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The best AIO cooler: the top liquid coolers for your CPU in 2020

We've tested the best all-in-one CPU coolers to find out

Best liquid cooler

The best AIO cooler is one that should make the perfect combination with some of the best gaming CPUs. Despite increases in performance-to-TDP ratios, processors can still get mighty hot these days – especially if you overclock them. If you’ve learnt how to overclock your CPU and want to put these skills to the test, you might have an easier time of it using one of the best liquid coolers over an air cooler. As more and more graphically intensive titles like Metro Exodus are released, overclocking might become more common. A good AIO cooler lets you overclock to crank out more performance with less risk of melting your CPU to a crisp.

The top cooling manufacturers have been put to the test on our test bench, with all-in-one (AIO) liquid CPU coolers from AlphaCool, Thermaltake, NZXT, Arctic, and of course Corsair. But why do you need to go all out on a CPU cooler? If you want to push your processor’s clock speeds to meet its potential then you need to make sure overheating isn’t a factor, and that’s where liquid coolers come in.

You might think water shouldn’t mix with electronics, yet an effective pump and radiator combo will move heat away from that CPU faster than you can say ‘thermal throttling’. (That, and the liquid is usually a mixture of water and other coolants). Of course, they often feature more RGB LEDs than you can shake a stick at, so you need not worry about colour-matching with the rest of your rig.

All-in-one liquid coolers take all the pain out of putting the soggy stuff inside your PC. You can create your own custom loops, taking in GPU cooling while you’re at it, but that’s far more in-depth and a serious build project in its own right.

AIO coolers, however, can be set up in half an hour and still make a tangible difference to your gaming PC.

Here are the best AIO coolers:

AlphaCool Eisbaer 240

The best AIO cooler is the AlphaCool Eisbaer 240.

AlphaCool has really outdone itself with the Eisbaer 240. This cooler came out on top of our cooling charts, which is the main reason why we think this is the best CPU cooler in an AIO package, and it’s cheap to boot. AlphaCool also keeps things standard with its quarter-inch connectors and refillable loop, adding even more lifespan and potential for upgrading down the road. All this makes the Eisbaer 240 definitively the best liquid cooler.

In ditching the software for this not-so-closed-loop cooler, AlphaCool has made it so that this capable chiller runs straight from your BIOS. It’s not the flashiest of all the chip-chillers, and unfortunately there’s no RGB lighting if you are into that sort of thing, but with a nearly all-black design, sleeved fan cables, and a semi-industrial look, this cooler blends in with your rig and gets on with the job at hand, making it one of the best CPU coolers you can buy.

What we like…
Tick Great thermal performance
Tick Cheap
Tick Refillable and expandable

AlphaCool Eisbaer 240 specs
Size 240mm
Fans 2x PWM 120mm
Compatibility AM4, LGA 1151, LGA 2011-3
Product Image 1
$129.99
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Read the PCGamesN AlphaCool Eisbaer 240 review for our full verdict and score.

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Arctic Liquid Freezer 240

The best cheap AIO cooler is the Arctic Liquid Freezer 240.

Arctic is offering the cheapest chiller we’ve looked at by far. But Arctic is one of the few manufacturers to include enough fans in the box to set up a full push/pull configuration right out of the box. Thanks to these extra fans spinning away in your rig, this budget CPU cooler offers great cooling potential and value for money, and was almost our pick as the best liquid cooler overall.

With price/performance metrics off the charts, it’s really no surprise the Liquid Freezer was a close second for the top spot. It’s far from the prettiest design in the world, and Arctic have ditched all the RGB flair, but in return you get a cooler that gets the job done – with no unnecessary features, and no frustrating software. Kudos, Arctic.

What we like…
Tick Cheap
Tick Great performance
Tick Four fans included

Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240 specs
Size 240mm
Fans 4x PWM 120mm
Compatibility AM4, LGA 1151, LGA 2033, LGA 2066
Product Image 1
$99.99
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Corsair H100i Pro RGB

The quietest AIO cooler is the Corsair H100I Pro RGB.

