best case fans

Best Case Fans 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

Having trouble deciding which is the case fan that suits your needs?

Corsair, Noctua, Cougar are few of the leading brands who manufacture case fans optimized for Airflow, Static Pressure and Noise Reduction.

Explore with me the list of best case fans put together by our experts.

1. Corsair ML140 & ML120 – Best 140mm Radiator Fans

Corsair ML140 Pro ReviewCorsair ML140 have always been one of our favorites. These are the fans we use in most of our builds and they have never let us down, The fans are very consistent with their performance. They have great static pressure, airflow and magnetic levitation technology produces minimal noise; They are perfect choice for radiators.

The price of ML140 might be overwhelming but the looks and performance covers it up.

GeneralSpecifications
To begin with, I believe ML140 Pro is the best looking Case Fans in the market currently.
Corsair uses their advanced magnetic levitation technology for this fan. It not only produces very high static pressure but is equally capable of great Air-Flow and is remarkably silent because of the advanced anti-vibration dampers.

The fan is also available in 120mm version. For an HTPC build these are no doubt a good option, upon this who doesn’t like RGB components in their PC. They provide a very unique and premium look, especially when used with the best mini itx cases.

The case fans have a 2,000 RPM PWM control range i.e. You can directly control them via the motherboard.

  • Fan Dimensions: 140mm x 140mm x 25mm
  • Max Fan Speed: 2400 RPM
  • AirFlow: 97 CFM
  • Static Pressure: 3.0 mm H₂O
  • Noise Produced: 37 dBA
Pros
  • High Static Pressure
  • High AirFlow
  • Very Attractive
  • Extremely Low Noise
Cons
  • Costly

2. Corsair AF140 & AF120 – Best AirFlow Fans

Corsair Air Series AF120 Review

These are the case fans I personally use and so far had a  magnificent experience. They produce minimal noise, airflow is excellent, and they provide a good static pressure. Furthermore every purchase of this fan comes with two years Warranty.

This fan is a perfect example of great balance between Airflow and Static Pressure.

GeneralSpecifications
There are two editions of the same fan. One is known as “Performance Edition” and the other as “Quiet Edition.”
I prefer Performance Edition over the Quiet Edition because it can be operated at very high RPM and is more efficient in keeping your system cool. What about the noise? The official documents state that sound can go up to 30 dBA at 1650 RPM.
If you are a gamer, performance edition is sure the winner over quiet version for you.
  • Fan Dimensions : 140mm x 140mm x 25mm
  • Max Fan Speed: 1150 RPM
  • AirFlow: 66 CFM
  • Static Pressure: 0.8 mm H₂O
  • Noise Produced: 25 dBA
Pros
  • Very quiet – Produces Minimal Sound
  • Excellent Airflow
  • Decent Static Pressure
  • Unique Looks
Cons
  • None

3. Noctua NF-A14 and NF-A8 – Quietest Case Fans

Noctua A14 A8 ReviewYou might have never heard of Noctua before, that’s probably because they don’t make fancy RGB fans. What they make is one of the quietest, best-performing fans.

Noctua also produces though PPC(Protected Performance Cooling) fans. PPC fans aren’t something you would need for your home PC and that is why we are not going to talk about them.

Some of our clients aren’t much interested in the looks, i.e., very performance oriented. Noctua A14 has been a big part of our successful builds.

GeneralSpecifications
The fans come in several sizes, all of them share the same design and structure but one thing that differs is specs. All the fans comply with Noctua’s Advanced Acoustic Optimisation standards. Before the release of the NF-A series, there existed an NF-P series, it was claimed to be the quiet case fans. The ability of NF-P series was improved even further in the NF-A series, therefore, there is no doubt they are best quiet case fans.
  • Fan Dimensions: 80, 120, and 140mm
  • Max Fan Speed: 1150 RPM
  • AirFlow: 82 CFM
  • Static Pressure: 2.8 mm H₂O
  • Noise Produced: 24 dBA
Pros
  • Extremely Quiet – Produces Minimal Sound
  • High Airflow
  • Good Static Pressure
Cons
  • Highly Performance Oriented – No LED equipped versions available

4. Thermaltake Riing 12 – Best RGB Case Fans

Thermaltake Riing 12 ReviewThere are two versions of this fan available in the market.

