Thermal paste is an essential part of many electrical devices. In short, if you’re building anything that produces heat, you’re going to need the best thermal paste possible to ensure the item doesn’t overheat.
Obviously, you need to have an understanding of electrical components and the inner workings of a computer to build your new computer from scratch. However, that doesn’t mean that the best thermal paste products are all designed for the experts.
It is possible to simply remove and replace components in any computer, adding the thermal paste in the process to improve the performance and reliability of the product.
Whether you’re new to this or ready to build your own super-computer from scratch, there is certain to be at least one of these best thermal paste products that will appeal and will help you to achieve your goal.
It’s worth noting that not all thermal pastes are the same, the following 10 best thermal paste products are some of the best currently available. If you’re serious about getting high performance and reliability from your computer, you’ll pay attention to which thermal paste you use.
The 10 Best Thermal Paste
You know what it is and what it does, so, without wasting any more time let’s take a look.
1. Arctic Silver 5 – Best thermal paste for GPU
There is no doubt that this is one of the best thermal paste products on the market. Arctic Silver is considered one of the best manufacturers in the world. If you’re after a gaming machine that will work under any load this is the one you need.
It’s 99.9% synthetic silver and conducts heat well, but not electricity. Its thermal conductance is >350 000W/m2
- Very efficient at heat removal
- Will not conduct electricity
- Silver particles suspended in the paste, preventing them from settling
- You’ll need patience as this can take a long time to dry. In fact, it can take as much as 200 hours of use to fully set!
- This is one of the most costly options you’ll come across
2. Cooler Master High Performance – Best thermal paste for CPU
There’s a good reason why this is one of the best thermal paste products on the market, experience Cooler Master has been making thermal paste for over 20 years, they know what they’re doing!
This particular product is great for CPU’s it is designed for mid to high range computers. It achieves excellent heat conductivity thanks to a variety of metal oxides within the paste, all of which are suspended in a silicone gel.
In short, it’s maximizing heat absorption, allowing the chip to cool as fast as possible.
- Widest range of temperature applications of any thermal paste on the market
- Great consistency which should prevent it from getting onto your other components
- Applicator provided to make it very easy to apply to your components
- Cooler Master thermal paste is excellent but it only lasts for 2 years
- Comes with a template for chipsets but it’s not as accurate as it could be
3. Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme – Best thermal paste for laptop
The applicator alone makes this offering from Gelid Solutions worth looking at. Although a relative newcomer to the market this is definitely the best thermal paste for your laptop project. It is designed to be non-corrosive, will not conduct electricity, and won’t cure. The fact that it’s excellent at removing heat is just a happy bonus!
- Fantastic all-in-one solution for all your laptop components with an easy to use applicator
- Designed so that even a novice can use it comfortably
- Non-corrosive, won’t bleed, cure, or conduct electricity
- One of the best cooling functions on the market
- You won’t need to burn-in the paste before using
- Can operate between -45°C – 180°C
- It is important to note that this is one of the more costly choices on the market
- It’s a new product and no indication has been given of how long it will last, only time will tell. Of course, Gedic is a reputable firm so it should offer an acceptable lifetime
4. Noctua NT-H1 – Best thermal paste for overclocking
You’d be daft to overlook this offering from Noctura. They’ve been producing fantastic thermal paste products from in excess of 10 years and are considered one of the market leaders.
However, it is worth noting that it is not the best on the market for thermal conductivity, but it does offer an impressive level of conductivity for a lower price.
You’ll also be pleased to note that it is very easy to apply and it is effective at combining the positive attributes of metal-based and ceramic-based paints.
- Extremely easy to apply, partly because it’s consistency is extremely consistent and partly because it has a good applicator
- The heat conductivity is excellent in two different classes, metal-based and ceramic-based
- You don’t need to spread the paste, just add a drop to the relevant circuit and give it a moment to spread by itself
- This is a mid-range paste, not as suitable as some of the more expensive options but still a very good choice and extremely effective when building mid-range computers
5. Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut – Best thermal paste for ps4
If you’re looking to build or repair your ps4 then this is the best thermal paste for your needs. It should be noted that this is designed to be a heavy-duty option, it may not be designed exclusively for the ps4 but it certainly hits the right spot.
