Best cpu cooler fan: Best CPU Coolers 2022: Air and Liquid Cooling Picks

The Best CPU Cooler and Case/Cooler Fan Buyer’s Guide – Fall 2022

  • Fan –

    Arctic P12 PWM PST


    Want to silence your system? Look no further than the excellent P12 PWM from Arctic. It offers fantastic performance at low noise levels, and comes in at a shockingly-low price. Plus, it’s the only fan we’ve found that excels when used on both coolers or as a case fan. And yet Arctic just piles on the goodness by also offering this fan in a value 5-pack, perfect if you want to upgrade a case and a cooler at the same time! The P12 is the best “Jack-of-all-trades” 120mm fan we’ve come across, and the price makes it an easy recommendation.

    The Guru’s Tip

    We want to make clear that this is neither the best heatsink fan, rad fan, nor the best case fan (each of which you’ll find below). It is the best all-around fan for the price, and if you are on a budget, this fan is what you want in every fan location in your system.

  • Case Fan –

    Scythe Kaze Flex 120mm Fan


    Scythe has been in the cooling business for decades, and we actually have some of their fans from the early 2000s still running in our systems! What makes the Kaze Flex and its predecessors so good are the high-quality fluid dynamic bearings Scythe uses, plus a unique fan blade design that allows for extraordinary cooling even at a quiet maximum speed of 1200RPM. In our testing, the Kaze Flex has proven to be the best 120mm case fan on the market! There’s also a black version of this fan available for a few dollars more with a boosted max of 1500RPM.

    The Guru’s Tip

    Of note: our testing has shown that in cases that can fit 2x140mm fans or 3x120mm fans in the front, you will be better off with 3x120mm if you’re using a high-TDP video card.

  • Heatsink Fan –

    Scythe Wonder Snail 120


    We’ve tested nearly every fan on the market, and when it comes to CPU heatsink performance, the Wonder Snail from Scythe is simply the best. Yes, that means better than Arctic, better than Noctua, better than all the rest. And the very best part is the price, which in typical Scythe form is way below the competition, despite quality and performance that aims straight for the top!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Two caveats: this is not a case fan, and we do not recommend you buy it for that purpose (go for the Scythe Kaze Flex instead), and it’s not the best radiator fan. That honor goes to the fan below!

  • Radiator Fan –

    Phanteks T30-120 Triple Pack


    If you want the best 120mm radiator fan on the market, bar none, you simply must go for the Phanteks T30-120. That “30” in the name refers to a thickness of 30mm, and some people think that’s cheating, but this fan is so far ahead of the competition (yes, we’re looking at you, NF-A12x25!), that if you have the extra 5mm, quit making excuses for the previous market leader and buy it! We’ve tested all the leading radiator fans on the market, and the T30 is in a league of its own, opening up temperature deltas of 3-4C over the next closest competitor (the aforementioned NF-A12x25).

    The Guru’s Tip

    As with nearly all of our fan recommendations, this one is very specific. It’s the best 120mm rad fan. It won’t work on many heatsinks, due to many fan clips not being long enough. Honestly, it’s best utilized to maximize the performance of a 360mm rad, for which the screws are included with the fans.

  • Slim Fan –

    Noctua NF-A12x15


    Need the best slim fan in the business? Skip all the ones you’ve read about in forums dating back ten years ago and step up to the best ever made: the NF-A12x15, a 15mm-thick, 120mm-class wunderkind. Released in late-2017 after years of painstaking research and development, it’s vastly superior to any other slim fan, thanks to its use of a metal hub and exclusive SS02 hydraulic bearing. All other slim fans use scratchy-sounding sleeve or ball bearings, because no one else has the expertise to slim down a hydraulic bearing like Noctua does. Note that this model is also available in the color scheme for around $5 more.

    The Guru’s Tip

    When used on coolers and radiators, this fan will actually outperform most 25mm-thick fans!

  • ARGB Fan –



    Arctic started with its proven P12 design and made it even better with the ARGB version. It adds not only very slick ARGB effects, but also a stabilizer ring at the blade edges, rubber bumpers on the corners, and a 0dB mode, allowing it to spin smoothly down to zero with a low PWM signal. In our shootout, this fan performed amazingly well, beating even the P12! Basically, if you’re looking for the best all-around ARGB fan on the market, whether for heatsink, radiator, or case fan applications, this is the one!

