Gifting yourself with a beasty processor on the market isn’t alone going to get your party running. It is also important to pair it with an equally potent cooling solution. However, choosing the best CPU cooler in 2020 can be a conundrum as they differ in functionality and form factor. The cooling solutions come from different manufacturers and in different price segments. We have a common misconception that the pricier ones are always the best, which isn’t always the case.
Best CPU Cooler 2020 Air & Liquid Coolers
It is wise to choose a decent cooler that best fits your build. As always, we have done the needful on your behalf to come up with the list of top CPU coolers for your PC on the market. We are not sponsored by any of the brands mentioned below. Each product on the list is tested personally by our testing team to come up with a genuine opinion. Also, be sure to check our Best CPU Coolers 2020 – Buyer’s Guide at the end of this post to get an idea of how you should be picking one that fits your needs. With that said, let us not waste another minute before we get to see our coolest Processor coolers.
#1. Noctua NH-L9i – Best Low-profile CPU Cooler
The Noctua NH-L9i is one of the best low-profile CPU coolers available on the market. Besides being compact, it can ensure a high-end cooling solution for your build.
If you are looking for a decent CPU cooler that doesn’t cost you an arm and leg, the Noctua NH-L9i is the best choice you can make. Unfortunately, the NH-L9i is not compatible with the AMD processors. However, Noctua has brought another variant specifically for the AMD fanboys sold as Noctua NH-L9a.
Speaking of the physical aesthetics, the Noctua NH-L9i low-profile CPU cooler for Intel is way under 2 inches and is one of the compact options available. But do not let its size fool you. It can deliver adequate cooling for your processor and helps in keeping the thermals in range. The fins on the cooler are thinner and are densely packed backed by a 9.2cm low-profile fan.
The quality of the fan blades appears very premium and is themed in creme and chocolate. Speaking of the rotational speeds, the nifty fan on the Noctua Nh-L9i has speeds between 9 and 2540 RPM. There is very little noise or no noise at all is heard when the build is covered inside the CPU case.
The installation process can be easy with the pre-installed mounting brackets on the cooler. All you got to do is to put the heatsink on the CPU and attach it from the back of the motherboard with the screws provided. The quality of the provided screws is topnotch with the screw heads coated in plastic to help avoid short circuits.
Given the size of the cooler, the NH-L9i should fit most of Intel’s motherboards and can comfortably sit in its place without causing any sort of disturbance to the neighboring components.
Technical Specifications, Pros & Cons of – Noctua NH-L9i CPU Cooler for Intel LGA115x
|Socket Compatibility||Intel LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1200|
|Dimensions||37mm x 95mm x 95mm (HxWxD)|
|Material||Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (cooling fins), soldered joints & nickel plating|
|Max fan rotation speed||2500 RPM|
|Input Power||2.52 W|
|Voltage Range||12 V|
Noctua NH-L9i – Final Review
If you are looking for a Better CPU Cooler that does the job for your casual PC build the Noctua NH-L9i can be your cup of tea. Though it supports LGA 1200 sockets, it is not recommended to use it with the comet lake series from Intel as they have higher TDP values and the Noctua NH-L9i cannot suffice its cooling needs. It is also not recommended for those who love to let their CPUs run at the overclocked speeds. Nevertheless, if you are a casual user looking for a good low-profile Mini-ITX CPU heatsink, the Noctua NH-L9i can be your go-to option.
#2. Corsair H100i Pro – Best high-end liquid Processor cooler
The Corsair H100i Pro is the best high-end liquid CPU cooler available in the market with unparalleled performance and top-notch build quality.
Corsair needs no introduction to the CPU peripheral industry. It has been there in the race for a considerable amount of time, having heard and seen so much from its customers and competitors, it constantly enhanced its products to meet the market needs. One such product is the Corsair H100i Pro. It is one of the most powerful and elegant liquid coolers available on the market. The one we are reviewing here is the 240mm variant. If you are a little higher on space Corsair also offers a 360mm variant for a little extra money.
