10 Best Liquid CPU Cooler 2018 – Top Rated AIO Water Cooler Reviews and Buying Guide

Central Processing Unit (CPU) coolers function to dissipate excess heat produced by your computer’s components. The aim of this is to make sure that your computer remains at a acceptable temperature. If the heat that is generated is too much for your CPU, it can get damaged.

Even though majority of computers are designed to reduce heat accumulation, there is no way to remove all the energy produced without a separate machine. Your CPUs can only deliver at an excellent speed and function well overtime you need something to remove the heat it generates. This is where CPU coolers come in. They will efficiently and perfectly cool your CPU. Presently, CPUs can be cooled either with air or liquid. However, this article will deal with liquid CPUs.

Top 5 Best Liquid CPU Cooler: Editor’s Pick

CPU Cooler
CPU Cooler Model
Editor's Rating
Price
CORSAIR CPU Cooler
NZXT RL Water cooler
CORSAIR Liquid CPU Cooler
Cooler Master LED CPU Cooler
Thermaltake CPU Cooler

It will outline the best CPU coolers available on the market right now, discuss the pros and cons of air and liquid coolers and give you insight things to consider before buying a CPU cooler.  Even if you already have an idea about the liquid CPU cooler you plan to buy, have a look at the products below before you make a concrete decision.

10 Best Liquid CPU Cooler Review:

1. Corsair CW-9060007-WW Hydro Series High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler H60

There is one simple that the Corsair H60 Hydro Series the best CPU water cooler; because it offers you the perfect balance of performance and price. It comes with the improved and novel SP120L fan, designed with custom-made blades to allow the cooler work quietly but efficiently, keeping the temperature of your CPU as low as possible. In addition, its noise to static pressure ratio has been improved, translating to noise levels that are as low as possible.

Furthermore, it is designed as a self-contained cooling system, which means that you don’t need a plumber to install it for you; you can fix it as it does not require any tool to do so. Another interesting feature of the H60 is that you don’t have to refill or prime regularly because it is pre-filled.

With regards to performance, the Corsair H60 is on another level. It is made with top quality components to ensure its cooling is effective. The cold plate which is made from copper has a pre-fitted thermal compound that allows efficient thermal conductivity, ensuring that heat is transferred effectively to the manifold.

The reliability of the Corsair H60 cannot be disputed either. The reality is that watercooling users are afraid of liquid leaks, which can negatively affect the delicate electronic parts of the cooler. However, to ensure that the cooler does not leak, it is designed in a way that allows smooth installation as well as keeps coolant evaporation as low as possible. This increases the lifespan of the unit.

Overall, if you take into consideration the seamless installation process was, the efficiency which the unit eliminates heat as well as the reasonable price of this unit, we can safely conclude that the Corsair H60 is an excellent buy.

Highlighted Features

  • Better designed micro-fin copper cold plate
  • Cooling system is pre-filled, it never requires refilling
  • Low-profile black aluminum heat exchanger
  • 120mm sized fan
  • Lesser evaporation, big diameter tubing
  • Magnetic multiplatform mounting bracket kit

2. NZXT RL-KRX62-02 Kraken X62 280mm All-in-one Water/Liquid CPU Cooling

With a 280mm aluminum radiator and the inclusion of a dependable full CAM application, the NZXT Kraken comes fully loaded with robust features for those who use highly demanding CPUs. Its design and software allows you to make precise and advanced controls as easily as possible. Even though this unit does not come cheap, it is the best closed loop CPU cooler and purchasing it means you have invested in an all-in-one liquid cooling system.

Furthermore, being a closed loop cooler, it utilizes an improved speed pump design which delivers top notch cooling and generates a little or no noise. Its radiator is cooled by two Aer P optimized fans, ensuring that it never overheats during operation. These fans come with rubber isolators at the edges of its black frames and each of them has the capacity to produce at least 102 CFM of airflow.

The lower part of the unit has a complete RGB scale color options with different modes to make it an outstanding system. Furthermore, it comes with CAM software, another interesting feature because it adds to the customization options of the unit and possesses more info than other similar software. The NZKT X62 allows you to regulate the fan speeds, hue lighting, and several other customized cooling modes. Another nice aspect of CAM is that it supports many other Kraken systems natively. It is very easy to support the unit because it has an extended 16” tubing as well as a large tower support. Previously, it was difficult for a novice to install liquid cooling systems; however, the NZKT X62 is built in a very simple design so that anyone can install it effectively.