- Application temperature between 10°-140°C
- Density of 6.24g/cm3 which is on the thicker side, making it easy to apply
- Included applicators to simplify the application process
- Liquid metal-based to ensure high-efficiency
- Great heat dissipation
- Unique mixture of tin, gallium, and indium maximize heat removal while giving stability
- A liquid metal compound, this means it is conductive and not suitable for beginners. You’ll need to be sure this doesn’t spill onto other components
- Cannot be used with aluminum heatsinks
6. Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut – Best thermal paste for High-end ceramic
Thermal Grizzly Kyronaut was originally developed to suit the needs of the overlocking community and has quickly become one of the best thermal pastes on the market. It has a lot of impressive features and very few downsides.
The thermal conductivity is exceptionally high, at 12.5 wm/k, you’ll also be pleased to note that you need as little as 1g for each application. That mean’s your tube is going to last a long time.
- Impressive thermal conductive capabilities
- Comes with cleaning pads to facilitate the cleaning of the components
- The enclosed spatula will make application of paste easy
- Great consistency allows for low quantity per application
- Impressive temperature range -200°-350°C
- Costly, although it does come with cleaning pads
- Cannot be used on any component that has silicon sensitivity
- Some reports suggest that this paste is not effective but this is linked to counterfeit products, buy with caution
7. Arctic MX-4 – Best thermal paste for Carbon Products
Carbon-based pastes are non-conductive, making them great for beginners or those that know they are clumsy.
In fact, this is a good all-round product and one of the most popular options on the market.
- Extremely durable; it can last as long as 8 years
- The thermal conductivity is exceptionally good thanks to the carbon micro-particles, it’s actually better than liquid metal
- The paste is uniform in consistency, making it very easy to apply, even if you’re a novice
- This is one thermal paste that can rival the Arctic Silver 5 in the cost stakes. That means it’s definitely not the cheapest option
- The tubes are fairly large, which means you’ll need to seal them up properly to preserve the thermal paste, or you’ll simply be wasting it and your money
8. Thermal Grizzly Hydronaut – Best thermal paste for Water-cooled Systems
You may not have considered using water to keep your computer cool but it can be an effective method, especially if you use the right thermal paste. The third offering from Thermal Grizzly on this list is just such an option and is, without doubt, the only option you should be considering if you’re running a water-cooled system.
This is actually a great choice for overclockers, providing you’re running water-cooled.
- Comes in a syringe with small applicator tip to facilitate the application
- Impressive heat transfer ability, particularly good for large-scale systems
- Contains no silicon although it is very easy to apply and use
- Thermal conductivity of 11.8 W/mk, your system will stay cool no matter what you throw at it!
- It won’t conduct electricity
- While it’s great for overclockers it is also a good option for anyone just starting overclocking
- This product does carry a surprisingly high price tag, especially if you’re just starting overclocking
9. Innovation Cooling Diamond – Best thermal paste for Durability
As the name suggests, this thermal paste actually has diamonds in it! This is worth a few bonus points and may even be a reason for purchasing it. The paste has a non-conductive base with crushed synthetic diamonds mixed into it.
That’s because, although the cooling range isn’t as impressive in tests as some of the other thermal pastes, the diamonds do ensure that it has longevity. This thermal paste is likely to outlast any other one on the market.
- Attractive price, despite the diamond content
- Incredible durability, because it is a dry solution it won’t cook or pump out. It should easily outlast the other components in your computer
- Modular applicator that ensures you use just the right amount every time
- Temperature range reputed to be between -200°-400°C
- You can actually reuse this paste without losing any of the performance
- Non-conductive, making it okay even if you do get it on the wrong components
- Despite the claims thermal conductivity not as good as it suggests, several people notice their systems running hot after using this
- This is not an extreme cooling solution
10. Prolimatech PK-3 – Best thermal paste for Gaming machines
You may not have heard of Prolimatech but it is worth considering. The paste is actually made with a non-conductive nano aluminum compound and it performs surprisingly well. In fact, this is a great contender for best thermal paste for a gaming machine.
