Fans have been playing an important role in the field of PC cooling right from the beginning. You cannot expect to have outperforming hardware without sufficient airflow. Airflow is critical to keep the temperatures of processors and other components in the chassis under control. Picking a high airflow chassis is good, but you may still have throttling hardware performance and low flow rates across the components due to low-performing fans. To ensure that your computer hardware remains healthy and operates at maximum capacity, we are here to review best case fans to keep your computer more fresh and smart.
The prime reason to have an efficient case fan is performance, but fans are now part of aesthetics inside your chassis recently due to some added features. The addition of single color LED light was one of the first attempts to make case fans attractive. Now RGBs are more advanced with controllers to give effect based light properties. The more advanced case fans even feature a motherboard connection with a motherboard that allows RGB selection from the GUI running on your operating system. Besides being a piece of art case, fans need to have some features, which we will discuss in the quick shopping tips section:
Quick Shopping Tips
Airflow: Like most of the fans that you might have come across, the quantity of air that the fan can push across its fins is considered the decisive factor. The greater the airflow, the more heat it will take from your system. High airflow is commonly preferred in chassis.
Noise: Noise matters a lot while gaming or doing any important task. High flow fans can make a lot of noise while operating at high RPMs, but a well-designed fan can give you more increased flow and lower noise. Consider both factors together for an educated purchase.
Static Pressure: Fans can provide a high flowrate, but when installed on a heatsink, the flowrate reduces drastically because of the low static pressure. High static pressure fans maintain their flow rates irrespective of the restriction put against them.
RPM: Rounds per minute is also a representative value of how much the fan’s flow rate will be, but it’s mainly dependent on design. Some are designed for high RPM high flow rates, while others are designed for low RPM and low flow rates. The range of operable RPM is substantial. The more comprehensive the range means more control.
Speed Control: It’s essential to tweak your fan speed to the desired RPM accurately. Too high flow rate fans with high noise might be overkill for your device. So controlling its speed gives you control over its noise and component’s temperature balance.
Brand: Corsair | Airflow: 43.25 CFM | Noise: 24.8 dBA | RPM: 600 - 1500 RPM | Bearing Type: Hydraulic | RGB: Yes | Power: 0.3 A | Static Pressure: 1.61 mm-H2O | Speed Control: PWM | Weight: 1.08 lbs | Fan Size: 120mm x 25 mm | Dimensions: 4.72 x 4.72 x 0.98 inches
Corsair LL120 RGB has been ranking high in the RGB fan community. The release of the LL120 RGB fan Corsair has taken the PC lightning to the next level. They have fitted 48 individually addressable LEDs to enhance the aesthetics of your PC. You can choose from various colors to the individual LED to create a rainbow effect or just a pulsating effect. The manufacturing quality is also superior in these fans; they have cushion padding to prevent any rattling noise from vibration.
This fan is a premium product with a premium cost. The RGBs are impressive but require the lightning node pro controller to address each LED. This feature adds to the price that you bear while purchasing these fans. Spending top dollars on a fan than on the controller still doesn’t give you speed control. It would help if you always relied on the motherboard to control the fan via PWM-based technology for speed control. Overall the performance of the device does require some hefty costs.
The noise level in context with flow rate and static pressure is comparatively low. It means you will be able to push more air with less noise. The cables are long enough to reach the corners of any large chassis available in the market, and the light diffusion spreads evenly throughout the fan blades. The LEDs are bright enough to make those who set up the glow, and the range of RPM offered by this product is significant.
Brand: Corsair | Airflow: 52 CFM | Noise: 26 dBA | RPM: 1400 ±10% | Bearing Type: Hydraulic | RGB: Mono color | Power: 0.30 A | Static Pressure: 1.45 mm-H2O | Speed Control: Variable voltage/resistance | Weight: 0.3 lbs | Fan Size: 120mm x 25 mm | Dimensions: 4.72 x 4.72 x 0.98 inches
Going for the latest trending white color is difficult as most components are designed to support black interiors, but Corsair AF120 LED has a solution for your problem. The fan has a white color LED lightning at the center of the fan hub and disperses beautifully to the blades’ edges. They have a 3-pin based fan to allow single color LEDs to work with speed control.
The fans are aggressive when the computer is put under stressed conditions. The noise level is high, but the fans perform silent when processing returns to optimum load conditions. It can run at 1400rpm with high flow rates. However, the fan is not PWM control based. The speed is controlled by the motherboard connection alone.
At regular operation, the fan’s noise level is 26dBA, among the low noise fans we have covered in our review. Three fans come in a pack to keep your PC build cool. The speed optimization is excellent; the fan efficiently reduces its RPM, and the blade design ensures that the flow maintains at a higher value. Corsair is known to make authentic and accurate to their word performing devices.
