Best Case Fans

UPDATED AUGUST 2018

A simple case fan can make your computer run faster and more efficiently. You can read our shopping guide to find the best case fan.

BEST CASE
FANS 2018

Rosewill 4-Pack 120mm Case Fans

Rosewill 4-Pack 120mm Case Fans

BOTTOM LINE

This set offers an affordable way to cool down your computer because you get four separate fans. You can choose a basic set or a pack of fans with LED lights.

PROS

This pack comes with three fans that cool more than 38 cubic feet per minute. Each fan operates quickly and quietly to cool down your computer without interfering with your activities.

CONS

Some reviews stated that these fans didn’t move air as quickly as they wanted. Other customers claimed at least one of the fans didn’t work.

ARCTIC F12-120 mm Standard Case Fan

ARCTIC F12-120 mm Standard Case Fan

BOTTOM LINE

This ARCTIC fan is a great choice for those on a budget because it both removes warm air from the case and pulls in cooler air. The fan hits a top speed of more than 1,200 revolutions per minute.

PROS

The blades on this fan are larger than those found on others and will increase the amount of air that flows around your case. An included oil capsule keeps the fan running smoothly and won’t leak.

CONS

Some thought the fan ran louder than it should. Others complained that they had to use their own screws because the included hardware was too flimsy.

Cooler Master MegaFlow 200

Cooler Master MegaFlow 200

BOTTOM LINE

While the MegaFlow 200 doesn’t come loaded with features like some of the other case fans we found, it’s a solid choice for beginners. It does a good job of cooling down your case and circulating the air.

PROS

With multiple sizes available, you can pick a MegaFlow 200 that is suitable for your device. It has a basic design and runs efficiently, making it a solid choice for beginners.

CONS

You may find that this fan doesn’t produce as much airflow as the manufacturer claimed. Some shoppers also said that the fan ran too loudly.

noctua NF-A8 Premium PC Case Fan

noctua NF-A8 Premium PC Case Fan

BOTTOM LINE

The best fan for smaller cases is this PC model from noctua, which has a small attached case that helps you save space. It comes with all necessary hardware and a four-pin connector too.

PROS

An included four-pin connector makes it easy to set this fan up with your own computer. It also has a great case that takes up less space in your device.

CONS

Despite being a solid little fan, this one doesn’t produce enough airflow for larger cases. It may run a little louder than you would like too.

Corsair ML120 Premium Magnetic Levitation Fan

Corsair ML120 Premium Magnetic Levitation Fan

BOTTOM LINE

The best case fan for gaming is this magnetic levitation model from Corsair, which lets you play games for hours. Though it is more expensive than other fans, it will last up to twice as long.

PROS

Corsair designed this fan to use magnetic levitation, which helps it run more efficiently and last longer. It performs well with any type of device and produces 2,000 revolutions per minute.

CONS

This is the most expensive case fan that we found and might not work with your budget. Some customers wished that the fan ran just as little quieter.

Shopping Guide for the Best Case Fan

There is nothing worse than sitting down to play a game with online friends and learning that your computer cannot handle that action. With the best case fan, you can play for hours without worrying about your computer shutting itself off or dying. Both laptop and desktop computers can run hot because you push the device to do more than it should. Running multiple programs or playing a game that takes up more memory space can also cause computer problems. The top case fans for 2018 are suitable for all types of computers and all types of budgets.

As you shop for the best case fans for 2018, you might see that some manufacturers call these case mount fans because you actually mount one onto your computer case. As the fan rotates and spins, it pushes out the warm air that can damage your computer and allows the device to run faster. We’ll go into some of the benefits of using case fans and the top signs that you need a new fan in different sections of our shopping guide. Our computer specialists spent hours researching different case fans to find the top options. You can use the links that we supplied to order one for your computer.

