Best Noctua CPU coolers: Top 11 Options Tested [2023]

Written By Steven Arends

Noctua is an elite name in the scenario of CPU coolers. They constantly make the best CPU coolers.

But they have so many models to choose from that it becomes hard to decide which one to buy.

In a hurry? Check out my #1 noctua cooler.

As an enthusiast and avid gamer, I constantly keep track of the market to gather knowledge about the best coolers on the market. It also helps me to find the best CPU coolers for my gaming rig.

So in this post, I decided to list out the top 11 best Noctua CPU air coolers for different use cases and scenarios to make it easy for anyone to pick one.

Keep reading to find the best Noctua CPU cooler for your PC.

Also, Check out our expert-recommended best low-profile cpu cooler for your chassis.best-noctua-cpu-cooler

Top 11 Noctua CPU Coolers Overview

RankAwardCPU Cooler Name
1Best CPU cooler for overclocked CPUsNoctua NH-D15 chromax.Black
2Best single tower CPU coolerNoctua NH-U12A
3Best compact CPU cooler for overclocked CPUsNoctua NH-D15S chromax.Black
4Best CPU cooler for ATX casesNoctua NH-U14S
5Best top-flow CPU coolerNoctua NH-C14S
6Best compact CPU cooler for Threadripper CPUsNoctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3
7Best CPU cooler for ITX PCsNoctua NH-U9S chromax.Black
8Best CPU cooler for regular PCsNoctua NH-U12S chromax.Black
9Best compact CPU cooler for Intel CPUsNoctua NH-L9i chromax.Black
10Best CPU cooler for HTPCNoctua NH-L12S
11Best compact CPU cooler for AMD CPUsNoctua NH-L9x65 SE-AM4

A powerful CPU outputs a lot of heat, and it’s essential to remove that efficiently from the PC case. Otherwise, the CPU will be thermal throttling and give less performance than what it’s capable of. Therefore, a decent CPU cooler is a must-buy.

Check out our experts tested and reviewed the Cooler Master ML240R.

So here are the top 11 best Noctua CPU coolers:

1. Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black

The Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black is the best CPU air cooler in the market that beats even the top-rated liquid coolers.

Top notable features of the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black:

  • dual tower 140mm CPU cooler
  • 2x NF-A15 140mm PWM fans
  • SecuFirm2 mounting system
  • NT-H1 thermal compound
  • optional NA-HC3 and NA-HC4 heatsink covers for different color schemes

noctua-nh-d15Check Today's Price of Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black ➜➜

The CPU cooler is enormous. With its dual-tower structure, its height goes up to 160mm. Make sure your PC case is big enough to fit it.

If it fits, then you are in for a treat. The dual-tower heat sink and its six heat pipes make for a more extensive surface area and better heat dissipation. Together with the highly-rated dual NF-A15 140mm PWM fans, it is the most performing CPU air cooler in the market.

The air cooling performance of it is so mind-blowing that it rivals even the best AIOs in the market. The CPU cooler also excels at noise levels and build quality.

For a cooler of this size and with two fans, it is surprisingly quiet. The Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black is an all-black version of the highly praised Noctua D15, and the color scheme is super sleek with a stealthy look. Together with the premium build, this CPU cooler looks and feels superb.

Also, don’t forget to check out our best fanless CPU cooler for silently operating your PC.

It provides RAM clearance of up to 64mm in height in single fan mode thanks to its recessed lower fins. In dual fan mode, you can only use standard height memory modules at just 32mm.

To sum up, the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black is the best choice for overclockers and enthusiasts for cooling their flagship CPUs efficiently with an air cooler.

Pros
  • »excellent cooling performance
  • »superb results on overclocked CPUs
  • »enough RAM modules clearance in single fan mode
  • »low noise levels for the performance
Cons
  • »unable to use tall RAM in dual fan mode

2. Noctua NH-U12A

The Noctua NH-U12A is one of the best single tower 120mm CPU coolers.

