Best AiO Coolers: 120, 240 and 360mm
You might have chosen to go with an AiO cooler instead of an air cooler for your build, but which cooler ranks among the best AiO coolers out there? As we know, the processor controls all of the tasks being performed in your system. If you are running your CPU to the absolute limit, then you will probably face the problem of running into high temperatures. A proper cooling solution is required in order to lower CPU temperatures while performing intensive tasks such as gaming or video editing etc. The best solution to this is getting a new CPU cooler.
A good CPU cooler makes sure that your CPU performs to its absolute limit without suffering from throttling issues. Of course, there are a lot of things that make up a good cooling solution. This guide will specifically be focusing on the AIO liquid coolers. If you want to look at the best CPU coolers you should take a look at our roundup for the best CPU coolers for i7 8700K. In this roundup, however, we tried to include everything from small 120mm single fan options to triple fan 360mm options, and all of these rank among the most reviewed and top notch AiO coolers out there. Hopefully, there is something on this list for you.
The Best AiO Coolers To Buy – Our Picks
|1||NZXT Kraken X62||Best Looking AiO Cooler|| |
|2||Corsair Hydro Series H100i Pro||Best 240mm AiO Cooler|| |
|3||EVGA CLC 280||Best 280mm AiO Cooler|| |
|4||Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R||Best 360mm AiO Cooler|| |
|5||Corsair Hydro Series H60||Best 120mm AiO Cooler|| |
|Product Name||NZXT Kraken X62|
|Award||Best Looking AiO Cooler|
|Product Name||Corsair Hydro Series H100i Pro|
|Award||Best 240mm AiO Cooler|
|Product Name||EVGA CLC 280|
|Award||Best 280mm AiO Cooler|
|Product Name||Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R|
|Award||Best 360mm AiO Cooler|
|Product Name||Corsair Hydro Series H60|
|Award||Best 120mm AiO Cooler|
Last Update on 2023-06-10 at 16:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
All-in-one liquid coolers have become quite mainstream over the past few years due to their relative price reduction and overall performance benefits. Enthusiasts now prefer splurging a bit more money to buy one of the best AiO coolers instead of going for bulky air coolers that basically provide the same performance. AiOs also hold the upper hand in terms of aesthetics, as they can often provide subtle RGB lighting as well on the CPU block as well as the RGB fans.
When it comes to 280mm sized coolers. It really does not get much better than the NZXT Kraken X62. This is mostly a design overhaul from the previous generation’s Kraken X61. The main changes we see here are in the pipes, the base, and fully addressable RGB on the base. The performance seems to be up to par with the previous generation with very slight improvements.
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That is by no means a complaint though, as the X62 is one of the most gorgeous looking and phenomenal cooling solutions for your PC build. Unfortunately, that does come with a high price tag to match compared to others on the market but trust us, it does not get much better than this. An easy choice for our top spot. Let’s start off with the design. The X62 has a fairly thin 280mm radiator which should have no problem fitting in your case (assuming it has 280mm radiator support).
The tubing is now covered in this thin braided design and seems easy to bend according to your needs. The base is fairly low profile yet taller than the previous generation. The highlight here is the RGB base. It has what NZXT calls an infinite mirror design and adds a depth effect to the base. The logo is customizable RGB and is surrounded by this colorful circle mimicking the depth effect. This is a gorgeous piece of kit.
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Paired with NZXT’s CAM software you can manipulate the RGB and fan curve to your will. You can also manage and view temperatures from here which we found quite handy. Overall the CAM software has a nice UI and is pretty easy to navigate.
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On to the performance. This cooler is using NZXT’s own fans which have an RPM speed of 500-1800RPM. It delivers exceptional performance and can easily handle any high-end processor with ease. CPU Overclocking is also a breeze for this cooler. The X62 is fairly quiet at full load and dead silent at idle. Overall, this is our favorite cooler because of the gorgeous design and exceptional performance, and it definitely earns the title of the best looking AiO cooler out there.
