5 Best PC Radiators for Water Cooling [2024]

Written By Steven Arends

If you’re building a PC with a custom water cooling loop, then you’d want to find the most suitable radiator for your PC.best-water-cooling-radiator

After all, the radiator is the most important component in the custom water cooling loop.

To help you reduce confusion and find the best radiator for your PC, we have gone through the best-selling products from renowned brands. After that, we hand-picked the best radiators for different use cases, and Corsair Hydro X Series XR5 comes up as the overall best pick.

After reading through this post, you’ll have a clear idea of which radiator to get for your PC. Let’s check them out.

5 Best PC Water Cooling Radiators

AwardModelRadiator Size
Editor's PickCorsair Hydro X Series XR5360mm
Most ReliableHardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 360 GTS360mm
Best Slim RadiatorXSPC TX240 Ultrathin240mm
Best 480mm RadiatorThermaltake Pacific RL480480mm
Best Build QualityAlphacool NexXxos XT45 Full Copper 420mm Radiator V.2420mm

In a DIY water cooling setup, the radiator would determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the PC. So, it’s super important you get the most suitable radiator for your PC.

There are a handful of brands offering numerous radiator models across different series or branding. They differ in dimensions, cooling capacity, radiator size, and other areas. So we have categorized the top radiators so that it’s easy for you to find out the best radiator for your needs.

Here are the best PC radiators for liquid cooling:

1. Editor’s Pick: Corsair Hydro X Series XR5



Radiator size: 360mm
Fin spacing: 16 FPI
Thickness: 30mm
Dimensions: 396mm x 120mm x 30mm

  • »Solid build quality
  • »Great cooling performance
  • »Popular choice
  • »Easy installation
  • »Compatible with other Corsair products
  • »None

Why We Picked It

We picked the Corsair Hydro X Series XR5 and awarded it as the Editor’s Pick because it checks all the boxes and comes out as the overall winner. From build quality to cooling performance – it gets everything right.

The radiator uses copper and brass as materials together with polyurethane coating. Compared to most radiators on the market, this one feels more well-built and resonates with confidence. For a liquid cooling setup, you need that confidence as a radiator with good build quality is less likely to leak in the future.

The 360mm radiator comes and has a dense fin density of 16 fins per inch (FPI). It has a moderate thickness of 30mm, which will fit into most mid and full-tower PC cases. The 25-micron-thick cooling fins ensure there’s enough surface area for high-performance cooling.

As the cooling performance is above average, you’re not forced to use powerful fans with the radiator. You can use low-noise fans and enjoy optimal cooling with no issues.

The radiator uses industry-standard mounts and screws, allowing for easy installation and wide compatibility. Screw protection plates are present to prevent damage done by over-tightened screws.

The Corsair Hydro X Series XR5 seems to be a popular choice among custom water cooling enthusiasts and comes with a 3-year warranty. So you can rely on the Corsair radiator easily.

Who It’s For

Since the Corsair Hydro X Series XR5 is well-built and provides high-performance cooling, we can recommend the product for all custom cooling setups unless there are any specific needs. Corsair Hydro X Series XR5 also has the radiator at 120mm, 240mm, 280mm, and 420mm models, so you can choose one based on your needs.


The Corsair Hydro X Series XR5 is the best overall pick in the list, with an efficient cooling performance, solid build quality, easy installation process, and justifiable pricing.

2. Most Reliable: Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 360 GTS



Radiator size: 360mm
Fin spacing: 16 FPI
Thickness: 29.6mm
Dimensions: 398mm x 133mm x 29.6mm

  • »Highly reliable radiator
  • »Low-profile fan support
  • »Superb cooling performance
  • »Bigger than other 360mm radiators

Why We Picked It

We picked the Black Ice Nemesis 360 GTS as it’s got quite a reputation among DIY water cooling enthusiasts. It’s a well-rounded product that packs enough performance under the hood.

The two key features of the radiator that make it stand out amongst others are low-profile fan support and reliability. The solid build quality and custom Dark Matter finish ensure the product looks and feels good.

A well-built product also indicates that it’s less prone to leakage. Together with their long reputation of reliability and lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects, you can safely rely on this radiator if water leaking is your main concern.

