Buying case fans can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You can just slap in any old fans and not think about them ever again, or you can do your research and find the best 140 mm case fan for your needs. The problem with the second approach is that it can get overwhelming due to the tons of choices out there.
Fret not, though. We’ve gone through the most popular 140 mm case fan options on the market and picked out a handful of excellent choices. There are a couple of all-around performance fans, an excellent RGB option, and an ultra-silent 140 mm fan for the silence fanatics out there. Let’s get started.
Our Favorite 140 mm Case Fans
|RPM Range||200 - 1700 RPM|
|Maximum Airflow||72.8 CFM|
|Maximum Static Pressure||2.40 mm-H2O|
|Noise Level||22.5 dBA*|
* Arctic uses Sone for their noise ratings, and conversions to dBA are approximate at best.
Arctic has made waves over the past few years with affordable, high-performance cooling solutions such as its Liquid Freezer II 280 (one of our favorite 280 mm AIOs). A lot of Arctic’s success relies on the company’s fans, which offer class-leading performance at relatively low prices. Case in point, the Arctic P14 PWM.
Arctic markets the P14 as a static pressure fan, so its impressive 2.40 mm-H2O static pressure rating comes as no surprise. But the P14’s 72.8 CFM maximum airflow rating isn’t too bad, either, especially considering the price. These numbers make the P14 PWM an excellent all-around fan. Intake, exhaust, radiators; the P14 PWM should be able to handle it all.
But what’s truly impressive about the Arctic P14 PWM is that you get this performance at almost-inaudible noise levels. 22.5 dBA is quieter than almost all of its rivals, making the P14 PWM an excellent choice if you’re seeking a great balance between noise and cooling performance.
Yes, you can find good 140 mm case fans that outperform the Arctic P14 PWM in some metrics. The still-excellent Noctua NF-A14, for example, has marginally better airflow and can run even quieter with a low noise adapter. But the Arctic costs less than half of the Noctua and offers almost all of its performance.
It’s that combination of performance, noise, and price that makes the Arctic P14 PWM and PWM PST our pick for the best 140 mm case fan overall. Sure, you miss out on the Noctua extras (and bragging rights), but that’s a small price to pay overall.
The Arctic P14 PWM comes in two versions: a standard PWM version and a PWM PST (PWM Sharing Technology) version. The two are identical, but the PST version has an extra 4-pin socket that you can use to daisy-chain multiple P14 fans together.
On a really tight budget? If you can live without PWM control, the Arctic P14 non-PWM is available in a five-pack for around $30. That’s a killer deal, provided you have a use for five fans.
|RPM Range||300 - 1500 RPM / 300 - 1200 RPM (with low noise adapter)|
|Maximum Airflow||82.5 CFM / 67.9 CFM (with low noise adapter)|
|Maximum Static Pressure||2.08 mm-H2O / 1.51 mm-H2O (with low noise adapter)|
|Noise Level||24.6 dBA / 19.2 dBA (with low noise adapter)|
As far as fans go, Noctua’s NF-A14 PWM is something of a classic. And while it no longer sits at the top of the 140 mm case fan pile on its own, its still-excellent cooling performance and exhaustive extras make it a worthwhile buy for those who want to splash the cash.
Like the Arctic P14 PWM, the Noctua NF-A14 is a jack-of-all-trades fan capable of occupying every fan mounting spot in your rig. The 82.5 CFM maximum airflow is excellent for an all-rounder fan, and the static pressure measurement is still impressive at 2.08 mm-H2O. We’d still probably recommend a cheaper airflow fan if you just need an exhaust fan, but this will do the job fine if that’s how you roll.
Where Noctua sets itself apart from the competition is the packaging and the extras you get with each fan. On top of the usual four fan mounting screws, each NF-A14 PWM also comes with a low noise adapter (more on this later), a four-pin Y-cable, a 30 cm (11.8-inch) four-pin extension cable, and four vibration-compensating rubber screw alternatives.
It’s a great set of extras, but the most interesting is probably the low noise adapter. It goes between the fan and your motherboard header and slows your NF-A14 down. Of course, this reduces performance, but you get a significant reduction in noise levels down to a virtually silent 19.2 dBA in return. We’d be hard-pressed to imagine most users needing a quieter fan than that.
As if these extras weren’t enough, you also get some of the best packaging we’ve seen for a computer part and an outstanding six-year warranty to boot. Combine everything, and you’ll see why the Noctua is our pick for a premium 140 mm case fan. The Noctua NF-A14 PWM has it all: excellent performance, a great bundle, and next-level warranty support.
There is one downside, though. At just over $30 per fan, these Noctuas don’t come cheap. But that’s the price you have to pay, and we’re sure some of you will be more than willing to do so.
