The best PC fans keep your computer cool without adding to the noise it generates. They’re quiet. If that’s not enough, the best PC cooling fans will assist your PC operate quicker with the help of smart clock speed management in today’s top silicon.
If you’re planning to overclock your system, you’ll need adequate airflow throughout your PC case if you’re going to invest in one of the better models. The addition of additional fans to a pre-assembled computer isn’t a bad idea. In an ideal world, the noise generated by your computer should be kept to a minimum by the fan. The Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM is your best pick if you’re concerned about sound quality.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the top PC fans we’ve tested, along with a few of their most notable features. Even if you’re more interested in CPU coolers, we’ve got you covered there.
1. Noctua NF-S12B redux-1200
Oil Pressure Bearing Type: Self-Stabilizing
400 to 1200 rpm
CFM listed: 59.2
The dBA listed is 18.1
If you’re into case fans in any way, you’ve probably heard of Noctua. Because of this, it’s a popular choice among DIYers. Noctua is a manufacturer of high-quality, long-lasting, and whisper-quiet fans. Noctua fans were previously only available in a dated khaki-and-mud color scheme, but that’s no longer the case thanks to the company’s recent release of a more modern design. Any aficionado who saw your PC would be impressed, but everyone else would be disgusted, by Noctua’s engineering marvel.
Redux series from Noctua remedied this problem by recasting time-tested designs in gray and black look that won’t detract from the rest of your PC system. The Noctua NF-S12B was quickly voted the best of the two Redux models they sent along. The NF-S12A, a blacked-out Noctua model, is quieter and more efficient than this one, but it’s a lot less expensive. Noctua fans used to cost a lot of money, but the NF-S12B redux balances performance with a budget-friendly pricing and looks fantastic in the process.
There’s no RGB lighting—no frills at all—in this place. In spite of this, the NF-Self-Stabilizing S12B’s Oil Pressure Bearings will survive for years, while moving more air at mid-range speeds than any non-Noctua fan we tested while keeping quieter than the competition at the same time. It’s a resounding success.
2. Corsair LL120 RGB
Type of Bearing: Hydraulic
600 to 1500 rpm
The following is the listed CFM value: 43.3
The dBA listed is 24.8
No, Corsair Lighting Node Pro does not support RGB.
Are RGB fans necessary? No. Would you prefer RGB fans? Definitely. Fans from Corsair’s LL120 Pro RGB series are the best on the market for those seeking a full cyberpunk aesthetic, and they look fantastic in both all-glass cases and regular side windows.
The LL120s have a lot of RGB LEDs in them. Several LEDs are mounted on the rotor of each one, and they emit light down the length of the blades as they spin. Finally, the outer border of the housing has a ring of light imbedded in it. It’s safe to say that these LL120 RGB fans are the brightest and most eye-catching of all the ones we tested.
However, they’re not just for show. If you don’t care about lighting, the LL120s are a great choice as a fan. Even though they’re noisier than most non-Noctua fans in the middle of the speed range, the LL120 is quieter than any other non-Noctua fan we tested, and that’s only because the LL120 runs at 1500 RPM, whereas other Noctua fans top out at 1200 RPM.
Problem number one? They’re a little pricey. Like, a lot of money. To use LL120s, you need to commit to purchasing a three-pack of fans with an included Corsair Lighting Node Pro, a package that lists for $120. Additional fans will set you back an additional $35 apiece. Even if the outcomes are spectacular, that’s a lot of money.
3. Cooler Master MF120R A-RGB
Rifle Bearing is one sort of bearing in this set.
the 650–2000 rpm range
CFM listed: 59.0
The listed dBA is 31.0
A motherboard or a Cooler Master controller is required for RGB.
It’s a little less high-tech than Corsair’s LL120s, with merely fan-blade illumination instead of a second ring surrounding it. It’s still a beautiful fan, with a vivid color palette and a clean transition between sections. While the package is listed at $99, you can generally buy it on sale for a significantly lower price. ‘ You’ll save a lot of money on your cooling arrangement if you buy additional fans for only $20 each.
But wait, there’s more. Their voice can be heard clearly from a distance. Like, really loud. According to Cooler Master, the MF120R’s noise level is 31 dBA. During our testing, the MF120R kit posted the loudest measurements of any fan we tested, even louder than the other 2000 RPM fans we tested, the NZXT Aer RGB 2 and the Noctua NF-A12x25.