    The Guru’s Tip

    This fan does not include an ARGB controller box, so make sure your motherboard has a 3-pin ARGB header. There is no adapter for use with older 4-pin RGB headers.

  • Fan –

    Scythe Kaze Flex 140


    Need the best all-around 140mm fan on the market? This one’s easy: it’s the Scythe Kaze Flex 140. Offering the best case fan cooling, amazing radiator cooling, and quiet operation, it’s unbeatable. The fact that it’s also less expensive than its competitors is icing on the cake!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Important caveat: when using this as a case fan, do not be tempted to run it at its maximum RPM of 1800. That’s a very high RPM for a 140mm fan, and it’s best reserved for use on a radiator.

The Best CPU Coolers — Holidays 2022

  • Best Of
  • Cooling

Air, Liquid, Compact, Budget > Stock

Amir Shoam

TechSpot is supported by its audience. We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Here’s why you can trust us.

How should you keep your CPU cool? The market offers two main alternatives: air coolers using a heatsink and all-in-one liquid coolers with a pump and a radiator. Radiators take longer to heat up than heatsinks, thanks to the additional mass of the water flowing through them, but are also harder to cool once they get hot. For quick work or gaming sessions with long breaks in-between, water coolers are better, but for prolonged workloads air coolers offer a better value.

Generally speaking, the more powerful your CPU is, the bigger and better cooler you’ll need. This will vary across architectures depending on how efficient they are, how many cores, and at what frequencies your CPU runs. If your desktop PC needs a lot of power and you travel with it, you’re likely to feel safer with a radiator that’s attached to your case via 8 or 12 screws than with a huge chunk of metal hanging off your motherboard.

Another reason to use water cooling is if you have a slim case that doesn’t have the space for a larger air cooler, or even for a fan near the CPU. On the other hand, a pump is much harder to replace than a fan if it broke, and while rare, the possibility of leaks within an electronic device can be scary. Regardless of which type of cooler you need, this guide will cover many great options at every size and price point.

  • Best Air Coolers
    Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 (SE) + Tons of Alternatives

    Price: $35

  • Best Low-Profile Cooler
    Scythe Big Shuriken 3 Rev. B

    Price: $49

  • Best All-In-One Liquid Cooler
    Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280

    Price: $114

  • Best Compact AIO Cooler
    Enermax Liqmax III 120

    Price: $59

  • Budget Coolers

    Budget Coolers that are Better than Stock

  • Socket TR4

    Threadripper Cooling

Best Air Coolers

In numbers


$35 on Amazon

User Reviews:

In all but the most demanding scenarios, the Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 and its almost identical SE version will perform just as well as the best CPU coolers on the market, while remaining just as quiet, for less than half the price.

Starting at just $36, the cooler uses 6 copper heat pipes, two 120mm fans spinning at up to 1550 RPM, and a split-tower design to make sure that less air is lost along the way. Thermalright is a seasoned and somewhat forgotten company, but with such price differences between the Peerless Assassin and their competitors, concerns about warranty for the fans are arguably moot.

In most systems, the only reason not to give Thermalright a shot is if you have extremely tall RAM modules (more than 51mm). In that case, you should spend some more on the similarly performing Scythe Fuma 2 Rev. B ($66), which offers complete RAM clearance thanks to its asymmetrical shape.

The heavyweight champions

If you want to fully utilize one of the most power-hungry mainstream CPUs, you’ll need one of the most massive coolers. Starting at $65, the DeepCool AK620 offers the best value with two 120mm fans that can reach 1850 RPM.

If you want the very best, you’ll struggle to find an air cooler that performs as well as the Noctua NH-D15 with two 140mm fans ($100) at their max RPM of 1,500. Historically, the most controversial (and defining) aspect about Noctua’s coolers has been their color scheme. These days, though, you can get the NH-D15’s Chromax.Black version for $10 more.

