Case fans can be considered to be an unsung hero. They aren’t flashy, don’t come with a wide range of design options, and probably won’t even be noticed by casuals. Yet they are a vital component that keeps your computer cool and thus running along smoothly.
In a hurry?
The most popular sizes are 80mm, 120mm, 140mm, and 200mm. We have therefore made sure to include the best case fans in these sizes. We have also written a buyers guide to give you an idea as to what you should look for when purchasing a case fan and why we chose the following models.
- 1 Case Fan Comparison Table
- 2 80mm Case Fan
- 3 120mm Case Fan
- 4 140mm Case Fan
- 5 200mm Case Fan
- 6 Case Fan Buyers Guide
Case Fan Comparison Table
|Cooler Master Master Sleeve Bearing||Rosewill Long Life Sleeve Case||Corsair Air Series AF120||Noctua NF-A14 PWM||Corsair Air Series AF140||Cooler Master MegaFlow|
80mm Case Fan
Cooler Master Master Sleeve Bearing
The first thing you should keep in mind with this fan is that it is the best 80mm model, but Cooler Master also manufacture 92mm, 120mm, and 140mm fans that are all worth a look at if you are looking for larger sizes. You should also know that the fans use 3-pin connectors.
The fan is indeed as silent as possible at 20 dBA and is recommended for CM 690/590/690 II. It features an 11-blade design that results in better cooling at lower speeds. The CFM rating stands at 24.2. The RPM at 2,000.
120mm Case Fan
Rosewill Long Life Sleeve Case
These inexpensive yet high quality fans (4 are included) from Rosewill effectively get the job done at a fraction of the price as others.
The bearing system is long life sleeved, and the RPM stands at 1200 RPM. Air flow stands at a great 38.2 CFM, the noise level is just 22dBA for very quiet operation, and it’s good to see that the fan uses 3/4 pin connectors.
Corsair Air Series AF120
This top rated case fan from Corsair is arguably the coolest looking on the market and there are 8 colors to choose from. The illumination from the four LEDs really makes a difference too.
The fan has more than just great aesthetics going for it though. The noise level stands at 25.2 dBA, the airflow at a very impressive 52.19 CFM, and the static pressure at 0.7 mm/H2O.
The blades are custom-molded and designed for high-volume air delivery while outputting as little sound as possible, particularly thanks to the sleeved bearing system. The AF120 is perfect for mounting at both the top or rear of your PC case
140mm Case Fan
Noctua 140mm NF-A14 PWM
If there’s a better 140mm model on the market then we haven’t found it yet. This fan from Noctua has hundreds of reviews to its name and manages to boast a rating of 4.9 out of 5.
The NF-A14 PWM is the new and improved version of the NF-P14 which was actually an award winner for best case fan. It is engineered to have an aerodynamic design, including Flow Acceleration Channels, has a PWM (Pulse Wave Modulation) design for automatic speed control, Integrated Anti-Vibration Pads, and much more.
The fan has a top speed of 1500 RPM, but thanks to its Low-Noise-Adaptor also decreases to 1200 RPM automatically during PWM control.
All in all, the NF-A14 PWM offers users an unrivaled balance between cooling capacity and quiet operation, regardless of where it is mounted.
Corsair Air Series AF140
The Corsair Air Series AF140 is similar to the AF120 in many ways, so everything that is stated above applies for the AF140, including the cool design with illuminated LEDs and custom molded blades.
Being a larger fan the ratings are a little different though. Noise stands at 25.5 dBA, airflow a 66.4 CFM, and static pressure at 0.80 mm/H2O.
200mm Case Fan
Cooler Master MegaFlow 200
Another great case fan from Cooler Master makes the list, but this time in the 200mm category. The MegaFlow has a speed of 700 RPM, air flow of 100 CFM, a very impressive noise output of just 19 dBA, and air pressure of 0.595 mm H2O.
The MegaFlow has a diameter of 200mm and displacement volume of 184 m3/h, which is one of the main reasons for its superior cooling and very, very quiet operation.
A 3 pin connector and 3-4 pin adapter comes included, which is much appreciated, and the fan has a 30,000 hour life expectancy which is one of the best in its class.
Case Fan Buyers Guide
What is a Case Fan?
A case fan, also known as a system fan, is available most commonly in 80mm, 120mm, 140mm, and 200mm sizes. They are attached to either the front or back of a computer case inside the computer and help keep the computer functioning optimally. This is achieved by bringing in cool air and expelling hot air.
Why Buy a Case Fan?
Every computer needs a cooling configuration to function. Therefore, purchasing one really isn’t negotiable at all – you must purchase one. A fan may not be the most exciting component you purchase, but it is certainly one of the most important.
Factors to Consider
The speed is measured in Revolutions Per Minute (RPM). This simply means the number of times a fan completes a rotation every 60 seconds. Typically, the higher the RPM the more cooling there is and the louder the fan is.
As mentioned, the most common sizes are 80mm, 120mm, 140mm, and 200mm. 120mm sized fans are undoubtedly the most popular. The larger the fan is the more capable it is of pushing air. As a result, a larger fan has a higher CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute) rating.
You may think that the larger a fan is the louder it is, however the opposite is true. The reason for this is that larger fans are able to push more air, ensuring that they don’t have to spin as quickly as smaller fans to generate airflow.
As just mentioned, larger fans are quieter than smaller ones. However, you will still want to take a look at the dBA (decibel level) of the best case fans to know exactly just how many decibels the fan outputs. Having said that, dBA can still be misleading because you can never be too sure how the reading was taken unless it has been strictly stated.
Some manufacturers may take a reading closer or farther away from the fan than others. You also have no idea what the background noise in the room is like either. So while looking at the dBA rating is still worthwhile, don’t necessarily take it as gospel.
This reading is measure in mmH2O. The reason why static pressure is important is because it tells you just how much force a fan is able to exert onto an object. Components like an HDD cage or CPU heat sink inevitably block some airflow, so it’s a good idea to purchase a fan that has a high mmH2O reading.
We touched on CFM earlier, as it informs you of how capable a fan is at pushing air. CFM is important in figuring out the cooling performance of a fan – in fact, it is the most important reading.
Case fans aren’t the most exciting purchase you are going to make, but some come with cool designs that give you the ability to customize your computer to your liking and stand out from others. The biggest decision you will make when it comes to design is figuring out whether you want an LED model or not.
3 Pin vs. 4 Pin
The reason why you may want to purchase a 4-pin fan is down to PWM. PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulation and is vital in allowing your motherboard to adjust the speed of your fan as it deems necessary.
It’s also a smart idea to purchase a top rated case fan that features the highest dustproof rating as possible, as dust can certainly do some much unwanted damage to your computer. The highest rating is IPX6.