Last updated: July 1, 2020

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When we play video games or spend many hours using programs with high energy consumption, certain computer components tend to heat more than they should. In the long run, this can truly affect the useful life and proper functioning of our devices.

Whether your computer is a recent or older model, you probably want to get the most out of it. In order to fully enjoy all the benefits it offers, this device must last several years and be comfortable to use. This is why you want to keep the temperature of your computer down, and a fan is exactly what you need for that.

Key Facts

  • Any computer can suffer from severe damage if it is not properly protected by a fan.
  • These components not only cool your PC but also help to clean it by removing any dust that builds up inside it.
  • Using a fan can extend the overall life of your computer. In the final section of our article, we will help you identify the key criteria to consider before making your purchase.

Our Selection: The Best Computer Fans on the U.S. Market

In the section below, you will discover our selection of the very best computer fans currently available on the American market. In the description of each model, you can find out more about their specific characteristics – from the level of noise they make to the design they bear. All of these quality products offer great value for money.

Best Value-For-Money Computer Fan

This pack of 3 computer case fans is one of the most popular among customers and has become Amazon’s Choice in the category. Available in various color schemes, each fan operates ultra-silently – at a maximum of 19 dBa – for greater comfort while working. Delivered with the necessary screws and two distinct connectors (3-pin and 4-pin models), their higher airflow is designed to enhance the overall cooling performance.

Best High Airflow Computer Fan

Corsair is a household name when it comes to computer components, and this LED cooling fan provides low-noise operation, in addition to a custom fan blade and hydraulic bearing. The AF120 has high static pressure and customized design outperforms the vast majority of standard case fans. This model is particularly efficient when operating in unrestricted places like the top or rear of your computer.

Best Budget-Friendly Computer Fan

The Arctic F12 is optimized to operate at high static pressure, so its fan blades don’t have to rotate at very high RPM when running. Its genuine power allows the air to circulate between the cooling fins effortlessly. The alloy and lubricant combination reduces the friction inside the bearing while providing greater efficiency. For enhanced control over your fan, you can set its speed using different voltages.

Best RGB Computer Fan

The Corsair LL120 fan combines excellent airflow with low-noise operation and 16 LEDs distributed between its two light loops. You can customize the lighting using a variety of vivid effects and patterns to protect your computer in style. This model allows you to regulate its speed with accurate noise and airflow adjustment. This set of 3 Corsair fans offers incredible overall performance.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Computer Fans

Before you settle for a specific computer fan, you may be interested in learning more about these accessories. This will allow you to make a more informed decision and purchase the model that best suits your computer use. As you can imagine, you won’t need the same model if you’re an avid gamer, a graphic designer, or if you simply use it for basic tasks.

Fans found in today’s computer towers often come with 3-pin or 4-pin motherboard connectors.
(Source: Garloon: 72115117/ 123rf.com)

Where is the fan located in a computer tower?

Buying the best model on the market isn’t enough to get the most out of your computer. You should also know how to install it correctly so that it can ventilate all the necessary components. The video below will help you know exactly where and how to position your new computer fan:

Computers integrate several fans distributed as follows: one located in the power supply, a second in the graphics card, and a third one in the central processing unit (CPU). Remember that creating an adequate vent flow is even more important than the number of fans itself.

How can I prevent my PC from overheating?

There are several principles that you can apply in order to prevent your computer from reaching above-normal temperature levels. That way, its internal components are better protected, and you can extend their useful life. You should also note that your PC can reach higher processing speeds and run more smoothly at low temperatures.

Avoid obstructing the air vent of your fans, and keep it away from surfaces that tend to heat up more easily. You should also perform regular checks to make sure that they work properly. If you decide to purchase a quiet model, keep in mind that the fact that it makes more noise may indicate a malfunction.

The size of these components is measured in millimeters.
(Source: Golubovy: 54302123/ 123rf.com)

Should I choose a high static pressure or high airflow fan?

Two main types of fans are available to you, and the model you choose will strongly depend on how you use your computer. On the one hand, high static pressure fans generally feature very large blades with joints located between them. This results in a smaller amount of ventilated air propelled at higher speeds.

High airflow fans, on the other hand, renew the air inside the device as quickly as possible. These models tend to be installed in computer towers to prevent the hot air from being trapped inside and therefore compromising the device’s overall performance. This type of fan is ideal for people looking primarily for efficiency and speed.

Why does my CPU need cooling?

The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the brain of your computer and the number one component to keep in mind when you’re looking for maximum performance from your device. This element tests the operating system, gives instructions to other components, and receives the signals and actions provided by the various programs you’re using.

