Greatest CPU coolers of 2022

Up to date Sep 2, 2022 1:57 PM

A CPU cooler can cease warmth, the age-old nemesis of CPUs, in its tracks. If you happen to don’t preserve your pc cool, the warmth it generates can put your {hardware} in an early grave. And your processor, the guts of your PC, is extra vulnerable to the lasting affect of overheating than another element. Excessive temperatures can shorten its lifespan and scale back its efficiency, even in day-to-day duties. Whether or not you’re a hardcore gamer, constructing your individual house theater PC, or simply need to defend the system you’re engaged on daily, you shouldn’t underestimate the significance of including top-of-the-line CPU coolers to your system.

If you happen to’re constructing or upgrading your PC, then it’s best to think about shopping for an awesome CPU cooler to maintain your system alive and operating nicely. One of the best CPU coolers span a variety of cooling programs and worth ranges, so any builder can discover one thing that matches their system and their funds.

How we selected one of the best CPU coolers

I’ve been constructing PCs because the early 2000s and have been professionally reviewing pc tech since 2015. Throughout that point, I’ve researched and put in every thing from reasonably priced, single-fan heatsinks and low cost gaming PCs to showpiece liquid coolers with RGB lighting and LCD shows. As know-how and {hardware} editor at, I’ve professionally examined and retested coolers to see precisely how they stack up. I perceive what it takes for a cooler to work nicely with several types of processors and simply how a lot cooling you want for various computing duties.

To choose one of the best CPU coolers, I sorted by dozens of potential coolers, choosing elements that supplied one of the best steadiness of cooling efficiency, worth, and reliability. I created an extended listing of potential choices throughout six classes, itemizing people who I used to be personally conversant in together with people who featured nice on-paper specs and stellar reputations. I then in contrast that listing with arduous information from skilled evaluations and the impressions from actual customers, discovering one of the best steadiness of worth, efficiency, and reliability for every.

What to contemplate when shopping for a CPU cooler

Each pc improve or modification requires some planning. With regards to cooling your CPU, you’ll want to search out the correct type of cooler, the correct measurement on your system, and ensure that your selection can be appropriate with the remainder of your PC. Listed below are crucial issues to contemplate when purchasing for one of the best CPU cooler:

Do you really must improve your CPU cooler?

If you happen to’re considering of upgrading an present PC, it’s best to really be sure to want a brand new cooling system earlier than investing in a single. If you happen to discover your pc slowing down halfway by a processing-intensive activity, and even shutting down, there’s a superb probability you possibly can use a extra {powerful} CPU cooler. (In case you are constructing a brand new PC from scratch, you possibly can skip this half as you’ll positively want a cooling answer.)

That mentioned, you possibly can (and will) use temperature monitoring software program to see whether or not your PC is operating sizzling. We advocate MSI Afterburner, which is free and graphs your temperatures over a number of minutes. To get one of the best outcomes, open this system and use your pc as you usually would for roughly an hour so it has time to warmth up. Deal with probably the most intensive duties your PC handles repeatedly—play a recreation, edit some video, and so on. Swap to Afterburner mid-task and make notice of your present CPU temperature. The graph you’ll get represents how sizzling your CPU runs at peak output and when utilizing the pc usually.

Subsequent, it’s best to verify your peak CPU temperature to see how sizzling it can get utilizing your present cooler. Obtain Cinebench, one in all our prime CPU suggestions for one of the best benchmarking software program. Permit this program to run utterly, then verify in with Afterburner once more. This represents your peak CPU temperature. 

With these figures in hand, it’s time to see how these evaluate with the temperature pointers for the processor you’re utilizing. In case you have an Intel CPU, find your chip on this listing of Intel desktop processors. For AMD, discover it on this assortment of non-public desktop CPUs. Each corporations listing their most temperatures as T-Junction (TJMax) or Most Working Temperature. In case your CPU is approaching or reaching this determine, chances are you’ll be in want of an improve.

Air or water?

One of many first questions many new upgraders ask is whether or not they need to purchase an air cooler or a liquid cooler. Each types of cooler have their advantages, in addition to just a few drawbacks. Right here’s what you have to learn about every type:

Air coolers: Air coolers are the most typical sort of cooler for desktop PCs, providing tried and true cooling since we individuals began constructing computer systems at house. An air cooler options two elements: A big metallic heatsink that attracts warmth away out of your processor, and a fan that disperses that warmth out into the air so your case followers can blow it out. They’re the only answer, probably the most dependable. They’re often extra reasonably priced than a liquid cooling system and, at their largest and greatest, supply comparable cooling potential. 

