Best Thermal Paste 2018 – Reviews and Buying Guide

Best Thermal Paste reviewsLooking for the best thermal paste?

But, don’t know how to choose the perfect one and what you should look for??

Well, in this post I am reviewing top 8 best thermal compounds along with buying the guide. This will help you to select the perfect one as per your needs.

If you are building a gaming PC then cooling system is important. So, if you want to keep cool your system then consider buying a case fan. Also, apply thermal paste to run your system smooth. A good quality paste can help you to reduce the temperature of your PC.

Everyone who builds their own computers for quite a while knows what I am talking about here. However, if you are new to this, it can be pretty confusing to you. That’s why I have also written a thermal paste buying guide. So, read this full guide to become an expert.

I have tested almost 40+ thermal best and none of them are best. But, we all know that every product has pros and cons. So, after testing those thermal paste I have listed only 8 best thermal paste that you can buy in 2018 along with pros and cons and buyer’s guide.

Best Thermal Paste 2018

NameTypeThermal ConductivityPrice
Noctua Nt-H1 (Editor’s Choice)Compound8.9W/mK
ARCTIC MX-4 (Editor’s Choice)Compound8.5W/mK
Gelid Solutions GC-ExtremeCompound8.5 W/mK
Arctic Silver 5Compound8.9W/mK
EGC Thermal PasteCompound5.15 W/mk
Cooler Master HTK-002-U1Compound11W/mK
Thermal GrizzlyMetal12.5W/mK
Coollaboratory Liquid UltraCompound38.4W/mK

1. Noctua Nt-H1 – Best For Overclocking (Editor’s Choice)

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Are you looking for the thermal paste for overclocking?

If your answer is yes then go for Noctua Nt-H1. Noctua Nt-H1 is the best thermal paste for overclocking.

A few months back I rebuild one of my old PC and I applied this paste. Before applying, my desktop was idling around 70°C and card 90°C. After applying this paste the result is impressive, around 47°C and 82°C under full load.

The best part about the Noctua Nt-H1 Thermal Compound is its durability and great performance. You can be sure that it will last you many years with a smooth performance.

The thermal paste was manufactured in a way so that it can be ideal for compressor cooling systems and liquid cooling systems. Therefore, if you have a compressed cooling system and liquid cooling system, this one is your best friend.

Note: Noctua recommended the storage time of this product up to 2 years (before use).

  • Recommended usage time (On CPU): up to 3 years
  • Peak operating temperature: 50˚C to + 110℃
  • Recommended operating temperature : -40℃ to + 90℃

So, if you are facing overheating issue and also looking for a thermal compound for overclocking then Noctua Nt-H1 will be perfect for you.

Specifications: 

  • Volume : 1.4ml
  • Gravity : 2.49 g / cm³
  • Colour: Grey
  • Recommended storage time (before use): up to 2 years
Pros
  • Good for compressor cooling
  • High-performance and value for money
  • Not electrically conductive
  • The installation process is very much simple, and it’s easy to use as well
Cons
  • I didn’t find any issues (No Complain)

2. ARCTIC MX-4 – Carbon Based High Performance Paste

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In my opinion, the ARCTIC MX-4 is arguably the best Carbon-based thermal compound I have seen ever after Noctua Nt-H1. The brand Arctic is also well-known popular brand and I have added another model of Arctic Silver 5 in this list.

It is Carbon Based High-Performance thermal paste.

The product has an 8.5 W/mK conductivity rating. That is a bit lower than its predecessor. It does not contain any metal such as silver as well.

However, despite all of its shortcomings, the thermal paste gives a better performance than the Arctic Silver 5.

It is not electrically conductive, therefore, you don’t have to worry about short circuits. The product is compatible with nitrogen, liquid, air coolers, and compression.

