Have more case fans than you have fan headers? Then you need a fan controller. The best fan controllers let you run anywhere from three to ten fans off a single fan header, letting you go as crazy with your fan setup as your case (and budget) will allow.
We’ve gone through the best PC fan controllers on the market and picked five that cover a wide range of use cases. From individual fan control to RGB delight and compact utility, we’re confident there’s something here that’ll work for you. Let’s get going.
- Best Multi-Channel Fan Controller: Razer PWM PC Fan Controller has eight software-addressable PWM channels and a sleek, low-profile design.
- Best RGB Fan Controller: Corsair iCUE Commander Pro has individual fan control for six fans and two lighting channels, perfect for a Corsair-focused RGB rig.
- Best Compact Fan Controller: Noctua NA-FC1 controls up to three fans with a handy knob for adjusting fan speed or PWM range.
- Best Fan Controller for 3- and 4-Pin Fans: Phanteks Universal Fan Controller converts between DC and PWM, letting you run and control 3- and 4-pin PWM fans simultaneously on a single hub.
- Best Basic Fan Hub: Arctic Case Fan Hub is a no-frills fan hub with ten PWM connectors perfect for cheaply adding a lot of fans.
Our Favorite Fan Controllers
A quick note before we start: these controllers are for case fans only. Connect your CPU cooler fans directly to your motherboard, as the dedicated CPU fan headers are what you should use for CPU fan control.
|Connector Type(s)||4-pin PWM|
|Number of Connectors||Eight|
Many fan controllers only have a single PWM channel, meaning that all connected fans will run at the same speed. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it can be restrictive when setting up your case airflow. Enter Razer’s PWM PC Fan Controller.
Razer’s fan controller lets you control up to eight fans, with individual control over each in Razer Synapse 3. All eight computer fans get three preset speeds (“Quiet,” “Normal,” and “Performance”), a fixed-speed manual mode, and an Advanced mode that lets you draw custom fan curves. There’s also a “Link” setting that lets you control all eight case fans simultaneously.
The PWM PC Fan Controller is one of the sleeker fan controllers on the market, too, with a low-profile magnetic design that makes it easy to fit almost anywhere in your case. Note that the Razer hub connects to a USB 2.0 header, so make sure you have a free one on your motherboard.
Razer’s PWM PC Fan Controller is good, but it’s not perfect. As great as it is to have eight independent fan channels, Synapse 3’s fan control still needs some work. For one, you can only link all fans for now, with no option of only linking specific fans. The fan curve feature, while great, is limited to CPU temperatures, with no option of basing your fan curve off GPU or chipset temperatures.
Fortunately, these are simple software issues, and Razer should be able to remedy these with future updates to Synapse 3. The base hardware seems solid, so it’s just about getting the software side up to speed with other fan control software. Once Razer gets that sorted, the PWM PC Fan Controller should cement its place as one of the best PC fan controllers on the market.
It’s still a good buy right now, even at its roughly $45 MSRP, but it’s a few software updates from true greatness.
|Connector Type(s)||4-pin PWM|
|Number of Connectors||Six|
Corsair’s iCUE Commander Pro is likely the best fan controller around if you want full control of your fans and your system’s RGB lighting. It’s not cheap, and it needs Corsair hardware to shine fully, but it’s a capable controller well worth the setup cost.
The main highlight of the Commander Pro as a fan controller is the fact that it has six independent fan channels. Your typical case fan controller sends the same PWM fan signal to all connected fans, but that’s not the case here. You can set custom fan curves via iCUE, giving you the flexibility you’d otherwise only get by connecting directly to separate motherboard headers.
The Commander Pro has two RGB lighting channels, each supporting up to six RGB fans or LED strips. You can set the number of RGB devices and control the LEDs on each device via iCUE. You have several presets available, but you can also set up your own lighting schemes if you feel creative. However, note that the Commander Pro only works with Corsair RGB fans and accessories.
But the Commander Pro is more than just a fan and RGB controller. It also has four PC temperature probes that you can place anywhere in your system. You can use these as temperature sources for your fans, letting you set up fan curves based on whichever part of your case you feel is needed. Want your fans to ramp up based on how hot the front of your AIO is? You can do that with the Commander Pro.
