ReviewsCoolersBEST 280mm AIO Coolers In 2024

BEST 280mm AIO Coolers In 2024 [Hands On Tested]

After a comprehensive analysis of numerous CPU coolers, we have identified the best 280mm AIO coolers based on socket compatibility, TDP, noise levels, and aesthetics.

Out of all CPU cooling mediums, air coolers have been prominent in cooling even the best gaming CPUs. However, with time, AIO coolers have taken the lead by providing greater overclocking headroom at competitive pricing. 280mm AIO coolers fall within the midrange prices, showcasing 140mm fans that can displace more heat at lower RPMs, generating lower noise, making them perfect for low-noise lovers. Therefore, after thorough testing, we have compiled a list of the top 280mm AIO coolers in today’s article.

For a glance, here are all our top 280mm AIO picks, all compared to each other in the table below:

[amazon table=”83954″]

Looking for more options? We have you covered:

Best 280mm AIO Coolers

Our Picks for Best 280mm AIO CPU Coolers include:

  1. Best High Performance 280mm AIO Cooler: Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 280
  2. Best RGB 280mm AIO Cooler: Gigabyte Aorus WATERFORCE X 280
  3. Best Looking 280mm AIO Cooler: NZXT Kraken 280 RGB
  4. Best 280mm AIO Cooler: ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 A-RGB
  5. Best Budget 280mm AIO Cooler: ID-Cooling FROSTFLOW X 280

Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 280

Best High Performance 280mm AIO Cooler

Best High Performance 280mm AIO Cooler - Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 280
Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 280.

Specifications: Dimensions: 316 x 144 x 30mm | Fans: 2x Rise Aurora 140mm Fans | Fan Speed: 0 — 2,000RPM | Noise Level: 31.5dB(A) | Socket SupportIntel: LGA 1700, 1200, 115X, 2011-3, 2066, 3647, 4189 AMD: AM4, AM5, sTR4, sTRX4, sWRX8, SP3 | RGB: Yes 

Pros

  • Enthusiast-grade performance
  • Copper radiator
  • Great compatibility
  • Unique pump design
  • Impressive overclocking potential

Cons

  • Expensive

Cooling Performance: The Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 280mm AIO cooler exhibits a degree of polish with its remarkable enthusiast-grade performance. During my performance testing, the AIO cooler showed outstanding overclocking capabilities with high-end CPUs at full load without having any issues.

I loved the AIO cooler’s remarkable cooling performance and couldn’t help but state the following in my review:

Build Quality: The AIO cooler has a sturdy build quality that helps with heat dissipation. For example, coming with an FPI count of 15 and an enlarged surface area, the copper radiator ensures effective heat dissipation. I also loved the hydraulic bearings on the 140mm fans, which ensure their longevity while also keeping a lower noise output.

Aesthetics: The Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 280mm AIO cooler stands out for its modular design, showcasing a unique pump design with tons of RGB. Moreover, the black aesthetic complements the pump and tubing, improving the overall aesthetics when paired in a darker PC build.

“The Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 280 D-RGB cooler is a feature-rich cooling solution comprising nothing but the custom loop components from ALPHACOOL. This cooler has a decent performance but with loud fans.”

Buy It If

✅Here are a few images we took of the AIO cooler during our dedicated review:

✅You want to achieve higher overclocks without giving up on aesthetics: If you’re looking for a 280mm AIO cooler that provides enough cooling performance to help achieve higher overclocked boost clocks for high-end CPUs and you don’t have to give up on beautiful aesthetics, then I recommend purchasing the Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 280.

Don’t Buy It If

❌You’re on a tighter budget: Given its outstanding performance, a higher price tag was almost expected; however, that can be a deal-breaker for some people who are on a tighter budget.

What Makes It The Best High Performance 280mm AIO Cooler?

The Alphacool Eisbaer Pro Aurora 280 brings everything you want from a high-performance cooler into one complete package. While its performance is more than sufficient for most processors, you can also pair it with workstation GPUs thanks to the larger surface area of the CPU block. All that, combined with its unmatched thermal performance, makes it the best high performance 280mm AIO cooler.