You can even tackle overlock temperatures without any trouble

Specifications: 

  • Volume : 4gm
  • Style: MX-4
  • Thermal Conductivity: 8.5 W/(mK)
  • Density: 2.50 g/cm³
  • Warranty: 8years Durability
Pros
  • You can use this paste for all types of CPU.
  • Made of carbon micro-particles, which helps to high thermal conductivity
Cons
  • 8.5 W/mK conductivity rating is lower than its predecessor, the Arctic Silver 5
  • On the expensive side of the spectrum

3. Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme – Good For Laptop

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One of the thermal paste that would be best suited for anyone is the Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme.

The product, despite its low conductivity ratings, has a better performance than the Krayonaut thermal paste, which is a very good one. It has a lower price tag as well.

The temperatures this product delivers are similar to that of thermal pastes of higher conductivity ratings such as Krayonaut with 12.5 W/mK conductivity rating. The Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme holds a conductivity rating of 8.5 W/mK.

Just like the aforementioned product, this one is also not electrically conductive. This adds to its safety as there are no risks of short circuits

Specifications: 

  • Net Content: 3.5 gm
  • Density: 3.73 g/cm³
  • Thermal Conductivity: 8.5 (W/mK)
  • Time: up to 2 years
Pros
  • Non-Electrical Conductive Compound
  • User Friendly and easy to use
  • Non-Corrosive, Non-Curing & Non-Toxic
Cons
  • It takes a bit more product to achieve the result than its competitors
  • Leaves stringers

4. Arctic Silver 5 – Alternative Best Thermal Compound

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Arctic Silver 5 is another best thermal compound that I can suggest you. The thermal paste has an 8.9 W/mK conductivity rating. The rating is the same with many of the newer products that are out there on the market.

Contains fine silver particle, which is an excellent heat dissipator. As a result, you will get much higher thermal conductivity. You can use it on liquid-based systems and compressed based systems even it being a metallic thermal paste. The reason behind it is the product does not contract or expand after it has been set.

Even though the product is non-electrically conductive, it can cause short circuits. The reason behind is the silver particles

Specifications: 

  • Volume : 3.5gm
  • Colour: Silver
  • Thermal Conductivity: 8.9 (W/mK)
Pros
  • The installation process is very much simple, and it’s easy to use as well
Cons
  • The Noctua Nt-H1 overheats pretty easily

Arctic Mx-4 vs Arctic Silver 5 (Quick Comparison)

SpecsARCTIC MX-4Arctic Silver 5
Volume 4gm3.5gm
TypesNon-electrical conductiveNon-electrical conductive
ColourSilver Silver
Thermal Conductivity8.5 W/(mK) 8.9 (W/mK)
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5. EGC High-Performance Thermal Paste – Good For CPU Heatsinks

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The EGC High-Performance Thermal Paste is another good paste you can buy right now. It is best suited for the people who are only starting on the work of building their own computers.

This thermal compound is suitable for CPU heatsinks. So, if you are looking for this purpose then you can go for this paste.

The thermal conductivity rating of the product is 5.15 W/mK.

This thermal compound icludes 45% Carbon Compounds, 45% Matal Oxide Compounds and 10% Silicone Compounds.

Specifications: 

  • Volume : 4 gm
  • Thermal conductivity: 5.15 W/mk
Pros
  • Good enough heat transfer and heat dissipation abilities
  • It can cover up to 30 CPU cores
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Low thermal conductivity rating of 5.15 W/mK, many thermal pastes on this list have way higher thermal conductivity ratings than this one.
  • Comes in a lower quantity

6. Cooler Master HTK-002-U1 – High Performance Paste

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If you are looking for a best High Performance Thermal Paste from Cooler Master then I would recommend Cooler Master HTK-002-U1.

The product is perfectly suitable for chipsets, Processor, on Mainboard, VGA card, etc. The best part is you can use it easily and it’s come up with cheap price.

It has a vast range of application temperature. The thermal paste has a ZIF socket template. This socket template helps you to apply paste correctly on any CPU socket types.

It has amazing heat transfer and heat dissipate capabilities. It can handle temperatures of up to 177-degree Celcius or 350 F.

High thermal conductivity can tackle even immense overclocking conditions with ease. So, you don’t need to too much worry when you are overclocking.

