7 Best CPU Coolers For i9-13900K In 2022

Looking for the best CPU cooler for the i9-13900K?

It’s time for an upgrade now that Intel’s 13th Gen Raptor Lake range of CPUs has landed on store shelves around the world. However, since Intel has boosted the power budgets across the board, you might also need a robust new cooler to keep up with these new CPUs.

The Core i9 13900K, Intel’s flagship Raptor Lake CPU as expected, demands a substantial aftermarket cooling solution. As we noted in our roundup of the best motherboards for i9 13900K, this new CPU has an aggressive boosting behavior that takes advantage of all the power it can get. As a result, it also generates a lot of heat that needs to be dissipated.

For this CPU, a quality aftermarket CPU cooler is vital. Intel does not provide a stock cooler for this CPU, and it would be useless anyway. Even if you don’t plan on overclocking, you will need the best CPU cooler for i9 13900K to maximize the potential of this CPU.

Here are a few of our favorites.

The Best CPU Cooler for i9 13900K – Our Picks

#PreviewProduct NameAwardDetails
1EKWB EK AiO Elite D-RGB 360mm AIOBest Overall CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
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2Corsair iCUE H150i Elite LCDBest Premium CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
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3Noctua NH-D15 Chromax BlackBest Air Cooler for i9 13900K
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4MSI MAG Series CORELIQUID 360R V2Best Value CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
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5Cooler Master ML360R RGBBest RGB CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
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6Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240mm AiOBest Budget CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
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7Deepcool Assassin IIIBest Entry Level CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
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#1
Preview
Product NameEKWB EK AiO Elite D-RGB 360mm AIO
AwardBest Overall CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
Details
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#2
Preview
Product NameCorsair iCUE H150i Elite LCD
AwardBest Premium CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
Details
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#3
Preview
Product NameNoctua NH-D15 Chromax Black
AwardBest Air Cooler for i9 13900K
Details
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#4
Preview
Product NameMSI MAG Series CORELIQUID 360R V2
AwardBest Value CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
Details
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#5
Preview
Product NameCooler Master ML360R RGB
AwardBest RGB CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
Details
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#6
Preview
Product NameArctic Liquid Freezer II 240mm AiO
AwardBest Budget CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
Details
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#7
Preview
Product NameDeepcool Assassin III
AwardBest Entry Level CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
Details
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Last Update on 2022-12-01 at 14:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why you should trust us

Here at appuals.com, we are enthusiastic about all sorts of PC hardware. However, CPU coolers are uniquely interesting to us and our team loves to test them out. There is just so much interesting data that can be extracted from CPU cooler testing that expands our knowledge about the latest CPU architectures as well.

Our leading PC hardware expert, Hassam Nasir, boasts an extraordinary experience in the field of CPU cooler reviews which spans back to the days of the Zalman flower coolers. Hassam loves to break down a CPU cooler to its very basics, and separates all the marketing gimmicks from the things that actually matter.

Led by Hassam’s expertise, our team of highly specialized hardware experts puts every CPU cooler through a rigorous testing process. We analyze all the important empirical metrics without any inherent bias, and then rank the coolers based on a plethora of factors. Whether you are looking for a value-oriented option or the absolute king of the hill when it comes to CPU coolers, we can help you find what you need.

1. EKWB EK AiO Elite D-RGB 360mm AiO

Best Overall CPU Cooler for i9 13900K

Pros

  • Superb Cooling Performance
  • Excellent Build Quality
  • Useful Refill Port
  • Attractive Aesthetics

Cons

  • Very Expensive

2,458 Reviews

Category: AiO Liquid Cooler | Radiator Size: 360mm | TDP: 240W | Fans: 3x 120mm | Fan Speed: 2200 RPM | RGB: Yes | Dimensions: 395 x 120 x 27 mm

If you’re looking for the best of the best, you might think about the EK AiO Elite 360mm D-RGB from EKWB, one of the most renowned and valued makers of liquid cooling components. The EK AiO Elite 360mm cooler is a fantastic performer in the thermal and acoustic categories despite its ludicrous naming scheme.

