Best CPU cooler in 2022 – our picks of the top air and liquid coolers. What is the best pc cooler

It’s a high-quality CPU cooler for those on a budget that many PC manufacturers swear by. Even before the value goes into it, it’s a powerful cooling solution, but with its fantastically low price tag, it’s gaining ground as our top choice.

How Do I Choose a CPU Cooler?

I expect you’re reading this because you’re looking for a new, quieter CPU cooler, but you’re not entirely sure which one is right for you. You may have looked at the offer on our website but have been overwhelmed by the choice available, if so then this is for you.

In this video, Andy, our technical manager, explains how to choose the right processor for your system, which replaces the article below. The tutorial was written in 2008, but we’re keeping it here along with a new video tutorial as the steps to choose the right CPU cooler are still relevant.

The original How to Choose a CPU Cooler article

I’ve tried to keep everything as general as possible, so that this article will still be relevant in 10 years, when all current CPU and socket types will become obsolete.

Before I start, a note to Dell owners: At the time of this writing, Dell uses a lot of non-standard parts in its systems, making it very difficult to replace the CPU cooler. The CPU socket can be custom, as can the fan connector. Many Dells simply have a fan mounted on the back or side of the case that blows air through some channels to a heat sink mounted on the processor. All you can do if your system is like this is to replace the fan where possible.

Now, in this first part, I am going to tell you what you need to know before looking for your new refrigerator.

If you own one of the latest Ryzen CPU models, you may not need to purchase a cooler separately, even if you’re tweaking your main goal. All Ryzen 300 and 2000 series processors ship with an included CPU cooler that is suitable to handle moderate overclocking.

noctua nh-d15

The best air cooler is the Noctua NH-D15.

This Noctua CPU cooler is a powerful thing, consisting of two 140mm fans and two heatsinks, compatible with both AMD and Intel sockets. Despite its gray brown and beige colors, it is the best air cooler in the industry, with temperatures almost identical to some full load water cooling solutions – still fairly quiet in all situations. It’s really the best CPU cooler at a reasonable price, and if you have one of the best gaming CPUs, its high TDP (Design Thermal Power) means it’ll be more than capable of the task.

The pre-applied and highly acclaimed Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste has a shelf life of five years. Smaller PC cases may experience space problems due to size, so check the dimensions carefully before purchasing.

What do we like…
Water cooling rivals
Two 140mm fans

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO

The best budget CPU cooler is the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo.

The Hyper 212 has been around for years, but it’s still the best choice when it comes to a solid, budget CPU cooler that still outperforms any counterpart in stock, perfect for a cheap gaming PC. There is one 120mm PWM controlled fan with four heat pipes on the heatsink. You also have the option to add your own 120mm fan on the other side to create a push / pull airflow setup to further improve the temperature.

What do we like…
great performance for the price
It remains relatively silent
A big improvement over stock coolers

Those looking for a sleek AIO cooler that looks like it was developed by the people at Apple will love the Galahad by Lian Li. Available in white or black, it is distinguished by a modern, three-chamber design that exchanges heat much more efficiently than other similar products.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 V2

Best Cheap CPU Cooler

Cooler Master Hyper 212 V2

Compatibility: LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA2066, AM4 | Dimensions (H x W x D): 120 mm x 80 mm x 155 mm | Heat pipes: 4 | Materials: aluminum fins, copper heat pipes | Fans: 1 x Sickleflow 120 120mm | Fan Air Flow: 62 CFM | Fan pressure: 2.5 mmH2O | Fan noise: 8-27 dBA

There is a reason why the Cooler Master Hyper 212 cooler has such incredible durability: its design is simple, its performance is solid, and its price is low. This is no less true of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 V2, which has a few upgrades you should love while keeping your budget on track with its under $ 50 price tag. It has a new design with asymmetric tilt to provide better clearance for RAM and changed brackets for easier installation. The new Sickleflow 120 fan should provide better airflow and air pressure, and if you hate loud fan noise, it should be 10% quieter than the previous model.

Cooler Master 212 Hyper V2 is ready to equip both AMD and Intel processors, but remember that an additional bracket will be required for the LGA1700 socket used by the latest Intel processors. It has four heat pipes that take heat away from the CPU and send it to a stack of aluminum fins. There are also X-shaped vents so that hot air will be directed directly into the heat pipes. This is truly an amazing value that should give you plenty of mileage and maintain the right temperature.

