Every closed gaming case needs at least one case-mounted fan, period.

It is true that they weren’t as common back in the day, but with the massive modern graphics cards, it is easy even for the larger computer cases to accumulate a lot of unwanted heat due to poor airflow. And not only are they practical, but they can also contribute to your PC’s visual appeal with the ever-popular LED lighting.

Ultimately, a little investment in case fans can spare you a big deal of trouble further down the road, in addition to having some noticeable immediate benefits – especially for those living in warmer climates. If you want to know what the best PC case fans of 2018 are, all you need to do is read on!

Zoom Out: The 8 Best Case Fans For 2018

Without any further ado, here are the best case fans that you can buy today!

Case FanSizeLEDBearing Type 
Cooler Master Silent Fan SI280-140mmN/ASleeve
Cooler Master MegaFlow 200200mmN/A, Red, BlueSleeve
Corsair Air Series AF120 Quiet Edition120mmN/AHydraulic
Corsair Air Series AF120 Performance Edition120mmN/AHydraulic
Corsair LL Series LL120120mmRGBHydraulic
Thermaltake Pure 20200mmN/A, BlueSleeve
Thermaltake Riing 12 (Editor’s Pick)120mm, 140mmBlue, Red, White, Green, Yellow, OrangeHydraulic
NZXT FN V2120mm, 140mmN/ARifle

Cooler Master Silent Fan SI2

best case fan

About the Fan

What better way to start a list of case fans than with a product from Cooler Master? The Cooler Master Silent Fan SI2 is a compact and performance-oriented sleeve-bearing case fan that comes in a variety of sizes to suit anyone’s needs.

As the name implies, it is as quiet as modern case fans get with its 19 dBA noise level, and it has a simple matte-black exterior that is relatively unremarkable, allowing it to blend easily with almost any setup.

Specifications

Sizes80mm, 92mm, 120mm, 140mm
RPM1200
Noise level19 dBA
Bearing typeSleeve
ColorsBlack

All in all, this fan is ideal for users who do not much care about flashy visuals and just need a quiet and efficient solution to keep their system temperature under control. On the other hand, if you want a fan that not only does its job but also looks good while doing so, the SI2 won’t exactly leave you amazed.

What We Loved

  • Very quiet
  • Several sizes

What We Didn’t Like

  • Plain appearance

Cooler Master MegaFlow 200

best case fans

About the Fan

Next up is another Cooler Master fan, the MegaFlow 200, and it is as powerful as its name implies. It is a massive 200mm sleeve-bearing fan with low RPM that is just as quiet as the above described SI2 models. But unlike the SI2 fans, it also has a degree of aesthetic appeal, as it comes in three variants: the default matte black one, in addition to two transparent models that come either with red or blue LED lighting.

Specifications

Sizes200mm
RPM700
Noise level18 dBA
Bearing typeSleeve
ColorsBlack/Transparent

Without a doubt, the MegaFlow 200 is an excellent addition to any case that needs some truly powerful cooling and enhanced airflow. On top of that, the choice between a plain black and two LED models will allow this fan to suit a variety of tastes. Its only real fault lies in the fact that it only comes with a hefty 200mm diameter, something that will make it incompatible with smaller cases.

What We Loved

  • Very quiet and efficient
  • Plain and LED variants available

What We Didn’t Like

  • Only comes in 200mm versions

Corsair Air Series AF120 Quiet Edition

best pc fans

About the Fan

Moving on, we have the Corsair Air Series AF120 Quiet Edition. Much like the previous fans from Cooler Master, this hydraulic-bearing fan is also more oriented towards efficiency rather than visuals. It is only slightly louder and can be easily adapted to any computer case by replacing the colored ring around the fan. Three such rings come with the fan: a white, a red, and a blue one.

Specifications

Sizes120mm
RPM1100
Noise level21 dBA
Bearing typeHydraulic
ColorsBlack + White/Blue/Red

All things considered, the AF120 is a decent fan, although its primary advantage over the competition is its hydraulic bearing which allows for more placement versatility and a longer lifespan. It has no glaring flaws apart from the fact that it is only slightly louder and more expensive than similar fans, but this is something that’s easily overlooked when the visuals and the high-quality bearing are taken into account.

