H:154.5 mmrn• Fans: 2 x Kaze Flex 120 Slim PWM – 1200 RPMrn• Noise level – 4.0 ~ 24,9 dBA
- Best air cooling for its pricernAdmirable design
- No obvious downsides
It isn’t always about getting the best of the best in the PC market, wasting hundreds of dollars on negligible performance improvements. In fact, most of the time, people are looking for the best value.
Well, the Scythe Fuma 2 is not just an affordable choice but also provides top-notch heat efficiency. It may not have the same flashy appearance as NZXT’s Kraken Z73 or Corsair’s H115i, but it can still blend visually with most cases.
With a $60 MSRP, the Scythe Fuma 2 offers performance comparable to or even better than the $100 NH-D15.
Scythe Fuma 2 is very positively rated on Amazon and frequently recommended throughout enthusiast forums, so you can’t go wrong with this CPU cooler!
Kraken Z73 – Best Triple-Fan AIO
Specifications:rn• Radiator dimensions: L:394 mm, W:121 mm, H:27 mmrn• Fans: 3 x Aer P 120 mmrn• Noise levels: 21 – 36 dBArn• 6-year warranty
- Easily best designrnRGB and LED display on the pumprnUndoubtedly one of the best CPU/AIO coolerrnOver 17,500 5-star ratings on Amazon
- ExpensivernCAM software is useful but can often be unusable/buggy
NZXT offers some of the most popular picks for AIO out there, and the Kraken Z73 is definitely one of the favorites for a couple of reasons.
First, let’s begin with the Z73’s greatest aspect, its appearance. NZXT has consistently displayed a simple fashion, and this is evident in the Z73 as well.
Though it’s fully black and quite simple in its layout, it features an illuminated display on the pump, which enhances its style a little. In general, the Z73 appears to be well-made and exudes a sense of quality.
However, this good sensation comes with a fee. And that fee is a $285 cost. And if you fancy RGB followers, you will need to pay an added $20. This is reasonably severe pricing, so why do computer devotees continue to accept NZXT’s AIOs?
Well, NZXT has a fairly good track record when it comes to AIOs, so PC enthusiasts can trust that the cooler won’t fail after a few years. To make users feel even safer, the Z73 has a 6 year warranty.
Thermal performance is also one of the strongest points with NZXT AIOs, so, naturally, the Z73 offers some of the best cooling out there.
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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 pricy, but it looks absolutely stunning with its LED display on the pump and infinite mirror RGB.
Of course, the two last coolers are also good choices. The Pure Rock 2 works well for people with a small amount of money and average CPUs. The H115i RGB Platinum would also work well in any computer and give good temperature numbers.