Thermal pastes are thick compounds that help cool down computers. They do so by absorbing heat, and they make it easier for a computer’s main cooling systems to work efficiently. They’re typically only used by tech specialists and computer enthusiasts. Not all thermal pastes are made the same, though. Each formula has its own conductivity rating for both electricity and heat, and each formula has its own pros and cons.
Some are very simple to use, and some can outright destroy your computer if you make the slightest mistake. This list covers the best thermal paste products on the market. There are some great value options on the list, and there are also several high-end options for professionals. So, everyone can benefit from it.
Quick Look: Best Thermal Pastes
- Arctic Silver 5 AS5-3.5G Thermal Paste
- ARCTIC MX-4 Thermal Compound Paste
- Cooler Master High Performance Thermal Paste
- Noctua NT-H1 Pro-Grade Thermal Paste
- Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Thermal Grease Paste
- MasterGel Maker Nano-High performance
- Thermaltake TG-7 Thermal Grease
- Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut Grease Paste
- Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra
- Gelid Solutions GC3 Thermal Compound
- Flux Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Paste
- Innovation Cooling Graphite Thermal Pad
1. Arctic Silver 5 AS5-3.5G Thermal Paste
Arctic Silver 5 is specially formulated to provide the best performance possible. It's mostly made from silver and ceramic particles, but up to twelve percent of it contains aluminum oxide, zinc oxide, and boron nitride. The Arctic Silver 5 is extremely dense, and it creates perfect seals between your CPU and cooling technology. It allows your cooling systems to work more effectively, and it prevents overheating.
To help the Arctic Silver 5 last a long time, it's designed to be applied with a higher viscosity, and it thickens slowly over time. After 200 hours of use, it will reach its final density. To help apply the Arctic Silver 5, Arctic Silver has packed the paste into a heavy duty syringe. The syringe makes precise applications easy, and it keeps you from accidentally using too much of it.
The Arctic Silver 5 is also a cheaper thermal paste. Most other formulas cost around $20, but the Arctic Silver 5 formula costs less than $10.
2. ARCTIC MX-4 Thermal Compound Paste
The MX-4 is also made by Arctic Silver, but it's a lot thinner, and it comes in a much larger quantity. The thinness of the paste can make it difficult for novices to properly apply it, but it helps make it last for several dozen applications. Due to its lack of density, the MX-4 is more suitable for lighter use. It's best to use it on laptops and desktops that won't be left on for days at a time.
However, it is high-quality thermal paste, and it'll perform admirably for gamers that actually turn off their systems in between uses. MX-4 paste is a little more expensive than the Arctic Silver 5, but there's a lot more of it in the package. You only get 6 grams of Arctic Silver 5 for $10 bucks, but you get 20 grams of MX-4 for less than $20.
3. Cooler Master High Performance Thermal Paste
This thermal paste from Cooler is a great option for people who are just getting into building gaming computers. It's cheap, and it's known for working well. It also has templates that help newer users apply it correctly to different systems. However, there isn't much in the container, and it's not as good as the two options we reviewed before this. It only comes with 2 grams of paste. That's enough for a new builder to attach a CPU or two, but it's not enough for more serious users.
It also doesn't last as long. It only has a shelf life of 2 years, and most users report having to reapply it within a year. If you're just starting out building computers, this is the product for you. You won't have to worry about applying it improperly, and it's very cheap. Due to its density and chemical makeup, it makes a great PS4 thermal paste.
4. Noctua NT-H1 Pro-Grade Thermal Paste
The Noctua NT-H1 is very similar to the Cooler paste that we reviewed previously, but it's more likely to impress people who have been building computers for a while. The formula is fairly popular with gamers and tech enthusiasts, and it's an inexpensive option. It doesn't last for nearly as long as the Arctic Silver options we've reviewed but it does last a long time. You can store it for 3 years, and you don't need to reapply it for 5 years.
The package comes with 3.5 grams of thermal paste, and it has a tip that prevents it from clogging up the syringe. We recommend this product to newer PC builders, but it's also great for experienced builders who don't do a lot of projects very often.
5. Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Thermal Grease Paste
Kryonaut is a bit more expensive than the other computer thermal paste options that we've covered. It costs around $10, and you only get one gram. However, it's designed to go a long way. The package comes with 1-gram of high-density thermal paste in a syringe, and it comes with a spatula that allows you to evenly spread it without having to squirt it everywhere. Thermal Grizzly suggests applying the paste in a single line, and using the spatula to smear it across the surface of a CPU or GPU.
Kyronaut is a liquid metal thermal paste, and it's often praised as being one of the best thermal paste options for normal applications. It can be used with a lot of different cooling systems, and it doesn't conduct electricity. Its shorter storage time and higher price per gram make it an expensive option for people who need to use it very frequently, though.
6. MasterGel Maker Nano-High performance
MasterGel Maker is perfect for people that need a grease-style paste that's durable, but it has some major drawbacks. It's highly conductive. So, it can cause a short circuit if it's used improperly. It also lacks the ability to cure, and that makes it a poor choice for people who don't have brackets holding their CPUs down. It'll simply allow a CPU to slide right off of its mount.
However, it has a higher viscosity than most other pastes, and it has a large amount of micron diamonds to ensure that it works well across the entire surface that it's spread across. It can also survive more extreme temperatures. That's great for people who consistently overclock their system.
The package comes with in grams, but it'll cover more surface area than thicker pastes because of its higher viscosity. So, it's a decent option for people who need a good thermal paste often.
7. Thermaltake TG-7 Thermal Grease
Thermaltake TG-7 is a metal-based paste, and it will last much longer than standard silicone pastes. It also remains stable during longer periods of storage time. If you don't open it, it has been known to last for up to 5 years. The grease isn't very conductive on its own. That's a bonus for some people, but it includes a diamond-dust packet for people who like conductive CPU thermal paste. It also comes in a syringe that has an acute tip for easy application.
The Thermaltake TG-7 is also very easy to clean when it's time to reapply a new coat. It doesn't cure very much, and its conductive nature keeps it from cracking. That helps it perform well for longer periods of time, and it can be cleaned off a lot easier.
8. Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut Grease Paste
Thermal Grizzly's Conductonaut formula is popular in the PC building world because of its high conductivity and precision applicator. The paste comes in a 1-gram syringe, and it has a needle-like tip that is curved for easy application. It has a conductivity rating of 73W/mk.
The package costs around $16 for just 1-gram, but this is one of the best pastes on the market. It requires a steady hand and a lot of experience to use properly, though. We don't recommend this to people who are building their first PC. However, seasoned vets will appreciate its quality, and they'll be able to handle it.
It is worth mentioning that this paste can only be used on nickel or copper surfaces. It will completely corrode aluminum parts. It will also fry any parts of the motherboard that it lands on. So, it takes an extreme amount of care to use properly.
9. Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra
Coollaboratory's Liquid Ultra is a more unique type of thermal paste. It's not a good idea to use it between your CPU and cooling system, but it's great for use on your processor's die. This product is made entirely from liquid metal, and it's highly corrosive. So, it's only good for use on nickel-plated copper. However, when it's used solely on a processor's die, it can lower your computer's temperature by 22 degrees Celsius.
The compound is extremely thick, and it doesn't spread too easily, but that doesn't affect it's performance that much because it can only be used on a limited amount of parts. To help with removing the paste, Coollaboratory ships it with a cleaning kit.
10. Gelid Solutions GC3 Thermal Compound
Gelid's GC3 formula is perfect for beginners. It's not electrically conductive. So, there isn't any chance that you'll fry your computer by accidentally dripping a little onto your motherboard. It also doesn't cure. So, it's easy to clean up when it's finally time to remove it. On top of that, it does conduct heat very well. So, it can keep your system cool without risking a short circuit.
The only real drawbacks of using GC3 are its inability to work with extreme temperatures, and its tendency to corrode aluminum despite being billed as non-corrosive. It's also pretty expensive. It costs more than $16 for a relatively small syringe of GC3. Otherwise, it's the perfect paste for beginners.
11. Flux Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Paste
This Flux thermal paste is an extreme value. The package come with five separate syringes contain 1.5 grams of polysynthetic paste. Since each syringe is individually capped, you don't have to worry about using it once, and what's leftover being wasted within a month. It is a conductive thermal paste. So, beginners should take care not to drop any on their motherboard or nearby electronics. However, it's a lot less conductive than Conductonaut paste. It only has a conductivity rating of 3.2W/mK.