The draw back to air coolers is that they are often cumbersome, particularly in case you have a high-performance CPU. Their measurement will be a difficulty for those who’re constructing in a smaller case, and should even block reminiscence slots in your motherboard. If you happen to care about aesthetics, an air cooler will not be your best option both as their bulk can typically develop into the focus in an in any other case great-looking PC. In addition they are inclined to run a bit louder than liquid coolers throughout regular use.

Liquid coolers: Liquid coolers have develop into a preferred selection for gaming PCs and programs with high-performance processors. These coolers, typically known as all-in-one coolers (AiO) or closed-loop coolers (CLCs), mix a water pump, radiator, and followers to soak up warmth and shortly whisk it away from the CPU for environment friendly cooling. They arrive in additional sizes than air coolers, permitting them to raised adapt to the dimensions constraints of assorted PC builds. In addition they higher steadiness cooling with fan noise, and often lead to decrease temperatures (with uncommon exceptions just like the top-of-the-line Noctua NH-D15). Due to their effectivity, liquid coolers typically run quietly on normal settings. The RGB-laden tubing that weaves by your system seems very sharp in a showpiece gaming PC with glass or mesh facet panels.

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Liquid cooling is certainly the fancier selection and gives some good perks, however a liquid cooler is way tougher to put in than an air cooler. You’ll want to make sure your pc case helps the radiator within the cooler you’re involved in putting in. They’re additionally typically costlier, and extra more likely to fail over time because the water pump ages and deteriorates. (That mentioned, one of the best of them include 3-5 12 months warranties.) 

The most important danger, in fact, is the liquid itself: It’s potential for a liquid cooler to leak and harm your system. In fact, this not often occurs—individuals wouldn’t purchase liquid coolers if it have been a serious concern—nevertheless it’s value preserving in thoughts, particularly for those who aren’t updating your PC repeatedly.

How a lot cooling do you really need?

It may be tempting to purchase the largest, highest-performance cooler you will discover, however that’s often not needed. The best approach to decide how a lot cooling energy you want is to take a look at how a lot warmth your processor will give off and discover a cooler with an analogous ranking. All Intel and AMD processors function a spec known as Thermal Design Energy (TDP), which signifies how a lot warmth it can give at most output. Ideally, you desire a cooler rated to deal with barely greater than the warmth your CPU provides off. (You will discover the product specs on your processor utilizing Intel or AMD’s database and notice the wattage listed.)

Sadly, it isn’t at all times so easy. Not all producer’s really listing the TDP for his or her coolers. If you end up on this scenario, you’ll must estimate based mostly in your processor’s efficiency. Larger efficiency elements often generate extra warmth, which suggests a bigger cooler is usually needed.

With air coolers, you merely scale the dimensions of the cooler with the facility of your processor. From Intel Core i3 and Ryzen 3, the bottom performing processors, by Core i9 and Ryzen 9, the best performing ones. If you happen to plan to overclock your system, pushing your CPU tougher for higher graphics in video games or different efficiency boosts, think about shopping for a extra {powerful} cooler than you technically want.

Liquid coolers additionally scale by measurement nevertheless it pays to be slightly extra exact. We advocate choosing no less than a 120mm radiator for Core-i3 and Ryzen 3 CPUs; a 240mm radiator for Core-i5, Core-i7, Ryzen 5, and Ryzen 7 processors; or a 360mm radiator for Core-i9 and Ryzen 9 CPUs. That mentioned, there may be extra wiggle room with liquid coolers and a 240mm radiator ought to cowl most bases. Opting for a bigger cooler doesn’t harm something greater than your pockets, so for those who’re on the fence, go one measurement up.

Will it match or block your different elements?

The ultimate factor to contemplate is whether or not your new cooler will bodily slot in your system. There are three issues to contemplate right here: Your CPU socket, case compatibility, and, for the most important air coolers, reminiscence clearance.

CPU socket: Your processor plugs into your PC’s motherboard by way of a particular, square-shaped socket. Your CPU cooler should even be appropriate along with your motherboard’s CPU socket to connect to the processor.

The present CPU sockets are the Intel LGA1700 and the AMD AM4. These sockets change repeatedly. (Living proof, Ryzen 7000 processors will use a brand new AM5 socket later this 12 months.) Most liquid and air coolers embrace compatibility brackets to match a wide selection of sockets, however some require you to request a compatibility package from the producer. Make sure you be certain that your new cooler matches your present CPU. 

Case compatibility: Case compatibility is a crucial issue for each air and liquid coolers. Bigger air coolers will be fairly massive. If it’s too huge, chances are you’ll not be capable to shut the facet panel of your case. Likewise, you’ll must make sure that your case helps mounting the liquid cooling radiator measurement you’re at present contemplating. Make sure you verify the specs on your pc case, in addition to any potential cooler, earlier than making a purchase order.