Speaking of the build quality, the radiator is all made in aluminum paired with a duo of 120mm ML series PWM fans which can spin at a maximum of 2400 RPM. The quality feels extremely sturdy and seems reliable for longer durations. To make the installation smoother, the Corsair H100i Pro processor cooler comes boxed with all the mounting screws and brackets.
The tubes of the cooler are all sleeved in black nylon braids. You can find Corsair’s logo on the front side of the heatsink which is made up of RGB-backlit acrylic material. The heatsink has a copper base contact plate for optimum heat transfer between the cooler and the CPU’s integrated heat spreader. You don’t have to apply thermal compound separately while installing as it is shipped with factory-applied thermal compound paste.
Technical Specifications, Pros & Cons of – Corsair Hydro Series H100i PRO RGB
|Model||Corsair H100i Pro|
|Socket Compatibility||Intel LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1200|
|Dimensions||37mm x 95mm x 95mm (HxWxD)|
|Material||Copper (base and heat-pipes), aluminum (radiator material)|
|Max fan rotation speed||2700 RPM|
|Noise Level||37.68 dBA|
|Voltage Range||12 V|
Corsair Hydro Series H100i PRO – Final Review
The Corsair H100i Pro is one of the best liquid CPU coolers available on the market with decent thermal performance and cleaner aesthetics. If you are into overclocking your processor, it is very important that you go for a robust cooling solution like the H100i Pro to keep your thermals in control. Though the price tag might scare you initially, you will feel it’s worth it once you start to see it in action.
#3. Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition RGB – Best affordable CPU cooler
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black RGB Edition is a heartthrob when it comes to design with anodized gun-metal black with a brushed aluminum surface finish.
Cooler Master is one of the well-established brands in the computer industry with a huge product catalog. The Hyper 212 Black RGB Edition is one of the best builds that Cooler Master has ever produced. What makes this processor cooler stand out in the crowd is its design. The device has a sleek finish with anodized gun-metal black with a brushed aluminum surface. Like all other Hyper 212 models, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition also features a direct contact, quad-Heat pipe tower design with minimal flair.
The cooling tower measures 159mm tall and have a total of 55 cooling fans. Instead of the typical 5 blade fan, this CPU cooler is equipped with the SF120R cooling fan with 9 slimmer fins which can effectively force air through the radiator. The corners of the fan are rubber-tipped to prevent vibrations from traveling to other attached parts.
Mounting brackets come preinstalled with the cooler for ease in installation. The brackets are also rubber padded for effectively minimizing vibrations that may prevail during the operation of the heatsink. As the SF120R has RGB lighting incorporated in it, it requires two cables running both of which are well sleeved in braided black material to make it sturdy and look decent. The speed of the fan can be controlled through a 4-pin PWM header and the RGB lighting is powered via a 4-pin 5v header.
Technical Specification, Pros & Cons of – Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition
|Model||Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition RGB|
|Socket Compatibility||LGA2066, LGA2011-v3, LGA2011, LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1366, AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2, FM1|
|Dimensions||120 x 79.6 x 158.8 mm / 4.7 x 3.1 x 6.3 inch (L X W X H)|
|Material||4 Heat Pipes, Aluminum Fins, Direct Contact|
|Max fan rotation speed||650-2000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%|
|Noise Level||8 – 30 dBA|
|Voltage Range||12 V DC|
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition RGB – Final Review
If you are someone like me who is fond of looks, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition RGB is the right choice. It isn’t the most robust CPU coolers out there but you cannot go wrong with your choice if you are looking for a cooling solution for your moderate build. Besides the performance, the cooler appears fancy with the incorporated RGB lighting capability.
#4. Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing RGB – Best affordable AIO CPU water cooler
The Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing RGB is one of the best if not the best affordable AIO Water cooling solutions available in the market.
Thermaltake has mastered the art of producing high-end AIO cooling solutions at affordable pricing. The WATER 3.0 series is one of the most popular CPU cooling solutions on the market today. What makes the Water 3.0 Dual Riing ARGB stand out is the addressable LED lighting on the device. Its LED lighting setup is compatible with the ASRock Polychrome RGB, BioStar VIVID LED DJ, Asus Aura Sync, Gigabyte RGB Fusion 2.0, and MSI Mystic Light Sync.