If you value acoustic efficiency over top cooling performance, then you can’t beat the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 ($90). The cooler comes with two fans: one 135mm in the middle, and one 120mm on the outside for improved RAM clearance. When all fans spin at the same speed, the Dark Rock Pro 4 cools slightly better than the NH-D15 thanks to its 7 heat pipes, but only the 120mm fan is capable of spinning at 1,500 RPM — the 135mm one is limited to 1,200 RPM.

More compact alternatives

If you aren’t running any of the most power-hungry mainstream CPUs, you can also go with a more compact and lightweight cooler. In this case you have several good options, including the Be Quiet! Pure Rock 2 Black ($45), Arctic Freezer 34 eSports Duo ($53) and Noctua NH-U12S Redux ($47).

If you want to build a powerful system that also moves around a lot, you should check out the Noctua NH-U12A ($110), which uses two 120mm fans and a compact single-tower design, but makes up for that with 7 heat pipes and a max RPM of 2,000.

Budget coolers that are much better than stock

AMD’s Wraith Spire is surprisingly good for a stock cooler, nearly matching Cooler Master’s venerable Hyper 212 Evo, now selling at $45. On the other hand, Intel’s stock coolers and AMD’s Wraith Stealth are meant to be replaced by those who want to get the most out of their CPU.

If you want to improve upon what your stock CPU cooler offers for as little money as possible, here are 3 proven choices:

  • Vetroo’s V5 offers 5 heat pipes and a 120mm ARGB fan for $35.
  • ID-Cooling’s SE-214-XT offers 1 less heat pipe, but sells for $20.
  • If you don’t want RGB, the Thermalright Assassin X120 starts at $20 without it.
Threadripper Cooling

You may think that AMD’s Threadripper CPUs are harder to cool than most mainstream CPUs, because of their extra cores, but in fact their larger surface area makes up for those as long as the cooler is designed to utilize it. That’s why Noctua is able to get away with a single 140mm fan and a compact design in its $90 NH-U14S TR4-SP3, possibly the most acoustically efficient cooler for AMD Threadrippers.

If you still prefer a split-tower design, the Dark Rock Pro 4’s TR4 edition is almost identical to the one recommended above, and usually costs the same as its competitor ($90).

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Best Low-Profile Cooler

In numbers


$49 on Amazon

The market is filled with low-profile CPU coolers, because they are cheap to produce and fit into every case. The problem is, most of them aren’t much better than stock coolers, if at all. If you want top gaming performance in a small package, your best bet is the $50 Scythe Big Shuriken 3 Rev. B, released in 2022. At only 67mm of height, it has 5 heat pipes and a slim 120mm fan. It also offers complete RAM clearance and a neutral color scheme.

If you have a bit more vertical space and reasonably short RAM modules, you may be better off with another entry from Noctua: the NH-L12S ($60). Its slim, 120mm fan can be installed on top of the fins, to give extended clearance for RAM modules up to 48mm tall and improve cooling performance; or underneath the fins, so the overall height is only 70mm.

If you need an even shorter cooler and your CPU is efficient enough, Noctua offers the 37mm-tall NH-L9a (for AM4 systems), NH-L9i-17xx (for modern Intel systems) and NH-L9i (for older Intel ones) for $45 each. All versions are available in black for an extra $10, and can be adjusted for AMD’s current AM5 platform with an $8 adapter.

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Best All-In-One Liquid Cooler

In numbers


$114 on Amazon

TechSpot Metascore:

User Reviews:

Radiators marketed as «360mm» may sound better than those «280mm,» but this naming scheme only takes into account the combined length of the fans, and ignores their width. Spinning at the same speed, two 140mm fans will cool almost as well as three 120mm ones, while making less noise, being easier to maintain, and fitting into cases with 5.25″ bays.

At $110, we can’t ignore the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280, the winner of the CPU coolers category at the 2022 European Hardware Awards. Its two 140mm fans are capable of spinning at speeds between 200 and 1,700 RPM. The pump itself is kept cool by a 40mm fan, which helps cooling the motherboard’s VRM as well. An ARGB version, with fans that can reach 1,900 RPM, is available for $125. With 6 years of warranty, this is a great value.

