Best CPU Coolers 2024: AIO and Air Coolers

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There are two main types of CPU coolers and we've sorted our recommendations by type:
 
1.
Best Air Coolers
Choose one of the best Air coolers if you want to save some money and not worry about how and where to mount the radiator and fans.

 2. Best AIO Coolers
Choose an AIO cooler if you have a high-end CPU that you want to get the best performance from while also keeping things quiet.

Whether you’re aiming for impressive CPU overclocks or just looking to build a PC that's silent under load, you should choose your CPU cooler carefully. The best CPU cooler for your build will make a major difference in your system's temperatures and fan noise. In high-end systems, it can even deliver better performance by keeping boost clocks higher for longer. We've tested dozens of PC air coolers and all-in-one (AIO) liquid cooler models. Below you'll find our picks for the best models to keep your CPU temperatures under control. But if you're after a liquid cooler in particular, be sure to check out our Best AIO Coolers page for even more excellent cooler options.

AIO (Liquid) Cooler or Air Cooler?

If you’re not sure if you want to go the air cooling route (a big metal heatsink with fans) or opt for a liquid-cooled AIO (a pump attached to a radiator and fans), there are a few things to consider. Large air coolers tend to take up more internal space in your PC case, or at the very least they need more vertical clearance off your best motherboard, which can limit your case options. Air coolers can also be louder and less efficient than liquid coolers at moving heat away from your CPU and out of the chassis. These days, though, that’s not cut and dry. If you can go the extreme route, there are fanless air cooling options like Noctua's Colossal NH-P1 as well for the ultimate truly silent cooling option, although you'll still need case fans to move the warmed air out of your case.

Air coolers usually cost less than AIOs, with surprisingly solid options like the Amazon Basics CPU cooler costing less than $30. But AIO coolers are also getting increasingly affordable (and also more expensive), while high-end air coolers reach toward and sometimes above the $100 range. On the extreme air side of the cooling line, the Ice Giant Prosiphon Elite has an MSRP of $170, which competes with many large AIO coolers. There are, though, also decently performing air coolers that cost less than $30, and some great ones under $40.

Best Air Coolers

Best AIO Coolers

The Best Air Coolers You Can Buy Today

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Best Air Cooler for Most People

(Image credit: Thermalright)
Best Air Cooler for Most People

Specifications

Dimensions: 110 x 125 x 157 mm
Weight: 28.57oz (810g)
Fans: (2) 120 x 25mm
Socket Support: Intel LGA 1700/115x/1200/2011/2066; AMD: AM5/AM4
Warranty: 3 years

Reasons to buy

+
Very low noise levels
+
Top-tier performance
+
Sub-$50 price

Reasons to avoid

-
Nothing of consequence 

Thermalright continues to push the bar in both performance and value with the Phantom Spirit 120. At only $45.90 (and often found for less), it delivers performance comparable to high-end air coolers that are twice as expensive, while maintaining low noise levels in all workloads.

So long as your case has room for it, the Phantom Spirit 120 is arguably the best option available. And for folks looking to save every dollar possible, Thermalright also offers this cooler in an SE version with a slightly less refined look, for about $5 less.

Read: Thermalright Phantom Spirit 120 Review 

Best Big Air CPU Cooler

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Big Air CPU Cooler

Specifications

Dimensions: 155 x 125 x 110 mm
Weight: 25.75 oz (730g)
Fans: (2) 120 x 25 mm
Socket Support: 115x, 1200, 1700; AM4, AM5
Warranty: 2 years

Reasons to buy

+
Capable of cooling 200W
+
With Alder Lake CPUs
+
Budget-friendly price of just $36 USD
+
Extremely quiet
+
Exceptionally strong performance at lower TDPs

Reasons to avoid

-
None of consequence

Thermalright's Peerless Assassin 120 SE lives up to its name, delivering the best performance from an air cooler that we've tested on Intel's Alder Lake at a price that undercuts the competition. In our tests, it performed so well when cooling our Core i9-12900K that we re-tested it multiple times to be sure the results were correct. The Peerless Assassin 120 SE cooled the CPU when it was drawing over 200 watts better than our tested competition, and at lower thermal/TDP settings, it performed much better than the competition. 

