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Best CPU Cooler for 2024

These CPU coolers are perfect for your PC build.

Best CPU Cooler
Need a new cooler? In this guide, we’ve listed a handful of the best CPU coolers currently available across a range of pricepoints and feature sets.

Whether you’re looking for a high-end air cooler, a 280mm AIO, or a budget-friendly option, there’s an option that will work for your needs.

But, if you’re not sure of what kind of cooler you need, we’d first recommend watching the video below.

Watch: What to Look for in A Cooler

Watch our Beginner’s Guide to Choosing A Cooler below, or on our YouTube channel.

Our Picks for the Best CPU Coolers

The table below represents our top choices for the best CPU coolers across various use cases and price points. We’ve chosen our pick for both the best air and AIO coolers, the best value options for each class of cooler, and the best budget choices, too.

NAME SPECS
TOP AIR
NOCTUA NH-D15 chromax.Black

Noctua NH-D15 Chromax Black

  • Dual Fans
  • 140mm Fans
  • Intel/AMD
  • 165mm Tall

Check Price

Read Review »

TOP AIO
Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420

Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420

  • Triple Fan
  • 140mm Fans
  • Intel/AMD
  • 458mm Long

Check Price

Read Review »

VALUE AIR
DeepCool AK620

DeepCool AK620

  • Dual Fans
  • 140mm Fan
  • Intel/AMD
  • 160mm Tall

Check Price

Read Review »

VALUE AIO
Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240

Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240

  • Dual Fans
  • 120mm Fans
  • Intel/AMD
  • 277mm Long

Check Price

Read Review »

BUDGET AIR
Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE

Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE

  • Single Fan
  • 120mm Fan
  • Intel/AMD
  • 155mm Tall

Check Price

Read Review »

BUDGET AIO
ID-COOLING FROSTFLOW X 240

ID-COOLING FROSTFLOW X 240

  • Single Fan
  • 120mm Fan
  • Intel/AMD
  • 276mm Long

Check Price

Read Review »

*To read more about our picks for the best CPU coolers listed above, just click the “Read Review »” button to hop to our overview on that cooler. You can also keep scrolling to find more air and AIO options.

1. Noctua NH-D15

The best high-end air CPU cooler

Top Air CPU Cooler - Noctua NH-D15 Chromax Black

SOCKET 115x/1200/1700/AM4/AM5
SIZE 161(L) x 150(W) x 165(H) mm
FANS 2x 140mm
WARRANTY 6 years
PRICE Amazon

High-quality components, excellent cooling, and amazing noise control. The Noctua NH-D15 is one of the few air coolers that can actually match up to the cooling power of a closed-loop liquid cooler, and it does so without putting a hole in your wallet.

Setting up and installing the cooler is incredibly simple as it will easily fit on any AMD socket, and accepts all Intel sockets released after 2011, including LGA 1700. The cooling is provided by two Noctua NF-A15 140 mm fans, installed in a standard two-fan push-pull configuration. And, there is the option to add a third fan, as well.

The fans come with automatic speed control and won’t rev up until your CPU needs the extra speed, thus keeping system noise to a minimum when not under load. When under load, the fans can hit speeds up to 1500 RPMs  to help keep your system cool. And all of this happens while keeping the sound levels under 24.6 dB-A. And if you install the low noise attachment (included), the noise levels go further downwards to just 19.2 dB-A.

The NH-D15 measures 165mm x 150mm x 161mm (height, width, and depth.) There is also an impressive 6-year limited warranty on this cooling unit.

Overall, if you’re looking for one of the best CPU coolers overall and you’d prefer an air cooler over a custom liquid cooling setup or an AIO, then the Noctua NH-D15 is an option we’d recommend considering.

2. Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420

The top AIO cooler

Top AIO - Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420

SOCKET 115x/1200/1700/AM4/AM5
RAD. SIZE 458(L) x 138(W) x 38(H) mm
FANS 3x 140mm
WARRANTY 6 years
PRICE Amazon

Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II lineup of AIO coolers are generally regarded as being the best overall options for closed-loop coolers. They consistently outperform the competition in cooling benchmarks (thanks, in part, to their thicker radiators), they run quieter than most options, and they are usually priced better as well.

The 420mm Liquid Freezer II is no exception. This monster AIO cooler features three Arctic P14 PWM 140mm fans that can run at speeds between 200-1700 RPM, a massive 38mm-thick radiator, and a unique pump design that operates at speeds between 800-2000 RPM and that also features an integrated 40mm fan.

All of the Liquid Freezer II coolers are compatible with the newer Intel and AMD sockets, as well as most of their older sockets, too.

And, while this model of the Liquid Freezer II does not come with RGB fans, there is an RGB version available for the same price.

The only downside of the 420mm version of the Liquid Freezer is that since it is so much bigger than its competitors, you’ll need to double check to make sure it will actually fit in your build. There aren’t a ton of cases out there that can fit a 420mm AIO, let alone one that is larger than normal. You’ll definitely need a full tower case to accommodate this beast.