If you take into account the features of this unit, you will not hesitate to purchase one, especially if you have the finances. Its CAM software is second to none and its depth of customization is interesting. The NZKT X62 will efficiently cool your CPU, no matter the intensity of usage.

Highlighted Features

  • Aer optimized fan
  • CAM Software Kraken+
  • Innovative speed pump design
  • Large lower support and extended 16” tubing
  • High pressure, micro-fin copper coldplate

3. ARCTIC Liquid Freezer 120, High Performance CPU Water Cooler

The ARCTIC 120 is made by Arctic, a well known maker of silent CPU coolers and components. As a matter of fact, the company has had a great influence on the innovation of quiet cooling systems. The ARCTIC 120 is the best aio cooler in its category. Despite its excellent performance, it produces little or no noise. Its performance is boosted by two capable F12 PWM PST fans, an efficient water pump, and a 49mm deep radiator. It can fit into all standard PC cases that use a 120 mm fan, meaning it is very handy. Also, to prevent any leakage of its lubricant, its fluid dynamic bearing has an oil capsule. Hence, the bearing can work as quietly as a sleeve bearing but has the comparative advantage of having a significantly higher service life. Its fans are designed in such a way that allows for perfect heat dissipation and efficient airflow; 120 mm fans are mounted on either side of the radiator, with one fan pushing air through the radiator, while the other pulls air through it. In addition, with its PST function, the speed of the fan can be adjusted according to the increase in CPU temperature in a precise manner.

Furthermore, the ARCTIC 120 is designed with the most recent motor technology, along with smooth tubes to deliver optimal performance with just 2 watt of power. Thanks to its circular CNC, its surface is smooth and even on all sides. This allows the unit to function consistently at all times. Even though it works with great power and efficiency, it does so quietly. This is because the company designed each F12 fan with Computational Fluid Dynamics software, ensuring that its airflow is top quality. There are few comparative CPU coolers that deliver such airflow at the noise level of the ARCTIC 120. Additionally, this cooling unit is compatible with most Intel and AMD sockets.

For its affordable price, high performance and other top quality features, the Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 is one of the best products on the market right now. While there are other better options, they are more expensive, which is why this relatively low-cost option is best for anyone looking for a decent liquid cooler.

Highlighted Features

  • 2 x F12 PWM PST fans
  • Fluid Dynamic Bearing
  • 49 mm deep radiator
  • Works very quietly
  • Latest motor technology
  • Consumes just 2 watt of power
  • Optimal heat dissipation
  • Controllable with PST function

4. CORSAIR HYDRO SERIES H100i v2 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler

Another top performing model from Corsair is the H100i v2, a liquid cooler well-engineered ensure your CPU temperatures are under control. It is designed with a solid surface area aimed at improving its cooling performance and a pump made to produce little noise during operation. Another excellent feature of this unit is the inclusion of a built-in Corsair Link which personalizes the cooling experience including the lighting. The Corsair Link enables the unit to monitor and customize every aspect of the watercooling process. With this software, you can also make several interesting adjustments such as altering the RGB lighting as well as its cooling performance according to the temperature of the CPU.

Its fans designed to deliver extreme performance and it doesn’t disappoint. As a matter of fact, it is the best liquid cooling system, providing an outstanding level of heat dissipation required for overworked CPUs. The unit is custom-made to deliver high static pressure placed right against radiators, and their SP120L PWM fans are markedly different from other basic case fans. Furthermore, the shape of the blades allows maximum air delivery while keeping noise levels as low as possible.

Installing the Corsair H100i v2 is not difficult and doesn’t require much work, especially because it has a modular, mounting bracket that does not require any tools. Since it is uses a closed loop design and is pre-filled, you don’t need to worry about facing any issues during installation. This removes any headache that comes with complex traditional liquid cooling systems.

Corsair has done a great job to improve the performance and installation of the H100i v2 from previous versions. On the downside though, the unit has a lesser amount of RGB lighting effects, which is surprising but should not be a concern for those who care less about lighting. However, that aside, it is an excellent choice for a quality liquid CPU cooler considering its features and fair price.

