What’s cooler than being cool? That’s right, keeping your PC components ice cold. And, before you go out to find more exciting parts like the best graphics cards, you should start your best gaming PC build off with the best CPU cooler. After all, lower CPU temps will make your computer last longer and be more performant.
The best CPU coolers come in every shape size and color, but the right cooler for you will probably depend on what you’re doing with your PC. Luckily, the best CPU coolers are available in a wide range of budgets, too – some of the best air coolers are extremely affordable. Don’t worry if you ‘re looking for the best of the best, though- – you can still splurge for the best liquid coolers to cool the best processors.
No matter which of the best CPU coolers you’re looking for, we have you covered. We’ll help you find the best CPU cooler you can buy today, just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And, because we’ve tested all of these CPU coolers ourselves, you can keep an eye on Black Friday PC component deals, so you can save some cash without compromising on quality.
The Noctua NH-D15 is the best CPU cooler you can buy in 2018 simply because it performs just as well as – if not better than some liquid coolers, while costing a fraction of the price. Now, you might not be too familiar with Noctua’s name, as they’re relatively small in the CPU cooler world, but its business is centered around designing coolers, so you know that when you buy one of their products, you’re getting a product by people who really know their craft. Not only will you get fantastic cooling performance from the NH-D15, but it’s nearly silent too.
Yeah, we know, it’s been around for years. But, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo is still one of the best CPU coolers on the market – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Even though it only features four heatpipes and an aluminum fin structure, this legendary CPU cooler has proven again and again to be just as efficient as any liquid cooling system These air coolers are designed to make heat dissipation a breeze – literally – whether you’re playing Destiny 2 at max settings or reading TechRadar in a web browser.
Noctua is an Austrian manufacturer that does one thing, and one thing only: make CPU coolers and fans. What this means is that while the Noctua NH-L9 is tiny, it is still capable of insane cooling with no compromises. This is a fantastic cooler for anyone with a smaller build, or even if you’re using a ton of large components, and you’re not comfortable with liquid cooling.
Corsair has been on top of the all-in-one liquid cooling game for a while now, and the H100i Pro continues the trend. Not only is this thing strapped in the RGB lighting we’ve come to expect from Corsair, but it also features impressive cooling performance, thanks in part to its powerful and unique fans, which you can control through Corsair’s iCue software. This all results in a CPU cooler that not only performs well, but that is also completely customizable.
If you’re looking for a powerful liquid cooler that’ll help contribute to your epic RGB setup, the Deepcool Gamerstorm Castle 240 RGB is the best CPU cooler for you. Beyond the ridiculous name, it’s a reliable AIO cooler that can push your overclocks higher and higher with addressable RGB that’s compatible with a wide range of controllers – so you can effortlessly sync your lighting. The CPU Block stands a little high, but when it looks this good, does it really matter?
If you’re running one of the best processors, and you want to push it to the limit, the NZXT Kraken X72 is the best CPU cooler for overclocking. Not only does it pack a gigantic radiator, but its high fan speeds ensure that cooling performance is top-notch all the time. And, because it’s 2018, it features addressable RGB and an infinite mirror design that looks amazing in any case. Then, to top it all off, the NZXT Kraken X72 is backed by a 6 year warranty.
There isn’t a single component that can’t be made better with RGB, and Cooler Master knows this – jumping on the RGB bandwagon with the MasterLiquid ML 120R RGB. What’s more, it integrates some of the first addressable LEDs seen on a liquid cooler. This all-in-one liquid cooling solution isn’t just about aesthetics either – as it features an oxidation-free pump and an efficient radiator. This means that not only will it last longer – but it’ll keep your CPU cooler, and all without giving up too much case real estate.
For less than 70 big ones in both US dollars and British sterling, the Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 is a deal you can’t pass up if you’re on the prowl for a liquid cooler that won’t break the bank. While it lacks the bells and whistles of pricier, more extravagant liquid coolers, like the NZXT Kraken, the Arctic Liquid cooler is enough to get you by, not to mention it’s still a massive step up from the classic fan and heatsink pairing. So, while you can’t expect RGB lighting or software – or even hardware-based fan control, the 120mm variant of the Arctic Liquid Freezer will keep your system refrigerated at a (mostly) quiet volume.
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Corsair Hydro Series H5 SF
Even if your budget will allow you to really go all-out on a serious liquid cooling solutions, if you have a smaller PC case, you’ll likely not have enough space. That’s where something like the Corsair Hydro H5 SF comes into play. Even on the smallest PC cases, you should able to use this CPU cooler to keep your CPU chilled, even if you have some beastly overclocks going on. And, because it’s a closed loop, you don’t even need to worry about maintenance. Set it up, and let it do its thing – you won’t be disappointed.
Unless you’re already neck deep in the rabbit hole that is silent PC assembly, you’ve probably never heard of NoFan, a South Korean component company that specializes in helping enthusiasts reach that 0dBA silent sweet spot. In doing so, of course, you can count on severely limiting yourself in terms of power, with its CR-95C fanless solution being limited in compatibility to processors whose TDP fall below 95W. Still, the NoFan CR-95C is worth a shot for those sporting low-power rigs that prioritize tranquility over raw horsepower.
- This Product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Noctua NH-L9
- We’ve also ranked and reviewed the best gaming keyboards of 2018