 

3. DeepCool AK620

An excellent value air cooler

Value Air - DeepCool AK620 (1)

SOCKET 115x/1200/1700/AM4/AM5
SIZE 129(L) x 138(W) x 160(H) mm
FANS 2x 120mm
WARRANTY 3 years
PRICE Amazon

For almost half the price of the Noctua NH-D15, you can get the DeepCool AK620. And, while the AK620 doesn’t quite offer the same levels of cooling performance and it operates a bit louder than the NH-D15, the reality is that it doesn’t lag that far behind in either category.

So, if you don’t have extreme cooling demands, you could consider opting for the AK620 to save some money to put towards other components.

For specs, the AK620 comes with two FK120 120mm FDB fans that can run as as fast as 1850 RPM. At full load, these fans will operate under noise levels of 28dB(A). The cooler stands at 160mm tall and provides 43mm of clearance for RAM. So, while this is a fairly bulky air cooler, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a case and memory that will work with it. The AK620 is compatible with most modern CPU sockets, including the new Intel LGA 1700 and the new AMD A5 sockets.

The AK620 is also available in all-black and all-white designs as well. So, you have some options depending on the color scheme you want to incorporate into your system.

It should be noted, though, that if your main goal is to save money, you could also consider the Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE listed below. It comes in at about ~$35 and will offer similar cooling performance to the AK620.

4. Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240

Solid 240mm AIO for the price

Value AIO - Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240

SOCKET 115x/1200/1700/AM4/AM5
RAD. SIZE 277(L) x 120(W) x 38(H) mm
FANS 2x 120mm
WARRANTY 6 years
PRICE Amazon

As we mentioned above, Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II lineup are our favorite series of AIO coolers. If you don’t quite need the extreme performance that the 420mm Liquid Freezer II will offer, or if you don’t want to get the size of case that will be necessary to hold it, you could opt for this smaller 240mm version.

Of course, there is also the 360mm and the 280mm versions of the Liquid Freezer II. But both of those options come in at over $100, whereas the 240mm Liquid Freezer II comes in quite a bit under $100, making a better option for budget-minded builders.

And, just like the 420, the Freezer II 240 outperforms its competitors in most benchmarks despite being priced significantly lower. With such a high price-to-performance ratio, we’ve selected it as our best value AIO option.

So, if you don’t have a ton of money to spend to get an extreme all-in-one cooler, or you’re looking for a smaller AIO option, this Arctic cooler is about as good of an option as you’ll find.

5. Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE

The best budget air cooler

Budget Air - Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE

SOCKET 115x/1200/1700/AM4/AM5
SIZE 125(L) x 110(W) x 155(H) mm
FANS 2x 120mm
WARRANTY 3 years
PRICE Amazon

While high-end air coolers like the Noctua NH-D15 and the DeepCool AK620 will provide extreme cooling performance, the reality is that most builders won’t require that level of cooling.

If you’re building a mid-range (or even higher) system and you don’t plan on reaching for massive overclocks, you can save a lot of money by choosing an option like the Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE.

At just a little over $30, the Peerless Assassin 120 can provide cooling performance that comes close to the top-of-the-line air coolers on the market, making the perfect option for anyone who wants to save some money.

The Peerless Assassin is compatible with all modern CPU sockets, including Intel’s LGA 1700 socket and AMD’s AM5 socket. It comes with two PWM fans that can reach speeds of up to 1550RPM and will operate at under noise levels udner 25.6dB(A) under full load.

You can also get the Peerless Assassin with dual RGB fans, or in all-white.

Overall, the Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE offers outstanding performance for the price it comes in at and would be a good addition to any build.

6. ID-COOLING FROSTFLOW X 240

The best affordable AIO cooler

Budget AIO - ID-COOLING FROSTFLOW X 240

SOCKET 115x/1200/1700/AM4/AM5
RAD. SIZE 276(L) x 120(W) x 27(H) mm
FANS 2x 120mm
WARRANTY 6 years
PRICE Amazon

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly AIO cooler the ID-COOLING FROSTFLOW X 240 is worth checking out. At just under $60, it is one of the cheapest 240mm AIO coolers on the market. And, while 240mm coolers typically lag behind even moderately-priced air coolers, they do offer some unique features that make them worth considering over an air cooler…

First, many prefer the aesthetics of AIO coolers over bulky air coolers. And, secondly, for anyone looking to build a mini gaming PC and are limited on how tall of a CPU cooler you can put in your build, a smaller AIO cooler might end up being your only option.

So, if either of those scenarios apply to you, a budget-friendly 240mm AIO cooler like the ID-COOLING FROSTFLOW X 240 is an excellent option. Along with its low-profile design and solid cooling capabilities, it’s also available in all white (with white LED fans) in case you are looking to build an all-white gaming PC.

Ultimately, though, no 240mm AIO cooler is going to offer extreme cooling performance. However, they will provide adequate cooling in a compact design at an affordable price. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, the FROSTFLOW X 240 is a great option.

What is the Best CPU Cooler?

Right now, the best CPU cooler is the Noctua NH-D15 or the Arctic Liquid Freezer II AIO lineup depending on whether or not you want an air cooler, or an AIO cooler. The DeepCool AK620, the Thermalright Peerless Assassin, and the ID-COOLING FROSTFLOW X 240 AIO cooler are also excellent options if you are working with a lower budget.

