PC Components

Best Budget CPU Coolers in 2020

10 Mins read

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Building a custom gaming or workstation PC is an expensive investment, however, it is quite worthwhile. One thing which is often overlooked in the process of building a new PC is cooling. Now, cooling is an extremely important facet of building a new PC, because it has a long lasting impact on the lifespan of your machine. The cooler your PC is, the longer it will live, because its components won’t deteriorate too fast.

Many Intel and AMD processors come with their own coolers right out of the box, however efficiency of these coolers is often unsatisfactory. Loud noises coming from your PC, sensors indicating system overheating, and weird errors such as the “Blue Screen of Death“, all indicate that your CPU might be requiring a better cooling solution.

Must read: The Best Software to Monitor CPU Temperature

Luckily, there are plenty of aftermarket coolers available out there. Also, they are very easy to install, so you shouldn’t hesitate about buying one. However, since there are plenty of models out there, it is easy to get overwhelmed with a variety of offers. Some CPU coolers are quite expensive, some of them include extra features such as RGB lightning or dual fans. If you are just looking for coolers whose purpose is to “get the job done”, then you are on the right place. We’ve compiled a list of best budget CPU coolers in 2020. Scroll down to take a look.


Best Overall:

Cryorig H7

Best Buy:

Arctic Freezer 34

Most Popular:

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO

Most Silent:

Arctic Freezer 13

Cool Looks:

Zalman CNPS9X Optima

Cheapest Possible:

Snowman MT-4

Best Low Profile:

Scythe Katana 5

Easy Install:

Be Quiet! PURE ROCK SLIM

Budget Underdog:

LC Power LC-CC-120


Best Overall: Cryorig H7

Supported Sockets: 115X; FM1, FM2(+), AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4 | Dimensions: 145 x 123 x 98 mm | Weight: 711 g | Fans: (1) 120 mm | Fan Speed: 300-1.600 RPM

VIEW AT AMAZON
  • Great cooling performance
  • Provides great RAM clearance and can be fitted into most PC cases
  • Easy to install
  • A bit expensive
  • Doesn’t support LGA2011 and LGA2066 sockets

Cryorig H7 utilizes an assymetric slanted heatpipe layout to move the heatsink away from the RAM zone, which is why this is one of the best coolers for small form factor PC builds. Also, it measures only 145 mm in height, so it will fit into many mini-tower and mid-tower cases. Another unique thing about this cooler is that it features Hive Fin structure, which causes fan turbulence reduction and overall increase in structural strength. Due to the X-Bar mounting technology, the Cryorig H7 is very easy to install, as it only requires fixing the dedicated backplate to the back of the motherboard in order to be properly installed. Besides looking great, this CPU cooler also performs very good. Compared to the stock Intel cooler, with which i7-4770K CPU hits 80 degrees Celsius under full load, Cryorig H7 scores 52 degrees on average, which is a whooping 28 degrees less. Since i7-4770K is a quite hot chip, Cryorig H7 will easily cool down newer CPUs such as Ryzen 5 3600 or i7-8700K. This cooler also comes with a premium quality CP7 thermal paste, which is a nice addition. Only downside of this amazing cooler is its somewhat high price tag of $60, however, it is a worthy investment, especially if you are looking for a quiet and efficient CPU cooler.

Best Buy: Arctic Freezer 34

Supported Sockets: 115X, 2011x*, 2066*; AM4* | Dimensions: 124 x 157 x 86 mm | Weight: 605 g | Fans: (1) 120 mm | Fan Speed: 200-1.800 RPM

VIEW AT AMAZON
  • Great cooling performance
  • Better than Hyper 212 EVO
  • Silent mode
  • Low price
  • Not compatible with all AM4 motherboards
  • Doesn’t provide sufficient RAM clearance on some motherboards

