Top Low Profile CPU Cooler (2020)

We think you will agree that purchasing a new low-profile cooling fan can be confusing, especially if you don’t know which socket works well. Fortunately, we researched 5 of the best exhaust fans and chose the Scythe Fuma 2 as the best low profile CPU cooler available thanks to its support for diverse sockets and guaranteed maintained temperatures (more info below).

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Top Pick
Scythe Fuma 2 Air CPU Cooler, Intel LGA1151, AMD AM4/Ryzen, 120mm Dual Towers, Black Top Cover
be quiet! Shadow Rock LP, BK002, 130W TDP, CPU Cooler, Low Profile
Noctua NH-L9x65, Premium Low-Profile CPU Cooler (65mm, Brown)
ARCTIC Alpine 12 - CPU Cooler for Intel Sockets 115x, 92 mm PWM Fan, up to 95 W Cooling Power, with Pre-Applied MX-2 Thermal Compound, Easy Installation
Noctua NH-L12S, Premium Low Profile CPU Cooler with Quiet 120mm PWM Fan (Brown)
Title
Scythe Fuma 2
be quiet! Shadow Rock LP
Noctua NH-L9x65
ARCTIC Alpine 12
Noctua NH-L12S
Socket
Intel LGA 775, 1150/1151/1155/1156/1366, 2011(V3)Square ILM, 2066 Square ILM, AMD AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4, FM1, FM2(+)
Intel 775, 115x, 1366, LGA2011, square ILM, AMD AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4, FM1, FM2(+)
Intel LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA2011, LGA2066, AMD AM2 (+), AM3 (+) FM1, FM2 (+) AM4
Intel 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156
Intel LGA115x, LGA2011, LGA2066, AMD AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4, FM1, FM2(+)
Top Pick
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Scythe Fuma 2 Air CPU Cooler, Intel LGA1151, AMD AM4/Ryzen, 120mm Dual Towers, Black Top Cover
Title
Scythe Fuma 2
Socket
Intel LGA 775, 1150/1151/1155/1156/1366, 2011(V3)Square ILM, 2066 Square ILM, AMD AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4, FM1, FM2(+)
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be quiet! Shadow Rock LP, BK002, 130W TDP, CPU Cooler, Low Profile
Title
be quiet! Shadow Rock LP
Socket
Intel 775, 115x, 1366, LGA2011, square ILM, AMD AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4, FM1, FM2(+)
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Noctua NH-L9x65, Premium Low-Profile CPU Cooler (65mm, Brown)
Title
Noctua NH-L9x65
Socket
Intel LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA2011, LGA2066, AMD AM2 (+), AM3 (+) FM1, FM2 (+) AM4
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ARCTIC Alpine 12 - CPU Cooler for Intel Sockets 115x, 92 mm PWM Fan, up to 95 W Cooling Power, with Pre-Applied MX-2 Thermal Compound, Easy Installation
Title
ARCTIC Alpine 12
Socket
Intel 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156
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Noctua NH-L12S, Premium Low Profile CPU Cooler with Quiet 120mm PWM Fan (Brown)
Title
Noctua NH-L12S
Socket
Intel LGA115x, LGA2011, LGA2066, AMD AM2(+), AM3(+), AM4, FM1, FM2(+)

Best Low Profile CPU Cooler

The Scythe Fuma 2 is the best example of what a low-profile CPU cooler should be. It sports a very simple design but a quite powerful performance that can drastically reduce the heat of an overclocking CPU.

Pros:
  • Fits on almost any motherboard
  • Good airflow
  • Strong build
Cons:
  • Will not work on an older PC
  • Expensive
  • Not that quiet

Small, simple and serene. Those are the best words described for the Scythe Fuma 2. Thanks to its abundant socket support, the Scythe Fuma 2 makes a good choice for when you worry about a high-end CPU melting inside the case. As such, the Scythe Fuma 2 performs at a very consistent rate thanks to its smart design that does not act like a hindrance to any adjacent component on the motherboard. As such, the airflow is even and the ventilation is totally cool (no pun intended).

Related Top 5 Buying Guides

Best Value Low Profile CPU Cooler

The be quiet! Shadow Rock LP (yes, that is the actual brand name and model) is more about silence and affordability. It also comes as a highly valuable low-profile CPU cooler that works properly in almost any PC.