2. Corsair Hydro Series H100i Pro
Best 240mm AiO Cooler
- Dynamic Multicolor RGB Lighting
- Good Thermal Performance
- Impressive Fans
- Corsair iCUE Software Synchronization
- Zero RPM Mode
- High Price
- Unremarkable Tubing Build Quality
Radiator: 240mm | Fan Speed: 400-2400RPM | Dimensions: 276 x 120 x 27 mm
Corsair has been a huge name in the CPU cooler market for almost a decade now. Their hydro series of coolers have been very well received over the years and it is easy to see why. Paired with good looks and exceptional performance at a great value, it was a no-brainer to put the new H100i Pro on our list. This version of their largely successful H100 series features a new pump design which is apparently much more durable. Add RGB and high-performance fans to the mix and this cooler only falls second to the Kraken X62.
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The H100i still follows in the footsteps of the previous generations in regards to the design. There is a color change here as the top of the base is now this shade of silver/white and the Corsair logo is now RGB. The tubing is now thickly braided which makes it a bit hard to bend. The corsair iCUE software is very handy.
You can control the RGB and customize fan curves or pump speed. There are a bunch of presets ready to go for fan and pump speed which is very useful. Performance is, as expected, phenomenal. The fans run at a range of 400-2400RPM and are very powerful as expected. The performance is more than sufficient for overclocking and it can easily handle all high-end processors.
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One gripe we have with this cooler is that at full load it can get quite noisy so definitely keep that in mind. Apart from that, this is a great pickup for any PC build. However, if you want slightly better looks and your case supports 280mm radiators, we suggest going with the X62 for a bit more money. The H100i is still the best 240mm AiO cooler on our list so you should have no problems with this option either.
EVGA is a big name in the gaming industry as a whole. They are known for making graphics cards, power supplies, and more recently, cases and even laptops. This is their first time dipping their toes into the world of AIO coolers so let’s find out what the CLC 280 is all about.
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RGB seems to be a common affair in this list and the same remains true for EVGA. The CLC 280 actually holds a promising value at a competitive price point with a few minor gripes. The CLC 280 sports the same industrial design as other AIOs. It has thick braided cables with a nicely sized radiator and a small base. It is paired with two fans with RPM ranging from 600-2200RPM.
A complaint found with some buyers was that the fans tend to rattle at high load and the overall acoustics of this cooler can become a bit annoying. Still, the cooler is a big upgrade over some budget CPU heatsinks.
Overall, the CLC 280 is a great first attempt by EVGA and can be considered the best 280mm AiO cooler on our list. The cooler has best in class performance when it comes to raw power and is sufficient for almost any processor you can throw at it. Apart from the annoying noise, it makes at load and the somewhat rattling of fans, this is another great option.
4. Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R
Best 360mm AiO Cooler
- Addressable RGB LEDs
- Impressive Pump
- Solid Performance
- Relatively Affordable
- Acoustics Could Be Improved
- Mediocre Build Quality
- Cooler Master Software Is Buggy
Radiator: 360mm | Fan Speed: 650-2000RPM | Dimensions: 394 x 119 x 27 mm
The MasterLiquid ML360R from Cooler Master brings in gorgeous RGB lighting and great performance in a 360mm package. This is without a doubt the best looking and overall best 360mm AiO cooler you can find on the market. However, there are a few caveats that might drive you away. Let’s dive in.
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The MasterLiquid ML360R takes the RGB game up a notch. The base has a light-up logo which is configurable through software and even the fans are RGB. Despite the fact that the cooler looks good and at first glance seems to have a decent build quality, there are a few complaints here. The installation process is reported to be quite difficult. It is also a 360mm cooler so it might only fit in specialized cases for water cooling. The tough part seems to be installing the pump onto the CPU. The software paired with this just simply doesn’t work well either.
The good thing is that the ML360R makes up for the difficult installation with its great cooling ability. This 360mm powerhouse is more than enough for any processor. It can handle overclocking very well while keeping temps relatively low. To sum it up, you can’t beat the ML360R when it comes to 360mm coolers especially with that competitive price point.
Sure there are a few complaints such as the installation and horrible software but if you can look past that, this is the best 360mm radiator for the price.