The cooler's two 120mm fans did their job of dissipating all that heat at low noise levels, making at just 34.5dB at max speed, and 33dB at 50% speed. It's also available in in silver/gray, white or black, so it should fit in with most build themes if you care about matching aesthetics. Whether you care about value or not, you should consider this cooler for your next system build, so long as your case has room for it.

Read: Thermalright Peerless Assassin SE review 

Best Mid-size Air CPU Cooler

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Mid-size Air CPU Cooler

Specifications

Dimensions: 127×117×158 mm
Base Height: -
Weight: 36.7oz (1040g)
Fans: (1) 120 x 25mm
Socket Support: AMD AM4, AM5; Intel 2066, 2011x, 1200, 1700, 115x
Warranty: 3 years

Reasons to buy

+
Capable of cooling 200W
+
with Alder Lake
+
Low noise levels +Reasonably priced

Reasons to avoid

-
Installation can be slightly difficult
-
No ARGB (a pro for some)

DeepCool’s AK500 performs great in our testing when paired with Alder Lake's Core i9-12900K at loads over 200W – and it keeps the CPU cool while running nice and quiet. Priced as low as $55 when we wrote this, the AK500 delivers an impressive combination of silence, performance, and value that's tough to beat.

Read: DeepCool AK500 review 

Best AMD Threadripper Air CPU Cooler

Best AMD Threadripper Air CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U14S
Best AMD Threadripper Air CPU Cooler

Specifications

Dimensions: 171.45 x 151.4 x 52.3mm
Base Height: 25.1mm
Weight: 36.5oz (1035g)
Fans: (1) 140 x 25mm
Socket Support: AMD TR4, SP3
Warranty: 6 years

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent performance
+
Very low noise levels
+
Simple, secure installation

Reasons to avoid

-
Premium price
-
Tall cooler height poses compatibility issues in smaller cases

The Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 provides whisper-quiet cooling with big league thermal performance – the kind of overclocked Threadripper performance that sneaks into quality 360 AIO cooling performance. Armed with six nickel-plated copper heatpipes and a NF-A15 140mm PWM fan, the AMD-friendly NH-U14S TR4-SP3 is a silent thermal assassin. For Threadripper air cooling, this cooler checks all the boxes for enthusiasts and overclockers alike.

Read: Noctua NH-U14S review

Best Threadripper Cooler Alternative: Arctic Freezer 50TR

Neither as cool nor as quiet as Noctua's NH-U14S, the Artice Freezer 50 TR got our attention for its lower price. The value advantage could be important to current builders hoping to save money by using AMD's previous generation 2000-series parts.


Best AIO Coolers You Can Buy Today

Best 360mm AIO Liquid Cooler

Lian Li Galahad II Performance

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
> Best 360mm AIO Liquid Cooler

Specifications

Dimensions: 396 x 130 x 32 mm
Pump Height: not specified
Weight: not specified
Fans: (3) 120 x 28 mm
Socket Support: Intel:/1700/1200/1151/115x AMD: AM5/AM4
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Best cooling we’ve ever seen from a 360mm AIO
+
Low Noise and Full Performance Modes
+
Extremely strong noise-normalized performance
+
Competitive price

Reasons to avoid

-
Full Performance mode runs loud

Lian Li’s latest 360mm AIO raises the bar for closed-loop liquid cooling. Every component has been upgraded from the previous-gen model, resulting in absolute cooling domination in our testing. The cooler installation is simple and easy, and it’s reasonably priced for a performance-focused 360mm cooler.  This is the best 360mm liquid cooler on the market right now, without question.

While the GA II Perfmance's cooling abilities are impressive, thermals are only one part of the picture. Noise levels are important as well. In its out-of-the-box configuration, Lian Li’s cooler runs loudly at 55.2 dBA. 