We also named this cooler in our selection of the best CPU coolers for i9 12900K.

Although the cooler is offered in a variety of sizes, we suggest the 360mm model as our top choice. The 13th Generation Raptor Lake range of Intel Core i7 and Core i9 CPUs, especially the i9 13900K, will pair perfectly with this cooler. The AiO Elite 360mm cooler, according to EK, can handle heat output between 220 and 240W.

With this level of thermal performance, you can expect not only excellent temperatures on stock settings with the Core i9 13900K but also decent coverage for overclocking. Sure, overclocking the i9 13900K is never easy on any cooler due to its massive power budget, but the EKWB AiO Elite 360mm gets pretty close to the best cooling solution you can provide for it.

Best CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
EKWB EK AiO Elite D-RGB 360mm AiO

Moreover, this particular model also comes with a useful refill port that can be utilized to top up the level of the coolant in the future, if it ever runs low. The overall thermal performance and feature set of the EK AiO Elite D-RGB 360mm are enough for us to crown it as the best overall CPU cooler for i9 13900K.

Fans are crucial to the performance of any AiO liquid cooler, and the EK Vardar S fans are among the quietest in the industry in addition to having outstanding thermal performance. They can spin up to 2200 RPM and are pretty quiet even when operating under heavy loads. You can tell that EK has used really sturdy materials in the construction of these fans.

Additionally, the fans are lit up with slick D-RGB lighting, which improves the cooler’s appeal. On the subject of aesthetics, the overall design of the cooler is rather minimalistic and contemporary compared to the other options on the market. The CPU pump block is especially attractive thanks to the metallic finish on the “Elite” models from EK.

This cooler will be right at home in a modern gaming PC thanks to its abundant use of RGB lighting. The EK Vardar S fans are the main proponent in this regard, but the subtle lighting in the EK logo on the AiO pump also looks rather nice. The lighting on the fans is quite smooth and well-diffused which is always nice to see.

Related Review: DEEPCOOL CASTLE 360 RGB V2 AiO

When it comes to aftermarket cooling options for the Core i9 13900K, the EK AiO Elite 360mm D-RGB cooler is difficult to beat. It provides top-tier cooling performance with superb acoustics, and it has the looks to match its outstanding performance. On the flip side, this cooler’s hefty price tag is definitely something that may give pause to potential buyers, and rightfully so.

2. Corsair iCUE H150i Elite LCD

Best Premium CPU Cooler for i9 13900K

Pros

  • Excellent Thermal Performance
  • Unique LCD Display
  • Extraordinary Fans
  • Top Notch Build Quality

Cons

  • Extremely Pricey

862 Reviews

Category: AiO Liquid Cooler | Radiator Size: 360mm | TDP: 180W | Fans: 3x 120mm | Fan Speed: 2000 RPM | RGB: Yes | Dimensions: 397 x 120 x 27 mm

If you are willing to splurge a bit more, we recommend the Corsair iCUE H150i Elite LCD cooler as our pick for the best premium CPU cooler for i9 13900K. It costs a pretty penny, but it is absolutely one of the top-tier cooling solutions that you can pair with your Core i9 13900K CPU. It is also a stunner when it comes to looks, so it will definitely elevate the level of your build.

Be sure to check out our selection of the best CPU coolers for LGA 1700 for even more options.

The H150i is the 360mm variant of this particular cooler with 3 included 120mm fans. The rated TDP for this particular cooler is only 180W, but that means little in the real world. The actual thermal performance of this cooler is among the very best we have tested for the Core i9 13900K. You can try your hand at overclocking the Raptor Lake flagship should you so desire, without worrying about overheating at all.

We also really liked the acoustics of the H150i Elite cooler, mostly thanks to the supremely impressive 120mm ML RGB ELITE magnetic levitation fans. The fans use Corsair’s new AirGuide technology to maximize the airflow intake, which basically means they have custom blade designs to improve airflow streamlining. They are rated for speeds up to 2000 RPM and can run as low as 450 RPM, providing a decent range of performance and acoustics.

Best CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
Corsair iCUE H150i Elite LCD

Of course, the fans have Zero RPM cooling profiles that allow them to be silent when the PC is under minimal loads. This improves not only the acoustic profile of the cooler but also the longevity of the fans.

