Best PC fans in 2022

Better cooling is what separates the performance of gaming PCs from gaming laptops, but you'll need the best PC fans to truly optimise your system

Be quiet! Light Wings are the best RGB fans, with both 120mm and 140mm lined up next to each other

Getting the best PC fans might be the last thing on your mind after sinking hundreds or even thousands into your setup, but don’t underestimate how important it is to keep your gaming PC cool. If even a single component overheats, it throws the whole rig into disarray and can result in a janky frame rate or even a system-wide shutdown.

 

 

You can’t just chuck any old blowers in your case, either, as even the best gaming PC falters without the right PC fans in all the correct places. It’s difficult to go wrong with premium brands like Noctua, Be quiet, Cooler Master, or Thermaltake, but you’ll first need to check whether they’ll fit in your PC case, you want coolest or most silent system possible, and what kind of fans you need as airflow models are different from the static pressure fans you need for the best AIO cooler.

Once you’re sure everything’s compatible, you’ll need to consider the amount of air your case takes in versus how much it exhausts. Ideally, you’ll want either the same amount or more air coming into your case, but we’ll run through everything you need to know throughout this guide.

Here are the best PC fans in 2022 that can stop thermal throttling and help boost fps:

The Noctua NF-S12B redux-1200 PWM fan is the best PC fan against a white background

1. Best PC fans

The best PC fans all-round are the Noctua NF-S12B redux-1200 PWM.
Expect to pay from $15 USD / £13 GBP.

Noctua NF-S12B redux-1200 PWM
Sizes (mm) 120mm
Airflow (CFM) 59.2
Speed (RPM) 400 – 1,200
Noise (dBA at max speed) 18.1
Connector Four-pin PWM (also in three-pin)
Lighting None
Type Airflow

Pros

  • Great at cooling components
  • Quiet
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Colour scheme clashes with most builds
  • Doesn’t manage cables with daisy chaining

You might know Noctua as the company that douses its fans in beige and brown, but this grey blower packs a huge punch for its price. As the perfect embodiment of the ‘why not both’ meme, the Noctua NF-S12B redux-1200 PWM refuses to compromise between noise and airflow, delivering a whopping 59.2CFM airflow at just 18.1dBA.

It’s possible to go even quieter, but the NF-S12B isn’t just our favourite overall fan, it’s one of the best cheap PC fans. A few decibels sacrificed are worth the cost and it’s still the second quietest fan on this list – you can use Noctua’s anti-vibration mounts if you want to pull out all the stops.

Noctua is almost entirely function over form as the two-tone colour will divide plenty of PC gamers, but there is a solution at the bottom of this list if you want to add RGB and complete the trifecta. Yes, you read that right, you can add RGB to a fan.

Be quiet Light Wings show off the best RGB fan against a white background

2. Best RGB fans

The best RGB fans are the Be quiet! Light Wings.
Expect to pay from $32 USD / £20.99 GBP.

Be quiet! Light Wings
Sizes (mm) 120mm (also in 140mm)
Airflow (CFM) 41.51
Speed (RPM) 1,700
Noise (dBA at max speed) 20.6
Connector Four-pin PWM
Lighting 18 ARGB LEDs
Type Airflow (high-speed static pressure available)

Pros

  • Wonderful RGB lighting
  • Good RPM to airflow ratio

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Not as quiet as Silent Wings

There’s no beating around the bush, Be quiet! is all about living up to its name and keeping things hush. Fortunately, its first attempt at a splash of colour is no exception, as the Light Wings are the quietest RGB fans we’ve ever used. The ring light itself packs 18 LEDs in the 120mm model and 20 LEDs in the 140mm version, each of which is addressable in your motherboard’s software.

You’re not stuck for selection, as Be quiet! not only sells Light Wings in 120mm and 140mm versions, but in both airflow and high-speed models so you can cater to the best AIO cooler. Single fans are on the expensive side, though, so it’s worth grabbing the triple-pack that also includes an ARGB hub. If you do end up buying one fan at a time, however, you can add it into the loop using a built-in daisy chain system, keeping your cables neat.

Best PC fans: Cooler Master MF120 Halo shines its RGB against a white background

3. Best budget RGB fans

The best budget RGB fan is the Cooler Master MF120 Halo.
Expect to pay from $20 USD / £19.16 GBP.

Cooler Master MF120 Halo
Sizes (mm) 120mm
Airflow (CFM) 47.2
Speed (RPM) 600 – 1,800
Noise (dBA at max speed) 30
Connector Four-pin PWM
Lighting 24 ARGB LEDs
Type Airflow

Pros

  • RGB with value
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Not great with AIO coolers
  • Best bought as a bundle

Addressable RGB is in the DNA of the Cooler Master MF120 Halo, with two lighting rings that shine no matter whether you position it as an intake or exhaust. It cleverly uses white fan blades to better reflect the RGB across the entire face of the fan, which you can customise using Asus Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light, ASRock Polychrome, or Gigabyte RGB Fusion.

The most impressive thing here is that Cooler Master undercuts the cost of most other premium fans, if you don’t mind some extra noise. The triple pack serves up a decent discount than if you buy each fan separately and includes Cooler Master’s controller, but this isn’t mandatory. MF 120 Halos are also compatible with any addressable Gen 2 RGB header on compatible motherboards. Besides, $30 per RGB fan is pretty reasonable, and you’ll regularly find them reduced.

Best PC fan: Be quiet Silent Wings 3 fan against a white background

4. Best silent PC fans

The best silent PC fans are the Be quiet!.
Expect to pay $22 USD / £17.49 GBP.

