Choosing the best thermal paste can be really challenging, especially when you have uncountable options available in the market. Thermal paste, also known as thermal grease, thermal gel, or thermal interface material, is a grayish liquid that helps heat transfer.
CPUs produce a large amount of heat when they are operating. We apply thermal paste on the CPU surface. It goes into the microscopic gaps on the surface of the CPU, which previously stored air that acted as a thermal insulator.
Thermal paste fills the gaps to allow efficient heat transfer towards the CPU cooler, which dissipates heat out of the CPU, keeping it cool. The best thermal paste for the CPU has a surprising impact on your system. No matter how good a CPU cooler you buy, you always need thermal paste.
In this saturated thermal paste market, new models pop up from time to time. Today we have compiled a list of the best thermal pastes to use in 2021, along with their prices so let’s check them out!
N-B Max Pro
N-B Max Pro is a silicon-based thermal paste launched in 2021. It has a thermal conductivity value of 8.5W/mK, which makes it suitable for quickly heating systems.
Although N-B Max Pro is new in the market, it is standing ahead of some of the best thermal pastes for CPUs that have been in the market for decades.
Manufactured with pure silicon, N-B Max Pro is electrically insulative, making it safe to apply on systems. Even if the thermal paste is on CPU pins, it won’t cause a short circuit.
Additionally, this one of the best thermal paste for laptop has a density of 3.73 g/cm3. With such a consistent density, it will spread smoothly on the CPU surface and won’t leak to the surroundings causing issues in the CPU.
Besides, N-B Max Pro has an operating temperature of -45°C to +180°C, making it compatible with many systems. Do you know what is best of all? Each package of N-B Max Pro comes with a free applicator and spatula, which are incredibly convenient while applying thermal pastes.
Other features of this thermal paste include it being non-toxic, easy-to-clean, non-curative, and environmentally friendly.
Price per gram: $2.29
Advice: if you want a budget-friendly thermal paste that can handle high CPU temperature, has broad compatibility and spreads quickly, N-B Max Pro is definitely your go-to paste.
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Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
Kryonaut is one of the most famous thermal paste for CPU in the market due to its extreme thermal conductivity – 12.5W/mK. It is electrically insulative, making it safe to use on the CPU.
Even if Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut leaks, it won’t cause short circuits. With a density of 3.7 g/cm3, this thermal paste promises even spreading and good stability. Also, it is easy to clean and comes with one spatula, making its application convenient for users.
However, the price per gram for this thermal paste is exceptionally high. Not everyone can afford it at this high price, especially those who want to apply it to multiple systems.
Price per gram: $10.99
Advice: if you have a high budget and want a thermal paste for extremely overheated systems, this paste is good to use.
Buy on AMAZON.
Arctic Silver 5
As the name suggests, Arctic Silver 5 contains 99.9% micronized silver. Although this micronized silver does not make it electrically conductive like other copper and silver thermal compounds, it may still cause harm to the CPU.
The best you can do is to keep it away from electrical traces, leads, and pins. Arctic silver 5 is highly capacitive and may cause danger if it comes between two close-proximity electrical paths.
Considered one of the best thermal paste for GPU, it has a thermal conductivity value of 8.9W/mK, which makes it suitable for quickly heating systems.
However, its operating temperature ranges from -50°C to +130°C. This means that it is not compatible with many systems.
Due to arctic silver 5’s high density, people often face problems spreading a thin and even layer on the CPU surface. This uneven layer affects the heat transfer of the system.
Arctic Silver 5 will not separate, run or bleed. It is a less expensive option than the best thermal paste, but it does not promise good spread and doesn’t come with an applicator or a spatula.
Price per gram: $1.9
Advice: If you want a cheap but good thermal paste for a system that has low operating temperature and you are willing to spend money on the spatula, Arctic Silver 5 is a viable option.
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Noctua N1 H1
Noctua N1 H1 is a hybrid thermal grease known for its good thermal conduction and electrical insulation properties. It comes in a large syringe with a screw-on cap for customer convenience.
Noctua N1 H1 is comparatively a thinner paste with a density of only 2.49g/cm³. This means a higher risk of it leaking to the surroundings and causing issues in the CPU motherboard and pins.
It is an inexpensive thermal grease option and will take time to dry when applied to the CPU. Additionally, it is non-corroding, making it suitable to use on copper and aluminum coolers, and has a syringe that throws out too much thermal paste, which may harm the CPU.
Noctua N1 H1 has the significant drawback of it having a shelf life of only two years. As it won’t dry up on the CPU very soon, you can use it only once before throwing except if you apply it to multiple computers simultaneously.
Price per gram: $2.9
Advice: this paste is suitable for less load computers but doesn’t use it if you don’t want to repeatedly put money into thermal pastes as it has a very low shelf life.
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Corsair originally sold computer components such as keyboards, mouse, and CPU coolers. It has launched a thermal paste manufactured with zinc oxide.
Considered in the list of best thermal paste for laptop, it has a density of 2.7 g/cm³, which won’t let it dry inside the CPU but may leak to the surroundings. XTM50 is a high-stability thermal grease that won’t crack, separate, dry, or change its consistency over time.
Corsair XTM50 has a thermal conductivity value of 5W/mK, which isn’t as good as other pastes but still manages to work well with many systems. It is non-conductive, which makes it safer to use.
Price per gram: $3
Advice: If you want a thermal paste for CPU that doesn’t heat excessively, you can use Corsair XTM50
Buy on AMAZON.
