As the popularity of liquid cooling has grown over the last few years, the options available to those looking to cool their CPU have expanded. From simple, single-tower coolers that allow you to stuff and overclock your CPU to all-in-one designs that can take up more space than a typical CPU cooler, the options are seemingly endless.

In this article, we will be taking a look at the best AIO CPU liquid coolers in 2021. AIO stands for All in One, and refers to a CPU Cooler that is a combined case and radiator unit. The first AIO CPU cooler was released in 1985 by Thermaltake, and since then the trend toward more compact and more powerful cooling solutions has become more and more common in the CPU cooling market. Desktop PCs built around the Intel Skylake processor family are a popular choice for AIO CPU liquid coolers, and we will be looking at the best ones that are available at the time of writing, which is in early 2021.

Nowadays, CPUs are getting more power hungry. The most popular motherboards tend to have overclocked CPUs, and many mid-ranged and high-end PCs also come with water cooled CPUs. Water cooling is a great way to cool your CPU down, but it’s also a messy and expensive practice. If you’re too cheap to pay for the water cooling, you can always go for an AIO liquid cooler. AIO liquid coolers are a good option, because they have everything you need in one package and keeps your CPU in top shape.

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In 2021, keeping your CPU cool without burning a hole in your pocketbook will be a difficult task. Thankfully, we’ve put up a list of the 8 Best Budget AIO CPU Liquid Coolers for 2021, so you won’t have to waste hours hopping between Amazon and Newegg tabs on Chrome.

Each of the eight coolers is an AIO (all-in-one or closed-loop) design that will offer you the most bang for your money while keeping your gaming rig as cool as ever. We’ll evaluate each cooler based on a few important criteria, including cooling performance, size/compatibility, design, quality, and, of course, pricing.

Based on the parameters we stated, we’ll also rank them from best to worst. Here are the finest AIO coolers on a budget!

Roundup of the Best Budget AIO Liquid Coolers in 2021

The table below will give you a quick look at our selections for the 8 best budget AIO liquid coolers currently available on the market. To read a full review, simply click on ’review>>’ in respective row.


1. ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II (280 litres), dubbed the “best budget 280mm AIO cooler,” 



2. ZOOMFLOW 360X ARGB by ID-COOLING “Best cheap 360mm AIO cooler”



3. MasterLiquid ML240L RGB V2 from Cooler Master 240mm AIO cooler “Best budget”



“Best cheap 120mm AIO cooler” Thermaltake TH120 ARGB



5. Runner-up: Cougar Aqua 280 “Best affordable 280mm AIO cooler”



6. AURAFLOW X 240 ID-COOLING “Runner-up for best budget 240mm AIO cooler”



DEEPCOOL Castle 360EX is number seven. “Runner-up for Best Budget 360mm AIO Cooler”



8. EVGA CLC 120mm EVGA CLC 120mm EVGA CLC 120mm “Runner-up for best budget 120mm AIO cooler”



1. ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280

Dimensions of the radiator: 317 x 138 x 38mm / 12.5 x 5.4 x 1.5” | Dimensions of the fans: 140 x 140 x 27mm / 5.5 x 5.5 x 1.1” | Fan Speed: 200 – 1700 RPM (PWM) | Noise Volume: Up to 24 dBA | Warranty: 2 years


  • Exceptional performance
  • The operation is almost quiet.
  • High-quality and long-lasting construction
  • Excellent value for money


  • Only a two-year warranty is offered.
  • No RGB

Our score is 9.9 out of ten.

The Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 is a great choice for people who want cooling power without all the showy lights, with one of the most unique appearing but best performing coolers for budget buyers. With a short glance at the device, it’s easy to understand how the cooler may seem sleek and powerful (in a good way). Furthermore, the Arctic Liquid Freezer II series is available at a variety of pricing points and sizes to accommodate virtually any customer.

The 317 mm radiator on the Liquid II Freezer 280 is intended to fit in a 280mm liquid cooling case chassis (this is notably different than a 240mm chassis mount). The pump head is the Liquid II’s distinguishing feature.

The Liquid II has a VRM fan to cool down the motherboard’s essential parts, theoretically increasing performance cooling the system as a whole. While most water-coolers are designed to contact the CPU and pull away heat through liquid cycling, the Liquid II has a VRM fan to cool down the motherboard’s essential parts, theoretically increasing performance cooling the system as a whole. As a consequence, the water block is much larger than the standard circle or square used by most other businesses.

