When it comes to computers, there are plenty of people who pursue power above all else. After all, with power comes graphics and performance. However, if you are looking for a powerful PC, then you need to keep cooling in mind. Fortunately, there are a lot of great case fans out there to help cool even the most demanding computers.
If you’re in a hurry, here are our top 3 quick picks for the Best Case Fans:
- Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM, High-Performance Cooling Fan
- be quiet! Pure Wings 2 140mm PWM high-Speed, BL083, Cooling Fan
- ARCTIC F12 – 120 mm Standard Case Fan
Criteria for Choosing the Best Case Fans
There are a lot of different case fans out there, and they come in a variety of sizes to fit computer cases of all sizes. However, the things that make a good case fan remain the same, regardless of their size. These things were considered when choosing the case fans on this list:
- RPM: A fan’s revolutions per minute (RPM) is an important factor for any case fan. While having a higher RPM might not be vital for every computer, it will increase the cooling and ventilation abilities of the fan.
- Noise Level: The amount of sound produced by a case fan is a major consideration, especially for the fans that have a higher RPM. Fortunately, there are a lot of fans out there that focus on both performance and silent operation.
- Lifetime: There are some fans on this list that were chosen because they deliver high performance for a reasonable price. However, even those fans are expected to last a decent amount of time. For the rest of the fans, a long lifespan is a major selling point.
- Design: Design means a lot, from how the fan fits in its case to its effectiveness and noise level. There is also an aesthetic consideration. Therefore, all of the case fans on this list have quality designs that deliver where they need to. Moreover, when possible, their looks were also taken into account.
The ultimate goal of a case fan is effectiveness, which means you are looking for a product that delivers airflow and ventilation. However, that is not the only thing that needs to be kept in mind. The noise produced, lifetime, and design of a fan are all supporting factors that separate decent fans from best case fans.
The 8 Best Case Fans
The market is full of computer hardware, and decent case fans can be found all over. Despite that, there are some that stand above the rest, providing a better overall experience. If you are looking to find the best case fan for the price, then look no further than the fans on this list.
Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM, High-Performance Cooling Fan
The first case fan you should consider is the Noctua NF-P12. In fact, the redux edition featured here is everything you could ask for, providing a proven case fan at a great price. It is an award-winning piece of hardware, and it has impressive specs that include a long lifespan, 1700 revolutions per minute (RPM), and a powerful performance.
One of the reasons this case fan remains silent is the pressure-optimized blade design. However, even when it needs to deliver maximum airflow, it will not be overly audible. While the specs of this case fan are impressive, the redux edition is easily improved with a range of accessories, which include anti-vibration mounts, adapters, and splitters.
- It comes at a very affordable price
- It has a pressure-optimized blade design
- There is an SSO-bearing that improves stability
- The noise is low, while the power is high
- These case fans are built to last
- These case fans are stripped of accessories
- They do not have an appealing appearance
be quiet! Pure Wings 2 140mm PWM high-Speed, BL083, Cooling Fan
This case fan by be quiet! is another great example of a powerful fan that is designed to do its job while keeping a low noise level. One of the reasons it is able to do this is the design of the fan blades. This case fan utilizes nine blades that are airflow-optimized to reduce turbulence, decreasing the noise made by the fan without compromising power.
The air pressure of this case fan is high because of its 1600 RPM, and you can count on it working well even in the long run. Even when it is running at maximum speed, it remains sturdy and effective, having an operating lifetime of around 80,000 hours. While this is partially due to the bearing used, the entire thing is made well and reliable.
- It utilizes a nine-blade fan design
- The fan reaches 1600 RPM
- Its reduced turbulence means less noise
- It has an operating lifetime of around 80,000 hours
- This case fan is made using high-quality materials
- At higher speeds, it is not as quiet
ARCTIC F12 – 120 mm Standard Case Fan
The base version of the ARCTIC F12 is already a fantastic case fan. To start, the design of the blades allows for effective ventilation, improving airflow while minimizing the noise level. However, it is more than just improving airflow. The ARCTIC F12 has a two-way installation that gives it the ability to blow warm air out and draw cool air into the case.
This case fan is not only quiet and efficient, but it also has a long lifespan. That being said, the max RPM is around 1350, which isn’t the highest out there. Of course, for the price, it is hard to find something better. Moreover, this is only the base model. There are numerous variations of the F12, including silent and more powerful versions.
- The design effectively improves airflow
- The noise level is quite low
- Its design allows for two-way installation
- It is known to last for a long time
- The price is low for such a high-quality case fan
- The RPM of this fan is a little low
- They are not meant to run silent at higher speeds
Noctua NF-A20 PWM
Noctua makes case fans that are top-of-the-line, and if you need a powerful 200x200x30 mm fan, then you cannot go wrong here. Of course, the first thing you need to consider is whether it will fit in your case. However, if it will, then this fan provides quiet, efficient airflow. It has a max RPM of 800, but even at full power, it runs at less than 20 decibels.
The Noctua NF-A20 utilizes a 4-pin power connector. It also comes with an assortment of accessories that help it run quietly, including anti-vibration mounts and a low-noise adapter. All of this ensures a quiet experience. Moreover, like with all of Noctua’s products, the lifespan is impressive, averaging out at around 150,000 hours.