Alternatives at different price points

If you have a mainstream CPU or a relatively small case, but still want a liquid cooler, ID-Cooling currently sells its Frostflow X 240 for $56, and the LED-equipped Snow version for $1 less. The two 120mm fans, which can reach 1,800 RPM, start at 700 RPM to compensate for their size. At these prices, 2 years of warranty are good enough.

If you want something a bit flashier and money isn’t a problem, look no further than NZXT’s $224 Kraken Z63. Its LCD display on the pump is more than a gimmick, as it can make it easier for you to know if the pump fails. A 6-year warranty makes this cooler seem like a safer purchase.

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Best Compact All-In-One Cooler

In numbers


$59 on Amazon

User Reviews:

If you have a Mini-ITX case such as the Cooler Master Elite 130, where space and airflow around the CPU are severely limited, a 120mm radiator may be your only sensible choice. Such a radiator isn’t going to cool as well as ones that are twice or thrice its size, but it can still be a worthy improvement upon a stock cooler.

Out of the single-fan radiators on the market, the Enermax Liqmax III 120 seems to offer the best value by far at $60.

With a dual-chamber pump, it makes sure that the hot water that’s pushed toward the radiator doesn’t get mixed with the cooler water pulled out of it. Unlike most of the radiators its size, the fan has a variable RPM of between 500 and 2,000. A 5-year warranty period makes it a perfect choice. The RGB version is available for the same $60, but its fan can only reach 1,600 RPM.

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be quiet! — silent power supplies, cases and PC cooling systems. Power calculator and compatibility check for your PC

be quiet! is a German premium power supplies, PC cases, liquid and air cooling systems, as well as case fans for desktop PCs, originally from northern Germany. Twenty years of experience in PC noise reduction development allow be quiet! create virtually silent devices with world-class quality.

Find the perfect power supply with the wattage calculator, the best silent cooler compatible with your motherboard, compare the quietness vs. performance of PWM fans, and choose your preferred retail or online store: be quiet! offers our customers comprehensive support. nine0003

Extremely quiet operation

be quiet! lives up to its name: 20 years of research into noise reduction and absolute silence have made be quiet! products arguably the quietest on the market.
Undoubtedly, fans are an essential factor in minimizing noise levels in all our products. Our entire range of products uses specially designed Silent Wings and other be quiet! fans with a variety of noise reduction technologies. With special bearings, smooth motor operation, airflow optimization and isolated fan design, be quiet! achieve the perfect balance of excellent cooling performance and near-silent operation. nine0015 Choosing be quiet! stands for guaranteed, time-tested quality and characteristic be quiet! silent operation.

Developed in Germany

High-end gaming systems, overclocked PCs or near-silent home theater systems: with a wide range of products, be quiet! offers the best solution for every need. It doesn’t matter if you prefer a CPU cooler, one or more independent PSU power lines, a midi or full-tower case. Customers don’t have to compromise between better performance and zero noise. nine0015 The headquarters is located in Glinde near Hamburg. It is here that since 2002 we have been developing and designing all our products, as well as carrying out inspections and quality control. This ensures that every be quiet! meets our high standards. Regular awards in categories such as «Best Fan», «Best Power Supply», «Best Cooler» and «Best PC Case» from industry media, as well as a high level of positive customer experience, ensure the company’s healthy and stable growth. nine0003

Excellent manufacturer service and support

Regular publications, exciting articles on trending hardware topics, contests and press releases keep the community up to date. All technical documentation is available online, including materials for B2B buyers — user manuals, high resolution images and videos.
In addition to high-end products with world-class quality and up to 10 years manufacturer’s warranty, be quiet! also be quiet! is also famous for its outstanding customer support. Contact forms, email or phone numbers allow you to get in direct contact with our after-sales support team. Social media platforms provide even more opportunities for information, help and discussion with the community. nine0003

be quiet! is a trademark of Listan GmbH |

Top 5 CPU coolers in 2021 for gaming and overclocking: air and liquid cooling systems

Having the best CPU cooler isn’t always an important part of a gaming PC. You can always get by with the stock cooler that comes with your processor, but either way, cooling this component is vital to its longevity and performance. nine0003

Whether you just want to expand your gaming system and increase performance or seriously overclock, you will need a CPU cooler that fits and meets your needs.


