The Best 120mm AIO (2021) | Top Picks + Buyers Guide

best 120mm AIO

The world of PC gaming has had huge leaps in evolution over the last decade. With new innovations happening in the field that allow you to get the most out of your PC. Whether you are a PC gamer, a video editor or using your PC for any other taxing task. It’s important to keep your PC up to date and moving along smoothly so you can do what you do best. And when your computer is busy doing what it needs to do it’s important to keep it warm. Learn how to keep things running smoothly with our Best 120mm AIO Guide.

Position
Best Pick
Budget Pick
Premium Choice
Snapshot
NZXT Kraken M22 120mm - RL-KRM22-01 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler - CAM-Powered - Infinity Mirror Design - Reinforced Extended Tubing - Aer P120mm PWM Radiator Fan (Included) Black
EVGA CLC 120mm All-In-One CPU Liquid Cooler, 1x 120mm Fan, Intel, 5 YR Warranty, 400-HY-CL11-V1
ROG Strix Cooler CPU All-in-one ROG, with addressable RGB Lighting, Aura sync, NCVM Pump Coating and ROG Radiator Fan 1x ROG Fan 120 mm
Price
$79.99
$53.98
$192.41
Position
Best Pick
Snapshot
NZXT Kraken M22 120mm - RL-KRM22-01 - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler - CAM-Powered - Infinity Mirror Design - Reinforced Extended Tubing - Aer P120mm PWM Radiator Fan (Included) Black
Price
$79.99
Position
Budget Pick
Snapshot
EVGA CLC 120mm All-In-One CPU Liquid Cooler, 1x 120mm Fan, Intel, 5 YR Warranty, 400-HY-CL11-V1
Price
$53.98
Position
Premium Choice
Snapshot
ROG Strix Cooler CPU All-in-one ROG, with addressable RGB Lighting, Aura sync, NCVM Pump Coating and ROG Radiator Fan 1x ROG Fan 120 mm
Price
$192.41

Best 120mm AIO Guide

That’s where AIOs (All in One) come in and you should definitely be aware of them. The vast majority of the time the term refers to CPU coolers. And keeping your CPU cool and comfortable is one of the most important parts to maintaining your PC. A bad AIO can mean that your PC simply won’t last very long until your CPU wears out. Which is potentially a very expensive fix. And that’s why we’ve compiled this list of some of the best AIOs that you can get right now! So let’s jump right into our list for The Best 120mm AIO in 2021.

EVGA CLC

We’re starting this list off with an AIO that is both affordable and does a good job of keeping your PC cool. We’ve gone for this cooler from EVGA for its low price and great functionality. At first glance, you can tell that there isn’t really anything special here. No fancy RGB lighting or any colorful patterns and designs. Though there is an RGB option too if that is something you want. What you see is what you get and it’s definitely not going to be flashy enough for some people. Especially those that like their PC to be really flashy on the inside.

In terms of performance, this AIO does a great job of keeping your CPU nice and cool. The neat design it has means it won’t make the insides of your PC look all messy and tangles and that’s really important if you care about aesthetics. The biggest problem with this AIO is that fitting into your PC can be a little fiddly if you aren’t that experienced with installing new components. Plus the airflow provided isn’t as strong as some of the more expensive options on the market. Though it will still do a good job of keeping your CPU cool. It’s just that if you want to ensure that your CPU doesn’t get too hot, you might want to spend some more money. Another benefit is that this cooler is fairly quiet, operating at just 20 decibels. But if you want something that does the job just fine and is still affordable, this is a great option.

Pros:

  • Provides Good Cooling
  • Affordable
  • Looks Very Neat

Cons:

  • Tricky Installation
  • Boring Aesthetics

Check Availability on Amazon!

CoolerMaster MasterLiquid

Our next option on this list is going to appeal a little more to those who want something flashier in their PC. We’ve gone for this AIO from CoolerMaster for its good functionality and cool style. Straight away this definitely looks more premium then our last option. Especially if you’re a gamer and want that particular aesthetic. The lights here are full RGB and can be customised with a controller that the AIO comes with. And in motion it looks great, with the fans emitting a brilliant, vibrant glow. So it has the aesthetics down, but what about the functionality?