Highlighted Features

  • Improved cold plate and pump design
  • Easy to install
  • Comes with a Corsair link software
  • Large 240mm dual-fan radiator
  • Innovative SP120L PWM fan design

5. Cooler Master Hyper RR-212E-20PK-R2 LED CPU Cooler with PWM Fan

The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is among the best CPU water cooler because it is very affordable, durable and efficient. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most affordable CPU coolers available today. The Hyper 212 EVO has been much improved to include four closely packed customized Cooler Master Continuous Direct Contact (CDC) heat pipes which are flatly arranged on the base of the unit. These heat pipes function as a virtual vapor chamber, dissipating a great amount of heat in a breeze.

Furthermore, its aluminum fin structure has been improved to deliver the ideal performance by balancing between high and low fan operations. Another interesting feature of this CPU cooler is that despite its excellent performance, it makes very little noise during operation. Furthermore, the Hyper 212 EVO possesses a wide PMW fan with blades designed as waves, thereby allowing for efficient and perfect airflow. Also, even though the package comes with one 120mm fan, it comes with additional attachment clips that you can use to mount another 120mm fan anywhere around the CPU. Additionally, this cooling unit is compatible with most Intel and AMD sockets.

Highlighted Features

  • Four direct contact pipes
  • Wide range PMW fan
  • Compatible with Intel and AMD sockets
  • Unique wave-shaped blade

6. Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Dual Riing RGB High Static Pressure Fans

The design of this liquid CPU cooler is attractive for anybody who demands superior performance. The Thermaltake is the best water cooling kit because it offers solid and excellent features at a very reasonable price. This unit has a double RGB effect radiator fan designed to deliver ultimate performance and with its smart fan controller, you can switch between 5 LED colors including red, green, white, yellow and blue as well as cycle through 256 colors. It has functions such as play and pause to enable you control the unit and regulator to control speed and noise levels.

Another interesting feature of this unit is its simple installation process along with a wholly maintenance-free operation. Also, this Thermaltake’s pump is highly reliable, designed to allow for optimal and efficient circulation of water around the system, thereby effectively cooling the plate- necessary for effective performance of the unit. The plate is produced from high-performance copper which speeds up its heat conductivity. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about liquid replenishment because its coolant is pre-filled.

Furthermore, this Thermaltake is capable of the intense heat emitted from your processor, thanks to its 240mm radiator. Moreover, its twin 120mm fans deliver optimal cooling performance because of its in-built top-quality high static pressure technology.

If you have a high-end CPU, the efficient and reliable Thermaltake CL-W107-PL12SW-A is worth considering, especially because it is an All-in-One liquid cooling. Its excellent features and highly competitive price makes it a good buy. However, you should note that its installation process is a bit tricky, especially if it’s your first time.

Highlighted Features:

  • PWM Riing 12 RGB LED Fans
  • Comes with 240mm Aluminum radiator
  • Maintenance free operation
  • Copper cold plate
  • Compatible with Intel and AMD sockets

7. Noctua NH-D15 6 heatpipe with Dual NF-A15 140mm fans

In its quest to achieve the perfect quiet cooling performance, Noctua decided to upgrade the legendary NH-D14. The result is the new improved Noctua NH-D15, which ranks among the best liquid cooling system available on the market today. It is a world-class twin tower cooler meant to deliver even under the highest demands. The NH-D15 now has dual top quality NF-A15 fans measuring 140mm and supported PMW to enable the unit automatically control its speed. Additionally, the unit also comes with Noctua’s trusted NT-H1 thermal compound, thereby delivering optimal heat dissipation. Despite its ability to deliver perfectly, this unit does not make noise during operation.

Furthermore, when compared to traditional heatsinks with one tower, this unit possesses six expertly designed heatpipes that have been divided into two parts to create more surface area. This also enables the NH-D15 achieve greater heat distribution as well as unrivalled airflow efficiency when it is set in dual fan mode. Its fins have been recessed to allow for up to 64mm clearance when using tall memory heatsinks in single fan mode. Thus, this CPU cooling unit is compatible with majority of the modern RAM modules available today.