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Shopping Guide for the Best Case Fan

Selection Criteria

Our team of computer specialists know exactly what you want and need for your own computers. When we assigned our crew the topic of best case fans, they immediately set to work to find the top models that appeal to shoppers who have more or less experience. We know that you may not understand what a case fan does or how to install one, which is why you’ll find a section that covers installation tips and when to hire a pro for the job. You can use all the other sections of our shopping guide to find out the most important information about case fans.

The experts our team consulted with talked about the features of case fans and the benefits of replacing an old fan. They also gave us some feedback regarding the top manufacturers and the best models. We then narrowed down our list to 10 fans and headed to Amazon to check out the reviews that customers submitted. All that information helped our team select the top five fans that are suitable for all types of computer users. As you read down, you’ll find the top case fans for gamers and those on a budget as well as the best of the best and the top choice for small cases.

Selection Criteria

Factors Our Team Considered When Picking the Best Case Fans

  • Price
  • RPM
  • Design
  • Airflow
  • Sounds
  • Customer Reviews

Rosewill offers this set of case fans, which we think offer the best value for shoppers. Instead of giving you a single fan, the manufacturer provides you with four fans that all work the same way. If you like the flashy look of LED lights, you can opt for a package of two. Rosewill lets you buy a set that uses either red or blue LED lights. Even if you select the basic set though, you will still save money on the case fans that you need. Each one has a surrounding case and a sleeve that extends the fan’s overall life. You can easily install this fan too because of the four holes located in the corners.

Best for the Money - Rosewill 4-Pack 120mm Case Fans
Rosewill 4-Pack 120mm Case Fans

With a cubic feet per minute airflow rating of more than 38, this fan does a good job of circulating cool air inside the case and forcing out any hot or warm air. It also has a lower decibel rating of only 22, which lets you know that the fan runs very quietly. Many shoppers like that they can adjust the amount of voltage needed and use this fan with different connectors. Not only can you install it with a three-pin or a four-pin adapter, but you can also use it with seven to 12 volts.

What is a Case Fan?

Before you get too far into this shopping guide and learn about the technical aspects and what to look for in a fan, you should make sure you understand what a case fan is and what it does. This is a small type of fan specifically designed to increase airflow inside a case. Most fans pull air into the case and send that air across the bottom of the case, though you may find some that pull air in from the front and send it straight through the case. Though most computers come with a fan, you will likely need to repair or replace that fan in the future. The cost of replacing it is often cheaper than the cost of repairing it.

Case fans come with a connector that uses either four or six pins. This makes it easier for beginners to set up the fan because they simply plug this connector into the right port on the computer. Some of the newer models feature colorful LED lights. You can select the color of the light once you place the fan inside your case. Some models also have decorative designs too. The best fan will keep your computer as cool as possible.

Other Types of Computer Fans

What is a Case Fan - Graphics card fan Without Name
Graphics card fan
What is a Case Fan - Chipset fan Without Name
Chipset fan
What is a Case Fan - Hard drive fan Wihtout Name
Hard drive fan
What is a Case Fan - CPU fan Without Name
CPU fan

Who Should Use a Case Fan?

Anyone who uses a computer that runs hot should use a case fan. The next time that you sit down and turn on your computer, place your hand directly on the case. While you should notice some heat coming off that case, it shouldn’t feel so hot that you think you might burn yourself. Those who could benefit from a case fan include:

  • People who work from home
  • Students and others who use their computers often
  • Gamers who like playing online and offline games
  • Those who keep multiple windows or tabs open while surfing the web

The more that you use your computer, the more heat you’ll feel. If you like checking out forums or shopping online and often keep multiple tabs open at the same time, you might notice more heat coming off your computer. It will produce even more heat as you play games and save more files on your hard drive. When your computer begins running out of space, it will likely run hotter than it did before. It’s important that you buy a new fan and replace your old one to prevent common problems. A broken fan can lead to a complete hard drive loss.

