5 Best All In One CPU Coolers in 2021 – Liquid Cooling Systems

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Choosing a cooling solution can often be a headache, I mean, do you go for air or liquid? Does your case have enough room for the radiator? Is there enough clearance for the block? Luckily you have at least decided you want a liquid all in one cooling solution, so you are a bit closer. As far as the other questions; don’t worry, we will answer all in this article as we try and find out what is the best all in one CPU cooler.

Liquid coolers often come in handy to shave a few extra degrees of those temps or in times of overclocking needs. These days though the AIO cooling solution offers something a bit more to your build, yes you guessed it, RGB lighting.

So get out of the way air coolers it’s time to see what liquid AIO coolers have to offer!

Our Top Picks

Top 360MM Pick
Exceptional and easy cooling
RGB 360MM Pick
Light it up
Premium 280MM Pick
The Best 280mm AIO Cooler

First Look

Top 360MM Pick
Exceptional and easy cooling
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Editor's Rating

This is hard to beat in terms of performance. The Corsair H150i is truly brilliant for CPU cooling and it achieves this without making too much noise!

A high-quality closed-loop liquid cooler. This AIO (all in one) features RGB, 3 x 120mm fans that levitate and all while staying relatively quiet and cool. Great pick!

RGB 360MM Pick
Light it up
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Editor's Rating

The Flow from Thermaltake offers decent enough cooling but with the added extra of RGB everything!

Light up your case in style with the Thermaltake Flow. This AIO cooler comes with 3 x Riing fans and a matching CPU block. Whilst having the most features on the list it doesn’t let you down on those thermals either.

Premium 280MM Pick
The Best 280mm AIO Cooler
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Editor's Rating

If the uniquely designed CPU block wasn’t enough to sway you then how about that OLED screen?

This may not cool as well as the 360mm options but it still does a good enough job and with serious style points too! The display can show CPU temperatures or a GIF of your choosing.

RGB 240MM Pick
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Editor's Rating

An alternative AIO that doesn’t just cool your system but lights it up too is the H100i Platinum from Corsair. It does a fine job of cooling whilst also adding some serious style points.

The two RGB PWM fans on this cooler will see that your CPU stays cool under pressure. The white design really helps the RGB lighting pop on these, making the H100 a bit of a looker.

Small 120MM Pick
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Editor's Rating

This smaller form factor all in one cooler goes a long way for something so small. With great thermal performance and one of the nicest looking CPU blocks, this will look great in any Mini to mid-range build.

The Kraken may not be the quietest but it sure does cool your CPU and with its understated design it’s hard not to pick.

When it comes to keeping the CPU cool generally, you can get away with a stock or aftermarket air cooler. The bottom line is your CPU probably isn’t going to need the best cooler you can find to keep it happy. That being said, choosing the right cooler is important. After all, you are investing hundreds of dollars, in most cases, for that new CPU.

When it came to making these selections, we needed to make sure everyone did its job, and well, cool efficiently.

With all in one coolers, thermal performance isn’t the only criteria that got us hot and bothered; there were a few others to look into :

Reliability

Reliability is of high importance when dealing with all in one coolers and that is for one simple reason, liquid! The last thing you want is some cheap knock off leaking all over your components and potentially shirting out.

In the quest for the perfect cooling solution, you want to make sure that the manufacturers are highly regarded and offer good customer service.

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Performance

Every all in one cooler on this list has proven to offer a good level of performance in the cooling department. Unlike air coolers we cant say they have performed well for the price they cost because that would be a lie and if you are cash strapped then an air cooler could be exactly what you need as they often offer similar levels of performance.

AIO Performance

The allure of these big radiator-sporting coolers is how they deal with overclocking. They have that little extra something to squeeze power out of your CPU effectively without anything breaking!

Noise

While liquid coolers are quite quiet, they are not as silent as air cooling solutions. This is because the liquid cooler also features a fan on the radiator and the CPU block needs to pump water around the AIO loop.