When it comes to design, the Corsair iCUE H150i ELITE LCD stuns us with its brilliance right out of the box. Its 2.1-inch IPS LCD Display, which has a 600 nits peak brightness and a 480 x 480 resolution, gives it its title. You can add your favorite animated GIFs or custom pictures to this display, or you can select from a variety of pre-installed designs and lighting configurations for the most aesthetically pleasing display.

Moreover, you get a ring of RGB lighting around the LCD screen to further enhance the aesthetics of the pump block. As far as the fans go, their RGB implementation is smooth and well-diffused which is exactly what we like to see in the best AiO liquid coolers. You can connect the fans to the included iCUE COMMANDER CORE controller to manage the lighting as well as fan speeds from Corsair’s software.

In essence, the Corsair iCUE H150i ELITE LCD cooler really checks all the boxes. It is a high-end cooling solution for the Core i9 13900K that will allow this CPU to fully spread its wings, while also elevating the looks of your PC build. The price is rather steep, so that is definitely a consideration for potential buyers who are considering this variant.

3. Noctua NH-D15 Chromax Black

Best Air Cooler for i9 13900K

Pros

  • Relatively Affordable
  • Nice Understated Design
  • Superb Cooling Performance
  • Quiet Fans

Cons

  • Clearance Issues

9,668 Reviews

Category: Air Cooler | Radiator Size: None | TDP: 225W | Fans: 2x 140mm | Fan Speed: 1500 RPM | RGB: No | Dimensions: 165 x 150 x 161 mm

When it comes to air cooling, Noctua is a well-known brand, and the NH-D15 is among the most popular air coolers of the past decade. We selected this cooler as the best air cooler for i9 13900K because of its amazing cooling performance and high value for money.

Don’t forget to read our in-depth Noctua NH-D15 Chromax Black review for a detailed breakdown of this cooler.

The iconic NH-D15 is available in a unique all-black edition called the NH-D15 Chromax Black, but if you like, you may also get the standard model. There is no doubt that the NH-D15 is one of the most potent air coolers available and can manage an advertised power output of up to 225W. The NH-D15 is the perfect air cooler for the i9 13900K thanks to its six heat pipes and two outstanding 140mm fans.

With the NH-D15, you may even try your hand at overclocking the i9 13900K, although to varying degrees of success. The dual tower CPU cooler’s two NF-A15 PWM fans are very quiet and perform a great job of dissipating the heat conducted by the enormous fin stack. For air cooling, the fans’ maximum speed of 1500 RPM is fairly decent.

Best CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
Noctua NH-D15 Chromax Black

Noctua’s lack of a reputation for appealing designs or aesthetics is abundantly evident with this particular cooler. The NH-D15 Chromax Black does not have any RGB lights or other distinctive design features, yet has a very respectable and subtle appearance. If you are building a stealthy or understated all-black themed build, then this cooler is ideal for that scenario.

You may also pick this cooler if you want to install it in a workstation or office PC, and you do not want your computer to look like a carnival show in the middle of the office floor.

With that said, the Noctua NH-D15 is still a powerhouse of performance. Despite its unassuming looks, the NH-D15 is arguably the best air cooler currently available for sale on the market for any processor. That is a huge title to defend, and Noctua has been very successful with that task so far. Just make sure that your PC case has adequate airflow for the NH-D15 to flex its muscles.

This cooler was also included in our roundup of the best CPU coolers for i7 12700K.

Before making your final buying decision, you should also make sure the Noctua NH-D15 will fit in your case because it is a huge CPU cooler. You should also make sure that your memory modules don’t obstruct the cooler’s fin stack.

In this price range, the Noctua NH-D15 is essentially a no-brainer because of its amazing cooling capabilities and good value. It is quite expensive for an air cooler, but it doesn’t even touch the mid-range if you compare it to the AiO liquid cooler market. The only drawbacks that we can think of are its clearance issues and lack of lighting.

