Buyers Guides CPU Coolers

Best CPU Coolers to Buy in 2024

Introduction

Those in the market for a new CPU cooler have many options to choose from. Both air and liquid CPU coolers provide different strengths and weaknesses aimed at a range of buyers, so finding a cooler that strikes a good balance between pricing and performance can be challenging. This is why we’ve tested a wide range of CPU coolers from different brands to see which are the best options on the market.

We’ve benchmarked an extensive range of CPU coolers from major brands such as Corsair, DeepCool, Thermaltake, MSI, and Cooler Master. The selection we’ve put together in this buyers guide caters to varying use cases and budgets. We’ve also analysed the hardware, features, and performance to see what kind of value is on offer compared to the rest of the market.

Our Top Pick: 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: 2024-05-18 16:45:26 ET

The Best CPU Coolers

1. MSI MAG CoreLiquid E360

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: 2024-05-18 16:45:26 ET

If you’re adamant about picking up a liquid CPU cooler or searching for the best value for money, MSI’s CoreLiquid E360 is worth a look. As one of the cheapest 360mm AIO coolers on the market, the CoreLiquid E360 provides price-conscious builders with an affordable way to elevate your system’s cooling capabilities and fill out the radiator slots to create a more complete build.

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. 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 relatively tame compared to other 360mm coolers. However, this cooler still includes RGB lighting on each fan 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

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

2. DeepCool AK620 Zero Dark

MPI_DeepCool AK620 Zero Dark
$67.88 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-05-18 16:45:26 ET

An air cooler such as the DeepCool AK620 Dark Zero is arguably the best solution for budget builders or those building a compact PC. While picking up a 120mm AIO CPU cooler instead can be tempting, we’d recommend air coolers for their less intrusive nature and cheaper price point. The AK620 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 CPUs.

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

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 in with the rest of the build, which is important for air coolers, as they can often be an eyesore. However, this large cooler could lead to clearance issues with smaller PC cases and RAM.

Pros

Cons

3. DeepCool LS520

MPI_DeepCool LS520
$103.75 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-05-18 16:45:26 ET

240mm coolers are a popular choice for mid-range systems as they strike a great balance between performance and pricing. One of the best 240mm AIOs is the DeepCool LS520, as it offers a premium design at a very reasonable price point. Much like 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.

This CPU cooler ensures maximum thermal efficiency and airflow even under intense workloads. It features a water pump that can reach speeds of up to 3100RPM, supported by two 120mm fans. The LS520 can also maintain a relatively low noise floor, making it an ideal pickup for those who prefer a silent PC build.

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

The DeepCool LS520 is a compact 240mm liquid cooler, which is a form factor supported by a vast range of cases. This ensures you won’t be limited in terms of case choices when configuring your PC build.

Pros

Cons

4. Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240 Atmos

MPI_Cooler Master Master Liquid 240 Atmos
Original Review by Jay Harris: Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240 Atmos Review – A Customisable 240mm Option
$129.99 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-05-18 16:45:26 ET

Another 240mm AIO cooler we’d recommend is the MasterLiquid 240 Atmos from CoolerMaster. Offering high-end cooling performance and a compact design, this CPU cooler should fit into most PC cases without issues.

Boasting a 2400RPM dual-chamber pump, the MasterLiquid 240 Atmos is designed to keep CPUs cool under pressure. However, the most interesting feature of the pump itself is the customisable top plate, which can be swapped out with a 3D-printed design, allowing you to change the look of this cooler to your heart’s content. This highly unique feature isn’t commonly available with other CPU coolers.

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 straightforward to install. It features traditional Intel and AMD mounting mechanisms that don’t require additional tools, making it an excellent option for novice builders and enthusiasts. 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.

While the 240 Atmos is a solid cooler for mid-range systems, it isn’t an ideal option for overclocking. CPUs drawing more power will need a 360mm liquid cooler or better to ensure efficient thermals.

Pros

Cons

5. Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix XT

MPI_Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix XT
$199.99 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-05-18 16:45:26 ET

360mm liquid CPU coolers are generally highly sought after for top-end PC builds as they offer exceedingly strong thermal performance and adhere to a form factor that is commonly supported by the vast majority of modern cases. From all the 360mm AIOs we’ve tested, the Corsair H150i Elite Capellix XT 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 cooler has no trouble keeping thermals to a minimum in strenuous workloads, such as the latest blockbuster titles or demanding productivity applications. Because of this, the H150i Elite Capellix XT is a solid choice to pair with Intel’s 14th-Gen processors and AMD’s Ryzen 3D variants.

SpecificationCorsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix XT
Radiator Size360mm
Radiator Dimensions (L x W x H)397mm x 120mm x 27mm
Number of Fans3
Max Fan Speed2100RPM
Bearing TypeMagnetic Levitation
Pump Connector4-pin PWM
Socket CompatibilityIntel – LGA 1700, 1200, 115X
AMD – AM5, AM4

But arguably, the most significant advantage to picking up a CPU cooler from Corsair comes from the aesthetics department, as their high-quality designs and unmatched RGB lighting make 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 will be a point of contention for many prospective buyers. While the H150i Elite Capellix XT is a worthwhile investment for top-end systems, this CPU cooler isn’t an ideal pickup for those on a budget.

Pros

Cons

6. Thermaltake TH420 V2 Ultra ARGB Sync

MPI_Thermaltake TH420 V2 ARGB Sync on Box
$135.99 at Amazon
Last updated: 2024-05-18 16:45:26 ET

For those looking for the best thermal performance money can buy, the Thermaltake TH420 V2 Ultra ARGB Sync is worth considering. As a 420mm liquid CPU cooler, the TH420 V2 is one of the most powerful cooling solutions before delving into custom loops. The 420mm radiator of the TH420 V2 Ultra ARGB Sync provides comparatively better performance versus 360mm AIOs, as the increased surface area and space for 140mm fans results in greater heat dissipation and stronger airflow.

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 on the pump head, which displays information or custom GIFs to act as a centrepiece for a PC build. The fans also offer 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 case compatibility, as 420mm radiators are generally only supported in larger mid-tower or full tower chassis.

Pros

Cons

How We Tested the Best CPU Coolers

To determine which CPU cooler is the best, all of the cooling solutions 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. We’ve written a full series of behind-the-scenes articles detailing our testing methodologies and processes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is Better, Air or Liquid Coolers?

Liquid coolers generally offer better performance, but air coolers are a great option for budget builds where pricing is more restrictive.

What Mounting Do These Coolers Support?

All CPU coolers in this roundup support the LGA 1700 and AM5 sockets, but we advise checking if your CPU socket is supported on the manufacturer’s website.

Are CPU Coolers Hard to Install?

Some CPU coolers can be more finicky than others, but it depends. Radiators are generally the hardest to install because they have so many additional fans and cables.

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!