Best CPU Coolers: Air and Liquid Cooling

Introduction

CPU Cooler is a PC cooling solution made out of pure copper. CPU Cooler is a stylish-looking product that will perfectly blend in with your high-end PC components and cool your CPU quietly.

The heart of the CPU Cooler is its unique Heatpipe technology, which transfers the heat from the CPU to the heatsink where it radiates efficiently into the surrounding air. The pure copper base and the Heatpipe get in touch with the CPU directly so that heat can be dissipated quickly. Its low-profile design keeps your system looking clean and sharp. Your PC will stay cool, without having to resort to excessive fan noise.

A perfect CPU Cooler is a great way to prolong the lifespan of your CPU, keeping it cool and quiet. Pure copper has been used as a premium material for the base, which is optimally designed for conducting heat away from the CPU. The Heatpipes are made of highly conductive materials that quickly take heat away from components at risk of overheating.

This article consists of the eight best CPU Coolers which include each best air cooler CPU, and all the basic questions and features of all the products. We, our team, did our best to mention the pros and cons and features of the products with all the specs. We also mention the customer reviews as well. We did our best to make it easier for you to choose the best one for you. But, we know that each person has his own choice and decision-making ability. Before diving into the list of the eight best CPU Coolers for 2021, we have to look into the things that we need to consider before buying or choosing the right one for us.

Tips Before Purchasing

The processor is the most critical part of the CPU Cooler. The new CPUs are arriving with more energy-efficient ones. To keep the processor cooler, you need to buy a CPU Cooler that can dissipate sufficient heat or cooling power.

Processors used for laptops and PCs these days are coming out in thinner and smaller sizes than before. This means they can’t accommodate big-sized heatsinks and CPU Coolers. This is the main reason the best air cooler is in high demand these days. You need to choose a cooling system that can cool your system without taking much space on it.

Budget:

Budget is the initial deciding factor when you are buying or choosing a CPU Cooler for your PC. You need to be very clear about the amount of money you are ready to spend on this product. It will help you choose which one can fulfill your needs based on your budget range.

AIRCO COOLING VS AIO COOLERS:

Air Cooler is the cheapest option for cooling your system. But it increases noise levels and causes dust accumulation on the fins of the heatsink, which in turn decreases its effectiveness over time. Air coolers are not very effective when you have a high-performance CPU or processor with a high TDP thermal design envelope.

AIO Coolers are also called All in One Coolers. These CPU coolers contain both the heatsink and the fan, so no separate fans are needed with the AIO cooler. However, they do not provide any control for users to adjust or modify airflow direction or speed manually.

LIQUID COOLING PROS:

Liquid Cooling pipes are made of high-grade aluminum. Liquid cooling has a much higher heat transfer rate than air cooling and is far more energy-efficient, as the liquid used in these CPU Coolers will absorb a lot of heat from the components to be cooled. This makes it an ideal choice for overclocked systems.

LIQUID COOLING CONS:

Liquid Cooling has high maintenance and is more expensive than other types of cooling. It brings more risks and damage to the components if it is not handled carefully, so you need to be aware of this fact while using Liquid Cooling System.

AIR COOLERS PROS:

Air Coolers are very easy to maintain and you don’t need any additional maintenance to use them. Air coolers do not require as much space as other types of cooling systems.

AIR COOLERS CONS:

Air coolers produce a lot of noise, which increases the overall sound level of your PC. They also cause dust accumulation on the fins of the heatsink, which decreases their effectiveness over time. Air coolers are not capable of providing the desired cooling performance when your CPU is really high-performance and you have a high TDP thermal design envelope.

TD PERP RATING:

TD stands for Thermal Design Power (TDP). It is the maximum amount of heat generated by the processor. The higher the TDP, the more cooling power you need to dissipate that heat away with your CPU Cooler. If your CPU has a high TDP thermal design envelope, then you should consider buying an air cooler for it.