In terms of how well it can cool your CPU down, this definitely does the job. The blades of the fan feel sturdy and strong. Allowing plenty of air to circulate around your PC to keep everything cool. The tubing that supplies the cooling liquid feels strong and reliable, which is very important whenever you’re dealing with water near electronics. There are a few reviews on the listing that state that it didn’t really cool their CPU at all. But a lot of other reviews refute that and say it worked great. So the bottom line here is that you should make sure to install the cooler correctly to get the intended effect. And the install can be a little tricky here too so be careful. But bear in mind that you’re still missing out on some of the fancier features that you get with more expensive options. All in all this is a great AIO and you get a lot for what is a pretty affordable price. If you want to save a little money and still get a great cooling experience this is a really good option to go for.

Pros:

  • Provides Good Cooling
  • Affordable
  • RGB Lighting

Cons:

  • Tricky Installation
  • Basic Features

Check Availability on Amazon!

Corsair Hydro Series

Our next option on the list strips away the flashy elements again in favor of performance and reliability. We’ve gone for this cooler from Corsair for its great functionality and relative affordability. So right away you can tell that this is a bit less flashy than our last option. Most notably here there is no RGB backlighting. There’s only the white LED that emits from the Corsair logo on the cooler. So if that’s something that you want from your PC components you’ll be disappointed. But in terms of style, it still has that clean Corsair touch that keeps your PC looking smart.

In terms of the performance here, this is a great cooler. Firstly the build quality here is fantastic and almost every element feels really high quality. Which is a really good place to start. The blades on the fan are able to circulate airflow very well, which is really important considering that’s the one thing it’s supposed to do. Plus the tubing for the liquid feels tough and well made. So there shouldn’t be any problems on that front. It also runs quietly which is going to be great news for those of you that hate noisy PCs. The biggest issue here is that you need to make sure that this AIO will fit into your PC. As there are numerous reports from customers that this cooler didn’t fit into their specific case with their components. So double-check that your AIO will be able to fit inside your PC. But beyond that, this is still a great cooler, although it is approaching that price point that may be too much for some.  If you want a cooler that does a great job and doesn’t break the bank, this is a great one to go for.

Pros:

  • Provides Great Cooling
  • Looks Very Neat
  • Great Build Quality

Cons:

  • Tricky Installation
  • Expensive

Check Availability on Amazon!

NZXT Kraken

Next up on our list, we have a cooler that offers both performance and a subdued aesthetic for people who want the best of both worlds. We’ve gone for this AIO from NZXT for its great functionality and cool visuals that look great inside a PC. So the NZXT Kraken doesn’t really look like anything special at first glance and that’s because it isn’t really. The styling here isn’t as in your face as some other PC components but a little goes a long way. The pump has a really cool RGB design that is subtle but adds a lot to the overall style of your PC.

But let’s get into the cooler itself and see how well it functions. Well right off the bat this is a really well-made AIO. The build quality here is great and the overall design has a very clean sort of feel to it. The fans are powerful and capable of supplying consistent airflow all around your PC. Plus the tubing here feels strong and reliable. The installation seems to be a little easier than other coolers too. Which is a huge plus to those who aren’t gifted with PC building skills. Now there are compatibility issues, as with almost all AIOs, on certain motherboards. So check around and see if you can properly fit it to your PC. Again this cooler is a little on the expensive side which may be too much for some people. But you have to weigh the advantages of maintaining your PC in the long term. If you want an AIO that will definitely do its job and look great while doing it, this is the one for you.

Pros:

  • Provides Great Cooling
  • RGB Lighting
  • Great Build Quality

Cons:

  • Tricky Installation
  • Expensive

Check Availability on Amazon!

ROG Strix Cooler

Our final option on this list is geared towards those that want the absolute best performance out of their cooler. We’ve gone for this option from ASUS with their ROG Strix AIO for its great functionality and cool visuals. Immediately you’ll notice the trademark visual style that almost every product on the ROG Strix line has. The full RGB lighting is here and it looks fantastic. Adding that splash of color to your PC that really makes a difference. Combine that with the general shape of the AIO which is compact and simple. Overall this is a great looking cooler.