What We Loved

  • Versatile and durable hydraulic bearing
  • Customizability

What We Didn’t Like

  • A bit louder and more expensive than competing models

Corsair Air Series AF120 Performance Edition

best pc case fans

About the Fan

For those who are not as concerned with noise levels as they are with providing their computer case with optimal airflow, Corsair has the Air Series AF120 Performance Edition fans. These are almost identical to their Quiet Edition siblings, using an advanced hydraulic bearing and coming with the same swappable colored rings. However, where they truly differ is their much higher RPM and the proportionately higher noise level.

 Specifications

Sizes120mm
RPM1650
Noise level30 dBA
Bearing typeHydraulic
ColorsBlack + White/Blue/Red

With all of the above said, the sole difference between the Quiet and Performance Edition fans is the fan speed and noise levels. Clearly, the latter will be a better choice for demanding, performance-oriented users while the former will suit those who prefer convenience over performance.

What We Loved

  • Versatile and durable hydraulic bearing
  • Excellent airflow
  • Customizability

What We Didn’t Like

  • More expensive than the Quiet Edition

Corsair LL Series LL120

best computer fans

About the Fan

And here, we have a true premium-quality fan – the Corsair LL Series LL120. One look at these fans and it becomes abundantly clear that they will make any transparent case a sight to behold. They are also hydraulic-bearing fans which do a remarkable job of finding a good balance between speed and noise levels. However, their most distinguishing feature lies in the fact that they come with fully customizable RGB lighting.

Corsair is selling these fans in dual and triple-packs as well, the latter including a Lightning Node Pro as a bonus, something that RGB enthusiasts will undoubtedly find appealing. Keep that in mind if you’re planning on a bulk purchase.

Specifications

Sizes120mm
RPM1500
Noise level24 dBA
Bearing typeHydraulic
ColorsBlack

It is obvious that the LL series fans aren’t just for show, given how well they balance the high RPM with such low noise generation. The hydraulic bearing plays a vital role in that regard but one can’t help but notice the hefty price tag. As you might have guessed, RGB is the primary reason for this. Needless to say, if you don’t care about RGB or don’t plan on fully utilizing its capabilities, simple LED lighting or no lighting whatsoever would be much more cost-effective.

What We Loved

  • Excellent overall quality
  • Great speed-noise ratio
  • Fully customizable RGB lighting

What We Didn’t Like

  • Very expensive

Thermaltake Pure 20

best 120mm case fan

About the Fan

Finally, we get to another big name, Thermaltake. And for their first entry, we’re starting big – literally. The Thermaltake Pure 20 fan is a large yet sleek and elegant case fan. The design enables excellent airflow, although it is a tad noisier when compared to some competing models such as the Cooler Master MegaFlow 200. When it comes to visuals, the Pure 20 fan comes in two variants: a simple matte black exterior or a transparent one complemented with blue LED lighting.

Specifications

Sizes200mm
RPM800
Noise level28 dBA
Bearing typeSleeve
ColorsBlack/Transparent

It is evident not only from the above specifications but also from Thermaltake’s marketing and the fan’s very design that this particular model does not sacrifice any efficiency for the sake of convenience. In contrast, this might put off some users who actually do not require that much power from their case fan and would prefer a quieter one instead. Moreover, while blue lighting is thematically understandable, some users may be left wanting for additional variety.

What We Loved

  • Superb cooling efficiency
  • Good price-quality ratio

What We Didn’t Like

  • Noisier than similar fans
  • Only blue LED

Thermaltake Riing 12

best 200mm case fan

About the Fan

Who says that a fan cannot be fast, quiet, and stylish at the same time? The Thermaltake Riing 12 has got you covered in all three regards – and no, the name is not a typo. Whereas the Pure 20 model was very efficiency-oriented, the Riing 12 fans come in the more modest and more standardized 120mm and 140mm sizes, they are quieter, and allow users to choose their preferred LED color from a rich palette: blue, red, white, yellow, green, or orange.

Specifications

Sizes120mm, 140mm
RPM1500
Noise level24 dBA
Bearing typeHydraulic
ColorsBlack

Without a doubt, the Riing 12 fans do an admirable job of balancing convenience, variety, and efficiency. They are just as good as any other hydraulic-bearing fan, but their distinguishing quality is the ability to blend in with any gaming system thanks to the variety of colors that are available. Unfortunately, there is no RGB variant for those who are not happy with just one static color.