If you’re looking for maximum airflow, you’ll have to go with the MF120Rs over the Noctua NF-A12x25. There’s no way you’d want to run them at such a high rate, at least not in the context of a typical game session. Just as with Corsair’s kit, you get a full RGB lighting system and some rather powerful fans at a fraction of the price. The MF120Rs could be a viable option if you restrict their maximum rotational speed to 1200 or 1500 RPM.
4. Thermaltake Toughfan 12 Turbo
Hydraulic Bearing Gen.2 is the bearing type.
500–2500 revolutions per minute
The CFM listed is 72.69
The dBA listed is 28.1
The Thermaltake Toughfan 12 Turbo’s minimalist design is a welcome break in a market where RGB LEDs on fans are generally the primary selling feature. There is nothing ordinary about these case fans. This is a high static pressure fan, not a conventional case fan. It is perfect for usage with radiators and pushing air through grills and limited areas, such as the inside of an enclosure or a cabinet. To upgrade your CPU cooler or build a custom system, these are the kind of fans you should use.
You may also use them as direct case fans, but you’ll have to pay a premium for it. These are more expensive at $30 each, but the features they offer make up for it. With a maximum speed of 2,500RPM, you can expect air pressure of 3.78mm-H2O and airflow of 72CFM from these PWM-controlled fans. It’s impressive given the 28.1dBA maximum noise level, which is audible but not bothersome—you can, of course, run them slower and quieter.
A non-Turbo version of this fan is also available; it will cost you $5 less per fan and can only reach 2,000 RPM, 500 RPM less than we have here. In terms of airflow, they’re plainly inferior to Turbos but they’re also quieter, so the choice is yours.
5. Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM
Second Generation Self-Stabilizing Oil Pressure Bearing (SSOPB)
range of revolutions per minute: 450–2000
Airflow rate: 60.1 cfm
Listed dBA: 22.6
For the purists, we’ve got some good ol’ Noctua khaki and mud. Even though the Noctua SF-12B above is an excellent fan, if you’re looking for the most powerful 120mm fan on the market, the NF-A12x25 is the clear winner. This fan delivered the most air to our test rig out of all the contenders.
At lower RPMs, the NF-A12x25 was the most whisper-quiet fan in our tests. At 1200 RPM, it is quieter than some fans running at 300 RPM slower, according to our measurements. When you consider that the NF-A12x25 can spin up to 2000 RPM in the middle of a heatwave and still be a great choice for your average gaming PC, you can see why it’s an outstanding pick.
Yes, you will be able to tell that the NF-A12x25 is a high-quality fan because of its distinctive brown color. Despite this, it will stand out in any PC design. An additional great touch is the abundance of included accessories, which range from an 18-inch extension cord to rubber vibration dampers. Although the cost is exorbitant, the quality is indisputable.
6. NZXT Aer RGB 2 120mm
Type of bearing: Fluid Dynamic Bearing
500 to 1500 rpm
Number of cubic feet per minute (CFM): 52.4
The dBA listed is 22.0
No, NZXT Hue 2 does not support the use of RGB.
All of NZXT’s products are visually stunning. It’s not always the most cost-effective or efficient option, and the NZXT Aer RGB 2 failed to impress throughout our tests. The Aer RGB 2 can move a startling amount of air at its maximum speed of 1500 RPM, but it is also much louder than any other fan we tested. The Aer RGB 2 was slightly louder than the rest of the competitors in our low-speed tests.
Consider this, however. Incredibly beautiful. NZXT’s Aer RGB 2 has fewer LEDs than Corsair’s Aer RGB, but the outer ring of LEDs shines brightly into the case, illuminating the rotating fan blades without directly illuminating them. Immaculate, but flashy, in the same way as any other RGB setup, but somehow streamlined and sleek. If you have an all-glass enclosure, you won’t mind needing to incorporate the Hue 2 controller with your fans.
NZXT, like Corsair, has a problem with the price. The LL120 starter kit from Corsair costs $130 for three 120mm fans and a controller; however, extra fans cost $30, which is $5 less than Corsair’s add-ons. Weird.
7. Scythe Kaze Flex 120 PWM
Type of bearing: Fluid Dynamic Bearing
range of revolutions per minute: 300–1200
Fumitory efficiency is listed at 51.2
Listed decibels-per-inch (dBA)
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Scythe’s first impression isn’t spectacular, to be fair. In a cheap plastic container that looks more like it came from an auto shop than a modern PC retailer, the Kaze Flex 120 PWM is delivered. Scythe’s box feels like a budget fan solution when placed next to Noctua’s Redux or Corsair’s heavy boxes.