Corsair finds the last spot on our list with the tiny H60, this is the updated 2018 version. The H60 delivers great liquid cooling performance for the price of air cooling, The H60 is a great entryway into the world of liquid coolers. Compared to a lot of higher-end air coolers, the H60 matches their performance in thermals at a low price point. Sure it’s not going to compete with any high-end 240mm or 280mm cooler but that’s not what it was made for.
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The H60 is not much of a looker when it comes to the overall design. It is simple and out of the way. The Corsair logo lights up using a single color LED which is white. The LED light looks a bit dull in our opinion but that is a minor complaint. When it comes to performance it is quite impressive for its size.
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The fan speed is 600-1700RPM and it stays silent at idle and is not noisy that much at full load. It can handle most high-end processors even with some slight overclocking. Honestly, this is enough for most people’s needs. The H60 is a great performing and low-cost gateway into the world of liquid cooling, and it might just be the best 120mm AiO cooler out there.
Things You Must Know About AiO Coolers
AiO coolers are slowly but surely becoming mainstream as far as cooling methodologies go in the PC industry. However, most users are still a bit skeptical about the idea of “liquid cooling” in the first place. Air coolers are traditionally quite convenient and even cheaper than most AiO coolers, so why make the jump to liquid cooling? Well, some users prefer the general aesthetics of AiOs while others prefer the slightly superior performance of the AiO cooler. Whatever your reasoning might be, there are some factors that you should definitely consider while purchasing an AiO cooler.
This one is pretty obvious. AiO coolers traditionally come in three sizes for the radiator: 120mm, 240mm, and 360mm. In addition to these mainstream sizes, you can also find radiators of 140mm, 280mm, and even 480mm sizes for specialized cases. The larger radiators might only fit in some specialized cases for water cooling, while the smaller ones might be more suited towards micro-ATX cases. A small number of mini-ITX cases also support a single 120mm AiO, but you would have to do your research for that beforehand as there is no particular standard for mini-ITX cases. The bottom line is that your case should be able to support the radiator size that you choose to buy.
AiOs are generally pretty good in terms of thermal performance overall. If you are rocking a budget CPU cooler such as a Cooler Master Hyper 212, you might benefit quite significantly by switching over to a 240mm AiO cooler. This is, of course, subject to the demands of your CPU and whether or not you plan to do any overclocking on it. Generally, the best AiO coolers do provide a noticeable temperature improvement if you are coming from mid-range or budget CPU air coolers, but the difference is negligible once you get to the very best CPU coolers out there like the Noctua NH-D15. Still, it can be beneficial to consider the thermal improvements you can get from an AiO cooler before buying it so that you are not wasting your money without getting any substantial improvement in temperatures.
These are some of the more common factors that you should consider while buying an AiO cooler, but the list certainly does not end there. Check out our detailed comparison between air cooling and water cooling in order to get a comprehensive idea of the differences between the two.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, definitely. A liquid cooler is worth it if you want to improve the temperatures of your CPU while also improving the overall aesthetic of your PC. Liquid coolers often offer better cooling than mid-range air coolers and are definitely an improvement over stock coolers. Even though they are a bit expensive, it can be worth it to switch to an AiO liquid cooler for its benefits.
Both have their benefits and their weaknesses. Air coolers are generally a bit cheaper and more convenient. They also have no liquid in them so there is no risk of any leakage if that was your concern. Water Coolers or AiOs on the other hand, often offer a bit more cooling performance and also look a little nicer. AiOs also offer a bit of an acoustic advantage but they also cost a bit more.
The size of the AiO radiator is one of the most important things you should consider while buying. The 120mm AiOs are classified as the budget options, and they would perform about the same as a budget air cooler. The 240mm AiOs are considered the sweet spot, and they offer the best price-to-performance ratio among AiOs. The 360mm AiOs offer the very best thermal performance and should be considered if you are keen on overclocking.
This is a concern that many potential buyers have about AiO coolers but the fact is that it is very improbable for an AiO cooler to leak within its reasonable life span. The radiators and the tubes are sealed quite well and there isn’t nearly enough pressure inside the tubes or the radiator to cause any sort of a burst. While you can’t say with 100% certainty that no AiO will ever leak, chances are that you will never experience AiO leakage within the reasonable life span of the cooler.