  1. RGB Version(3 Case Fans)
    Might not the most budget friendly option but surely worth a look.
  2. Solid Color Version
    Available in 6 variant colors.(Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange, Red, White)
Thermaltake Riing 12 | Review
GeneralSpecifications
The most valuable feature of this fan is the 15mm thickness, Case fans are usually not this thin, but this fan is an exception. It was specially designed for mini chassis where you don’t have much space to work with though it is very commonly used in even full-size ATX cases because it looks unique and gives optimal performance. Even after being almost half the thickness of other case fans, It outperforms most of them. It was specially designed to fit in places inside mini cases where a standard fan could not be installed due to lack of space.

Thermaltake went for the same Hydraulic Bearing in this model of Luna 12 too. With coordination with double curved fan blades, they create a very high static pressure zone. The case fans are very quiet even while running on their maximum potential of 1400 RPM.

  • Fan Dimensions: 120mm x 120mm x 15mm
  • Max Fan Speed: 1400 RPM
  • AirFlow: 40 CFM
  • Static Pressure: 2.8 mm H₂O
  • Noise Produced: 24 dBA
Pros
  • High Static Pressure
  • Very Attractive
  • Extremely Low Noise
  • Very Affordable
Cons
  • Not the best AirFlow

5. Cougar Vortex PWM and HDB

Cougar Vortex PWM ReviewThe next up on the list is Cougar Vortex PWM from Cougar. The Cougar Vortex series consists of two Case Fans. One might be a better option over the other, It depends on your needs.

Cougar Vortex Series
1. Vortex PWM
2. Vortex HDB

Cougar Vortex | Review
GeneralSpecifications
Let’s talk about Vortex PWM first.
It is one of my favorite fans because of it’s vibrant color scheme and how well it was optimized to nullify the noise created by a 1500 RPM fan, also makes your PC stand out. It has a vibrant orange scheme and matte-black frame. They use one of the best fan designs out there; Cougar likes to call it the “Turbine Blade.”
The orange things you see on the sides of the fan is not just there for the looks, but actually, they are anti-vibration pads. These pads are designed to minimize the noise that the fan emits. These pads are very efficient in absorbing noise made by the fan.
The HDB version has similar specification, only difference is that you cannot control it directly from motherboard.
  • Fan Dimensions: 140mm and 120mm
  • Max Fan Speed: 1500 RPM
  • AirFlow: 70 CFM
  • Static Pressure: 2.2 mm H₂O
  • Noise Produced: 18 dBA
Pros
  • Very quiet – Produces Minimal Sound
  • Optimum Air Pressure
  • Excellent airflow
Cons
  • None

6. NZXT FN V2 – Best Budget Case Fans

NZXT FN V2 ReviewNZXT is mostly known for their computer cases. They produce one of the bests cases in the market, you want a cool looking computer case or need a lot of space; NZXT has got your back. We mostly use their cases for our builds. All the cases are pre-equipped with case fans, and these aren’t like any cheap fans. They are extremely silent, perform reasonably good for the price, and most importantly the black/white color scheme will look great with any pc build.

GeneralSpecifications
When I was getting my first PC build together, these were the fans that came equipped with the phantom case I bought. After the build was complete and it was the time to boot it up, I expected them to make some noise, but I was entirely wrong. The fans were as silent as they can be; At low-medium speeds, I noticed almost no sound.

The fans have a reasonable price, acceptable performance and look good. Though I wouldn’t recommend using them for hardcore gaming, they are perfect for an office/gaming build.

Note: After a month, I ended up replacing them with Corsair ML120. I had to do it because I was using RGB accessories for the most part of the build and the fans looked a bit dull with all that.

  • Fan Dimensions: 140mm x 140mm x 25mm
  • Max Fan Speed: 1400 RPM
  • AirFlow: 45 CFM
  • Static Pressure: 0.9 mm H₂O
  • Noise Produced: 21 dBA
Pros
  • Very quiet – Produces Minimal Sound
  • Affordable
  • Decent Looking
Cons
  • Low AirFlow
  • Low Static Pressure

7. Deepcool XFAN

Deepcool XFan ReviewJust to make this list universal, This is a budget-friendly option for anyone not willing to spend much on case fans. This is available in Black, White, Pink and Transparent models.
This case fan might be cheap, but Deepcool has made no compromise in quality.

To keep it’s price low, It is equiped with Hydro Bearings, These type bearings are very common in all budget Case Fans.

