Last Updated on January 16, 2023 by David


One thing is sure, without appropriate cooling, it is impossible to have a good PC. Even if your components are of the best standards, they won’t be able to perform well if the proper environment is not provided. And your PC’s environment is related to how efficiently its temperature is controlled. In this guide, we will go over the best 120mm PC fans you can buy right now in 2023.

Proper cooling is the key for all your essential components, the RAM, GPU, and CPU, to function well regardless of how much load you put on your system. Whether you are a pro gamer or an occasional PC user, a cooling system is always a wise investment ensuring sustainability and optimal performance.

Case fans are your answer to this problem. Several ways of cooling provide an environment for your PC never to exceed the limit, which leads to overheating your components. Case fans ensure you don’t have to face issues like a drop in FPS or a low performance and also give your hardware a longer life.


Now picking up a 120mm fan for your system is a good choice. But the process of selecting the most suitable model can be pretty exhausting. In today’s market, which is overflowing with so many options, it can get overwhelming to make the right choice.

Best 120mm Fans For Your PC

So to help you with this challenging choice, we are providing you with a guide that will allow you to reach a good decision when you are out buying for a case fan. Here we have laid out a list of the various fans available and which are the best picks of 2020, along with all the details you need to know about them.

The following are all the options that we are going to look into in our guide to the best 120mm PC fans and some of their specs that you might be interested in learning about at a glance:

Product Specs
Noctua High-Performance Cooling Fan NF-S12B redux-1200
  • Size: 120x120x25 mm
  • RPM: 1200
  • Noise level: 18.1 dB(A)
  • Connector Type: 3-pin Molex
Corsair Magnetic Levitation Lighting
  • Size: 4.72 x 4.72 x 0.98 in
  • RPM: 400 to 1,600 RPM PWM control range
  • Noise level: 25 dB(A)
  • Connector type: 4-pin
Cooler Master SickleFlow
  • Size: 4.72 x 0.98 x 4.72 inches (120 x 120 x 25 mm)
  • RPM: 2000
  • Noise level: 19 dB(A)
  • Connector type: 3-pin
Corsair Air AF120
  • Size: 4.84 x 2.08 x 5.9 inches
  • RPM: 1500
  • Noise level: 25.2 dB(A)
  • Connector type: 3-pin
  • Size: 4.7 x 1 x 4.7 inches
  • RPM: 500- 1500
  • Noise level: 22 – 33 dBA
  • Connector type: 4-pin PWM

Now that you know about the products we will look into in this guide on the best 120mm PC fans, we can move on to the details. You need to know the following about these best 120mm PC fans.


Best Overall: Noctua NF-S12B redux-1200

Noctua is a brand that is currently very popular in the tech world regarding its quality products. The NF-S12B is another product that performs efficiently even under stressful workloads and is durable. Even more satisfying is that its noise level never exceeds 18.1 dB(A), making it a near-silent cooling source.

This product certainly comes to the top of our list because Noctua provides the best cooling power in the market. The aesthetics are pretty simple, which might be a downside for some users. With a matte grey fan and no RGB, it does not paint an attractive picture but does the job it’s meant for remarkably well. Besides, too much lighting can be too overwhelming for some minimalistic style builds.

Noctua NF-S12B redux-1200

Noctua has let go of its usual tan and brown trademark colors in this model, which is even better as it blends well with the standard dark coloring of the rest of your system.


This fan combines high CFM with moderate RPM, allowing it to deliver efficient airflow with a low noise level. Furthermore, it is equipped with an SSO bearing, a combination of hydrodynamic bearing with an extra magnet that helps support the rotor axis. This leads to sustainability and excellent performance.

The frame of this fan is expandable with Noctua’s chromax-line antivibration pads. They come in various colors, dampen vibrations, and customize your build. On the whole, this is a case fan that you can’t find fault with.


  • Easy installation
  • Cost to performance ratio is great
  • Good design and durability


  • Can get noisier while functioning at high speed as it ages

Best RGB: Corsair ML120 PRO Premium Magnetic Levitation

If you are the user who loves for your PC to look aesthetically pleasing, the Corsair Magnetic Levitation is just the fan for you with its beautiful array of LED lighting. It is an ideal combination of an excellent appearance and good performance.

As mentioned, builds fully decked with RGB lighting have made a roaring trade in recent years. Cases with tempered glass have become more popular as they give you a fine display of all the colors within instead of a view filled with cables and components.

Corsair ML120 PRO Premium Magnetic Levitation

Whether your preference leans towards a solid color or a rainbow spectrum, Corsair’s Magnetic Levitation is just the case fan for you. The three premium fans provide you with all the colors you desire for your build, as you can select and make any adjustments you like.