Performance: 10/10 Value: 8/10
Features: 9/10 Design: 8/10

Gigabyte Aorus WATERFORCE X 280

Best RGB 280mm AIO Cooler

Best RGB 280mm AIO Cooler - Gigabyte Aorus WATERFORCE X 280
Gigabyte Aorus WATERFORCE X 280.

Specifications: Dimensions: 312 x 140 x 27mm | Fans: 2 x 140mm ARGB Fans | Fan Speed: 800 — 2,500RPM | Noise Level: 44.4dB(A) | Socket SupportIntel: LGA 1700, 1200, 115X, 2011, 2066 AMD: AM4, AM5, sTR4, sTRX4 | RGB: Yes 

Pros

  • Exceptional performance
  • LCD display
  • Excellent personalisation
  • Beautiful RGB aesthetics
  • Sturdy build quality

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Extra loud fans

Cooling Performance: The Gigabyte Aorus WATERFORCE X 280mm AIO cooler is packed with 2x 140mm A-RGB fans running at 2,500RPM speeds for most of its cooling capabilities. During our dedicated performance testing, the AIO cooler showed no bottlenecking issues with high-end CPUs, even at full load.

Build Quality: Besides its impressive performance, the AIO cooler also features decent build quality with dual ball-bearing fans, each with 7 blades that help manage the 89.18CFM. Moreover, we loved the aluminum radiator with black-sleeved high-quality tubing that helps increase the longevity of the cooler.

Aesthetics: Talking about its looks, the Gigabyte Aorus WATERFORCE X 280mm AIO cooler comes in a predominantly black design with a circular pump, which includes a rotatable top cover. Topping that off, the LCD screen on the CPU block increases the cooler’s customizability. However, we loved the RGB lighting present throughout the cooler.

Nauman Siddique, one of our hardware experts, loved the AIO cooler’s aesthetics and performance, as he expressed in his review:

“The AORUS WATERFORCE X 280 is a powerful cooler with a high price. It boasts a stunning 60 x 60mm LCD screen with vibrant colors and great software customization. This cooler prioritizes aesthetics and performance over value.”

PRO TIP: You can lower your AIO cooler’s fan speeds to decrease their fan noise but that will also decrease the airflow in the PC case and increase temperatures. So, it would help if you were careful not to decrease the fan speed too much.

Buy It If

✅We took a few images of the AIO cooler during our dedicated review:

✅You want a beautiful AIO with an easy installation and decent performance: If you’re looking for a 280mm AIO cooler that can keep any high-end CPU from bottlenecking at full load while having an easy installation process and showcasing beautiful aesthetics, then we recommend buying the Gigabyte Aorus WATERFORCE X 280mm.

Don’t Buy It If

❌You dislike noisy fans: We don’t recommend purchasing this AIO cooler if you can’t handle noisy fans as the Gigabyte Aorus WATERFORCE X 280mm’s fans go up to 44.4dB(A) at 100% speed, making them pretty loud.

What Makes It The Best RGB 280mm AIO Cooler?

The Gigabyte AORUS WaterForce X 280 gets a lot right with its simple yet effective design. It stands out with its sleek implementation of the RGB elements while providing you with enough thermal performance and customizability, making it the best RGB 280mm AIO cooler.

Performance: 8/10 Value: 7/10
Features: 8/10 Design: 10/10

NZXT Kraken 280 RGB

Best Looking 280mm AIO Cooler

Best Looking 280mm AIO Cooler - NZXT Kraken 280 RGB
NZXT Kraken 280 RGB.