  1. Best CPU Cooler at a Glance
  2. Best CPU Cooler
  3. Best Liquid CPU Cooler
  4. Best Quiet CPU Cooler
  5. Best RGB Lighted CPU Cooler0048
  6. The best budget cooler for the processor
  7. How do we choose
  8. How do we test
  9. What do we need to consider
  10. Presentation
  11. Reliability
  12. Your budget
  13. Consider the amount of heat allocated by your computer
  14. 9004 ?
  15. Pay attention to the processor socket
  16. Which is better: air or liquid cooling?
  17. Clearance: make sure all your components fit
  18. Consider fan position and airflow direction
  19. How important is aesthetics?
  20. Key terms to understand
  21. AIO (all-in-one)
  22. TDP (thermal design power)
  23. RPM (revolutions per minute)
  24. PWM (pulse width modulation)
  25. dBa weighted A)
  26. Top 5 CPU Coolers
  27. Best CPU Cooler
  28. Best CPU Liquid Cooler
  29. The best noiseless cooler for the processor
  30. The best cooler for the processor with RGB backing
  31. The best budget cooler for the processor
  32. Conclusion

Best cooler for the processor: First glance

Best cooler for the processor


Editor Rating — 4. 6 / 5

  • Thermal — 4.6 / 5
  • Acoustic — 4.7 / 5
  • Aesthetics — 4.4 / 5

Noctua D15 is the human champion. Its performance is so outstanding that it can compete with multiple liquid CPU coolers.

Noctua NH-D15 is largely based on the NH-D14 cooler. The cooler features two large aluminum heatsinks, fresh design, smooth copper base plate, 6 copper heat pipes and 2 140mm fans to provide superior air cooling performance.

Best CPU Liquid Cooler

Nzxt Kraken Z63

Editor rating — 4.6/ 5

  • Thermal characteristics — 4.8/ 5
  • Acoustic characteristics — 4.4/5
  • Aesthetics — 4.8/5

9000 this when it comes to cooling high TDP processors. It is ideal for high performance builds with powerful processing power and is a must for those who can fit it into their case and budget. nine0003

Quality closed circuit fluid cooler. This all-in-one PC comes with dual 140mm RGB fans for excellent heat dissipation. This AIO also features an LCD panel that is purely aesthetic yet beautiful.

Best Quiet CPU Cooler

Scythe Ninja 5 CPU Cooler

Editor Rating — 4.5 / 5

  • Thermal — 4.04 / 8

    47 Acoustics — 4.8/ 5

  • Aesthetics — 4.4/ 5

If you want a quieter system and don’t want to compromise on low temperatures, then nothing beats the Scythe Ninja 5 CPU cooler. One of the best coolers at an affordable price!

This is what you want if you keep silent. It has a large heatsink and two 120mm fans that bring down the noise level to an impressive 14.5dBA. Pair this with a quiet PC case for the ultimate silent setup. nine0003

The best cooler for the processor with RGB backing

Thermaltake Floe

Editor rating- 4.5/ 5

  • Thermal characteristics- 4.9/ 5
  • Acoustic characteristics- 4.3/5
  • 98- 4.8 / 5

An alternative AIO CPU liquid cooler that not only cools your system but also lights it up is the 360mm Floe from Thermaltake. It does a great job of cooling and also adds some serious style elements. nine0003

Equipped with three 120mm RGB PWM fans and an RGB pump, this cooler from Thermaltake will transform your build. By keeping this processor nice and cool, RGB, which can be customized with Thermaltake software, gives you impressive visuals. This all-in-one is a great alternative to RGB liquid cooling and can handle high TDP.

Best Budget CPU Cooler

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition

Editor rating — 4.4/ 5

  • Thermal characteristics — 4.3/5
  • Acoustic characteristics — 4.7/5
  • Aesthetics — 4.3/ 5

This is a high -quality cooler for people with a limited budget , which many PC builders swear by. It’s a powerful cooling solution before it even becomes clear, but with its fantastically low price, it’s gaining recognition as our best budget choice.