CPU SOCKET:

 Make sure that the CPU Cooler you are buying has an adjustable feature to fit your desired socket type. You need to choose the type of socket that suits your processor.

But, when you choose the best air cooler for your PC, you have to be very careful about picking the right one. And in this article, we are going to discuss the eight best air coolers for 2021. So, stay with us until the end of the article.

Let’s begin!

Best CPU Coolers:

The Best CPU Coolers You Can Purchase Today

Noctua NH-D15 Cooler

Noctua-NH-D15
Noctua NH-D15 (Image credit: Amazon)

Best CPU cooler

Specifications

Dimensions: 5.91 x 6.34 x 6.5 inches – Base Height: 165mm – Weight: 1320g – Fans: 2 – Socket Support: Intel LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1200, LGA2011, LGA2066 and AMD AM4, AM3(+), AM2(+), FM2(+) – Warranty: 6 years

Noctua NH-D15 Cooler is the top best low-profile CPU Cooler. It is a product from Noctua, which is a well-known brand. It has an aluminum heat sink that will provide you with the most efficient cooling system.

Noctua NH-D15 delivers exceptional performance, is uncompromisingly reliable and silent in most applications. This CPU Cooler can be used in dual fan mode too, to achieve further improved performance.

The Noctua NH-D15 features an asymmetrical design for better RAM compatibility (and it is pretty much the same size as the NH-U14S). The heat sink features two different heat pipe layouts on either side of the central fan to ensure that it’s not being blocked by any memory.

Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler is backed by a 6-year manufacturer warranty. It also includes two Low-Noise Adaptors (L.N.A.s) that replace standard anti-vibration pads for reduced vibrational noise, one on the top of the heatsink and another at the bottom to reduce the speed of the fans inside your case, thus reducing noise even further.

This CPU Cooler is one of the best air coolers for your PC, as it can provide exceptional heat dissipation at low noise levels. It can be a perfect choice for those who want to use a silent CPU cooler with a high-performance fan.

Pros
  • Solid build quality
  • Excellent thermal compound
  • Silent and smooth performance
Cons
  • Size compatibility issue
  • No SP3, sTRx4, and TR4 support

Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB

Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB (Image credit: Amazon)

Better than ever before

Specifications

Dimensions: 6.29 x 3.93 x 9.09 inches – Base Height: 37.8mm – Weight: 2.06 pounds – Fans: 1 – Socket Support: Intel: LGA2066, LGA2011-v3, LGA2011, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1366, AMD: AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2, FM1 – Warranty: 2 years

Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB is one of the best air coolers for your PC. It has an aluminum heat sink that will provide you with the most efficient cooling system.

The Hyper 212 RGB features a full-contact base that is designed to provide optimal heat transfer from your CPU. The heat sink uses 4 direct contact heat pipes to ensure there’s great thermal conductivity between your CPU and the heat sink.

With the new redesigned Hyper 212 series, you get to enjoy a quiet fan with blue LEDs while your CPU stays cool. It is compatible with all the latest AMD and Intel platforms for 4-pin PWM/DC fans, including support on mainstream Intel LGA1151 motherboards.

This CPU Cooler comes with an RGB LED ring on the fan that is fully compatible with Cooler Master’s RGB sync software, allowing you to easily change the LED lighting colors and effects. The LEDs are also interchangeable for a little customization of your build.

The Hyper 212 RGB CPU cooler from Cooler Master is backed by a 2-year manufacturer warranty. It also includes a Low-Noise Adapter to reduce the speed of the fans inside your case, thus reducing noise even further.

Pros
  • Offers Direct Contact Technology
  • Compatible with numerous chipsets
  • Easy configuration with the universal bracket design
Cons
  • Too big
  • Poor RGB

Noctua NH-L9

Noctua NH-L9 (Image credit: Amazon)

Best low-profile CPU cooler

Specifications

Dimensions: 3.74 x 1.46 x 3.74 inches – Base Height: 37mm – Weight: 385g – Fans: 1 – Socket Support: Intel: LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1200 – Warranty: 6 years

Noctua NH-L9 is the best low-profile CPU cooler. It feels like a high-performance heatsink rather than the normal CPU coolers that you see.