The Liquid Freezer II 280 is compatible with both Intel and AMD processors. When you get the product, there will be a QR code on it that you can scan to obtain a PDF of the manual. The necessary brackets and plating may then be installed to ensure that everything is secure. Always verify the manufacturer’s website for your socket type, although most AMD and Intel sockets are acceptable. Check to see whether your case has the proper mounts for the 280mm installation.

Another factor to consider is whether or not your motherboard is too crowded, and whether or not there is enough room on the water block for the intriguing VRM fan.

In comparison to other coolers, the Arctic Liquid Freezer line’s black and white design sticks out. The harsh black edges reinforce the utilitarian feelings produced by the absence of LEDs or bright components. The hoses are protected by a high-quality braided sleeve to prevent damage.

Two 140mm fans are mounted on the radiator and are controlled by a PWM wire connected to the motherboard. Overall, the cooler is well-made and has a quality feel about it. The sole criticism is the noticeable absence of LEDs, which are, after all, a personal choice. The performance of a cooler is generally the criterion, not its appearance.

The whole Arctic Liquid II series is renowned for providing the greatest value for money, and the 280 is no exception. The VRM fan, on the other hand, is worth mentioning because of its use. The VRM fan works and doesn’t function, according to Gamers Nexus. Yes, it cools the voltage components on the motherboard, but it doesn’t seem to have any discernible effect on the machine’s overall performance.

The cooler, on the other hand, is amazing. The Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 maintained the CPU at 79 degrees Celsius with a core i9-9900k operating at 5 GHz and 100% load. Check out the rest of the Arctic range as well, since it offers a lot of versatility, particularly with regard to case sizes and CPU requirements.

For 2021, we recommend the Arctic Liquid Freezer series as the finest affordable AIO liquid cooling solution. We feel safe in recommending the 280 to anybody wanting to give their rig a chilly boost, thanks to excellent performance, a plethora of choices, new technology in the form of a VRM fan, and a mean-looking design.

The only drawback we can see is that the Liquid Freezer series lacks RGB choices, but if that isn’t a deal breaker for you, this is the greatest cooler in this price range. This is the cooler to buy if you’re on a budget and want the greatest performance without the frills.

Visit Amazon for more information.

You may also be interested in: Best 240mm AIO CPU Coolers 


Radiator Dimensions: 397 x 120 x 27mm / 15.6 x 4.7 x 1.1” | Fan Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25mm / 4.7 x 4.7 x 1” | Fan Speed: 700 – 1500 RPM +/– 10% RPM | Noise Volume: 18 – 26.4 dB(A) | Warranty: 2 years


  • Construction of high quality
  • Excellent cooling capacity
  • For a 360mm cooler, this is an incredible deal.
  • RGB lighting is a kind of lighting that uses three
  • Hoses that are longer


  • Radiator that is very large
  • Only a two-year warranty is offered.

Our score is 9.7 out of ten.

The ID-Cooling Zoomflow 360X deserves to be on any list of cheap and effective water coolers. The Zoomflow 360X merits your attention at the very least, with more spacious tubes, a sleek appearance, and a reasonable pricing range.

The Zoomflow 360X is one of the biggest coolers on our list, and it can quickly fill a case. The radiator is 397mm in diameter and has three 120mm fans installed in the chassis. It has a nice weight to it, suggesting that it was built with care and attention to detail.

The pump head is smaller than you’d anticipate for a radiator of this size, but that doesn’t always mean it’ll function poorly. The tubing on this cooler is one of its finest features. It features somewhat longer tubing than usual, enabling you to “make it work” in a variety of circumstances without placing the tubes under excessive stress.

This nicely constructed cooler is suitable for both AMD and Intel users. Almost all AMD and Intel sockets are compatible with the Zoomflow, but as usual, double-check. If you have a smaller tower, it’s always worth measuring since this cooler is considerably bigger than its 120mm or 240mm siblings. The tubing is a little longer than usual, as we stated in the size comparison, enabling you to use this cooler in certain larger cases.

This cooler is very nicely constructed. Instead of the plasticky nylon we usually see, the hoses are coated in a softer substance. The radiator has some branding on it, which is probably the most “interesting” aspect about it. Everything looks well together, and it’s also intended to perform well, with some ID-Cooling fans to match.