Finally, the iCUE Commander Pro has two USB 2.0 headers. Note that these aren’t USB ports; instead, they’re headers like you would find on a motherboard. You can use these for connecting anything from case USB ports to iCUE-compatible power supplies like the bling-tastic Corsair CX750F RGB.
Overall, the Corsair iCUE Commander Pro is a versatile, powerful fan controller perfect for total system control and monitoring. It’s the best PC fan controller for an all-Corsair setup, but its extra functionality means it’s still useful in other systems. That said, if you’re not running Corsair RGB fans and just need individual fan control, then the Razer pick above is the better choice.
|Connector Type(s)||4-pin PWM|
|Number of Connectors||One (three-fan splitter cable included)|
The Noctua NA-FC1 might be a tiny fan controller, but don’t be fooled by its size. It’s surprisingly versatile and capable of controlling up to three fans (with the included splitter cable) in automatic or manual modes.
The NA-FC1’s standout feature is the tiny knob, which gives you extra control over both 3-pin and 4-pin PWM case fans. In 4-pin PWM mode, the knob lets you lower your motherboard’s PWM duty curve, letting you run PWM fans at slower speeds than your motherboard’s fan control software would usually allow.
In 3-pin mode, the knob acts as a manual fan speed control, limiting the voltage going to the fans. This gives you the option of controlling fan speeds directly from the Noctua, essential for keeping fan noise in check if your motherboard doesn’t allow for 3-pin fan control.
Noctua also includes a “no stop” mode on the NA-FC1, enabled by pressing the tiny button towards the front of the unit. Turning on this mode stops your fans from running below 300 RPM, avoiding any BIOS errors related to fan speeds. Note that this is only useful with fans that can run below 300 RPM. “No stop” mode won’t affect fans with a minimum speed higher than that.
The NA-FC1 can operate without extra power, which is handy when using low-power fans. That said, Noctua recommends connecting the included SATA power cable when running “multiple higher wattage fans.” The increased power draw of three high-speed PC case fans can burn out motherboard headers.
Overall, the Noctua NA-FC1 is a great case fan controller that’s perfect for smaller rigs. We really like the knob, as it’s an excellent touch for those who want hands-on control of their fan speeds. It’s a bit pricey for its size, but Noctua’s standard six-year warranty definitely helps make up for it.
|Connector Type(s)||3-pin and 4-pin PWM|
|Number of Connectors||Eight (3x 3-pin, 4x 4-pin, 1x 3-/4-pin)|
All modern fan controllers support both 3- and 4-pin PWM fans, but most will only run 3-pin fans at 100% speed. That poses an issue if you’re using both types of fans and want to run all of them at the same speed. You could use two controllers, but there’s a better solution: Phanteks’ Universal Fan Controller.
The Phanteks’ clever trick is its ability to convert DC to PWM (and vice versa). You can send DC or PWM fan control info from your motherboard, and the Phanteks will do the necessary conversion and send speed info to up to eight fans.
The Phanteks has more varied fan connectors than most, with three 3-pin headers, four 4-pin PWM fan headers, and a single “universal” 3-/4-pin header. Note that the company recommends you populate the universal header first. We’re unsure why, but it’s likely because this header reports the speed back to your system for fan control purposes.
Phanteks also ships the Universal Fan Controller with a dedicated remote control that you can use instead of connecting to a motherboard fan header. The wired remote has three preset fan settings: silent (40%), balanced (70%), and performance (100%). It’s not as flexible as motherboard control, but it’s a handy alternative if you have fan header issues.
Despite its flexibility in supporting 3- and 4-pin PC case fans the Phanteks still only has a single PWM channel. All the fans you connect will run at the same speed, which stops you from utilizing varying intake and exhaust speeds. It’s a drawback common to even the best fan controllers but worth pointing out nonetheless.
Overall, the Phanteks Universal Fan Controller is a solid product, and the best fan controller for those mixing and matching DC and PWM case fans. There are likely better options if you’re only running PWM fans, so we recommend considering those first if that’s what you’re doing. Unless you really want the remote, that is!
|Connector Type(s)||4-pin PWM|
|Number of Connectors||Ten|
Sometimes you just need a lot of extra fan headers for not a lot of money. If that sounds like you, then Arctic’s Case Fan Hub is what you’ve been wanting.
