The epoch of PC gaming is upon us, and what more popular a visual trademark than the panorama of flashing and rotating combinations of red, green, and blue. But the RGB case fan, the medium of this spectacle, is not just all flash; it is an integral piece of hardware that plays a vital role in keeping its surrounding PC components cool, functional, and efficient. This article is here to provide you with the latest options for case-fans that give you the best of both worlds: utility and aesthetics.
There are four key elements that are taken into account when assessing the value of these RGB fans: The airflow, the static pressure, the noise levels, and of course, the pizazz. What do these terms mean?
Well for starters, the airflow is the measurement of how much air the fan will be moving across your case –that could either be directing cool air towards your radiators (known as positive pressure), or moving hot, stationary air that permeates around the heatsinks out of the case (negative pressure).
Static pressure, on the other hand, isn’t so much about how much air the fan generates, but rather how much pressure the resulting air from the fan has. Fans that generate high static pressures are used to push air through heatsinks, to better cool the components, so fans of this type are better place onto the radiators to best cool your system.
Next, noise levels are pretty self-explanatory, but just so you can get an idea of what the range of noise levels we will be dealing with, keep in mind that 10 DB is approximately the noise of a pin drop, 20 DB is around the noise level of rustling leaves, and 30 DB is about the noise level of whispering.
Now, all these qualities are great, but let’s not forget the every-so-important coolness factor, which will also be taken into account in the reviews below.
Best RGB Case Fans – Our Recommendations
Best 120mm RGB Case Fan
The Corsair LL120 RGB is probably the best all-around case fan money can buy in 2020. Fan speeds of 600-1500 RPM, with an overall airflow 43.25 CFM – but that’s not the area where the Corsair LL120 excels the most. It is the best static pressure RGB fan in the market. With 1.61mm H2O of generated static pressure, the Corsair LL120 is the best fan to place onto heatsinks to make sure that they are being cooled throughout. In regards to the noise level is produces, it is a bit higher than its competitors, but still rather low. It comes with hydraulic bearings to ensure low noise levels, which is also great for the fan’s longevity.
What makes the Corsair LL120 even more attractive are the dual light loop, 16 RGB LEDs equipped on each fan. Another huge plus is the Corsair Lighting Node Pro, which allows you to tweak the RGB lighting with the use of Corsair’s iCue software. The only downside to these fans is the price, which may be a bit too steep for many, as they come at around $100 for a pack of 3.
Best 140mm RGB Case Fan
Another great choice, the Corsair ML 140 PRO RGB fans produce fan speeds of 400-1200 RPM and generate an impressive airflow of 55.4 CFM. The static pressure they generate isn’t the greatest for 140mm case fans, coming up at around 1.27 mmH2O, but with such a high airflow, these fans are best placed in areas of the case not directly associated with heatsinks. What makes these fans unique is the magnetic levitation ball bearings, which dramatically reduce the friction on the bearings, in-turn also resulting in higher endurance, and lower noise levels. With 20.4 decibels of generated noise, the Corsair ML 140 PRO is one of the quietest fans you can buy. These fans also don’t fall short in regards to looks, as they do come with 4 HUB mounted LED lights, and transparent fans to provide both style with function. These also use the Corsair iCue software, so you can adjust the lighting accordingly. In regards to price, they will cost you about $95 for a pack of two. Not too cheap, but still worth the investment.
Best 200mm RGB Case Fan
This fan is a beast! The Thermaltake Riing Trio 200mm case fans have a variable speed in the range of 500 to 1000 RPM, and can generate a massive 123.53 CFM of airflow, which is in the highest end of the spectrum, even for its size. In regards to static pressure, it generates a respectable 1.71 mmH2O. Despite coming with rubber, anti-vibration pads and self-lubricating hydraulic bearings, in order to minimize noise output, this fan still registers a noise level of about 29.2 dBA, which is a bit high, but not too bad. In regards to glamour though, it is top of the line. With 12 addressable LEDs that can produce 16.8 million colors, the Thermaltake Riing is both the beast and the beauty. If you want to further impress any guests, you can use Thermaltake’s patented TT RGB Plus software, which allows voice commands for any change to the lighting, effects, and even fan speed of this 200mm fan. All in all, the most stylish option for a 200mm fan, and at a price range at $80, this is a great buy.
Best Airflow RGB Case Fan
Did you spend too much money on a killer GPU and can’t afford the best the case-fan industry has to offer? Worry not, because the Aigo Vetroo DR12 120mm case fans are an affordable alternative that provides respectable features for their price. With fan speeds of 1200 (+-10%) RPM, the Aigo DR12 has a not-so-impressive airflow of 20.34 CFM, and a-not-so-impressive static pressure of 0.38 mmH20, but despite that, these fans produce an extremely low noise output of only 16 dB, which is a huge plus for anyone wanting a silent environment to work in. They also do have all the glory of the RGB lighting, and a handy remote so that you can change the colors, effects, brightness, or fan speeds provided (50 or 100%). The most enticing part of these case-fans is that they come at an extremely low price of $22 for a pack of three, making these Aigo DR12s a great buy for anyone looking for RGB case fans on a budget.
Best Budget RGB Case Fan
If you want to focus on airflow, then the NZXT AER RGB 140mm fans are probably the best case-fans you can get for your dollar. These fans reach speeds 1500 RPM, and have an insane-for-the-size airflow of 91 CFM! That makes them perfect for cooling down your case, without taking up the nearly as much space as a 200mm fan. These fans can keep even very-high-end PC hardware at cool temperatures, making them all the more impressive at their price range. They also have a decent, 1.35 mmH2O of static pressure, so they can be applied to radiators as well, though they are better optimized for replenishing the air in your case. In regards to noise… well that is one of the downsides of the fans. They do generate close to 33 dB of noise, even at low speeds, so if having quite fans is a must for you, then this may be a deal-breaker. In regards to their looks, well, they aren’t the prettiest of the bunch. They only have one loop of lights at the perimeter, and do not provide any lighting on the blades at all.
They do come at a pretty good price though! At around $80 for a pack of two 140mm fans, they are a great value for cooling fans, that can also spice things up with some RGB zest.