The ARGB glows through a transparent ring at the top of the pump head, offering millions of various choices. Although it may simply be connected into your mobo, it also comes with a controller so you can manually manage the various color choices. It really looks amazing when the lights are turned on. If you want to take your build to the next level, go for the “snow” edition cooler for a really unique appearance.

It doesn’t matter how nice a cooler looks if it can’t keep up with the competition in terms of performance. Fortunately, this low-cost cooler handles stock temperatures well. The Zoomflow 360X maintains an Intel i7-7700k operating at 26 degrees Celsius in idle and 52 degrees Celsius under load. Although every scenario is different, these are decent figures assuming you don’t intend on doing any major overclocking.

The Zoomflow 360X is a fantastic AIO cooler with great aesthetics. If you select the Zoomflow to cool your system, you won’t have to make many sacrifices. It’s difficult to find anything similar in terms of performance for the price. We don’t sure whether every budget customer has room for the Zoomflow 360X since it’s a little bigger than a more compact 240 or 280, earning it an enthusiastic second place.

Visit Amazon for more information.

Best 120mm AIO CPU Coolers (Related Reading)

3. Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240L RGB V2

277 x 120 x 27mm / 10.9 x 4.7 x 1.1” | Fans Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25mm / 4.7 x 4.7 x 1” | Fan Speed: 700 – 1500 RPM +/- 10% RPM | Noise Volume: 8 – 27 dB(A) | Warranty: 2 years

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240L RGB V2_2REASONS TO PURCHASE

  • Excellent cooling capacity
  • Compatible to a high degree
  • Colorful RGB lights
  • Excellent value for money


  • Only a two-year warranty is offered.
  • A little more obnoxious

Our score is 9.6 out of ten.

Cooler Master has a lengthy history in the cooling industry. Few businesses have carved out such a niche as they have, and as a consequence, you can anticipate a fair degree of consistency throughout their offerings. This isn’t going to be an Ali Express cooler.

This is the “MasterLiquid” line’s second version (thus the V2 in the name), and it should provide some enhancements over the V1. The number “240” in the name refers to the radiator’s size, which is 240mm.

When determining the size of a water cooler, there are two factors to consider. The radiator is the first, while the heatsink is the second. The radiator is a two-fan design with two 120mm fans.

When you add their throughputs together, you get the 240mm figure in the headline. Most customers will be satisfied with a 240mm CPU water cooler. There are a variety of “standards” to follow, but a decent rule of thumb is to have one 120mm fan every heating element that has to be cooled.

The majority of computer components are now cross-platform. The ML240L from Cooler Master is no exception. This should fit most current motherboards and is backwards compatible with Intel and AMD sockets dating back almost 10 years.

The cooler comes fully built for Intel, however with the supplied components, it may be changed to AMD. The Intel installation is simple and utilizes four connection points with knurled screws that may be tightened by hand.

The AMD installation, on the other hand, has a few drawbacks. It was designed to be backwards compatible with AMD sockets, which are now almost 10 years old. While this is excellent from a utilitarian standpoint, it makes the installation procedure a little more complicated than Intel’s, since it only utilizes two mounting sockets vs Intel’s two. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’s something to consider.

CM did an excellent job with the materials and construction for a budget cooler. The radiator is made of aluminum (which is very conductive) and has a high-quality matte surface. To assist prevent punctures and the like, the tubing is sturdy and wrapped with a braided substance.

In comparison to the V1, Cooler Master raised the radiator fin size slightly, resulting in a 25% increase in surface area (more surface area means better cooling). Each of the fans also has RGB choices that can be adjusted with the supplied remote. While this has no bearing on performance, we believe it’s a neat feature.

When it comes to how effectively a cooler can chill, everything else is secondary. A unique “dual dissipation pump” in the cooler enables it to cycle heat away from the CPU considerably quicker than a conventional single-chamber pump. We’re pleased to announce that the ML240V2’s cooling capabilities don’t seem to be overhyped.

After an hour, the idle temperature on an Intel Core i5-6600K At 2.9GHz was about 20 degrees Celsius. The CPU temperature was approximately 63 degrees Celsius while it was under stress. These figures are well within a budget cooler’s acceptable range.