It is one of the most versatile options in the market, besides support for the standard Intel and AMD sockets, it also supports Intel LGA 2066 and AMD AM4 sockets. Also, for those who are looking to pair it with the AMD Thread ripper, Thermaltake is providing an included adapter in the package.
Speaking of the design, the entire device comprises of black and with the occasional touch of white – the branding and in the fan area. The build feels sturdy and seems promising to last longer. The ARGB lighting on this cooler deserves the crown. The lighting on the fan area feels vivid with crisp colors and adequate brightness which can be customized completely.
The installation is pretty much easy as most of it comes pre-assembled. You don’t even have to apply the thermal paste as the device comes with the paste already applied. Though there is a provision for managing the ARGB lighting and fan speeds from a software program, Thermaltake has also incorporated a controller with physical buttons that can be used to directly control the device. All the connectors that come with the devices are nylon braided to match the black theme and give that extra strength and durability to the product.
Technical Specifications, Pros & Cons of – Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing Fan
|Model||Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing RGB|
|Socket Compatibility||LGA2066, LGA2011-v3, LGA2011, LGA1366, LGA1155, LGA1150, LGA1156, LGA1366, AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2, FM1|
|Dimensions||270 x 120 x 27mm|
|Max fan rotation speed||3600 RPM (PWM) ± 10%|
|Noise Level||25.8 dBA|
|Voltage Range||12 V DC|
Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing RGB Fan -Final Review
The Thermaltake Water 3.0 is offered at a reasonable price and can be a deal-breaker for many for the performance and features it is offering. With its noise level being 25.8 dBA, it is one of the quietest water-cooling solutions in the market. The ARGB lighting on it is an eye-catcher and is customizable via ASRock Polychrome RGB, BioStar VIVID LED DJ, Asus Aura Sync, Gigabyte RGB Fusion 2.0, or the MSI Mystic Light Sync.
#5. Arctic Freezer 34 Esports Duo Cooler – Best Cheap Air (CPU) Processor cooler under budget
The Arctic Freezer 34 Esports Duo is one of the masterpieces when it comes to CPU coolers. It solidifies itself as one of the cheapest yet high performing coolers in the market.
Arctic is one of the prominent brands on the market today with a number of decent cooling and storage solutions in its production bag. Arctic Freezer 34 is one of the prestigious products in the Arctic line-up. Speaking of aesthetics, the device comes in different colors – yellow, green, grey, red, and black. The one we had for the testing is the red variant. You should see it to believe its beauty. The Arctic Freezer 34 Esports is one of the elegant CPU coolers we have reviewed so far.
The Arctic Freezer 34 Esports Duo Processor cooler is powered by two 120mm Arctic Bionix fans with fluid dynamic bearings to ensure optimum cooling. They run at rated speeds from 200 to 2100 RPM. The mounting base is made up of copper to help dissipate maximum heat from the CPU’s integrated heat spreader.
The installation process for the Arctic Freezer 34 Esports Duo CPU cooler is relatively straightforward and can be done without any hardware expertise. All the mounting brackets and screws are provided in the box itself. Also, the cooler comes with pre-applied thermal paste.
The PWM fans are relatively smoother with ignorable noise levels. Speaking of the thermal performance, the Freezer 34 Esports Duo performed beyond our expectations in our initial testing.
Technical Specifications, Pros & Cons of – ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO
|Model||Arctic Freezer 34 Esports Duo Cooler|
|Socket Compatibility||Intel Sockets: 2066, 2011(-3), 1155, 1151, 1150, 1200|
AMD Socket: AM4*
|Dimensions||4.84 x 4.06 x 5.91 inches|
|Max fan rotation speed||200–2100 RPM|
|Noise Level||28 dBA|
|Voltage Range||12 V DC|
Arctic Freezer 34 Esports Duo Cooler – Final Review
The Arctic Freezer 34 Esports Duo Cooler is one of the cheapest yet most powerful CPU coolers available on the market. Though the cooler isn’t equipped with LED lighting, it still caters to that cooler appearance to your build. As far as build quality is concerned, the Freezer 34 feels very sturdy and promising to last longer. It offers an excellent price-performance ratio. The installation process is quick and comes with all the mounting accessories and thermal paste pre-applied.
