Best CPU Liquid Coolers

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 30, 2018
If you want your PC to serve you longer and reach its maximum potential, a good CPU liquid cooler is a must-have purchase. Take a look at our top 5 picks and get ready to open up a whole new world of your computer's capabilities. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Compatibility
Fan
Noise Level
Extras
Dimensions of Radiator
Warranty
 
PROS

The CAM software that comes with the cooler allows for adjusting temperature and fan speed, overclocking your graphics card, tracking FPS, and much more.

CONS

The fans get noisy even at medium speed.

OUR VERDICT

For those that know the ins and outs of a processor and want to get the most out of their PC - the Kraken X62 is a stellar choice. It's fully programmable and lets you fiddle with your rig's settings to maximize the processing power without raising the temperature at all. A treasure for experienced users and those that want to get the most out of their computer.

detailed parameters
Compatibility

Intel Socket: 1151, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066

AMD Socket: TR4, AM4, FM2+, FM2, FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2

Fan

2 Fans, Up to 1800 RPM each, Fluid dynamic bearings

Noise Level

Up to 38 dB

Extras

Control with CAM software, LED-lighting

Dimensions of Radiator

12.4" x 5.62" x 1.2"

Warranty

6 years

PROS

You can use the PWM controls to set fan speed in a large range to find the optimal noise/cooling ratio for you.

CONS

The mounting screws are a bit too long so you might have to buy replacement ones.

OUR VERDICT

This extra-durable liquid CPU cooler from Corsair can work quietly as a mouse or guarantee high cooling at the expense of a bit of noise, either way, the choice is completely yours as the device is fully programmable. Plus, it's easy to mount thanks to a special design that doesn't even require the use of a screwdriver. A good pick even for inexperienced PC owners.

detailed parameters
Compatibility

Intel Socket: 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3

AMD Socket: FM1, FM2, AM2, AM3

Fan

2 Fans, Up to 2435 RPM each, Fluid dynamic bearings

Noise Level

Up to 38 dB

Extras

Control with Corsair Link software, LED-lighting

Dimensions of Radiator

10.87" x 4.92" x 1.18"

Warranty

5 years

PROS

The unique blade shape aims the air directly at the radiator for increased cooling and the teflon nano bearings guarantee that the device will serve you for a long time.

CONS

Some users have complained about the software having compatibility issues.

OUR VERDICT

Though this model is pretty similar to the other top of the line coolers in terms of technical specs, it stands out thanks to a special design with curved blades angling the airflow just right and the body of the cooler absorbing vibrations to dampen noise. Plus, the excellent material choice makes it highly durable. This cooler is a reasonably-priced alternative to high-end models.

detailed parameters
Compatibility

Intel Socket: 2066, 2011, 2011-3, 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366

AMD Socket: AM2, AM3, AM4, FM1, FM2, TR4

Fan

2 Fans, Up to 2400 RPM each, Teflon Nano bearings

Noise Level

Up to 40 dB

Extras

Control with EVGA Flow software, LED-lighting

Dimensions of Radiator

10.87" x 4.8" x 1.1"

Warranty

5 years

PROS

The copper cooling insert on the pump has pre-applied thermal paste that's spread out evenly and lets you stick the cooler closer to the processor.

CONS

The fan airflow is relatively modest at just 54 CFM.

OUR VERDICT

If you've already kitted out your rig and don't have much space left but still need a good cooling system, this Corsair model is a wonderful option. It's ultra-small and extra-quiet though it does only have 1 fan. A fine choice for day-to-day cooling though we wouldn't mind a bit more power for heavy-duty use.

detailed parameters
Compatibility

Intel Socket: 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011

AMD Socket: AM2, AM3, AM4, FM1, FM2

Fan

1 Fan, Up to 2000 RPM, Advanced Hydraulic Bearing

Noise Level

Up to 31 dB

Extras

Pre-applied thermal compound

Dimensions of Radiator

4.72" x 5.98" x 1.06"

Warranty

5 years

PROS

The maximum pumping speed is incredibly high so the coolant will circulate through the system faster than usual, guaranteeing excellent temperature reduction.

CONS

The hoses are quite stiff and take up a lot of space, complicating mounting.

OUR VERDICT

One of the quietest coolers out there, the Thermaltake Water 3.0 also boasts excellent max airflow of 99 CFM so it's a perfect fit for PC owners that plan on overclocking their rig. You can rest assured that you'll get excellent temperature reduction as long as you can find some space for this admittedly bulky device.

detailed parameters
Compatibility

Intel Socket: 2066, 2011-3, 2011, 1366, 1156, 1155, 1151, 1150 

AMD Socket: TR4, AM4, FM2, FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2

Fan

2 Fans, Up to 2000 RPM each, Sleeve Bearing

Noise Level

Up to 20 dB

Extras

Pre-applied thermal compound

Dimensions of Radiator

10.63" x 4.72" x 1.06"

Warranty

3 years

NZXT Kraken X62 (RL-KRX62-02)

Release the Kraken!