Not keen on Noctua’s classic brown color scheme? Check out the NF-A14 chromax.black.swap, which comes in black with swappable multi-color anti-vibration pads.
|RPM Range||550 - 1250 RPM|
|Maximum Airflow||50.2 CFM|
|Maximum Static Pressure||1.4 mm-H2O|
|Noise Level||26 dBA|
High CFM and static pressure are all well and good, but what if your priorities lay elsewhere? If you’re keen on RGB, you’ll have to look beyond Noctua and Arctic fans. Enter the Corsair QL140, one of the best-looking 140 mm RGB fans available right now.
Corsair’s RGB fans have never boasted high-end performance, and the QL140 fans are no exception. 50.2 CFM of airflow and 1.4 mm-H2O of static pressure make them quite mediocre as far as cooling performance goes. Sure, they’ll do an alright job, but cooling performance isn’t why you buy these.
Lighting is where the Corsair QL140 fans excel. Each QL140 fan boasts 34 LEDs arranged in four separate lighting zones. Corsair has split these 34 LEDs between two rings on the front and back of the fan, and it’s this arrangement that sets the QL140 apart from most RGB fans.
Many of the best-performing RGB fans (including Corsair’s LL-series fans) only have single-sided RGB LED rings. This means that the RGB effects only shine into the case when used as exhausts. You won’t have such issues with the QL140’s dual-sided RGB; there’s no need to sacrifice lighting for airflow (or vice versa).
The dual-sided LEDs don’t come for free, though. A single QL140 will set you back around $50, and that’s not including the Corsair Lighting Node Pro (or Core) needed to control the RGB.
So they’re definitely pricey. But if you want to install RGB fans however you like without sacrificing RGB visibility, the Corsair QL140 fans are the fans for you. The performance won’t blow your socks off, of course, but that may be a small price to pay for arguably the best 140 mm RGB case fans on the market right now.
The Corsair QL140 fans are also available in white.
|RPM Range||900 RPM|
|Maximum Airflow||49.2 CFM|
|Maximum Static Pressure||0.77 mm-H2O|
|Noise Level||13.2 dBA|
The NF-P14s redux-900 is one of a handful of P14s variants in Noctua’s cost-reduced Redux range. It’s a three-pin non-PWM fan designed to run at a fixed 900 RPM for near-silent 13.2 dBA operation. For context, that’s just over half the noise levels from Noctua’s NF-A14 PWM, which is already relatively quiet for 140 mm fans.Sometimes even 20-25 dBA of fan noise is too loud. In situations where near-silent operation is more important than cooling performance, you want the Noctua NF-P14s redux-900. It’s essentially as quiet as you’re going to get without going fully passive.
Despite the ultra-low noise levels, the redux-900 still records decent airflow numbers. The 49.2 CFM airflow is only slightly lower than the much noisier Corsair QL140, which is impressive. Static pressure isn’t great, but that’s not surprising given the low RPM and airflow-focused design. You shouldn’t consider these fans for radiator cooling anyway.
Since it’s part of Noctua’s lower-cost Redux line, the NF-P14s redux-900 doesn’t include any of the excellent extras that come with Noctua’s standard fans. You still get a nice box, but all you get in it are the usual steel mounting screws that come with all other case fans. You do get a much nicer two-tone gray color scheme in return, though, so it’s not all bad.
Besides, the low RPM and silent running make the low noise adapter and vibration-compensating rubber mounts irrelevant. So the barebones package isn’t much of a negative at all. And the standard six-year warranty still applies, so you’re not losing out on arguably the most important part of the Noctua owners’ experience.
Overall, the Noctua NF-P14s redux-900 is the best 140 mm case fan for those who value silence above all else. It’s a niche product, for sure, and one that’s impossible to recommend to most users. But if you really must have the quietest 140 mm fan available, look no further.
|RPM Range||1000 RPM|
|Maximum Airflow||49.8 CFM|
|Maximum Static Pressure||Not stated|
|Noise Level||23 dBA|
|Connector||3-pin + 4-pin Molex|
If you need 140 mm fans on a real tight budget, then this upHere three-fan pack is a great option. The pack is an excellent deal at around $17 for three fans. Sure, they’re not the best fans money can buy, but their price make them an OK recommendation for the budget-conscious.
The upHere 140 mm fans are three-pin DC fans that run at a fixed 1000 RPM. That’s on the low side as fans go, leading to a mediocre 49.8 CFM airflow rating. upHere doesn’t disclose the fans’ static pressure performance, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they measure similar to the Noctua NF-P14s redux-900.
The low fan speed keeps noise levels down, at least. 23 dBA isn’t bad at all, and these could work for a budget silence build. So while they’re not outstanding fans, the low noise and affordable price make this three-pack a solid option if you want to fill up empty fan slots for as cheap as possible. It’s definitely better than running with only a single fan (or none), for sure.