4. MSI MAG Series CORELIQUID 360R V2

Best Value CPU Cooler for i9 13900K

Pros

  • Great Cooling Potential
  • Impressive Value for Money
  • Decent Included Fans
  • Sturdy Build Quality

Cons

  • Unremarkable Aesthetics

561 Reviews

Category: AiO Liquid Cooler | Radiator Size: 360mm | TDP: 290W | Fans: 3x 120mm | Fan Speed: 2000 RPM | RGB: Yes | Dimensions: 394 x 120 x 27 mm

While MSI may not be the most popular name when it comes to liquid cooling components, their recent foray into this category has been fairly positive. We recommend the MSI MAG Series CORELIQUID 360R V2 liquid cooler for the Core i9 13900K, particularly due to its excellent value proposition. It falls in the mid-range for liquid cooler pricing, and it performs like some of the more expensive options out there.

The 360mm radiator variant is what you want to pair with a power-hungry CPU such as the Core i9 13900K. MSI claims that the CORELIQUID 360R V2 can handle a heat output of 290W according to the rough TDP figures, but we put more weight on real-life thermal performance. You can expect this particular cooler to handle the Core i9 13900K in even the most demanding CPU overclocking scenarios.

MSI revitalizes the MAG CORELIQUID 360R V2 by integrating the pump directly into the radiator; this not only makes the pump quieter and less noisy but also extends its life by keeping it away from the heat source. The pump is also powered by a reliable three-phase motor with a maximum speed of 4200 RPM, which is higher than most of its competitors. This motor can operate at this speed while making only 18 dBA of noise.

Best CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
MSI MAG Series CORELIQUID 360R V2

Speaking of the noise, the MSI CORELIQUID 360R V2 is also an admirable performer in the acoustic department. Apart from the pump already mentioned, the included fans are also really quiet in their normal operation. MSI has included three 120mm A-RGB PWM fans with this particular cooler, and they can operate up to 2000 RPM if needed. Under normal circumstances, however, the fans are fairly quiet and have decent build quality as well.

MSI’s aesthetics and design language have always been a bit polarizing among gamers. The CORELIQUID 360R V2 is another example of this trend, as it can be a bit controversial depending on who you ask. The CPU block has the MSI Dragon logo and a nice triangular pattern (lit by Mystic Light RGB of course), and the fans have plenty of unicorn lighting as well. The illumination is not very well-diffused, however, and could have been implemented much better.

That said, there is not a lot you can demand in this price bracket when it comes to aesthetics. This particular cooler still looks really nice when installed in a gaming build with plenty of RGB lighting. It may not have an LCD screen or other bells and whistles like that, but it certainly gets the job done at a decent price.

Featured Review: be Quiet! Pure Loop 240mm AiO Review

All in all, we really like the MAG CORELIQUID 360R V2 for its value proposition. It provides a fairly substantial bang for your buck and even competes with top-tier AiO coolers in thermals under certain conditions. We have selected this cooler as the best value CPU cooler for i9 13900K.

5. Cooler Master ML360R RGB

Best RGB CPU Cooler for i9 13900K

Pros

  • Attractive RGB Lighting
  • Quite Affordable
  • Decent Thermals

Cons

  • Poor Cable Management
  • Unremarkable Acoustics

3,167 Reviews

Category: AiO Liquid Cooler | Radiator Size: 360mm | TDP: 220W | Fans: 3x 120mm | Fan Speed: 1500 RPM | RGB: Yes | Dimensions: 277 x 120 x 38 mm

We advocate the Cooler Master ML360R RGB liquid cooler for a more conservative budget. This AiO has a very sophisticated design, reliable cooling, and acceptable acoustics, all great qualities to have in a mid-range AiO liquid cooler. The ML360R’s rated TDP, according to Cooler Master, is 220W, but that doesn’t mean much in practice.

In real-world applications, the Cooler Master ML360R can comfortably keep up with the Core i9 13900K under stock conditions. Since the Cooler Master ML360R offers great thermal performance, you can run the i9 13900K without worrying about its boosting behavior being constrained. With this liquid cooler, you may even experiment with light overclocking although with a more conservative approach.

A similar Cooler Master AiO was also featured in our roundup of the best CPU Coolers for Ryzen 3rd Gen.

