Should a processor have an air CPU cooler or a liquid CPU cooler? This is one of the big questions users ask themselves when they want to build their computers. Each option is different and can provide a different result depending on the use or activities performed on a PC.

The following guide of Air Vs Liquid CPU Cooling will be handy for those who want to get the maximum performance from a processor, avoiding high temperature. At the same time, this will allow you to learn a little more about each of these components. One of them is the best for most situations, and we will discover it below.

Air CPU Cooling

The air CPU cooler is one of the most common components usually found in any computer. When a user buys a new PC, it usually incorporates this type of cooler inside. This component is prepared to offer a certain level of efficiency along with an adequate cost-benefit ratio.


We can mention some of the main benefits offered by the air CPU cooler.

  • Cheap option:

One of the most audible benefits that we can consider with this air CPU cooler is the cost. This is a conveniently priced component when we compare this type of cooler with a liquid CPU cooler. This allows users to have more flexibility in their PC building budget.

Also Read: How to Choose CPU Cooler?

  • Acceptable level of efficiency:

The level of efficiency that an air processor cooler can provide is more than sufficient in the vast majority of situations. When it comes to an office or home office PC, an air cooler is usually more than sufficient. The heat sink manages to move the heat away from the processor to avoid all the consequences that this can have on the components of a PC.

In this case, we are considering exactly an air cooler of average quality and efficiency.

  • Easy installation:

A heat sink is usually much easier and faster than a liquid processor cooler. In most cases, the user only needs to incorporate this heat sink in the right place. After that, the heat sink can start working without hiring an expert for the installation of this component.

  • Adaptable configuration for beginners:

Some air coolers incorporate the ability to get a configuration. This can allow users to control and optimize the efficiency of this air cooler’s operation. This type of configuration is usually straightforward because it is a computer component with convenient and simple operation.


As is usually the case with any PC components, an air cooler stands out for its main features. These features will allow any user to learn more about this component type when choosing a solid option.

  • Components:

The air cooler features a simple operation compared to other options that can be found in the market. This means that we can also find a relatively simple design with two main components. These components are usually the heat sink and the fan. Most of the time, these components are the only ones we find, although this depends on the quality of each heatsink.

  • Hardware materials:

Among the most important materials used for constructing this type of component are those options with a high level of thermoconduction. This is, of course, one of the essential materials because the air heatsink must deal with the high temperatures generated inside the processor.

Aluminum or a mixture of copper and aluminum is also often used to complement the design of this component. These materials usually provide the right balance of durability and functionality to deal with the heat. In certain circumstances, an air cooler may also have the ability to absorb some of the heat, although this is a limited feature.

  • Main operation:

In the main operation, we notice that it is simply a fan that manages to dissipate the hot air inside a PC. The fan can rotate at a certain speed. Each air cooler can offer a different speed, which its revolutions per minute can check. This means the power or speed that each fan can offer.

As the number of revolutions per minute is higher in an air cooler, its airflow capacity will be higher. In this way, it is possible to avoid overheating, as the fan constantly obtains cool air through the heat sink.

At the same time, it is possible to note that an air cooler of average quality can offer precise operation. This means that the speed at which the fan rotates is not always the same. Some air coolers can be configured or provide adaptive operation to the needs of each processor.

  • Excellent cost-benefit ratio
  • Efficient operation for a wide variety of activities on a PC
  • Quick and easy installation
  • A simple configuration that adapts to a processor’s needs
  • Performance is not superior to liquid cooling

Liquid CPU Cooling

Few entry-level users wish to obtain a liquid CPU cooler for an office or home office PC. This component is usually incorporated by many advanced users who must use a PC to the fullest, taking advantage of the full power of a processor. This can be noted because it is an option with a higher level of efficiency.


Excellent level of performance: Liquid cooling is one of the most chosen options by many advanced users due to the results it can provide. Liquid cooling is far superior to air cooling because of the temperatures it can handle.

That is why liquid cooling is often incorporated into a gamer PC intended to run games of the highest requirements.

  • Low sound level:

When we compare liquid cooling with air cooling, we notice that the sound level is something to highlight. Liquid cooling usually provides excellent performance with a shallow sound level.

When a PC is used with an intermediate or low workload, the operation is practically silent. With a high workload, the best liquid coolers provide a good result with an acceptable sound level.

  • Additional Accessories:

Liquid cooling usually incorporates some additional components because it is more advanced than air cooling. One of the most common accessories usually found in liquid cooling is a small LED display.

