An ideal starting point for upgrading your cooling system
If you’re wondering how to keep your PC running smoothly in 2023, then the answer is fairly simple: a good case fan! A proper case fan will help to dissipate hot air from inside your computer’s case and make sure that everything is running at peak performance. By selecting a quality fan, you’ll also help ensure that your system stays cool and quiet.
In this blog post, we’ll be giving an overview of eight of the best PC case fans on the market right now so you can select one that ensures optimal heat dissipation for years to come.
- Exceptionally durable
- Fan size 120mm
- Customizable ARGB
- Smart fan sensors for jam protection
Cooler Master SickleFlow 120 is a very attractive PC fan that comes with built-in RGB. Besides ARGB connectors, this fan has a separate PWM plug, so you don’t have to dedicate yourself to only one lighting ecosystem. Additionally, the blades are milky white, enhancing light dispersion and making the colors pop. You should pair this fan with ARGB-enabled motherboards such as the Asus Aura, ASRock RGB, and MSI RGB to get the most out of it.
The fan itself comes in a square case, designed to generate high-pressure airflow to cool your CPU. Its design reduces the turbulent flow, and it also serves to make the fan more silent. SickleFlow 120 ARGB can be as silent as 12 dBA on the lowest setting. This is achieved by adding rubber padding along the plastic case and a silent driver IC that keeps the rotation of the blades smooth. That also reduces the fan vibration and possible clicks and other mechanical noises.
- Hydraulic Bearing
- Fan size 120mm
- Corsair Lighting Node Pro RGB
- Amazingly quiet on high-speed settings
- PWM fan control
Corsair LL120 boasts 16 independent LED lights, but they are not all crammed together if you are looking for a complete cyberpunk look. Instead, Corsair decided to divide them into two loops: one on the fan’s rotor, and the second one around the outer edge of the housing. The result is stunning. The blades diffuse the light on the rotor as they spin, spreading it across the whole body of the device.
Corsair LL120 RGB is not just for show. The fans are pretty good with lighting or without. The fan speed has PWM control, and it ranges from 360 RPM to 2.200 RPM. The airflow is maximized, but the noise this fan produces at maximum speed is minimal. The fan blades were also designed to minimize noise but without sacrificing performance.
- HIgh-performance cooling
- Fan size 120mm
- Amazing balance of performance and price
- Optional accessorize available
- RPM range 400-1200
You don’t have to go with a low-quality cooling fan if you’re on a budget. Noctua is famous among DIY PC builders, offering fantastic quality for a very low price. The only downside is the basic unimpressive look. There are no RGB lights. The Noctua NF-S12B is a very simple and minimalistic-looking fan. It’s made of gray and black plastic, and there’s not much to look at. However, This fan was built to last, move air and cool off your case silently.
Although Noctua NF-S12B is not the most silent fan on the list, it measures only 18.1 dBA at maximum speed. This is impressive for a budget-friendly cooling fan. Moreover, when idle, it’s virtually silent. The noise-free cooling is also achieved by its SSO-Bearing which combines hydrodynamics with additional magnets that support the rotor axis.
- Sealed Precision Fluid Dynamic Bearing
- Anti Vibration rubber pads included
- PWM fan control
- RPM range 300-1200
- Noise level up to 24.9dBA
Another budget-friendly option for a fan cooler is Scythe Kaze Flex 120 PWM. But unlike Noctua, Scythe also performs like a true budget version of a cooler. The plastic from which it’s made feels and looks cheap. However, its ability to move air turned out to be greater than some of the more expensive models on this list. Perhaps Scythe Kaze won’t last as long, but it will do its job well. It’s a great option to consider if you need an immediate fix while saving money for something better.
While most cooling fans have 9 blades, Scythe has 11. That helps it move more air even though its maximum speed is 1200 RPM, but the greater the amount of air, the greater the noise. Scythe is not the quietest fan, but since it can’t run more than 1200 RPM, it never gets quite as noisy as its competition does at maximum speeds. In one word, Scythe Kaze Flex 120 is a decent cooling fan, and a great option if you are tight with money.
- Metal-reinforced motor hub
- Maximum speed 2500 RPM
- Hydraulic Bearing
- Impressive airflow
- Designed for high-end cooling needs
The RGB LED lighting system is a selling point for many cooling fans, but ThermalTake 12 Turbo decided to invest more into the technology itself than the looks, and it paid off. Instead of going for flash, ThermalTake decided to design fans capable of pushing air through tight spaces. In other words, this cooling fan is also ideal with CPU radiators. Upgrade your CPU cooler and rest assured your investment was smart.
ThermalTake 12 Turbo has impressive specs. It has a PWM control, and a maximum speed of 2500 RPM. The airflow capacity reaches 72 CFM, and the air pressure is at 3.78mm-H2O. But these specs come with a price. This is not the quietest fan out there. The noise level measures 28.1 dBA at maximum speed, which is much higher than other options on this list. The slower you run the fan, it’ll produce less noise.
- Dual-loop ARGB lighting
- Silent coolant technology
- Hybrid fan blade design
- Smart jam protection
- Noise level: 6-30dBA
Cooler Master produces some of the most popular cooling systems, and MasterFan MF120 Halo is one of them. Yes, it has 24 individually controlled RGB LED lights and it looks amazing. But it’s also very easy to install, which is good news if you are a DIY type of person.
But this MF120 Halo excels in noise reduction because it’s made of sound-absorbing materials, and it has rubber pads that reduce the vibration and improve stability. The fan also has PWM control with dynamic speed adjustment between 650 and 1800 RPM. Depending on the speed you set, the noise level fluctuates between 6 and 30 dBA.
- Fluid-Dynamic bearing
- Maximum speed 1500 RPM
- Fan size 140mm
- Unique shape and lighting effects
- RGB controller sold separately
If looks are your top priority when it comes to an RGB cooling system, NZXT makes their fans gorgeous. Although a bit pricey, and not the most effective or silent option on the market, the NZXT AER RGB 2 has a winning design. Its unique shape and the ability to pair and synchronize the lighting with other fans or any other RGB PC accessories will give you some of the most intriguing light shows. The HUE 2 ecosystem in which these fans integrate, can support up to 40 LEDs per channel.
When it comes to performance, NZXT doesn’t have anything special to offer. Its maximum speed is 1500 RPM, and it can move lots of air, however, this particular model is also louder than any other on this list, with noise levels reaching up to 33 dBA. Still, this is not enough to break your concentration from gaming or working.
- Pressure-optimized cooling fan
- Speed 200 to 1800 RPM
- PWM IC controller
- Airflow at 56.3CFM
Arctic managed to make their case fan’s motor extremely quiet with their P12 PWM PST model. Not only that, but due to the low coil temperature, this fan should have a very long life span. However, you’ll have to give up on those flashy RGB LED lights, as the Arctic has none.
Although fan speed is not impressive, Arctic achieves decent cooling power through focused airstream and high static pressure. The speed is regulated through broad spectrum PWM, which also keeps the noise at a minimum. In fact, the noise level is at 28 dBM at maximum speed, which is impressive for the cheapest model on this list.
Chill Your PC Case
When looking for the best PC case fans, it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on the size of your PC case, as well as your desired cooling performance and noise levels, there are a number of excellent PC case fan models available to choose from.
The 8 featured here are some of the best currently available and should provide an ideal starting point when shopping for a fan upgrade this year. Ultimately, what matters is finding a fan that will keep your system cool and quiet while achieving the optimal balance between airflow and budget.