Best CPU Cooler for i7 8700k with Liquid AIO & Air

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Built on Intel’s legendary 14nm technology, the 8th generation of Intel’s i7 processors came with excellent performance improvements. The i7 8700K is the top-of-the-line Intel processor from that generation with massive headroom for overclocking.

Gamers and enthusiasts rejoiced when the processor launched, and it quickly became the center of millions of PC builds running at speeds above 5Ghz. 

Unfortunately, all that performance comes at a price. The amount of heat it produces is a severe detriment to its performance and longevity unless it is adequately cooled, having in mind that you are already making the best out of a custom motherboard for an i7-8700k CPU.

To avoid system crashes and thermal throttling, the use of after-market coolers to cool the i7 8700K is a must, as coolers included in the box with the processor just will not cut it.

If you were actually looking for the best CPU cooler for i7-9700k, we got you covered. Check them out!

We decided to put together a guide to help you choose the best cooler for i7 8700K. This was far easier said than done, as we needed to test dozens of after-market cooling solutions from reputable manufacturers, including both the air cooler and AIO liquid cooler options. We managed to narrow down to a list of 8 best i7 8700K coolers that meet our high standards and criteria.

What types of coolers exist for i7-8700k CPUs?

Air Coolers for i7 8700k – PROs & CONs

Air coolers are by far the most popular choice when it comes to cooling CPUs. A large heatsink over the processor accompanied by a powerful fan enables the heat to move from the processor to the heatsink, only to exhaust from the PC case via a fan. Over the years, the design of air coolers made significant strides as better materials and airflow solutions became available. 

Due to their simple design, air coolers remain the most affordable option for cooling a CPU. However, the best air coolers still command a hefty price.

The ease of repair is another excellent advantage that air coolers have since the fan is the only moving and easily replaceable part.

On the other hand, the cooling performance does not match the liquid coolers, with only the most premium models coming within a few degrees. Another major drawback for some is the noise that fans produce when they are working. Finally, some high-end air coolers tend to be bulky and can have compatibility issues with some cases or even get in the way of using regular RAM modules.

AIO Liquid Coolers for i7 8700k – PROs & CONs

Liquid coolers remain the best cooling solutions for CPUs in terms of performance. The liquid cooling solution remains a more efficient way to transfer the heat from the CPU and exhaust it out of the PC case.

On top of that, AIO liquid coolers are nearly silent, something that more PC users are learning to appreciate.

Another advantage is that they come in various sizes, and their low profile is also ideal for small factor builds.

The first downside of AIO liquid coolers is the price. They cannot compete with air coolers due to a much more intricate design, including a water block, radiator, piping, reservoir, and pump. The second issue is that they require a skillful installer to ensure that the liquid does not leak into the PC case and cause a short circuit and destroy all the components.

Best Coolers for i7 8700K in 2021 Compared

We tried to find coolers that offer excellent cooling performance while having a sturdy build quality, attractive design, and value during our testing.

It was not easy to select a few products, as this is a very competitive sector of PC components, and many manufacturers put out quality products. However, we believe that our choices accurately reflect the essential things PC enthusiasts look for in an i7 8700K cooler. Here are our top picks:

ImageProductRatingPrice
Best Cooler for i7 8700k
Noctua NH-D15
Noctua NH-D15

Cooler Type: Air
Noise: 24.6 dB
Fan Compatibility: 140 x 140mm, 120 x 120mm
Rotational Speed: up to 1,500 RPM
Size w/ Fan (HxWxD): 165 x 150 x 161mm
Socket Compatibility: LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1200, LGA2011, LGA2066, AM4, AM3(+), AM2(+), FM2(+)

9.9
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Overclocking i7 8700k
Cooler Master Maker 8
Cooler Master Maker 8

Cooler Type: Air, 3D Vapor Chamber
Noise: 24 dB
Fan Compatibility: 140 x 140mm
Rotational Speed: up to 1,800 RPM
Size w/ Fan (HxWxD): 135 x 145 x 172mm
Socket Compatibility: LGA2011-v3, LGA2011, LGA2066, LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1150, LGA775, AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, FM2+, FM2, FM1

9.6
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Quiet Cooler for i7 8700k
be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

Cooler Type: Air
Noise: 24.3 dB
Fan Compatibility: 135 x 135mm
Rotational Speed: up to 1,500 RPM
Size w/ Fan (HxWxD): 145.7 x 136 x 162.8mm
Socket Compatibility: LGA 1150, LGA 1151, LGA 1155, LGA 1156, LGA 1366, LGA 2011v3, LGA 2066, AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4, FM1, FM2(+)