Specifications: Dimensions: 315 x 143 x 30mm | Fans: 2x F140 RGB Core Fans | Fan Speed: 500 — 1,500RPM | Noise Level: 34.48dB(A) | Socket SupportIntel: LGA 1700, 1200, 115X AMD: AM4, AM5, sTRX4, TR4 | RGB: Yes

Pros

  • Beautiful white aesthetics
  • Decent cooling performance
  • LCD CPU block
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Long 6-year warranty

Cons

  • Slower RPM fans
  • Slightly expensive

Cooling Performance: The NZXT Kraken 280 RGB AIO cooler showcases decent cooling performance with its 2x 140mm fans running at 1,500RPM speeds. While I disliked the slower fans, the higher 90.79CFM helped improve the PC case’s airflow during my performance testing, reducing overall temperatures considerably.

Build Quality: With a fully aluminum radiator and a metallic CPU block with hints of plastic, the AIO cooler has a sturdy build quality that also helps increase its heat dissipation properties. In particular, I loved the 400mm long tubing made of ultra-low evaporation rubber with nylon braided sleeves that also increase the AIO’s longevity.

Aesthetics: Besides its cooling performance, the AIO cooler has beautiful snow-like white aesthetics. I adored the RGB on the fans, complementing the cooler’s theme. Furthermore, the CPU block has a 6-inch LCD screen that can easily be customized based on your preferences to show an image or CPU temperature as required.

PRO TIP: You can easily customize the NZXT Kraken 280 RGB AIO cooler’s pump block’s LCD screen through NZXT’s software. You can play a GIF, an image, or even your CPU and GPU’s temperatures.

Buy It If

✅You need better airflow for your white PC build: If you’re building a white PC and require better airflow in your PC case for your high-end CPU, I recommend buying the NZXT Kraken 280 RGB AIO because of its 90.79CFM and beautiful white aesthetics.

Don’t Buy It If

❌You dislike the lower RPM fans: If you want faster RPM fans to help improve the airflow of your PC, I don’t recommend buying this AIO cooler because of its slower fans running at 1,500RPM speeds. While fan RPM speeds aren’t the only factor for greater airflow capabilities, they are important for better heat dissipation properties.

What Makes It The Best Looking 280mm AIO Cooler?

The NZXT Kraken 280 RGB AIO cooler provides decent thermal performance with beautiful aesthetics complimenting a white PC build while also featuring a small LCD screen on the CPU block. Coupled with a sturdy build quality, higher CFM fans, and a longer warranty, it is the best looking 280mm AIO cooler.

Performance: 9/10 Value: 7/10
Features: 8/10 Design: 10/10

ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 A-RGB

Best 280mm AIO Cooler

Best 280mm AIO Cooler - ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 A-RGB
ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 A-RGB.

Specifications: Dimensions: 317 x 138 x 38mm | Fans: 2x ARCTIC P14 PWM A-RGB Fans | Fan Speed: 800 — 2,000RPM | Noise Level: 10.64dB(A) | Socket SupportIntel: LGA 1700, 1200, 115X, 2011-3, 2066 AMD: AM4, AM5 | RGB: Yes 

Pros

  • Remarkable cooling performance
  • Outstanding overclocking headroom
  • Unique VRM design
  • Low noise levels
  • Impressive value

Cons

  • Difficult installation
  • No physical manual included

Cooling Performance: The ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280mm AIO cooler showcases impressive cooling capabilities thanks to its 2x ARCTIC P14 PWM A-RGB fans running at 2,000RPM speeds. During my testing, the AIO cooler showed exceptional overclocking headroom with better airflow in the PC case.

Build Quality: I loved the AIO cooler’s sturdy build quality, featuring a fully aluminum radiator with copper heat fins that help improve heat dissipation properties. Furthermore, the copper baseplate and metallic pump design increase the cooler’s longevity. The fully braided 450mm tubing is also meant to last.

Aesthetics: With a unique in-house designed VRM pump, the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280mm AIO cooler provides impeccable aesthetics with tons of RGB everywhere. While the CPU block doesn’t have any RGB around it, its unique design shines in a darker PC build.