Moving on to acoustics, the Cooler Master MF120R fans that come with the cooler are a tad noisy while under heavy load, in our perspective. Since the ML360R’s radiator is a little bit thinner than those of its rivals, the fans must increase their speed with a steeper fan curve. Still, if the cooler is mounted in a closed case, the noise is entirely tolerable.

Best CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
Cooler Master ML360R RGB

At the very top of the fan curve, however, the fans do get fairly loud and can be heard clearly outside the case. This may be a bit of a concern if you plan to run aggressive overclocks on the Core i9 13900K CPU. We recommend keeping the fans under 80% for the optimal daily-use experience.

The ML360R’s installation procedure is a bit challenging, which is a significant drawback. Particularly, Cooler Master should simplify the cable management for the RGB fans in further editions of this cooler, as it is now a bit of a nightmare. On the flip side, it’s a wonderful touch that the AiO cooler can be connected to your motherboard through a USB header. This can allow you to configure the RGB lighting through the MasterPlus software.

Speaking of the design, the ML360R’s appearance is pretty striking, especially when you notice the unique AiO pump block. The bundled fans’ RGB lighting could have been enhanced a little bit, but it is not that big of a deal. The LED lights inside the fans lack a bit of diffusion and you can see the hotspots, which is never a great indicator. The pump block, on the other hand, has beautifully diffused illumination and is extremely elegant.

You can also check out our selection of the best addressable RGB fans if you want to replace the stock fans of this particular cooler.

If you can get the RGB configured correctly and cable-managed properly, then the final product can be an exceptionally attractive CPU cooler for your gaming rig. The MasterPlus software also has a lot of unique patterns and customization options that make this cooler the best RGB CPU cooler for i9 13900K.

The Cooler Master ML360R is unquestionably a product to take into account if you’re looking for a high value choice. It falls in the mid-range category of AiO liquid coolers, and delivers exceptional performance for the price which is why it deserves to be mentioned.

6. Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240mm AiO

Best Budget CPU Cooler for i9 13900K

Pros

  • Very Affordable
  • Unique Pump Fan
  • All-Black Design

Cons

  • Mediocre Cooling
  • No RGB Lighting

3,523 Reviews

Category: AiO Liquid Cooler | Radiator Size: 240mm | TDP: 240W | Fans: 2x 120mm | Fan Speed: 1200 RPM | RGB: No | Dimensions: 277 x 120 x 38 mm

If you need a capable cooler but have a tight budget, the Liquid Freezer II from Arctic Cooling is a fantastic option. Even though it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles or flashy RGB, this cooler offers excellent cooling performance for a fair price.

It is definitely one of the best budget CPU coolers currently available on the market.

We chose the 240mm variant for this particular selection mainly due to cost purposes. This cooler is ideal for those users who want to replace their stock coolers or budget air coolers with something more capable at a low price. Although the Liquid Freezer II has adequate thermal performance for the i9 13900K to run at stock speeds, there is not much potential for overclocking with this cooler.

The manufacturer claims that this particular cooler is rated for 240W of cooling potential, which rivals many of the more expensive AiO liquid coolers on paper. The radiator of this cooler is especially interesting, as it is a lot thicker than regular 240mm radiators in this price bracket. This can help improve heat dissipation by packing more fins in the same dimensions.

Best CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240mm AiO

Arctic specifically created this particular pump block for the Arctic Liquid Freezer II, and also included a little fan on the pump itself as a special feature. This fan may even aid to lower VRM temperatures by assisting in air circulation over the CPU block. However, the real-life data suggests that the fan is more of a gimmick than a useful feature, as the differences in VRM temperatures are minimal.

The two included 120mm fans have a speed rating of up to 1700 RPM and are also rather quiet. They can move plenty of air through the radiator fins without getting too loud. When the PC is under heavy load, however, the fans do ramp up to audible levels and can be heard outside an enclosed chassis. The acoustics overall are decent, but they cannot rival the more expensive alternatives mentioned before.

A similar Arctic Cooling AiO was featured in our list of the best CPU coolers for 10th Gen Intel CPUs.

