Best Low Profile CPU Coolers in 2019

Low profile coolers are specially designed for small form-factor builds like mini ATX PCs. Such systems do not have much space, and they require special coolers that are smaller and lower in height. Hence the name “low profile coolers”.

Stock coolers are not able to cool down the temperature of the CPU as well as aftermarket coolers. This is because companies often cut corners in order to reduce costs.

While the coolers that come out of the box are fine, you can get much better thermals and hence better performance. Today, we will give some solid picks for the best low profile CPU coolers.

Best Low Profile CPU Cooler

If you are interested in overclocking then that is another reason why you should change your cooler. You will have a hard time overclocking your CPU with the stock cooler, provided that your CPU came with one.

Furthermore, they are also not capable of sufficient airflow to reduce the heat of the CPU. So, in order to avoid this problem, low profile CPU coolers have been introduced. 

Best Overall

  • 39mm Total Height
  • 6-year Warranty
  • Ideal for ITX & HTPCs Case

Runner-up

  • Heat Pipes
  • For Intel & AMD
  • High Airflow

Budget Pick

  • 59mm Total Height
  • Very Affordable
  • Supports Only Intel sockets

The Best Low Profile CPU Coolers in 2019

1. Noctua NH-L9i

The Noctua NH-L9i is one of the greatest low profile CPU coolers on the market. The CPU cooler has plenty to offer keeping in mind that it is relatively inexpensive.

Low Profile CPU Cooler for Intel

Noctua NH-L9i is the successor of the NH-L12 which was already a great cooler. This model makes things even better. If you are looking for a reasonably priced low profile cooler for your small form-factor PC build then this is a great option to consider.

What We Liked

  • Height: The height of the cooler is 39mm which is ideal for small form-factor PC builds.  
  • Revised Version: The CPU cooler is actually the successor of the award-winning NH-L12 CPU cooler. It works perfectly with ITX and HTPCs systems.
  • Highly Optimized Fan: The Noctua CPU cooler comes with an optimized NF-A12x14 120mm fan. The fan is slim and comes with a low-noise adapter. The low-noise adapter automatically reduces the noise of the cooler for an ultra-quiet operation.
  • Thermal Compound: The award-winning NT-H1 thermal compound helps reduce the temperature of the CPU.
  • Warranty: A 6-year manufacturer warranty shows that the company has a lot of confidence in the product.

Pros

  • Affordable Price
  • Compact Size
  • 39mm total height
  • Highly optimized fan
  • NT-H1 thermal compound
  • 6 Years warranty
  • ideal for ITX and HTPCs

Cons

  • None

2. be quiet! BK002

As clearly mentioned from the name itself, the be quiet! BK002 is one of the quietest low profile CPU coolers available in 2018. Be quiet! products as known to be optimized for silent operation and this cooler is no exception.

Great 120mm Low Profile Cooler

be quiet! BK002

The be quiet! BK002 is specially made for people who love a noise-free PC. If noise reduction is priority number one for you, then you should check out this CPU cooler.

What We Liked

  • High Cooling Capacity: The cooler is rated to work up to 130 TDP.
  • eat Pipes: Four 6mm heat pipes keep the CPU temperature in check.
  • Silence-optimized Fan: The silence-optimized pure Wings 2 120mm PWM fan ensures silent operation.

Pros

  • Noise-free operation
  • 130W TDP
  • 120mm PWM Fan
  • High airflow

Cons

  • Mounting and removal is tricky

3. Cooler Master GeminII M4

Cooler Master GeminII is no doubt one of the best-selling low profile CPU cooler on the market available. The cooler has a unique design and is specially made for compact PCs.

Our Budget Low Profile Cooler

If you need a relatively inexpensive low profile cooler for you Intel-based system then this is a great option to look into.

What We Liked

  • Efficiency: The Cooler Master GeminII runs between 500-1600rpm which is more than enough to cool down the temperature of a CPU sufficiently. The PWM of the CPU cooler is about 10%.
  • Height: The height of this CPU cooler is only 59mm which means it can easily fit most cases.
  • Noise and Airflow Levels: Noise level is between 8-30 dBA depending on CPU load. The air flow range is17.4-58.4 CFM.

Pros

  • Affordable Price
  • Low Noise
  • Ultra-thin fan
  • Great cooling efficiency
  • Perfect for compact systems

Cons

  • Not compatible with AMD AM4 Socket

4. Cryorig C7

The Cryorig C7 CR-C7A is one of the most popular low profile CPU coolers that are available on the market right now and here we are going to look at the major features that this cooler has to offer.

Also Great

Cryorig C7 CR-C7A is one of the most compact low profile CPU coolers available on the market. If the size is a major concern then you should consider this CPU cooler.

What We Liked

  • Height: The cooler is only 47mm and is able to fit small cases easily.
  • Heat Pipes: 4 heat pipes carry heat away from the CPU.
  • Copper Base: The CPU cooler comes with a true copper base for better heat dissipation.
  • Efficiency: Fan speed range is between 600-2500 RPM and is PWM controlled.
  • Better Performance: 25% more efficient than stock CPU coolers.