But Lian Li included a built-in low-noise/high-performance toggle switch, allowing you to reduce maximum fan speeds and noise levels with the flip of a switch. Coolers with low-noise modes usually have reduced thermal performance when it's enabled. But we didn’t observe any difference in thermals between the two modes when tested with our i7-13700K. When set to the low noise mode, total noise output is reduced to 49.2 dBA, which is on par with MSI’s and DeepCool’s competing 360mm AIOs. So there's no reason for this cooler to be loud, and you can make it much quieter with the flip of a switch.

Read: Lian Li Galahad II Performance Review

Best 360mm AIO Liquid Cooler Alternative

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best 360mm AIO Liquid Cooler (Alternative)

Specifications

Dimensions: 398 x 38 x 120 mm
Pump Height: -
Weight: 1729g
Fans: (3) 120 x 120 x 25 mm
Socket Support: Intel: 1700, 1200, 115X, 2011-3*, 2066* *Square ILM; AMD: AM5, AM4, AM3(+)
Warranty: 6 years

Reasons to buy

+
Silent, yet strong cooling performance
+
Handles up to 290W loads with Intel’s i9-13900K
+
Won’t get in the way of your tall

Reasons to avoid

-
Radiator and fans need 2.5 inches of clearance

Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II 360 ARGB is an excellent AIO option if you prize silence over absolute cooling ability. In our testis, it cooled our Core i9-13900K nearly as well as DeepCool LT720, while staying quieter under our testing scenarios. Arctic’s 360 mm cooler dissipated over 290W in our long-term testing with the 13900K, making it a great choice for those who run demanding workloads. 

Just make sure your case has extra room wherever you plan on mounting the Liquid Freezer II, because it achieves its quiet cooling skills by incorporating a thicker radiator than most of the competition. So it won’t fit as well in smaller cases, or those that just aren’t designed with lots of room up top.

Read: Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 ARGB review

Best Multipurpose AIO Liquid Cooler

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best Multipurpose AIO Cooler

Specifications

Thickness: 28 mm
Width: 120 mm
Depth: 396 mm
Fans: (3) 120 mm
Socket Support: Intel: LGA 1700, 1200, 115X, 2011, 2066 | AMD: AM5/AM4
Warranty: 3 years

Reasons to buy

+
Innovative stackable VRM and RAM fans
+
Chart-topping noise normalized performance
+
Strong overall cooling performance
+
Reasonable price
+
Accessible refill port

Reasons to avoid

-
Fans run louder than they need to by default

There is still room for innovation in the CPU cooling market, as evidenced by Silverstone's IceMyst AIO line. The 360mm model we tested performed generally quite well in our testing, but apart from that, this cooler lets you add multiple additional fans (which cost $16 each) on top of the CPU block that can easily be positioned to help cool VRMs, RAM, SSDs, or other nearby components. While not everyone needs this additional cooling, it's a unique option not available from any other AIO or air cooler. And the IceMyst is also priced less than most high-end AIO coolers.

We tested both the 360 and 240mm IceMyst AIOs and they performed well overall, generally landing close tot he best-performing alternatives in terms of thermal dissipation. But if you set the IceMyst cooler's fans to a quiet 38.2 dBA, as well as its competitors, Silverstone’s 360mm cooler performed better than any cooler we've tested, dissipating 237 watts. The 240mm model also did well, removing 228W of heat.

The only real downside is that you'll have to do some fan speed tweaking to get the best results. By default, Silverstone sets the IceMyst's fan speeds higher than they need to be, making them louder than necessary. But take a few minutes to set a custom fan curve in your BIOS or motherboard software, and these coolers offer the best noise-normalized performance we've tested so far. Plus, if you want to add some additional cooling to components around your CPU, you can do so for as little as $16 extra.   