But these fans do not just show and not perform. They will give you solid cooling no matter how long your gaming sessions, graphic designing, or any other demanding task are. They are well made and have a nearly silent performance.

The magnetic levitation bearing reduces friction by magnetically levitating the fan blades, which leads to higher output with less noise. The airflow of this model is 47.3 CFM with an adjustable 400 to 1,600 RPM. Both this and the lights are controlled by the Corsair Lighting Node PRO controller, which comes with the work.

While this is not a purchase to fit in a lower budget, these are a set of beautiful fans with a performance to match. This is one of the best 120mm PC fans you can find now if you are interested in RGB lighting.


  • Amazing RGB lights
  • Near silent performance
  • Quality build


  • RGB controller is required

Best Cost-To-Performance: Cooler Master SickleFlow

Now we might be in a fix when we do not have the budget to splurge on a cooling fan for our PC but fret not, as there certainly are budget-friendly options available in the market, like the Cooler Master SickleFlow. This sleeve-bearing fan is the best mid-range option to provide efficiency without costing you too much.

If you are looking for a budget-friendly option in case fans are without lowering the performance level, the Cooler Master SickleFlow is the one for you. This is not an overly expensive case fan and has a tremendous cost-to-performance ratio in the current market.

Cooler Master SickleFlow

The SickleFlow features only a single electric blue LED lighting, which gives your build a tasteful flair without overwhelming it. The cooling is impressive for its price, with 69 CFM and 2000 RPM max. Even at high speeds, the noise level does not exceed 19 dB(A).

The cooling is so effective that you can even feel it once turned on. So it will certainly keep the temperature of your build down to an ideal level. The lifespan is pretty good, despite it being a sleeve-bearing fan. It provides an average of 50,000 hours under normal temperatures, which is incredible for any sleeve-bearing case fan.

The installation might prove to be slightly bothersome for a new user, but other than that, the Cooler Master SickleFlow is all around a tremendously cost-effective cooler for your system. This is the best 120mm PC fan to buy if you want the best value for your money.


  • One of the best options in static pressure fans that come in this size
  • Pretty great life span
  • The efficiency of fan blade design leads to low RPM and high cooling


  • The screws it includes need some work to fit into the fan

Best Silent Fan: Corsair Air Series AF120 (12% Off)

A silent function is, of course, a priority when choosing a case fan. A noisy one can be extremely annoying and distracting during PC usage. Corsair is another tried and tested tech manufacturer, and the Corsair Air Series AF120 offers a tranquil cooling option for your build.

The looks aren’t bad for either of these LED fans, and it provides excellent performance with the least amount of noise, even when pushed to the limit.

If you are a gamer looking to prepare a beastly gaming build with forever cool-looking red and black tones, then the Corsair Air Series AF120 is an excellent choice. Appearance aside, the fans also provide a quiet and efficient function.

Corsair Air Series AF120

High air flow with less noise is what this fan will deliver, with 52.19 CFM and 1500 RPM max. You will find turbulence at a minimum level, so no shaking or wobbling is caused. The LED light is a static red color, so if you prefer any other colors, you can look up other models in the same series.

Remember that these fans do not work very well in cramped spaces. You will need at least 3cm of clearance on both sides to get good results. By Corsair, users are recommended to mount the fans on the top or rear of their PC casing.

The fans give a remarkable performance for a moderate price and would be an excellent installation for mid-range gaming builds or regular PCs. This is one of the best 120mm PC fans you can buy now if you need silence.


  • Red LED lighting
  • Minimum fan noise, even at high speed
  • Amazing airflow


  • Color is non-adjustable

Best High-End Option: NZXT AER RGB 2

This might be the last product on our list of best 120mm PC fans, but it is not the least. This fan will be the perfect choice for a premium built PC, with its smooth dynamic design makes it a product with great aesthetics and reliable sustainability. This fan will provide you with efficient performance for years to come.

If there are no constraints in the budget area, then the NZXT AER RGB 2 is an excellent investment to keep your PC working efficiently for years.


These fans admittedly cost a pretty penny and are a high-end model. But the appearance and specs will make it desirable for any PC user. With its RGB lighting, the design is extremely pleasing to the eye, as they retain its vibrancy without being annoyingly bright. They are also customizable, and the control settings are within the C system.

The fans can also be adjusted with the NZXT software, but not all users might prefer them, as some might like the motherboard controls better. Regardless the control panel is user-friendly, and it was pretty easy to adjust the RPM from 500 to 1500.

The fan has fluid dynamic bearings, which makes an expense that will keep functioning well for years. Certain FDB fans have a lifespan of 300,000 hours, and this one will undoubtedly outlive other fans. This is one of the best 120mm fans you can buy for your high-end gaming PC.