But let’s take a closer look at what it can do. Now we have already featured a few coolers that are designed and geared towards the PC gaming crowd and this is no exception. This AIO is designed to keep your CPU nice and cool under even the most strenuous gaming moments and it does that really well. The fan blades are able to provide a good flow of air to your PC. And the tubing feels strong which is extremely important.  Plus it runs really quietly so you shouldn’t be bothered by the noise at all. Now there are a few downsides to this AIO that are worth noting. The software is a little bit annoying to mess around with, which isn’t very fun. It should be alright once you’ve tinkered around with it for a little while, but as a first step, this isn’t an amazing start. That and this cooler is very much on the expensive side. So you should only get this if you are serious about cooling performance. But with that said this is a great cooler and would be a great addition to your gaming PC.

Pros:

  • Provides Great Cooling
  • RGB Lighting
  • Great Build Quality

Cons:

  • Annoying Software
  • Expensive

Check Availability on Amazon!

See Also: Best NAS Case Guide

Best 120mm AIO Buying Guide

If you’ve come this far down the list and you still aren’t really sure which AIO you should get, don’t worry! In this section, we’ll be giving you some extra tips and information that should help you out with your purchase.

Why Choose an AIO?

So the biggest and most important question here is, why should you get an AIO? With air coolers often being the far cheaper and easier option in most cases. You don’t have the risk of water leaking all over your internals. Often the installation is easier and in general, the overall experience is simpler. But there are also issues that come with standard air cooling too.

First up we need to talk about pure science here. Liquid is a much more efficient way of cooling something down because water can transfer the heat much quicker. The goal of both kinds of coolers is the exact same, to redistribute the heat away from the CPU and keep the temperature low. Air coolers use, funnily enough, air to cool down the CPU by expelling the heat generated from the processor to elsewhere in the PC. This method is by far the noisiest and if you’re someone who cares about noisy PCs, this will be an issue. Because you have a fan that is working really hard to expel as much heat as possible, you’re going to be getting some noise.

Liquid cooling uses water or some other kind of distilled combination of liquids. A pump keeps liquid flowing throughout the system and this in combination with a radiator and a reservoir keeps the water cool. The heat block, where the cooler is in contact with the component, has water flowing through it which results in the CPU cooling down. There are a few different kinds of liquid cooling that all involve pretty different methods. You sometimes see PCs with tubes of water all across the insides. This is an Open-loop system and lets you decide where the water is going and how much of it is being pumped around. Another method is the one we’re focusing on today which is the AIO (All in One) method. Which combines a liquid cooler with a fan in order to get the best of both worlds of cooling.

What you need to look out for

Let’s say you’ve decided on the cooler you want and you know exactly what you’re going to get. It arrives the next day and you find out that it doesn’t actually fit onto your motherboard where your CPU is located. This is a big problem and it comes down to the fact that a manufacturer simply can’t take into account every possible PC configuration. The size of your case, where your components are positioned and the kind of motherboard you have are all going to be determining factors here. That, as well as the fact that some AIOs are pretty expensive, means that you want to be careful with your purchase. So the things to look out for are:

  • The size of the AIO that you’re going to buy.
  • The mounting system it has.
  • How much space your computer has.

As long as you pay attention to all of the above and know exactly what you’re getting you should be fine. Just be sure that wherever you buy your AIO from has a good refund policy. Because sometimes you simply don’t know if it will fit until you try it.

Tips:

  • Don’t go for the most expensive option if it isn’t something you absolutely need. Sometimes a mid-range cooler can do just as good as a high-end cooler. It’s all about how much you push your CPU on a day to day basis.
  • Make sure that you know the exact size and dimensions of the AIO that you’re going to buy. Do your best to know if it’ll fit in your PC before committing to the purchase.
  • Pay attention to reviews to see how efficiently the cooler you want actually is.
  • If you don’t have experience with installing PC components at all, ask a friend to help you out. Or find a tutorial on YouTube and pay close attention to avoid damaging any of your components.

Verdict Best 120mm AIO Guide

That’s been our list for The Best 120mm AIO. If it’s helped you out at all, please let us know! Thanks for reading.

About Sam Robins 66 Articles
When not spending his time playing Video Games, Sam is busy planning out the next D&D campaign or wondering which tech upgrade is coming next. After all of that is when he decides to write about them.

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