Dangers of Using a Broken Case Fan

Though you might put off replacing your old case fan because you think it takes too much time or you don’t have enough money, this is really dangerous. You may suffer from a number of problems, including:

  • Loss of data
  • A computer that shuts off and won't come back on
  • Fires that start inside the case and spread throughout your home
  • Burns or injuries to yourself or loved ones

The cost of repairing or replacing your laptop can easily hit $500 or more, but you can protect your laptop with this fan and spend less than $10. ARCTIC makes a number of standard case fans that are suitable for anyone who uses a computer. When you get this fan out of the box though, you’ll find that it’s actually a low noise model that runs quieter than almost any other one you tried before. One reason for its quiet operation is because of the wider blades inside. Those blades spin quickly and let more air come through the fan, which leads to more air circulating around your case.

Best Budget Choice - ARCTIC F12-120 mm Standard Case Fan
ARCTIC F12-120 mm Standard Case Fan

Capable of producing up to 1,350 revolutions per minute, this ARCTIC fan does an efficient job of keeping cases cool. It actually performs two different functions as it runs. Not only will it pull air inside the case to keep things cool, but it will also force hot air out at the same time. You can set the fan at different speeds based on the voltage that you use. This model will work with a minimum of five volts up to a maximum of 12 volts. You also get an oil capsule that lubricants the fan.

Benefits of Case Fans

  • Reduce the temperature: A key benefit to a new case fan is that it will reduce the temperature inside your case. These fans both pull in more cool air and push out any hot air. This will reduce the case from becoming so hot that you might burn yourself and keep your computer from overheating.
  • Save data: When your computer runs too hot, it will shut itself down to save itself. If you did not save any recent changes, you can lose that data during a forced shutdown. Your computer may reach a critical temperature and overheat, which will lead to a complete loss of data. Even experts may have trouble getting anything off your hard drive.
  • More use: Changing out the fan in your case will also let you get more out of your computer. Instead of logging off and stopping a game when the temperature climbs, you can play for twice as long or longer. The fan will regulate the temperature and let you play as long as you want.
  • Extend computer life: You can also extend the life of your computer with a new case fan. Even if you buy a cheaper desktop, you can use it for many years when you replace the fan and other parts later.

Best Ways to Back Up and Save Your Data

Benefits of Case Fans - WITHOUT TEXT
  • Cloud: No matter what type of operating system you use, you can find a cloud service that will work with that OS. When you save a file on your computer, you automatically create a copy of that file in the cloud. As long as you know your password and username, you can access your data when you log in on another device.
  • Flash drive: A flash drive is a basic device that plugs into a USB port. You can plug it into your computer and transfer copies of files and photos to that drive. Flash drives can also retain an entire copy of your hard drive.
  • External hard drive: You may want to use an external hard drive too. Most of these devices look like small plastic or metal boxes. The box has a port on one end that you plug a USB cord into before plugging that cord into your computer. You have the option of transferring files to the hard drive or saving your entire hard drive on that device.

Signs That You Need to Replace Your Fan

Signs That You Need to Replace Your Fan
  • Changes in sounds produced: Computer fans should run so quietly that the noises produced won’t interfere with anything you want to do on your computer. If the fan suddenly starts running louder, it’s a sign you need to replace it. Fans may run faster and louder after your computer runs for a set period of time too.
  • Overheating: Your computer monitors itself for issues and sends out warnings when it finds an issue. When your computer constantly runs hot and reaches a high temperature inside the case, you should receive a system warning. This warning will tell you that your computer reached a critical temperature and must shut down.
  • Frequent shutdowns: Another sign that you need to replace your case fan is when your computer frequently shuts itself down because of those high temps. Most computers will produce a pop up that warns you of the issue. It might tell you that the CPU fan failed and that the computer will shut down to prevent further problems. Some systems will alert you of problems related to other fans too. This lets you know that you have one or more fans failing and that you need to fix your system. 

You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money setting up the MegaFlow 200 from Cooler Master, which is just one reason why it’s the best option for beginners. The manufacturer includes all the instructions that you need to set up the fan and make it work with your case right inside the box. Though it has a fairly basic design, those looking for something simple and easy to use will like the way it looks. You can choose the type of fan that you want based on how much airflow you need and whether you prefer a colorful option. Cooler Master offers this fan without lights or with a red or blue LED light.