Although we would have preferred to see some RGB lighting on the fans or the pump block, we can understand why Arctic chose not to include it in a value-oriented cooler. The fans and the pump are offered in an all-black color for this particular variant, but there is an RGB version that can be purchased for a price premium. This cooler is ideal for all-black builds or workstation PCs without any RGB lighting.

All things considered, the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 240mm AiO liquid cooler is a great budget choice for your 13900K CPU. It gets the job done, despite lacking a few bells and whistles. We recommend the Arctic Liquid Freezer II as the best budget CPU cooler for i9 13900K.

7. Deepcool Assassin III

Best Entry Level CPU Cooler for i9 13900K

Pros

  • Budget Oriented Option
  • Decent Cooling Performance

Cons

  • Unremarkable Acoustics
  • Mediocre Design
  • No RGB

495 Reviews

Category: Air Cooler | Radiator Size: None | TDP: 280W | Fans: 2x 140mm | Fan Speed: 1400 RPM | RGB: No | Dimensions: 161 x 138 x 165 mm

We choose the Deepcool Assassin III air cooler in the more entry-level price range since it has many of the same characteristics as the Noctua NH-D15 but at a lower cost. This cooler’s thermal performance is not quite on par with the legendary Noctua product, but it is also not far behind. This is the cooler to get if you just want to get your i9 13900K up and running without spending too much.

The be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 is a similar air cooler to this one, so be sure to read our Dark Rock Pro 4 review if you are considering that particular cooler as well.

According to Deepcool, this cooler can manage up to 280W of heat output thanks to its two fans and seven heatpipes. There is not much to add regarding the construction of the Assassin III. It is just an enormous block of aluminum with seven copper heatpipes, with two 140mm fans attached to it.

In terms of thermals, the Deepcool Assassin III provides rather acceptable performance if you are running the i9 13900K at stock settings. Overclocking is a bit of a wild dream with this cooler, but that is to be expected considering the relatively affordable pricing. Still, you may try your hand at manual overclocking if you have decent airflow in your PC case.

Best CPU Cooler for i9 13900K
DeepCool Assassin III

Speaking of airflow, the two included 140mm fans are quite impressive. They can spin up to 1400 RPM at full blast and generate a lot of pressure, which is essential for moving air through the dense fin stack. The acoustics are acceptable under normal loads, but the fans can get a bit loud when the CPU temperature rises.

The design of the Deepcool Assassin III is a bit generic and simple. There is no hint of RGB lighting anywhere on the cooler, and the fins themselves are not painted as well. The fans are black, which is a nice touch, but the rest of the cooler is not really built for design. If aesthetics are your preference, you might want to look elsewhere on the market.

You may want to buy an RGB fan pack to replace the stock fans, but that might have an impact on performance.

Since the Deepcool Assassin III is such a gigantic air cooler, you should absolutely check case compatibility before making your purchase. This cooler is 165mm tall and can absolutely conflict with your case’s side panel. Moreover, you should also cross-check the compatibility of your memory modules with the cooler.

Overall, the Assassin III cuts a few corners here and there but still provides adequate thermal performance for a low price. This cooler is our pick for the best entry level CPU cooler for i9 13900K. It is not the ideal long-term solution but can get the job done on a temporary basis.

How we picked and tested

The Intel Core i9 13900K is a flagship CPU, and picking the best CPU cooler for it is not a trivial task. There are numerous factors that need to be considered before choosing the ideal cooling solution for this particular CPU. Our specialized team of hardware experts spared no detail when curating this list.

The first step was making sure that the coolers in question were compatible with the Core i9 13900K and the LGA 1700 socket. Assuring compatibility, we selected multiple options including both air coolers and AiO liquid coolers.

Our utmost priority was, of course, the thermal performance of the cooler in question. Since anyone buying the i9 13900K would care a lot about performance, it was crucial that any cooler we recommend is able to match up to the i9 13900K in both stock and overclocked scenarios.

Furthermore, the acoustic performance of the coolers was a vital point of consideration. There is no point in buying an aftermarket CPU cooler that will make your PC sound like a jet engine. The coolers we selected are able to deliver exceptional cooling performance without getting too loud.