Despite the small size, it still has an aluminum heat sink that will provide you with the most efficient cooling system.

The Noctua NH-L9 delivers exceptional performance, is uncompromisingly reliable and silent in most applications. With this CPU Cooler, you can overclock your CPU to get more performance out of it.

The heat sink features two different heat pipe layouts on either side of the central fan to ensure that it’s not being blocked by any memory.

Noctua NH-L9 delivers excellent cooling at incredibly low noise levels – making them an ideal choice for quiet compact systems.

The Noctua NH-L9 is backed by a 6-year manufacturer warranty. It also includes two Low-Noise Adaptors (L.N.A.s) that replace standard anti-vibration pads for reduced vibrational noise, one on the top of the heatsink and another at the bottom to reduce the speed of the fans inside your case, thus reducing noise even further.

Pros
  • Super-low profile cooler
  • Ultra-compact and quiet
  • Easy installation due to adjustable design
Cons
  • Only 92mm fan
  • No protector cover for heatsink

NZXT Kraken Z-3

NZXT Kraken Z-3 (Image credit: Amazon)

Personalize your all-in-one liquid cooler

Specifications

Dimensions: 13.78 x 7.87 x 9.84 inches – Base Height: 9.84inches – Weight: 3.3 pounds – Fans: 2 – Socket Support: Intel LGA 1200, 1151, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066 & AMD AM4, sTRX4, TR4 – Warranty: 6 years

NZXT Kraken Z-3 is the fourth-best air cooler in 2021. It is very different from the majority of air coolers that are available in the market. Its design makes it stand out among all other air coolers with its customized lighting system. Every fan has an integrated LED ring which provides you with a greater possibility to personalize your PC according to your preference.  You can set up the color and the lighting pattern of the Kraken Z-3 according to your mood.

It has two fans which are very powerful and provide a great amount of airflow inside your PC. The 200mm fan of the Kraken Z-3 has a maximum speed of 1500 RPM and will give you the best cooling performance for all your components such as CPUs, GPUs, and motherboard chipsets.

The more notable feature of this air cooler is its installation process. It is not very difficult to install this cooler. It comes with a very simple manual that helps you in the installation process. You can install it all by yourself on your PC without needing any help from an expert or technician.

It is compatible with almost every modern motherboard, like the MSI X399 Chariot Gaming board and Intel’s latest LGA 2066 socket type.

The only downside is that it does not accompany any RGB lighting. It would have been better if NZXT had added RGB lighting in it; but its unique design and high-performance features make up for the absence of RGB lighting.

Pros
  • Offers 240mm, 280mm, and 360mm configurations
  • Visual customization with beautiful 2.36” LCD screen
  • Premium quality material with unparalleled aesthetics
Cons
  • No RGB fans
  • No AM4, TR4 bracket included

Corsair iCUE H115i Elite Capellix

Corsair-iCUE-H115i-Elite
Corsair iCUE H115i Elite Capellix (Image credit: Amazon)

Brighter is better

Specifications

Dimensions: 12.68 x 5.39 x 4.71 inches – Base Height: 65mm – Weight: 2.26 pounds – Fans: 2 – Socket Support: Intel LGA 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1200, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066 and AMD AM2, AM3, AM4, FM1, FM2, sTR4, sTRX4 – Warranty: 5 years

Corsair iCUE H115i Elite Capellix is one of the best liquid CPU coolers of 2020 and it is specially designed for people who want to replace their stock fans and heatsink and install a liquid cooler. You can consider this as one of the best air coolers on our list because it also contains two 120mm PWM fans with LED lighting on them, so you can see your PC’s awesome looks even when it is powered off. To begin with, it is equipped with an Intel LGA 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 2011 and AMD AM2 / AM3 / AM4 socket type supports. So, you can simply install this CPU cooler without any issues on your motherboard.