9.4
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Top Budget Air Cooler
Cooler Master Hyper 212
Cooler Master Hyper 212

Cooler Type: Air
Noise: 26.0 dB
Fan Compatibility: 120 x 120 x 25mm
Rotational Speed: up to 2,000 RPM
Size w/ Fan (HxWxD): 120 x 79.6 x 158.8mm
Socket Compatibility: LGA2066, LGA2011-v3, LGA2011, LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1366, AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2, FM1

9.1
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Mid-Range RGB Cooler
Cooler MasterAir MA410M
Cooler MasterAir MA410M

Cooler Type: Air
Noise: 31.0 dB
Fan Compatibility: 120 x 120mm
Rotational Speed: up to 1,800 RPM
Size w/ Fan (HxWxD): 111.8 x 130.9 x 165.1mm
Socket Compatibility: LGA2066, LGA2011 v3, LGA2011, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1366, AMD: AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2, FM1

8.8
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Top i7 8700k AIO Cooler
Corsair Hydro H150i PRO
Corsair Hydro H150i PRO

Cooler Type: Liquid
Noise: up to 20.0 dB
Fan Compatibility: 120 x 120mm
Rotational Speed: up to 1,600 RPM
Size w/ Fan (HxWxD): 396 x 120 x 27mm
Socket Compatibility: Intel LGA 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066, AM2, AM3, AM4, FM1, FM2

8.4
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Best Budget AIO Cooler
Corsair Hydro H100i PRO
Corsair Hydro H100i PRO

Cooler Type: Liquid
Noise: up to 37.0 dB
Fan Compatibility: 120 x 120mm
Rotational Speed: up to 2,400 RPM
Size w/ Fan (HxWxD): 276 x 120 x 27mm
Socket Compatibility: Intel LGA 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011 3, 2066, AM2, AM3, AM4, FM1, FM2

8.2
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Best RGB AIO Cooler
Corsair H100i PLATINUM
Corsair H100i PLATINUM

Cooler Type: Liquid
Noise: up to 37.0 dB
Fan Compatibility: 120 x 120mm
Rotational Speed: up to 2,400 RPM
Size w/ Fan (HxWxD): 276 x 120 x 27mm
Socket Compatibility: Intel LGA 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011 3, 2066, AM2, AM3, AM4, FM1, FM2

8.2
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1. Noctua NH-D15 – Best CPU Cooler for i7 8700k

Premium i7 8700k CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-D15 - Best Overall Cooler for i7 8700k

Noctua NH-D15 with 2 140mm Fans

Noctua is an Austrian company that purely focuses on producing coolers and fans for PC enthusiasts, and Noctua NH-D15 is their flagship model.

The distinctive design and brown color scheme make it recognizable instantly. This air cooler just floored us in testing. It outperformed much more expensive AIO water coolers and remained very, very quiet.

The two NF-A15 PWM 140mm fans quickly move a lot of air, cooling the CPU while running at 24.3 dB. Some found an issue with the fans’ bland color, and Noctua responded with a blackout version of this cooler. Finally, the only real downside of this cooler is that it is not flashy. No RGB might be a dealbreaker for some that favor that aesthetic.

For the money, this is by far the best air cooler for i7 8700k currently available on the market.

OUR TAKE AT A GLANCE
Of all the coolers we tested, the Noctua NH-D15 checked the most boxes. It is a fantastic performer and incredibly silent. You will never have to worry about the temperature of your CPU if you decide to use it.
PROs
  • Unmatched cooling performance
  • Low noise
  • Excellent build quality
  • Compatibility with numerous sockets
CONs
  • The color scheme might be off-putting to some
  • No RGB support

2. Cooler Master Maker 8 – Ultimate Overclocking CPU Air Cooler for i7 8700k

High-end CPU Air Cooler
Cooler MasterAir Maker 8 - Ultimate Overclocking Air Cooler for i7 8700k

Cooler MasterAir Maker 8

Cooler Master stands for quality cooling solutions, and their MasterAir Maker 8 is no different.

Designed for extreme gaming and overclocking, it is one of the rare coolers that can handle the temperatures that i7 8700K produces when running at the overclocking limit past the 5Ghz mark.

Cooler Master made sure that MasterAir Maker 8 is easy on the eyes and included RGB with the cooler and high quality matte black finish.

Its tower cooler for i7 8700K design has eight heat pipes that do a fantastic job of transferring heat from the CPU to the heatsink.

Our only real complaint was that MasterAir Maker 8 got loud when running at 1,800 RPM under load. Way more audible than the declared 24 dB. This is understandable, though, and it does not take away much from the best cooler for overclocking we tested.