The latest update to the classic Corsair H100i liquid CPU cooler isn’t just about that new ring of LED light around the shrunken pump. It’s not even about the slicker radiator design, either. No, the best thing about the new H100i Pro RGB is the noise it makes… or rather the lack of noise.

Thanks to the super-quiet maglev fans included in the package, and the addition of a Zero RPM mode, the Pro RGB can stay almost entirely silent for most of the time your PC’s online. Relying on the flow of water and the passive cooling of the radiator alone, the H100i can keep the CPU cool enough not to have to worry the fans until you start to really thrash it. That means in a lot of games, ones that are more GPU and less CPU dependent, you may not hear the fans at all.

https://amzn.to/3fbUPYV

What we like…
Tick Near-silent
Tick Maglev fans
Tick Good software

Corsair H100i Pro RGB specs
Size 240mm
Fans 2x PWM 120mm maglev
Compatibility AM4, LGA 1151, LGA 2011-3
Product Image 1
$180.99
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Read the PCGamesN Corsair H100i Pro RGB review for our full verdict and score. 

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Thermaltake 240 Water 3.0

The best RGB AIO cooler is the Thermaltake 240 Water 3.0.

Thermaltake’s Water 3.0 is the slightly more budget-friendly version of its Premium Floe Riing 240 cooler. It ditches the RGB pump lighting and the app support, thankfully, but still delivers low-noise performance with a little more flash. The fan controller in the box controls fan lighting profiles, but it also allows for either low-noise mode or normal mode for performance.

At stock speeds, this RGB CPU cooler is more than capable, and as one of the cheapest options it’s a great buy for someone that wants a quiet liquid-cooled build. This cooler is capable with some mild clockspeed tuning, but for anything a little more intensive, you might want to look elsewhere.

What we like…
Tick RGB-palooza
Tick Simple hardware controller
Tick Quiet

Thermaltake 240 Water 3.0 specs
Size 240mm
Fans 2x PWM 120mm
Compatibility AM4, LGA 1151, LGA 2033, LGA 2066

Product Image 1
$139.99
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NZXT Kraken X62

The best looking AIO cooler is the NZXT Kraken X62.

NZXT loves to make its products stand out from the crowd, and the Kraken X62 is no different. This chunky 280mm cooler features a unique infinity mirror lighting design that makes the Kraken X62 an incredible build centrepiece.

Overall, this is the most stunning-looking cooler of the lot. NZXT has a certain flair for lavish designs, and you won’t find many other coolers that draw the eye away from a flashy graphics card as much as the Kraken x62. Unfortunately, NZXT couldn’t carry this level of detail over to its CAM app, which left this chiller with mediocre performance. If you aren’t scared of kicking fan control back to BIOS, then it should be, at least, a quieter unit. It’s not the best liquid cooler, but it does look wonderful.

What we like…
Tick Stunning design
Tick Great performance

Size 280mm
Fans 2x PWM 140mm
Compatibility AM4, LGA 1151, LGA 2033, LGA 2066
Product Image 1
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How to keep your gaming PC cool

Here’s our handy video guide on how to keep your gaming PC cool. PCGamesN also has a full guide on how to keep your gaming PC cool.

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AIO cooler buying guide

Sure, going to the extreme effort of adding a full water cooling loop to your gaming rig will give you the best combination of performance and pretties, but it takes a hell of a lot of work. And if you’re not building a showpiece machine, or a super-overclocker, then chances are you just want something simple to chill your chips with.

And that’s the beauty of the all-in-one liquid cooler. The AlphaCool Eisbaer is our current favourite AIO cooler, offering the option to widen out the closed loop thanks to its standard quarter-inch connectors and refillable reservoir. It’s not too pricey either.

But Corsair’s range delivers some excellent liquid coolers too, with the Pro RGB Pro able to run in a completely silent, passive mode, and the 280mm version offering great chip-chilling performance.

Then at the more budget end of the market, the Arctic Liquid Freezer is the cheapest AIO cooler, yet still comes with four fans to enable a push-pull setup for extra cooling. Now there’s no excuse not to liquid chill your chips.

AIO cooler price list

Product Image 1
$129.99
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Product Image 2
$99.99
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Product Image 3
$180.99
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Product Image 4
$139.99
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Product Image 5
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