Corsair iCue H100i RGB Pro XT

Best Liquid CPU Cooler

Corsair iCUE H100i RGB Pro XT

Compatibility: LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA2066, AM4 | Size (H x W x D): 27mm x 120mm x 277mm radiator; 120mm x 25mm fan | Materials: Copper cooling plate, Aluminum radiator | Fans: 2 x ML120 120mm | Fan Air Flow: 75 CFM | Fan pressure: 4.2 mmH2O | Fan noise: 37 dBA

If you’re selling a liquid cooling processor, the Corsair iCue H100i RGB Pro XT is your best bet. This liquid AIO CPU cooling system not only cools the CPU but also cools the PC. This is thanks to the RGB lighting built into the pump, which provides 16 RGB LEDs that can be adjusted and synchronized with the rest of the system using the Corsair iCue tool.

But let’s not forget the main task of CPU cooling: cooling. The iCue H100i RGB Pro XT also scores high marks. After all, it’s a 240mm radiator, so it has solid cooling potential even for high-end components. You will get a copper cooling plate on the pump housing that will take heat away from the CPU and this will drain to the aluminum heat sink. From there, a pair of powerful Corsair ML120 fans will keep a steady stream of air sweeping the radiator fins to remove heat from the system. All of this and the entire setup costs just $ 120.

if you have a motherboard that is relatively tidy in the CPU area, you can probably fit almost any compatible CPU cooler there without any problems.

Best CPU Coolers Available In 2019

Disclaimer: Clicking on the link with the product name will take you to the relevant list of products (, .de, etc.) where you can check the price, customer reviews and more information about the product or similar products.

When choosing the best CPU cooler for your needs, keep in mind:

  1. Larger refrigerators will perform better in most cases, but be mindful of size as you may run into some bulk issues with your graphics card, RAM, and possibly even the case’s side panel if the fan is very large.
  2. Larger fans are less noisy because they run at a lower speed to achieve the same cooling effect as smaller fans.
  3. Refrigerators that are taller than 160mm are unlikely to fit into a medium-sized cabinet. Coolers with 140mm fans are usually taller than 160mm but double check to be sure.
  4. Tower style refrigerators are better than downdraft refrigerators if they are the same size or price.

Air Coolers vs Liquid Coolers

Are you wondering if you should buy coolant? We recommend them in the following use cases:

  1. You overclock to a very high level on a quad-core, six-core or even eight-core CPU with a lot of extra voltage.
  2. You need extra space in the case for components and hands.
  3. You need a very good cooling setup for a structure that doesn’t offer much space for a tower-style air cooler.
  4. You carry your PC a lot, so you need a CPU cooler that won’t be disassembled at the same time.

Note that liquid coolers are never silent, even when idling, due to the noise of the pump. Air coolers are quiet when idling. Also keep in mind that the CPU cooler is a computer component that doesn’t need to be replaced every few years. They don’t really change over the years and can be reused over and over again. The only thing you need to change is the thermal grease (thermal material, also known as TIM or TP) and the best products in this category are Arctic Silver 5, Arctic MX4 and Noctua NT-H1. Find out more about thermal paste here.

So how can you find out? Well, currently, if you know your CPU model number, you can go here – and search for your CPU model in your browser. Most modern CPUs can be found in the current CPU table –

How We Test

From PC cases to CPU coolers, we like to check out all the hardware we recommend. Product testing is a huge part of our overall selection process, so we can be sure that a specific option is best for the job.

CPU coolers have to live up to our expectations, which is largely due to a lot of acoustic and thermal performance tests, with a few other boring stuff, but most, if not every recommendation, have gone through a rigorous testing process.

In the case of CPU cooling, we have to judge the build quality, thermal performance, acoustic performance and finally value.

Through this process, we can determine exactly how well your refrigerator is performing and ultimately whether it’s worth your hard-earned cash.

Things To Consider

When purchasing a CPU cooler, there is more to consider than just “will it fit”. Below are some key factors that should be discussed and understood before making your final purchase.


All the CPU coolers on our list have been proven to perform well for their price. A refrigerator’s only job is to keep the temperatures cool and give the consumer more performance for every bang for the buck.
So, having a solidly functioning cooling device can help extract some extra power from your CPU if you go on the overclocking path and ideally keep it as cool as possible.


CPU coolers are expected to be noisy when running at maximum, which is often the case in a game for example. Air coolers generally produce more sound than liquid coolers, but not always. Refrigerator manufacturers are testing maximum noise levels so we can see what effect certain refrigerators will have on our system.


It is important to go with manufacturers that produce high-quality products, and this is especially true for liquid cooling solutions.
There have been cases of leakage of closed circuit “liquid” chillers, so we tried to ensure the quality of the suggestion!

Your Budget

Often, any aftermarket cooling solution is better than the standard fan that comes with some processors. If, after reading everything, you’re unsure how powerful your fan should be, it’s best to overdo it as this is safer than insufficient CPU cooling.
If you buy a very efficient CPU cooler, you may not need to upgrade it the next time you upgrade your CPU. If you’re short on money, save money and choose a robust air cooling solution.