Best Processor Coolers in 2020 – Buying Guide
Now that you are here, we assume that you have gone through our list of ‘Best CPU Coolers 2020’ on the market. To give you an idea of how we choose our recommendations and to break the jargon, we have elaborated a few things that are to be considered while choosing a good CPU cooler.
It is very important to keep thermals of your CPU in control which in turn helps yield optimum performance out of your processor. There are a number of cooling solutions already on the market. But picking the one that works right for you can be a little tricky especially if you are a newbie in the hardware world. We have done the hard work to give you the knowledge you deserve with our intense buying guide for top CPU coolers 2020.
RGB/ARGB Lighting –
Most CPU coolers on the market today come equipped with an integrated RGB/ARGB lighting system. But the lighting is not everyone’s cup of tea. Most people love to keep their build simple without fancy lighting while some love to keep in a uni-color to match their setup. It is up to you to decide which category you belong. However, if you ask me, I would like to have a CPU cooler with customizable lighting with an option to switch it completely off.
Liquid Cooled or Air Cooled? –
We get this question a lot from our readers. However, it is hard for us to answer it in a sentence or two as there are a lot of considerations involved. The first consideration is the price. If price and ease of installation are your primary concerns, the air coolers can be your best choice. You can find the most potent air coolers under 40$ or even as low as for 30$. Air coolers can be a bit noisy compared to water coolers.
However, if you wish to have a quieter performance with better thermal management even if your CPU is running at the maximum frequencies, a decent liquid CPU cooler should come to your rescue. Liquid coolers can be a lot more expensive compared to air coolers. However, you can find a decent liquid CPU cooler for over 100$.
Number of CPU fans –
A fundamental rule is that more fans can yield a better cooling but cause more noise. If you don’t mind little wind noise from your CPU case, it is recommended that you go with the maximum number of CPU fans while choosing a good CPU cooler for your build.
Size of the cooler –
Even though some of the CPU coolers are compatible with your CPU socket type, you might still face difficulties fixing it in your build. This is because of the available space on your motherboard. It is important to check the clearance for your cooler that it is not blocked by either of your RAM sticks or your graphics card, before picking one.
Top CPU Coolers in 2020 – FAQs
Below are some of the questions that we keep hearing a lot from our readers about picking a good CPU cooler for their builds.
For most basic needs, the stock cooler would more than suffice. However, if you plan to overclock your CPU or use it for extremely tough jobs, you would fall in need of the best aftermarket CPU cooler that better maintains the thermals in range and helps prevent thermal throttling.
If you are a heavy user and can afford a liquid cooler, it is advised to go for it. However, most air coolers on the market are equally potent and are available for cheap if causal usage is all you care.
The Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing RGB is one of the affordable CPU water coolers that you can find on the market in 2020. However, if you are slightly higher on the budget, the Corsair H100i Pro can be the ideal choice.
The Arctic Freezer 34 Esports Duo Cooler is one of the best if not the best budget CPU cooler that you can buy in 2020.
The Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing RGB can be the top CPU cooler for i9 9900k choice.
- Best CPU Cooler 2020 Air & Liquid Coolers
- #1. Noctua NH-L9i – Best Low-profile CPU Cooler
- Technical Specifications, Pros & Cons of – Noctua NH-L9i CPU Cooler for Intel LGA115x
- #2. Corsair H100i Pro – Best high-end liquid Processor cooler
- Technical Specifications, Pros & Cons of – Corsair Hydro Series H100i PRO RGB
- #3. Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition RGB – Best affordable CPU cooler
- Technical Specification, Pros & Cons of – Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition
- #4. Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing RGB – Best affordable AIO CPU water cooler
- Technical Specifications, Pros & Cons of – Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing Fan
- #5. Arctic Freezer 34 Esports Duo Cooler – Best Cheap Air (CPU) Processor cooler under budget
- Technical Specifications, Pros & Cons of – ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO
- Best Processor Coolers in 2020 – Buying Guide
- Top CPU Coolers in 2020 – FAQs