Editor`s Note
Image

Out of all the competition, I loved the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280mm AIO cooler because of its unique design, outstanding thermal performance, and lower price tag. We have also awarded it as the best 280mm AIO cooler. So, suppose you’re not new to AIO coolers and can handle difficult AIO cooler installations. In that case, you won’t regret making this purchase, which will also prove useful in the future because of its greater future-proofing.

– Hayyan Serwer

Buy It If

Here are a few shots of the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II from our testing:

✅You want outstanding value with impeccable aesthetics and overclocking headroom: If you’re looking for an exceptional value-friendly 280mm AIO cooler with unique aesthetics and lots of overclocking headroom, then I recommend purchasing the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280mm AIO cooler.

Don’t Buy It If

❌You’re new to AIO coolers: I don’t recommend buying this cooler if you’re new to AIOs because of its difficult installation process. Additionally, the AIO cooler doesn’t come with a physical manual, making its installation process even more difficult.

What Makes It The Best 280mm AIO Cooler?

The ARCTIC Liquid Freezer ll 280 A-RGB is the best choice for users who want to get the most out of their systems; with excellent cooling capabilities, a newer pump design, and beautiful aesthetics with tons of RGB, we chose it as the best 280mm AIO cooler.

We have also reviewed other variants of the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II A-RGB AIO cooler:

Performance: 9/10 Value: 10/10
Features: 9/10 Design: 9/10

ID-Cooling FROSTFLOW X 280

Best Budget 280mm AIO Cooler

Best Budget 280mm AIO Cooler - ID-Cooling FROSTFLOW X 280
ID-Cooling FROSTFLOW X 280.

Specifications: Dimensions: 311 x 140 x 27mm | Fans: 2x 140mm Fans | Fan Speed: 800 — 1,600RPM | Noise Level: 32.6dB(A) | Socket SupportIntel: LGA 1700, 1200, 115X, 2011, 2066 AMD: AM4, AM5 | RGB: Yes

Pros

  • Remarkable value
  • Decent thermal performance
  • Beautiful rough aesthetics
  • Longer warranty period

Cons

  • Lower overclocking headroom

Cooling Performance: The ID-Cooling FROSTFLOW X 280mm AIO cooler showcases remarkable value thanks to its decent thermal performance on a budget. During my performance testing, none of our reviewed CPUs, like the Ryzen 7 7700X, showed any thermal throttling issues even at full load at 1440p and 4K resolutions.

Build Quality: Using ceramic and hydraulic bearings for the pump and fans, the AIO cooler expresses its impressive build quality while keeping its budget pricing. I also loved the premium-sleeved 400mm tubing that ensures the cooler’s longevity. Moreover, the aluminum radiator and copper baseplate increase heat dissipation properties.

Aesthetics: With a rough yet simple aesthetic all over the radiator, the ID-Cooling FROSTFLOW X 280mm AIO cooler has good aesthetics for darker PC builds that prefer stealth than tons of RGB lighting. However, you do get some RGB around the pump, along with the darker tubing material, which enhances the looks of the AIO cooler.

WARNING: Before making an AIO cooler purchase, ensure you know your AIO placement beforehand for optimal airflow and that the AIO cooler can fit in the chassis without any issues. Otherwise, you might not be able to install the cooler easily.

Buy It If

✅You want to cool your processor on a tighter budget without sacrificing looks: If you’re going to cool your CPU on a stricter budget without sacrificing the cooler’s aesthetics, I recommend purchasing the ID-Cooling FROSTFLOW X 280mm AIO cooler because of its outstanding value for performance.

Don’t Buy It If

❌You want to achieve higher overclocked boost clocks: I don’t recommend buying this AIO cooler if you’re going to achieve higher overclocked boost clocks because of its lower thermal headroom to overclock high-end CPUs. You might be fine with mid-range CPUs, however.

What Makes It The Best Budget 280mm AIO Cooler?

The ID-Cooling FROSTFLOW X 280mm AIO cooler houses 2x 140mm fans running at 1,600RPM fans for the bulk of its impressive thermal performance with simple yet elegant aesthetics, making it perfect for stealth PC builds. Coupling all that with its sturdy build quality and lower price tag makes it the best budget 280mm AIO cooler.