So, I would say this is another best alternative thermal paste for overclocking.

Has a vast range of application temperature, giving you more control.

Specifications: 

  • Specific Gravity : 2.37 g / cm³
  • Thermal Conductivity: 11W/mK
  • Colour: White
  • Shelf Life: 24 months from DOM
Pros
  • Low bleed
  • high-temperature stability
Cons
  • The product can cause short circuits
  • Its performance decreases after extended usage

7. Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut – Thermal Grease Paste

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Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut is a best liquid metal thermal compound suitable for experienced users. If heat dissipation is your primary concern, this product is definitely made for you.

Brilliant 73 W/mK thermal conductivity rating makes it good enough for any job that comes in its field.

It helps your cooler and processor efficient in tackle overclocking problems.

The thermal paste is not compatible with aluminum. The reason behind this is the presence of gallium in the paste. The product can cause short circuits, it is suggested to use it with caution

Specifications: 

  • Volume : 1 gm
  • Density: 6,24g/cm3
  • Thermal Conductivity: 73 W/mk
  • Temperature:  10 °C / +140 °C
Pros
  • Can tackle heat with ease and heat dissipation is second to none
  • Perfect for working with liquid-based cooling systems
Cons
  • Does not work very efficiently with compressor-based cooling systems and with liquid nitorgen
  • The product is difficult to clean

8. Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra – Best Liquid Paste:

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Another big player in the game, Coollaboratory, has a nice product under their belt. This is the Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra Thermal Paste. It is a best thermal compound for liquid cooling.

It delivers the high-temperature performance similar to that of liquid metal. However, it is much easier to install adding to its benefits. Also, the product is extremely safe to use.

High conductivity rating of 38.4 W/mK. As a result, it can transfer it with ease even while it is on overlock sessions.

The Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra Thermal Paste is easy to install and use. Not compatible with compressed based systems and liquid-based systems, as well as with aluminum

Specifications: 

  • Thermal Conductivity: 38.4W/mK
Pros
  • Made 100% from Metal
  • Has a great heat transfer capacity, making it a good product to buy
Cons
  • The product takes quite a bit of time to alloy with metals such as copper

Thermal Paste Buying Guide – Things You Must Know

What is Thermal Paste?

A Thermal Paste is a paste that is used to fill in all the microscopic imperfections between two objects, that can trap air in them, so as to help in achieving better heat conduction. It is normally used between a GPU/CPU and a heat sink.

Functions of Thermal Paste

Air is a very poor conductor of electricity. A Thermal Paste is mostly used to remove air gaps, which may act as thermal insulators, so as to maximize heat transfer between two objects. It is not used to add mechanical strength between two objects. Thermal Paste conducts heat almost 100 times better than air. But, Thermal Paste is not as good a conductor as copper. And Thermal Paste should be applied in limited quantity. If overused, it will reduce the ability of the heat sink to cool properly.

Conductive vs non-conductive thermal paste

Thermal Paste is of two types:

  • Conductive Thermal Paste
  • Non-conductive Thermal Paste

Conductive ones are considered to be the superior ones but they are more prone to accidents like electrical shorts if applied on the electrical pathways on the circuit board or applied to the microprocessor’s pin. Aluminum-based, copper based and silver based greases are called conductive thermal paste.

Non-conductive ones mostly include Silicone and Zinc Thermal Greases. They are a non-conductor of electricity and are substantially cheaper than the conductive ones.

Types of Thermal Paste:

As we discuss above conductive and non-conductive thermal greases. There are different types of thermal paste like Metal-based, Ceramic-based, Carbon-based and Silicon-based greases you can see available on the market. Now let me explain all types of pastes.

Metal-based(Conductive):

The metal-based thermal paste contains solid metal including (silver, aluminum) particles and are mostly gray in color. They are the best for lowering temperatures but they are also a conductor of electricity. So there is a major drawback, if spilled onto the CPU pins or motherboard by accident, it may lead to a short circuit and they tend to be more expensive (especially those with silver content).