The Arctic Case Fan Hub is a basic, no-frills SATA-powered splitter. It takes a single PWM fan connection and distributes that PWM data to up to ten fans. The SATA power connection ensures that each fan gets clean power, allowing for smooth PWM control over its entire range.
The main downside of the Arctic Case Fan Hub is that it only has a single PWM channel. All the fans you connect to the Case Fan Hub will run at the same speed, with no ability to adjust the speed of individual fans.
That will work fine for most setups, but those who need more fine-grained control will have to spend extra on a more advanced fan controller like the Razer PWM PC Fan Controller.
The Arctic Case Fan Hub is basic and has no speed control options of its own. However, we think this is the best PWM fan hub for those who need more PC case fans than their motherboard supports at a wallet-friendly price.
Before You Buy
Buying the best fan controller isn’t just about getting one with enough headers for your setup. You should also consider how many PWM channels it has, and whether you’re planning to use it with 3- or 4-pin fans. But first, you should make sure that you actually need one. So let’s start there.
Do You Need a Fan Controller?
Generally speaking, fan controllers are for controlling and powering multiple PC case fans from a single fan header, usually with an extra SATA connection for power. Most fan hubs function similarly to fan splitter cables, taking one signal and sending it to multiple fans.
However, the presence of auxiliary power via SATA means they’re better for situations where you need to connect four or more fans to a single header. Here, the extra SATA power is handy to ensure optimal performance and minimize the chances of overloading your motherboard fan header.
If you only need a single extra fan, it’s likely cheaper just to get a fan splitter and split one of your motherboard fan headers to two fans. But what if you’re trying to run six fans off a single motherboard fan header? In that case, you’ll want a fan controller or hub for performance and safety.
Some users opt for a fan controller to help with cable management. Instead of connecting multiple case fans to your motherboard, it can be neater to connect them to a fan hub, usually hidden in a drive cage or behind the motherboard tray. The fan hub then connects to your motherboard with a single, easily-managed cable.
Note that your case may come with an integrated fan hub, like Fractal Design’s Torrent. Some of these hubs simply distribute PWM signals to the pre-installed fans, while others let you change fan speed via physical buttons or switches. So before you spend money on a PC case fan controller, check whether your case has one pre-installed to avoid wasting money.
PWM Channels and You
Most fan controllers only have a single PWM channel, sending the same speed information to all available fan headers. Thus, all PWM fans connected to the controller or hub will run at the same RPM.
Having a single channel isn’t a huge issue, as many users (myself included) set the same case fan speed regardless of position or orientation. But there are valid reasons for wanting to change fan speed individually.
For instance, maybe you want your bottom intake fans to run (or ramp up) faster than your front intake fans. You could connect the two sets of fans to different motherboard headers and set up different fan curves for each, but what if you don’t have enough headers? That’s where multi-channel fan controllers come into play.
Products like the Corsair iCUE Commander Pro and Razer PWM PC Fan Controller have independent PWM control over each fan connector via software. They’re significantly pricier than single-channel controllers, but the extra money might be worth it if it lets you get the airflow setup you want.
The only downside is that you’ll be relying on the fan hub’s dedicated fan control software, which may not be as good as some third-party options. Still, it’s a minor sacrifice to make if a multi-channel PWM controller is something you truly need.
3-Pin vs. 4-Pin Fans
Like motherboard fan headers, fan controller headers are backward-compatible, and you can connect 3-pin fans to 4-pin headers. However, most fan controllers can’t use DC to control 3-pin fans, unlike motherboard headers. Instead, they’ll just run 3-pin fans at 100%, no matter the speeds you’ve set in your fan control software.
Stick to one or the other, or look for a hub that supports controlling both fan types. The Phanteks Universal Fan Controller is a great choice here.
A fan controller isn’t one of those must-have devices, and you can safely build a great rig without one. However, having a good fan controller on hand can be incredibly helpful, especially when you end up with more PC fans than your motherboard headers allow.
There isn’t really an objective “best” fan controller here: it’ll depend entirely on what you need. Want control over individual PWM fans? Get the Razer PWM PC Fan Controller. Have simpler needs and just want to run multiple fans off a single header? Arctic’s Case Fan Hub will likely be the right fan controller for you.
Just remember not to mix 3-pin and 4-pin fans unless your hub supports it, and you should be good to go. All the best!