If your budget is tight, you can’t go wrong with the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition. The performance of this cooler speaks volumes, and when you consider its slim design and affordability, you begin to understand why it is so highly regarded. nine0003

How we choose

All of the CPU coolers on this list are here for a reason—we didn’t just pick them out of thin air. First of all, we did a search to find out what kind of CPU coolers gamers like, trying to find a balance between those with the highest reviews and those with the lowest prices.

We took into account reviews from various manufacturers, as well as reviews from other manufacturers of computer games.

We then get as many of our recommendations as we can so we can get a closer look at the build quality, test how easy they are to work with, and see how effectively they cool the CPU. nine0003

How we test

We love trying out all the recommended hardware, from PC cases to CPU coolers. Product testing is a huge part of our overall selection process and is a way to make sure a particular option is the best fit for the job.

CPU coolers should meet our expectations, which is largely due to a lot of acoustic and thermal performance tests, and some other boring stuff, but most if not all recommendations go through a rigorous testing process. nine0003

In the case of a CPU cooler, we need to evaluate build quality, thermal performance, acoustic performance, and finally cost.

This process allows us to give you an accurate picture of how well the cooler performs and, in the end, is it worth your hard-earned money.

Things to consider

There’s more to consider when buying a CPU cooler than just «whether it will fit». Below are a few key factors that you should research and understand before making your final purchase. nine0003


All of the CPU coolers on our list have been proven to perform well for what they cost. The only job of a cooler is to keep temperatures low and give you, the consumer, more bang for your buck.

So having a reliable cooler can help you squeeze extra power out of your CPU if you choose an overclocking route, and it’s best to keep it as cool as possible.


CPU coolers are expected to be loud when running at maximum, which is often the case, for example, in a game. Air coolers usually produce more noise than liquid coolers, but not always. Cooler manufacturers test the maximum noise level so we can see what kind of noise impact certain coolers will have on our system.


It is important to choose manufacturers that produce high quality products, and this is especially true when it comes to liquid cooling solutions. nine0003

There have been cases where liquid coolers with a closed circuit have leaked, so we have tried to provide quality recommendations!

Your budget

Often any aftermarket cooling solution is better than the stock fan that comes with certain processors. If you’re not sure how powerful your fan should be after reading everything here, then it’s best to go overboard, as it’s safer than undercooling your CPU.

And if you buy a heavy duty CPU cooler, you may not need to update it the next time you upgrade your CPU. If money is tight, save money and choose a reliable air-cooling solution. nine0003

Consider how much heat your computer generates

Before you can figure out what size cooler you need (and how much money you should budget), you first need to know how much heat your processor puts out.
Luckily this is a lot easier than you think since you really need to know the TDP.

This information is usually found on the box of the CPU and should tell you everything you need to know.

If you no longer have a processor, just go online and enter your processor model number, go straight to the specs tab and look for TDP. nine0003

What size cooler should I choose?

Now that you know your processor model, it’s time to determine which cooler size best suits your needs.

If you have a low TDP processor (40W to 70W), you don’t need a big cooler. You can choose a cheaper small and medium size cooler and still lower the temperature. Anything above 75W will benefit from a larger CPU cooler, as larger heatsinks help keep those temperatures even lower, and sometimes they come with extra fans to improve airflow. nine0003

Pay attention to CPU socket

Whether you are using an air or liquid cooling solution, it must fit into the CPU socket.
While most coolers fit most CPU sockets using various brackets, some coolers still only work with certain sockets.

To determine the type of CPU socket that fits the CPU cooler, check the specifications of the CPU or motherboard. nine0003

Which is better: air or liquid cooling?

Technically, when it comes to out-of-the-box processing power, the choice is up to you as they all provide adequate cooling. Air coolers are often cheaper, but may not provide the same performance when cooling an overclocked CPU.

Whichever you choose, there are some pros and cons to both types of cooling. In practice, low-profile air fans often operate very quietly and are suitable for small buildings. nine0003

Clearance: make sure all your components fit

One of the most common problems people have when buying a mid-to-high-end air cooler is the gap (the space once the cooler is installed).