All the coolers on this list aren’t particularly loud, but they don’t pride themselves on it. For a truly silent setup, you may want to go with an air solution or fanless.

Tips On How To Choose The Best All In One Cooler

Before we get stuck in, here are some basic terms to familiarise yourself with if you aren’t currently aware. 

AIO (All-In-One)

This is in reference to a liquid cooler or a closed-loop cooler. This means the pump, pipes, liquid, and reservoir all come together as one single unit. All you have to do is install it, and you’re good to go. It’s known as an ‘All-In-One’ as you can get fully customized liquid cooling which requires a lot more know-how and skill to install

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TDP (Thermal Design Power)

Thermal design power or thermal design point is a specification measured in watts. It tells us the maximum amount of heat that a component will produce, which in this case is a CPU.

RPM (Revolutions Per Minute)

RPM is the number of revolutions a CPU fan makes in a minute. More RPM’s means more airflow, but this can raise noise levels.

PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

Pulse-width modulation is a modulation process or technique that performs a predefined action based on either temperature (of the CPU) or system commands.

It simply means a PWM fan lets you control the rotational speed or RPM and lighting (if it’s RGB) wirelessly or via a 3rd party software.

dbA (A-weighted decibels)

This directly expresses the relative loudness of sounds in the air as it is perceived by the human ear. A-weighted system decibels means sounds at low frequencies are reduced compared with the unweighted decibels.

Here’s a table showing comparative examples of noise levels:

Noise levels

ExampledbA
Breathing/pin drop10
Rustling leaves20
Whisper30
Babbling brook40
Light traffic50
Conversational speech60

Things To Consider Before Buying An All In One Cooler

There are a couple of things to consider before buying your all in one CPU cooler:

Your Budget

Any aftermarket cooling solution is normally better than a stock fan, but not everyone needs this extra cooling power. In most cases, a stock fan will do the job for those that don’t want to overclock their CPU.

All in one coolers are considerably more expensive than their air counterparts, and it’s largely not down to performance reasons. Fancy liquid coolers often feature RGB lighting, and more modern models have impressive features such as remote control via phone apps.

For those overlocking a powerful CPU bear in mind, you will have to pay a higher cost for the triple fanned 360 radiators.

What Size Cooler Should You Pick?

If you have a relatively low power CPU that doesn’t draw much TDP, then a large all in one cooler isn’t necessary.

Different sizes of AIO coolers

Of course, picking the right all in one cooler may come down to how much room you have in your case. If you are struggling for room an all in one cooler may improve the internal temps of your system. With AIO coolers you lose the massive heatsinks for more conveniently sized radiators which can be mounted in several positions for most cases.

Mind The CPU Socket

Your new liquid all in one cooling solution needs to fit, right? Despite most coolers being produced to fit most CPU sockets, you should still check to see compatibility. Most cooler manufacturers will send various brackets for various setups however some all in one coolers can only work with specific sockets.
To determine the type of CPU socket that fits your CPU cooler, check your CPU or your motherboard specifications.

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Consider The Position Of The Fan And The Direction Of The Air

When it comes to the fans of your all in one cooler you are going to want to look out for little arrows which will tell you the airflow direction (in case this is your first installation).

Ideally, you want the fans to be exhausting the hot CPU air from the system, but in cases where you need to mount the radiator on the front of your case, then intake is absolutely fine.

How Much Do Aesthetics Matter?

Liquid all in one coolers win the aesthetic battle, that is for sure.
Just because these all in one cooling solutions look the best, it doesn’t mean they perform the best. There are a couple of air coolers that give AIO’s a run for their money

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Despite this, if you are looking for RGB, effective cooling, and/ or overclocking potential then go for an all in one liquid cooler!

How We Choose

Top 360MM Pick
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Corsair Hydro Series H150i Pro

Air or liquid?

Liquid

Max RPM

1600 RPM

Max Noise

25 dB

Dimensions

H(396) x W(120) x D(27) mm

RGB 360MM Pick
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Thermaltake Floe

Air or liquid?