Highlighted Features

  • Excellently designed aerodynamic features like Flow Acceleration Channels
  • Six heatpipe twin radiators
  • Two NF-A15 PMW supported 140mm fan
  • Perfect component cooling

8. EVGA CLC 280 Liquid/Water CPU Cooler, RGB LED Cooling 400-HY-CL28-V1

There is no doubting that the EVGA CLC 280 is easily the best AIO Water Cooler available on the market today. Its specially designed fans are meant to deliver perfect cooling at the lowest noise possible. This is because its blades are specially designed to deliver optimal cooling, while the unit’s housing is curved to lessen the noise it generates. This means that you can sit next to it and play your game for hours without having your ears overloaded with unwanted sounds.

Furthermore, the EVGA CLC 280 is very easy to install, even if you are a novice. You can select the color you want on your unit, thanks to its RGB lighting. The RGB light can also indicate when the temperature is getting hot and when it has cooled; blue represents cool, while red stands for hot. But you don’t have to worry because the light will never turn red. Additionally, the entire unit is well protected with sleeved sleek-looking tubing, which covers from the radiator to the CPU block.

With the aid of complete copper water block, the unit is able to pull heat from your CPU to the radiator. Here, its innovative fans which are designed with Teflon Nano Bearings is able to efficiently and effortlessly disperse heat produced by the CPU. The most excellent feature of this unit has to be the novel EVGA flow control software that enables you to monitor and control the speed of the pump, fan speed/curve and even the RGB LED.

Highlighted Features

  • Aesthetically appealing
  • 280mm twin fan radiator
  • Less noise without sacrificing performance
  • New EVGA software for monitoring and control
  • Compatible with AMD and Intel

9. LEPA AquaChanger 240mm Intel/AMD High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler

If you need a capable liquid CPU cooler that will deliver optimal performance even under extreme conditions, then the LEPA AquaChanger LPWAC240-HF is for you. A robust CPU cooler with excellent cooling capabilities because of its 240mm radiator, it is designed to improve heat exchange for greater cooling performance.

One of its most interesting features that make this unit stand out as the best closed loop cpu cooler is the patented Central Diffusing Passage Cold Plate, which speeds up heat absorption from the CPU by close to 30% thermal convection. Another important feature is its protrusive build, which makes the copper base more durable, with the ability to deploy greater amount of coolant leading to more efficient CPU hot spot removal.

Furthermore, the blade of this unit is designed with advanced aerodynamics to boost down-force air pressure as well as deliver high-volume airflow. Also, its ceramic bearing pump ensures that even though the cooler deliver superior cooling performance, it does not produce much noise operates smoothly and the entire system is protected against corrosion.

Moreover, you do not have to worry about leakages overtime because it has an anti-leakage tube that is made of highly elastic rubber tube designed with special layers. Additionally, it supports a large number of AMD and Intel sockets and installing it is not difficult, even for a novice.

Highlighted Features

  • Ceramic bearing allows smooth and noiseless operation
  • Innovative aerodynamics design
  • Well designed anti-leakage tube
  • Twin convex blade fan
  • 240mm radiator
  • Protrusive and sturdy copper base
  • LED for power indication

10. DeepCool Gamer Storm CPU Liquid Cooler AIO Water Cooling (CAPTAIN 120 EX)

Designed with one of the most robust and reliable pumps meant to deliver the optimal amount of water circulation, the DeepCool Captain 120EX ranks among the best AIO water coolers. It ensures that your CPU delivers peak performance consistently.

The Deepcool Captain 120EX is aesthetically appealing, made with red and black colors along with a unique reactor style pump housing to give a captivating visual impression. The Captain 240EX’s steampunk appearance, beautiful LED lighting, RGD effects and in-built liquid flow further adds to its appearance.

With regards to performance, this unit has a 240mm aluminum fins which are specially designed to allow for reduced noise even at lower fan speeds. Also, it is able to deliver perfect heat dissipation because of the higher air pressure delivered by its radiator which has a special TF 120 dual blade fan. In addition, it is able to achieve additional 10% heat dissipation because of its enhanced high-density water micro-channels which produces robust autonomous circulation.