  • Many customizable options
  • Incredible RGB lighting
  • Powerful and quiet cooling


  • It only works with the NZXT system and light/fan controller

Honorary Mentions

The following are some other 120mm fan options that you can also check out:


DEEP COOL RF120M best 120mm PC fans

  • Intelligent PWM that meets the hardest of cooling demands
  • RGB control modes ranging from breathing and static to multi-color settings


ARCTIC P12 PWM PST best 120mm PC fans

  • Noise Level down to 0.3 sone
  • Airflow is commendable, with 56.3 CFM

ARCTIC F12-120mm Standard Low Noise Case Fan

ARCTIC F12-120mm Standard Low Noise Case Fan

  • Boasts two-way installation
  • Has 53 CFM with 350 RPM

Best 120mm PC Fans – Process of Selection

Presenting you with a guide like this is a pretty lengthy process, as we do not proceed to recommend the first product we come across. It is a complete testing and elimination cycle, after which we narrow out the final products that can be the most suitable for all sorts of users and their systems. We want to ensure that you get the best possible component for the money you pay.

In-depth research was an essential part of the creation of this guide. Specs were studied, models were compared, and performance benchmarking was applied. Feedback was taken from users, as their experiences and opinions are the most excellent source of information when testing a product.

Testing various products ourselves is arguably the most enjoyable part of the research as getting first-hand experience and acquiring data from that is quite rewarding. It makes us more confident that we are coming up with the best products to recommend to you.

Best 120mm PC Fans – Testing Process

The best way to test a component is by putting it under a challenging stress test to reveal its utmost potential. Most fans will perform well under normal circumstances, but efficiency can only be tested when they can cool smoothly, even when your PC is running demanding tasks.

There are several important factors when you look at a case fan, such as its type, airflow, RPM, and more. All of these come together to allow the excellent performance of a fan. Along with that, the quality of a fan is judged by how much noise it makes when put under a heavy load.

All of these need to be taken into consideration when testing a fan. As the ones we have recommended are tested well, you can be assured that they will give you an able performance even under pressure.

Fan Bearings

This list has some excellent options where case fans are concerned. However, there are some more important points that we are going to discuss here when making a final choice is at hand. The factors such as type, size, and design all need to be considered when you choose one of them.

Fans are usually the last component you select when building a PC, as they need to fit in with the motherboard and other hardware in the system. They might have similar appearances but that does not mean their performance is identical. So, the bearing in each fan is also looked at when you pick one up.

The bearing of a fan plays a prominent part in the performance, longevity, and noise levels it has. For example, although affordable, sleeve bearings tend to last less than fluid dynamic bearings.

Here we will inform you about different types of bearings that exist and which can be a good option for you.

Sleeve Bearings

Sleeve bearings are primarily available in both mid-range and budget rigs and are a popular option in the market. They do not require frequent replacement or maintenance because they have self-lubricating, porous, sintered sleeves. You need to mount this bearing fan vertically, to gain better performance.

Although these bearings perform well at an average temperature, they do not work well under high pressure and will deteriorate even more as time passes if put under heavy load. Although if the temperature of your PC stays around 50 degrees Celsius, it will have a long life ranging from 35,000-45,000 hours.

Fans with sleeve bearings are very cheap and relatively silent at low speeds, but as the risk of their failure increases with age, the same goes for the noise level.

Ball Bearings

This kind of bearing is an upgraded version of the sleeve bearings and provides more durability, a long life span, and less noise. They are also not under the mounting constraints as sleeve bearings, and you can mount them without any particular orientation.

Another good thing is that they can perform efficiently and for an extended time under high temperatures. At an average of 50 degrees Celsius, a ball-bearing fan will last for 60,000 hours or more.

Rifle Bearings

Rifle Bearings are also currently quite a well-loved choice of users. A spiral groove in these bearings pumps fluid from the reservoir, allowing them to be mounted vertically and horizontally. The pumping process leads to appropriate lubrication needed to reduce noise and friction. These bearings have a longer lifespan and low noise levels, similar to ball bearings.

Fluid dynamic bearings (FDB) and hydrodynamic bearings (HDB)

Both these types are usually on the expensive side, but they give an excellent performance. The FDB or HDB bearings bring all the best qualities of the other bearings into one reliable pick.

Fans with these bearings can fit vertically or horizontally into your system and have a remarkably long life. The most exemplary FDB and HDB models are known to function well for as long as 300,000 hours.

Which Type of Bearing Should You Choose?

To make things even simpler for you, we will now list all the bearings and their strengths and weaknesses (if any), so you can have a good idea of the best choice at a glance.