Gelid Solution GC Extreme
GC extreme is known for its extreme thermal conductivity – 8.5W/mK and consistent density – 3.73 g/cm³, making it easy to spread and won’t let it leak to the surroundings.
It is a silicon-based thermal paste which makes it electrically insulative and safe to use on systems, and it won’t cause any short circuits if leaked. It is non-corrosive, non-bleeding, and comes in 3 packs – 1g, 3.5g, and 10g.
With an operating temperature of -45℃ to +180℃, GC extremes can work with various computers, making itself a go-to thermal grease in most situations. Additionally, it comes with a spatula to help apply thermal interface material on any surface.
Price per gram: $2.58
Advice: if you want a widely compatible and budget-friendly thermal paste with a suitable thermal conductivity value, Gelid GC extreme is a must-buy
Buy on AMAZON.
Phobya Liquid Metal Compound
As you can guess by its name, Phobya’s liquid metal compound contains liquid metal. It has a thermal conductivity value of 40W/mK. Being a liquid metal still gives it supremacy over other pastes because metals are outstanding conductors of heat.
Being a metal also makes it electrically conductive, which means it has the potential to cause serious harm to your system if leaked. Although its density is unknown, we concluded that applying it is relatively more complex than other thermal pastes.
Phobya Liquid Metal Compound comes in a syringe with a capillary applicator tip. It may cause a reaction with the aluminum heatsink, so it is better to keep it away.
Price per gram: $14.99
Advice: it is one of the best thermal grease for extreme overclocking but only use it if you are an expert in applying thermal pastes.
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Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra Thermal Compound
Manufactured with 100% pure metal, Coollaboratory’s liquid ultra thermal paste promises high thermal conductivity – 38.4W.mK, which makes it ideal for highly overheated systems.
It has a density of 3.73 g/cm³ which means that it is easy to apply, and there are fewer chances of it leaking to the surroundings. It won’t dry up very soon in the CPU and comes with a cleaning kit in a package, making the previous thermal paste removing procedure easier.
However, as it is a metal-based thermal grease, it is still a danger for the CPU. It may cause a short circuit in the CPU if leaked. You should keep it away from aluminum heatsinks. Also, it doesn’t work well on glass surfaces. It doesn’t come with any dispenser or spatula for convenience.
Price per gram: $11.35
Advice: it is a good option for overheated systems only if you know how to apply it correctly.
Buy on AMAZON.
What Makes a Thermal Paste Good?
Are you searching for the best thermal paste for CPU in the market? You first need to know what makes a thermal paste suitable to use. Here is how you can do it:
The heat conductivity of a thermal gel depends on what it contains. Liquid metals and metal-based thermal paste win when it comes to thermal conductivity. However, both of these interface materials have the potential to damage the CPU.
Silicon-based thermal pastes follow liquid metals and metal-based thermal pastes. These pastes are not harmful to CPUs and hence, an excellent option to use.
Carbon-based and ceramic-based thermal pastes come after silicon-based and metal thermal pastes.
Also, read our guide: What are the different types of thermal pastes? This will help you understand more about all types of thermal pastes.
You don’t want a thermal paste that will leak to the surroundings and block pins to cause a short circuit, right? Thermal pastes with consistent densities are easy to apply. We recommend you buying thermal paste with a density between 3 g/cm³ to 4 g/cm³.
Before applying thermal paste, don’t forget to read our guide on the best methods to apply thermal paste.
Undoubtedly, electrically conductive thermal pastes are excellent at heat transfer because they contain metals that conduct heat very well, but they may cause short circuits in the CPU if leaked. We recommend using metal-based thermal paste or liquid metal only if you are an expert at applying thermal pastes. Else, use non-electrical conductive thermal pastes.
Longevity refers to how long the thermal paste won’t dry inside the CPU. Low-quality thermal pastes need to be changed every six months to one year. Researchers are developing a new thermal paste with more advanced technology that works well inside the CPU for 4-5 years.
Before you buy a thermal paste, it is essential to know how long it will last inside the CPU and for how long you can store it when opened. This will help you understand what you are paying for.
When the thermal paste market was saturated, the prices of thermal pastes were high. When there are many thermal greases in the market, finding one with a low cost but the same qualities is no more difficult.
We understand that thermal paste is a good investment, but why pay high when you can get all those perks at a low rate?
Wide Operating Temperature
The best thermal grease for CPU is one with a wide operating temperature that can work with many CPUs. The wider the operating temperature, the more compatible the thermal paste is.
How to Choose a Thermal Paste?
When choosing a thermal paste, here is what you need to see and know:
- If you are buying it for an ordinary PC or a system that has to load heavy applications such as gaming.
- Check its operating temperature to see if it will work within your system’s temperature or not.
- Check your budget and see what the best option within that price range is.
- Examine its density because the better the density, the more quickly you can apply.
- Check if it comes with cleaning and application tools. This kit will prove to be beneficial when changing the thermal paste.
Also, read Everything you need to know about thermal paste.
Conclusion – The Best Thermal Paste to Use in 2021
We recommend using N-B Max Pro when we have a list of the best thermal pastes available. We recommend you this due to its extreme thermal conductivity, good density, which doesn’t allow it to leak, and non-electrical conductivity makes it safe to use for beginners too.
With a wide range of operating temperatures, N-B Max Pro works best for nearly all systems. Also, it comes with a free applicator and spatula offering you all extreme convenience at a super affordable price. Do you know what is even better? This best thermal paste for PS4 gives away a free cleaning kit with every pack of N-B Max Pro, so what are you waiting for? Order yours now!
Sign up for the kit here.
If you have any queries or suggestions, feel free to contact us here.