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Best 120mm Case Fan to Keep Your Gaming PC Cool and Quiet

By 

Certified Awkward Tech Guy™

Last Updated 05 Dec 2021


Your gaming PC needs adequate cooling for great performance. No matter how great the other components are, it would be best if you still had the right environment for them to do their best. When it comes to computers, that surrounding is one where the temperatures are controlled, and with the best 120mm case fan, you will be able to achieve this.

PC case fans keep your system cool during operation. Without enough cooling, your PC will heat up very much, which can turn off or even some permanent damages to your build. When your PC is properly cooled, all of your vital components, the CPU, the GPU, RAM, and more, perform well irrespective of what you are doing. Furthermore, whether you are a semi-regular user or a gamer that plays regularly, cooling is vital.

The process of selecting the best case fan can be draining, especially since the market is overflowed with options. We have compiled these reviews and everything you need to know before buying the right fan. Let's begin!


The Best 120mm Case Fan

1. Corsair LL Series (120mm) LL120 RGB 3 Fan Pack with Lighting Node Pro

32%
Corsair LL Series LL120 RGB 120mm Dual Light Loop RGB LED PWM Fan 3 Fan Pack...
4,934 Reviews
Corsair LL Series LL120 RGB 120mm Dual Light Loop RGB LED PWM Fan 3 Fan Pack...
  • 16 independent RGB LEDs in every fan, split between two separate light loops....
  • Software control and customize RGB lighting effects with the included Corsair...
  • PWM fan control allows for dynamic speed adjustment between 600 rpm to 1, 500...
  • 120 millimeter fan Blade engineered for Low-Noise operation without sacrificing...
 

The Corsair LL120 3 Pack Case Fan has two lights loops, one around the rim and one in the hub, with 16 RGB LED lights combined. Every LED light can be controlled individually, providing complete control over the look of the lights in your fan and the capability to create limitless combinations of colors.

The fan operates at up to 1500 RPM and can perfectly push up to 43.3 ft3/min of air through the PC case. Although this is not the best on our list, it is enough to clear the out of either a mid-tower or even super tower case fast enough to keep most hardware cool for better performance. Besides, the Corsair LL120 3 Pack Case Fan also pushes air with 1.61mm H2O of static pressure, which is sufficient for most radiators, plus it is generally quieter.

Although the RGB fans are sold separately, we recommend you check out the manufacturer's "starter pack." The pack comes with three fans, plus a lighting Node Pro. It would be best if you plugged every fan into the Lighting Node, which acts as a hub and lets you control the custom lighting via Corsair's CUE software. Additionally, though the combo pack comes with an RGB hub, you need to ensure you have one if you buy these RGB fans separately, that is, if you want to utilize them to their fullest.

  • Pros
  • Operate at very little noise
  • Offer a variety of RGB lighting to choose from
  • You can control the lights individually through software.
  • High airflow fans worth the price
  • Cons
  • Louder at mid-range speeds

2. Cooler Master MA410M A-RGB Dual MF120R 120mm Fans

No products found.

If you are looking for the best 120mm case fan with independent LEDs, we recommend the Cooler Master Dual MF120R 120mm Fans. This fan pushes an amount of air of about 110 ft3/min, allowing you to keep even the hottest components cool in any situation this fan will fit into. If there is a tendency to accumulate heat in your case, resulting in temperatures spiral out of control under sustained loads, then this is the case fan you need for your hardware cooling.

The Cooler Master Dual MF120R, 120mm Fans, runs at low (RPM) speeds. The maximum RPM of this fan is 700RPM despite the insane airflow, meaning the fan operates silently, measuring in at only 19 dBA. The package comes with two fans which are plain black, red, or blue LED light versions.

The main drawback with this fan is that it is not designed with any radiators, making it very poor with static pressure and does not push the air for good airflow. This drawback means that any obstacles, including drive bays or poorly managed cables, can interfere with the fan's performance.

  • Pros
  • Offer quiet operation at 19dBA
  • Comes with several LED light versions to choose from
  • Offer good static pressure
  • Great for high airflow
  • Cons
  • Lack any radiators

3. Corsair Premium Magnetic Levitation Cooling Fan, ML120 Pro (120mm)

24%
Corsair ML120 Pro, 120mm Premium Magnetic Levitation Cooling Fan
3,777 Reviews
Corsair ML120 Pro, 120mm Premium Magnetic Levitation Cooling Fan
  • Magnetic Bearing harnesses magnetic levitation technology to provide lower noise...
  • Custom Rotor Design delivers the perfect balance between high static pressure...
  • Extensive Control Range A 2 000 RPM control range gives you total control...
  • Color Customization Replaceable corners mounted to anti-vibration rubber dampers...