Reminiscence clearance: With massive air coolers, you might also discover that the heatsink prevents you from putting in RAM in a few of your motherboard’s reminiscence slots. If you happen to’re contemplating a towering cooler just like the Noctua DH-15S, look rigorously at its dimensions and measure the peak of the reminiscence sticks put in in your system. If the slot instantly underneath the heatsink is being utilized by a stick that’s too tall for its clearance, you’ll must take away it with a view to set up the cooler, which may decelerate your PC’s efficiency. 

One of the best CPU coolers: Critiques & Suggestions

You might have the fundamentals of choosing and putting in each air and liquid coolers, however now you have to apply that data and take a look at some spec sheets for CPUs, coolers, and different elements to determine what to put in in your system. If that seems like a number of work, we’re right here that will help you with a head begin: These CPU coolers provide you with a superb vary of choices that ship sturdy efficiency and nice worth.

Greatest general: Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black

Purchase it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the reduce: The Noctua NH-D15S is a robust air cooler that’s able to taming even probably the most demanding CPUs.


  • Cooler sort: Air cooler
  • Efficiency class: Excessive efficiency
  • Dimension: Giant
  • Extra options: Twin-tower design, two followers for environment friendly cooling, black as an alternative of Noctua brown


  • Excessive-performance cooling 
  • Quiet operation
  • Two followers for spectacular cooling potential
  • Competes with liquid coolers


  • Potential reminiscence interference
  • Very cumbersome

The Noctua NH-D15 could be one of the best air cooler you should purchase on your CPU. Its huge design permits it to shed a powerful quantity of warmth, making it aggressive with many liquid coolers, whereas providing distinctive reliability and Noctua’s six-year guarantee assure. It comes with every thing you’ll want, together with thermal paste, and makes use of a novel mounting system that’s each simple to put in and works with nearly any CPU launched within the final many years. That features Intel’s newest Twelfth-generation CPUs and even AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 7000 sequence.

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Not like older Noctua coolers, the NH-D15 is designed to fade into the background of your PC—as a lot as it may possibly at its measurement. The all-black colorway seems a lot sleeker than the corporate’s traditional beige and brown look, and it makes use of a dual-fan design so every can run quietly and never be a distraction whereas gaming or working from house. 

The most important problem dealing with this excellent air cooler is its measurement. Measuring 150mm x 135mm x 160mm (WDH), it’s virtually actually sufficiently big to dam the closest reminiscence slot in most builds. In case your reminiscence is taller than 32mm, you possibly can take away the surface fan to present your self some extra room. With out the second fan, you’ll nonetheless get unbelievable cooling, however your PC can be a bit louder.

Greatest for gaming: Be Quiet! BW006 Pure Loop 240mm All-in-One Liquid Cooler

Be Quiet! BW006 Pure Loop 240mm All-in-One Liquid Cooler is the best CPU cooler.

Purchase it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the reduce: The Be Quiet! Pure Loop 240mm is a quiet cooler that’s made to final and gained’t distract you out of your recreation.


  • Cooler sort: All-in-one
  • Efficiency class: Mid-to-high efficiency
  • Dimension: 240mm
  • Extra options: Quiet, minimalist design


  • Environment friendly cooling
  • Minimalist design
  • Replaceable coolant
  • Nice cost-to-performance


  • Not massive sufficient for Core-i9 and Ryzen 9 processors 

The Be Quiet! BW006 Pure Loop 240mm is one of the best cooler for players that need to deal with their recreation and never their PC. At 240mm, it’s sufficiently big to relax as much as Intel Core-i7 and Ryzen 7 CPUs with ease and gained’t distract you whereas it does its factor. Its understated design is all black and makes use of a delicate white LED across the processor to let you understand it has energy. Extra importantly, it’s simply as quiet as its title would indicate. As an organization, Be Quiet! focuses on constructing instances and elements that fade into the background, and that’s actually true of the Pure Loop 240mm. You’ll must step as much as a bigger measurement for 9-series processors, however this can preserve your CPU operating at peak efficiency with any mid-high-tier processor.

The Pure Loop stands other than different elite liquid cooling programs as a result of it’s very simple to keep up. Most liquid coolers are utterly closed programs, which suggests they’ll’t be maintained and can ultimately fail. One of many largest causes this occurs is by air making its method into the pump. The BW006 is without doubt one of the few all-in-one coolers that permits you to add coolant over time, growing its lifespan. All you need to do is unscrew a fill port on the radiator and add coolant to make sure your system is at all times full and operating its greatest. Do that as soon as each two years, and your cooler ought to final so long as the CPU it cools.

