Selecting the best CPU cooler for your PC build is an important decision.
Sure, stock coolers can do a good enough job in keeping the temperatures down but…
If you’re looking for overclocking potential, or less noise during load, you’ll need to invest in one of the best CPU coolers of 2021.
Stock CPU coolers have improved over the years but they are nowhere near the performance of a third-party CPU cooler that is custom-made for performance.
Related Guide: Stock Coolers vs Aftermarket Coolers
So whatever your needs, you’ll find a great CPU cooler for your build on this list.
ALSO CONSIDER: Best AM4 CPU coolers
Top 10 Best CPU Coolers 2021
Not all CPU coolers are built the same way.
The same goes for their price, some are pricier than others. Thankfully, there are a lot of great CPU coolers available for you to check and purchase.
These are some of the best CPU coolers of 2021 we found.
Quick Summary: Top 15 Best CPU Cooling Solutions
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
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be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
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Scythe Mugen 5
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Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black
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Le Grand Macho RT
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Phanteks CPU Cooler
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Cooler Master MasterAir Maker 8
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DEEPCOOL Captain 360EX
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Corsair Hydro Series H150i
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Thermaltake Floe RGB
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NZXT Kraken X72
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NZXT Kraken M22
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DEEPCOOL Castle 360EX
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The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO remains a top choice for CPU Coolers out there.
It is popular for its durability and high performance which comes due to a very reliable 120mm PWM cooler and fins that are well optimized to offer a balanced cooling experience between high and low cooling operations.
At the same time, it remains a very efficient product in terms of power consumption.
The blade design is especially there to support the airflow, which makes a large difference.
The product is highly recommended to use with Intel Core i7 Extreme, Intel L.G.A., and AMD processors.
Hyper 212 Evo is for those gamers who want to experience gaming in a high-intensity environment.
The manufacturers have kept gaming as a benchmark when building this product, which is why it so high performing.
At the same time, its compatibility with an array of chipsets opens a great opportunity here.
All those passionate gamers and tech-savvy individuals who like to build PC’s from the ground up can use this product again in building a new PC.
So, not only it is a durable product, but it allows you to save some dollars on spending on another CPU cooler because of its master class compatibility, which makes it a budget option also.
Buy this product with the comfort of knowing that it is versatile and can be used for the long term. It performs up to the mark and remains a good deal for the amount it costs and that is what makes it a perfect option for gaming PCs.
The Noctua NH-D15 is highly inspired by its predecessor, which is the Noctua NH-D14. This latter model remains an award-winning product and has been a top recommendation by many international hardware sites and magazines.
It remains quite a premium product for every gamer out there who wants to just immerse into gaming without worrying about their CPU accumulating heat. Its material built quality, and color makes it a high-end product which a customer would take pride in owning.
It comprises a dual-fan of 140mm which carries out the job of sinking out heat from the system. Noctua is a company that is known for its A.O.O. Standard aerodynamic designs for better heat flow.
It is also quite compatible with high RAM modules, so you do not have to worry about installing a large memory and using this product at the same time.
Meanwhile, its compatibility with AMD and Intel LDA chips makes it a very versatile product which users would prefer.
Overall, the product is safe to use on a long-term basis and can tackle any high intensive gaming environment. Apart from smart heat induction, the product also silences down the fan noise. Often customers complain about their cooling systems making noises, so the manufacturer Noctua paid attention to their concerns and took care of the noise problem in this particular product.
The job of mounting this product onto your CPU is also quite simple. The product also comes with a long-standing warranty by the official company.
If you are the kind who prefers performance overlooks, then this product is ideal for you. Plus, it has a warranty and a long life which pretty much justifies the price tag. Take it as a one-off investment.
The manufacturing company “be quiet!” has built a good reputation in the market for high-performance computer hardware. This product remains a good example of their engineering and expertise in the line CPU Coolers.
The Dark Rock Pro 4 comes with a robust look. It has seven heat pipes which can do double the work of a normal cooling fan. The shape and design of the wings allow for a smoother and consistent airflow, and no accumulation of hot air inside the bulky and heavyset system.
