Buyers Guides CPU Coolers

Best CPU Coolers to Buy in 2024

Introduction

Picking up a CPU cooler can be a difficult endeavour at times. With manufacturers filling the market with a vast range of options, it can be rather complicated to pick out the best CPU cooler without doing any research beforehand. You also can’t skip out on this component, as your CPU cooler is pivotal in ensuring that your CPU stays cool when under load.

For this reason, it is vital to find a CPU Cooler that can handle the demands of the equipped CPU, as well as the rest of the components within a PC build. There are a multitude of different factors to consider, such as PC case size, thermal capability, budget, mounting hardware, and more. But we’ve done all of the heavy lifting for you, by testing a wide range of CPU cooler options, catering to various use cases and budgets.

Best CPU Cooler: MSI MAG CoreLiquid E360

MSI MAG CoreLiquid E360 with Box

In our testing, we’ve concluded that the MSI MAG CoreLiquid E360 is the best CPU cooler to buy. When comparing to all of the other options that we’ve tested, the E360 is a clear and definitive winner based on its excellent value-proposition. 360mm CPU coolers are generally pretty expensive, but the E360 offers strong thermal capability while maintaining a very affordable price point that sits close to a budget 240mm AIO.

$135.99 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-04-19 05:36:05 ET

The Best CPU Coolers

1. DeepCool AK620 Zero Dark

Best Budget

MPI_DeepCool AK620 Zero Dark
$64.99 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-04-19 05:36:05 ET

For budget builders or those building a compact PC, an air cooler such as the DeepCool AK620 Dark Zero is arguably the best solution. Whilst it can be tempting to pick up a 120mm AIO CPU cooler instead, we’d recommend air coolers for their less intrusive nature and cheaper price point. The AK620 in particular is one of the most powerful air coolers on the market, with its stacked dual-fan design maximising airflow.

Whilst most air CPU coolers struggle to keep up with the demands of anything other than a budget-oriented system, the additional firepower from the 1800RPM fans on the AK620 can handle the demands of most budget and mid-range gaming PCs.

SpecificationDeepCool AK620 Zero Dark
Product Dimensions (L x W x H)129mm x 138mm x 160mm
Weight1.45kg
Max Fan Speed1850RPM
Max Fan Noise28dB
Number of Fans2
Number of Heatpipes6
Bearing TypeFluid Dynamic Bearing
Fan Connector4-pin PWM
Socket CompatibilityIntel – LGA 1700, 1200, 115X
AMD – AM5, AM4
Warranty

In terms of design, the ‘Zero Dark’ variant offers a stealthy all-black appearance, with only a few DeepCool logos disrupting the monochrome look. This allows it to blend into the rest of the build, which is important for air coolers specifically, as they can often be an eyesore. However, this cooler is very large, which could lead to clearance issues with smaller PC cases and RAM.

Pros

Cons

Suggested Article: Best RGB Liquid CPU Coolers to Buy in 2024

2. MSI MAG CoreLiquid E360

Best Value

CI2_MSI MAG CoreLiquid E360 with Box
Original Review by Jay Harris: MSI MAG CoreLiquid E360 Review – A 360mm Value Titan
$135.99 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-04-19 05:36:05 ET

Anyone adamant on picking up a liquid CPU cooler, or searching for the best value for money, then MSI’s CoreLiquid E360 is worth taking a look at. As one of the cheapest 360mm AIO coolers on the market, the CoreLiquid E360 provides price-conscious builders with an affordable way to elevate their system’s cooling capabilities, as well as fill out the radiator slots to create a build that looks more complete.

Despite the budget-friendly nature of this cooler, the CoreLiquid E360 offers performance that can handle the demands of the most powerful gaming rigs. With a 3000RPM pump and 3 x 120mm fans, the CoreLiquid E360 will dissipate heat efficiently while remaining quiet in the process. For those not willing to spend more on a cooling solution suitable for high-end CPUs, the AIO cooler is a solid choice for most budget and mid-range processors.

SpecificationMSI MAG CoreLiquid E360
Radiator Size360mm
Radiator Dimensions (L x W x H)394mm x 119.2mm x 27mm
Number of Fans3
Bearing TypeFluid Dynamic Bearing
Max Pump Speed (RPM)3000RPM
Pump Connector4-pin
Socket CompatibilityIntel – LGA 1700, 1200, 115X
AMD – AM5, AM4

The aesthetic is arguably where the cost-cutting is most prevalent, as the CoreLiquid E360’s design is quite tame compared to other 360mm coolers. However, this cooler still manages to include RGB lighting on each of the fans and hints of illumination on the water pump. Plus, this simplistic approach does offer a somewhat unique look for systems using this cooler.

