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Best PC fan 2023: Keep your computer cool for top performance

Ensure your PC’s components deliver to their maximum potential with the best PC case fans

The best PC case fan might not be the most exciting of internals, but it’s an essential if you’re to keep your computer working efficiently. Boosting airflow inside the case, they keep your precious hardware cool and working to its optimum level, and can even extend the lifespan of your PC.

You can add these fans to spare fan mounts in your PC case to improve cooling, or replace any fans that might be creating too much noise. If you’re a lover of RGB lighting then you could even opt for a fan that comes with illuminated fan blades and frames, which won’t only keep your PC cool, but will look cool while keeping the temperature of your case steady.

And you don’t need to spend a fortune to achieve great airflow at minimal decibels, with our selection of the best PC fans covering a variety of options for different budgets. First, we guide you through the key considerations to help you pick the best PC case fan for your setup.

Best PC case fans: At a glance

How to choose the best PC fan for you

How many fans do I need?

Most PCs and PC cases are equipped with at least one case fan to help draw air in or exhaust warm air out of your PC. However, some cases have no fans out-of-the-box, while others may have several vacant fan mounts. These can be filled with extra fans to boost cooling and also allow you to reduce the speed of any existing fan/fans to reduce noise.

You can also add fans to your CPU heatsink if it includes additional clips for a second fan. Similarly, many AIO liquid coolers come equipped with extra radiator screws to enable the addition of extra fans to boost cooling. You should aim to have at least three case fans and, ideally, have a greater number drawing air into the case than exhausting it to create positive air pressure.

What’s the difference between cheap fans and expensive fans?

Expensive fans usually emit lower noise levels and offer better efficiency in terms of noise and airflow compared to cheaper models. This might be thanks to the use of premium fan bearings or elaborate fan blades that boost airflow. These are useful features, but the downside is that they can cost several times more than fans without.

How do I control RGB lighting?

Fans with RGB lighting either have their own controller or software to change lighting colours and effects, or they use standard 3-pin or 4-pin RGB cables that can be connected to modern motherboards or RGB controllers. Both methods will work fine, but beware of being locked into manufacturers’ ecosystems with proprietary connectors. They may be tricky to expand and might not be compatible with other RGB components.

Where should I install the fans?

First and foremost, fan placement should see them directed at your hardware. For example, place one so it draws air into your case at the front and then directs it at your graphics card. This can lower your graphics card’s temperatures and make it run faster and cooler.

Another great location is at the rear of the case, behind a CPU heatsink cooler if you have one. This will aid the CPU heatsink cooler by drawing air through it and out of the case, helping to keep both your case and CPU cooler.

How do I power the fans?

You should buy fans with 4-pin PWM connectors. These can be controlled by all modern motherboards, which have several 4-pin headers specifically to power fans. Your motherboard should have several headers free, but it’s best to check first. Case fans should be connected to the case or system fan headers, not the CPU fan header.

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The best PC fans you can buy in 2023

1. Arctic P12 PWM: Best cheap PC fan

Price: £8.99 | Buy now from Amazon

The Arctic P12 TC is one of the cheapest fans available, leaving you with change from £10. It offers fantastic bang for your buck, delivering good airflow and decent efficiency despite its wallet-friendly price tag. It costs a third of some premium fans, which means you can kit out several spare fan slots in your PC for comparatively little cash.

It may be cheap, but it’s also relatively quiet –and since its speed is limited to 1,800rpm, it’s likely that you won’t need to tweak your motherboard’s fan control options to fine-tune it either. On hot days, this fan will happily shift enough air without it becoming unbearably loud when spinning at full speed.

Key specs – Size: 120mm x 120mm x 25mm (WDH); Power connector: 4-pin PWM

2. be quiet! Silent Wings 4 120mm PWM: Best premium PC fan

Price: £24 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re in the market for something premium, then be quiet!’s Silent Wings 4 120mm PWM is one of the best on the market. It offers an exceptional noise-to-airflow ratio, meaning it produces more air for fewer decibels than other fans, and is perfectly suited to being a case fan.

Arriving in standard and high-speed models, we’d suggest going for the latter in those instances you want to strap it to some sort of CPU cooler or radiator. Otherwise, the Silent Wings 4 120mm PWM standard model is ideal, delivering a peak speed of 1,600rpm. It even features tool-free mounting pins, which makes installation a breeze.

Key details – Size: 120mm x 120mm x 25mm (WDH); Power connector: 4-pin PWM

3. Arctic P12 PWM PST A-RGB: Best RGB fan

Price: £16 | Buy now from Amazon

As well as making one of the best cheap fans out there in the P12 PWM, Arctic also offers the P12 PWM PST A-RGB. This model, as its name suggests, includes RGB lighting, which can be controlled using a standard 3-pin RGB header on your motherboard or a third-party controller.

Available in black or white, you can match it to your case and hardware – and it costs only £16. Its RGB lighting catches translucent fan blades and looks fantastic, and it’s available individually or as a triple pack. Despite its price, it offers decent airflow at low noise levels, plus its peak speed of 2,000rpm means it’s suited to case fan duties as well as cooling heatsinks and radiators.

Key details – Size: 120mm x 120mm x 25mm (WDH); Power connector: 4-pin PWM

4. Arctic P12 Slim PWM: Best slim fan

Price: £9 | Buy now from Amazon

If you need to squeeze a fan into a tight space then the Arctic P12 Slim PWM may just be the fan for the job. Rather than being the usual 25mm thick, slim fans are only 15mm thick, allowing them to sit in gaps that larger fans wouldn’t fit. This might allow you to add another set of fans to a liquid cooling radiator or under a graphics card, for example.

For its low price, the Arctic P12 Slim PWM offers airflow not far off a full-size fan, and at relatively low noise levels – in particular at lower speeds compared to other slim fans. If you’re building a tiny PC, then slim fans can prove super-handy and Arctic’s model is one of the best, as well as being exceptional value.

Key details – Size: 120mm x 120mm x 15mm (WDH); Power connector: 4-pin PWM

5. DeepCool FC120: Best multi-pack RGB fan

Price: £48 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re looking for several RGB fans to fill your case or attach to liquid-cooling radiators, then DeepCool’s FC120 triple pack is the kit to get. For less than £50, you get three great-looking fans that can be daisy-chained together, so you just need single ports on your motherboard to control lighting and fan speed.

Even better is that the FC120 fans offer fantastic performance, generating decent airflow at low noise levels; this makes them some of the best fans out there. If you just want to have a rainbow colour-cycling effect, then you don’t even need to connect the RGB cable – although you’ll need to power them using a free SATA cable on your power supply.

Key details – Size: 120mm x 120mm x 25mm (WDH); Power connector: 4-pin PWM

6. Arctic P14 PWM PST: Best 140mm fan

Price: £12 | Buy now from Amazon

Most cases have both 120mm and 140mm fan mounts. If you’re kitting out your case with extra fans then 140mm fans are a great way to boost cooling without also increasing noise levels.

Arctic’s P14 PWM PST offers great airflow, low noise and comes in at a great price. The fan uses the same headers on your motherboards as more common 120mm fans; but make sure your case has enough 140mm fan mounts.

Key details – Size: 140mm x 140mm x 25mm (WDH); Power connector: 4-pin PWM

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