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The 6 Best RGB Fans for Aesthetics and Cooling Performance

Written by Azzief Khaliq
Last updated Mar 26, 2021

Affiliate Disclosure: When you purchase products through our links, we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.

Love it or hate it; there’s no denying that RGB is here to stay. What seemed like a flash in the pan a few years ago has become an everyday part of gaming rigs. Every PC part you can think of has been given the RGB treatment, and fans are no exception. In fact, we’d argue that having the best RGB fans in your PC is almost essential these days if you’re building a colorful rig.

Whether you want the prettiest lights, the best performance, or a balance between the two, there’s an RGB fan out there for you. You could wade through all the product listings on Amazon or Newegg to find it, but we know that’s time you’d rather spend gaming. Instead, let us point you in the right direction with our list of the best RGB fans for your current (or next) build.

Our Picks for Best RGB Case Fans

Best for Lighting: Corsair LL120 & LL140

RPM Range600 - 1500 RPM (LL120) / 600 - 1300 RPM (LL140)
Maximum Airflow43.25 CFM (LL120) / 51.5 CFM (LL140)
Maximum Static Pressure1.61 mm-H2O (LL120) / 1.52 mm-H2O (LL140)
Maximum Noise24.8 dBA (LL120) / 25 dBA (LL140)

If you’re looking for the best RGB case fans for fantastic lighting effects, Corsair’s LL120 and LL140 are probably the fans for you. The LL-series fans feature two separate LED rings that light both the blades and the outer circular ring. These rings feature eight RGB LEDs each, making for some stunning RGB effects.

The remarkable lighting does come at the cost of some performance, however. The airflow numbers aren’t outstanding, and neither are the static pressure numbers. They’ll work fine, but they’re definitely not for cramped, hot cases that need a lot of airflow to keep things cool.

Both the 120 mm and 140 mm versions are relatively quiet, topping out at 25 dBA for the LL140. You should be able to install quite a few LL fans in your case without the noise getting too bad, which may make up for the slightly lower airflow rating.

Example of our pick for best RGB fans Corsair LL120

Source: zincfusion

If you’re ok with sacrificing a bit of performance for the fanciest RGB lighting you’re going to get in a case fan, then the LL120 and LL140 are pretty much no-brainers. The two LED rings are an RGB fan’s dream come true, and this won’t come at the cost of your cooling performance. That said, the LL120 and LL140 probably won’t improve it either.

The downsides? Beyond the middling airflow, they’re pretty pricey. You’ll also need to have a Corsair RGB controller to control the RGB LEDs. That’s not a big problem when buying a three-pack since one’s included in the package, but it is something to be aware of if you’re only planning to get a single unit.

The LL120 also comes in white, but it’s more than just a different color. The white LL120 uses a faster, louder motor. They’ll push more air but will also be a lot noisier at 36 dBA. If you’re willing to run them at max speed, they’ll produce 63 CFM and 3.0 mm-H2O of pressure.

Best for Airflow (120mm): Enermax SquA RGB

RPM Range300 - 1500 RPM
Maximum Airflow68.27 CFM
Maximum Static Pressure1.898 mm-H2O
Maximum Noise23 dBA

Enermax’s SquA RGB fan’s unique selling point is its combination of affordable price and excellent all-around performance. How affordable, you ask? A three-pack of the SquA RGB costs less than half of a three-pack of Corsair’s LL120 fans, all while boasting admirable airflow, static pressure, and noise ratings.

While the SquA punches above its weight when it comes to cooling, it falls a bit short in the looks department. While it shares the single LED ring configuration of NZXT’s Aer RGB 2, the ring on the SquA RGB looks a bit muted in comparison. It’ll add a splash of color to your rig, sure. But compared to the other fans on this list, it lags behind in the looks department, at least to our eyes.

It’s hard to hold this against Enermax, especially given the SquA RGB’s relatively low cost. It’s cheap to run, too; the SquA RGB plugs directly into your motherboard’s addressable RGB (ARGB) header. No proprietary controllers are needed here.