If you are looking for the best magnetic levitation fan, look no further than the Corsair ML120 Pro Cooling Fan. Instead of ball bearings, this fan operates on magnetic, which greatly reduces noise from the friction with the bearings as they rotate. Therefore the fan offers great performance with very little noise. The only noise produced is from the fan blades themselves.

The Corsair ML120 Pro Cooling Fan also sports a longer lifespan since the friction is largely reduced. Furthermore, this fan is very static pressure optimized at 4.2mm H2O when it comes to performance, making it great for cooling case-mounted radiators. Also, the color customization disposable corners installed to anti-vibration pads easily allow you to suit your fans with the best parts of your build.

Corsair doesn't utilize a blade design like similar models such as Silent Wings 3, making them louder under that category. However, it doesn't produce much noise when compared to fans that operate on bearings. Most users praise it for its silent operation.

  • Pros
  • Produces less noise
  • Has a longer lifespan
  • Offer great performance, i.e., cooling.
  • Great for cooling case mounted radiators
  • Cons
  • Slightly oversized model

4. NZXT AER RGB 2 -120mm -HF-28120-B1 - Advanced Lighting Customizations

NZXT AER RGB 2 - HF-28120-B1 - 120mm - Advanced Lighting Customizations -...
2,602 Reviews
NZXT AER RGB 2 - HF-28120-B1 - 120mm - Advanced Lighting Customizations -...
  • Performance engineered: These PWM static pressure fans are designed with a...
  • Uniquely Shaped: Custom engineered light guide creates stunning visual effects,...
  • Winglet tips: Winglet designed fan blades minimize drag and further enhance fan...
  • Fluid dynamic bearing: Using patented fluid dynamic bearings(FDB) made of...

It is about time to get the NZXT AER RGB 2 case fans if you have been looking for the best model with advanced lighting customizations. These PWM static pressure fans are designed with an exhaust and a chamfered-intake that boosts overall pressure and airflow. The unique shaped engineered light creates great visual effects, with the same amount of light dispersion. Additionally, the LED is on one side; therefore, the other side doesn't light up like the other competitors.

The case fan features Winglet designed fan blades that reduce drag and further boost fan performance. It operates on a fluid dynamic bearing, one of the long-lasting bearing types, and optimize power of about 0.2A. The four-pin connection on this fan ensures that the pulse modulation is easily performed to vary RPM within 500 to 1500 RPM. Besides, the cooling performance of the body build is increased due to the static pressure by the fan design.

  • Pros
  • You can customize the lighting to suit your moods.
  • Operates on a fluid bearing; therefore no need for lubrication.
  • Offer great cooling of hot air.
  • Easy to install and use
  • Cons
  • Doesn't come with a controller

5. Noctua (4-Pin), 1200 RPM High-Performance Cooling Fan, NF-S12B Redux-1200 PWM

No products found.

If you are looking for the best 120mm case fan that offers high performance, you can bet on the Noctua NF-S12B Redux (4-Pin) 1200 RPM. This Noctua fan from an Austrian company was meticulously designed and available in a notoriously ugly two-tone brown color for those who never cared about the color but focused on the high-performance factor. Nowadays, these Noctua fans come in a sleek grey color instead of the less sophisticated brown.

Furthermore, Noctua takes keen when engineering their fans, which provide top-of-the-line performance and are also fairly quiet when operating. They operate at a maximum noise level of 25.1dBA; however, it is not the quietest fan on the market. At this noise level, though, it would be hard to notice the sound of the fans, especially because they will be running at less than 100 percent of the time, many thanks to their strong performance.

The Noctua NF-P12 (4-Pin) Redux-1200 RPM Cooling Fan has impressive performance with 70.7ft3/min of airflow at full throttle and 2.83mm H2O of static pressure. This static pressure is enough to easily push air through even a highly dense radiator, making this excellent intake or exhaust fans for water-cooled computers. These Noctua coolers also offer sufficient airflow to clear out even large cases when several are mounted at once. It uses a technology known as pulse width modulation.