Sometimes heatsinks can be very large and leave little room for RAM and other hardware, and sometimes the case itself. So make sure you check the gap, which should be clearly stated on the CPU cooler specification. nine0003

You should also check the motherboard layout to make sure the parts don’t collide with each other. If you have a lot of clearance, then everything is in order. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough clearance, you will need a liquid cooler as they take up less space, but make sure you have enough space in your case to install one.

Consider fan position and airflow direction

There are usually four different locations for fluid coolers in the chassis. Depending on the case, you can usually mount the cooler on top (you’ll see vents and screw holes). It can sometimes be installed from the front by removing the front panel from the case. In extreme cases where space is tight, a smaller liquid cooler can replace the exhaust fan on the back of the PC. nine0003

When installing fans on an air cooler or liquid cooler, make sure you know which way the air will blow. Some manufacturers have arrows on the fans to indicate the direction, and ideally you want the air to flow out of the case, so position them accordingly.

How important is aesthetics?

It goes without saying that liquid coolers look better than most air coolers.

Although liquid coolers look «cooler», this does not mean that they are more efficient. Of course, there are a few air coolers that do better than liquid coolers, so don’t buy the most expensive one.

Just be aware that liquid coolers are usually the best option for overclocking as they cool better than air at higher temperatures.

Key terms to understand

Before we get into that, here are a few basic terms that you are not currently familiar with. nine0003

AIO (all-in-one)

This refers to a liquid or closed loop cooler. This means that the pump, pipes, liquid and reservoir are combined into a single unit. All you have to do is install it and you’re done. It is known as «all-in-one» because you can get a completely customized liquid cooling that requires a lot more know-how and skill to install.

TDP (Designed Thermal Power)

Also called Design Temperature Point. Specifications are measured in watts. It tells us the maximum amount of heat that the component, which in this case is the processor, will produce. nine0003

RPM (revolutions per minute)

RPM or RPM is the number of revolutions that the CPU fan makes per minute. More RPM means more airflow, but this can increase the noise level.

PWM (Pulse Width Modulation)

Pulse Width Modulation is a modulation process or method that performs a predefined action based on either temperature (CPU) or system commands.
This simply means that the PWM fan allows you to control the fan speed or RPM and lighting (if it is RGB) wirelessly or via third party software. nine0003

dBA (A-weighted decibels)

This expresses directly the relative loudness of airborne sounds perceived by the human ear. A-weighted decibels means that sounds at low frequencies are reduced compared to unweighted decibels.
Here is a table with comparative examples of noise levels:

Noise levels

Example dBA
pins 011 Noctua NH-D15

Technical characteristics

  • Type-Air
  • MAX rpm
  • Maximum noise-24.6 dB
  • Size-(c) 165 x (165 x (165 x (165 x (165 x (165 x (165 x (165 x (165 x (165 x (165 x (165 x ( W) 150 x (D) 150 mm


  • Good thermal performance
  • Excellent acoustic performance
  • Convenient mounting system
  • Excellent build quality0047 is delivered with (2) 140-mm fans


  • relatively expensive
  • Hefty size

NOCTUA-a very popular brand in this industry due to its professional skills in the field — a proven master in the field of refrigeration. It performs just as well as several liquid CPU coolers in the mid-range category, which also makes it one of the best CPU coolers not only for gaming, but in general. nine0003

Looking at what’s included, you have two 140mm fans. These fans were surprisingly quiet even at full load during gaming. With a sound level of 24.6 dBA, you are unlikely to hear how it works. While the performance is not much different from the D14, it does seem to perform better acoustically.

The disadvantage for some will be excessive size, the heatsinks are quite large, which means that your RAM may not fit depending on your setup, and in some cases there may be gap issues. While it’s true that you can move the front fan up to make more room for RAM, the positives of its size definitely outweigh the negatives if it fits into your setup. nine0003

Noctua has taken this into account by releasing a second, smaller version: NH-D15S . However, the performance was noticeably worse than this model, which means that you can find a better solution outside of these two products.