Best for Beginners- Cooler Master MegaFlow 200
Cooler Master MegaFlow 200

With a 700 RPM rating, this fan rotates 700 times every minute. That allows the fan to pull cooler air into your case while pushing out the hotter air that builds up as you use your computer. It is compliant with all environmental standards too. This fan is also capable of cooling more than 100 cubic feet of space per minute. We recommend the MegaFlow 200 both for those just starting out and those who want a basic fan as well as those on a tight budget.

Tips for Keeping Your Computer Cool

  • Avoid obstacles and hazards: Though you might like working near an open window or right next to a vent, you should keep your computer away from those areas. Vents and windows allow the hot air moving through and around your home to reach your computer.
  • Work in an open area: Many people work on computers that sit on desks with a number of objects around, including picture frames and toys. You want to use your computer in an open area and without any objects sitting too close to the case. Any objects nearby will restrict the airflow to your computer, which will make it run hotter.
  • Check the vents: Most computer cases have vents that allow air to flow in and out. If your computer keeps running hot, you may need to check those vents. Any dust, pet hair or other debris that builds up on those openings will trap hot air inside and block cool air from entering the case.
  • Clean the fan: You can easily clean your computer’s fan in just a few seconds, but this is something that many users don’t think about doing. We recommend cleaning your fan with compressed air at least once a month. 
Tips for Keeping Your Computer Cool

How to Clean Your Computer Fan

Before you decide to spend money on a new case fan, you should try cleaning your existing fan first. Any buildup on the blades can keep the fan from spinning and may make your computer feel hot to the touch. This section goes over the three best ways to clean a computer fan. Even if these methods do not work for you, you should still know how to clean that fan. When you replace the old case in your fan, you’ll need to know how to maintain it and how to keep the fan clean.

Compressed Air Method

For the compressed air method, you just need a can of compressed air. You’ll want to insert the long plastic tube that comes with the can into the hole on the top. When using air, you may want to turn your case around so that the air blows straight through the inside. If you spray the air into the case without making any adjustments, it might force the dust and other debris deeper into the case. You can also open the case to make sure that you focus the air on the fans. Make sure that you hold the can directly in front of you and that you don’t spray the can down or at an angle.

Vacuum Cleaning

Many companies make vacuum cleaners designed specifically for electronics. These small devices reduce the amount of static electricity in the area to both prevent damage to you and to prevent damage to your computer. You’ll need to take the case off of your computer and plug the vacuum into a nearby outlet. One benefit to using a vacuum is that most come with attachments that help you reach areas inside the computer that you cannot reach with your own hands. You can use those attachments to remove months or even years of buildup from your fan and any other components that you can see and reach.

Cloth Method

If you have more experience and feel comfortable taking your computer apart, you can try the cloth cleaning method. This method requires that you remove the fan from the case. You’ll wet a cloth down with water and squeeze out any excess moisture. As you wipe the cloth across the fan, you can remove the buildup caused by living with a smoker or having pets around. After using the damp cloth, you can go over the fan a second time with a dry cloth. You should make sure that the fan dries completely before putting it back inside the case.

Common Causes of Case Fan Buildup

  • Tobacco and other types of smoke
  • Pet hair and dander
  • Dust
  • Cobwebs
  • Lint
  • Skin cells
How to Clean Your Computer Fan

Depending on the type of computer that you have and what you use it for, you might check out this fan from noctua. This is the best model for smaller cases because it has a smaller design and won’t take up much space. The manufacturer specifically designed the surrounding case to be smaller than others, which also makes it easier to install. Each of the seven blades has a wider base and do a better job of pushing air around and through the fan. It does a good job of removing warm air and bringing in the cool air too.