They have a black coating and are made up of ceramic particles, which makes it even easier for hot air to flow out. It is also a very inventive product that remains compatible with Intel and AMD chips, so customers can install it in any class of chipsets that they have.
The product is Made in Germany, which can tell much about the quality, durability, and performance – just like German automobiles! The product also has a very easy installation, so you do not have to read manuals all the time or see a do-it-yourself tutorial on YouTube actually to mount it in your system.
Just follow the instructions neatly and make sense out of them. That feature alone makes it one of the best CPU Coolers of 2021.
Customers who are looking for a long-term with minimal noise can choose to buy this one as it can support all kinds of usage.
Its compatibility with different modules of RAM is a huge plus point for those who are looking to take things to the next level.
Many customers would prefer a neat amount of thermal paste to be added to the product.
This product highly supports the gaming environment due to its design. It has the right kind of capabilities for the job of cooling and can be the ideal product you are looking for given that you can compromise on its dimensions and size.
Scythe Mugen 5 - Best Value for Money
- Consists of six pipes, each in 6mm length with copper base plate.
- Carries a massive Kaze Flex fan (120mm) with upto 1200 RPM.
- Compatible with Intel L.G.A. and AMD chipsets.
- Easy to mount product.
- Goes up to only 24.3 dB(A) at maximum fan speed.
This product is also very innovative in its design and built quality. It comprises a large fan called the Kaze Flex fan that is 120mm in size.
The fan allows for good airflow, and static pressure maintains everything. At the same time, it is a very low noise product, so if you are worried about the fan making a tremendous noise, you should take comfort knowing that this product will resolve the problem.
Customers are often keen on the pipe capacity and sizes, and in this product, you can have six which can do a heavy-duty job. It allows for the consistent outflow of heat, which remains fundamental for keeping the temperature down and at an optimum level through the entire CPU operation.
It has flexible RAM compatibility, so you are good at making any choice you want in terms of RAM. With that being said, the product is also compatible with Intel L.G.A. and AMD chips, so you can have a bit of flexibility in terms of what you prefer to have in your system.
The weight is light, and the overall product has earned a good reputation ever since it was launched in the product. The manufacturer also boasts a total lifespan of the product equal to 120,000 hours.
This tells you that it is a long-term investment and if you wish to build another system, you can reuse this product without spending a lot of money when you would fairly have a strict budget to follow.
Another product that sets ideal for cooling purposes.
If you have big expectations, simply install an additional fan, and you are good to go.
We have seen above what the Cool Master Hyper 212 Evo can do, and this product is simply an extension of its quality and brilliance as a CPU Cooler.
It comes with a sleek and stylish design which is meant for those who want to install this for gaming purposes and nothing else specifically.
Although it is not a hard and fast rule, you can utilize any sort of arrangement you prefer. It comprises fins that ensure a consistent and uninterrupted airflow during high operation. The product comes with four heat pipes that provide efficient and direct heat outflow from the system.
Customers would love the new SF120R RGB Fan, as it remains of the most in-demand computer hardware on the market. This product is quite dynamic and has personalized control functionality, as users can benefit from a push and full configuration to support super-fast heat evacuation.
It also carries an RGB LED which lets you customize the colors and enjoy some cool effects with only a touch of a button.
The Cool Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition is designed to support your goals of building efficient and robust PC’s. It can last a long time, so you need not worry about replacing it in the future. Plus, if you are keen on building more than one PC’s, you can easily shift it to another system due to its easy installation and mounting benefit.
All-in-all, the product is packed with highly technical equipment and is capable of doing the job just fine. It is a highly recommended product for gaming PC.
This product is pretty popular in Europe because it is made by a European company that specializes in hardware and components.
Le Grand Macho RT is a quick solution to all your heating woes, and it remains pretty cost-effective as well. Its built design and quality can endure intense operational environments. You can use this product keeping in mind it is quite compatible with any kind of RAM module.