The Cooler Master ML240V2 is a significant upgrade over the V1, with to a redesigned dual-chamber pump head and an improved design. While performance seems to lag behind that of the Liquid Freezer, you shouldn’t feel terrible about purchasing one for your system. If you don’t have enough room for the 360X but don’t want to give up LEDs, the Cooler Master ML240V2 is a great alternative.

Visit Amazon for more information.

Also check out the best 280mm AIO CPU coolers.

TH120 ARGB (Thermaltake)

Fans Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25mm / 4.7 x 4.7 x 1” | Fan Speed: 1500 RPM | Noise Volume: 28.2 dB(A) | Warranty: 2 years


  • RGB lighting is excellent.
  • Excellent cooling capacity
  • Overall, it was a really calm environment.
  • Beautiful aesthetics
  • Installation is simple.


Our score is 9.5 out of ten.

The Thermaltake TH120 ARGB is one of the smallest coolers we’re looking at today, but it still packs a punch. The TH120 has a lot to like in a tiny size, with excellent acoustics and surprisingly good thermal figures.

The TH120 is half the size of some of the coolers we’ve looked at, which feature 240mm radiators and a dual-fan setup. It is considerably smaller than its competitors, having a 120mm single-fan and radiator configuration. The TH120 is a fantastic way to scratch that water-cooling itch without breaking the bank if you have a modest build or a chassis that is already packed with hardware.

The TH120, like other contemporary coolers, is compatible with both AMD and Intel processors. The mounting brackets you need are included in the package, as well as a helpful reference book. Because this cooler is smaller than its 240mm competitors, it receives extra marks for compatibility, as it may be used in a wider range of setups simply due to its radiator size.

One thing to keep in mind is that the copper plate does not come with thermal paste pre-applied (as others do), but it does come with a tube for self-application.

Thermaltake has long been a well-known manufacturer of computer components. They have a steady product line, and the TH120 is no exception. While most coolers just have RGB in their fans, the actual pump head comes with an RGB ring that adds a very nice aspect (the TH120 has that, too).

A black rectangular metal chassis houses the matte-clear fan on the opposite side of the radiator. The pump head and fan offer one of the coolest RGB sensations of the group when plugged in and operating.

The Thermaltake TH120 must establish itself as a genuine contender in this category, or risk seeming to be the younger sibling who can’t keep up with their bigger brother. Surprisingly, it wasn’t only good in the thermals; it was also silent! The CPU temperature was approximately 27 degrees Celsius while idle and 53 degrees Celsius when under load.

In terms of sheer performance, this tiny cooler rivals, if not outperforms, many of its 240mm counterparts. Even with the additional burden of not being able to operate in tandem with another fan, the fan remained silent.

Let’s be honest about it. When it comes to smaller devices, liquid cooling isn’t necessarily about performance. This is exemplified by the Thermaltake TH120. Since the radiator surface area has so much to do with cooling power, you start to notice a drop in price for performance around the 120mm pricing bracket.

Air coolers are considerably more cost-effective in this 120mm pricing range. Overall, the TH120 is a fantastic cooler that performs well. The TH120 should be your choice if you want to be able to claim you have a liquid-cooled system and are prepared to spend a little extra for it.

Visit Amazon for more information.

You may also be interested in: Best 360mm AIO CPU Coolers

5. Aqua 280 Cougar

310 x 140 x 27mm / 12.2 x 5.5 x 1.1” | Fans 140 x 140 x 25mm / 5.5 x 5.5 x 1” | Fan Speed: 600 – 1600 +/- 200 RPM | Noise Volume: Up to 34 dB(A) | Warranty: 2 years


  • Low-noise and high-performance
  • Excellent value for money
  • RGB lighting that is bright
  • Installation is simple.
  • Construction of high quality


  • Hoses that are more durable
  • Only a two-year warranty is offered.

Our score is 9.4 out of ten.

Cougar is well known for their PC cases, so CPU water cooling isn’t something you’d expect them to excel at. The Cougar Aqua 280 demonstrates that they can produce a low-cost, high-performance water cooler with matching enclosures. There isn’t much to dislike about the Aqua 280, particularly its pricing, because of its mid-range size and attractive design.

The Aqua 280 falls squarely in the center of our list of coolers. The radiator is a streamlined 280, which strikes a good mix between size and surface area for many budget customers. Instead of the circular design we’ve seen a lot of, the pump head is rectangular.

Two Vortex Omega 140s, each measuring 140mm, are housed in the radiator. This is an excellent cooler for most mid-sized setups that don’t need a lot of space but don’t require large cases.