The cooler is able to deliver increased liquid flow and pressure, thanks to its closed impellers which are propelled by powerful 3-phase induction motors. This unit is also very reliable owing to its improved anti-explosion rubber tube made from top-quality thermostable material; it is designed to be resistant to crushing and corrosion. Moreover, its ceramic bearing is meant to deliver a long service life and installing the unit is not difficult because its 100% metal clip allows you to secure the unit with less stress.

Highlighted Features

  • Special noiseless TF120 double blade fan
  • Improved anti-explosion rubber tube
  • High density Aluminum fins
  • Double 240 PMW fan

Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Buying a Liquid CPU Cooler  

Before purchasing a new liquid cooler for your CPU, there are certain things you have to take into consideration so you buy exactly what you need. Here are a few things to consider before you make a decision on which unit to buy:

  1. The most important thing to consider is compatibility. You have to be sure that the cooler will fit perfectly with your system’s case. This will entail looking at the size of your radiator before buying a cooling unit. The size of CPU radiators range from 120mm to 280mm in length. You can check for the exact or maximum size of radiator that will be suitable for your case by looking at the specifications outlined in the case. Furthermore, note the thickness of your radiator and decide if you intend to utilize a push-pull system. This type of system needs greater space since it utilizes fans on either side of the radiator, pushing air via one side and pulling it through the opposite side.
  2. It is also very important to take not of the size of the CPU. The reason for getting a CPU cooler is to make sure that your CPU is cool all the time. Hence getting a smaller CPU cooler for a larger CPU will not achieve the desired objective. Generally, if your processor is producing more heat, you also need a larger cooler. There is no point in getting a cooler that will not keep your CPU temperatures as low as possible.
  3. It is easy to get carried away by beautiful high-end liquid coolers which promise incredible performance and other interesting features during advertisement. However, the reality is that you must analyze and have in-depth knowledge of your needs before you decide to go for a premium liquid CPU cooler. Like every other PC component, there are entry-level coolers as well as certain high-performance models that come with a premium price. If you can afford it, it’s good. However, you have to consider if it is suitable for your present system and CPU usage. Do not be carried away with features like LED lighting or built-in fan regulator, which while they are interesting, are not the most important features to look out for. Rather, look for those that deliver the best performance for their prices. The prices are not a determining factor because you can get a cheap liquid CPU cooler which will deliver optimal performance on your CPU temperatures, especially if you are upgrading from an air cooler.
  4. Budget is another important aspect to consider. True, everyone will like to have a $2000 custom waterloop, but not everyone can afford it. Thus, you have to think about what you can afford. Even though air coolers are generally cheaper, All in one’s (AIOs) are getting increasingly competitive and you can get a very ideal cooler at an excellent price.
  5. The reliability of the CPU cooler is also a huge factor to consider before you buy one. Make sure that you read the features and specifications adequately before you make a decision. Liquid CPU coolers can experience a pump failure or develop a leak. Even though it is very rare for AIOs to experience a leakage, it is better to go for a CPU cooler that has features that will prevent a leakage or pump failure.
  6. Finally, consider the aesthetics of the CPU cooler you intend to purchase. This may not be very important if you are on a tight budget. However, it will look more appealing if you get a cooler that fits into your color scheme or has the configuration to achieve this.

How to Use CPU Coolers

No matter the model of CPU cooler you will eventually choose, there are ways to use it that will ensure it deliver maximal performance.

Keep it clean

Do not allow dust and other particles to get into your cooler or any other component of your CPU for that matter as it will hinder its performance. Follow the cleaning guide recommended by the manufacturer or use the cleaning guide from other manufacturers and users.

Make sure airflow is optimal

When airflow is optimal and the channel is routed, heat will be disbursed properly. Make sure that all parts are separated as much as possible, leaving as much space as possible for all parts of your CPU to get enough air from its motherboard to the main chassis.

Pick the optimal cooling system for your CPU

As we have discussed previously, you have to find the right cooler for your CPU. This means carrying out an in depth market survey to choose the best and most suitable CPU cooler.