Color is considered a hit and miss by some, but it’s barely noticeable on your system and I personally really liked the aesthetic. Despite what you do with the design, this CPU is a serious piece of kit and one of the few air coolers that can cool a modern overclocked CPU. nine0003

The best liquid cooler for the processor


Technical characteristics

  • Type — Liquid
  • Max about / min — 1800
  • Maximum noise — 38 ds ) x 143 (W) x 315 (D) mm


  • Excellent thermal performance with high TDP
  • Incredible aesthetics
  • LCD screen


  • Expensive

NZXT’s Kraken line has been gaining popularity in recent years, and it’s not just about their superior build quality and great design. The NZXT Kraken Z63 is the latest version of the already impressive X63, only with an LCD panel on the pump. While the panel offers nothing more than an aesthetic touch, it is unique and a step up for those who want more than pure performance.

There are now 360mm options that are better suited for higher TDP overclocking, but we feel the Z63 strikes the perfect balance of aesthetics, cooling performance, acoustics and compatibility that will likely fit a wider range of PC cases. nine0003

The two 140mm fans do a really good job of dissipating that heat, and the included CAM software is one of the best, with impressive customization and intuitive controls.

We understand that if the extra cost of the LCD panel is too much and the X63 performs just as well, but for the ultimate in looks and cooling performance, the Kraken Z63 is definitely one of the best AIO coolers out there right now.

Best Quiet CPU Cooler

Processor cooler Scythe Ninja 5

Technical characteristics

  • Type — Air
  • Max rpm — 800
  • Maximum noise — 14. 5 dBA
  • Size — (c) 135 X (c) (c) (c) (c) (c) (c) 135 x (c) 135 x (c) 135 x (c) Sh) 155 x (d) 180 mm


  • Excellent thermal characteristics at price
  • Extremely quiet
  • Stylish design


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  • Large size can cause compatibility issues
  • The Scythe Ninja 5 CPU cooler is one that many consider to compete with the impressive Noctua D15 when you consider the price. This is almost half the price of Noctua and offers a similar level of thermal performance and excellent acoustic performance.

    This is one of the quietest fan coolers on the market, and it’s by no means small as we see a large heatsink and two 120mm fans. The heatsink is powered by six heatpipes that distribute heat over a large heatsink. The fans may not be as efficient as the Noctua, but they do an excellent job of circulating cool air through the fins and deliver top-notch results. nine0003

    The cooler is equipped with two PWM fans with fluid dynamic bearings, which only reach 800 RPM, so the noise level is always kept at no more than 14.5 dBA. As you would expect from such a quiet cooler, it has rubber corners to limit vibration noise, which is nice.

    This cooler supports a wide range of sockets from both Intel and AMD and will keep your CPU at optimum temperature. Installation is actually relatively easy, only the mass of this cooler makes it a bit more difficult than a regular sized cooler. This is highly recommended as it truly is one of the quietest coolers on the market and the fact that it comes at a budget price is excellent. nine0003

    The best cooler for the processor with RGB backing

    Thermaltake Floe

    Technical characteristics

    • Type-Liquid
    • Max iled / min.
    • maximum dib-24.4 dib
    • Dimensions — H (394) x W (120) x D (52) mm


    • Lighting compatible with most motherboard connectors
    • Quiet operation
    • Unrivaled RGB lighting


    • The pump is quite noisy
    • Very expensive

    Our best RGB CPU cooler is a massive Thermal Tripleing RGB Floe3. This cooler features some of the best RGB lighting options you’ll find on this list and comes standard with Thermaltake «Riing» fans that feature three lighting circuits.

    The radiator of this cooler is 360mm; so you’ll need a fairly large case, but it’s worth noting that extra lighting cables add clutter.

    The lighting of the CPU blocks can be synchronized with your trio of fans, providing an impressive display. The product comes with a Thermaltake fan controller, allowing you to add additional Thermaltake Riing fans to your case.

    Cooling performance may not be as good as some of the coolers on this list, but in terms of aesthetics, we can tolerate a few degrees here or there. This all-in-one is surprisingly quiet, although the maximum fan speed only reaches 1400.

    While it may not be ideal for a powerful overclocked processor, it still offers good enough thermal performance to make it on this list!

    The best budget cooler for the processor

    Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition

    Technical characteristics