Best PC Fans 2021: The Strongest and Quietest Case Fans for Your Gaming PC
Few PC elements are so essential to the efficiency of your pc, but so cheap than your PC followers. But don’t let the low value idiot you; fashionable PC followers are sometimes extremely engineered gadgets, and selecting the unsuitable $20 fan can imply the distinction between a system that runs at peak efficiency and one which overheats and crashes.
You may be planning to switch a fan to enhance airflow or to scale back the noise stage by swapping out an particularly loud fan. Or maybe you’re constructing a gaming PC and need to decide one of the best followers for the undertaking. Regardless of why you’re right here, there are as many fashions of followers as there are causes to purchase them – what sort of cooling do you need to obtain? What dimension fan do you want? And are aesthetics, equivalent to LED lighting, vital to you?
We’ll enable you select the best fan to your undertaking. And on the finish of the article, we’ve put collectively a shopping for information to focus on how to buy your subsequent PC fan.
TL;DR – These are the Best PC Fans:
1. Noctua NF-S12B redux-1200
Best Overall PC Fan
Noctua continues to hold the throne of the case fan kingdom, and it’s actually done something a bit new with the NF-S12B redux-1200. This new model doesn’t feature the classic brown-and-tan color combination that, though a signature of Noctua, all but ensured the fans would never match the aesthetics of almost any PC build. Instead, Noctua has settled for an unsuspecting, two-tone gray that can blend in a lot better.
Aside from the change in color, you’ll still find a highly capable fan that can blow 59.2 cubic feet of air every minute while maintaining a low noise level at just 18.1 dBA. You can help the fans stay silent with the rest of your rig using optional anti-vibration pads, which come in a variety of colors if you want to spice up the gray a bit. There’s also an option to run these fans at slow speeds to drop the noise levels even further using Noctua’s NA-SRC10 Low-Noise adaptor or by dropping the voltage.
2. Arctic F12-120
Best Budget Fan
You need not purchase crazy-expensive followers should you’ve obtained a modest system that is not overclocked to the purpose of doubling as an area heater. But, even should you’re going for reasonably priced followers, you don’t need ones which are going to grind and groan and spend extra time making noise than they do transferring air. Fortunately, the Arctic F12-120 followers have you ever coated at a low value level paired with a low noise stage.
These 120mm followers can cruise alongside at 1,350 RPM and push 53 CFM whereas staying pretty quiet due to their fluid dynamic bearings. You will not get fancy RGB lighting from these followers, however that is not as a result of Arctic is cheaping out. In truth, Arctic is assured sufficient within the high quality of those followers to supply a six-year restricted guarantee on them. At simply $10 apiece, these followers make it straightforward to equipment out each out there consumption and exhaust level in your case with followers.
3. Cooler Master MF200R ARGB
Best 200mm PC Fan
If you want a ton of airflow whereas staying silent, 200mm followers stands out as the method to go, assuming your case can assist them. The Cooler Master MasterFan MF200R ARGB makes for a high quality possibility that’ll additionally give your PC a pleasant serving to of favor.
This giant fan can push simply over 90 cubic toes of air each minute whereas registering at simply 28dBA. Since it may be difficult to maintain cables out of bigger followers should you’re not cautious, the MF200R ARGB additionally features a good sensor to detect jams. Cooler Master has additionally used translucent fan blades to let the ARGB lighting actually shine.
4. be quiet! Silent Wings 3
Best Silent PC fan
No matter what your cooling needs, you can probably find it here. Silent Wings 3 comes in a number of variations – both 120mm and 140mm, and in 4-pin PWM (pulse width modulation) and 3-pin DC fan varieties. Most importantly, as the name suggests, these fans are virtually inaudible.
But Silent Wings are also premium fans. They come with anti-vibration corner fittings, feature fluid-dynamic bearings for a very long service life, and have an unusual 6-pole motor, which be quiet! says contributes to less vibration and lower power consumption.
5. Corsair QL Series QL120
Best RGB PC Fan
Corsair certain is aware of learn how to make an eye catching product. The Corsair QL Series QL120 is the newest in its snazzy PC followers, they usually present no scarcity of favor. The QL120 followers characteristic a whopping 34 RGB LEDs per fan, they usually’re designed with semi-transparent fan blades to actually let these colours shine. Each fan has 4 lighting zones, so that you get some further tweaking capabilities. The lighting comes out on either side of the followers as nicely, so it would not matter whether or not you set them up for consumption or exhaust. The three-fan equipment consists of the Lighting Node Core controller you want, which additionally merely requires a USB 2.0 and SATA connection, so you may preserve your PC’s wiring easy inside.
The followers themselves are pretty succesful, providing an honest stage of airflow whereas conserving noise ranges right down to 26dBA. It’s not as a lot airflow or as quiet of noise ranges as among the competitors, however generally we undergo for vogue, and the QL120 followers supply lots in the way in which of vogue.
6. Cooler Master MasterFan MF120 Halo
Best Addressable RGB PC Fan
If you’re after addressable RGB followers, you’re clearly seeking to management the vibe of your gaming PC, and the Cooler Master MasterFan MF120 Halo is usually a massive assist. For one, the followers supply stable cooling potential, and you may go for silent operation at simply 6 dBA or go for max cooling at 30dBA.
The ARGB lights are the celebrities of the present. Each fan consists of 24 LEDs, and people are divided into two rings across the circumference of the fan. This offers you a ton of management and lets your lighting shine from the entrance, again, and sides of the followers. Plus, the translucent blades of the fan will give that RGB lighting that rather more influence.