Ultimately, though, 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.

Also Read: How to Build A Gaming PC (Step-by-Step)

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. (For more information on the differences in cooler styles, check out our guide on liquid cooling vs. air cooling.)

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.

FAQ: Questions to Ask Before You Choose A CPU Cooler

If you’re in the market for a new CPU cooler and you’re unsure of what you should be looking for, in this section, we’ve highlighted a handful of the most commonly asked questions about CPU coolers. So, whether you want to know what a CPU cooler does, or you’re debating between whether you should get an air cooler or a liquid cooler, the questions below will point you in the right direction.

1. What Does A CPU Cooler Do?

A CPU cooler, well, keeps your CPU cool. Your computer’s processor is arguably your system’s most important component. The problem is that, left to its own devices, your processor would get too hot to function properly. Without anyway to keep your CPU cool, you really wouldn’t be able to use your computer.

Also Read: Safe CPU Temps: How Hot Should My CPU Be?

So, CPU coolers serve the role of removing heat from your processor so that your processor can keep functioning properly.

There are two types of CPU coolers: air CPU coolers and liquid CPU coolers.

Air CPU coolers draw heat away from your processor with the help of a large heatsink and a fan (or two). Liquid CPU coolers draw heat away from your processor with liquid, a radiator, and one or more fans.

2. How Do I Choose A CPU Cooler?

The CPU cooler that is right for your setup will depend on a few different things…

  1. Compatibility with your other components
  2. Your budget
  3. Your aesthetic demands

There are a variety of compatibility issues that you need to be aware of when you are choosing a CPU cooler. The first one is whether or a not a specific cooler is compatible with your other components. Certain CPU coolers are designed to only work with a specific set of CPU sockets. Nowadays, most CPU coolers come with different brackets that make it compatible with most modern CPU sockets. However, you shouldn’t just assume that a CPU cooler will work with your motherboard socket.

Clearance issues can also be a concern for some air coolers that have a larger heatsink. We’ve discussed those potential issues in the section below.

The other thing to consider is how much you have to spend. Whether you’re upgrading the cooler on an older system or you’re building a brand new PC, your budget will determine what kind of CPU cooler you can get. For most, the stock cooler that comes with the processor (although, some processors do not come with a stock cooler) is decent enough for casual use.

Also Read: How Much Does A Gaming PC Cost?

However, if you want to get better thermals on your CPU, an upgraded third party cooler is worth considering. If you have between $20-$50 to spend, you will be limited to a third party air cooler. If you have more than $50 to spend, you can opt for either a higher-end air cooler or a liquid cooler.

And, while a higher-end air cooler will outperform most similarly-priced 120mm or 140mm AIO coolers, aesthetics will also play a role in what CPU cooler type will work best for you. Some people like the cleaner look that a 120mm AIO cooler offers, while other prefer the looks of a nice-looking air cooler.

For more information, check out our guide How to Choose A CPU Cooler.

3. Will Any CPU Cooler Fit in My Computer?

If you’re planning on building a PC inside of a compact mini-ITX case, you’ll have less clearance for your CPU cooler and therefore will have less options to choose between. One quick way to tell whether or not a specific air cooler will fit inside of a specific case, is to check the height on the CPU cooler in question and the CPU cooler clearance allowed on the case in question (both can be found on each product’s spec sheet.)

Larger liquid cooling radiators won’t fit in every case either. So, before you drop ~$150 on a 360mm AIO cooler, you need to make sure that the case you’ve chosen can accommodate a 360mm radiator.

Some bulkier air coolers might also conflict with memory kits that have tall heat spreaders. So, if you’re going to buy a bulky air cooler, it would be a good idea to choose some lower-profile memory to ensure that no conflicts exist.

4. Is Water Cooling Better Than Air Cooling?

I’ve discussed it above, but the option between liquid cooling and air cooling is more of a personal decision that will come down to how much you have to spend, compatibility and clearance limitations (or lack thereof), and your preference on aesthetics.

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on a CPU cooler, you’ll probably be limited to your CPU’s stock cooler or a budget-friendly air cooler.

Also Read: Do You Need a CPU Cooler for Your PC?

If you have a larger budget, you can opt for either a higher-end air cooler or a liquid cooler.

If you have clearance restraints because you’re building a mini gaming PC, you’ll probably be limited a low-profile air cooler or a smaller AIO cooler.

If you want to go extreme with your setup, you might want to consider putting together your own custom liquid cooling loop.

If you’re still on the fence on whether or not liquid cooling or air cooling would be better for you, check out our guide Liquid Cooling vs. Air Cooling: Which Style CPU Cooler is Right for You?

Hey, I’m Brent. I’ve been building PCs and writing about building PCs for a long time. Through TechGuided.com, I've helped thousands of people learn how to build their own computers. I’m an avid gamer and tech enthusiast, too. On YouTube, I build PCs, review laptops, components, and peripherals, and hold giveaways.