Greatest high-end: Corsair iCUE H150i Elite LCD Liquid CPU Cooler

Corsair iCUE H150i Elite LCD Liquid CPU Cooler is the best high-end.

Purchase it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the reduce: The Corsair iCUE H150i Elite LCD is a high-performance cooler than brings the bling and is ideal for a showpiece PC construct.


  • Cooler sort: All-in-One
  • Efficiency class: Excessive efficiency
  • Dimension: 360mm
  • Extra options: Excessive-pressure RGB followers, built-in LCD display screen, Commander Core lighting controller


  • Wonderful cooling efficiency
  • Customizable LCD display screen
  • Stellar, high-pressure RGB followers
  • Included fan and RGB controller
  • Excellent software program customization


  • Very costly
  • Tough set up

The Corsair iCUE H150i Elite LCD is the liquid cooler you flip to when solely one of the best will do. Its gorgeous seems are rivaled solely by its unbelievable efficiency. At 360mm, it has sufficient cooling capability to deal with even probably the most demanding Intel Core-i9 and Ryzen 9 processors, even for those who overclock them and switch up the warmth. (Relying on what you want, Corsair additionally makes a much less {powerful} model with a 240mm radiator and an ultra-powerful 420mm mannequin.)

The iCUE H150i Elite contains a attractive 2.1-inch LCD display screen that you would be able to customise to point out every thing out of your present temperatures to customized animations. That colourful show is flanked by three high-performance followers with their very own set of 48 customizable LEDs. You may set each efficiency and aesthetic settings by way of Corsair’s iCue configuration software program. Customizing the system is for brand new builders, because of easy-to-select presets, but in addition gives deep customization for regular fingers with specific tastes.

The H150i comes from an extended line of extremely regarded Corsair coolers however could be its hardest to arrange. The RGB lighting and LCD display screen require further wiring for energy: They hook into the included Commander Core management field, which makes it simpler, nevertheless it’s nonetheless an advanced course of. We’d counsel watching and re-watching Corsair’s in-depth set up video earlier than trying it for your self. The field contains further ports for including further RGB followers and lightweight strips, nevertheless, so that you get the good thing about simpler upgradability sooner or later.

Greatest low profile: Noctua NH-L12S

Noctua NH-L12S is the best low profile CPU cooler.

Purchase it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the reduce: With sufficient cooling potential for Intel Core i7 and Ryzen 7 CPUs, the Noctua NH-L12S proves that huge issues are available small packages.


  • Cooler sort: Air cooler
  • Efficiency class: Low
  • Dimension: Small
  • Extra options: Low noise adapter for automated velocity management, large compatibility


  • Nice for small kind issue PCs
  • Low noise
  • Successfully cools a variety of CPUs
  • Price-effective


  • Not nice for intensive duties
  • Restricted cooling potential with newer, higher-performance CPUs

If you happen to’re constructing a small kind issue PC, you’ll be arduous pressed to discover a higher choice than the Noctua NH-L12S. An ideal match for house theater PCs, this tiny cooler has a shocking quantity of cooling potential. Noctua mentioned the NH-L12S is appropriate and efficient with lots of Intel’s Twelfth-gen and Ryzen 5000 sequence CPUs. It additionally contains every thing you’ll want for set up proper within the field and even permits you to change which facet the fan is mounted on for wider reminiscence compatibility.

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The NH-L12S leads the pack in efficiency amongst low-profile coolers, nevertheless it nonetheless suffers from the design’s inherent limitations. Although it really works with many {powerful} processors, it isn’t your best option for hardcore gaming or intense processing duties. That is notably true with the most recent technology of processors from each Intel and AMD, as they use extra electrical energy and generate extra warmth with these duties. For gentle gaming, leisure, and productiveness, nevertheless, it’s an impressive choice that’s each dependable and quiet.

Greatest passive: NoFan CR-80EH

NoFan CR-80EH is the best passive CPU cooler.

Purchase it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the reduce: When silence is an absolute should, the NoFan CR-80EH can preserve your processor cool with none noise. 


  • Cooler sort: Passive
  • Efficiency class: Low
  • Dimension: Medium
  • Extra options: Copper heatpipes


  • Patented, efficient thermal design
  • Helps AMD and Intel CPUs
  • Utterly silent
  • Designed to not intrude with reminiscence or growth slots


  • Potential case and motherboard compatibility points
  • Restricted warmth dissipation (80 watts)

The NoFan CR80-EH is the go-to selection for utterly silent PC builds. A fanless “passive” cooler, it makes use of a system of dozens of heat-absorbing pipes to drag heat up and away out of your CPU the place it may possibly dissipate into the air. NoFan’s proprietary copper “IcePipes” have liquid sealed inside every arm to attract warmth away out of your processor and into its copper arms. 