It has an ultra-thin radiator design of only 27mm, so you can easily fit it in your PC chassis. It is equipped with dual SP120L high static pressure fans with PWM support. The AIO liquid cooler consists of two tubes for providing an efficient flow of water to the radiator and CPU block. Its weight is  2.26 pounds and its dimensions are 12×6.5×5 inches.

It has a large micro-fine copper base, which captures the maximum amount of heat from your CPU and dispels it into the water block quickly. It is equipped with CLC Cooling technology to dissipate thermal energy efficiently. Corsair iCUE H115i Elite Capellix is available at Amazon.

Pros
  • Stylish and glossy pre-installed pump cap
  • Fascinating with magnetic levitation RGB fans
  • Tool-free mounting bracket for easy installation
Cons
  • Extra bright RGB
  • No color choice (only black)

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240P Mirage

Cooler-Master-ML240P
Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240P Mirage (Image credit: Amazon)

Cool and hypnotic

Specifications

Dimensions: 13.7 x 11.22 x 5.79 inches – Base Height: 44.5mm – Weight: 1237g – Fans: 2 – Socket Support: LGA2066, LGA2011-v3, LGA2011, LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1366, LGA775, TR4, AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2, FM1 – Warranty: 5 years

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240P Mirage is the best liquid CPU Cooler for cooling your processor in the upcoming year. It has a very low noise level, it is an energy-efficient cooling system, and has many other features that make it one of the best budget options to opt for.

The best part about the Master Liquid ML240P Mirage is that it has a unique technology that allows you to choose between two channels of lighting for your CPU Cooler. It comes with 3 color modes and 4 LED brightness levels, which can be easily controlled by using either the CAM software or the iRadar mobile app. This way you will be able to make the appropriate adjustments, depending on what kind of mood you are in at that moment.

The ML240P Mirage has a dual-chamber pump which makes the liquid absorb heat more efficiently and decrease the noise level. The CAM software allows you to set fan curves, monitor temperatures, and customize each channel of lighting on the fly during gameplay or overclocking sessions. It’s an excellent option for those who are looking for high performance without spending too much.

The Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240P Mirage is a good choice if you are looking for an excellent balance between performance, features, and price.

It is compatible with all the major sockets and its installation is very easy and straightforward, so we can say that it is very user-friendly. It has a small footprint and it doesn’t occupy too much space in your case, which makes it ideal for use in smaller builds as well. The only drawback of this product might be its price, but if you consider all the features and its performance, then it is totally worth it.

Pros
  • Threadripper support
  • Controller hub included
  • Tri-phase/PWM motor with a silent driver
Cons
  • No 360mm radiator support
  • No documentation on how to install

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120R RGB

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120R RGB (Image credit: Amazon

The best compact liquid cooler

Specifications

Dimensions: 6.2 x 4.7 x 1.1 inches – Base Height: 27mm – Weight: 2.4 pounds – Fans: 2 – Socket Support: LGA2066, LGA2011 v3, LGA2011, LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1366, AMD: AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2 – Warranty: 2 years

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120R RGB is found to be the best compact liquid cooler. It comes equipped with a dual-chamber pump that separates the hot coolant from the cold coolant. This feature keeps the cold coolant out of the pump and ensures very low temperatures, which keeps your CPU at safe levels.

This CPU Cooler comes with two RGB LED rings and an aluminum heatsink. The aluminum heatsink ensures faster heat dissipation so that your CPU can perform better with long hours of heavy workloads. This is the best CPU Cooler for overclocked CPUs as it comes with a MasterFan Pro 120 Air Pressure RGB3 Bearing Dual Color Case Fan, which has got excellent cooling performance and amazing air pressure capacity.

RGB fan to make your PC look unique and attractive. The cooler’s 120mm radiator and the pump are designed in such a way that they can take up minimal space inside your PC case, allowing you to enjoy the best cooling performance without compromising on the internal component size of your PC.