This usually provides important information to the user to check some critical data, such as the temperature of the processor.

  • Ideal for a specialized PC:

Liquid cooling is usually very convenient for a PC intended for a heavy workload. One of the most common choices is a PC with high-powered components to run games with high requirements.

However, this is the same situation that usually occurs with a PC intended for professional video editing or the use of professional-level design software.


The liquid cooler also stands out for its components and design. This is because it is a much more complex component compared to an air cooler.

  • Main Components

A liquid cooling system is a significantly more complex option compared to a simple air heatsink. Among the main components, we can find the fan, in addition to the hoses, radiator, and pump. All of these are necessary because a small fan is incorporated, in addition to the liquid-powered components.

  • Hardware Materials

Similar materials are generally used when dealing with a liquid cooler or an air cooler. These materials are also thermally conductive, and some of them are more fluid-focused than air-focused. We can also find aluminum or a combination of copper and aluminum. Some of the differences can be found in the LED display that some liquid coolers usually incorporate.

  • Main Operation

A liquid cooling system works in a similar way to an air cooling system. This is because the liquid cooling system requires air circulation through a heat sink. However, this is not the only operation, as it also incorporates liquids to complement the operation and optimize efficiency.

This liquid can be simply water or a special cooling liquid. Regardless of the specific option, the fact is that this liquid is pumped into the system through the hoses. These hoses are usually connected to a processor. We can also find a liquid cooler connected to a graphics card or any component that must work with a high workload.

Within the liquid cooling system, the radiator works as a heat sink to complement the recirculation of the coolant or water. This means a fan that provides cool air to the components that need it. In this way, it is possible to avoid overheating all those parts that operate with a high workload.

  • Superior cooling performance
  • Low sound level
  • Excellent for any powerful PC
  • Can include an LED display
  • More expensive option than other types of coolers

Also Read: How To Slow Down CPU Fan Speed?

Air Vs Liquid CPU Cooling – Comparison Guide

Air Vs Liquid CPU Cooling

Once we have mentioned the characteristics of each chiller, we can determine which one is the best of them. As we have mentioned, each cooler could be a better option under certain circumstances and situations.

Anyway, this comparison will allow any user to make a better decision before purchasing one of them.

  • Efficiency and results:

In general, it is essential to consider that the liquid chiller is a much more efficient option compared to the air-cooled chiller. The liquid chiller not only incorporates a heat sink in its system. It also includes a recirculation of water or liquid coolant.

This allows for the generation of cooler air that can cope with the higher temperatures.

However, it is essential to consider that a high level of cooler efficiency is not always required. When it comes to an office or home office PC, the activities performed are not usually of a high workload.

Even a PC that is used for overclocking can be used with an air cooler. A liquid cooler is necessary when a CPU is used to its limit.

  • Installation and Configuration:

In this case, we can consider the air cooler to be a much more convenient option than the liquid cooler. The air cooler is usually much easier to install, and many novice users can complete this procedure. In addition, configuring the operation of this component is not a big problem for many users.

On the other hand, the installation of a liquid cooler is usually much more difficult. This is because it is a much more complex component due to its design’s wide variety of parts. Most users need a professional to complete the installation process.

Something similar is the case with the liquid cooler configuration. Even when it comes to implementing proper maintenance, the liquid chiller also challenges the novice user. So when it comes to finding a simple option, the air cooler is the winning choice.

  • Budget Requirements:

Again, here the air-cooled chiller is the winning option for those users who want to cut costs. The more straightforward design of an air-cooled chiller can lower costs.

On the other hand, Liquid-cooling provides a higher level of efficiency, which is what increases costs. The price difference between these two options could exceed hundreds of dollars.

  • Design:

Another aspect to take into consideration when comparing these two options is the design of each cooler. The air-cooled cooler might include LED lights, although this is not always appreciated.

The liquid cooler usually offers a more professional design. This cooler usually includes a small LED display on which specific data or other images can be displayed.


We can conclude that the liquid cooler is the most efficient option. That is why this cooler is recommended for high-level overclocking or a PC intended for a heavy workload.

An air cooler is a more than acceptable option for a PC intended for light or intermediate activities. In addition, the air cooler is less expensive and easier to install by any user.

Saqib Ali

Saqib Ali, A passionate blogger and Computer Geek help people to build their dream PC. He spends hours in research to pick the right products and then test them and suggest people in guides on Finest Desktop.