Performance: 8/10 Value: 10/10
Features: 7/10 Design: 8/10

Benchmarks Of The Best 280mm AIO Coolers

Knowing how well a CPU cooler can cool processors is the most important factor to consider before making a purchase decision. Therefore, to make it easier for you, we have shared our findings after testing several AIO coolers and comparing them with each other:

Why We Didn’t Go For These 280mm AIO Coolers

Our hardware specialists have tested many 280mm AIO coolers. However, here is a list of a few honorable mentions that couldn’t make the cut for today’s article:

  • NZXT Kraken X63 RGB: The AIO cooler comes with a higher price tag and slightly lower performance than its competitors.
  • EVGA CLC 280: Higher fan noise with slower pump speed makes it a less viable purchase choice.

How We Picked & Selected These 280mm AIO Coolers

When it comes to selecting an AIO for your CPU, we always ask our users to consider all factors before making a decision. Choosing an AIO cooler can be troublesome at times due to the range of options to choose from, but don’t worry; we’ve compiled a bunch of shopping tips to make your purchase easy.

  • Socket CompatibilityBecause each CPU has a different socket size, you must conduct some research to ensure that your AIO will suit your CPU. To verify the specifications of your AIO, go to the manufacturer’s website and see if it supports your CPU socket.
  • TDPKnowing your preferred AIO cooler’s TDP is essential to know whether it’s enough to cool your CPU at full load without causing any thermal throttling issues. Generally, you always want your CPU cooler’s TDP to be significantly higher than your CPU’s.
  • Noise LevelsMoving parts are believed to produce a lot of noise in products, and trust me, there are a lot of moving parts in an AIO. You may always use the internet to find out which AIO produces the least noise.
  • Aesthetics: Overall, you may always select an AIO to improve the appearance of your system. There are a variety of variations available, including RGB AIOs, AIOs with LCDs on their pump headers, and circular pump headers instead of the typical cubes. Depending on your personal preferences, you may always select from various possibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size fans go with a 280mm AIO radiator?

The radiator on a 280mm AIO supports two 140mm fans on one face.

What type of cases support 280mm AIO?

There are no specific cases we can mention as the list goes on, but before making a case purchase, make sure to read the case specification on what size AIO radiator they can support.

Is 280mm AIO enough for the Ryzen 5900X?

Depending on your use, if you are a casual user or gamer, then any 280mm AIO will be enough for you else if you do heavy rendering alongside some overclocked settings, you might need to give a thought to 360mm AIOs.

How much cooling does a 360mm radiator offer than a 280mm?

The 360mm AIO can support up to three 120mm fans instead of two 140mm on the 280mm AIO. This means that the 360mm radiator will make up for more airflow and, thus, better cooling compared to the 280mm radiator.

How do you use a 280mm AIO water cooler?

To install any 280mm AIO, follow the steps mentioned in the product book, or you can also try watching installation videos available on the internet. If you still aren’t able to, then consult someone who knows their way around AIOs.

What is a 280mm radiator dimension?

280mm radiators from different brands always vary in size, but to give an example, a 280mm radiator will be somewhere around 140 x 312 x 30mm.

What is a 280mm AIO?

280mm radiators are among a variety of radiators that support up to two 140mm fans on one side.

What is the difference between 240mm and 280mm?

240mm radiators only support up to two 120mm fans on either side, while 280mm radiators support up to two 140mm fans on either side.

Recent Updates


  • February 26, 2024: We have replaced the NZXT Kraken X63 RGB with the NZXT Kraken 280 RGB because the latter comes at a lower price, delivers better performance, and also has an LCD screen. Similarly, the EVGA CLC 280 was replaced with the D-Cooling FROSTFLOW X 280 because the former has significantly louder fans with slower pump speeds, which results in lower thermal performance, according to our tests.

 

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