Pros

Cons

3. DeepCool LS520

Best 240mm

MPI_DeepCool LS520
$94.73 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-04-19 01:39:30 ET

When it comes to finding an ideal balance of pricing, performance, and design, 240mm coolers are a popular choice amongst consumers. One of the best 240mm AIOs is the DeepCool LS520, as it offers a premium design at a very reasonable price point. Much like their previously mentioned air cooler, the AK620 Zero Dark, the DeepCool LS520 maintains a sleek but simplistic design, allowing it to fit into the majority of builds without too much stress.

Featuring a water pump that can reach speeds of up to 3100RPM, supported by the 2 x 120mm fans, this CPU cooler has all the tools needed to keep even the most powerful parts running at their best. On top of this, the low noise levels ensure that a system won’t sound like it’s about to take off when placed under intense loads.

SpecificationDeepCool LS520
Radiator Size240mm
Radiator Dimensions (L x W x H)282mm x 120mm x 27mm
Number of Fans2
Max Fan Speed2250RPM
Bearing TypeFluid Dynamic Bearing
Max Pump Speed (RPM)3100RPM
Pump Connector3-pin
Socket CompatibilityIntel – LGA 1700, 1200, 115X
AMD – AM5, AM4

In terms of design, the 240mm radiator provides a healthy balance of performance and compatibility, making it an ideal cooling solution for those looking to build a compact gaming PC. As most PC cases can support a radiator with this form factor, this cooler won’t limit case choices, making a range of PC builds possible.

Pros

Cons

4. Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240 Atmos

Best Compact

MPI_Cooler Master Master Liquid 240 Atmos
Original Review by Jay Harris: Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240 Atmos Review – A Customisable 240mm Option
$128.80 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-04-19 01:39:31 ET

Another 240mm AIO cooler we’d recommend is the MasterLiquid 240 Atmos from CoolerMaster, especially for those looking to build a compact system. Offering high-end cooling performance while keeping the form factor to a minimum, this CPU cooler should have no issues fitting into most PC cases, even if the rest of the build is filled with power-hungry components.

Boasting a 2400RPM dual-chamber pump, the MasterLiquid 240 Atmos is designed to keep CPUs cool under pressure. But perhaps the coolest feature of the pump itself is the customisable top plate that supports 3D-printed designs.

SpecificationCooler Master MasterLiquid 240 Atmos
Radiator Size240mm
Radiator Dimensions (L x W x H)277mm 119.6mm x 27.2mm
Number of Fans2
Max Fan Speed2500RPM
Bearing TypeLoop Dynamic Bearing
Pump Connector4-pin
Socket CompatibilityIntel – LGA 1700, 1200, 115X
AMD – AM5, AM4

The MasterLiquid 240 Atmos is also very quiet and easy to install, making it a great option for novice builders and enthusiasts alike. As a result, we gave the 240 Atmos a GeekaWhat Design Award, as this cooler goes above and beyond to leave PC builders feeling satisfied.

That being said, the 240mm design does limit the cooling capabilities of this AIO slightly, as the reduced surface area takes a toll on how efficiently it can dissipate heat. As a result, we wouldn’t recommend this cooling solution for any system containing a Core i9 or Ryzen 9 processor.

Pros

Cons

Our Ratings:

Design: 4.5/5

Performance: 4.6/5

Value for Money: 4.4/5

Our Verdict: 4.5/5

5. Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix

Best 360mm

$369.92 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-04-19 01:39:30 ET

Generally, 360mm Liquid CPU coolers are often considered the most conventional form factor, as they offer the best performance whilst sticking to size restrictions of traditional PC cases. From all the 360mm AIOs we’ve tested, the Corsair H150i Elite Capellix stands out as the best choice for keeping a high-end system at low temperatures.

Featuring three fans that can reach up to 2100RPM, this cooling solution has no trouble pushing air away from valuable components when placed under strenuous circumstances, such as the latest blockbuster titles or demanding productivity applications. Because of this, the H150i Elite Capellix is a solid choice to pair up with Intel’s 14th-Gen processors, as well as AMD’s Ryzen 3D variants.

SpecificationCorsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix
Radiator Size360mm
Radiator Dimensions (L x W x H)397mm x 119.6mm x 119.6mm
Number of Fans3
Max Fan Speed2400RPM
Bearing TypeMagnetic Levitation
Pump Connector4-pin PWM
Socket CompatibilityIntel – LGA 1700, 1200, 115X
AMD – AM5, AM4

But arguably, the biggest advantage to picking up a CPU Cooler from Corsair comes from the aesthetics department, as their high-quality designs and unmatched RGB lighting makes it easy to brighten up your gaming setup. Whilst this cooler is also available in black, we think the white variant is the more eye-catching option, as it is one of the best AIO coolers you can find for an all-white PC build.