Consider The Amount Of Heat Your Computer Generates

Before you can determine what size of cooler you need (and how much money you should invest), you first need to know how much heat your CPU is generating.
Fortunately, it’s a lot easier than you might think because you really just need to know the TDP.
This information is usually found on the processor packaging and should be everything you need to know.
If you don’t have your CPU box anymore, just go online and enter your CPU model number, then go straight to the specs tab and look for TDP.

What Size Cooler Should You Pick?

Now that you know your CPU model, it’s time to determine what size refrigerator will best suit your needs.

deepcool fan cooler

Noise levels

Example dbA
Breathing / Pin Drop 10
Rustling leaves twenty
Whisper thirty
A gurgling stream 40
Traffic lights 50
Conversational speech 60

Having the best CPU cooler isn’t always a crucial part of a gaming PC. You can always use the factory cooler that comes with your CPU, but in any case cooling this component is critical to its longevity and performance.

Best Quiet Air CPU Cooler

5 be quiet! Shadow Rock 3 BK004

Dimensions (LxWxH): 6.5 x 5.75 x 8 inches
Fan speed: 1600 rpm
Maximum Volume: 24.4 dBA
TDP: 190W

Shadow Rock 3 offers impressive air performance with quiet operation. It is compatible with Intel and AMD chipsets and works with all popular motherboards. Moreover, the asymmetric design makes it easy to fit into any space without blocking the memory slots.

The high-speed fans running at 1600 rpm provide trouble-free cooling power. Tilting the fans allows lower levels of air resistance, improving cooling possibilities without adding much noise. The great thing is that the fan can run at maximum power and still only produce 24.4dB of sound.

Nickel-plated copper heat pipes help absorb heat directly from the CPU as well as efficiently dissipate heat from the case. The result is an impressive cooling capacity of up to (190 W TDP). Overall, Shadow Rock 3 is a quiet and effective solution for most mid-range CPUs.

be quiet! Shadow Rock 3, BK004

Prices taken from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Prices and product availability are current at the date / time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon sites, as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to your purchase of this product.

4 be quiet! Dark Rock BK022

Dimensions (LxWxH): 5.7 x 5.35 x 6.40 inches
Fan speed: 1500 rpm
Maximum volume: 24.3 dBA
TDP: 210W

Funnel-shaped, the Dark Rock BK022 uses two 120mm Wings PWM fans to efficiently transfer heat through and through the heat sink. While it may seem a bit clunky, the cooling fins are air-optimized and the asymmetric design guarantees sufficient chip memory clearance.

Two high pressure fans control the temperature by creating additional air pressure. Both fans produce only 24.3 dB at full power and are even quieter at normal speeds. To further improve cooling performance, the fans work in conjunction with 6mm copper heat pipes.

Gamers will love the Dark Rock CPU cooler. Dual fans keep the temperature close to that of a refrigerator, even when the CPU starts to skyrocket. Together, they can handle a TDP of around 200-210 W. However, by adding a third fan, the maximum commercially available range of 250 TDP can be achieved.

This is great news for CPU-intensive games, multitasking, and any other application that requires multi-core operation.

be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, BK022

Prices taken from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Prices and product availability are current at the date / time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon sites, as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to your purchase of this product.

3. Noctua NH D9L Premium Cooler

Dimensions (LxWxH): 3.74 x 3.74 x 4.33 inches
Fan speed: 2000 rpm
Maximum Volume: 22.8 dBA
TDP: 105W

Best Passive Cooler

2. ARCTIC Alpine 12 Passive

Dimensions (LxWxH): 3.74 x 3.74 x 2.72 inches
Maximum volume: 0 dBA
TDP: 47W

The ARCTIC Alpine 12 looks a bit like a monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Massive, minimalist and built with function above all in mind, this is a great ‘warehouse cooler replacement’ that keeps the temperature cool. Note that this is Intel (1200) socket specific which means it will not work with AMD.

Even though this passive cooler has no fans, it is still able to keep Intel processors (up to 47W) warm enough. This is partly due to the optimized heat exchange between the aluminum plates and the surrounding air. Thermal paste is also applied directly.

The great thing about this passive refrigerator is that it doesn’t require any maintenance. It does not need to be checked, disconnected or corrected. Instead, it just does its job without any problems. Everything while working 100% fanless, which ensures inaudible operation.

ARCTIC Alpine 12 passive cooling system

Prices taken from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Prices and product availability are current at the date / time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon sites, as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to your purchase of this product.