Key highlights of the Noctua NH-U12A:

  • 2x NF-A12x25 120mm PWM fans included
  • 5th generation of Noctua’s NH-U12 series
  • seven copper heat pipes
  • NT-H1 thermal compound applied
  • 158mm in height

noctua-nh-u12aCheck Today's Price of Noctua NH-U12A ➜➜

Noctua’s legacy of producing high-performing CPU coolers stays true here. The Noctua NH-U12A is one of the best performing 120mm air coolers out there that manages to rival even the best 140mm CPU cooler.

The nickel plating, seven copper heat pipes, and aluminum fins provide a solid performance while air cooling even the hottest CPUs in the market. The two NF-A12x25 120mm PWM fans do a stellar job providing an exceptional airflow to the heatsink at push-pull configuration. The fans excel at acoustics too.

Check out the award-winning best nzxt aio cooler this month.

Now let’s talk about the design.

The cooler stands 158mm tall, low enough to fit most mATX and ATX cases. The asymmetrical design of the cooler allows it not to hang over the RAM slots on Intel LGA 115x and AMD AM4 motherboards, which many coolers of this size do.

It comes with the highly acclaimed Noctua NT-H1 thermal compound pre-applied, which is a nice touch. Except for the brown and beige color scheme, which some might not like, everything about the Noctua NH-U12A is as perfect as it gets.

Also, don’t forget to check out our best RGB CPU Air Coolers.

Pros
  • »amazing cooling
  • »highly compatible on most motherboards
  • »two efficient PWM fans included
Cons
  • »color scheme

3. Noctua NH-D15S chromax.Black

The Noctua NH-D15S chromax.Black is a compact version of one of the top-performing CPU air coolers from Noctua.

Top Features of the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.Black:

  • dual tower asymmetrical design
  • recessed lower fins
  • 1x NF-A15 PWM 140mm fan included
  • 65mm clearance for RAM modules
  • optional NA-HC3 and NA-HC4 heatsink covers and NA-SAVP3 anti-vibration pads

noctua-nh-d15sCheck Today's Price of Noctua NH-D15S chromax.Black ➜➜

The main selling point of this cooler is its minimal footprint. The Noctua NH-D15S chromax.Black is a slimmed-down version of the Noctua NH-D15 chromax.Black.

It retains the dual tower aluminum heatsink for increased heat dissipation area but reduces the width by mounting only one fan instead of two. The heatsink is also asymmetrical, meaning it does not cover the primary PCIe slot.

It has recessed fins, so you are free to install tall memory modules of up to 65mm. That means the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.Black provides excellent compatibility with LGA 115x or AM4 sockets and LGA 20xx sockets where RAM slots are present on both sides of the CPU.

Check out the cpu cooler with TR4 socket compatibility.

And the best part?

The superior cooling capacity of the NH-D15 stays here, too, for the most part. So you get almost the same thermals but with improved compatibility at a smaller footprint.

If you don’t like the all-black color scheme, Noctua has optional heatsink covers that match various color schemes. So that’s a plus.

Overall, I would highly recommend the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.Black to anyone looking for the top cooling performance CPU cooler but at a slightly smaller size.

Follow our guide to fix CPU cooler clicking noise without any hassle.

Pros
  • »top-notch thermal performance
  • »virtually silent
  • »excellent compatibility
Cons
  • »wouldn’t fit into smaller than regular cases

4. Noctua NH-U14S

The Noctua NH-U14S is a compact but high-performance 140mm single tower CPU cooler for top-end CPUs.

Top highlights of the Noctua NH-U14S:

  • 1x NF-A15 140mm PWM fan
  • 140mm single tower heatsink with six heat pipes
  • 52mm slim shape
  • support SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system
  • 165x150mm footprint
  • enough RAM modules clearance for LGA 2066 and 2011

noctua-nh-u14sCheck Today's Price of Noctua NH-U14S ➜➜

The Noctua NH-U14S is a slim version of the Noctua NH-U14. As a result, it shares most of the features with it, but there are some differences.

The slim 52mm heatsink enables it to fit into most motherboards. It is essential since many CPU coolers of this caliber don’t fit into small spaces.

The height and width are 165mm and 150mm, making it fit into most desktop cases and provide compatibility with SLI and Crossfire setups with multiple GPUs. So if you’re looking for a high-performance CPU cooler that can fit in regular PC cases, it is the top choice for you.