Read: Silverstone IceMyst 360 and 240mm AIO Review 

Best 420mm AIO Liquid Cooler

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best 420mm AIO Liquid Cooler

Specifications

Thickness: 27 mm
Width: 140 mm
Depth: 457 mm
Fans: (3) 140 x 25mm
Socket Support: Intel LGA 1700, 1200, 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2066; AMD AM5, AM4, AM3, sTRX4, sTR4
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Strongest cooler we’ve tested with Intel’s i9-13900K, handling up to 325W
+
Comprehensive software suite
+
2.1-inch High-quality IPS display
+
Fan curves tied to coolant temperature, rather than CPU temperature
+
Won’t get in the way of tall RAM

Reasons to avoid

-
420mm radiator severely limits case support
-
Expensive

Corsair’s iCUE H170i Elite LCD XT AIO delivers the the most impressive cooling performance we’ve tested yet with Intel’s i9-13900K, handling over 325W in our most intensive thermal tests. Unlike other coolers though, the noise level of the H170i Elite is tied to the CPU coolant temp, resulting in quieter operation during most common tasks, as well as the elimination of bursty fan behavior. But we saw noisier operation in testing under sustained loads.

Corsair's flagship is one of the best coolers currently available in terms of performance and features, but it’s very expensive, at over $300. So if you don’t mind going without its pretty 2.1-inch display, the company also sells an iCUE H170i Elite Capellix XT with the same radiator and pump for around $240.

That’s still expensive for a cooler. But if your CPU is actually thermally demanding enough need something as large and in charge as a 420 mm cooler, you can probably afford to spend a bit extra to keep it running as fast as possible under load.

Read: Corsair iCUE H170i Elite LCD XT review 

Best 280mm AIO Cooler

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best 280mm AIO Cooler

Specifications

Dimensions: 396 x 130 x 32mm
Pump Height: not specified
Weight: not specified
Fans: (3) 120 x 28 mm
Socket Support: Intel:/1700/1200/1151/115x AMD: AM5/AM4
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Stronger than most 360mm AIOs
+
Low noise levels
+
Vibrant 2.9-inch IPS LCD Display

Reasons to avoid

-
Display makes for an expensive AIO

With the right design, you don’t need a 360mm AIO or a loud cooler to keep modern high-end CPUs from throttling -- and Lian Li’s Galahad II LCD 280 proves it. Its performance is amongst the best we’ve seen from any AIO, and its limited 280mm radiator size means that it will fit in many cases where a 360mm model won’t. The LCD screen atop the cooling plate is vibrant and adds eye-catching functionality, too.

At $229, the Galahad II LCD 280 is on the fairly expensive, but if the LCD display isn’t important to you, the non-LCD versions of the Galahad II are available for $159.99 for the 360mm version and $119.99 for the 240mm model. That's a lot more affordable for what should be performance that's just as impressive as this model.

Read: Lian Li Galahad II LCD 280 Review

Best 240mm AIO Liquid Cooler

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best 240mm AIO Liquid Cooler

Specifications

Dimensions: 277 x 119 x 52mm
Pump Height: not specified
Weight: not specified
Fans: (2) 120 x 25 mm
Socket Support: Intel:/1700/1200/1151/115x AMD: AM5/AM4
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Class-leading performance
+
Competitive with 360mm AIOs
+
Low noise levels in common workloads
+
Reasonably priced 

Reasons to avoid

-
None

I never imagined that a 240mm AIO would have this level of thermal domination. Lian Li’s Galahad Trinity II Performance 240mm got surprisingly close to and even outperformed 360mm AIOs in our testing that were previously considered among the best available.

You can’t go wrong with Lian Li’s Galahad II Trinity 240mm if you're after a cooler that performs well. Our testing shows it's the best-cooling AIO of its size on the market. It's also quiet under most conditions, and is reasonably priced at only $119.99.