Liquid

Max RPM

1400 RPM

Max Noise

24.7 dB

Dimensions

H(394) x W(120) x D(52) mm

Premium 280MM Pick
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RGB 240MM Pick
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Corsair Hydro Series H100i Pro RGB

Air or Liquid?

Liquid

Max RPM

2400 RPM (+/- 10%)

Max Noise

37 dBA

Dimensions (with fan/height x width x depth)

276 x 120 x 27mm (radiator)

Small 120MM Pick
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NZXT Kraken M22

Air or liquid?

Liquid

Max RPM

2000 RPM

Max Noise

36 dB

Dimensions

H(152) x W(120) x D(32) mm

In-depth Review

1.
Top 360MM Pick
Exceptional and easy cooling
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Corsair Hydro Series H150i Pro

Air or liquid?

Liquid

Max RPM

1600 RPM

Max Noise

25 dB

Dimensions

H(396) x W(120) x D(27) mm

Pros

Top cooling performance

Comes with magnetic levitation fans (quiet)

RGB pump

Great build quality/ 5 year warranty

Cons

Expensive cooling solution

Requires a case big enough to mount triple fan radiator

The Corsair H150i is probably the best cooling solution in this list, and it owes this accolade purely to how it performs. One of the most impressive things from this 360mm beast is the fact the fans remain quiet even when running at max speed.

Of course design-wise it loses to the Thermaltake Floe or the Kraken x72, with the H150i featuring a more conventional RGB block. The radiator fans are a little bit plain jane, but they are Corsairs Magnetic LEvitation fans, so you can count on the noise level being low (max is 25 dBa).

So quiet operation, a chilly CPU, and Corsairs fancy iCUE software to tie it all together. While this is one of the most effective AIO cooling solutions available I would be careful running it on quiet mode if you are running an overclocked beast.

2.
RGB 360MM Pick
Light it up
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Thermaltake Floe

Air or liquid?

Liquid

Max RPM

1400 RPM

Max Noise

24.7 dB

Dimensions

H(394) x W(120) x D(52) mm

Pros

Lighting is compatible with most motherboard headers

Quiet operation

Unrivaled RGB lighting

Cons

Pump is quite noisy

Our alternative to Corsairs H150i is the massive Thermaltake Floe 360. This cooler features some of the best RGB lighting you can find on this list and comes with Thermaltake’s “Riing” fans as standard, which have three lighting loops.

This cooler is a 360mm rad size; so you will need a case big enough for that, but it’s worth noting that the extra cables for the lighting add clutter.

The CPU blocks lighting can sync up with your trio of fans, giving you quite an impressive display. The product comes with Thermaltake’s fan controller, allowing you to add extra Thermaltake Riing fans to your case.

The cooling performance may not be as good as some of the coolers on this list, but with the quality aesthetics, we can allow for a few degrees here or there. This AIO is surprisingly quiet though with the fans max RPM only going to 1400.

While this may not be ideal for a powerful overclocked CPU, it still offers good enough thermal performance to make it into this list!

3.
Premium 280MM Pick
The Best 280mm AIO Cooler
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Pros

Great cooling performance

Comes with one an incredible CPU block

OLED block allows for customization

Cons

Very pricey

Just like Corsair’s H-series, the NZXT Z-series is available in a 360mm and 240mm option too. This could be the perfect match up for your NZXT case or just simply because of that unique looking CPU block.

We have gone for the 280mm as the 360mm just wasn’t as good in terms of price to performance as our other picks. The AIO is a very effective cooler, and this is mostly down to the 1,800 RPM spinning fans, which happen to be air pressure fans with fluid dynamic bearings.

The design offers something a little different from the norm and, as expected, the splash of style is elegantly done from NZXT.

This cooler doesn’t throw out too much noise, and if you can get along with the hefty price tag, then it’s a great addition to anyone’s build.

4.
RGB 240MM Pick
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Corsair Hydro Series H100i Pro RGB

Air or Liquid?