GeneralSpecifications
The fan blades are hidden from high-quality material. The Case Fan is well optimized to produce less noise at suitable RPMs. Multiple of these fans in a case can give excellent results. It might not look like other LED fans on this list, but It’s unique on its own. It’s very simple design might not come out to be the most attractive accessory of your computer, but it will not affect it’s overall looks as well. It will do its job i.e. keeping your PC cool, and that is the most important part.

  • Fan Dimensions: 120mm x 120mm x 25mm
  • Max Fan Speed: 1400 RPM
  • AirFlow: 43 CFM
  • Noise Produced: 24 dBA
Pros
  • Budget Friendly
  • Low Noise Mod
  • Good Price/Performance Ration
Cons
  • Not the best Airflow
  • Not Optimized For High Static Pressure

8. Cooler Master SickleFlow X – Best 120mm Static Pressure Fans

Cooler Master SickleFlowX ReviewHere we have another budget-friendly 2000RPM case fan. Unlike Rosewill, this one is quite popular, and you probably have of this before. The fan comes in Red, Blue and Green smooth LED.
It is widely known for “Fourth Generation bearings made of polyoxymethylene,” Sounds cool, doesn’t it?

These are perfect choise for anyone who’s not looking to spend much.

GeneralSpecifications
Just like most other case fans, These special bearings reduces the noise produced and are highly durable.(Can stay with you for up to 160,000 hours)
Moreover just other expensive Cooler Master Case Fans, SickleFlow X also has “Smart Fan Engine” which prevents the fan from taking any unnecessary physical damage.

The fans are very silent even at very high RPMs. The only thing they lack is Static Pressure, but for a case fan, Static pressure doesn’t play such a vital role. Static pressure comes more into play when radiators are included.

  • Fan Dimensions: 120mm x 120mm x 25mm
  • Max Fan Speed: 2000 RPM
  • AirFlow: 70 CFM
  • Static Pressure: 2.9 mm H₂O
  • Noise Produced: 20 dBA
Pros
  • Very High Fan Speeds
  • Inexpensive
  • Good Price/Performance Ration
  • Extremely Silent
  • Low Static Pressure
Cons
  • None

9. ARCTIC F8 PWM – Highest CFM Fans?

ARCTIC F8 ReviewARCTIC is known for their inexpensive F series. The fan comes in several sizes; the Arctic uses dual ball bearing for these fans and nothing fancy like the liquid or magnetic bearings like other brands, this contributes to its low price. These fans are ideal for systems sunny 24/7.

Ancient bearings have been in use for several years, and there is nothing wrong about them, though they won’t be as silent as Noctua NF-A8 but provides reasonable performance for the price.

The fan has really high RPM but does it necessarily mean it will have high CFW? Not really, due to the small size the fan and low static pressure, it results in an airflow (CFW) of only 31CFW.

GeneralSpecifications

The Arctic F8 are PWM fans, i.e., the motherboard can be configured to control their speeds at different pc temperatures. This is an important feature as it allows the fan to adjust it’s speed automatically according to requirements. The fan can rotate at 2000 RPM producing about 22 dBA of noise, which isn’t that much.

2000 RPM might sound like a lot, but while talking about 80mm fans, it isn’t a special case. Smaller fans need lesser power to rotate, and due to its size, it also provides a much lesser Airflow. In most cases, smaller fans are good for static pressure, Though this particular fan doesn’t.

  • Fan Dimensions: 80mm
  • Max Fan Speed: 2000 RPM
  • AirFlow: 31 CFM
  • Noise Produced: 22 dBA
Pros
  • Very High Fan Speeds
  • Inexpensive
  • Good Price/Performance Ration
Cons
  • Low Static Pressure

10. Cooler Master 80

Cooler Master 80 ReviewCooler Master is one of the leading brands for best cpu coolers, they also produce really good pc fans. If you noticed, this is the second Cooler Master computer fan discused in our list. The Cooler Master SickleFlow X and this 80mm fan are very similar in terms of technalogy used. Unlike the previously discused SickleFlow, this doesn’t have a high airflow, this is not because of difference is design but in size. The fan produces noise of only 13 dBA, which is the quietest case fan. Due to it’s small size, the usage is minimal, you cannot install these as your main intake case fans because of it’s low airflow.