  • Pros
  • Offer maximum performance experience
  • Fairly quiet when operating
  • Come at an affordable price
  • Offer sufficient airflow
  • Cons
  • Doesn't offer any lighting or RGB

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best 120mm Case Fans

1. Bearing type

The bearing used in a fan has a vital effect on its performance, longevity, and noise. There are different type of bearing to consider when shopping for the best 120mm case fan, which includes;

  • Ball bearings- can be installed in any direction, fairly silent, and have mid-range longevity.
  • Sleeve bearings-less expensive, fairly quiet, but they are not durable and can only be installed vertically.
  • Fluid bearings (FDB) & hydrodynamic bearings (HDB)-Great bearings used in high-end rigs. Comes with top-notch fan life expectancy, solid performance, and low noise.
  • Rifle bearings: very similar to ball bearings in terms of lifespan, installation, and noise levels.

Considering the above qualities, since when the fans age, most of them will get noisier over time, meaning that even if you buy an FDB type of fan, you will need to replace it long before it is due if the noise gets annoying.

2. Compatibility

To determine the best 120mm case fan compatibility, you need to pick out your motherboard and counter-check the secured pins. Since fans come with varying types of pins, you may need to check the adapter. It would be best to shop for the models that fit your build.

3. Noise level

The noise level of a fan is measured in dB(A). Most fans have noise levels ranging from 15 to 30 dB(A) category, meaning that the amount of noise they produce falls somewhere between a whisper or a quiet conversation to the sound of a dropping pin. Many factors come into consideration here, determining how noisy your fan is. Generally, when you are doing something taxing on your PC, the fan speeds may pick up and hence get louder. Also, fans get louder with overuse and age.

4. LED Vs. No LED?

When shopping for the best 120mm case fan, consider if you want a case fan with LED or no LED lighting. Colorful LED lighting is the trend nowadays, and many people are embracing them. There are different colors such as blue, green, red ( rainbow). RGB lighting allows these case fans to stand out are controllable. So, if your preference is pure red rather than an entire rainbow of colors, you can control the color mode with ease.

Furthermore, some case fans have a minimalistic style and may not be the candidates for the splash of color that these LED lighting fans offer. Nonetheless, even the plainest case fan makes for a great canvas that these fans then build upon.

5. RPM and cooling capacity

Since you are buying a case fan to keep your computer cool, it is important to consider the best PC cooling fans. Things like brands and looks play a second role in the sheer cooling power a fan can offer. Conversely, fan strengths are listed in cubic feet per minute (CFM) and revolutions per minute (RPM). CFM usually measures the airflow that a certain fan can commit, meaning how much it can cool in your case.

RPM usually measures how fast your fan rotates per minute. The thumb rule aims for high CFM with a moderate RPM. High RPM fans tend to be noisy at times. Nonetheless, louder fans are quiet enough not to be troublesome at all, thanks to modern technologies.

6. The lifespan of the fans

The lifespan of a case fan relates directly to the bearing type. A fan's life expectancy is also affected by how regular you use it and the temperatures it is forced to work with. Different types of fans usually vary in lifespans: you can expect a range of 30,000 and 300,000 hours, depending on your fan. When shopping, look for the fan that comes with a good lifespan.

7. Budget

Case fans come with different prices depending on the efficiency, size, bearing type, manufacturer, and additional effects like LED lighting. 120mm case fans are neither expensive nor cheap; however, even within that bracket, the prices vary. Furthermore, don't forget that you will need to buy more than one fan in most scenarios, meaning that the expense is double or more.

Saving some bucks by buying a cheaper model makes less of a deal than avoiding, for instance, replacing your GPU. Nonetheless, if you are looking to create a great PC, forego cheap fans. They are some of the essential components out there.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best 120mm case fans.

1. Which are the best PC fans?

It depends on your personal preference. However, the Corsair LL120 RGB tends to stand out for its unique features. It comes with 48 individually addressable LED lights, which you can experiment with different themes as you desire. Additionally, the fans work with most motherboards and have great static pressure to generate sufficient flow.

2. Are 140mm case fans better than 120mm? 

A bigger fan normally means higher flow at lower RPM, though it is not simple. Therefore you need to check the noise level and flow rate to decide which fan is better. If you are looking for the best in the 120mm category, Corsair LL120 RGB Case Fan is one. The product is designed with every detail.

About the author

Anton is the founder of 25pc. He is a huge gaming tech nerd and loves helping people save money. To find out more about him read his about me page.

Anton is the founder of 25pc. He is a huge gaming tech nerd and loves helping people save money. To find out more about him read his about me page.

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