At the same time, Le Grand Macho RT is compatible with both AMD and Intel, so that is sorted out for you. One of the biggest plus points about this product is that it works perfectly on a VGA card, meaning that you do not necessarily need a heavy-duty graphics card to run this.
So, all the low-level gamers or software users can run this product with ease in their systems. Its heatsinking capabilities allow for seamless operation, without any hurdles. The product has good reviews on almost all hardware-based magazines and websites, so if you are willing to purchase it, then go for it.
On the other hand, if you want to level up the cooling function of your product, then you can easily add additional fan units to it. Customers over time prefer this and are always looking to buy products with additional installation capabilities, making it one of the best air CPU coolers.
The good thing is that add-ons with this product are pretty cheap, so it would not cost you as much to upgrade.
If you feel a bit withdrawn from making a purchase, then know that it is one of the best CPU Coolers out there in the market at such a price. With an added fan, it can just work perfectly for intense operation.
Phanteks is a relatively new brand in the cooler market, and this Heatsink we see here is the first one they create.
Among its technologies, the use of heat pipes stands out, which are copper tubes that have a liquid inside, which facilitates heat dissipation, and this time they are 8mm in diameter, the standard being 6mm.
Apart from this, two exclusive features were included, such as the PATS (Physical Anti-Oxidant Thermal Shield), which deflects the heat generated by other external sources, such as rams, northbridge, and southbridge, to increase its dissipation power. On the other hand, we have the CPSC Technology (Cold Plasma Spraying Coating), which implies more thermally efficient welding, between heat pipes and aluminum fins, which facilitates faster heat dissipation.
The Heatsink comes in a medium-sized box, with a weight that exceeds one kilogram. You can see that Phanteks promotes the different colors of this cooler, which are red, blue, black, white, and orange, also on the sides are the specifications. The Heatsink is quite large in question.
In fact, due to its design, likely, it does not enter many cabinets due to bumping into the side or it may have problems with the memory sticks due to its width. Aluminum fins are nickel-plated in some specific color, and this is a detail that very few brands have and that in the end, in something as colorful as this, it is greatly appreciated.
So it is that the Phanteks deserves to be displayed in a cabinet that has a side view of the mounting hardware.
The Phanteks has a simply impeccable finish and is very consistent with its surname “Premium Edition”.
AIO cooler vs air cooler – Cooler Master, the renowned manufacturer of peripherals and cooling systems, puts in our hands one of its products aimed at enthusiastic users and overclockers.
It is a processor heatsink with a striking design and the promise of excellent performance. We see a single tower design accompanied by up to two 140mm fans, its base is completely copper and has eight heat pipes to dissipate heat. This design promises a gigantic cooling performance.
The Heatsink of a tower is quite a considerable measure. Its large aluminum fins, which provide excellent thermal conductivity, will be the owners of much of the space that our team will have, the use of eight heat pipes with exclusive Cooler Master technology, promises at least 19% extra performance against other copper-based heatsinks.
Its installation is extremely simple, the manual explains quickly and in detail the installation and use of the Cooler Master MasterAir Maker 8, within this point we also highlight the correct labeling of the last piece of the bundle, a solution designed to help even the Newbie hardware lover.
Its design is one of the many high points that we find in the MasterAir Maker 8, starting with its high-quality construction and finishes, seeing fairly smooth lines, and imposing design.
The lighting present in the fans and the upper sector of the tower gives us a great look. The large aluminum tower finished with beautiful touches in translucent plastic gives the MasterAir Maker 8 a design to envy.
If you are willing to pay top dollar for a top, top product, then this product remains an ideal choice for you because it is packed with everything you can ask for in a CPU Cooler gadget.
The Deepcool Captain 360EX radiator has an impressive length of 395mm, which automatically raises the question for the future owner about the selection of suitable housing for its installation.
At the same time, the thickness and width of the radiator are quite standard – 27x120mm. Deepcool Captain 360EX is a fairly quiet, powerful, and easy to install and operate a liquid cooling system that can easily cope with any processor in overclocking of those that can be installed in supported connectors.