To go make the five syringes an even better deal, the Flux thermal paste is designed to last up to 15 years if it isn't opened. So, you can get the most out of its $6 price. This is a great deal for hobbyists. The Flux Polysynthetic isn't the highest quality, but it'll suffice for most computers, and it minimizes the amount of waste that you'll have. It's also cheaper than dirt.
12. Innovation Cooling Graphite Thermal Pad
Graphite thermal pads are fairly new additions to the CPU world. They're an alternative to thermal paste, and they remove a lot of the issues associated with paste. Since this is such a weird product, we feel that we need to explain how it's used. To apply it, all you have to do is slap it on your CPU, lock your CPU down, and forget about it. It's just a pad of conductive graphite.
So, it won't pour everywhere, and it won't destroy your computer. The only complicated part of using it is trimming it to fit a small CPU. You have to be precise, but that's about all you have to do. You can even remove the pad, and put it on another build. It really is easy to use, and one pad costs $10. It never needs to be replaced. That being said, experienced users will still want to use high-end pastes because they're a lot more conductive.
Best Thermal Pastes Buyer’s Guide
This is the part of the article that we put together to teach you all about thermal paste. It’s great for beginners, and it can be a useful reference for pros. Each bit of information is separated into its own section. So, feel free to skip parts that you already know. You will need thermal paste, even if you are only upgrading the graphics cards, fans or any other component on your standard computer.
Pastes and greases tend to make a little bit of product go a long way. You typically don’t need more than half a gram for most projects. So, it’s okay to buy a small container of thermal paste in most cases. If you’re only buying it for one project, you’ll likely end up wasting over half of the paste. Paste doesn’t need to be reapplied frequently enough to use a whole syringe on one computer.
However, avid computer enthusiasts and professionals will need to buy pastes in much larger volumes. If you’re working on a lot of computers everyday, you’ll probably want no less than 3.5 grams in a single syringe. You’ll simply burn through too much for smaller amounts to be practical.
It’s important to buy the amount that best suits your application. While pastes can last years without being opened, they typically expire within a couple of months once they’re opened, and the amount you use will last for years on your PC.
Pastes that are more dense will work better than less dense formulas. They won’t spill as easily, and they’ll last longer. Some professionals might want more viscous pastes, but it’s not a good idea for beginners to use those pastes.
It’s always good to keep a syringe of thermal paste around, but it’s necessary to keep in mind that it only needs to be applied once every few years. If you buy a package of paste right after you have applied a fresh coat, you’re unlikely to use it before it expires.
We recommend buying pastes that have a minimum storage time of 2 years. However, you should never keep a syringe of paste for that long after you’ve opened it. The paste dries out, and it loses all of its cooling properties. Putting expired paste on your PC can ruin it.
Standard Silicone VS Liquid Metal And Proprietary Blends
Silicone has worked for the base of most pastes for decades, but it’s slowly being phased out in favor of more durable formulas. Manufacturers are now creating formulas that utilize ceramic, diamonds, silver, aluminum, and many other complex materials that are far more durable than silicone.
The drawback to using these new pastes is that they’re more corrosive. In fact, they’ll destroy aluminum parts quickly. If you don’t have a CPU with nickel or copper plates, you’ll have to look for less corrosive options that are usually made from silicone.
Thermal Paste Application
CPU thermal paste is easy to apply in most cases. You simply dab a small pea of paste onto the center of your CPU die, and you use a spreader to smear it across the surface evenly. Then, you connect your CPU to your motherboard. You can also use the line method. That requires you to draw a line of thermal paste down the middle of your CPU, and then spread it side to side across your CPU. This method uses more paste, and it creates a thicker coating. That can be a bad thing with really thick pastes.
Before you apply any paste, you need to ensure that you can’t get any on your CPU. A lot of pastes are highly conductive, and they’ll short circuit your motherboard if any paste is on it when it’s turned on.
To prevent this, all you have to do is cover the area around your CPU with tape. If any paste does get on your motherboard, simply remove it before turning on your computer. If you’re using a non-conductive paste, you don’t have to worry about it. You should still keep your motherboard clean, though.
Thermal Paste for Ps4?
Is gaming your first love? Can you not live without your PS4, but the noise it makes is starting to drive you mad? Is it interfering with the quality of your experience? The thermal paste on your PS4, just like in your CPU in your computer, can wear out over time; it gets crusty and stops working, which makes your PS4 overheat and the fans run louder than usual.
