All You Need to Know About Getting a Second-Hand AIO Cooler

Cooling solutions you can afford for your CPU

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black friday aio cooler

Any PC can heat up and surpass optimal temperatures so having an AIO cooler whether new or second-hand can save you the trouble of frequent shutdowns.

An all-in-one cooler is particularly handy if you’re a gamer because of the CPU and GPU-intensive games and heavy users who tend to open numerous windows and tabs at once or those who use overclocking software.

And while a CPU cooler is an option, it tends to be more expensive. Further, an AIO cooler is more efficient, reliable and less noisy.

What should I look out for when getting a second-hand AIO cooler?

  • Degree of usability – Any hardware component that has been through vicious wear and tear will be visible on the naked eye. Look out for obvious damage like leaks, radiator bends and the general appearance of the AIO cooler.
  • Extent of functionality – Just because the cooler is used doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to operate normally. Ensure you test it out and verify that it does what it is supposed to do.
  • Compatibility – Your second-hand AIO cooler should be compatible with your CPU. The last thing you want is to purchase an AIO cooler that would be useless for your system
  • Warranty – Insist on a warranty and ask whether it is transferrable from the previous owner. Coverage is important since you’re unaware of the usage history. In the event that it malfunctions, you can have it checked out at no extra cost.
  • Legitimate reseller – Anyone can sell you their AIO cooler so ensure you do your due diligence before making a purchase. If from a manufacturer, ensure they’re reputable and verify their reviews.

Should I get a second-hand AIO cooler?


1. Inexpensive option

If you’ve ever had your PC shut down abruptly in the middle of an important task, you’ll appreciate the essence of an AIO cooler. However, since new ones are not within the budget for everyone, a second-hand cooler is more appealing.

You’re likely to get a second-hand AIO cool at a fraction of the cost of a new one. The good thing is that the functionality is the same and it’s great value for your money!

2. Secure older unique models

With advancing technology, most manufacturers are phasing out older AIO models and no longer offering support. Even though these phased-out models offer excellent performance, it may be difficult to find them in the market.

Best AIO Coolers

And for users who cherish specific models or unique functionalities, this is an excellent opportunity to acquire these discontinued models and, at a cheaper cost.


1. Hidden defects

Although you may have done your due diligence and purchased your second-hand AIO cooler from a reputable seller, there’s still no way of verifying unknown defects.

The previous owner may have failed to properly maintain it and even though there may be no obvious signs of damage, the AIO cooler may malfunction sooner rather than later.

You might end up spending more on repair and maintenance costs which beats the essence of buying a second-hand AIO cooler.

2. No warranty

The possibility of getting a warranty for your AIO cooler is greatly limited. And even if you were to get one, it would not match up to the original one and would probably expire too soon. This puts you at risk of spending your money in case the AIO cooler malfunctions.

3. Degraded performance

No matter how well-taken care of the AIO cooler is or how many functionality and reliability tests it passes, there’s still degraded performance because it’s been used before. This in turn limits its lifespan.

Since the average life cycle of a new AIO cooler is 5 to 7 years, a second-hand would probably make it to half of this time. If you have to keep buying an AIO cooler every three years with regular checkups and maintenance costs, you’re better off purchasing a brand-new one.

4. Compatibility issues

Most second-hand AIO coolers are from older and discontinued models. This may not be compatible with newer hardware and even if it was, there would still be the issue of missing some components which would require you to purchase them for a complete installation.

These extra costs when put in perspective tend to add up making acquiring a second-hand AIO cooler an expensive affair after all.

How can I get the most out of my second-hand AIO cooler?

  • Check and refresh the thermal paste – Thermal paste is like the glue that holds your AIO cooler. Since it ensures there’s efficient heat transfer, clean it and apply a fresh coat regularly.
  • Keep tabs on CPU temperature – Your CPU temperatures can spike at any given time so monitoring software can help you keep an eye on and alert you if you should make any adjustments.
  • Clean the cooler – The cooler needs a clear pathway for optimal cooling efficiency. Any dirt or debris that accumulates over time should be cleared.
  • Check for leakages – Leakages will not only damage the cooler but may also affect other components. Regular checkups to ensure all components are in good condition so that your cooler is at peak performance.
  • Overclock your CPU – Whereas overclocking enhances performance, it should only be done on high-performing CPUs. This would be counter-productive for an old system. Still, you can get an AIO cooler suitable for overclocking.

Hopefully, this exhaustive piece helps you make a decision on whether a second-hand AIO cooler is cost-saving activity. If it were up to us, we’d say go for it. Your PC could always use extra cooling and if it comes at a cheaper price, why not? It’s a win-win situation.

And while we’re on the topic of second-hand hardware, you might be interested in used HDDs or used SSDs.

If your budget allows, we have lined up some of the best AIO coolers with liquid cooling systems. You can also opt for laptop cooling software if second-hand AIO coolers are still a bit pricey for you.

Would you consider purchasing a second-hand AIO cooler? Do you have any reservations on used items? Let us know in the comment section below.