- Non-conductive making it good for experts and novices, you can get it on the wrong components without worrying. Although, you should try to keep it in the right place
- Excellent thermal capabilities, maintain a temperature under 60° for your computer effortlessly. Thermal conductivity rated at 11.2 W/-°C
- Syringe and easy spread applicator
- Long term solution with a low rate of drying out
- No burn-in required
- The price tag is definitely on the high side, especially when you consider this isn’t the largest thermal paste on offer
- Some users have reported the paste is hard to spread when being applied, although it works brilliantly when done
The Best Thermal Paste Buying Guide
Before you grab the best thermal paste be sure that you know what you really need. Don’t forget that thermal paste is a high margin market, that means there are a lot of products to choose from. This buying guide will help you:
Know Your Component
The first step must be to know what component you are dealing with. The make-up of the component will partially dictate the type of paste you can use.
This will also connect to your intended use.
For example, a high-end gaming machine is going to get hot for much of the time, you’ll need a metal or carbon-based thermal paste.
Alternatively, if you’re just building a computer to surf the web and complete everyday tasks, you’ll probably be happy with a ceramic paste.
How Well Do You Know Computers?
Ceramic pastes are non-conductive, that means it’s not going to matter if you get carried away and get paste everywhere. If you’re new to PC building then this is the best thermal paste to get. Save the metal and carbon-based ones for hen you’re more experienced.
There is no doubt your budget will affect the thermal paste you can purchase. Thermal pastes varying widely in cost, depending on how good they are at their job. The best thermal paste will cost more and you’ll need to plan your budget for this.
After all, if you’re building a top-end computer you don’t want it to be let down because you’re cutting costs on the thermal paste.
Your Experience Level
If you’re new to using thermal paste it is very important that you choose a product that is non-conductive. This will be more forgiving if you inadvertently get it on the wrong component. Of course, if you already have plenty of experience you may feel comfortable using the conductive pastes that are excellent at thermal dissipation.
Just remember, it’s better to use a non-conductive paste if you’re at all unsure of your capabilities.
Best Thermal Paste FAQs
What does thermal paste do?
Thermal paste is used to join a heat sink to the device it is meant to cool. The heat sink is designed to remove heat from the sensitive electrical equipment, the thermal paste smoothes the surface of the heat sink and allows it to work at maximum efficiency.
Choosing the best thermal paste for your specific application is essential.
How do you apply thermal paste?
Start by knowing where the component goes on its circuit board. Then, put a drop of paste on the side of the component that will touch the circuit board. Push the piece into position, pushing down on the component where the thermal paste is.
That should suffice although you can lift the component to verify it spread properly. If it didn’t simply wipe the paste off and try again.
How much thermal paste should you use?
You don’t need a lot of thermal paste, what you do need is a complete layer on the surface of anything component. It should be enough just to add a dot to the surface of each side of your component, it will spread itself out properly.
How do you remove excess thermal paste?
Wipe the thermal paste off the surface with a lint-less microfiber cloth. Alternatively, you can use a coffee filter. This will prevent the component from becoming damaged and allow you to apply a new layer of the best thermal paste for the job.
Does thermal paste have an expiry date?
No, thermal paste that remains in the tube is good to use whenever you need it. You may need to purchase several different types to get your computer build completed properly but as long as the tube is closed after use, it will keep indefinitely.
However, always test a little first, if it doesn’t look like paste it has gone bad.
How long does thermal paste last?
Most suppliers recommend changing or replacing the thermal paste after 5-7 years. In reality, that means that most users will have replaced or already upgraded their computers in that time.
Where is best to buy thermal paste?
Amazon! You can purchase thermal paste in a variety of stores but Amazon allows you to see the product, its values, and specifications. This will help you to make an informed choice and select a thermal paste that will do the job perfectly.
It’s highly likely that if you’re reading this and want the best thermal paste you’re already familiar with the concepts involved in building a computer.
However, if you’re not sure about any element of this, be certain to research thoroughly, this will help to ensure you use the best thermal paste possible for every application.
Don’t forget the best thermal paste is not the same for every application, the wrong one can damage your components, make sure you do your homework first!
Using thermal pastes is essential if you’re looking at building or repairing computers. However, it is important that you consult this list and find the one that best suits your needs and experience level, you’re virtually guaranteed to be impressed with the results.