Sleeve Bearings


  • Affordable Price
  • Quiet Function


  • Have a Short Lifespan
  • Only Mounted Vertically

Ball Bearings


  • Silent Function
  • Able to mount in any direction


  • Mid-range Longevity (weakness only because there are bearings with a longer lifespan)

Rifle Bearings:


  • Quiet Performance
  • Can also be mounted in any direction


  • Same as Ball Bearings

FDB and HDB Bearings:


  • Extremely effective ideal for high end builds
  • Long life
  • Near silent function


  • None that we could decipher

After going through the above points, you must also remember that upon aging, all fans, regardless of quality, will become noisier. So once their standard functioning span is over you will ultimately need to replace them. But choosing a good one means you won’t have to do that anytime soon.

More Factors to Consider

Bearings are one of the many important elements in case fans. Whether you are a pro or a tech-savvy user, you might find remembering all the factors needed to choose the perfect case a bit taxing. So now, we will also guide you through the rest of those eligibility factors.


To check compatibility, you first need to pick out your motherboard and determine what type of pins it supports, as fans come with various pins. You can also use an adapter to remedy that, but getting a fan with pins suitable for your build is more hassle-free.

RPM and Cooling Capability

The primary function of a fan is to keep your PC cool, which it should do exceptionally well. Any additional features are much less important than the overall cooling power of a fan.

The strengths of a fan are listed as “CFM” cubic feet per minute and “RPM” revolutions per minute. By CFM, we measure the airflow delivered by a fan, and RPM is used to measure your fan’s speed per minute.

As a general rule, users aim for fans with a higher CFM and moderate level of RPM. Ones that go for higher RPM will have a fan that will have good speed, but it will sometimes be noisy. However, the products in the current market are mostly not noisy enough at even higher speeds to irritate.

Noise Levels

A case fan’s noise is measured in dB(A). Most of them fall between 15 to 30 dB(A) of noise level, comparable to the sound of a dropped pin in a whispered or quiet conversation.

Various factors count when we are studying the noise of a fan. If your system is bearing a load to its utmost capability, the fans might become louder due to the increased need for cooling. They also get noisier as time passes and with overuse. Picking up one with a specifically quiet dB(A) meter, such as the ones on our list, will help you in the long run.


A fan’s lifespan is related to its bearing type and is affected by the amount of usage and temperature it works with. Each fan comes with a different lifespan. You may get a life expectancy ranging from 30,000 and 300,000 hours, depending on the quality. Remember that fans will ultimately stop functioning once they have given all they have, but you will most likely upgrade your system before that happens.


LED lighting is a relatively recent and prevalent trend in the tech world. Who doesn’t want their PC to have a bit (or a LOT) of bling along with being functional? Rainbow-colored mice, speakers, and keyboards are a well-loved preference now for users and case fans manufacturers have indeed not remained behind.

The attractive RGB lighting of these fans is primarily controllable, so you can keep your whole build a single color of your choice or have a multi-colored extravaganza by just a few easy adjustments. Not all cases might be suitable for a flashy look, but even the plainest ones can be uplifted a bit if you choose a colored fan.

The Budget

Budget is a prominent factor when you are making any purchase. When building a PC, you will come upon many components that can be expensive and difficult to buy. Fortunately, the tech market has enhanced so much now that there are many excellently performing options for users with all budgets.

It is important also to note that even if you have the cash to splurge, you cannot just buy the most flashy and attractive component you see out there. It is not guaranteed that you will get the best performance from an uber-expensive product.

Case fans differ in cost depending upon efficiency, bearing type, size, manufacturer, and additional features such as RGB. In terms of price, good 120mm fans are mostly neither too cheap or too expensive. But there are substantial cost differences in price.

In most cases, you will need to install more than one fan in your build, which ends up in a multiplied expense. Large-sized cases can fit in as many as six additional fans. The approximate cost of a 120mm fan will also depend upon the type of build it is meant for.

Lower-end case fans will be pretty cheap, mid-end will also not be entirely out of range, and the fans meant for high-end builds have a price to match.

You can save money by buying low-end case fans, keeping your system from getting fried for a brief period. But if you want to invest in a sustainable and efficient build, then a bit higher priced fans will be needed, as your whole PC will depend on them to give you the best performance.

So here ends our list of the best 120mm fans for your PC that you can find in the market right now. It provides you with case fans to fit any requirement or budget, so hopefully you will have found one you prefer.

It certainly can put you in a tough spot, but choosing the most suitable fan case, is a necessary part of PC building. So we hope this list made the task easier for you! If you are interested in getting a case, you can check out the PC cases we recommend for 2023 under $100.


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