The Best Low Profile CPU Coolers (2022 Reviews)

If you need a small, cheap, and easy-to-install CPU cooler, a low-profile CPU cooler is a good choice. Here are the best low profile CPU coolers today.

CPU coolers have undergone considerable improvements over the years. This is especially true for AIOs (All-in-one closed water-cooled loops).

Take, for example, NZXT’s Kraken Z63 which comes with an entire LED screen on the pump that can be used to display temperature, fan speed, power usage, and more. Arctic took it to another level by adding a fan to the pump itself to cool VRMs.

Related:The Best CPU Coolers (2022 Reviews)

However, the cooling solutions mentioned above and similar products usually cost well over $100. Some even cost $200. In addition, not every case is built for a 280mm radiator.

In other words, something cheaper, smaller, and easier to install is needed. Fortunately, low-profile CPU coolers are exactly that, and here is our list of some of the best.

Arctic is a highly-regarded brand in the PC community as they provide awesome CPU cooling solutions and high-quality thermal paste (Arctic MX-5, MX-4, and others). Their Arctic Liquid Freezer II is widely considered to be one best AIOs on the market.

However, as we are focusing on low-profile and budget picks this time around, let’s talk about Arctic’s Alpine 12.

The Alpine 12 is only 77 mm tall which means it will fit into most ITX cases you throw it at. After all, it is a low-profile cooler. Its power draw is less than 1W, making it an ideal choice for those that want to slap this cooler on a CPU, close the case and not open it again for a couple of years.

This low power draw means much lower fan motor temperature which ultimately leads to improved longevity. That is supported by Arctic’s 6-year warranty.

Combine all of that with a price tag of just $15 for the Alpine 12 and the pre-applied MX-2 thermal paste. It is a no-brainer.

SilverStone is another popular brand offering products in several categories including computer chassis, power supplies, and of course, coolers and fans.

Let’s take a look at SilverStone’s NT08-115XP. This low-profile cooler is just 34 mm tall, making it one of the thinnest air coolers available.

Naturally, with such a tiny heatsink, it won’t be able to deliver impressive thermal performance. In fact, if possible, we recommend going with a slightly bigger cooler. If you have an ultra-slim ITX case and cannot fit anything taller than 35mm in, go for it.

Unfortunately, the NT08-115XP won’t do the job if you have a Ryzen system as it doesn’t have AM4 socket support. Thankfully, it will fit on current and some older Intel generations.

This SilverStone cooler is also a bit pricier at around $30.

Cryorig C7 is another low-profile cooler that should fit in any ultra slim computer chassis. It is taller than the SilverStone alternative at a height of 47 mm, but still quite short considering Intel’s stock cooler is around 60 mm.

With a price tag of $30 and a six-year warranty, the Cryorig C7 is another great value low-profile cooler.

With its nickel-plated copper heat pipes and base combined with the aluminum fins, the Cryorig C7 can deliver solid thermal performance.

You won’t be able to start overclocking with this cooler as it will thermal throttle, but it can maintain your temperature during medium loads.

Noctua has a huge presence in the PC community as it offers one of the best air coolers on the market at a reasonable price. Of course, we’re talking about Noctua’s NH-D15(S). You might be familiar with their signature brown/beige color combination on their fans.

The Noctua NH-L9i is a low-profile alternative that bears that same brown and beige color combination and it is just as good in its category. In fact, it might be the best in its category judging by its reviews on Amazon and many of the professional reviews online.

However, that performance comes with a heftier price tag. Its MSRP is $50. Right now, it is sold even higher than its MSRP.

Scythe might not be as popular as some of the other brands mentioned in this article, but they do offer quite a few solid products such as the Mugen 5 and FUMA 2.

Their low-profile product is also pretty good at just 69 mm in height. That makes it the second tallest cooler listed, but if you are not very limited by space, getting a bigger heatsink or fan can be quite beneficial.

It is also much wider/longer at 122mm because it uses a 120mm fan size.

One possible negative of Scythe’s Big Shuriken 3 is the price tag of $50.

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Honorable Mentions

The market is full of low-profile coolers, but we only wanted to show you the best ones.

There are some coolers that didn’t make the list but are still pretty good.

The Noctua NH-L12S is a great alternative to the NH-L9i for those that have a bit more case space as it is much taller (70 mm). This allows for much better airflow which naturally means better thermals.

You will also get that same 6-year warranty and NT-H1 thermal compound.

Thermaltake’s Engine 27 is a great pick in terms of thermal performance and noise and we gladly recommend it for everyone.

However, as this entire cooler is made of metal (aluminum) including the fan, the noise created is at a much higher pitch. So yes, it is technically quieter than the C7, for example, but the high-pitched noise can be more annoying.

Which Low-Profile CPU Cooler Should You Get?

We have narrowed down our list of low-profile CPU coolers to five. You might still be wondering which of these coolers you should choose.

For those with an ultra-slim case such as the Skyreach 4 Mini or Louqe Ghost S1, we recommend SilverStone’s NT08-115XP or Noctua NH-L9i. Both of these are below 40 mm in height, so they will have no trouble fitting.

If you have more room in your case, the Alpine 12 or Big Shuriken 3 can deliver better thermal performance. If you want something in-between, consider Cryorig’s C7.

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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.