If it were more powerful, Captain 360EX has shown much better results, and so it is only slightly superior to the younger brother in the person of Captain 240EX RGB. It is nice that the workmanship of this C.B.O. is at a good level, and the refrigerant can be replaced if necessary.
Based on the foregoing, the most optimal C.B.O. in the Deepcool Captain line, based on a combination of cost and performance, can be considered the usual 360EX. You can make an absolute leader in terms of silence and power.
This seems to be the ideal product for intensive gaming environments and customers are generally encouraged to use this product however they want. It is built with excellence and operates in tougher environments.
The product’s modern design also makes it look quite cool from all of its sides. So, when you mount it on your P.C., it is going to give it an aggressive look which remains quite the need for gaming!
Although the downside of this product is your remote chances to add additional fans, it already is ideal for intense operation given its standard operation. It is considered to be one of the best PC coolers.
Corsair Hydro Series H150i - Best AIO Liquid Cooler 2021
- Neat assembly and attention to detail.
- High-quality and quiet fans with magnetic levitation technology.
- Long and flexible hoses with swivel water block fittings.
- Simple and easy installation on any of the supported platforms.
- High cooling efficiency.
The Corsair H150i Pro’s device fans are made without backlighting, and non-addressable RGB LEDs adorn the water block.
Where the Corsair H150i Pro is imposing a fight is in the segment of liquid cooling systems with a 360-mm radiator. There are plenty of competitors in the market for cooling systems, and Corsair, with its new H150i Pro, relies on efficiency and quiet operation.
As our testing has shown, both factors have a place to be. This S.J.O. turned out to be quiet, and if there is a “correct” processor, its performance will also be revealed. Good support for the Corsair H150i Pro is also provided by the Corsair iCUE software control capabilities, where the user gains control of the fans and the pump.
Also, with this utility, the backlight is regulated. Based on the Corsair Hydro Series H150i Pro liquid cooling system, you can create a conditionally silent computer equipped with a processor with a great heat release. The controlled RGB backlight of the pump will help to decorate the internal space of the system unit.
We note good workmanship, easy-to-use flat cables without braid, connection to the SATA power connector, rotation control of all three fans and a pump, as well as advanced, pleasant design.
All of these details may sound a bit complicated, but it is confirmed that this product remains one of the best liquid PC coolers out there in the market that you can get hold of.
Approach this product with the idea in mind that you are picking up a CPU cooler suitable for high performance. This can allow you to ignore the factor of backlighting
This product lies in the category of L.L.S. Recently, closed-type liquid cooling systems (L.S.S.) continue to gain popularity, which is associated both with the users themselves who want to obtain a finished product with high cooling efficiency and do not require maintenance, as well as stand out among friends and increased competition among manufacturers seeking offer the user a wide range of similar cooling systems.
The presented Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 240 TT Premium Edition liquid cooling system is a balanced solution with a high cooling efficiency comparable to air super coolers and a low noise level, which is facilitated by the standard 120mm Thermaltake Riing Plus 12 RGB fans with great speed up to 1500 RPM.
The latter also has RGB lighting, as well as a water block, customizable using proprietary software, so it will stand out among classmates. This product is a great choice for owners of older Intel and AMD processors.
High heat dissipation at low noise levels has been demonstrated. This C.B.O. will be the best option when looking for cooling in a case with transparent walls.
The pluses include the ability to control from a smartphone, several modes of fans, quality performance.
So, this product does carry a high price, but its efficient components and smart cooling system can make it all worth it. This is highly recommended for gamers who want to take their gaming modes to another level and remains one of the best water coolers for PC.
The NZXT Kraken X72 liquid cooling system is delivered in a strictly designed box made of thin corrugated cardboard, on the external planes of which not only the product is shown, but also its description is given, the main features and technical characteristics are listed.
The inscriptions are predominantly in English, but something is duplicated in several languages, including Russian.
To protect and distribute parts, a brochure, cardboard covers, and plastic bags are used. Based on the NZXT Kraken X72 liquid cooling system, you can create a conditionally silent computer equipped with a processor with a heat release of about 185 W maximum.