Specifications
  • Fan Dimensions: 80mm
  • Max Fan Speed: 1400 RPM
  • AirFlow: 15 CFM
  • Static Pressure: 1.0 mm H₂O
  • Noise Produced: 13 dBA
Pros
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • Low Static Pressure
  • Low AirFlow
  • Low Fan Speed

11. Rosewill Long Life

Roswwill Long Life ReviewHere I included another budget friendly option. It is a very high-performance fan, but the noise might sometimes annoy some people. For anyone who prefers wearing headphones while gaming, You will never have any complain about the fans.

Rosewill used “Sleeve Bearings” in these fans, and the blades are designed to maximize Air-Flow.

GeneralSpecifications

The speed of the fan can be scaled up to 2000 RPM.
2000 RPM, Are you serious?
Yes, The fan can go up to 2000 RPM though it is not the best optimized for noise reduction and static pressure. If you are looking for a case fan and only want to pay for the performance and not the looks, This one is for you. Again this will not be the most attractive part of your computer, but it will surely be one of the most performing.

Sound tests and official website doccuments states that the noise can go up to 35dB-A. Which is a lot? Maybe not, If you prefer wearning headphones while you do processing tasks like gaming or rendering and are on a budget, This is best choice for you.

  • Fan Dimensions: 120mm x 120mm x 25mm
  • Max Fan Speed: 1200 RPM
  • AirFlow: 32 CFM mm H₂O
  • Noise Produced: 22 dBA
Pros
  • Very High Fan Speeds
  • Cheap | Affordable
  • Good Price/Performance Ration
Cons
  • Low Static Pressure

What Is The Role Of A Case Fan?

I am sure you’ll all agree when I say,
It is not possible to maintain low temperatures on your PC while gaming or rendering graphics… Or is it?

Let’s first understand “Why Does Your PC Heats Up?”
It’s mostly because of the processing units i.e. Your CPU & GPU. You may have a huge CPU fan, and my GPU has a three fans cooling system, but still, it heats up. You bought an expensive CPU cooler to prevent overheating of you PC, but you forgot one of the most important things. I am talking about Case Fans.

My PC used to heat up so quickly when I played games and one day I decided to investigate. I had one of the best Dry CPU cooler and liquid cooling for my GPU. Still, They sometimes reached very high temperatures. My CPU temperature went up to 98C sometimes while gaming but my GPU would usually sit around 65.

After looking for quite a while, I figured out the problem was incorrect configuration and placement of my Case Fans. My fans were rotating the air inside the case. Lol! So, I fixed them, and it drastically reduced the temperature of my PC.(My CPU never went more than 90C.)

Did I stop there? No. Now, I wanted to see how much effect could a Case Fan have on temperatures. So, I ordered 5 Corsair Air Series AF120 Performance Edition. I just installed them wherever I had space on my PC. After that, I never had to worry about my PC’s temperatures. Recently, I set up three fans to take air in at 1000 RPM each and the other 2 in the front to push the air out at 1650 RPM each.

Now I can say my PC is very well optimized is entirely overheating proof. I don’t remember the last time I saw the temperature cross 80C even on hardcore 4k Gaming. Insane, Right?

First of all, some of these carry a hefty price-tag as I tried my best to include the best performing and most selling Case Fans in the market.

Static Pressure Vs AirFlow Fans On Radiator

You read that high static Pressure fans are better for radiators, but why is it so? Let’s find out.

Static pressure refers to the amount of pressure the fan can create while sucking in air. This might not be one of the major factors if you are using fans on a well-ventilated case but when it comes to radiators, it’s different.

How does a Radiator work?

How Radiators Work

Assume you have a CPU, that you want to keep under its temperature limits and you decide to implement a liquid cooling system.

The setup will look something like shown in the image above. The red colored pipe represents the water which rises in temperature due to the heat emitted by the CPU. This heated water travels all the way to the radiator where the tube is coiled to increase the surface area. This is where the radiator fan comes in action and the answer why we cannot use standard case fans on radiators. Since the radiator contains mass, it’s comparatively harder to push/pull air through it.

A standard computer fan is designed such that it can pull more air through it, Air leaks, pressure management isn’t prioritized in them. Using these fans on radiators will force more air through air leaks instead of the radiator, thus leading to raising the CPU temperature.

High Static Pressure Fans To Save the Day

These fans are specifically designed for radiators. They might not always provide you with airflow as high as an airflow fan, but even without that, they can serve you with a much better performance.

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