The Black Ice Nemesis 360 GTS supports using low-profile fans, and it’s optimized for 800 RPM or lower quiet fans. Usually, the radiator performance degrades with low-profile fans. But you don’t get to see it here as the cooling performance is optimized for such cases.

We found the width of this 360mm slightly higher than most other 360mm radiators, and you need to double check this radiator fits in your PC case.

Who It’s For

The Black Ice Nemesis 360 GTS is suitable for those who are skeptical about custom water cooling and want a highly reliable radiator for their PC. If you’re targeting lower noise emissions from the PC, this radiator can contribute to that aspect quite a lot.


The Black Ice Nemesis 360 GTS aces at cooling performance and is optimized for low-profile fans that emit low noise. Reliability is a strong factor for the radiator, so anyone can safely pick this radiator.

3. Best Slim Radiator: XSPC TX240 Ultrathin



Radiator size: 240mm
Fin spacing: 22 FPI
Thickness: 20.5mm
Dimensions: 278mm x 125mm x 20.5mm

  • »Worlds thinnest radiator
  • »High surface area
  • »Better cooling than other thin radiators
  • »Less cooling performance than thicker radiators

Why We Picked It

There is a rise in interest in small PC builds, and enthusiasts want to fit a custom water cooling kit inside such small PCs.

The XSPC TX240 Ultrathin claims to be the world’s thinnest PC radiator. XSPC claims the 20.5mm thick radiator is 20% thinner than a regular 120mm fan.

Usually, a thin radiator means less surface area and less cooling. But due to the use of high-density splitter fins, the surface area is not drastically reduced, and cooling performance is better than other thin radiators.

But needless to say, it will not give your PC the same level of cooling as the previously mentioned radiators in this post.

Besides the compact size, you can use low-noise fans with the radiator. As the thickness of the core, as well as the flow restriction, is relatively low, low-noise fans with slower speeds do not drastically reduce the heat removal rate. So you get decent cooling performance out of it.

The build quality of the radiator is quite decent and we have a matte black finish here, which blends quite well inside the PC case.

Who It’s For

If you have a small and compact PC build, the XSPC TX240 Ultrathin is a strong contender as it’s the thinnest radiator available with a decent cooling performance.

You also get low-speed fan support and a matte black finish for aesthetics.


The XSPC TX240 Ultrathin punches above its league in terms of cooling capacity. Despite having a slim dimension and compact size, it can produce decent results. If other radiators are too big for your PC, you can safely go with this one.

4. Best 480mm Radiator: Thermaltake Pacific RL480



Radiator size: 480mm
Fin spacing: 14 FPI
Thickness: 64mm
Dimensions: 522.5mm x129mm x 64mm

  • »High-performance 480mm radiator
  • »Superior materials used
  • »Not much popular among DIY cooling enthusiasts

Why We Picked It

The main reason to pick the Thermaltake Pacific RL480 is that it’s a solid offering with a 480mm radiator.

Usually, the 480mm radiator market is quite narrow, as there aren’t many PC cases that can accommodate a radiator of that size. Among the few options available, the Thermaltake radiator stands out as a top pick.

The build quality and materials used are superior. You get high-quality German zinc alloy aluminum in this radiator, which should provide great durability and longevity.

Thermaltake also ensured to take proper measures against leakage. All the connections in the radiator are rigid and perfectly sealed to resist leaking.

Though the cooling performance is nothing to write home about, it gets the job done and will provide adequate cooling for its size.

Thermaltake is not the first brand that DIY liquid cooling enthusiasts typically think about while buying radiators. However, we found this particular radiator quite decent. And it doesn’t break the bank.

Who It’s For

The Thermaltake Pacific RL480 is for those who need a beefy 480mm radiator with solid build quality. These are the two main aspects of this radiator.


The Thermaltake Pacific RL480 is a decent offering as a plus-size 480mm radiator. There aren’t many 480mm radiators on the market, and this product checks all the marks of a decent radiator. For the size, it’s inexpensive and you can easily go with it.