Despite this, we found the Kaze Flex 120 PWM to be one of the better versions on the market. As a result of its eleven blades, the Kaze Flex 120 was able to move more air at 1200 RPM than some of the competition (Corsair, for example) was able to do at 1400 or even 1600 RPM. Although the Kaze Flex 120 PWM is noisier than the competition at any given speed setting, the noise is never as awful as models that spin up to greater rates because the Kaze Flex 120 PWM only spins at 1200 RPM.
If the SF-12B isn’t your cup of tea in terms of affordability, what other options are there? Using Scythe’s blade-heavy blower would be a good idea. One more corporation that has yet to dip its toes into the RGB LED well is a good thing, right? That’s a good deal.
8. Noctua NF-S12B redux-1200
The Noctua NF-S12B redux-1200 is a sweet and simple device. Except for the name, that is. In any case, this is an updated Noctua fan that is capable of delivering substantial airflow while maintaining low noise levels. Your computer’s fan runs so quietly that you may not even notice it, but it’s pumping out almost 60 cubic feet of air every minute at that decibel level.
The design of this fan has seen a considerable shift, with the brown-and-tan color scheme of other Noctua fans being replaced by a two-tone gray. This will help it blend in with the rest of your PC’s components. This fan’s spinning speed, which is rated at 1200 RPM but can be reduced by lowering the voltage or using an optional low-noise adaptor, can also be reduced for even greater quietness. When quiet operation is a must, Noctua also has anti-vibration mounts that can be installed between the fan and the casing.
9. Arctic F12-120
It’s unnecessary to spend a fortune on pricey fans if your computer isn’t overclocked to the point where it acts as a heater. That being said, even with the most cheap of fans, you don’t want them creating more noise than they’re actually discharging. As a result, the Arctic F12-120 fans come in handy at a reasonable price and with a quiet operation.
Fluid dynamic bearings allow these 120mm fans to run at 1,350 RPM and 53 CFM while being relatively quiet. These fans don’t have RGB lighting, but that doesn’t mean Arctic is skimping on quality. For this reason, Arctic is willing to give a six-year limited guarantee on these fans because they are so confident in their quality. Each of these fans costs only $10, making it cheap and straightforward to equip your entire system with fans at every intake and exhaust point.
10. Cooler Master MF200R ARGB
If you want a lot of airflow but don’t want to disturb your neighbors, 200mm fans may be the best option. In terms of quality and style, the MasterFan MF200R ARGB from Cooler Master is an excellent choice.
This massive fan can move air at a rate of just over 90 cubic feet per minute while producing only 28 decibels of noise. The MF200R ARGB has a clever sensor to detect cable blockages because larger fans can be difficult to keep wire-free if you’re not attentive. Additionally, Cooler Master has used translucent fan blades to showcase the ARGB lighting.
11. be quiet! Silent Wings 3
It doesn’t matter what kind of cooling you’re looking for; you’re likely to find it here. All of the Silent Wings 3 fan models are available in a variety of sizes, including 120mm, 140mm, and 4-pin PWM (pulse width modulation). For starters, they’re practically inaudible, as the name implies.
However, Silent Wings enthusiasts are also high-end devotees. Corner fittings, fluid-dynamic bearings, and a 6-pole motor all contribute to a quieter operation and lower power usage, according to the makers of the product.
12. Corsair QL Series QL120
Corsair’s products are always eye-catching. QL Series QL120 is the latest in Corsair’s PC fans, and they show no lack of flair. At a whopping 34 RGB LEDs per fan, the QL120 fans are constructed with semi-transparent fan blades so that the color shines. There are four lighting zones on each fan, allowing you to fine-tune the appearance even more. It doesn’t matter if you put the fans up for intake or exhaust, because the lights comes out on both sides. A USB 2.0 and SATA connection are all you need to connect the Lighting Node Core controller to your PC, making it easy to keep your PC’s internal wiring simple.
To keep noise levels at a reasonable 26dBA, the fans are fairly powerful, providing a significant amount of airflow. The QL120 fans don’t have as much airflow or as low a noise level as some of their competitors, but they still have a lot of style to offer.