Liquid

Max RPM

2400 RPM (+/- 10%)

Max Noise

37 dBA

Dimensions (with fan/height x width x depth)

276 x 120 x 27mm (radiator)

Pros

Performs really well for its price

Great UI control and customization

Very durable

Fully customizable RGB and fan speeds

Can attach up to 4 fans in total

Supports PWM

Cons

Can be really loud when set to max

Installing onto the CPU can be tricky

The Corsair Hydro Series H100i Pro RGB is a relatively cheap liquid cooler that professionals highly recommend, and like the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360Rit also boasts RGB lighting.

Through their iCUE software, you can easily achieve a wide range of RGB lighting setups across a spectrum of colors. Plus, it comes with a predefined configuration setting that lets you control the fan speeds from 100%, 50% and even run them at 0%. This means you can leave the fans at 0% and have the pumps do all the work as long as the temperature is cool enough.

The pump also comes pre-applied with a thermal paste but you can always use an aftermarket paste if you have one. Nonetheless, the thermals that come with it are fine.

Mounting the pump onto the motherboard can be tricky because the default bracket is compatible with Intel processors. There is an included bracket for AMD processors as well, but you have to swap them out.

Just twist the bracket counterclockwise, remove it, and then replace it with the AMD bracket by twisting it clockwise to lock it in place. You might also need someone to hold the pump as you screw them in place to keep it from slipping and whatnot.

It’s also worth noting that the fans do not have RGB lights. But you can get 2 more fans that have RGB lights and install it on the other side of the radiator– a total of 4 fans in all (2 push in and 2 push out fans).

In some situations, consumers would replace the (2) included fans with 2x Magnetic Levitation 120mm RGB fans on top of another 2 fans on the opposite side of the radiator for a full RGB lighting setup. This makes it the best in the range as it opens up a lot of customization possibilities.

But if you don’t want to invest more, you can stick with the two included fans. In fact, I’d personally recommend you stick with it if you don’t want to spend more. These are already good enough to give you great cooling potential– unless you really want to go RGB or you want to maximize its cooling potential.

Overall, the build is made from premium materials, which guarantees durability, longevity, and a place on our list of the best AIO coolers currently available.

5.
Small 120MM Pick
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NZXT Kraken M22

Air or liquid?

Liquid

Max RPM

2000 RPM

Max Noise

36 dB

Dimensions

H(152) x W(120) x D(32) mm

Pros

Small form factor

Powerful cooling

Intuitive software

Cons

Noisy at full speed

As a slightly alternative to the very loud and proud H100i Platinum SE, we have the Kraken M22. This cooling solution is the smallest on the list and perfect for a compact system build, where an air cooler just won’t cut it.

The one thing this simplistic AIO cooling solution has going for it straight away is the impressively designed CPU block. The holographic style block is one of the best on the market; however, sadly, this cooler lacks a  bit in terms of performance.

While it doesn’t do too bad in thermal performance, it can make a lot of noise if running at max speeds. Despite being the loudest on the list, it cools extremely well, and the 360mm version is also exceptional.

For those looking at something a bit different than just “RGB,” the M22 gives you some serious style points while keeping things breezy with the Aer 120mm fan.

Which Is The Right CPU Cooler For You?

Now that we have everything covered, it’s time to decide which CPU cooler is perfect for your needs.

  1. Get the Corsair H150i if you’re looking for the best all in one CPU cooler. It performs pretty much better than the rest, but it does sacrifice aesthetics for functionality.
  2. For a flashy RGB alternative to the H150i, go for the feature-packed Thermaltake Floe.
  3. For something a bit unique that doesn’t compromise on cooling the Asus ROG Ryujin is certainly worth a look!
  4. If you want a smaller liquid cooling option with enhanced RGB, then the Corsair H100i Platinum SE is a very good aesthetic solution.
  5. For something that will fit in smaller form factor systems without letting you down in the cooling or looks department, the NZXT Kraken M22 could be perfect.

Final Word

There are a lot of extremely good cooling solutions out there, so it is hard to make the wrong choice. Hopefully, this article helps you find the perfect solution for you and your system!