OUR TAKE AT A GLANCE
While many will find it difficult to justify spending this much on an air cooler, hardcore gamers and enthusiasts might see the value in having the absolute best air cooling solution that money can buy.
PROs
  • Fantastic cooling performance
  • Support for extreme overclocking
  • Appealing design and aesthetics
  • RGB support
CONs
  • Price – It costs as much as a solid AIO liquid cooler
  • Noisy under heavy load

3. be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 – Most Quiet CPU Cooler for i7 8700k

Power Cooling at Low dB Levels
be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 - Quiet Cooler for i7 8700k

be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4

This blackout monster from be quiet! offers unmatched acoustic performance for an air cooler. Even in the most extreme conditions, when the processor is under full load, and the Dark Rock Pro 4 BK022 was spinning at 1,500 RPM, the noise was barely noticeable.

Under normal conditions, the Dark Rock Pro 4 was virtually silent. 

We experienced a slight hiccup when installing this monster, as we needed an extra-long screwdriver to reach the screws on the cooler. There is no RGB on this model, making it ideal for more stealthy builds. Otherwise, this is an excellent premium air cooler.

OUR TAKE AT A GLANCE
If you are thinking of putting together a PC build and you value low-noise performance, be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 BK022 is a fantastic cooling choice.
PROs
  • Nearly silent under regular use and just 24.3 dB under heavy load
  • Blackout aesthetic is awesome
  • Excellent build quality
  • Unique 16 heat pipe design
CONs
  • Cooling performance is a step below our top choices
  • Installation required an extra-long screwdriver

4. Cooler Master Hyper – Top Budget CPU Air Cooler for i7 8700k

Black Edition CPU Air Cooler
Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB - Top Budget Air Cooler for i7 8700k

Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB

All of the air coolers we reviewed so far were premium units, suitable for high-end builds. The legendary Hyper 212 from Cooler Master is something different.

At a fraction of the cost of the previously mentioned coolers, Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition still delivers a fantastic cooling performance and even comes with RGB, including an RGB controller.

Hyper 212 comes with a much smaller heatsink, so there is not that much room for overclocking. Yet, this unit keeps the i7 8700K cool and running smoothly at out-of-the-box temperatures.

Cooler Master had to make a compromise or two to bring the price down, and in this case, a smaller heatsink required a more powerful fan.

Running at full load and 2,000 RPM, Hyper 212 is a noisy unit, far beyond the declared 26.0 dB.

OUR TAKE AT A GLANCE
We are yet to find an air cooler that matched the performance of Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition at this price point. As long as you do not mind a bit of noise, this is a best-buy for budget-sensitive PC builds.
PROs
  • Excellent cooling performance
  • Support for RGB integration
  • Excellent build quality
  • Fantastic value
CONs
  • The noise levels are relatively high under full load
  • Smaller heatsink requires the fan to work at high RPM often

5. Cooler Master MA410M – Mid-Range RGB Cooler for an i7 8700k CPU

RGB CPU Air Cooler
Cooler MasterAir MA410M - Mid-Range RGB Cooler for i7 8700k

Cooler MasterAir MA410M

Not all PC builders are willing to sacrifice aesthetics to squeeze out even the last ounce of performance from the processor and the air cooler. Let’s face it; the way that a PC build looks is very important.

Cooler Master caters to this crowd with an entry-level model from their performance MasterAir series, the MA410M.

Equipped with 28 addressable RGBs, the MA410M offers easy synchronization with motherboards that support RGB. Users can choose from various RGB modes to customize their build. All this comes with no sacrifice in the cooling performance, but also one of the loudest fan noises in its class.

OUR TAKE AT A GLANCE
Enthusiasts and gamers who want a flashy build and superior RGB integration should consider the Cooler Master MasterAir MA410M. This dazzling unit offers reliable cooling performance and endless RGB customization options.
PROs
  • Solid cooling performance
  • Solid build quality
  • 28 addressable RGBs for limitless light configurations
  • Premium build quality
CONs
  • Rather loud and no way around it
  • Other units in the same price segment perform better

6. Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO – Best CPU AIO Liquid Cooler for i7 8700k

RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler
Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO - Best AIO  Liquid Cooler for i7 8700K

Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO

When it comes to the best water cooler for i7 8700K, this unit from Corsair simply obliterated the competition.

The Hydro Series H150i PRO RGB AIO and its triple-fan design offer the best-in-class cooling performance coupled with the ultra-quiet fans, producing only 20.0 dB of noise under full load.