With none fan in any respect, the NoFan CR80-EH is ready to dissipate as much as 80 watts of warmth. NoFan hasn’t up to date its official compatibility chart in a while, so its suggestions (“Ryzen” and Intel “seventh, sixth, fifth” technology) are a bit outdated. Decrease spec CPUs, like Intel’s Eleventh technology or earlier Core-i3 and Core-i5 processors and AMD Ryzen 3 or Ryzen 5s, needs to be protected, however make sure to verify that their required energy gained’t exceed the 80-watt restrict earlier than pairing them with this cooler.

You must preserve just a few issues in thoughts for those who resolve to go together with a passive cooler. The NoFan CR80-EH is essentially massive, and its round design gained’t play good with some small kind issue PC instances. You’ll want to match the scale of the cooler to your motherboard to make sure it can match, and likewise make sure there’s sufficient air flow for heat air to flee. An 80W will work nicely with decrease spec processors, like an Eleventh-gen Core-i5, or Ryzen 3 to Ryzen 5 sequence CPUs. If you happen to want extra cooling, the corporate additionally makes a 95-watt model, although it may be arduous to search out in shops.

Greatest funds: Cooler Grasp Hyper 212 Evo V2 Black Version

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo V2 Black Edition is the best budget CPU cooler.

Purchase it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the reduce: The Cooler Grasp Hyper 212 has been a staple of funds PC constructing for years. Its steadiness of worth to efficiency cements its place as a stable funds CPU cooler.


  • Cooler sort: Air cooler
  • Efficiency class: Low-to-medium
  • Dimension: Medium
  • Extra options: None 


  • Inexpensive worth
  • Efficient cooling
  • Simply matches in most PCs
  • Straightforward set up


  • Not flashy
  • Not nice for high-performance CPUs
  • Requires a particular at-cost bracket for Intel Twelfth-gen processors

The Cooler Grasp Hyper 212 Evo is a traditional suggestion for PC builders on a funds, and a straightforward improve for those who want extra cooling on your processor. It’s a medium-sized cooler and gained’t win any awards for flashy aesthetics, nevertheless it will get the job carried out and simply cools every thing from current-generation Intel Core-i7s to AMD’s Ryzen 7 5000 sequence. It’s greatest reserved for low- or mid-range PC processors although, because it doesn’t fairly mitigate sufficient warmth to maintain a high-performance CPU cool. If you happen to’re prepared to spend a bit extra, you possibly can improve to the Black Version RGB, which provides an RGB fan for considerably extra aptitude, or it can save you a greenback and go together with the essential silver model. 

Irrespective of which choice you select, set up isn’t troublesome following the included directions. The cooler has been round for a very long time, so there are additionally quite a few free movies to information you thru each step of the method. Issues get slightly difficult with Intel’s Twelfth-gen processors, nevertheless, as you’ll want a particular bracket that solely comes with the Black Version. (It’s solely $5 to buy individually, although.) With slightly care, this is a superb, budget-friendly air cooler.


Q: Is CPU cooling needed?

Sure. All processors require cooling to run. A system with out a cooler could boot however will shortly overheat and shut down, doubtlessly damaging itself within the course of. Likewise, a CPU with out an efficient cooler will typically hit its thermal limits and sluggish itself down to forestall harm. This makes your pc run slower and doubtlessly shortens the lifespan of your CPU.

Q: What’s an AiO?

“AiO” is brief for All-in-One liquid cooler. Often known as “closed loop coolers or “CLCs,” these cooling programs don’t require upkeep or repairs the identical method customized liquid coolers do, and sometimes supply superior efficiency to air CPU coolers. 

Q: What are the disadvantages of a liquid cooling system?

Liquid cooling is usually a nice selection for taming a high-performance CPU, however there are particular disadvantages it’s best to learn about. They’re costlier, tougher to put in or exchange, and extra more likely to fail over time. Liquid cooling could present superior efficiency, particularly for high-end PCs, however an air cooler is simple and dependable.

Last ideas on one of the best CPU coolers

PCs don’t come low cost, so sustaining them is a crucial step to making sure they dwell an extended, helpful life. In case your CPU’s getting too sizzling, it can carry out poorly and you will have to purchase a brand new pc. Whether or not you’re searching for a fast and straightforward air cooler to cover inside your case or a high-performance AiO with RGB to spare, including or upgrading your CPU cooler is often a smart funding.