Best for Small Cases - noctua NF-A8 Premium PC Case Fan
noctua NF-A8 Premium PC Case Fan

The manufacturer also added an acoustic element to the fan that helps it run smoother and a little more quietly. While some users found that it produced a lot of noise, most thought that it was quieter than other fans they used in the past. You get both a four-pin connector and a low noise adapter also. That adapter reduces the sound produced and lowers the rating of the fan down to 1,750 revolutions per minute. When you leave the adapter off, it hits a maximum speed of 2,200 revolutions per minute. With the four-pin connector, you can easily attach the fan to your case.

Top Reasons to Replace Your Stock Fan

No matter what type of computer you buy, it should come with a stock fan already inside the case. Stock fans are suitable for those who don’t use their computers very often and those who do simple things. Those who build their own computers often put quite a lot of thought and energy into new fans because they know the benefits of using one. There are a few reasons why you should replace a stock fan with an aftermarket model, including:

  • Your computer runs too hot: When your computer runs too hot, it’s a clear sign that the device cannot keep up with your demands.
  • You bought a cheap model: Cheap computers are great for beginners and those who want something they can use to shop online or check their email. If you find that you later want to use it for gaming and other purposes, you can change the fan and upgrade the computer.
  • It looks plain: While most computers look fairly similar, you can give yours some personality with a new case fan. You might opt for one with an LED light or one with a decorative outer case.
  • You need more: Another reason many people replace their stock fans is that they need to get more out of their computers. When you add a fan that can keep your computer running faster and cooler, you can extend its life and get more out of it.
Top Reasons to Replace Your Stock Fan

What Causes Computers to
Run Fast and Slow

  • Lack of hard drive space
  • Games and apps that require more memory to play and run
  • Running multiple apps and programs at the same time
  • Too many objects and items near the case
  • Buildup on the fan

What Size Case Fan Do You Need?

What Size Case Fan Do You Need With Name

When you buy the wrong size fan, you’ll find that it will not fit inside your case. Larger fans can block other components and keep those parts from working too. Smaller fans will fit in the case but will not offer the circulating power that you need. These fans come in standard sizes, including:

  • 80mm
  • 120mm
  • 140mm
  • 200mm

You will also find smaller sizes such as 25mm and much larger sizes of up to 250mm. Size is important because it gives you an idea of how quickly the fan will run as well as how much noise it will produce. While you might think that larger fans produce more noise, the opposite is usually true. Larger fans have bigger blades and run at a faster speed. That allows the blades to move smoothly and quietly while still circulating air quickly.

Smaller fans typically cannot keep up with larger models. The blades on these models are much smaller and need to exert more effort in an attempt to circulate the air inside the case. Many people find that smaller fans are much louder. You generally want to buy the largest fan that you can fit into your computer case.

Gamers know that their computers can overheat and shut down in the middle of a game, which is why they opt for better fans such as this one. The ML120 from Corsair is our top choice for the best gaming case fan. Unlike other fans that use a standard form of technology, this one uses magnetic levitation that allows the blades to spin quickly as you play. Those blades rotate up to 2,000 times in a single minute to ensure that all the warm air leaves your case as cool air circulates inside. Corsair designed new rotors that keep the blades spinning and moving in even the hottest of conditions.

Best for Gaming Corsair ML120 Premium Magnetic Levitation Fan
Corsair ML120 Premium Magnetic Levitation Fan

Another top feature of this fan is just how quietly those blades move. No matter how many windows you have open or what game you play, you’ll hardly hear the fan running in the background. It provides all the great help that you need but also allows you to customize the fan based on your needs. If you aren’t a fan of the standard fan, you can choose one with a lighting mode. Corsair also lets you pick fans that use two different speeds and packs that come with more than one fan.

How Will You Power the Fan?

We recommend that you decide how you will power the fan before buying one because this will help you know what type of adapter to get. Case fans use some type of adapter that you connect to the power supply. You can connect it directly to the motherboard in your computer or to a separate power supply.

When you use the motherboard, you must select an adapter that uses between two and four pins. Those pins will plug directly into the board and tell the fan when to run. Those with at least three pins can actually monitor your computer for signs of temperature changes and automatically adjust the fan as needed.