RGB synchronization on the water block allows for easy synchronization with other RGB components in the build. The size of the radiator of this AIO limits it only to mid-tower and larger PC cases, though.

The main issue we have with the H150i PRO RGB AIO is that it’s frequently sold out and out of stock.
OUR TAKE AT A GLANCE
Top-of-the-line cooling performance combined with nearly-silent operation makes the Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO RGB AIO the best liquid cooler for i7 8700k.
PROs
  • Fantastic performance
  • RGB synchronization on the water block
  • Premium build quality
  • One of the most silent coolers
CONs
  • Rather expensive
  • Size limits it to larger factor PC builds

7. Corsair Hydro Series H100i PRO – Cheap AIO Liquid Cooler for i7 8700k

RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler
Corsair Hydro Series H100i PRO RGB - Cheap AIO Liquid Cooler for i7 8700k

Corsair Hydro Series H100i PRO RGB

H150i’s smaller brother H100i Pro RGB AIO is Cooler Master’s entry-level AIO cooling solution. Its compact design makes it suitable for most PC cases, and even small factor builds.

The cooling performance is solid but not nearly as silent as on the H150i.

Cooler Master used two 2,400 RPM fans on this build to compensate for one less fan than the bigger brother. The result is 37.0 dB at full load and fan speeds.

Nevertheless, Cooler Master managed to put together an AIO with excellent build quality and reliable performance for just a fraction more than what a premium air cooler goes for. The Zero RPM mode turns off fans for a silent operation when the CPU is not under heavy load.

OUR TAKE AT A GLANCE
Kudos to Cooler Master for putting together an AIO that does no sacrifice a lot at this price point. We recommend this unit as an entry into the liquid cooling world.
PROs
  • Fantastic value
  • Solid cooling performance
  • Excellent build quality
  • Compact
CONs
  • Noisy at full load
  • No RGB fans

8. Corsair H100i RGB PLATINUM – Best RGB AIO CPU Cooler for i7 8700k

AIO Liquid CPU Cooler
Corsair H100i RGB PLATINUM - Best RGB AIO Cooler for i7 8700k

Corsair H100i RGB PLATINUM

The final entry on our i7 8700k coolers’ list is an RGB Platinum Edition of the Corsair’s H100i AIO liquid cooler and our choice for the best budget AIO solution.

This unit brings a powerful RGB capability along with all the mentioned characteristics of its predecessor.

The water block and the fans offer excellent lighting customization and synchronization with RGB-enabled motherboards.

OUR TAKE AT A GLANCE
Cooler Master made sure that gamers and enthusiasts fond of RGB builds are happy with Corsair H100i RGB PLATINUM AIO. At this price, it is difficult to beat its value.
PROs
  • Excellent value
  • Strong performance
  • Powerful RGB customization and synchronization
  • Suitable for PC builds of all sizes
CONs
  • Noisy at full load
  • Often sold out or out of stock

CPU Coolers for i7-8700K FAQs

Are liquid coolers better than air coolers for i7-8700K?

Liquid coolers offer better cooling performance on average than air coolers; however, that comes at a major price increase.

We recommend choosing a liquid cooler only if you are building a high-end PC, and you are planning to overclock the i7 8700K for more performance.

What to look for in a CPU cooler for i7-8700K?

I7 8700K is a high-end processor intended for gaming and content creation. As such, it produces a lot of heat when under load and needs a robust CPU cooler. The absolute top priority should be to keep temperatures as low as possible.

Additionally, you should look for a cooler with solid build quality and durability, and at least bearable noise levels.

How to install a CPU cooler on i7-8700K?

For an air cooler, the procedure is simple. Take the bracket out of the box and install it on the back of the motherboard. Apply a small amount of thermal paste on the CPU. Attach the fan(s) to the heatsink of the cooler. Align the center of the heatsink with the processor, press down, and screw it in. Connect the power cable of the cooler to the motherboard.

The procedure for the AIO liquid coolers is the same, except for the radiator. Your PC case has to support radiator mounting for that specific radiator size.

What CPU cooler should I opt-in for my i7-8700k?

In the end, we are proud to say that our choices all managed to keep the toasty i7 8700K at bay and provide reliable performance. We are still under the spell that Noctua NH-D15 put on us, which is why it is our top overall choice.

Yet, the overall performance for the costs we found in the Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 air cooler and Corsair’s H100i AIO coolers is simply astonishing. These coolers are by all means two sturdy options that everyone should take into consideration when building a new desktop machine.

We believe that we put together a list that should have something for all i7 8700K owners. There is a cooling solution for you on this list, whether you are a gamer, content creator, or productivity wizard.

Andrew Smith