Though this CPU cooler is a great pick for enthusiasts, the expensive price point and larger design limits its potential customer base. The higher price makes it quite the investment for a mid-range system, in which this cooler will be slightly overkill anyway. Plus, this cooler can get pretty loud when put under pressure.

Pros

Cons

6. Thermaltake TH420 V2 ARGB Sync

Best 420mm

MPI_Thermaltake TH420 V2 ARGB Sync on Box
$114.99 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-04-19 05:36:05 ET

If finding the best cooling performance possible is a top priority, which probably should be the case when searching for a CPU cooler, then Thermaltake’s TH420 V2 Ultra ARGB Sync will be the best bet. As a 420mm liquid CPU cooler, the TH420 V2 is one of the most powerful cooling solutions on the market before delving into custom loops.

The 420mm radiator dials up the cooling capabilities of this AIO further than what’s available on the more conventional 360mm designs, as the increased surface area and space for 140mm fans results in greater heat dissipation. Whilst the 1800RPM fans mean this cooler doesn’t take advantage of the additional space as much as it should, the boosted thermal regulation makes this design an ideal pickup for overclocking.

SpecificationThermaltake TH420 V2 Ultra ARGB Sync
Radiator Size360mm
Radiator Dimensions (L x W x H)456mm x 139mm x 27mm
Number of Fans3
Max Fan Speed1800RPM
Max Pump Speed (RPM)3300RPM
Pump Connector4-pin PWM
Socket CompatibilityIntel – LGA 1700, 1200, 115X
AMD – AM5, AM4

Admittedly, this design isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as some of the other coolers we’ve tested, but the TH420 V2 does possess appealing design features. The best example of this is the customisable LCD display on the pump head, which displays information or custom GIFs to act as a centrepiece for a PC build. Additionally, the fans all include RGB lighting, adding plenty of vibrancy and colour to a gaming PC.

Despite being one of the more affordable 420mm CPU coolers on the market, the TH420 V2 is still very expensive compared to most cooling solutions. Also, the larger form factor significantly reduces compatibility, leading to a limited number of PC cases it can be slotted into.

Pros

Cons

How We Tested the Best CPU Coolers

To determine which CPU cooler is the best of the bunch, all of the cooling solutions that we’ve tested have been compared against one another. First, we break down our collection of coolers into specific categories to pinpoint the best option for the variable in question. These products are then tested in a designated benchmarking system, which ensures the testing process is fair and consistent. Once testing is complete, we evaluate the best products with CPU coolers from other categories, where we use a number of factors to determine the overall winner.

What Sized CPU Cooler Do You Need?

When it comes to picking up a CPU cooler, one of the main factors that will slim down your range of products to choose from is the size. Whilst most PC cases will support a range of radiator sizes, more compact cases will need a smaller AIO or air cooler. On top of this, smaller CPU coolers are often cheaper, making them a better option for price-conscious buyers.

But what option is best suited to your budget and CPU of choice? Here are our recommendations for which CPU Coolers we’d recommend for certain budgets and CPUs.

CPU Cooler SizeRecommended BudgetCPU Pairing
Air Coolers$100 or belowRyzen 3, 5 / Core i3, i5
120mm AIO$50-$100Ryzen 3, 5 / Core i3, i5
240mm AIO $50-$150Ryzen 3, 5, 7 / Core i3, i5, i7
360mm AIO$100-$200Ryzen 5, 7, 9 / Core i5, i7, i9
420mm AIO$150 or aboveRyzen 7, 9 / Core i7, i9

Air vs Liquid CPU Coolers – Which Should You Pick?

One of the biggest decisions to make when picking a CPU cooler is whether to pick up an air-based or liquid-based solution. Whilst liquid CPU coolers are often considered the superior choice in terms of raw performance, there are a number of factors that could convince builders to use an air cooler instead.

For example, air cooling is a strong choice for anyone on a tight budget, as these designs are usually a lot cheaper than liquid coolers. Plus, their reduced size and all-in-one nature makes them easy to install into a wider range of PC cases.

RX 7600 + 3000D PC Build gallery 3

That being said, liquid coolers are a lot more efficient, making builders less susceptible to experiencing thermal regulation issues such as components overheating. On top of this, AIO liquid coolers come in a wider range of sizes and form factors, which means users can find a design that best fits within their system. Plus, these coolers are considered more aesthetically pleasing, as they tend to naturally fit in with the chassis and the rest of the build.

DeepCool MYSTIQUE 360 display in build

editor
Jay Harris is an expert in everything PC hardware! With a degree in Cybersecurity, and a PC hardware background Jay has all of the technical knowledge required to make informed recommendations. Jay is an avid keyboard builder and gamer, with a major passion for tech. In fact, Jay's personal rig boasts a white RX 7900 XTX graphics card, inside of the Lian O11D Mini - a true enthusiast's dream!