We also considered the various unique features that may be offered by the particular coolers in question. Some coolers offer useful LCD screens that may display information, while others have unique pump designs that aid them in performance and longevity.

Aesthetics are generally subjective, but CPU coolers are a central and prominent part of any PC build. Therefore, we did take into account the design of the CPU coolers to make sure that they do not detract from the aesthetics of a modern gaming PC. Any unique RGB lighting features or design elements were considered a bonus.

Finally, it all comes down to the price. We selected CPU cooler options in various price brackets, but the ones that provided the better value for money were given priority. Being affordable does not necessarily translate into better bang for the buck, and vice versa.

Keeping these factors in mind, our team devised a selection of the very best CPU coolers you can buy for the Core i9 13900K.

Air Cooling vs. Water Cooling

Choosing between liquid cooling and air cooling is the first choice you must make when buying an aftermarket cooler for the i9 13900K. This choice of air cooling vs water cooling is crucial because it may determine the case type and other aspects of your new build.

When it comes to thermal performance, all-in-one liquid coolers, often known as AiOs, have an inherent advantage over air coolers. The very finest liquid coolers are typically substantially superior to the very best air coolers, and this trend holds true across all price ranges. However, liquid coolers are substantially more expensive and provide a worse return on investment than comparable air coolers.

Water (or the liquid mixture inside the AiO coolers) has a substantially better heat capacity than air. This means that it can absorb a lot of heat energy for every degree Celcius increase in its temperature. This phenomenon helps water to become a much more efficient carrier of heat away from hot components such as CPUs.

Air, on the other hand, is a notoriously poor conductor of heat. As a transfer medium, the air is practically as bad as it gets since it can actually act as an insulator in some cases. This is why air cooling has an inherently lower ceiling than water cooling.

In most circumstances, air cooling is not only more practical but also less expensive. Although air coolers have a better value proposition, their overall performance is not as good as top-tier AiO liquid coolers. They can also perform worse acoustically and often have average looks.

Since the Core i9 13900K has a high power budget and the ability to generate a lot of heat, we advise liquid coolers over air coolers for this CPU.

Buyer’s Guide

Even the most tech-savvy buyers can get confused when shopping for a new CPU cooler for the Core i9 13900K. It is a really power-hungry CPU, and with the plethora of options out there, selecting one particular model can be a hard task.

When buying a CPU cooler for the Core i9 13900K, as with any purchase, there are a number of factors to take into account. Picking the best CPU cooling solution will be made easier for you if you keep these things in mind.

Compatibility

When choosing a cooler for any CPU, it is essential to verify the compatibility of CPU coolers. You must not only ensure that the cooler is compatible with the CPU, but also that it is compatible with the PC case you are using.

You will require a CPU cooler that is compatible with the LGA 1700 CPU socket for the 13th Gen Intel platform. Fortunately, CPU coolers may accommodate a variety of socket types using various brackets, many of which are provided in the box and are often rather adaptable in this regard.

The second step is even more crucial. Make sure that your case can support the radiator of the AiO liquid cooler if you plan to purchase one. Today, many cases can accommodate radiators that are 240mm, 280mm, or even 360mm in length, but you should confirm this in advance.

When purchasing an air cooler, it’s crucial to look at the cooler’s case clearance in relation to its height. You’ll run into issues and possibly won’t be able to close the side panel of the case if you get a cooler that is too tall for your PC case. This is common with dual-tower air coolers such as the Noctua NH-D15. This is why low profile CPU coolers are becoming more and more popular nowadays.

You can find the information regarding the height and dimensions of the CPU cooler on the product page of the cooler itself. This information can be compared with the data that is provided in your PC case manual regarding the clearance of the air cooler, to confirm the compatibility.

Cooling Performance

The CPU cooler in question must, of course, work efficiently and cool the CPU properly. In comparison to the stock coolers provided in the box, aftermarket coolers often offer a significant improvement in terms of thermals, though to varying degrees. You will require a more potent CPU cooler to go along with a top-tier unlocked CPU like the Core i9 13900K.