If all you require is good and efficient cooling for lowest price possible, then Arctic Freezer 34 is your best choice. This compact CPU cooler is available in three different variants: standard (the one we’re talking about right now), CO (designed for continuous operation) and eSports (best for overclocking). Just like all the other variants, standard also relies on the high static pressure P fan, and as such provides excellent cooling performance. Under full load, it can keep stock Intel Core i7-8700K at 67°C, which is almost 8 degrees less than Hyper 212 EVO cooler. Compared to its predecessor, the Freezer 33, this cooler features lower power consumption, as well as improved service life. In situations where PWM signal is less than 5 percent, cooler enters 0 dBA passive mode, allowing it to work silently. According to its manufacturer, this cooler is capable of cooling CPUs with TDP of up to 150W, which means it will be suitable even for 18-core processors. Cooler also comes with pre-applied thermal paste and an easy installation mounting kit. For the budget of $35 this CPU cooler is a complete bargain, and as such it is one of the best budget CPU coolers to buy in 2020.

Most Popular: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO

Supported Sockets: 115X, 1366, 2011x, 2066; FM1, FM2(+), AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4* | Dimensions: 159 x 120 x 80 mm | Weight: 569 g | Fans: (1) 120 mm | Fan Speed: 600-2.000 RPM

VIEW AT AMAZON
  • Good cooling performance
  • Can be upgraded with another 120 mm fan
  • Cheap and reliable
  • Complicated installation process
  • Might not be compatible with all motherboard configurations

Cooler Master Hyper 212 has been known as a well-proven CPU heatsink for a long time. After its first launch in 2009, Hyper 212 went through many upgrades from which “EVO” is one of the major ones. This great CPU cooler comes with its own thermal paste, all-in-one mounting solution, and one 120 mm fan. Great thing about this heatsink is that it can be upgraded with an additional 120 mm fan, so that you can increase your cooling performance. This heatsink also features 4 heat pipes, which are at the base combined into a one virtual vapor chamber array for better contact with the CPU. Cooler’s fan also has rubber dampening pads which prevent unnecessary vibrations and make fan more silent. Speaking of performance, Hyper 212 is a solid, but not very efficient CPU cooler. Under full load, it can keep overclocked i7-8700K at around 90°C, which is better than stock cooler, but not by much. Cooling Ryzen CPUs seems to be more efficient, as Hyper 212 will on average shave off 10°C more than AMD’s Prism Wraith stock cooler. Another big disadvantage of this cooler is its very complicated installation process which can get quite frustrating. Overall, Hyper 212 is still a decent and cheap CPU cooler, however, its golden days are over.

Most Silent: Arctic Freezer 13

Supported Sockets: 775, 115X, 1366; FM1, FM2(+), AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4 | Dimensions: 130 x 123 x 96 mm | Weight: 700 g | Fans: (1) 92 mm | Fan Speed: 600-2.000 RPM

VIEW AT AMAZON
  • Good cooling performance
  • Runs quieter than other coolers
  • Very easy to install
  • Doesn’t provide enough RAM clearance on smaller motherboards
  • Doesn’t support LGA2011 and LGA2066 sockets

Freezer 13 is another heatsink from Arctic on our list of the best budget CPU coolers in 2020. This cooler has been available on the market for over a decade, however, its cooling performance is still admirable. Freezer 13 is a great budget cooler for a number of reasons. First of all, it supports a variety of newer Intel and AMD CPUs with TDP of up to 140W. Second, this cooler is super easy to install as it comes with push-pin mounting system which offers hassle-free installation. This cooler is also shipped with a pre-applied Arctic MX-4 thermal paste, so buying one is unnecessary. Thirdly, Freezer 13 is one of the quietest coolers in the market, and it comes with a 6-year warranty. Finally, this cooler offers great cooling performance due to its design and production technology. Weighing over 700 grams, this huge chunk of aluminum is able to keep an overclocked i7-4770K more than 20 degrees cooler than its Intel stock cooler. Compared to Hyper 212 EVO, Freezer 13 is much quieter, but in terms of performance, it is on par with Hyper 212 EVO due to its smaller 92 mm which has less air intake. Overall, Freezer 13 is a great budget CPU cooler which will save you from a lot of hassle, and won’t bother you with its acoustics during your gaming sessions.