Read: Lian Li Galahad II Trinity Performance 240 Review 

Best 240mm AIO Liquid Cooler Alternative

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Best 240mm AIO Liquid Cooler Alternate

Specifications

Dimensions: 277 x 119 x 52 mm
Pump Height: not specified
Weight: not specified
Fans: (2) 120 x 25 mm
Socket Support: Intel: LGA 115x/1200/1700 AMD: AM5/AM4
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Low noise levels in common workloads
+
Extremely strong performance for a 240mm AIO

Reasons to avoid

-
Noise levels vary slightly at full speed 

After testing, I found Cooler Master’s new MasterLiquid 240 Atmos especially impressive. The company improved its flagship AIO in several key areas: Noise levels are low in most common workloads, and despite its smaller 240mm profile, this is one of only a handful of AIOs I’ve tested that can keep Intel’s i7-13700K under its peak temperature, even in the most thermally demanding scenarios. 

Cooler Master also backs the quality of this product with rated lifespans of over 160,000 hours for the fans and 210,000 hours for the pump, combined with a 5-year warranty.

Lian Li's Galahad II Trinity Performance 240 cools just slightly better and sells for a little less. But Cooler Master's Atmos includes an ARGB controller box for syncing your lighting with other components. If you have a use for the controller, which would cost about $20 on its own, these two coolers are effectively evenly priced.

Read: Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240 Atmos Review

Best 120mm Closed-Loop Liquid Cooler

Best 120mm Closed-Loop Liquid Cooler: NZXT Kraken M22
Best 120mm Closed-Loop Liquid Cooler

Specifications

Thickness: 1.1" (2.25" w/fans)
Width: 4.75" (120.7mm)
Depth: 6.15" (156.1mm)
Fans: (1) 120 x 25mm
Socket Support: Intel 2066, 2011x, 1366, 115x, AMD AM2(+), AM3(+) AM4, FM1, FM2(+)
Warranty: 6 years

Reasons to buy

+
Great cooling for a compact AIO
+
Handsome, sleek design
+
CAM software is attractive &
+
intuitive

Reasons to avoid

-
$99.99 price is higher than other 120mm AIO solutions
-
RGB controls only apply to CPU block face
-
CAM software sends data to NZXT cloud services

The NZXT Kraken M22 is an impressive small high-performance liquid cooler that delivers sleek styling and vibrant RGB lighting options. If you don't have room for a larger 240 or 360mm AIO cooler, a good air cooler like Thermalright's Peerless Assassin is often a better choice both for performance and price. But if you're building a small home-theater PC or a compact gaming build, the Kraken M22 offers surprising cooling potential in a condensed package.

Just don't try to strap one of these coolers to a modern Core i9 or other flagship CPUs. A 120mm AIO won't give you the full performance from a processor like that. The thermal demands are just too... demanding.

Read: NZXT Kraken M22 Review

Quick Shopping Tips

When choosing the best CPU cooler for your needs, consider the following:

  • Own a recent Ryzen CPU? You may not need to buy a cooler, but it depends on the model. Most Ryzen 2000 and 3000-series processors and some older Ryzen models ship with coolers, and many of them can handle moderate overclocks. But Ryzen 5000 CPUs don't ship with coolers in the Ryzen 7/9 range. AMD's first Ryzen 7000 don't ship with coolers, although previous-gen AMD coolers will work. If you want the best CPU clock speed possible, you’ll usually want to buy an aftermarket cooler anyway. But for many Ryzen owners who don't plan to push their silicon to the limit, the best CPU cooler might just be the free one in the box or one you already have from a previous build.

  • If opting for a large air cooler, be sure to check clearances before buying. Big coolers and low-profile models can bump up against tall RAM and even VRM heatsinks sometimes. And tall coolers can cause clearance issues with your case door or window. Be sure to check the dimensions and advertised clearances of any cooler you're considering and your case before buying.

  • Remember that, all else being equal, more fans equals better cooling, but more noise. The coolers that do the best job of moving warm air away from your CPU and out of your case are also often the loudest. If fan noise is an issue for you, you’ll want a cooler that does a good job of balancing noise and cooling. If you can set your cooler's fan speeds based on temperatures in your motherboard's BIOS, that should also help.

Savings on the Best CPU Coolers

Whether you're shopping for one of the products that made our best CPU coolers list or one that didn't, you may find some savings by checking out our list of Newegg promo codes or Corsair coupon codes.