13. Cooler Master MasterFan MF120 Halo
In order to have more control over the mood of your gaming PC, the Cooler Master MasterFan MF120 Halo might be a great asset. For starters, the fans’ cooling capacity is impressive, and you can choose between low-noise operation at 6 dBA and high-noise operation at 30dBA.
The show would not be complete without the ARGB lights. In total, there are 24 LEDs on each fan, which are arranged in two rings around its circle. Using this allows you to regulate the illumination from the front, back, and side of the fans. In addition, the fan’s translucent blades will enhance the RGB illumination.
14. Phanteks PH-F140MP
If your case is full of radiator fins, water-cooling radiators, and restricting grilles, Phanteks’ PWM PHF140MP is the best choice. This is due to the fan’s PWM motor, which lets you regulate the speed from 500 to 1600 RPM, making it virtually silent at lower speeds.
Because it relies on a sleeve bearing known as a UFB (updraft floating bearing) from Phanteks, you can expect a long service life.
15. Noctua NF-P12 redux
If Noctua is on this list again, it won’t be the last time. That’s because Noctua produces high-quality fans at an inexpensive price, and the NF-P12 redux is a good example of this.
While making minimal noise, this fan delivers significant amounts of static pressure and airflow. To ensure long life and quiet operation, Noctua’s blades have shark-tooth notches on their trailing edge that scatter sound and enable this fan remain particularly quiet even at higher RPMs thanks to their attention to detail.
16. Phanteks T30-120
With water cooling, you won’t be able to use any old fan in your gaming PC. To avoid having to fight to push air through a restricting radiator fin array, you’ll need something that can deliver high static pressure (or a fine mesh panel for that matter). As a result, the Phanteks T30-120 fan is what you need in this situation.
As simple as it gets, this 120mm fan will keep things cool. There will be no RGB lighting. Modular assembly isn’t necessary. You get a lot for your money with this fan. At 67 CFM, each fan can circulate a lot of air. In addition, the radiators have a static pressure of 3.3 mmH2O, which means they’ll do an excellent job of moving air through the radiator and removing heat from the system. A simple switch allows you to pick from three different operating modes without the need for any additional software. While most PC fans are about the same size, the Phanteks T30-120 has a thicker design of 30mm, so if your system is limited in space, make sure you have area for the extra size.
17. Noctua NF-A12x15
Case tolerances might be stringent in some situations. You may rely on Noctua in certain situations. The Noctua NF-A12x15 is one of the thinnest PC fans we’ve seen so far, measuring just over half the thickness of some of the others. When space is at a premium, look no further than this model. The Noctua NF-slimmer A12x25’s sister, if you will.
Even though this fan is small, it doesn’t skimp on performance in any way. This fan still delivers a respectable 55 CFM of airflow, allowing you to keep your case well-ventilated. Even at the highest airflow setting, the noise level is only 23.9 dBA. To further reduce noise, Noctua offers a Low-Noise Adapter, which reduces noise to 16.8 dBA at the expense of airflow, as well as anti-vibration mounts. With the fan, you receive both of these features at no additional cost.
18. Lian Li Uni Fan
As crucial as getting a good amount of airflow into your computer is, a clean internal build should not be sacrificed for it. As well as being time-consuming, wiring up a large number of case fans might have an adverse effect on their performance. When it comes to configuring several fans, the Lian Li Uni Fan system is the only choice.
While the Uni Fan may look like any other fan (apart from the beautiful RGB lighting around the edge), it uses a specific connector and a multi-fan controller to allow you to have an even cleaner PC setup. Using this connector, you can actually interlock many Uni Fans, and they’ll all share the same power and control signals. Using a Uni Fan saves space because you can connect up to four fans and run them all off of a single wire, but the real value comes into play when you need a lot of fans. Lian Li’s unique controller can additionally support up to four clusters of four fans (for a total of 16 fans).
How do I improve my PC’s airflow?
How are PC fans tested?
We then ran each fan at its maximum RPM to see how much airflow it could handle and how much noise it made. Most of these fans won’t be used at full speed, which is why they’re called PWM fans. You may reach this limit if you have an older motherboard without PWM (or if your system runs hot), in which case you should be aware of how noisy your PC may become and how much air it will move. As far as RGB lighting is concerned, no. We’ll keep an eye out for them.
A fan is a mechanical mechanism that is designed to function constantly for many years, unlike most other PC components. Compared to ball bearings, sleeve bearings are a better option since they are more durable and last longer. The longest-lasting bearings are fluid ones.