This will result in your PS4 becoming louder and louder the longer you play it, which can make game time unpleasant. In order to make your PS4 fans quiet again, you will need to replace the thermal paste. This can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have never done it before. However, it is quite straight forward.
To get to the part you need to apply the thermal paste to, unscrew the bottom of the case and remove each part – it is a good idea to keep them to one side in order, so you can put it back together the same way. Once the motherboard has been removed, clean it off thoroughly to remove the debris and the old thermal paste. You can then apply the new thermal paste and reassemble.
Use carbon or ceramic thermal paste, as this is the best thermal paste for PS4, such as the Silver 5 CPU Paste 12g PC XBOX. If you use a metal based product, then take care, as there is always a chance of short circuiting, should you have a slight mishap and spill some on the motherboard. It would also be wise to choose a great thermal paste that has a long lifespan and is designed to cope with products that work hard so that you won’t have to go through the whole ordeal again.
Once you have replaced the thermal paste, you will find that the fans on your PS4 will run quieter again, and you can go back to enjoying your experience without that annoying interference.
Thermal Paste for Xbox One?
Being a gamer is important, and you need to have as little distracting noise to make your experience good. Just as your old computer will need a revamp at times, the Xbox one is no different. The original Xbox is a classic, however, you may find that you now have a need to replace the factory thermal paste in the box for it to continue providing its nostalgic experience.
To do this can be complicated, and you can Google how to get to the sections of the Xbox you need, in order to replace the thermal paste. You can essentially use the same thermal paste you would use in your computer. Most of the best thermal pastes will work for CPU, GPU and your Xbox One.
Bear in mind that it would ideal to choose one that does not contain metal, as one slip and you could damage your motherboard due to short circuiting. Also, choose a thermal paste that will last a long time, so you won’t have to replace it again for a few years, as taking apart your Xbox One apart not an easy process.
Some of the better options on the market for Xbox are the High Performance Thermal Paste for PS4 XBOX ONE PlayStation, APU, CPU, GPU, X1, PC, and Cooling Mx-4 for PC PS3 PS4 XBOX ONE Artic Ac Pasta TERMICA.
How To Clean Thermal Paste
Cleaning thermal paste is simple, and it doesn’t need to be done often. You only remove your thermal paste when it stops reducing your system’s heat levels, and when you upgrade your CPU or GPU. Thermal paste for CPU applications tends to cure and harden. That makes it very easy to simply rub the majority of it off of an old CPU. If there is any residue left behind, you can use 99 percent alcohol that is pure IPA to gently wipe it off.
If you’re using a conductive paste, make sure that none of it gets onto your CPU while you’re removing it. It’ll still cause your motherboard to short circuit. You will need thermal paste, even if you are only upgrading the graphics cards, fans or any other component on your standard computer.
What’s the Best Brand Thermal Paste to Buy?
The answer depends entirely on you. If you read reviews available on different sites, you will see the name Cooler Master is mentioned often as the top brand when it comes to thermal paste. Many people will ask if there is a difference between the types of thermal pastes you get for different devices, such as a best thermal paste for budget gaming laptops or best thermal paste for GPU. Essentially, however, most of the thermal pastes do the same thing in all of their instances, they dissipate heat to keep your CPU, Xbox, PS4 and other devices cooler and working at their optimal levels.
So which brand is the best to buy? Only you can answer that question, although we can definitely advise on which ones we believe are some of the best. If you are unsure of what to look for, then a good way to decide is to read reviews and see what customers say about the different brands before making your decision. You also need to consider the price. A good product will definitely come at a price, however, it will last you a long time and do a good job. So can you afford to not to get the best?
In order to facilitate the heat transfer between the CPU core and heats link, and therefore improving the performance of your CPU by preventing overheating, you need the best thermal paste you can afford. No matter if you are building your own computer from scratch, or modifying your old computer to make it better for demanding applications, thermal paste will be one of the most important items you need to ensure optimal cooling.
We have reviewed some of the best on the market, including metal based and ceramic and carbon based products. The one you choose is up to you, but you will definitely need the best thermal pastes you can get to ensure your computer is up to standard. Read more computer product reviews right here.