Read also: Best Fan Controllers

Pros

  • Affordable Price
  • Perfect for ITX systems
  • Copper base
  • 4 heat pipes.
  • PWM Controlled fan

Cons

  • None

5. Noctua NH-L12S

The Noctua NH-L12S CPU cooler is next on our list. Noctua is famous for making award-winning compact CPU coolers and this is one of the best coolers that the company has to offer.

The NH-L9I is one of the most popular low profile CPU coolers on the market right now. If you are willing to pay more for a premium cooler and fan then this is what you need to get.

What We Liked

  • Height: Cooler height is only 70mm which is ideal for smaller PCs.
  • Premium Fan: The highly optimized NF-A12x15 120mm fan runs between 1800-2500 RPM.
  • Compatibility: Compatible with most of Intel and AMD sockets.
  • Premium Thermal Compound: NT-H1 thermal compound helps keep CPU temperature in check.

Pros

  • Mid-range price
  • 37mm height
  • Perfect for small ITX systems
  • Compatible with AMD and Intel sockets
  • Premium Fan
  • NT-H1 thermal compound

Cons

  • Noctua NH-L9i is a better pick
  • Fan not as quiet

6. ARCTIC Alpine 64 GT

ARCTIC Alpine 64 GT is a versatile low profile CPU cooler. Here we are going to look into what the cooler has to offer.

Arctic Alpine is a silent and effective CPU cooler that you should consider if noise bothers you.

What We Liked

  • Thermal Compound: MX-2 thermal compound is applied out of the box.
  • Ultra-quiet: The ultra-quiet 80mm PWM fans reduce noise.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Fluid dynamic bearing
  • Optimized heatsink
  • Patented fan holder
  • MX-2 thermal compound
  • Ultra-quiet fans

Cons

  • None

7. Thermaltake Engine

The Thermaltake Engine 27 1U is the last cooler on our list but it is far from the least. The cooler offers plenty of functionality and ample cooling.
The Thermaltake Engine 27 1U is a well-made CPU cooler than can provide ample heat dissipation and does not produce a lot of noise.

What We Liked

  • Premium Fan: The 60mm fan provides ample airflow and cooling to the CPU cooler.
  • Universal Compatibility: Support almost all Intel and AMD sockets
  • Height: Thermaltake Engine 27 1U height is only 27mm. It can easily fit ITX and HTPCs.
  • Noise Free: The noise level is only 13dBA.

Pros

  • Affordable Price.
  • Compact Design.
  • 27mm height.
  • PWM function.
  • Premium 60mm fan.
  • Innovative Blades.
  • Noise-free operation.

Cons

  • Installation is not easy.
  • No other specific cons.

Low Profile CPU Coolers Buyer’s Guide

Low Profile CPU Cooler for mini atx

If you need to buy a low profile CPU cooler then you might be tempted to get the cheapest option available on the market. That is not something that we can recommend. There are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind when buying a CPU cooler.

What are Low Profile CPU coolers?

Low Profile coolers are specially designed for small form-factor builds like mini ATX PCs. Such systems do not have much space and they require special coolers that are smaller and lower in height. Hence the name “low profile coolers”.

Things to Look Out for When Choosing a Low Profile CPU Cooler

There are certain things that you must keep in mind when in the market for a new low profile CPU cooler.

Cooling Efficiency

Modern CPUs come with a TDP rating that indicates how much heat a CPU dissipates. You need to match this to the cooler that you are going to buy. It is always a good idea to get a cooler that has better cooling than your CPUs rated TDP. If your CPU has a TDP of 90W then you should go for a CPU cooler that can cool 120 TDP. This is one way of being on the safe side. It is better to be safe than sorry later on.

Cooler Height

We are talking about low profile coolers here so they are going to be shorter than your average cooler. In order to accommodate for that, these coolers are often wider. You will need to check for clearance with your RAM. Small form-factor cases do not have a lot of space and it is possible that you might have issues mounting your CPU cooler because the RAM comes in the way. 

Noise

CPU coolers need fans in order to keep cool air coming in. Fans create noise. This is something that you might not notice if you play games with headphones on. If that is not the case then you should look into getting a cooler that is silent. Check the dB rating on the cooler to find out how much noise it makes. Anything around 20 dB or lower is near silent.

Things to Know about Low Profile CPU Coolers

Here are some of the factors that you need to keep in mind when in the market for a new CPU cooler.

The fan

There are all kinds of different fans but what you need to keep in mind is that faster fans will produce more noise. If a silent operation is a priority then you need to get a cooler that produces lower noise. A beefier cooler can work fine with a slower fan.

Thermal Compound

The thermal compound can have a major impact on CPU temperature and heat dissipation. Some coolers come with low quality thermal paste. Check the thermal paste before you buy your cooler.

Heat Pipes

Heat pipes move heat away from the CPU. Thicker heat pipes can dissipate heat much faster. Some coolers come with multiple heat pipes which makes heat dissipation even better.

Heatpipe and radiators for cooling of processor, cooling system,

Conclusion

Low profile CPU coolers are a necessity for compact PCs like ITX or HTPCs. We have recommended some of the best compact coolers that are available on the market right now but if you are confused regarding which one you should get then the following are our recommendations:

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Alex West

Alex is a gaming enthusiast with over 15 years of experience, especially enjoying competitive video games. When he's not gaming or watching e-sports he likes to write about gaming and hardware.

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