Example – Arctic Silver 5, one of the most commonly used paste is a metal-based one.

Ceramic-based (Non-conductive):

The Ceramic-based thermal compounds are non-conductive and usually light gray to white in color. Its a suspension of silicone compound which contains ceramic powder. Zinc oxide and Aluminum Oxide are mostly used as ingredients for ceramic powder. These are not top of the line performers but are adequate for day to day operations and are quite cheap. The biggest advantage of using them is that they are non-conductors of electricity, so there is no risk of electric damage.

Example – Arctic Silver CMQ2-25G is a Ceramic-based Thermal Paste.

Carbon-based:

Being equipped with some uncommon materials like graphene oxide, carbon particles or even diamond powder sometimes, it is the costliest one and the least common. This types of paste offer superior heat transfer and safe fool-proof application. They are a non-conductor of electricity, hence safe to use. Carbon-based paste work just as well as metal based ones in lowering temperatures and they can last for almost eight years, once applied.

Example- Arctic Cooling Mx-4 is a carbon-based paste and is very commonly pitted against the Arctic Silver 5.

Silicon-based:

It is white in color and is non-conductive and waterproof in nature. It is mostly used for its heat transferring abilities rather than for friction reduction. They are usually embedded on thermal pads that directly attach to either the processor or the heat sink. It is the worst performing Thermal Paste. Example- PTI-G3606 is a silicon-based Thermal Paste

Which types of thermal paste are best?

Choosing the right thermal paste for your computer can be a difficult task. It depends upon the type of the computer that it’s going to be applied to, and the skill set of the person performing the task of applying it. For general users, it’s suggested that they ignore the liquid-based pastes. Metal-based pastes are dangerous for inexperienced users.

Liquid-based pastes normally contain metal bits in their solution which means that even a drop of it is enough to destroy your processor and nullify your product warranty. Once spilled, it’s almost certain that it will have some damage done. Newbies should generally stick to silicon-based or ceramic-based pastes.

We have already reviewed only popular best quality thermal paste based on these factors. So, you can choose any thermal compound as per your requirements and needs.

The choice of Paste depends on the following factors-

  • Price of the paste.
  • The lifespan of the paste.
  • Quantity of the paste
  • Viscosity and Ease of Installation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Is it necessary to use thermal paste?

A heat sink and a CPU lid are normally made of different materials and they will expand and contract differently. Also, CPU surface is not flat. Further, there is always some space left in between CPU and heat sink. This brings the Thermal Paste into play and it becomes an absolute necessity.

In the absence of Thermal Paste, things won’t work as smooth as they should have been. The temperature of your CPU may increase. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your CPU will throttle but it becomes more prone to it. Properly applied thermal paste helps in increasing the lifespan of your machine. Including me, and experts always suggested to buy a good quality paste for your PC. It’s a very important component of your cooling system.

Q: Can you put on too much thermal Paste?

No, you shouldn’t put too much thermal paste. Application of Thermal Paste must be made as per the required quantity. Putting on excessive paste won’t only decrease your performance but it can increase the temperature around the CPU Socket and will affect the longevity of your machine. The only purpose of Thermal Paste is to fill the gaps between the CPU and the Heat Sink and that’s how it should be used.

Q: Do you need thermal paste for liquid cooling?

Yes, You should apply thermal paste for liquid cooling. It’s doesn’t matter which cooling system is you are using.

Q. Thermal Paste vs Thermal Grease – What is the differences?

There is no difference between thermal paste and thermal grease.

Conclusion:

So, In conclude If you do multitasking, play high-end games and your PC temperature increase then you must buy a best thermal paste to get rid of this problem. A good quality paste can improve your PC performance and helps to decrease temperature.

So, these are the top thermal paste dominating the market. In summary, If you are looking for the thermal compound for overclocking then go for Noctua Nt-H1.  ARCTIC MX-4 is the best overall compound that I have been using for my secondary PC since 2014. Arctic Silver 5 would be another great option for you. Make sure you buy only quality paste. Don’t go for cheap.

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