Enermax makes up for the single LED ring with a circle of tiny pinholes in the rear housing. It’s not much, but it lets some of the light from the front-mounted LED ring shine through. It’s a nice touch and something more manufacturers could stand to implement in their own designs.

If you want a high-airflow 120 mm fan and don’t mind giving up a bit of flash, the Enermax SquA RGB is a solid choice. Add the low price to the mix, and you have a really compelling fan that’ll fit in most budgets. And it comes in white, too!

Best for Airflow (140mm): NZXT Aer RGB 2

RPM Range500 - 1500 RPM
Maximum Airflow91.19 CFM
Maximum Static Pressure1.52 mm-H2O
Maximum Noise33 dBA

The NZXT Aer RGB 2 fan is one of the best 140 mm RGB case fans on the market, with its 91.19 CFM airflow rating. On the other hand, the static pressure is decent, but nothing to write home about. This is an exhaust fan through and through.

NZXT seems to agree, as the RGB LED ring on the Aer RGB 2 is solely visible on the fan’s intake side. In other words, you’ll only be able to appreciate the Aer RGB 2’s lighting effects when they’re used as exhaust fans. That makes sense, as that’s where high-airflow fans are best used.

The lighting is provided by eight RGB LEDs with a “custom-engineered” light guide that, in NZXT’s words, “creates stunning visual effects, with uniform light dispersion.” It doesn’t quite make up for the one-sided RGB and lack of lighting on the blades themselves, but the RGB ring does at least look pretty good to our eyes.

Like the Corsair LL fans, the RGB lighting on the Aer RGB 2 can only be controlled via NZXT’s own RGB lighting controllers. The two- and three-packs come bundled with a controller, at least, but you’ll need to get one separately if you only want to install one Aer RGB 2.

Performance-wise, the NZXT Aer RGB 2 is a solid choice. But you’ll have to decide whether the extra cost and cabling for another RGB controller is worth it for exhaust fans alone.

Best for Static Pressure (120mm): EK-Vardar EVO 120ER

RPM Range500 - 2200 RPM
Maximum Airflow77 CFM
Maximum Static Pressure3.16 mm-H2O
Maximum Noise33.5 dBA

EK is well known as a manufacturer of water-cooling components, including radiators. So it’s no surprise that their EK-Vardar EVO 120ER D-RGB fans excel at static pressure. The 3.16 mm-H2O rating of the EVO 120ER makes it the perfect 120 mm RGB fan for radiators and filtered intakes.

The 77 CFM airflow rating is pretty impressive too. Unfortunately, it’s a bit noisy: 33.5 dBA is a bit on the loud side. It’s not too bad, though, and if you’re rocking thick radiators in a custom water-cooling loop, the EK-Vardar EVO 120ER is a solid choice. It’s hard to pass on that sort of static pressure performance.

We like EK’s decision to place the EVO 120ER’s nine LEDs in the motor housing itself. The upshot of this is that the lighting is visible from both sides of the fan. Couple this with the white fan blades, and you have quite a beauty as far as RGB case fans go.

Like graphics card fans, the EVO 120ER can be configured to stop spinning below specific temperatures. This can help prolong the fan’s life and reduce dust buildup on your radiators.

EK’s EVO 120ER connects to a standard ARGB header on your motherboard. You can also daisy chain EVO 120ERs together, allowing you to control multiple fans through one motherboard header.

If you want RGB in your rig but don’t want to sacrifice cooling performance, the EK-Vardar EVO 120ER D-RGB looks to be an excellent choice. They come in both black and white to suit any color theme.

Best for Static Pressure (140 mm): Fractal Design Prisma AL-14/PWM

RPM Range500 – 1700 RPM
Maximum Airflow103.85 CFM
Maximum Static Pressure2.38 mm-H2O
Maximum Noise34.1 dBA

Fractal Design is best known for its sleek, high-quality PC cases. They do make some decent fans, though, and the Prisma AL-14/PWM is one of them. Fractal’s relatively late to the RGB game, having introduced their Prisma fans only in 2019, but we’re glad they came around eventually.