The Aqua 280 is compatible with both Intel and AMD processors, but the water block is preset with Intel brackets. The procedure is straightforward, particularly for more recent AM4 sockets. Installing the Aqua 280 should be simple, particularly if you follow the provided instructions. One thing to keep in mind is that the fans don’t come with Cougar software to control them, so you’ll have to use third-party software to manually manage them.

The Cougar Aqua 280 strikes a good balance between showy and well-made. It isn’t as attractive as some coolers, but it isn’t an objective criterion. The RGBs on the pump head are a nice mix of stylish and practical. Some businesses go crazy with LEDs, but Cougar was cautious with its choices.

The radiator is made of aluminum, which is common for cheap choices and feels strong in the hand. The hoses are covered in nylon and are resistant to punctures and other damage. The Vortex fan system, on the other hand, is where things become interesting. The two 140mm fans are just fantastic. They move a lot of air while remaining silent, thanks to groove designs that guide airflow and anti-vibration technology.

Depending on how your motherboard is set up, you can also rotate the pump head. An integrated remote can control the RGB, providing you more choices than many rivals.

There is no such thing as an equal number. These temperatures were taken by using an i9-10900k processor capable of speeds up to 5.3GHz. Under idle, the Cougar Aqua 280 reached 36 degrees Celsius, and at full load, it reached 56 degrees Celsius. These figures are a bit different than something a little more… civilian, but they demonstrate that the Cougar isn’t afraid to fight. Overall, it performed an excellent job of cooling the CPU while producing little noise.

The Cougar Aqua 280 is a fantastic AIO cooler that lives up to its expectations. The Cougar isn’t higher on the list because of the somewhat uncommon 280mm mounting requirement (as opposed to the 240 of the Cooler Master and Auraflow). The pricing is also a little more than its 240mm siblings, putting it in direct competition with the Liquid Freeze series. This is the choice for you if you want a cheap 280mm AIO cooler but don’t want the Liquid Freezer II.

Visit Amazon for more information.

Also see: The Best White CPU Coolers


Radiator Dimensions: 276 x 120 x 27mm / 10.9 x 4.7 x 1.1” | Fans Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25mm / 4.7 x 4.7 x 1” | Fan Speed: 700 – 1800 RPM +/– 10% RPM | Noise Volume: 18 – 35.2 dB(A) | Warranty: 2 years


  • Construction of high quality
  • Excellent cooling capacity
  • Appealing to the eye
  • Installation is simple.
  • The cost is low.


  • RGB lights should be dimmed
  • Only a two-year warranty is offered.

Our score is 9.3 out of ten.

The ID-Cooling Auraflow x 240 cooler is ID Cooling’s solution to affordable cooling without sacrificing quality. This cooler is a robust and flexible cooler that does not need you to spend a lot of money to obtain good results.

Much larger than the ID-Cooling Auraflow is possible. When it comes to CPU water cooling, larger isn’t necessarily better. With a 240mm radiator, this cooler can fit into almost any chassis and will offer greater cooling than its 120mm competitors.

Its dual-fan arrangement provides for enough airflow and fin cooling. Unless your case is very big and has space on the back (which is still not ideal for ventilation), most setups will need this to be attached to either the top or bottom of the case.

When it comes to Auraflow’s compatibility, there are no surprises. Check your particular compatibility with the socket list on Amazon or the website listing, although most AMD and Intel sockets from recent years should work.

The Auraflow is compatible with AMD’s Threadripper processor family, which may set it apart for certain AMD customers considering this cooler. The pump is powered by a PWM to SATA adaptor, which allows the pump to operate at its full speed if necessary.

The Auraflow has an aluminum radiator chassis with a fin density that is appropriate for its price range. Anti-vibration cushions placed in the corners of the fans are a fantastic addition to the setup. When the fans move to a greater RPM and start to shake a little, this helps to minimize the noise.

The tubes are encased in a nylon sleeve and swivel-fitted into the pump. Overall, the Auraflow seems to be working as it should. Solid, durable, and equipped with a few nice-to-have features, particularly for a cheap cooler.

RGB LEDs are also incorporated into the fans, although they aren’t as brilliant as those seen in other manufacturers. Unless you’re looking for the brightest, “RGBiest” cooler on the market, it shouldn’t be a problem.