Without testing it, it is difficult to determine how well a CPU cooler will perform in your particular setup with the Core i9 13900K. The manufacturers do release some crude TDP figures, but they do not provide us with a complete picture. Before making a final decision, it’s crucial to read online user and expert cooler evaluations.

There is plenty of data available online that can help you gauge whether or not a particular cooler will be good enough for your CPU. You should also consider scenarios like overclocking if you are inclined that way. It is always wise to purchase a cooler that may be slightly overkill for your particular CPU, rather than the other way around.

Acoustics

Whether it be an air cooler or a liquid cooler, the acoustic performance of a particular cooler is almost as important as its thermal performance. Installing an aftermarket cooler that will make your PC sound like a jet engine when it is under stress is rather useless. So, when making a CPU cooler purchase, acoustic performance should also be taken into account.

Acoustics are directly linked to the thermals of the CPU. Modern high-end CPU coolers place a lot of emphasis on operating quietly by adding specialized premium fans and adjusting the pump’s performance according to the load.

Acoustics can be fine-tuned, but there is not a lot you can do to reduce the noise of cheap fans and other incompetent hardware. A worthwhile approach might be to invest in a high-end CPU cooler that will perform better in terms of both thermals and noise.

Design and Aesthetics

When it comes to choosing a CPU cooler, design is just as important as function. The aesthetics of your cooler can have a big impact on the overall look of your build, so it’s important to choose a design that complements the rest of your components.

Aesthetics can be particularly important if you are buying an AiO liquid cooler for your build. These coolers have the potential to elevate the design of your particular PC to the next level. Especially if you are building a high-end gaming rig with the Core i9 13900K at its heart, you should pay a little bit of attention towards the overall look of your build.

Modern AiO liquid coolers provide a ton of options when it comes to aesthetics. Most coolers nowadays come with built-in RGB lighting, which can be controlled via the manufacturer’s software. The RGB lighting is often present on the pump block as well as the fans, which gives your build a premium look.

Some of the very premium AiO coolers even provide LCD screens on the pump block itself, which can display useful information as well as custom messages and GIFs of your choice. This can be another point of customization in your build.

You can also get RGB fans on air coolers, but those are usually not as impressive or intricate as the ones provided on AiO liquid coolers.

One downside of RGB lighting on AiO coolers is that there is a lot of wiring to manage. There are several extra cables that will either be connected to a fan controller, or to the motherboard itself. Managing those cables can be a real pain when you are building your PC.

Best CPU Cooler for i9 13900K - FAQs

Does the i9 13900K come with a cooler?

The Intel Core i9 13900K does not come with a cooler in the box. Most high-end processors usually do not come with stock coolers, simply because those coolers are not good enough to cool down these flagship CPUs. You will need an aftermarket cooler for the i9 13900K.

Can I use my old cooler with the i9 13900K?

You can use your old cooler with the i9 13900K if your cooler is compatible with the LGA 1700 socket. Fortunately, the 13th Gen processors use the same socket as the 12th Gen processors, so there are a lot of compatible coolers already on the market.

How hot does the i9 13900K run?

The i9 13900K can easily reach temperatures of 95C under heavy load. This means that you will need a hefty aftermarket cooling solution to keep this CPU under control, even at stock settings. You can expect the temperatures to increase even more if you plan on overclocking.

Is air cooling better than water cooling?

Air cooling is typically more feasible and less expensive than water cooling, but it is not better generally. Although air coolers offer a better value proposition, top-tier AiO liquid coolers perform better overall. They also frequently have mediocre designs and might also perform worse acoustically.

Do you need liquid cooling for the i9 13900K?

You do not need liquid cooling for the i9 13900K, but it is highly recommended. Air coolers can be used to save a bit of money, but AiO liquid coolers offer the sweet spot of price and performance. Building a custom water cooling loop can be considered overkill.

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Hassam Nasir
As a managing Editor, I run, operate, and implement a substantial amount of work at Appuals.com. I supervise a team of enthusiastic geeks and also create content strategies. Whenever I am not at my work desk you'll find me tinkering around PC hardware and retro gadgets.
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