The award-winning NF-A15 140mm PWM fan ensures you get as silent a CPU cooler as possible while outputting enough air to make your CPU temperatures low.

Also, check out our tested quietest cpu cooler for your PC.

Speaking of temperatures,

The Noctua NH-U14S is a sound performer in thermals. Noctua regularly makes the top-performing CPU coolers, and it is no different. It’s astonishingly capable of cooling down CPUs due to its excellent aerodynamics and thermal design.

All in all, if you have got a regular-sized gaming rig and want the best well-rounded air cooler, simply go for the Noctua NH-U14S.

Pros
  • »superior performance in cooling
  • »almost quiet
  • »highly efficient
  • »fits on most regular PC cases
Cons
  • »some find the color scheme blunt

5. Noctua NH-C14S

The NH-C14S is a highly effective top-flow 140mm CPU cooler from Noctua.

Some of the features of the NH-C14S:

  • top-flow design
  • adjustable to a great extent
  • 1x NF-A14 PWM 140mm fan in the box
  • support up to 70mm RAM modules height clearance

noctua-nh-c14sCheck Today's Price of Noctua NH-C14S ➜➜

Instead of going for a traditional design, the NH-C14S goes for a C-shaped top-flow design. You can fit the fan either below or above the heatsink as you wish.

The included fan is an NF-A14 fan which is a 140mm PWM fan from Noctua. The fan contributes a ton to the efficiency of this model.

Apart from that, the design allows for a varied cooling mechanism. The performance mainly depends on the orientation and design of the PC case. But for the most part, the CPU cooler performs excellently.

The unique design also enables it to fit into most HTPC or office desktop PCs. Especially since the cooler measures only 115mm in height when the fan is mounted below. That’s a shorter height than most CPU coolers.

Don’t forget to check out the best alternatives to dark rock pro 4 cpu cooler.

However,

If you mount the fan at the top, then the RAM module clearance goes to a whopping 70mm in height, which is more than you’ll ever need.

The air cooler is slightly hard to install given the different design choices, but for the most part, the Noctua NH-C14S performs great and provides broad compatibility, which is more important.

Pros
  • »effective cooling
  • »lots of ways to mount it
  • »low noise operation
  • »easily fits in most HTPC or office desktops
Cons
  • »slightly hard to install

6. Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3

The Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3 is a top-notch compact CPU cooler made especially for Threadripper and Epyc processor.

Key highlights of the Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3:

  • supported on AMD sTRX4/TR4/SP3 platform
  • compact 92mm single tower cooler
  • 2x NF-A9 PWM 92mm fans in the box
  • NT-H1 thermal compound

noctua-nh-u9Check Today's Price of Noctua NH-U9 ➜➜

The air cooler aims to cool down some of the hottest CPUs in the market, the Threadripper and Epyc CPU lineup from AMD.

Thanks to the highly efficient heat sink design and airflow, the two 92mm NF-A9 PWM fans are sufficient to make these CPUs hover at ideal temperatures.

Yes, you heard it right.

The Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3 is a 92mm compact CPU cooler. And that means it can comfortably fit into most desktop cases. At 125mm height, it can even fit into a 4u size rack-mount server chassis.

Also, check out our expert’s recommended best cooler master cpu coolers.

The only caveat is that since it’s a compact 92mm CPU cooler, it might keep the top-of-the-line Threadripper CPUs wanting more cooling, especially if it’s an overclocked one.

Other than that, the Noctua NH-U9 TR4-SP3 is as good as it gets.

Pros
  • »solid cooling performance
  • »fan with low noise levels
  • »compact enough to fit into most cases and 4u chassis
Cons
  • »overclocked Threadripper CPUs need something better

7. Noctua NH-U9S chromax.Black

The Noctua NH-U9S chromax.Black is a true compact air CPU cooler for ITX PCs.

Top highlights of the Noctua NH-U9S chromax.Black:

  • 92mm single tower CPU cooler
  • 95x95mm footprint
  • 100% compatibility with tall RAM modules and PCIe cards on mini-ITX
  • 1x NF-A9 PWM fan included
  • NT-H1 thermal compound pre-applied

noctua-nh-u9sCheck Today's Price of Noctua NH-U9S chromax.Black ➜➜

Very often, while building a compact PC, sacrifice has to be made in thermal performance to find a small size CPU cooler. And here, it makes the difference.