The temperature test from Tom’s Hardware demonstrates what we may anticipate from the Auraflow in terms of performance. The cooler maintains the CPU at 29 degrees Celsius while idle and 62 degrees Celsius when under load at ambient room temperatures. Despite running hotter than some higher-end choices, these figures are entirely acceptable for a budget cooler. The Auraflow 240 is a fantastic choice to consider if you aren’t seeking for the greatest thermal statistics.

Overall, the ID-Cooling Auraflow is a budget-friendly cooler that is reliable and well-built. When comparing the Auraflow with the Cooler Master, the competition was very close. They are the closest competitors since they compete in the same price range and form factor.

The sole reason we placed the Auraflow ahead of the Cooler Master is because the Cooler Master slightly outperforms the Auraflow in some performance tests. However, if you can locate a good price or a good warranty option for the Auraflow but not for the Cooler Master, we would strongly recommend the Auraflow.

Visit Amazon for more information.

7. DEEPCOOL Castle 360EX

Radiator Dimensions: 420 x 120 x 27mm / 16.5 x 4.7 x 1.1” | Fans Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25mm / 4.7 x 4.7 x 1” | Fan Speed: 500 – 1800 RPM +/– 10% RPM | Noise Volume: Up to 32.1 dB(A) | Warranty: 3 years


  • Excellent cooling capacity
  • Compatible to a high degree
  • Setup is simple.
  • Warranty period: 3 years
  • High-quality construction


  • Exceptionally big
  • There is no RGB lighting.
  • A little more obnoxious

We give it a 9.2 out of 10 rating.

The Castle 360EX is a behemoth of a cooler and one of the biggest on our list. It’s worth a look for both budget-conscious buyers and power users, thanks to RGB choices, quiet fans, and a large radiator. The most important consideration when purchasing this cooler is whether or not you have enough space for it.

This monster cooler has a massive 402mm radiator and three fans. Three 120mm fans are housed in the radiator, resulting in some extremely chilly fins. Another factor to consider while purchasing this cooler is the pump head.

The pump head is much higher than a typical cooler head. While headspace isn’t usually a problem when it comes to water coolers, the tubes also come over the top of the pump head, making measurements necessary in all but the largest instances.

The Castle 360EX is compatible with nearly all AMD and Intel sockets, but as usual, double-check the website description to verify appropriate compatibility. A variety of brackets and screws are included in the package, as well as a handbook to guarantee that your brackets are installed properly.

You may not be able to match up every single screw with its corresponding mounting hole, which is a recognized problem. Although there seems to be an alignment problem with certain cases, the installation procedure is still secure and simple even with a few less screws for the fans. It also comes with pre-applied thermal paste.

The construction quality of the cooler matches its size. The metal radiator is finished in a sleek black, and the fans are tinted to match. Sleeved tubes link the radiator to the pump head, which is gray and silver in color and has several cool characteristics. The pump head not only looks professional, but it also has RGB and a tiny remote control.

You may also remove the little plate branding on the pump and rotate it to fit the direction of your pump, which is a useful function. Anti-leak technology is also included in the cooler, which equalizes pressure within the device (through a tiny connector) and extends its life.

When put to the test against even more costly coolers, the Castle 360EX comes out on top. The Castle’s idle temperature was 14 degrees Celsius and its under load temperature was 34 degrees Celsius on an AMD Ryzen 2700.

The Castle’s main flaw is that it cannot match with its competitors in terms of fan noise, owing to the fact that smaller fans produce more noise. The Castle’s competitors all have somewhat bigger fans, but it has similar, if not quieter, fans for the purposes of our ranking.

The Castle 360EX is an excellent cheap AIO cooler that doesn’t skimp on features. The Castle 360EX was mainly pitted against the Zoomflow on our ranking. In terms of pricing, the Zoomflow outperformed the Castle by 10-15% on average. Those figures aren’t very noteworthy in this price range, but this is a budget list, after all. The Castle’s fans also lacked LED choices, while the Zoomflow’s had.

The Castle outperforms the Zoomflow in terms of warranty choices and anti-leak technology. The somewhat greater price of the Castle 360EX may be worth it if you want a good guarantee and a bit extra piece of mind when it comes to your project.

Visit Amazon for more information.