Be quiet! Silent Wings 3
Sizes (mm) 120mm (also in 140mm)
Airflow (CFM) 50.5
Speed (RPM) 1,450
Noise (dBA at max speed) 16.4
Connector Four-pin PWM (also in three-pin)
Lighting None
Type Airflow

Pros

  • Quietest fans around
  • Rubber noise dampening mount
  • PWM control

Cons

  • Slightly less airflow than others

It takes a lot to beat mainstays like Noctua in the audible department, but Be quiet! Silent Wings 3 fans are as silent as they come. Of course, noise scales with airflow, so you can expect them to blow a little lighter in exchange for their whisper quiet operation, but there’s still a stronger gust than most other fans on this list – perhaps due to its seventh blade.

Be quiet! assures that the six-pole motor should vibrate less than competitor devices, but just in case ships the Silent Wings 3 with anti-vibration corner fittings. It comes with a premium price, but you certainly get what you pay for with a solid build and three-year warranty should anything go wrong.

Best PC fan: Thermaltake Toughfan 12 Turbo against a white background

5. Best AIO fans

The best AIO fan with static pressure is the Thermaltake Toughfan 12 Turbo.
Expect to pay $29.99 USD / £35 GBP.

Thermaltake Toughfan 12 Turbo
Sizes (mm) 120mm (also in 140mm with Toughfan 14)
Airflow (CFM) 72.69
Speed (RPM) 500 – 2,500
Noise (dBA at max speed) 28.1
Connector Four-pin PWM
Lighting None
Type Static pressure

Pros

  • Great for liquid cooling radiators
  • Well-built

Cons

  • Expensive in single packs

The Thermaltake Toughfan 12 Turbo isn’t quite as bold of a statement as Noctua usually makes, but it sheds the traditional matte black coating for something a bit more eye-catching. It’s also what’s known as a static pressure fan instead of the usual lot you’d stick on the sides of your case.

Static pressure fans are built to shunt air through the grills of a radiator on an AIO cooler. The higher airflow is also handy in small form factor cases where space is tight and you can’t fit as many fans. It’s overkill for most, but you can fill your gaming PC solely with static pressure fans without issue, provided you can stomach the higher price tag.

Most static pressure fans make your gaming PC sound like a jet engine, but Thermaltake Toughfan 12 Turbo fans strike a fantastic balance of audio versus airflow. Once a fan hits its 2,500RPM ceiling, it only makes 28.1dBA of noise, which is loftier than most on this list but you’ll get a significantly higher airflow and 3.78mm-H2O of air pressure for your troubles.

Best PC fan: the Noctua-NF-A12x15 against a white background

6. Best slim fan

The best slim fan is the Noctua NF-A12x15.
Expect to pay $28 USD / £19.99 GBP.

Noctua NF-A12x15
Sizes (mm) 120mm
Airflow (CFM) 55.4
Speed (RPM) 450 – 1,850
Noise (dBA at max speed) 23.9
Connector Four-pin PWM (also in three-pin)
Lighting None
Type Airflow

Pros

  • Tiny enough to fit in SFF PCs
  • Built-in anti-vibration pads

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Brown and beige colourway

The Noctua NF-A12x15 looks as though someone accidentally sat on an NF-A12x25, flattening it to give it a low profile. Regardless of how it got so slim, being just 15mm thick makes it ideal for small form factor (SFF) cases and CPU coolers when there isn’t a lot of clearance.

For its size, it’s pretty speedy at 1,850RPM. The 23.9dBA noise level really isn’t anything to scoff at, but you have the choice to lower this to a near-inaudible 16.8dBA if you use the low noise adapter it comes bundled with – just be prepared to sacrifice some airflow in the process. And, as with all Noctua equipment, you’ll get anti-vibration mounts to cement its silence.

Phanteks Halos Lux fan frame adds RGB onto an otherwise lightless be quiet Silent Wings 3 fan

7. Add RGB to non-RGB fans

The best way to add RGB to your PC fans is the Phanteks Halos RGB Lux Fan Frame.
Expect to pay $19.99 USD / £19.68 GBP.

Noctua NF-A12x15
Sizes (mm) 120mm / 140mm
Lighting 18 RGB LEDs (120mm) / 21 RGB LEDs (140mm)

Pros

  • Adds RGB flair
  • Relatively bright

Cons

  • More wires
  • Cost almost as much as new fans

Sacrificing the aesthetics of your gaming PC in favour of better cooling is a tough pill to swallow, which is why Phanteks has created the Halos RGB Fan Frames. You can pop these on pretty much any standard 120mm or 140mm fan provided you have an extra 6mm clearance, and it’ll add 30 LEDs per fan to brighten your setup. Do note that the lighting shines brightest when paired with white blades.

With the Lux version, you get full addressable RGB that you can control with Asus Aura and rainbow RGB with MSI Mystic Light. You can daisy chain multiple Halos together to better manage cables. And you can even choose between a black or silver frame, the latter of which pairs perfectly with our top pick.

If the Lux is a little too rich for your blood, there’s a standard Phanteks Halos RGB Fan Frame that drops addressable RGB in favour of solid colours. These aren’t quite as bright with fewer LEDs, but do the job brilliantly for the price.

And that’s all you need to brighten up your gaming PC or give it a new lease of life with better cooling. You don’t always need to pack every slot with a fan for it to cool down, though, as it’s sometimes more effective to ensure you have the same or more air coming in than going out – this prevents dust!