Pros:
  • Very quiet
  • Affordable
  • 130W TDP
Cons:
  • Disappointing warranty
  • Does not support older PC models
  • May take some time to install

The be quiet! Shadow Rock LP is much cheaper than the Scythe Fuma 2 but that does not mean the performance is lesser. In fact, the be quiet! Shadow Rock LP lives up to its name as it emits no signs of noise at all. If you are very meticulous in cooler sounds, then this should be the one for you. It can also fit into almost any type of socket whether it is Intel or AMD.

Best Silent Low Profile CPU Cooler

When silence is key to your PC cooling and maintenance, do consider getting the Noctua NH-L9x65: a ninja-like CPU cooler that works very well on form factor builds, ITX and HTPCs.

Pros:
  • Flexible on most sockets
  • Ultra quiet
  • Long-lasting
Cons:
  • Not good for overclocking
  • Auto fan speed may not activate at times
  • Takes some time to set up

Sometimes a bit of noise does not make a good low-profile cooling fan. If that is your case, then we recommend the Noctua NH-L9x65. What separates the Noctua NH-L9x65 is its exclusive Ultra-Quiet Operation system and automatic fan speed depending on how your CPU is performing. Due to its 7.5 cm build, it makes the Noctua NH-L9x65 very flexible in almost any motherboard and CPU, be it Intel or AMD. It is also inked with an NT-H1 thermal compound, making it last up to 6 years or more, depending on how you maintain it.

Best Low Profile CPU Cooler for Intel

If you need a low-profile cooler exclusively for an Intel CPU, then the ARCTIC Alpine 12 is what you should be looking after. With a modern look and thermal paste included, expect this cooling fan to last for years until you abuse its prowess.

Pros:
  • Very cheap
  • Can support overclocking
  • Modern design
Cons:
  • Only works on Intel
  • Has some thin areas
  • Only works on modern Intel PCs

The ARCTIC Alpine 12 excels when it comes to a good cooler that specializes in Intel CPUs. If you trust the Intel Core more than an AMD Ryzen, this is the low-profile cooling fan for you. It showcases a modern look that flaunts naturally if you are building a transparent PC for everyone to see. Call this a budget cooling fan due to its price but that is only because it can only support an Intel socket. Nobody has tried the ARCTIC Alpine 12 on an AMD before but the socket support is clear: it only allots to 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156. As for performance, it is quite good – especially if you need a cooler quickly.

Best Premium Low Profile CPU Cooler

The Noctua NH-L12S is best for the ITX and HTPC systems. Not only does it look good, it performs exceptionally well too. If you have the money to add some extra support for guaranteed safety over your CPU, then this is what you are looking for.

Pros:
  • Great for overclocking
  • Very quiet
  • Useful for HTPC and ITX
Cons:
  • Confusing instruction manual
  • Still more expensive than common fans
  • Installation takes time

We highly consider the Noctua NH-L12S as a premium low-profile CPU cooler due to its support for both HTPC and ITX systems – which usually does not come by in many cooling fans. Fortunately, the Noctua NH-L12S is much cheaper than a Scythe yet it still offers some high-end support that works very well with an expensive CPU. It is very silent too – almost to the point where you can hear the other components working instead. Overall, it is a chic type of low-profile cooling fan – one that you should get if you are using something like a 9th Gen Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 9.

What We Would Buy

These are the best low-profile CPU coolers available right now. Your preference will ultimately decide which is the most useful among them, but if you want the best bet, you should purchase the Scythe Fuma 2 as it fits like a glove on any modern PC. But when you want a cheaper fan minus any compromise in the performance, you ought to buy the be quiet! Shadow Rock LP. Looking to find the most silent low-profile CPU cooler today? Then you may want to check out the Noctua NH-L9x65. Meanwhile, the ARCTIC Alpine 12 is best for when you want a budget cooling fan that works only on an Intel CPU. Lastly, if you ever need a premium kind of CPU cooler, then your best choice would be the Noctua NH-L12S.

Editor & reviewer of gear from iOS control pad’s to high-end PC gaming hardware. He’s been gaming since the 1980s and mostly plays CS GO & Overwatch.