7. Phanteks PH-F140MP
Best 140mm PC Fan
Because Phanteks’ PWM PH-F140MP produces very high static air pressure, it’s ideal for cases crowded with radiator fins, water-cooling radiators, and restrictive grills. The fan speed is fully adjustable thanks to its PWM motor – you can vary it from 500 to 1600RPM, and at the lower end of the spectrum, the fan is essentially silent.
You can expect a long service life, since it’s built on what Phanteks calls a UFB (updraft floating bearing), which is a kind of sleeve bearing.
8. Noctua NF-P12 redux
Best 120mm PC Fan
This is the second time Noctua seems on this record, and it gained’t be the final. That’s as a result of Noctua makes very good (and reasonably priced) followers, and the NF-P12 redux is a high-performance instance.
This fan generates very excessive ranges of static stress and airflow whereas minimizing noise. You’ll get an extended life from the self-stabilizing oil stress bearings, and Noctua’s consideration to element is obvious within the shark-tooth notches within the trailing fringe of the blades, which disperses sound and helps this fan keep further quiet even at larger RPMs.
9. Noctua NF-A12x25
Best High Airflow Fan
If you need to move more air, you may be able to step up to a larger diameter, but many cases limit you to 120mm fans. That means your best choice is likely a model like the Noctua NF-A12x25, a variable-speed PWM fan that can throttle up to 2000 RPM and move over 60 CFM.
Throttle it down, though, and this is a fairly quiet fan. Noctua also lets you add a low-noise adapter (which caps the RPM at 1700 RPM) for even quieter performance. But in addition to great high-airflow performance, this fan also generates a very high static pressure, making it an all-around solid workhorse regardless of the case or application. And for longevity, it boasts Noctua’s self-stabilizing oil pressure bearings.
10. Noctua NF-A12x15
Best Low-Profile PC Fan
Sometimes, case tolerances are tight. In these cases, Noctua has you coated. The Noctua NF-A12x15 is a slim PC fan that is available in at practically half the thickness of lots of the different merchandise on this record. So, when you should squeeze a fan into a good spot, this one is your greatest guess. It’s successfully the slim sibling of the Noctua NF-A12x25.
The compact dimension of this fan does not imply it is sacrificing efficiency. You can nonetheless get a stable 55 CFM of airflow from this fan, letting you retain your case filled with contemporary, cool air. And, even at its highest stage of airflow, it solely produces 23.9dBA of noise. Noctua has some choices to decrease the noise much more, together with a Low-Noise Adapter, which brings it right down to 16.8dBA with a sacrifice to airflow, in addition to anti-vibration mounts that may stop undesirable rattle. Both of these come included with the fan itself, so that you get that flexibility at no further value.
11. Lian Li Uni Fan
Best Clutter-Free PC Fans
Get strong airflow for your computer is undeniably important, but it shouldn’t have to come at the cost of a clean internal build. Wiring up a bunch of case fans can not only be tedious, but all those extra cables strung about could start to interfere with its function. The Lian Li Uni Fan system offers a unique solution for wiring up multi-fan setups.
The Lian Li Uni Fan may look like most other fans (except that it has some smooth RGB lighting around the edge of the fan), but it uses a special connector and a multi-fan controller to let you get a cleaner setup inside your PC. The trick is in that connector, which can actually let you interlock multiple Uni Fans, and they’ll share their power and control signal. You can run a single Uni Fan, but the benefit is most pronounced when you need a lot of fans, as you can connect up to four fans and control them off a single connection. You can also support up to four clusters of four fans (for a total of 16 fans) using Lian Li’s special controller.
What to Look for in a PC Fan
First things first: Fans aren’t generic, one-size-fits-all commodities. Connector styles vary, for example. You’ll find four pin connectors on pulse width modulation (PWM) motors, which are easily speed-adjustable and somewhat more energy efficient. Three-pins generally control DC motors, though adapters are available.
The size of the fan casing is also important. Fans commonly range in size from 80mm to 250mm, and you’ll generally need a large fan for a large case, since a 120mm fan won’t move much air in a cavernous enclosure. In some cases, you have some flexibility when choosing fan sizes; 140mm fans generally have the same mounting holes as 120mm fans, for example. But as a general rule, larger fans are quieter, move more air, and even last longer.
In addition, fans are generally optimized to either move a high volume of air with large blades and high RPM or generate a high static pressure. High airflow fans can run into problems when installed in a case with restricted airflow – that’s what high static pressure fans are for.
Unlike most PC components, fans are mechanical systems meant to run continuously for years. Ball bearings, often found in the least expensive fans, tend to fail the soonest, while sleeve bearings are a step up in quality and longevity. Fluid bearings tend to have the longest lifespans.
While there’s a fair bit of engineering that goes into the best PC fans, in principle, they’re pretty simple devices – they’re fans, and designed to move air from one place to another. That means a critical spec to keep in mind is the CFM, or air moved by the fan in cubic feet per minute; higher numbers are better. You might also want to watch for their noise level. Generally, the noise generated by a fan (measured in dBA) is directly proportional to its CFM, but there are design features that can keep fans quiet. Larger fans, which can spin slower to move the same amount of air, also tend to run more quietly.
Finally, LED lighting has become a major consideration for many systems – since modern LEDs don’t add heat to the system and don’t interfere with airflow, it’s become common to find fans with integrated lighting – either a single color, adjustable to a handful of colors, or a full 16.7 million color LED system.
Dave Johnson has been writing about gaming and tech since the days of the Palm Pilot. See him shout into the Twitter void @davejoh