The presence of a four-pin Molex connector tells us that this is old fan technology given a fresh coat of paint, which is less than ideal. But if you really can’t stretch to the $35 or so that you’d spend on three Arctic P14 PWMs, go with these upHere fans.
Before You Buy
Computer case fans are relatively straightforward, but there are a few topics that we can touch on for those of you who are new to buying fans.
120 mm vs. 140 mm Fans
The general wisdom is that 140 mm fans are preferred over 120 mm fans wherever possible. 140 mm fans’ increased diameter means they can usually perform better than 120 mm fans at a given RPM. This lets you run your 140 mm fans slower for reduced noise while maintaining similar airflow as a smaller 120 mm fan.
Let’s take Arctic’s 140 mm P14 and 120 mm P12. The P14 boasts a 72.8 CFM of airflow and 2.40 mm-H2O of static pressure at 1700 RPM. The P12, on the other hand, offers 56.3 CFM and 2.20 mm-H2O at a slightly higher 1800 RPM.
So, on paper, you should be able to run the P14 PWM at 1500 RPM (or less) and achieve cooling performance that’s on par with the P12 PWM. The best 120 mm fans aren’t that much cheaper than 140 mm fans, either, so there’s no reason not to buy the 140 mm version if your computer case supports it.
Static Pressure vs. Airflow
There are two types of PC case fans: static pressure fans and airflow fans. Static pressure fans excel at pulling or pushing air through restrictions such as dust filters, radiators, and drive cages. On the other hand, airflow fans work best at moving air as fast as possible, at the cost of reduced performance through the restrictions mentioned above.
Manufacturers will often indicate the fan type on the packaging, but a good way of identifying fan types at a glance is by looking at the blades. Airflow fans tend to have nine or more fan blades, while static pressure fans generally have five or six. Blade shape also differs: static pressure fans have curved fan blades, while airflow fans tend to have slightly straighter ones.
The usual rule of thumb is to use static pressure fans for radiators and filtered intakes, while airflow fans are perfect for unobstructed exhaust fans. And while you won’t go wrong with this setup, it’s also fine to go with an all-airflow or all-static pressure configuration. The best fans, like our top two picks, excel at both and will work fine anywhere you install them.
If you just want to game, the potential one- or two-degree Celsius temperature differences between the fan types probably won’t matter to you that much. In that case, just go with whichever fan type suits your budget and aesthetics.
Spend any time shopping around for case fans, and you’ll probably notice the abbreviation “PWM,” which stands for “pulse width modulation.” Without getting too technical, PWM allows for fine-grained control of fan speeds without manipulating fan voltage. So PWM fans still get the standard 12 volts and use circuitry to control fan speeds.
The significant advantage of PWM beyond the more refined fan speed control is that it lets you slow fans down and even stop them without any adverse effects. Most DC fans will stall below 5 volts, which stops them from working at ultra-low speeds. So PWM is important for achieving those 200 to 500 RPM speeds that silence enthusiasts want.
PWM fans use four-pin adapters, while DC fans use three-pin connectors. Fans and fan headers are interchangeable, meaning you can connect a three-pin DC fan to a four-pin PWM connector (or vice versa). However, you need to connect your fan to a matching four-pin motherboard fan header to use PWM fan control software.
How Many Case Fans Do You Need?
Figuring out how many fans to install can be a bit tricky, especially if you’ve ever browsed Reddit or PCPartPicker and seen the levels of fan overload some builders go for. What do we mean by “fan overload,” you ask? Check this out:
To be fair, populating (almost) every fan mount in your rig does look quite cool. And it’s definitely a serious flex if you rock Noctuas all around. But pose value aside, you might not be getting as much from those fans as you might imagine.
Hardware Canucks tested a few fan configurations in a be quiet! Pure Base 500DX and found that a two-intake, one-exhaust fan setup was good enough for their Intel Core i7-8700K and RTX 2060 Super. These components ran at 75 and 73 degrees Celsius, respectively.
Adding two top intakes reduced CPU temperatures by a single degree and raised GPU temperatures by the same amount, although that may just be run-to-run variance. Even if it isn’t, a single degree Celsius reduction in CPU temps isn’t worth the additional cost of two extra fans.
The main takeaway is that you don’t need to waste money filling out each of your case’s fan mounts. It won’t hurt your rig, but there are better places to spend the money.
There are a lot of 140 mm case fans out there, many of which will perform adequately and cool your gaming PC without issue. But not all 140 mm fans are made equal: some move more air, some are near-silent, while others offer above-average RGB lighting. So it’s still worth taking some time and picking out the best 140 mm case fans.
Most users will be more than satisfied with the Arctic P14 PWM fans for pure cooling performance. Their combination of affordable price and top-tier performance makes them an excellent value buy. The Noctua NF-A14 PWM fans are fantastic too, but you’re paying more for the extras (and warranty) than significantly improved performance.
Whichever fan you go for, though, remember to set your fans up properly for optimal airflow!