The Prisma AL-14/PWM is a solid all-around option, and it’ll do well as both an intake and exhaust. We think it’d work best as a static pressure intake fan, though, as there aren’t many 140 mm RGB fans on the market with a comparable static pressure rating.

The most noticeable downside of the AL-14/PWM is the lower LED count. Fractal chose to only build six LEDs into the motor housing. While the white blades help disperse the light nicely, they won’t make up for having fewer LEDs to start with. Your gradients likely won’t be as smooth with the AL-14/PWM; how important that is, is up to you.

Fractal Design Prisma RGB fan example build

Source: u/PengTV

Like the EK and Enermax fans, the Prisma AL-14/PWM connects to your motherboard via a 3-pin ARGB header, saving you from having to spend extra on a controller. Daisy-chaining multiple AL-14/PWM fans together is an option, too.

We’ve used other Fractal Design fans in some of our rigs before, and they’ve always been reliable and fuss-free. Their products are always a solid choice, and the Prisma AL-14/PWM looks to continue that tradition.

How To Choose The Best RGB Fans

There are a few essential things to consider when picking out RGB fans for your case. We’ve mentioned some of them in our mini-reviews, but let’s dive a bit more in-depth here.

Airflow

Two measurements are critical when looking at a fan’s performance: airflow and static pressure ratings. Airflow, usually measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), measures how much air a fan moves in, you guessed it, a minute. Airflow-focused fans often have smaller, more curved blades designed to move as much air as possible through open space.

airflow vs static pressure fans side-by-side

Note the differences in the blades on the NZXT Aer RGB 2 (airflow) and the EK-Vardar EVO 120 (static pressure). Source: NZXT / EK

Static pressure, on the other hand, is measured in millimeters of water, or mm-H2O. Static pressure fans tend to have fewer blades, but the ones that are there tend to be larger and flatter. This helps the fan create more air pressure, making them better for pushing or pulling air through obstructions like radiators and dust filters.

Generally, you want to use static pressure fans for intake, radiator, and CPU tower cooler duty. In contrast, airflow fans are best used to exhaust hot air out of your case. That said, your PC won’t blow up if you go all airflow or all static pressure. It may not be optimal, but it’s not the end of the world either.

Noise

Computer component noise is usually measured in A-weighted decibels (dBA). This means that the decibel (dB) rating of a particular sound source has been weighted to try and better correspond to how humans perceive sound.

The numbers make little sense on their own, so here’s a comparative list of dBA levels to give you some frame of reference:

In our experience, quieter is almost always better, but everyone’s thresholds for noise differ. If you game with headphones, even the loudest fan might not be a problem at all.

RGB Control

When shopping for RGB fans, it’s critical to know how you’ll control and address the RGB lighting. Some fans, like the Corsair LL series and NZXT’s Aer RGB 2 fans, must be connected to the company’s own RGB controllers. This, of course, adds to the cost of running those fans and locks you into using the company’s products. It also means a couple of extra cables for the RGB controller’s power and data.

Example of an RGB controller

Corsair Lighting Node Pro. Source: Corsair

On the other side of the fence, fans like the Enermax SquA RGB and Fractal Design Prisma AL-14/PWM connect directly to the addressable RGB (ARGB) headers on your motherboard. This saves you money on a controller, but you’ll need to have a motherboard with an ARGB header to control the lighting through software such as MSI Mystic Light or Razer Chroma.

You can also get non-addressable RGB fans, which will only show one color at a time. Make sure you don’t mix addressable and non-addressable RGB headers! ARGB headers output 5 volts while non-addressable headers output 12 volts. You’ll fry any ARGB fans that you plug into a non-ARGB header. The headers should be labeled very clearly, like so:

ARGB headers on a motherboard

RGB headers on an ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-F GAMING. Source: ASUS

The Lightshow Must Go On

In our opinion, it’s a great time to be building an RGB rig. While fan manufacturers like Noctua still rule the roost in outright cooling performance, RGB fans have caught up reasonably well. You’re now no longer sacrificing performance in the name of aesthetics and cool lighting effects.

Who says form and function can’t coexist? The best RGB fans show that you can do both. Now get cracking on that build!

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