5. Best Build Quality: Alphacool NexXxos XT45 Full Copper 420mm Radiator V.2



Radiator size: 420mm
Fin spacing: 12 FPI
Thickness: 45.5mm
Dimensions: 460mm x 143mm x 45.5mm

  • »Top-notch build quality
  • »Flexible mounting
  • »Solid cooling capacity
  • »Slightly expensive

Why We Picked It

We picked the Alphacool NexXxos XT45 V2 for its build quality. It has the best build quality and engineering among all the radiators mentioned in this list.

Alphacool has gone a long way to ensure you get the best quality build and solid materials in this radiator. The engineering and thought behind the product are also praiseworthy.

Sometimes in a custom cooling setup, you need the flexibility from the radiator to fulfill your goals or creativity. This radiator offers flexible mounting by using different inlet and outlet positions. It’s a step in the right direction.

Now about the cooling, it does a decent job on that. The cooling performance is comparable to the top-of-the-line radiators and that’s why this product is on the list.

Alphacool radiators tend to be a bit more expensive than other brands, but that’s justifiable given the engineering behind the product.

Who It’s For

If you prefer quality and want to get a product that just feels solid and well-built, the Alphacool NexXxos XT45 V2 is for you.


The Alphacool NexXxos XT45 V2 is a well-built radiator from Alphacool that offers great flexibility, solid cooling performance, and a nice design.

How We Chose The Best PC Water Cooling Radiators

There are a handful of criteria to analyze to find the top water cooling radiators for PC. We have carefully analyzed all these criteria to handpick the best of the bunch.

Using an AIO (all-in-one) water cooler is the mainstream approach for water cooling a PC. It’s easier, faster, and doesn’t require the same level of expertise as installing a DIY water cooling loop.

Hence, compared to the AIO market, the market of radiators is smaller and it needs careful planning to successfully install a water cooling loop.

Here are the factors that we considered while choosing the top PC radiators:

Cooling Performance

The most important aspect of the radiator is its cooling performance. So we gave the most importance to the cooling performance by comparing how each radiator performs in a high-end PC. We compared the temperature readings across different loads.

FPI is very important in the case of radiators. It is also called the surface area. The more FPI in the radiator, the more surface area you have for cooling.

Build Quality and Design

The next point of comparison was the build quality and design of the radiator. Radiators need to be built well to ensure there’s no leakage from them, otherwise, your expensive PC will be at stake.

Using the right materials in the construction of the radiator also impacts the cooling performance. If the correct materials are not used, it will reduce the heat flow and thermal efficiency of the radiator.

If you’re building a DIY water-cooling PC, most probably you also care about the aesthetics. So we also focused on the design of the radiator and the fit and finishing of it.


The size of the radiator is another important factor. There’s no point in buying a radiator that won’t fit your PC case or the water cooling setup. So we mentioned the radiator size and dimensions in the list.

It is true that the bigger the radiator is, the more fans they have which results in better cooling. But the fact is, you don’t want a bulky radiator if you have short case specs.

Noise Reduction

Pushing air through larger gaps means less noise. As the fins are more compactly arranged, airflow can create noise. In this case, static pressure fans come in handy and act as noise reduction to your system.

Overall, it depends on how much coolant you are using in your loop and what you want to cool.


What brands of radiators are best for water cooling?

Radiators from brands like Corsair, EKWB, Hardware Labs, XSPC, Alphacool, and Phobya are best for water cooling.

Is a thicker radiator better for water cooling?

A thicker radiator is better for water cooling if it has enough high-speed fans or the fans are in a push-pull configuration. Otherwise, the thicker radiator will give worse thermal efficiency.

What material is best for a PC radiator?

Copper and aluminum are the two most-used materials in a PC radiator. Aluminum radiators are lighter and stronger and are more suitable for PC radiators.


Radiators are one of the most crucial components in a water-cooled PC. If you are in the market for a decent radiator, there are a lot of things to keep in mind.

We have cured a list of the best radiators available now for water-cooling PCs and you can pick one from the above options based on your needs.

About The Author
Steven Arends is a computer science graduate and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a vast collection of computer hardware and loves exploring the latest advancements. As a contributing author to 10Scopes, Steven shares his expertise to make the world of technology more accessible and easier to understand for all readers.

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