In spite of being the very core of your computer, it tends to overheat because of its small size and its exposure to such a wide array of operations and tasks. This is why it is so essential to have a fan specifically dedicated to the cooling of the CPU. It will increase the durability and maximum performance of your device.

The most important thing is that you choose a fan that fits the space available inside your computer.
(Source: Jim varga/ unsplash.com)

Which software can control my fan’s speed?

Indicated in revolutions per minute (rpm), the speed generated by your fan can generally be managed using various software tools. We’ve listed them in the table below; they will give you maximum control over your device and prevent any overheating that could damage its proper operation.

Software tool Description
CPU SpeedFan It gives you real-time access to your microprocessor and hard disk’s temperature, the fan speed, and the CPU load.
NoteBook FanControl This is a cross-platform fan control service for laptops. Its configuration system is versatile and adaptable to various notebook models.
EasyTune 5 It improves the performance of Windows-based systems.
TPFan Control This software manages the fan through the IO port with the integrated controller.
Argus Monitor This monitor controls your CPU’s temperature, which you can view numerically and graphically.

Shopping Criteria

Every computer fan will offer its own specific features, and knowing what these are is a great way to help you make the right decision. These characteristics often have very complex descriptions, which can render your task much more complicated. In the following section, we will introduce you to some of the most important aspects to keep in mind when selecting a computer fan.

Size

The size of the fan is indicated in millimeters, with the most common measurements being 80 mm, 120 mm, and 140 mm. Please keep in mind that a larger fan size will make it easier to move air at the same speed, which will, in turn, lead to your device being quieter.

The most important factor, however, is that you purchase a model that fits the space available inside your laptop or computer tower. Certain devices may have limitations regarding this aspect, so you are advised to carefully check the manufacturer’s specifications in order to avoid any unpleasant surprise. Once you’ve done this, remember to pick the largest fan possible for the reasons mentioned above.

Noise

Your fan’s noise can become particularly annoying if you use your computer every day. Luckily for you, there are ways to limit this. First of all, you should know that the greater the rotation speed of the blades is, the more noise the device will generate. As you can imagine, the product’s quality will also play a role in the overall noise level.

Certain models on the market feature a blade speed regulator to lower the noise as much as possible.

The noise is measured in decibels (dBa), and you are encouraged to purchase a fan whose operation does not exceed 30 dBa. While you want a fan with low noise levels, make sure that this doesn’t affect its performance.

Airflow

This function allows you to know how much air is being propelled into your laptop or PC tower. This value is measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute) or ft3/min. The higher the airflow is, the more air your fan is moving into your device. A CFM of 50 is the minimum value at which a fan is considered to be efficient.

This flow makes reference to the temperature, pressure, and humidity conditions of your computer. Fans that integrate this functionality renew the air inside the device at high speeds and without generating too many obstacles, whether located in the front or back of the tower.

Connections

Fans found in today’s computer towers often come with 3-pin or 4-pin motherboard connectors. A 3-pin fan will generally operate at normal speed, with the connectors being regulated by the sensors located on the motherboard. In 4-pin models, these connectors can be controlled using a software.

The integration of this additional pin makes it easier for the motherboard to automatically control the fan’s speed according to the temperature of your device. In that regard, it also helps prevent damages to the computer circuit or the malfunction of the fan when you use your computer for prolonged periods.

Quality

Specific criteria such as the noise level are naturally key, but you should also evaluate the overall quality of the product. While assessing this efficiency can be quite tricky, each manufacturer ascribes an average life (in hours) to each computer fan. This value can help you better judge its quality.

While many current models can operate for longer and suffer less wear, you have to keep in mind that reducing the fan’s speed will increase its useful life. The manufacturing brand itself can serve as a guide to assess the reliability of the product, while certain details such as the type of plastic used will also give you an idea of its quality.

Summary

We hope you have understood how important it is to have quality fans in your computer. This will help extend your device’s useful life while ensuring its proper functioning. Remember that computers consist of a multitude of components that need to be taken care of in order to be durable and efficient.

Knowing the many technical specs of computer fans can be a lengthy process that isn’t necessarily worth it. However, being familiar with some basic notions of their main features will definitely help you make the best possible purchase. That way, you can identify the models that most suit your personal use of your computer and choose accordingly.

If you found our guide on computer fans interesting, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share this article on your social media!

(Source of featured image: Natalya Vilman: 82024039/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Brett Holmes Technology Geek
Brett is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and knows his way around the industry because he runs an electronics store. He writes about it in his spare time and wants to help others learn more about the technology industry.