What We Loved

  • Quality hydraulic bearing
  • Numerous LED color options
  • Good speed-noise ratio

What We Didn’t Like

  • No RGB version

NZXT FN V2

best 140mm case fan

About the Fan

Unlike any of the previous entries, NZXT may not be a name that everyone will recognize immediately. However, anyone who has ever used an NZXT product can anticipate just how well-built the FN V2 fan is. It is a quiet and efficient fan that boasts a black-and-white design, a great representation of NZXT’s contrast-heavy design philosophy.

Specifications

Sizes120mm, 140mm
RPM1200
Noise level21 dBA
Bearing typeRifle
ColorsBlack + White

There is no denying that the NZXT FN V2 is simply a great deal. It is a highly durable rifle-bearing fan capable of reaching high speeds without producing an excessive amount of noise, all the while being remarkably cheap. The only problem with it is that, while it will blend seamlessly with a white case, it may easily clash with some others due to the white fan blades. Furthermore, the lack of color variants does not help the matter.

What We Loved

  • Efficiency, low noise levels, and affordability in one package
  • Very cost-effective

What We Didn’t Like

  • May not fit aesthetically with some cases

How to Choose the Best Case Fan For You

The Size

case fan

Let’s start with the most obvious characteristic of a case fan: its size. As you can see in the main table at the beginning of the article, case fans most commonly measure either 120mm, 140mm or 200mm in diameter, although there are other sizes, too.

But what is the best case fan size? While there is no definite answer, we would say: the bigger the better! This is because bigger fans enable better airflow all the while not having to spin as fast as the smaller fans, something that also leads to lower noise levels. As such, we advise you to go as big as your case allows to ensure that your money is well-spent.

The Speed

pc fan

A fan’s speed is measured in revolutions per minute – RPM for short. And the question of whether high RPM or low RPM is better depends entirely on your needs and preferences.

Essentially, low RPM means less noise but also worse airflow. With high RPM, it is the opposite. However, RPM is not a reliable way of estimating just how efficient a fan is, seeing as that depends much more on its size and design.

The Bearing

Fans utilize a variety of bearings based on their intended use and price range. Let us quickly go over the types of bearings that you will encounter with case fans:

  • Sleeve bearing – The cheapest and most popular type of bearing among case fans. The reason for this popularity is that sleeve-bearing fans don’t perform well at high temperatures or in a horizontal position, neither of which present a problem for case fans because they are almost always positioned vertically and not exposed to excessive heat.
  • Ball bearing – Most popular among high-end fans, they are quieter and more durable than sleeve bearings and can be placed either vertically or horizontally. However, they are very seldom implemented in case fans due to higher manufacturing costs.
  • Rifle bearing – An excellent middle ground between the two above-mentioned types of bearings, rifle bearings rid themselves of placement constraints of sleeve bearings, all the while being almost as quiet and as long-lasting as ball bearings.
  • Hydraulic bearing – An improvement on sleeve bearings, the hydraulic bearing is quieter and last longer thanks to superior self-lubrication of the fan.

With all that said, which do we recommend?

The bearing type is not something that you need to overly concern yourself with, but all things considered, we find hydraulic bearings to be the best all-around choice for case fans due to their long life-span and quiet operation. However, any other type of bearing will do fine, too – just keep in mind that a sleeve-bearing fan might get louder due to wear and tear.

How Many Should You Get?

quiet case fans

For most systems, merely one or two fans will be enough to ensure proper airflow.

A single back-mounted fan will push hot air out while a single front-mounted fan will suck cool air in. Apart from that, fans can also be mounted on the top or on the side if the case allows it. However, more than two fans really are an overkill for the average gaming PC, unless you’re doing it solely for aesthetic purposes.

Conclusion – The Best Case Fan of 2018

quitest case fans

If we had to pick the best case fan, it would have to be the Thermaltake Riing 12. It simply has it all – efficiency, low noise generation, and plenty of LED color options to choose from. More importantly, it is all packed into a single affordable package.

But that is only our choice! After all, only you can know which fan will suit your needs best. If you don’t care about visuals and just want an inconspicuous and reliable fan, or one that focuses more on raw power, you will not be disappointed by any of the fans we have listed.

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