The footprint of the air cooler is 95x95mm, enough to fit into most ITX cases. But don’t let the size fool you, as it packs quite some cooling performance in it.

The single tower CPU cooler proves to be capable of cooling CPUs sufficiently well. It easily outperforms other CPU coolers of its size.

If you want to overclock your CPU, here are some awesome budget best cpu cooler for overclocking.

Other than that,

The CPU cooler doesn’t produce much noise even at full load. It guarantees 100% compatibility with tall RAM and PCIe slots on mini-ITX cases.

Therefore it’s a compact CPU cooler that performs better, runs quiet, and compatible with ITX motherboards. That’s a perfect combo for a CPU cooler in an ITX PC.

Just don’t let yourself think that the Noctua NH-U9S chromax.Black will perform toe-to-toe with the bigger and more powerful Noctua CPU coolers, and you will not be disappointed.

Also, check out our separate post on does a CPU cooler need a backplate.

Pros
  • »top-notch cooling for the size
  • »compatible with ITX motherboards and cases
  • »low noise operation
Cons
  • »not enough for high TDP or overclocked CPUs

8. Noctua NH-U12S chromax.Black

The Noctua NH-U12S chromax.Black is an incredible addition to Noctua’s lineup of 120mm CPU coolers.

Notable features of the Noctua NH-U12S chromax.Black:

  • 120mm single tower air cooler
  • excellent case, RAM modules, and PCIe compatibility
  • 1x NF-F12 120mm PWM fan
  • SecuFirm2 mounting system

noctua-nh-u12sCheck Today's Price of Noctua NH-U12S chromax.Black ➜➜

The air cooler represents a slim version of the Noctua NH-U12. Just like other slim versions discussed earlier, this one also targets to provide almost the same cooling but at a smaller footprint.

And it is successful. The Noctua NH-U12S chromax.Black is by far one of the most selling CPU coolers in Noctua’s entire lineup.

The height is 158mm, providing enough clearance for most mATX or ATX cases. The slim 45mm thickness ensures it doesn’t overhang the RAM slots even using two fans and guarantees it won’t block PCIe slots on most motherboards.

Don’t forget to check out the list of the best cpu coolers for LGA 1200 socket compatibility.

On the use of this cooler, most CPUs will hover around ambient temperature at medium loads. Even at high loads, the CPUs don’t tend to cross 50°C. That’s amazing for having a stable gaming experience.

The included fan is an NF-F12 PWM 120mm focused flow fan. It is virtually silent at idle, provides guided airflow to the heatsink, and has PWM for automatic RPM control.

Overall, if you want a regular-sized CPU cooler that can cool down your CPU modestly, the Noctua NH-U12S chromax.Black is a pretty reliable option.

Pros
  • »stable thermal performance
  • »quieter than most CPU coolers
  • »easy to install
  • »regular-sized
Cons
  • »not suitable for overclocked CPUs

9. Noctua NH-L9i chromax.Black

The Noctua NH-L9i chromax.Black is a low-profile CPU cooler intended for use in ITX cases and HTPCs.

Key highlights of the Noctua NH-L9i chromax.Black:

  • low profile CPU cooler for Intel LGA 115x sockets
  • 37mm height
  • 95x95mm footprint
  • 1x NF-A9x14 low profile PWM fan included
  • separate AM4 bracket

noctua-nh-l9i-chromax-blackCheck Today's Price of Noctua NH-L9i chromax.Black ➜➜

The CPU cooler’s height, including the fan, is just 37mm, which is insane. The footprint covers 95×95 mm.

What does that mean?

Well, it will fit any mini-ITX motherboards and will not block the PCIe slot or overhang the RAM modules due to its minimal footprint. The minimal height ensures it fits into even the smallest PC cases with tight spaces.

Despite being low profile, it provides enough cooling performance to give you stable gaming or working experience without thermal throttling.

Sure,

It won’t rival the other big Noctua coolers, but it isn’t supposed to be at a fraction of the size. As a result, it will not be capable of preventing overclocked CPUs from thermal throttling.