1. Noctua NH P1 Passive CPU Cooler

Dimensions (LxWxH): 5.98 x 6.06 x 6.22 inches
Maximum volume: 0 dBA
TDP: 65W

The NH P1 is the first passive cooler for the Noctuas processor. Everything in the design of this device has been custom-designed from scratch. This includes the development of a massive heat sink, a compact heat exchanger as well as deliberately placed aluminum cooling fins.

Of course, this is not your average heat sink. Thicker, more widely spaced cooling fins provide additional cooling mass while minimizing airflow and drag. The result is effortless, natural convection cooling capabilities that have no trouble keeping the CPU cool.

To accommodate larger GPUs, RAM modules, and other hardware components, the NH P1 has an asymmetric design. Not only does the form look amazing, but players will be able to squeeze their gear into place without worrying about the cooler one blocking their upgrades.

In terms of performance, the NH P1 is suitable for processors with low to moderate heat dissipation. While Noctua doesn’t rate it as a TDP, we’ve found it is capable of cooling mainstream CPUs down to 65W TDP. It is worth noting that, like most passive coolers, it is not designed for overclocking.

To further boost performance (or semi-passive setups that only run fans when needed), the NH-P1 can also house a very quiet 120mm fan. With the NF-A12x25 (1200 rpm) installed, the NH P1 can achieve an improved TDP of 100 W with just 12.1 dB of noise.

Overall, you won’t find a better silent CPU cooler than this innovative passive option from Noctua.

Noctua NH-P1, passive CPU cooler

Prices taken from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Prices and product availability are current at the date / time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon sites, as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to your purchase of this product.

Best Processor Coolers in 2020 – Buying Guide

Now that you are here, we assume you have skimmed our list of “Best Processor Coolers 2020” on the market. To give you an idea of ​​how we select our recommendations and break the jargon, we’ve put together a few things to consider when choosing a good CPU cooler.

It is very important to control the CPU temperature which in turn helps to obtain optimal CPU performance. There are already many cooling solutions on the market. But choosing the one that works for you can be a little tricky, especially if you’re new to the hardware world. We’ve done the hard work to give you the knowledge you deserve with our intensive guide to buying the best CPU coolers of 2020.

If you own one of the latest Ryzen CPU models, you may not need to purchase a cooler separately, even if you’re tweaking your main goal. All Ryzen 300 and 2000 series processors ship with an included CPU cooler that is suitable to handle moderate overclocking.

RGB/ARGB Lighting –

Most CPU coolers on the market today have an integrated RGB / ARGB lighting system. But lighting is not a cup of tea for everyone. Most people love to have a simple design without fancy lighting, while some love to keep the color plain to match their setup. It is up to you which category you belong to. However, if you ask me, I would like a CPU cooler with configurable lighting that can be completely turned off.

Liquid Cooled or Air Cooled? –

We often get this question from our readers. However, it is difficult for us to answer this sentence or two because it involves many considerations. The first point is the price. If price and ease of installation are your main concerns, air coolers may be your best choice. The most powerful air coolers can be found under $ 40 or even $ 30. Air coolers can be a bit noisy compared to water coolers.

However, if you want to get quieter operation with better temperature management, even if your CPU is running at maximum frequencies, a decent CPU coolant should help you out. Liquid coolers can be much more expensive compared to air coolers. However, you can find a decent CPU liquid cooler for over $ 100$.

Number of CPU fans –

As a rule of thumb, more fans can provide better cooling, but create more noise. Unless you are bothered by a little wind noise from the CPU case, it is recommended that you select the maximum number of CPU fans when choosing a good CPU cooler for your design.

Size of the cooler –

Even though some CPU coolers are compatible with the CPU socket type, you may still encounter difficulties fixing it in your build. This is due to the available space on the motherboard. It is important to check the clearance for the refrigerator before selecting it that it is not blocked by RAM or video card.

Top CPU Coolers in 2020 – FAQs

Below are some questions we often hear from our readers about choosing a good CPU cooler for their build.

For most basic needs, a spare cooler will be more than adequate. However, if you plan on overclocking your CPU or using it for extremely tough tasks, you’ll want the best aftermarket CPU cooler that better keeps temperatures in the range and helps prevent temperature throttling.

If you are a heavy user and can afford a liquid cooler, it is recommended that you use it. However, most air coolers on the market are just as effective and are available cheaply if you just care about normal use.

Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing RGB is one of the affordable CPU water coolers to be found on the market in 2020. However, if you’re on a slightly higher budget, the Corsair H100i Pro might be the perfect choice.

The Arctic Freezer 34 Esports Duo Cooler is one of the best, if not the best, budget CPU cooler to buy in 2020.

Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing RGB may be the best CPU cooler for the i9 9900k.

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