If you’ve wandered onto this review, you likely have some experience in building PCs and adjusting the settings of different gear to achieve the best performance possible. That’s why we recommend the NZXT Kraken X62, a sealed liquid cooler that’s fully programmable and aimed at those interested in opening up their PC’s potential.

The system comes with CAM software that allows for changing the temperature, setting fan speed, and overclocking your graphics card. We do have to warn you that the 2 fans in the cooler tend to get pretty loud even at a medium level. They are, of course, quieter than a regular cooler but still, we’d advise keeping them running at a low speed as the coolant itself should be enough.

You might also be looking for a cooler with a cool design as open-type rigs are in vogue right now. Well, the NZXT Kraken X62 would be a pretty good choice in that regard as well. The fans have LED lighting which is both pretty and useful as it lets you see inside the rig and make sure things are connected properly.

The cooler is compatible with most high-end Intel and AMD processors though we do have to say that it’s not the smallest model out there so you might have to clear some space for it. Still, we’d say the NZXT Kraken X62 is worth it for the excellent programmability, cool design, and powerful cooling. A perfect fit for experienced techies and those seeking the best liquid CPU cooler for high-end rigs.

Review of NZXT Kraken X62 (RL-KRX62-02) 280mm All-in-one Water/Liquid CPU Cooling with Software Controlled RGB Lighting

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


What customers say about this product

Key Specs

This thing is keeping my delidded 5.0GHz (all cores) i7-7700k nice and cool.

Size & Weight

Because of the TR4 socket's larger size, traditional AIO coolers such as this one (and others from big brands like Corsair) do not cover the entire IHS of the CPU, and because of this, they do not dissipate heat as efficiently on Threadripper as they do other traditional sized CPUs.

Features

Works great, minimal time required for installation, very quiet. the leds look great matches any setup.
 

Corsair H100i v2 (CW-9060025-WW)

Adjustable for Comfort and Power

Want to be able to easily control your cooler, raising its fan speed or lowering noise in a single click? Most models might not offer that but the Corsair H100i v2 certainly does! Thanks to the built-in PWM controls you can adjust the speed in the range of 400-2435 RPM depending on how intense the load on the processor is and how quiet you want the cooler to be. If you plan on playing a game with the resolution set to ultra, don’t hesitate to crack the speed up to the max while simple internet browsing doesn’t require anything above the lowest speed.

One issue that we did have with the Corsair H100i v2 has to do with the mounting screws. While they’re quite sturdy and easy to use, they might be just a bit too long for some rigs and, in that case, you’d have to buy replacement ones. Not a big expense but a flaw nonetheless. Still, the range of models that this Corsair cooler is compatible with is pretty broad so owners of high-end processors have nothing to worry about.

Last but not least we have to place the durability of the device as Corsair’s products are pretty well-known for long service life but this model goes above and beyond. It uses fluid dynamic bearings that won’t get worn out in years and the pump on this cooler is remarkably leak-proof for extra safety.

So if good design and customizability are important to you, the Corsair H100i v2 is a good find. It’s no bigger than your average cooler, can be set to run quietly or work more intensely to prevent overheating, and it’s pretty reasonably priced for the quality you get.

Review of Corsair H100i v2 (CW-9060025-WW) AIO Liquid CPU Cooler, 240mm Radiator, Dual 120mm PWM Fans, Advanced RGB Lighting and Fan Software Control

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

EVGA CL24 (400-HY-CL24-V1)

A Real Bargain

Liquid coolers are infamously expensive with even the sealed models costing more than high-end fan ones. However, you don’t necessarily have to break the proverbial piggy bank just to get a good water-cooling system. For example, the EVGA CL24 offers pretty much the same capabilities but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

While this model’s size and compatibility are pretty much run of the mill stats that you’d see in other devices of its kind, it does have standout features. For example, the blades of its 2 fans are angled to send the air bursts directly at the heat source, guaranteed to decrease the PC’s internal temp by a substantial margin. Besides, though the noise level of the EVGA CL24 can get as high as 40 dB, it’s less noticeable than in other models. That bonus is owed to the curved body of the cooler that absorbs vibrations and dampens sounds somewhat.