Fans that work with a different power supply can feature the same number of pins. The problem with these fans is that they tend to run much louder than the other type. You can change the amount of voltage needed to run the fan, which may reduce its noise production. Fans that connect to other types of power supplies are easier for beginners to set up. If you have some experience working with computers, you might feel more comfortable with a fan that attaches to the motherboard. Experts typically recommend four-pin adapters over the other types.

How Will You Power the Fan

How Much Airflow Do You Need?

Two of the more important terms that you need to know are RPM and CFM. RPM stands for revolutions per minute and tells you exactly how many times the fan blades will rotate in a complete circle in one minute. The term CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and tells you how quickly the fan will cool down a cubic feet measurement of space.

Though manufacturers will tell you both the RPM and the CFM rating, you want to pay more attention to the RPM rating. Let’s say that you can’t decide between a fan with a 50 CFM at 500 RPM rating and one with an 80 at 1,000 RPM rating. You’ll typically want to go with the fan that has a lower rating. The first fan in this example exerts less force to produce its revolutions, while the second fan must work much harder to produce those revolutions. As the second fan must work harder to keep up with your needs, it will also produce more noise. That second fan will likely wear out before the first one too.

You should always compare the CFM rating to the RPM rating to make sure that the fan can handle the size of your case and keep up with your needs and demands.

Did You Know?

You can turn down the rotation or speed of your case fan to significantly reduce the decibels of noise it produces.

How Much Airflow Do You Need

What Determines the Noise of the Fan?

You should never purchase a case fan without first getting an idea of how loudly it will run. While you might think you can handle a little noise, you’ll likely change your mind after hearing that fan constantly running in the background as you surf the web and play games. The most common factors that determine the sound of the fan include:

  • The proximity of the blades to the surrounding case
  • Both the length and width of the blades
  • Any bearings used in the fan
  • The size of the fan itself
  • How many revolutions it makes per minute

The amount of noise that a case fan produces will range from just 10 decibels up to 36 decibels. As manufacturers generally do not list a sound rating when writing product descriptions, you really need to turn to customer reviews. Do not make the mistake of reading one review that says the fan was too loud and cutting that item off your list though. The sound produced is relative and means different things to different people. You should only be cautious when looking at fans that have multiple negative reviews regarding the noises and sounds produced. We included loud noises in the cons sections that you’ll find in the chart at the top of this page.

What Determines the Noise of the Fan

Expert Tip:

If you find a decibel rating for a specific fan, add a few extra numbers to that figure. This will help you compensate for any errors when the manufacturer tested the fan’s sound level.

Does the Fan Offer Speed Control?

When you relax at home with a fan or AC, you know that you can always adjust the temperature whenever you want. If you get a little chilly, you can turn the unit down, and you can turn the unit up when you feel too hot. Though you may not realize it, you can do the same thing with some case fans.

Many companies offer case fans that come with speed controller. You can choose one that you connect right to your PC. If you want to make any adjustments to the fan, you can simply pull up the program that operates the fan and makes those changes.

Other fans come with a controller located on the fan itself. This is a common feature found on fans that you mount onto the front or top of your case. You can access the right buttons without opening the case.

A few fans also come with a remote control that lets you make adjustments after setting up the fan inside your computer case. Most fans that feature LED lights have a remote control. Even if you think that you’ll only use one speed setting, you should still look at remote options. You can adjust the speed up or down to increase the airflow or reduce the sound of the fan.

What Can You Do With a Case Fan Remote Control?

  • Adjust the fan’s speed
  • Turn any lights on and off
  • Change the color of the lights
  • Adjust the direction of the blades
Does the Fan Offer Speed Control

Placement and Number of Fans

If you have an older computer with a case that has a number of scratches and dents, you might consider buying an entirely new case rather than just a case fan. Whether you opt for a fan or a new case, you should think about the number of fans you’ll use and where you’ll put them on the case.