Cool Looks: Zalman CNPS9X Optima

Supported Sockets: 775, 115X; FM2(+), AM3(+), AM4 | Dimensions: 156 x 123 x 72 mm | Weight: 594 g | Fans: (1) 120 mm | Fan Speed: 600-1.500 RPM

VIEW AT NEWEGG
  • Solid performance
  • Visually appealing
  • Has LED backlight
  • Complicated installation procedure
  • Limited list of supported CPU sockets

Zalman CNPS9X Optima is a 156 mm tall CPU cooler which features one 120 mm PWM fan with LED backlight. This cooler supports CPUs with TDP of up to 150W and has 4 copper heatpipes combined with an aluminum radiator. Heatpipes are built in accordance to DTH (Direct Touch Heatpipes) technology, which directly transfers heat from the CPU to heatpipes in order to minimize potential thermal resistance. Also, cooler’s 120 mm fan utilizes rifle bearing technology which ensures fan’s long life and quietness. In terms of performance, this cooler will shave off 20 degrees Celsius more than Intel stock cooler on an overclocked i7-4670 under full load. The biggest disadvantage of this cooler is its complicated installation procedures which involves fixing its dedicated backplate to the back of your motherboard, and inserting appropriate mounting adapter to the heatsink’s base in order to properly install it. Compared to Hyper 212 EVO, Zalman CNPS9X Optima is a much better looking cooler, but its complicated installation procedure for some buyers might be a major turnoff.

Cheapest Possible: Snowman MT-4

Supported Sockets: 775, 115X, 1366; FM1, FM2, AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4 | Dimensions: 148 x 127 x 75 mm | Weight: 540 g | Fans: (1) 120 mm | Fan Speed: 900-1.400 RPM

VIEW AT EBAY
  • Good cooling performance
  • Easy installation process
  • Very cheap
  • Thermal paste is not included with the product
  • Doesn’t support LGA2011 and LGA2066 sockets

Finding a good cheap CPU cooler in 2020 isn’t hard, especially if you have a budget of 30 or 40 dollars. But what if you want to go cheaper than that? Snowman MT-4 CPU cooler comes up as a good solution. This Chinese CPU cooler is dirt cheap. It costs around $20, and you can buy it with free international shipping included, however, what’s most mind-blowing about this cooler is its performance. According to various test results posted on Reddit, the Snowman MT-4 can easily cool mighty Ryzen 9 3900X overclocked to 4.00 GHz across all cores. Under full load, 3900X will hit temperatures of 83°C with Snowman MT-4, while with stock Wraith Prism cooler it will hit 92°C. Now, that’s impressive! However, Snowman MT-4 still isn’t as good as Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, as Hyper 212 will shave off couple of more degrees on average than Snowman. Nonetheless, this is still great performance from a such cheap Chinese-manufactured CPU cooler. There are some caveats, though. First of all, this cooler doesn’t support Intel CPUs with 2011 and 2066 sockets, and it also doesn’t come with pre-applied thermal paste. Good thing is that this cooler comes with its own mounting bracket, so installation process is quite easy. Overall, Snowman MT-4 is an amazing CPU cooler, and if you are really on a tight budget, you should give this cooler a try.

Best Low Profile: Scythe Katana 5

Supported Sockets: 775, 115X, 1366; FM1, FM2(+), AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4 | Dimensions: 135 x 105 x 80 mm | Weight: 560 g | Fans: (1) 92 mm | Fan Speed: 300-2.300 RPM

VIEW AT AMAZON
  • Low profile
  • High-quality build
  • Solid performance
  • Can get a bit noisy