The Noctua NH-L9i chromax.Black is designed especially for Intel LGA 115x motherboards, but you can also get an AM4 mounting bracket to use with AMD CPUs.

Have some time to spare? Quickly check out our epic guide on how to fix CPU fan not detected in BIOS.

Pros
  • »high-quality thermal performance
  • »ultra-compact
  • »suitable for most ITX PCs
  • »increased airflow and quiet fan
  • »easy to install
Cons
  • »not for the most demanding CPU

10. Noctua NH-L12S

If you are looking for a versatile and high-performance, low-profile cooler, then the Noctua NH-L12S is a solid choice.

Top highlights of the Noctua NH-L12S:

  • low profile CPU air cooler
  • 1x NF-A12x15 PWM 120mm fan
  • up to 48mm height clearance for RAM
  • 70mm lowest height
  • SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system

noctua-nh-l12sCheck Today's Price of Noctua NH-L12S ➜➜

The Noctua NH-L12S is a successor to the NH-L12, with improved efficiency, flexibility, and compatibility. Let’s discuss them.

The flexibility of this cooler is excellent. Unlike most low-profile coolers, which provide almost no flexibility, here you get a lot. The heatsink is a C-shaped one so that you can mount the fan either up or down.

If you install the fan at the top, you get up to 48mm of RAM clearance, a lot for small motherboards. If the fan is at the bottom, the height of the entire module reduces to just 70mm, making it suitable for most ITX cases or HTPCs.

Here’s a complete guide on how to fix CPU fan not spinning.

The fan in question here is the NF-A12x15 model, a silent and slim 120mm fan with PWM support. It is an improvement over the 92mm fan on the NH-L12, providing higher airflow and higher efficiency.

Lastly, the flexibility of the Noctua NH-L12S makes it compatible with most cases and motherboards, including the mini-ITX category. The SecuFirm2 mounting system and the NT-H1 thermal compound stay here, too, just like other CPU coolers in this list.

Pros
  • »high efficiency
  • »superb flexibility
  • »excellent thermal management
  • »low noise
Cons
  • »might not go well with RGB color schemes

11. Noctua NH-L9x65 SE-AM4

The Noctua NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 is another low-profile offering from Noctua specially designed for the AM4 platform.

Some of the highlights of the Noctua NH-L9x65 SE-AM4:

  • low profile CPU cooler for AMD AM4 socket
  • 1x NF-A9x14 PWM 92mm fan included
  • 65mm tall
  • 95x95mm footprint
  • NT-H1 thermal compound applied

noctua-nh-l9x65Check Today's Price of Noctua NH-L9x65 ➜➜

The cooler is a low-profile one and shares a lot with the NH-L9i chromax.Black mentioned above. The main noticeable difference is the color scheme, as it goes for a traditional Noctua brown and beige color scheme.

The footprint is the same with 95x95mm, while the height increases to 65mm. The heatsink of the Noctua NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 is relatively thicker than the former model, making it possess more surface area and hence be more efficient.

Another main difference is the platform. The NH-L9i is designed for Intel LGA 115x sockets, while the Noctua NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 aims for the AMD AM4 platform. So it will provide better compatibility and clearance on AM4 motherboards out of the box, including ITX ones.

A 92mm NF-A9x14 PWM fan is included, which does a decent job of providing airflow. You also get the easy-to-install SecuFirm2 mounting system and pre-applied thermal compound.

Just don’t use it in an overclocked CPU or any CPU with more than 95W TDP,  and you will get the best air cooling performance possible in this small low profile cooler.

Check out the easiest way to fix CPU cooler not lighting up.

Pros
  • »efficient cooling
  • »highly compact
  • »enough RAM, heatsink, PCIe clearance on ITX motherboards
  • »quiet operation
Cons
  • »not for CPUs over 95W TDP

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. These are the best CPU coolers available on the market from Noctua. Which picks your attention?

I like the Noctua NH-D15S chromax.Black for its superior cooling, quiet operation, and ability to handle overclocked CPUs while fitting into most regular PC cases. I also like the NH-L9i due to its ultimate compact, low profile design and improved efficiency.

Leave a Comment