Since we’re on the subject of the design quality, we have another aspect to praise and one more that we did find a bit flawed. The Teflon nano bearings that the cooler uses are extremely durable and should ensure longer service life. However, the software that comes with the cooler is already a bit outdated and some users have complained about the program being incompatible with their updated systems. If the software isn’t patched regularly, you might have to resort to using some external apps, which is a bit of a bummer. Still, that’s an easy fix and we hope that the updates continue and keep the EVGA CL24 running as long as it should.

So if you want an affordable yet effective CPU water cooler, this is a fine choice. It’s not flawless but the price/quality ratio is pretty high, especially considering the excellent design and materials used. A good pick for a thrifty shopper.

Review of EVGA CL24 (400-HY-CL24-V1) Liquid/Water CPU Cooler, RGB LED Cooling

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Corsair H60 (CW-9060007-WW)

Keeping Quiet

Can’t stand another minute of buzzing from your PC’s basic fan cooler? We get it, the sound is annoying. That’s why we recommend the Corsair H60 with its outstanding 31 dB max noise level. This model is one of the quietest liquid coolers out there and it’s got a few more handy features to boot.

For one, in addition to being the quietest cooler, it’s also one of the smallest models on the market, half the size of most high-end liquid systems. Despite that, it boasts a respectable 2000 RPM fan speed though it does only have one fan instead of the standard two. Plus, the airflow is comparatively low, which usually tends to raise the noise level. However, it doesn’t seem to affect the Corsair H60 much as we’ve already mentioned.

If we were to talk about mounting convenience, we have to mention the pre-applied thermal paste that is spread out thinly to ensure maximum heat conduction between the processor and the cooler. This, coupled with the device’s small size, makes it easy to install the cooler in a spot that’d be most convenient for you. However, make sure to be careful with it as the bearings on this model aren’t as reliable as on the more expensive ones.

All things considered, the Corsair H60 is a great and reasonably priced model if your main priority is noise reduction. It’s pretty small, quieter than most high-end options, and though it’s not as flashy as the expensive competitors, it’s all about utility. So if you’re going for substance over style, the Corsair H60 is the right fit for you.

Review of Corsair H60 (CW-9060007-WW) AIO Liquid CPU Cooler, 120mm Radiator, 120mm Fan

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Thermaltake Water 3.0 AIO (CLW0224-B)

Make Space for Power

Would you be willing to sacrifice a bit more space than usual in your rig for a low profile cooler that’s not only practically noiseless but also offers high airflow for excellent temperature reduction? If you said yes, the Thermaltake Water 3.0 AIO is what you need.

This model is arguably the quietest among its peers with just 20 dB max noise and adjustable fan speed that lets you keep it even below that. Plus, it has a 99 CFM maximum airflow, which raises cooling capabilities to a whole new level.

But all that wouldn’t mean much if the rest of the system couldn’t keep up with the fans’ specs. Thankfully, the pump on this model is quite powerful and sends the coolant circulating at extra high speeds to ensure optimal cooling. It does have some flaws, though, as the raised speed requires extra thick hoses and those don’t bend all that well. This, in its turn, means that your placement choices are restricted by the large cooling system so you have to make sure your rig is capable of holding a model that big. It’s a shame as the cooler itself is pretty much average-sized with a low profile to boot, only the hoses make it a bit tougher to mount.

So if you’ve got the space for it, the Thermaltake Water 3.0 AIO is a fine choice for heavy-duty cooling and low noise. It certainly won’t be for everyone but those that do have a large enough rig will surely appreciate this extra powerful CPU liquid cooler.

Review of Thermaltake Water 3.0 AIO (CLW0224-B) Extreme S 240mm Aluminum Radiator AIO Liquid Cooling System CPU Cooler

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

What Is a CPU Liquid Cooler?

It’s no secret that computers tend to get hot during operation and even if you buy the top of the line ultra-expensive model, you still won’t be able to use its full potential without a cooling system. While a regular setup of fans may be enough and it’s what the pre-built computers come with, a new step in cooling technology has already been achieved. A CPU water cooler is a high performance yet low noise system that uses liquids to keep the temperature of your PC down. Special coolants are routed through tubes passing all over the computer’s details, lowering the heat output without making any noise. There is another sort of model, though, a self contained one (also known as sealed). These systems are almost as silent but more affordable, a sort of middle-ground between regular coolers and water-cooling systems. That cooler type is easy to mount on your PC and the lack of tubes lowers the likelihood of coolants leaking onto the expensive equipment. It does, however, emit a bit of noise though definitely not as much as regular fan coolers. But it is significantly more compact than a fan cooler, perfect for transportation.

If you’re building your PC step by step, you should also take a look at our top 5 sound card picks. And, of course, if you want a gaming PC, a good graphics card is an absolute must!

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Publish Date: 2018-08-30 13:33:32