Scythe has been known as a producer of excellent and affordable low-noise PC components. The Katana 5 CPU cooler is one such product. This very compact heatsink features a 92 mm Kaze Flex PWM fan which utilizes a self contained Sealed Fluid Dynamic Bearing technology for quieter, and more reliable operation. Fan also has an extremely long lifespan of over 120.000 working hours. Another great feature of this cooler is its easy clip mounting system which makes its installation super easy. Owners of Intel processors can use push-pin mounting method to place the cooler on their CPUs, while AMD users have the option of using simple one-clip solution in just a few steps. Katana 5 also comes with its own thermal paste, so you don’t have to worry about buying one beforehand. Although Katana 5 might not look pretty, it is high-quality made. Heatpipes and base plate are made of nickel-plated copper, while radiator itself is made from aluminum. Performance-wise, Katana 5 is slightly better than Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. This cooler can keep stock i7-8700K under full load at temperatures of around 80°C. In terms of noise, it is a bit noisy, however, due to its size, this cooler will be of great use in Micro ATX and Mini ITX builds.

Easy Install: Be Quiet! PURE ROCK SLIM

Supported Sockets: 115X; FM1, FM2(+), AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4 | Dimensions: 125 x 97 x 82 mm | Weight: 360 g | Fans: (1) 92 mm | Fan Speed: 0-2.000 RPM

VIEW AT AMAZON
  • Easy to install
  • Very quiet
  • Very cheap
  • Worse than Hyper 212 EVO

Be Quiet! Pure Rock Slim is an ideal cooler for compact and quiet multimedia systems. This cooler features 120W TDP cooling efficiency, three 6 mm heat pipes with aluminum caps and 92 mm PWM variable speed fan. Thanks to its asymmetrical and compact design, Pure Rock Slim is a perfect choice for PC cases with limited space. This cooler also provides great RAM clearance, so you don’t have to worry about securing extra space for your RAM sticks. Speaking about efficiency, this cooler offers solid performance for its price. It can keep fiery i7-4790K at 75 degrees Celsius under full load, which is fine, however, it doesn’t beat Hyper 212 EVO which is louder than Pure Rock Slim. If you take into consideration that Pure Rock Slim is more than $15 cheaper than Hyper 212, then performance it offers starts to look very reasonable. Overclocking your PC with this cooler is highly inadvisable, but if you are looking for a small and cheap cooler for your HTPC, than Be Quiet! Pure Rock Slim is a solid choice.

Budget Underdog: LC Power LC-CC-120

Supported Sockets: 775, 115X, 1366, 2011x, 2066; FM1, FM2, AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4 | Dimensions: 152 x 125 x 75 mm | Weight: 583 g | Fans: (1) 120 mm | Fan Speed: 500-1.400 RPM

VIEW AT AMAZON
  • Good cooling performance
  • Runs quieter than stock coolers
  • Very cheap
  • Complicated installation process
  • Not fully compatible with all AMD motherboards

If you don’t live in Europe, you’ve probably never heard of a company called LC Power. However, that doesn’t mean its products aren’t high-quality made. LC Power is a German company specialized in production of various PC hardware parts and accessories, such as PC cases, display monitors, power supply units, CPU coolers, keyboards and other tech goodies. Although quality of some of those products is debatable, their LC-CC-120 CPU cooler is one of the best budget coolers you can find around. This CPU cooler features a single 120 mm fan, and supports CPUs with TDP of up to 180 W. Installing this cooler is a bit complicated, since it comes with its own mounting bracket that you’ll have to attach to the back of your motherboard. Good thing is that this cooler supports a variety of Intel and AMD coolers, so it should suit everyone’s needs. In terms of performance, this cooler can keep Ryzen 5 1600 at around 32°C on idle, and at around 60°C under full load. Overall, LC-CC-120 is a decent alternative to stock coolers, and will run much quieter compared to them. Keep in mind, however, that this cooler isn’t very suitable for overclocking, so don’t go into such endeavors if you decide to buy it.

Final thoughts

If you are in search of the best budget CPU cooler in 2020, there is a variety of options at your disposal. Whether it’s fan size, RAM clearance or easiness of installation process your main priority, there is plenty of coolers that’ll suit your needs. And all that for the lowest price possible. We hope our buying guide helped you in search of the information you were looking for. If you still feel confused, and need advice about buying, feel free to post comment below. We will try to help you.

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