We note good workmanship, anti-vibration inserts in the fan frame, the braiding of hoses and cables (at least helping to maintain a uniform style of the computer’s interior), relatively long hoses, connection to the SATA power connector, static or dynamic RGB illumination of the pump, as well as advanced CAM software for flexible management of the cooling system and monitoring the status of the P.C. as a whole.
For the original effective lighting, excellent technical characteristics, and functional CAM software, the NZXT Kraken X42, X52, and X62 liquid cooling systems received the Original Design editorial award at the time.
The NZXT Kraken X72 system belongs to the same series and can rightfully share the award. It is a highly recommended product to integrate into your gaming P.C. and let it do its magic as you play in some high intensive gaming graphics.
The liquid cooling will always offer a much higher TDP (thermal design power) than air cooling, so if you plan to overclock your CPU, we suggest going with the new all-in-one liquid CPU cooler NZXT Kraken X72 that’s capable to cool higher TDP processors.
However, the hardware components and the performance of the product overshadow this minor problem in the product. Users guarantee that you are in for a great experience using this product.
It is an award-winning product, and it ensures everything that boasts about is managed efficiently. Users simply marvel at owning this product, and it is highly recommended for gamers.
The new Kraken liquid cooling systems are equipped with the most advanced controls that have ever been used in this type.
Using the CAM software interface, users can adjust settings to ensure optimal performance even in the most intense gaming sessions. Everything, including the pump, radiator, and fans, has been redesigned to bring the ability to use your system to the maximum of its capabilities!
The new high-performance pump is good for performance. It contains customizable RGB lighting that users would simply love. A “CAM” software – designed to control the functionality of the system fully and remains a top priority. It includes a Includes Aer P120 radiator-optimized fan that offers an amazing level of cooling.
Advanced backlight modes can also take care of the lighting woes that gamers experience. The product is also durable because it is reinforced, extended tubing for increased durability
Company NZXT is known for its computer components, mainly computer cases. Power supplies, manipulators, coolers for gaming laptops, and other accessories are also available. Unlike the Silver Stone company, whose cases are created mainly for HTPC (media centers), NZXT Co., Ltd. adheres to another direction – gaming systems. Customers should know that the company’s product line especially the M22 is a benchmark.
It was founded in 2004, in Los Angeles, California (Los Angeles, California). Her first product was the Guardian P.C. “Test of the pen” which was successful. To date, the list of NZXT products like M22 already includes dozens of types of computer cases that can satisfy the needs of users, have demanded to assemble a powerful gaming computer.
Other products of the company adhere to the gaming direction. Availability, coupled with good quality products, have done their job. NZXT products are quickly becoming very popular all over the world, have repeatedly won prestigious awards.
This brand is on par with such well-known brands as Chieftec, Lian Li, Thermaltake, Zalman, and the already mentioned Silverstone.
Nonetheless, the benefit it offers can justify the price in the longer run. So, you have good decision making when you choose to buy this product.
If you do not have budget constraints, then this product is a highly recommended choice that you should be made considering all the cool and intense add-ons it has.
Up to this point, we only got acquainted with air cooling systems from DEEPCOOL. This cooling water system has proved to be fairly simple to install and efficient in performance device that can easily cope with the hottest modern processor in overclocking and supports a wide range of current processor sockets.
The quality of its manufacture is at a good level, the refrigerant can be replaced if necessary, and the package has everything you need and a few more pleasant accessories.
Castle 360EX RGB is superior in power and silence to air super coolers and low-cost air-conditioning systems, although it does not reach the level of top solutions on the market. It all depends, probably, on the performance of the pump and the caliber of the hoses installed here.
The presence of an L.E.D. strip and RGB backlight in the upper part of the water block is certainly good, but it is unlikely to be a decisive factor in favor of choosing this C.B.O. First of all because you can take the technically identical 360EX, without an RGB prefix (only a red backlight diode is built in there), and save money.