Types of CPU Coolers and When to Use Them

Liquid cooling

Liquid cooling may conjure up a picture of hardcore gamers making use of those crazy designs. This is because liquid coolers deliver excellent performance at all times and may not be important for normal everyday use. However, the perfect CPU liquid coolers are made to be compatible with standard ones. The main principle behind the workings of liquid coolers is the principle of thermodynamics. This means that heat gets transferred from warm objects to cooler ones. Thus, the heat that is produced by the CPU is channeled to the water or cooling agent. This is where the heat is cycled within the liquid until the CPU gets cool. This is how other parts of the CPU such as microchips are cooled as they continue to generate energy.

Air coolers

Air cooling is the most common type of cooling CPUs. This form of cooling makes use of CPU fans because they are efficient and cheap. The fans are utilized along with a heat sink which is meant to adsorb heat parts of the CPU that produces energy. When heat is generated, the CPU fan removes the heat and provides needed ventilation. Most people prefer air cooling because they are inexpensive and have the capacity to handle tough processing.

Choosing the most suitable CPU cooler is largely dependent on your project needs as has been discussed previously. While obtaining a CPU cooler that possesses extra power is important, getting one that perfectly meets the demands of your rig is more important when picking a CPU cooler.

Air Coolers VS Liquid Coolers

Air coolers depend on two major components: the fan and heatsink. The aim of the heatsink, which is typically designed with high heat conducting materials such as aluminum or a mixture of copper and aluminum is to remove heat from the processor. However, there is a limit to the heat that can be absorbed by the heatsink before it is dissipated. The fan therefore functions to prevent the heatsink from overheating by continuously spinning to ensure that cool air continuously runs through the system.

Liquid heating on the other part has more parts than an air cooler: pump, radiator, hoses and fan. While air cooling depends on the proper circulation of air through the heatsink, liquid cooling utilizes a similar method, but uses liquid rather than air. The liquid coolant, which is mostly water, is circulated through hoses that connect the parts that need to be cooled. However, just circulating the water isn’t enough, which is why the liquid cooler has its own type of heatsink, a radiator. To also prevent the radiator from overheating, the fan ensures that cool air runs through it at all times.

With regards to efficiency and power, liquid cooling beats air cooling hands down owing to the fact that larger volume of liquid coolant can be circulated faster and more easily. As a matter of fact, liquid coolers are 2-10 times more effective in transporting heat than air coolers. That said you do not need liquid cooling except your CPU is overclocked. Even for light overclocking, air coolers are still very effective.

Due to the lower cost of producing air coolers, they are generally cheaper than liquid coolers. With regards to convenience, air coolers are easier to install than liquid cooler, except you are an experienced user. Therefore, liquid coolers are only necessary if you have an extremely overclocked CPU or a cramped computer case.

Frequently Asked Questions About Liquid CPU Cooler

1. Is liquid cooling good?

Liquid cooling is a perfect solution that allows you to enjoy games without your PC generating unwanted noise. This is because liquid cooling allows more efficient transportation of heat away from the CPU to its radiator. The heat in the radiator is also effectively dissipated by a fan, thereby creating a large cooling surface. Also, while overclocking allows your hardware to gain greater computing power, it can be damaging if your CPU is not properly cooled. Liquid cooling is the ideal way of preventing your oveclocked CPU from overheating.

2. Do I need to get a CPU cooler?

A CPU cooler is necessary if you don’t want your processor to overheat while you are gaming or working. This will make your CPU last longer than if you do not use a cooler. It is even more important if you plan to overclock your processor.

3. How much is a liquid cooling system cost?

The cost of a liquid cooling system typically depends on the features that the cooler possesses. Majority of the conventional high-end CPU coolers cost anything from $50 to $100. Some cost more depending on the model and features.

4. It is really necessary to have a CPU cooler?

Yes. It is necessary to get a CPU cooler if you do not want your processor to overheat while working. A CPU cooler will make your CPU last longer.

Final Verdict

This best CPU coolers review has provided you with in-depth information on the best CPU cooling systems available on the market today. The recommendations in this review are meant to serve as a guide for you to make a final decision on the model of CPU cooler to buy.

Notwithstanding whether you already have this knowledge, this review will remind you of the best water cooling kits available or those that you must consider the next time you want to buy a CPU cooler. Success or failure in work or gaming depends largely on your ability to ensure that your processor remains as cool as possible and you can achieve this by choosing the best liquid cooling system that will suit your needs at all times.

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