Best CPU cooler 2018: top CPU coolers for your PC

Best CPU cooler

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 are available in all kinds of varieties, and the right cooler for your build depends on the kind of PC you’re trying to build. 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 cream of the crop – you can still drop a ton of cash for elaborate liquid cooling systems for the best processors.

We have you covered, no matter what kind of CPU cooler you’re looking for. We’ll help you find the best CPU cooler you can buy today. And, because we’ve tested them all ourselves, you can use our exclusive price comparison tool, so you can save some cash without compromising on quality.

Noctua NH-D15

Best CPU cooler

Type: Fan and heatsink | Compatibility: Intel LGA 775 – LGA 2066; AMD AM2 – AM3+, FM1 – FM2+ | Rotation frequency: Up to 1500 RPM | Noise volume: 19.20dbA – 24.60dbA | Dimensions (W x D x H): 160 x 150 x 135mm | Weight: 2.91 pounds (1.32kg)

Whisper quiet
Six-year manufacturer’s warranty
Too big for some PC builds

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. 

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO

Best budget CPU cooler

Type: Fan and heatsink | Compatibility: Intel LGA 775 – 2066; AMD AM2 – AM3+, FM1 – FM3+ | Rotation frequency: Up to 2,000 RPM | Noise volume: 9dBA – 36dBA | Dimensions (W x D x H): 120 x 120 x 25mm | Weight: 1.26 pounds (0.57kg)

Balanced cooling performance
Heat pipes ideal for conduction
AM4 bracket sold separately

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 NH-L9

Best low-profile CPU cooler

Type: Fan and heatsink | Compatibility: Intel LGA 1156/1155/1151; AMD AM2/AM2+/AM3/FM1/FM2 | Rotation frequency: Up to 2500 RPM | Noise volume: 14.8dbA – 23.6dbA | Dimensions (W x D x H): 206 x 184 x 37mm | Weight: 1.03 pounds (0.47kg)

Ultra compact
Six-year manufacturer’s warranty
Only 92mm fan

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 H100i Pro

Corsair H100i Pro

Best CPU liquid-cooler

Type: Liquid cooling system | Compatibility: Intel 2011 – 2066; AMD AM2 – AM4 | Rotation frequency: Up to 2,400 | Noise volume: 44dBA | Dimensions (W x D x H): 315 x 143 x 29mm | Weight: 4.4 pounds (1.98kg)

 Insane performance 
 Powerful fans 
 Gets loud 

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. 

Deepcool Gamerstorm Castle 240 RGB

Best RGB cooler

Type: Liquid cooling system | Compatibility: Intel 2011 – 2066; AMD AM2 – AM4; TR4 | Rotation frequency: Up to 1,800 | Noise volume: 30dBA | Dimensions: 274 × 120 × 27mm (L×W×H)

Gorgeous RGB lighting 
Inexpensive 
Bulky CPU block 

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?

NZXT Kraken X72

Best high-performance CPU Liquid Cooler

Type: Liquid cooling system | Compatibility: Intel 1151 – 2066; AMD TR4, AM2 – AM4, FM1-FM2+ | Rotation frequency: Up to 2,800 | Noise volume: 21-36dBA | Dimensions (W x D x H): 294 x 120 x 27mm | Weight: 2.84 pounds (1.28kg)

 Great performance 
 Aesthetic 
 Expensive 

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.

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120R RGB

The best compact liquid cooler

Type: Liquid cooling system | Compatibility: Intel LGA 775 – LGA 2066; AMD AM2 – AM4, FM1 – FM2+ | Rotation frequency: Up to 2000 RPM | Noise volume: 6dbA – 30dbA | Dimensions (W x D x H): 83.6 x 71.8 x 52.7mm

 Luminous RGB lighting 
 Premium build 
 A little expensive 

There isn’t a single component that can’t be improved through RGB, and Cooler Master is well aware – 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 – 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.

Arctic Liquid Freezer 120

Best budget liquid-cooler

Type: Liquid cooling system | Compatibility: Intel LGA 2011 – 2066; AMD AM2 – AM3+, FM1 – FM2 | Rotation frequency: Up to 1350 RPM | Noise volume: 22.5dBA | Dimensions (W x D x H): 120 x 120 x 25mm | Weight: 2.65 pounds (1.2kg)

Strong performance
Inexpensive
Somewhat noisey
Few features

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 

Corsair Hydro Series H5 SF

Best low-profile CPU liquid-cooler

Type: Liquid cooling system | Compatibility: Intel LGA 115x; AMD FM2 – FM2+ | Rotation frequency: Up to 1,800 RPM | Noise volume: 36dBA – 42dBA | Dimensions (W x D x H): 167 x 57 x 84mm | Weight: 2 pounds (0.91kg)

Guaranteed leak-free tubing
Compact, all-in-one form factor
Blower style cooler

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. 

NoFan CR-95C

Best fanless CPU cooler

Type: Passively cooled heatsink | Compatibility: Intel LGA 775 – 1156; AMD AM2 – AM3+; FM1 | Noise volume: 0dBA | Dimensions (W x H x D): 180 x 148 x 180mm | Weight: 1.6 pounds (0.73kg)

You won’t hear a peep
Works well with low-power CPUs
Exorbitantly massive
95W TDP limitation

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