If RGB is needed, then the implementation of the backlight can hardly be called outstanding. It is a top-rated product that also remains quite popular among other gamers.
This product remains standard in the market for gaming PC because, for some time, it has been able to perform well.
The manufacturer’s name stands out in convincing customers to purchase this product for an excellent gaming experience. It is ideal for users who like to use the most robust and durable components in terms of computer hardware.
Also, check out our more in-depth guide on the best low-profile CPU coolers.
Ultimate Buyers Guide
It may seem like purchasing a CPU cooler for your build is simple and in most cases it is.
However, if you want to get more performance out of your build, you’ll need to invest in a third-party CPU cooler and ditch the stock one that came with the processor.
What Does a CPU Cooler Do?
Modern processors come with a temperature sensor built-in that ensures the processor never overheats.
Thermal throttling is a genuine issue for several different users.
Power users who like to render 3-D models, architects who want to modify huge files, and even gamers who want to get the best performance and frame rate out of their build.
A CPU cooler tries to move the heat away from the competence and exhaust them outside the chassis.
This ensures the temperature remains optimal and your performance never gets throttled.
The basic functionality of a CPU cooler is simple, heat pipes that are made from copper are filled with a liquid that vaporizes when heated.
The vapor then travels to where the cooler where it gets goes down and condenses.
The whole process releases the heat that was captured by the liquid.
Mostly a large area of cooling fins is used along with a fan to further enhance the cooling effect.
Do You Need a Third-Party CPU Cooler?
While stock CPU coolers that ship with the processor are good enough for most cases, they are not equipped to handle extreme performance.
A third-party CPU cooler is needed to push the processor to its boundaries.
Types of CPU Coolers
There are 3 major types of CPU coolers but they can be further categorized.
- Air Coolers
- Water Coolers
- AIO/Liquid Coolers
We will discuss the benefits of each of them and help you decide what type of CPU cooler is best for your build.
Air CPU Coolers
As the name implies, the air-based CPU coolers rely on good old-fashioned air to cool down your processor.
They use copper heat pipes as well as aluminum fins to keep the temperature lower. Usually, there is a fan but you can even find air-based coolers that are completely passive and noiseless.
Air CPU coolers are super simple to install and don’t require anything extra.
There are not many drawbacks of using an air CPU cooler, however, if you are an extreme overclock enthusiast, they may not be sufficient enough for you.
But for normal users with some heavy loads or gaming needs, these will do perfectly fine.
Water CPU Coolers
There was a time when the water CPU coolers were all in the rage.
Not only they looked amazing but they also provided good quality cooling experiences.
However, these days they are not so common.
So it is very difficult to find them in normal builds these days.
AIO CPU Coolers
All-in-one CPU coolers combine the benefits of liquid CPU coolers and the ease of installation of air CPU coolers into one package.
You’ll be getting the cooling power of water but you will need to put anything inside it yourself.
As they are closed loops, they won’t need any maintenance and have a very small chance of leaking if properly handled.
All-in-one CPU coolers provide some of the best performance there is and they can look downright gorgeous in a proper build.
If you an enthusiast who wants to overclock their processor, this is the way to go.
How Did the Test?
All of the CPU coolers were tested on this same system with the same specs.
The use of an Intel i7 8750 Coffee Lake processor, 8 GB of RAM, 700 W power supply, Nvidia 970 GPU, and Cooler Master MasterCase 5 mid-tower chassis.
We also tested the CPU coolers in a temperature-regulated room set at 26°.
It took a little while to completely test them, especially because we ran several benchmarks as well as ran organic tests on them.
We rendered a 15-minute 4K video and played 20 minutes of Far Cry 5 on the system.
It was a fairly simple but time-consuming process to test all these CPU coolers.
We hope that the best CPU coolers of the 2021 buyers guide will help you make a conscious decision that will not only keep your CPU cooler but also provide you with greater performance even in the summers.
We tried including top-of-the-line CPU coolers in all categories but of course, be made have missed some that are equally remarkable.
Feel free to inform us if we have missed an epic CPU cooler that deserves to be on the list.