We rated, reviewed, & compared 12 of the best CPU coolers on the market. The guide is broken down into two sections: the best air-based CPU coolers & the best closed-loop liquid coolers..
|Noctua NH-D15||2x140mm||6.5″ x 5.9″ x 6.3″||9.3/10|
|EVGA CLC 280||2x140mm||12.2″ x 5.5″ x 1.1″||9.2/10|
|Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO||1x120mm||4.7″ x 3.1″ x 6.2″||8.5/10|
|Arctic Liquid Freezer 120||1x120mm||6.1″ x 4.7″ x 1.9″||8.8/10|
If you don’t plan on overclocking and you don’t mind the look of a stock CPU cooler, it is not absolutely necessary to go out and get an aftermarket CPU cooler. However, CPU coolers really aren’t that expensive (especially if you go with an air CPU cooler) and they can give you better cooling and help put the finishing touches on a nice-looking build.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the best CPU coolers for gaming currently on the market. We have looked at six different air coolers and six different closed-loop liquid coolers.
For liquid coolers, the absolute best-case scenario for extreme builders is a custom loop liquid cooling setup. However, these aren’t as simple and straight forward as the closed-loop options currently available and are really only items that people looking to do some extreme overclocking, or people who really want to build something aesthetically superior should look into.
And, for the most part, air coolers compete fairly similar to closed-loop liquid coolers, despite costing less. Although, if you’re going for a really clean look, perhaps nothing can accomplish that more than a closed-loop liquid cooler.
Ultimately, if you aren’t planning on going with a custom liquid cooling setup, but you want something a little more than the cheap stock fan that your CPU will come with, this guide will help you make the best choice for your needs.
Best Air CPU Coolers
Air CPU coolers are, on average, a bit less expensive than closed-loop liquid coolers. And, for some of the more high-end air coolers out there, they are even able to perform on par with the top closed-loop liquid coolers on the market.
But air CPU heatsinks are much bigger and bulkier and don’t quite offer that clean look that closed-loop liquid coolers do.
So, if you are looking for something that can keep your system cool, give you good temperatures, and won’t cost you as much as a closed-loop system, and you don’t mind having a bulky air cooler take up a ton of space on the inside of your case (for aesthetic purposes), then an air cooler will be your best bet.
What follows is a list of six of the best CPU heatsinks currently on the market.
Air CPU Cooler Comparison Chart (Click “Read Review” to Expand)
Best LIQUID CPU Coolers
I will admit that, for my own personal tastes, I prefer an inexpensive air cooler over a high-end closed-loop liquid cooler. But, that’s mostly because I don’t try and overclock my CPU to insane levels and it’s really not necessary for my system to look perfect.
I’m mostly looking for practicality over aesthetics and high overclocks. So, choosing a more affordable air cooler that can do a similar job to a closed-loop liquid cooler is fine with me.
However, this doesn’t mean you should do the same. In fact, if you are planning on pushing your CPU to the extreme and you want something that will show off the aesthetics of the inside of your case, then a liquid cooler is probably more in line with your wants and needs.
So, with that being said, the list below goes over six of the best closed-loop liquid coolers currently on the market. This list will help you find the right liquid cooler for your needs.
Liquid CPU Cooler Comparison Chart (Click “Read Review” to Expand)
The first decision you need to make when choosing a cooler for your new gaming computer build is whether or not you’re okay with sticking with your stock cooler or if you need something a little bit more powerful.
Then, if you have decided you want a better CPU cooler, your next step is to decide whether or not you want an aftermarket air CPU cooler, a closed-loop liquid cooler, or if you want to build your own custom liquid cooling setup.
And, if you are looking for an air cooler, or a closed-loop liquid cooler, this guide will help you find an option that will work for you.