8. EVGA CLC 120mm

Radiator Dimensions: 156 x 122 x 28mm / 6.1 x 4.8 x 1.1” | Fans Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25mm / 4.7 x 4.7 x 1” | Fan Speed: 1800 RPM +/- 10% | Noise Volume: Up to 32.1 dB(A) | Warranty: 5-year limited warranty


  • Construction of high quality 
  • Exceptionally low cost
  • Warranty period: 5 years
  • Compact


  • Compatibility is limited.
  • Simple aesthetics
  • Cooling performance is disappointing.

Our score is 8.6 out of ten.

The visually basic and uncomplicated EVGA CLC 120mm is for a niche audience and is one of the least costly choices on our list. This cooler isn’t suitable for most people because of its tiny size and restricted compatibility.

The CLC 120’s size is one of its finest features. It’s a cheap cooler that, despite its low price, puts up a good fight against the 240mm competition. A 120mm radiator and fan are included with the CLC (closed-loop cooler).

The swivel fittings on the pump head are recessed rather than jutting out, which is a unique feature. This little change enables the pump head to take up less space near the motherboard’s surface, which is particularly helpful if space is limited.

One of the few coolers on our list that requires specific plugs is the CLC 120. Only current and future Intel sockets will function with the CLC. This cooler will not work with an AMD processor, even if you intend to upgrade to one later. One useful feature is the possibility to replace the fan with a new one if needed.

The CLC 120 is a well-made, though rather uninteresting, cooler. It features a conventional copper plate with pre-applied thermal paste for solid conductivity. It has nylon-sleeved tubing and is a little short for certain applications. The EVGA brand on this cooler ensures that certain elements of its construction are of high quality. This is a cooler for those who value functionality.

Gamers Nexus performed benchmarks with the CLC 120 and provided us with somewhat different results. Instead of a flat temperature at idle and under load, they deducted the ambient temperature from the real CPU temperatures to get an analogous temperature readout (delta T), thus bear in mind that the actual CPU temperatures would be higher. The idle temperature is 7 degrees Celsius, while the load temperature is 41 degrees Celsius. The CLC 120 was disappointing when combined with a loud pump at maximum RPMs.

On our list, the CLC 120 came in last place. We have the same problems with the EVGA CLC 120 as we had with the Thermaltake – size matters when it comes to cooling CPUs. Worse, the CLC isn’t compatible with AMD processors (sorry Ryzen users). However, there are a few redeeming characteristics. The CLC comes with a 5-year guarantee, which is one of the best we’ve seen, and is also the most affordable option on our list. This budget purchase won’t let you down, but there are better choices available.

Visit Amazon for more information.


Choosing a liquid CPU cooler may seem to be a difficult task. The most essential aspect to consider while weighing your choices is compatibility. It makes no difference how good it is if it won’t work with your system. After that, search for quality builds with excellent thermal figures and a solid warranty policy as a bonus. Aside from that, choose which one you believe looks better!

Nowadays, most computer users are lazy to read the instructions and to determine what to buy. They only look at the price, the brand, the specs, the product description and the color – everything is included in the price. Why do you buy cheap and expensive products? Why do you buy more expensive products than you should? For example, with the frame of a PC, there is an important part: the CPU cooler. What cooler do you need for your CPU? 120mm, 240mm, 280mm or 360mm?. Read more about best budget aio 2021 and let us know what you think.

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The best budget AIO is the Cooler Master MasterLiquid Lite 120.”}},{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”Is a 120mm AIO worth it?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:”
It is not worth it.”}},{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”Is 240mm liquid cooling better than 120mm?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:”

The answer to this question is not simple. There are many factors that go into deciding what type of liquid cooling system is best for your computer, and there are also many different types of liquid cooling systems. It would be best to consult a professional on the matter.”}}]}

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best budget AIO?

The best budget AIO is the Cooler Master MasterLiquid Lite 120.

Is a 120mm AIO worth it?

It is not worth it.

Is 240mm liquid cooling better than 120mm?

The answer to this question is not simple. There are many factors that go into deciding what type of liquid cooling system is best for your computer, and there are also many different types of liquid cooling systems. It would be best to consult a professional on the matter.


Holly is the smartest person you will ever know (Or so she tells us lol). She's a gamer by heart, and an author by soul. Writing for the website g15tools is a dream come true for her - she loves being able to share her thoughts and insights with others who love gaming as much as she does. When she's not writing or gaming, Holly can be found spending time with her friends and family.