Beginners to the world of computers often think that they need to cram in as many fans as possible into that case. While using two fans can make your computer run efficiently, using too many fans can actually damage the motherboard and hard drive. You want to look at the most efficient way to cool your computer.

The largest number of fans that you need is just three. You can place one at the very top of the case, one on the bottom and put the third on one side of the case. The fans on the top and the bottom will work together to push air towards the center, while the fan on the side will push that air around the case and through the back. If you have a smaller computer case, you may only need one or two fans placed on either the top and/or bottom.

Placement and Number of Fans

Static Pressure and Computer Case Fans

One thing that you may not think about as you shop for case fans is the amount of static pressure provided by that fan. Many manufacturers focus more on telling you about the cubic feet per minute than anything else. They assume that they can throw out a big number that catches your attention and makes you forget about everything else.

Static pressure is important because it relates to enclosed spaces such as the inside of your case. While cubic feet per minute is important, this figure simply tells you how much airflow will move through the case and at what speed. Static pressure gives you an idea of how quickly the air will circulate through that space.

Fans with a higher static pressure rating will run more efficiently than those with a lower rating will. Most of these fans feature larger blades that extend out from the center and almost touch the surrounding case. The blades are also close together with small gaps in between. As the blade spins, it moves air further into the case. Fans with shorter or smaller blades with bigger gaps allow some of that cool air to escape from the case.

Static Pressure and Computer Case Fans - Opt 1

How Often Should You Replace a Case Fan?

The case fans that come standard in most computers will last for at least one to three years. You can try cleaning the fan first and removing any debris buildup before attempting to replace the fan.

Bearing Type

The type of bearings used in case fans can include sleeve, double ball or fluid dynamic bearings. You can learn more about each type to determine if one meets your needs better than another.

  • Sleeve bearing: Most cheap case fans feature a sleeve bearing, which is the same type found on most toys for kids. You can get up to 40,000 hours of use out of that fan before you need to replace it. The downside to this type of fan is that it can break suddenly and without any warning.
  • Double ball bearing: When you opt for a double ball bearing fan, you can get up to 60,000 hours or more out of that fan before it dies. This type of fan stands up to continuous use and allows you to keep your computer running for hours at a time. It is the most expensive type though and more suited to professional computers.
  • Fluid dynamic bearing: Some fans will use a bearing called fluid dynamic or hydro dynamic. Designed for use in professional offices and similar settings, this type of fan can last for well over 100,000 hours. If you choose this type, you should keep in mind that you’ll spend more money and that the fan will run quite loudly. 

Expert Tip:

It costs more to purchase a fluid dynamic or a double ball bearing fan. You’ll also spend more to maintain that fan and replace it in the future.

Bearing Type

What are the Most Important Features to Consider in a New Case Fan?

  • Price: Our team worked hard to find the five best case fans for 2018 that would work with a range of budgets. Not only can you find a fan priced at less than $30, but you can find sets that include multiple fans for that price.
  • Speed: No matter what type of fan bearing you choose, you should always look at the maximum speed of that fan. We recommend looking at the CFM rating and how it compares to the RPM rating to ensure that the fan will work well for you.
  • Noise: When you’re in the middle of a project for work or school and need to have multiple windows open and programs running, you don’t want to hear your computer growling or hissing at you. That is why you should consider the amount of noise that the fan produces and whether you can adjust the fan to reduce those sounds. If you prefer dead silence as you work, you might want a fan that comes with a remote controller also.
  • Adapter: It’s also important that you look at the type of adapter that comes with the fan and the number of pins on it. Experts recommend adapters with at least four pins. You may prefer one that you connect to an external power supply or a fan that works with your motherboard. 

What Can You Do Until Your New Fan Arrives?

When your case fan gives out, it might do so without any warning. Though you can use your computer for a few days until the new fan arrives in the mail, you should take some steps to ensure that you protect the hard drive. There are a few simple things that you can do until you get a new fan.