- It is one of the best 200x200x30 mm fans out there
- The noise level is less than 20 decibels
- There are various noise-reducing accessories
- It is a bit bulky
- It is a bit bulky
- It has an unusual mounting configuration
Antec 120mm PF12 Series Case Fan
When it comes to finding a good case fan for a great price, few can compare to the Antec PF12 series 120mm case fan. The first thing to note is that the fan reaches 1000 RPM, which provides decent ventilation. Moreover, it barely reached 21 decibels at max speed. All of this comes at a price of around five dollars per fan, which is incredibly low.
This Antec fan is as efficient as it is because of a few things, with the most important being the impeller and seven-blade design. The impeller was made with a focus on silent operation and power, finding a balance between the two. As for the blades, they provide ample airflow and cooling power without compromising the low-noise design.
- The price of this case fan is below average
- Even at max speed, it runs at a low noise level
- It utilizes an efficient impeller
- The seven-blade design offers ample cooling power
- The RPM is quite low compared to other 120mm fans
- They are meant for a weaker PC
Corsair LL Series LL120 RGB 120mm Dual Light Loop LED PWM Fan
The first thing to note is that the Corsair fans featured here are sold in a set of three, but you will not think of that as a problem once you see the specs. These case fans are great, starting with the 16 RGB LEDs that are present in each of the fans. They are split into two light loops, so you get a colorful, fun addition to a quality Corsair product.
These fans have a powerful airflow, which reaches around 43 cubic feet per minute (CFM). In addition, the RPM of this fan can be adjusted anywhere between 600 and 1500 RPM. Plus, even at its max speed, you will find it to run quietly, the fan retaining a low noise level of around 25 decibels due to the low-noise design of the fan blades.
- There are 16 RGB LEDs in each fan
- The lights can be customized and controlled
- PWM fan control allows you to change the RPM
- The fan blades are designed to operate quietly
- It utilizes a hydraulic bearing
- You have to pay a bit extra for the flair
Thermaltake RIING 120mm Red LED Computer Case Fan
If you are looking for a case fan that can deal with something demanding, such as a radiator, then Thermaltake’s RIING fan is ideal. It utilizes a Concentrated Compressed Blade (CCB) design and a wind blocker frame for high static pressure, which also work to reduce vibration and noise when working together.
The entire design of the case fan is focused on providing a balance between power and low noise. The previously mentioned features, plus a hydraulic bearing and low-noise cable, keep the noise below 20 decibels. It even utilizes an anti-vibration mounting system. Plus, all of this comes with LED lighting to add a touch of color to the fan.
- It utilizes a Concentrated Compressed Blade design
- It has a wind blocker frame that helps with vibration and noise
- The hydraulic bearing means reduced noise and a long lifespan
- The noise level falls below 20 decibels
- It comes with LED lighting
- The standard cables are too short
- The 3-pin cable extension reduces the power
Cooler Master MF120 Halo Duo-Ring Addressable RGB 120mm Fan
The final case fan on this list is made by Cooler Master, and it is part of their Master Fan series, which comes in 120mm, 140mm, and 200mm sizes. The 120mm fan featured here is a great example of what Cooler Master is capable of, with the brand delivering powerful, efficient fans that are both low noise and stylish.
The noise level of these fans stays at or below 25 decibels due to the noise-reduction technology and sound-absorbing rubber pads used. Moreover, they have a lot of power because of the hybrid blade design, which combines jet engine and helicopter blade designs to give both static air pressure and airflow.
- The series includes 120, 140, and 200mm fans
- It has customizable RGB lighting
- The noise level remains low even at high speeds
- These fans utilize a hybrid blade design
- The RGB is not as nice as the more expensive Corsair LL fans
- There are quieter case fans out there
How to Shop for a Case Fan
While there are a lot of good case fans out there, not every case fan works for every computer. In fact, it is better to shop for something that suits your setup instead of going for the most powerful option out there. Here are some things to consider when shopping for case fans:
- Size: The first thing you need to keep in mind is the size of your computer case. Depending on the size of the case you are using, the size of fans that you can use will change, so there is no better place to start.
- Power: Not every computer needs a fan with a high RPM and a ton of cooling power. In fact, most computers will not need anything extreme. Therefore, keep your setup in mind when choosing your case fans.
- Noise Level: The noise level you can deal with will depend on your personal tolerance and the manner everything is set up. Of course, less noise is always better, but if it does not bother you, then you might be able to find a cheaper case fan that will still do the trick.
- Aesthetics: If aesthetics mean a lot to you, then you might have to pay more for your case fans. If you want a good fan with RGB lighting, then the price will increase even more. Make sure to consider how much aesthetics are worth when shopping for case fans.
What you want out of a case fan is important. If you want something that does it all and looks great doing it, then the price you pay and the selection available will be different. However, if you just want efficiency, there are some amazing choices at reasonable prices.
Case fans are an important part of any computer, and they only become more important when more powerful PCs are involved. However, while they are important, what you need out of them is quite simple. Regardless of what you are looking for, you will find something great on this list.
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