Its base height is 27mm and weight is 2.4 pounds which comes with 2 years warranty.

Pros
  • Two 120mm RGB fans
  • Addressable RGB fans
  • Intel and AMD compatible
Cons
  • Loud at full speed
  • Unsatisfactory low cooling performance

Arctic Liquid Freezer 120

Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 (Image credit: Amazon)

Best budget liquid-cooler

Specifications

Dimensions: 7.2 x 6.97 x 5.59 inches – Base Height: 155mm – Weight: 2.77 pounds – Fans: 2 – Socket Support: Intel LGA 2011 – 2066; AMD AM2 – AM3+, FM1 – FM2 – Warranty: 6 years

Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 is one of the latest best budget liquid coolers.  It is a self-contained water cooling system, combining a 120mm radiator with a matched fan designed to dissipate up to 70W of heat. It has smart and adaptive software that monitors your PC’s information and automatically adjusts the fan speed for you. A single push of the button will enable turbo mode for increased heat dissipation. This liquid cooler is made to work efficiently with Intel & AMD CPUs. The best thing about this CPU Cooler is that it has a 6-year warranty which no other CPU Cooler in its price range offers.

The heat exchanger is made of copper which provides faster heat absorption. It has a low-noise 120mm PWM fan to give you one of the quietest PC environments. The hoses are designed to be kink-free and reduce any chance of leakage or cracking, which gives it reliability and durability.  The fan disconnects when the PC is not in use which will save energy during off-time.

The company has given six years warranty on this product, but the thing you should know is that before making any claim for warranty services, make sure you have proof of purchase by showing it to the retailer from where you bought this CPU Cooler. Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 is very affordable and durable.

Pros
  • Integrated cable management
  • High quality fluid dynamic bearing
  • Synchronous pump/fan control with PWM
Cons
  • Limited features
  • Compatibility issues

Conclusion

We’ve reviewed almost every best CPU cooler with both air and liquid cooling. Different people have different preferences, and the user is responsible for selecting the one that works best for them. The greatest higher-end air CPU cooler with overclocking performance needs more space inside the case. As a result, mid-tower cases with adequate ventilation are preferable to those who have limited airflow.

On the other hand, liquid cooling systems are the quietest and most efficient, as they include huge radiators with high power consumption but little noise. People who want silent CPU coolers can choose from Noctua’s NH-L9. It generates low noise levels but performs worse than the competition. Meanwhile, if you don’t have a budget and can afford high-end coolers, the NZXT Kraken Z-3 is an excellent option.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best CPU cooler to use?

The Noctua NH-D15 CPU cooler is a fantastic example of power and efficiency. It can easily manage any issues that you may encounter in high-stress situations. This CPU cooler maintains the temperature while also extending the life of other components. It’s quiet and has a great thermal compound. The product has exceptional build quality, as well as outstanding performance.

Is it worth investing in a CPU cooler?

Some people don’t like the loud noise produced by such devices. On the other hand, if you want to overclock your system, an aftermarket CPU cooler is required. When you overclock your system, it becomes hot under overclocking circumstances, which can damage your processor. We recommend Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 in this scenario because it is the best budget liquid cooler on the market.

Is liquid cooling still worth it in 2021?

If you had the money to spend on cooling, then liquid cooling is well worth it. It will function better and longer if you keep your components’ temperatures low. Liquid cooling has superior thermal efficiency and looks more attractive than air conditioning. However, it may be noisier and costlier in some cases. If you want to use liquid cooling, we suggest the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120R RGB because it comes with addressable RGB fans that are compatible with both Intel and AMD processors.

How many CPU coolers should I buy?

For gaming PCs, we recommend you get cases with three or more fans (or extra slots for adding more) on the CPU, GPU, and/or thermal paste. We suggest the Cooler Master Master Liquid ML240P Mirage. With exceptional build quality, it provides outstanding cooling performance. The amazing RGB effects may help make your gaming rig seem better.

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