Brand: NZXT | Airflow: 91.19 CFM | Noise: 35 dBA | RPM: 500-1500 | Bearing Type: Fluid Dynamic | RGB: Yes | Power: 0.2 A | Static Pressure: 1.52 mm-H2O | Speed Control: PWM | Weight: 0.48 lbs | Fan Size: 140mm x 26 mm | Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 5.5 inches
NZXT is a brand that is all about aesthetics; they build gorgeous looking chassis and CPU coolers. Their products improve your PC’s overall look, and the value for money is also high among best case fans. The fans are PWM based speed control with a flow rate of 53 CFM approx. The price is the main catch for these fans, and at a price half of its competitors, NZXT AER RGB 2 provides complete control over your RGB styling.
Like most of the NZXT products related to RGB and lightning, this one also requires the CAM to operate them successfully. This feature adds to the struggle of having all the RGB control software for different hardware. The good thing is that even after the added cost of buying NZXT products, the overall package remains cheap. The product is, however, scarcely available. The LED is on one side, so the other side doesn’t light up like the other competitors, but the overall brightness of the LED is good.
The fans are stylish with good airflow. The fluid dynamic bearing is one of the long-lasting types of bearing, and the power drawn at the optimum load is around 0.2A. The four-pin connection ensures that the pulse width modulation is easily performed to vary rpm between 500-1500 RPM. The cooling performance of the chassis is increased due to the static pressure based fan design.
Brand: Cooler Master | Airflow: 59 ± 10% CFM | Noise: 31 dBA | RPM: 650-2000 ± 10% | Bearing Type: Rifle | RGB: Yes | Power: 0.34 A | Static Pressure: 2.14 mm-H2O | Speed Control: PWM | Weight: 0.3 lbs | Fan Size: 120mm x 25 mm | Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
Cooler Master MF120R A-RGB is known for its quality products at a reasonable price. It makes it one of the most widely available products among the best case fans. The company has effects worldwide; the fan is one of the most successful products in RGB-based fans. The price is reasonable with double sides of outer rings and vibrant colors. The size of the fan is good enough to fit into any chassis from the market.
The fan is noisy under heavy loads like gaming or content creation, but the airflow keeps the components cool enough to keep them from throttling. The RGB lighting is subtle, and the brightness is not high enough to light up the chassis completely, but the ease of control still supersedes this drawback. The price and build quality are amongst the decisive purchasing factors.
The pulse width modulation is provided in this fan. The flowrate keeps the hardware cool, and the easy to install and cable management makes it an excellent choice for beginners. The price is reasonable, and the RGB does not require any specific software to run it. It is compatible with most of the motherboards available in the market. All it needs is a plug and play into addressable LED pins on the motherboard.
Brand: Noctua | Airflow: 63.27 CFM | Noise: 17.8 dBA | RPM: 300-1200 | Bearing Type: SSO2 | RGB: No | Power: 0.12 A | Static Pressure: 1.19 mm-H2O | Speed Control: PWM | Weight: 0.4 lbs | Fan Size: 120mm x 25 mm | Dimensions: 4.72 x 0.98 x 4.72 inches
Noctua NF-S12A PWM is a premium product. Noctua has one of the quietest performing CPU coolers. They are carefully designed to keep their noise level to the lowest possible. They have added integrated vibration pads to reduce the vibration, thus reducing the overall chassis interaction noise. The stepped inlet design ensures that the vicious airflow speed is avoided to keep the noise level to the lowest during acceleration.
The 1200 max RPM is a bit on the lower side, but the flowrate is still high, which means that the product has been carefully designed to offer higher static pressure at lower speeds. One of the significant drawbacks of this fan is the absence of RGB lighting and control. Most of the gaming users demand aesthetics and color accents used by Noctua, though unique, still doesn’t appeal to the masses.
The LNA makes it a premium product. It can drastically reduce your fan speed if not required and cause your computer system to pin-drop silence. With just 1.44Watt, this fan can keep removing your hardware heat at 63 CFM approx flow rate. The 6-year warranty is the written proof of high quality and long-lasting product. The research that Noctua puts into designing its cooling solution is unprecedented.
Brand: Corsair | Airflow: 41.8 CFM | Noise: 26 dBA | RPM: 525-1500 ±10% | Bearing Type: Hydraulic | RGB: Yes | Power: 0.3 A | Static Pressure: 1.55 mm-H2O | Speed Control: PWM | Weight: 0.375 lbs | Fan Size: 120mm x 25 mm | Dimensions: 4.72 x 0.98 x 4.72 inches
Corsair iCUE QL120 yet comes with another product that is more compact yet contains all the premium options that a gamer or professional could desire. The chassis would quickly light up and become the center of attraction in your room. The iCUE tech that corsair puts into their RGB makes four lightning zones with 34 individually addressable RGB LEDs possible. You can customize the colors to make it immersive.
The price is high, and at loaded conditions, the noise level is also noticeable. The 1500 RPM that it pushes does create noise, but the flow 42CFM cannot be achieved without some compromise on noise. If running a cool rig is your concern, then this set of fans will make your rig look lit. The exhaust and intake sides are different. The one advertised is the exhaust side, so make sure you need to be installed before buying.