  • Limit the amount of time that you spend using and working on the computer
  • Use your computer’s settings to keep an eye on the current temperature
  • Avoid running any apps or programs that make your computer run hot
  • Create back up files of all your most important documents and files
  • Place the computer in a cool location that allows more air to flow through the case
  • Consider placing a standard fan next to the case while using the computer
What are the Most Important Features to Consider in a New Case Fan

Tips for Installing a New Fan

  • Locate the fan: To find the faulty fan, you need to open up the case, which will require the use of a screwdriver. Most cases have at least one screw located in each corner. Once you get the case open, it’s often easy to see the broken or damaged fan.
  • Wipe off the fan: Before you install the new fan, take a few seconds to wipe off the blades with a soft cloth. If you use a damp cloth, go over the blades a second time to remove any moisture left behind. Wiping off the fan is important because this keeps any small particles from flying off the fan and touching your computer’s components.
  • Check for damage: Removing your computer’s case gives you the perfect excuse to check the inside for any damage. You should look for scorch marks caused by high temperatures and for broken pieces that you might see at the bottom of the case.
  • Position the fan correctly: You should be careful when installing your new fan and ensure that you position it correctly. Most fans have small arrows that dictate which side should face up or out.
Tips for Installing a New Fan

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Computer Fan?

The cost of replacing the old stock fan in your computer will vary based on where you live and the type of computer that you own. Repair techs typically charge an hourly rate for labor and also charge for the cost of the fan itself. You can expect to pay around $50 to $125 an hour for labor and at least $10 to $20 for the fan.

How Much Does a Case Fan Cost?

How Much Does a Case Fan Cost - ARCTIC F12-120 mm Standard Case Fan - WITHOUT TEXT
ARCTIC F12-120 mm Standard Case Fan Shoe
$7.73
How Much Does a Case Fan Cost - Cooler Master MegaFlow 200 - WITHOUT TEXT
Cooler Master
MegaFlow 200
$14.36
How Much Does a Case Fan Cost - Rosewill 4-Pack 120mm Case Fans - WITHOUT TEXT
Rosewill 4-Pack 120mm
Case Fans
$14.99
How Much Does a Case Fan Cost - noctua NF-A8 Premium PC Case Fan - WITHOUT TEXT
noctua NF-A8 Premium
PC Case Fan
$15.95
How Much Does a Case Fan Cost - Corsair ML120 Premium Magnetic Levitation Fan - WITHOUT TEXT
Corsair ML120 Premium
Magnetic Levitation Fan
$29.97

While you can purchase a beginner laptop for around $300 or less, a good laptop that will last for years or more will cost twice that price or even more. No matter what type of computer you buy, you may find that you need to replace some of those parts in the future. A simple part might cost $10 to $50 or even more. If you need to buy a new case fan, you’ll find that you can pick one up for a low price. The top case fans on our list all cost less than $50. We included some fans that retail for less than $20 or even $10 too.

The amount that you’ll pay for a fan depends on the features of that product. Fans that produce more revolutions per minute often cost more, as do fans that have built-in lights. If you want a remote that lets you change the speed or the lights without opening the case, you’ll pay around $30 or more. Some of the fans that appear on our list come in sets too. You can purchase two or three fans for one low price. This allows you to keep extra fans on hand for emergency situations and repairs later.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: A laptop cooling fan is an alternative to a standard case fan. This looks like a simple pad that you can place on your lap while using your computer. One or more fans located on the top of the pad force cool air up and inside the laptop case to make it run cooler.

A: When one or more of the fans in your computer dies, you’ll receive a message that warns you against using it until you replace that fan. Though you can keep using your computer, you should use caution and turn it off when you notice any increase in heat coming out of the case. If you continue using your computer without a fan, it can fail and cause significant damage to the hard drive.

A: You should only pay someone to clean your computer if you think that the fan might die or if you don’t feel confident in your own skills. A simple can of compressed air does a good job of removing any debris lodged in the fan. It will also push debris out of the case. You can clean the screen of your computer with rubbing alcohol and some cotton swabs or balls too.

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