Air-Cooled Spindles vs Liquid-Cooled Spindles: Which Is Better?

Over the years, the question of air-cooled vs liquid-cooled spindles has been a hot topic in CNC machining. Each type of spindle has pros and cons, and ultimately, the best choice depends on the specific application. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at both types of spindles and compare their performance in various scenarios.

As the current information shows, people tend to think that air-cooled spindles are only suitable for low-speed applications and liquid-cooled spindles are only for high-speed applications. The truth is, both types of spindles can be used for either low or high-speed applications; it all depends on the design of the spindle.

What Are Air-Cooled Spindles?

Air-cooled spindles are cooled by circulating air around the spindle motor. This type of cooling is typically used in lower-speed applications because it’s not as effective at dissipating heat as liquid cooling. However, some high-speed air-cooled spindles on the market use forced air cooling to dissipate heat effectively.

One of the advantages of air-cooled spindles is that they’re typically less expensive than liquid-cooled spindles. They’re also easier to maintain because there are no external cooling lines or fluids to worry about. The issue of cost has always been a major deciding factor for many shops when it comes to choosing between air-cooled and liquid-cooled spindles.

What Are Liquid-Cooled Spindles?

On the other hand, liquid-cooled spindles are cooled by circulating a coolant (usually water) around the spindle motor. This type of cooling is typically used in high-speed applications because it’s more effective at dissipating heat than air cooling. This means that liquid-cooled spindles can run at higher speeds for longer periods without overheating.

You need to know that water-cooled spindles require a chiller unit to maintain the coolant at the proper temperature. These units can be expensive to purchase and operate, but they’re essential for keeping the spindle running at peak performance. In addition, water-cooled spindles require more maintenance than air-cooled spindles because of the potential for leaks in the cooling lines.

The stand-out benefit of using a liquid-cooled spindle is the increased speed and performance in high-speed applications. If your shop regularly runs at high speeds, then a liquid-cooled spindle is the way to go. You can easily change between low and high-speed settings without worrying about the spindle overheating.

Which Spindle Cooling Strategy Can You Choose?

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both air-cooled and liquid-cooled spindles. The best choice for your shop depends on several factors, including the type of work you’re doing, your applications’ speed and power requirements, and your budget. You need to be aware that liquid-cooled spindles require more maintenance than air-cooled spindles, but they offer increased speed and performance.


When you’re trying to decide between air-cooled and liquid-cooled spindles, it’s important to consider your shop’s specific needs. If you’re looking for a less expensive option that’s easy to maintain, then an air-cooled spindle is the way to go. Contact Fischer Precision Spindles, Inc. to learn more about our air-cooled spindles.