The best CPU cooler in 2021 – our picks of the top air and liquid coolers

Keeping your CPU temperatures low is essential for good gaming performance from your PC, whether that’s because you’re planning to overclock, or to prevent performance throttling and ensure reliability. That’s why we’ve assembled this guide to buying the best CPU cooler for your system. With the odd exception, the stock CPU cooler that comes with your AMD/Intel processor probably isn’t going to cut it, and in any case it’s always worth looking to upgrade if your system is struggling to stay cool under pressure.

Although water cooling solutions reign supreme when it comes to overclocking – water needs much more energy added to it than air to increase its temperature – you can still get some pretty respectable overclock speeds with the best air coolers. Besides, you won’t have to worry about any potential water leaks or the higher cost of an AIO cooling system.

If you want to learn more about the best AIO coolers, then head over to our dedicated guide as it can do wonders if you’re pondering how to overclock your CPU. Otherwise, stick around to find out the best CPU coolers you can buy, whether you’re being mindful of your budget, form factor, or style.

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