The lightning can be synced with your music or run in specific patterns based on the preloaded effects. The wiring is long enough to ensure that the wires are easily manageable within the chassis and remain out of sight and subtle with black color. The fan blades are efficient and transparent to allow the RGB to flow through them. The fans have visible LED effects from both sides. The anti-vibration pads ensure that any noise created by the rubbing of the chassis with fans is suppressed.
✓PWM based speed control
✓A silent performer with a semi-transparent fan blade
Brand: Arctic | Airflow: 53 CFM | Noise: 8.4 dBA | RPM: 230-1350 | Bearing Type: Fluid Dynamic | RGB: No | Power: 0.24 A | Static Pressure: 1.0 mm-H2O | Speed Control: PWM | Weight: 0.31 lbs | Fan Size: 120mm x 25 mm | Dimensions: 4.7 x 1 x 4.7 inches
ARCTIC F12 PWM is one of the cheapest and most functional fans among best case fans, which is in our reviews list. The fan features the Fluid Dynamic Bearing. Oil is stored in a capsule to avoid any leakage of the lubricant, and due to the presence of liquid-based lubrication, the fan gives a higher service life. The cable length is long enough to make cable management easy for beginners.
The fan has no RGB, which makes it cheap enough for purchase. It is recommended you install this fan away from sight to give its performance yet not disturb your aesthetics. The black, the only color, is as old as computers. The fan can be installed from either side as there is no RGB. It can blow hot air out or take cold air into the chassis.
It also features the patented PWM sharing technology. It allows you to connect multiple fans to a single motherboard connector, thus requiring fewer headers to support maximum fans. You can connect up to 5 fans daisy-chained to the motherboard and controlled together. To achieve control of all five fans, all you need to do is use the BIOS to set it up.
Brand: Noctua | Airflow: CFM | Noise: 24.6 dBA | RPM: 300-1500 | Bearing Type: SSO2 | RGB: No | Power: 0.13 A | Static Pressure: 2.08 mm-H2O | Speed Control: PWM | Weight: 0.9 lbs | Fan Size: 140mm x 25 mm | Dimensions: 5.51 x 0.98 x 5.51 inches
The Noctua has released two fans with similar looks and similar features but changes in size. As we described in the quick tips, size also plays a significant role in airflow. You can have a bigger fan running at lower RPM but producing similar flow rates. That’s due to the surface area of the fans. Although the increased fan surface area would cause more material usage and a bigger motor to run, power consumption increases, and costs go up.
Noctua NF-A14 PWM has a brand look that it pulls off in all its products, but the theme doesn’t match the latest ongoing trends. The theme of beige and brown does, however, make it stand out as a brand. The effort that the designers and researchers have put into making each Noctua product contributes to its cost. The price may be large, but the functionality is top-notch.
Noctua has successfully operated its 140mm fan at 24.6 dBA running at 1500 RPM, which is incredible for the size. They have efficiently worked on their designs to reduce acoustic noises by improving airflow and avoiding noise RPMs is not available with any other brand. The LNA is also packaged with the fan to reduce noise levels further to negligible levels.
We have reviewed best case fans that are compatible with up-to-date technology and have the top features that any high-performance PC user needs. We have also reviewed fans that have a subtle noise signature and high cost.
It is about the user; if the user is looking for fans for a mid-range PC that does not include any RGB or glass sides, it is better to go for non-RGB fans with a decent diameter and high flow rate. If you are a power user and do a bit of office work from home, we prefer you to go for the fans with an LNA device. We have featured Corsair products for review, as they come up with the most trendy products for aesthetics.
The reason for including Noctua in our list is their research and development. Noctua puts in a lot of work in launching and designing their product. Their product is not one of the best looking but build and functionality wise they are unmatched. The product performs precisely as tech spec suggests. It’s entirely the user’s decision to go for the top class product or go for sheer functionality, and a low-cost solution like the brand Arctic featured in our list. We hope you will find the most suitable device for your PC.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which case fans are the best?
Corsair LL120 RGB is, no doubt, the best case fans that you can get in the market if aesthetics is your primary concern. The 48 individually addressable LEDs are playgrounds in which users can experiment with different themes according to their preferences. The fans work with most motherboards and have good static pressure to produce sufficient flow.
What are the best 120mm case fans?
If you are not a big fan of RGB and need a functional fan, it gives out the maximum performance for minimal investment. Then ARCTIC F12 PWM should be the right choice for you. The fan has 120mm dia, but everything from bearing design, noise level, and the flow rate is much higher than RGB lit fans.
Are 140mm fans better than 120mm?
A bigger fan means higher flow at lower RPM, but it’s not that simple. So we need to see flowrate and noise level to decide which fan is better. If we are searching for the best in the 140mm category, then Noctua NF-A14 PWM is the only name that comes to mind. The product is well designed with all the details carefully taken into account. It outperforms its own 120mm similar design.
What is the quietest 120mm case fan?
The 120mm Noctua NF-S12A PWM is, no doubt, the quietest of the bunch. Noctua is known for research-based design. The amount of effort their designers put into making energy-efficient and quiet devices deserve appreciation. Though expensive and based on an old color scheme. Noctua lives up to its name.