For gaming PCs, cooling has to be precise because it can make or break your rig! And, for the same reason, it is important that the cooling fans installed in your PC case, run at a precise speed to deliver maximum possible cooling.
In my previous articles, I had explained which case fan is best for your gaming PC. And, today I am going a step forward with my list of best PC fan controllers you can buy in 2019 to utilize even the last bit of potential of your case fan and improve the performance of your gaming build.
- 1 Top 10 Best Fan Controllers for Your PC (2019)
- 1.1 1. NZXT Sentry 3 (Editor’s Choice)
- 1.2 2. Thermaltake Commander FT
- 1.3 3. Aerocool Touch 2000 Fan Controller
- 1.4 4. Kingwin FPX 001 Fan Controller
- 1.5 5. NZXT Sentry LX
- 1.6 6. Thermaltake Commander F6 RGB LCD
- 1.7 7. Corsair Fan Controller Commander Pro
- 1.8 8. Kingwin FPX 003 Fan Controller
- 1.9 9. Lamptron FC2 PC Fan Controller
- 1.10 10. NZXT Sentry Mesh
- 2 How to Install a PC Fan Controller?
- 3 What is PWM? Is it important?
- 4 Choosing the Best PC Fan Controller: Buying Guide
- 5 Conclusion
Though most PC case fans can adjust speed according to the temperature, sometimes it’s not just enough and you cannot always rely on the software and the sensors. That’s where these PC Fan controllers come in to play. They allow you to adjust the fan voltages and RPM according to the temperature of the particular area in your PC case. Thus, preventing overheating and component failure as well.
For gamers like me, the best part about using these fan controllers is that you can easily notice when the temperature around your RAM, GPU or Processor is rising and then simply increase the speed of the corresponding fan to push fresh air in and pull all the surrounding hot air out of the case maintaining an optimum temperature. Well, that’s EXACTLY what a gamer needs!
Top 10 Best Fan Controllers for Your PC (2019)
See the list of best fan controllers for your PC available in the market below.
1. NZXT Sentry 3 (Editor’s Choice)
- 5.4″ LCD Touch Panel
- Five Channels
- 15 Watts per Channel
- Short Circuit Protection
- Over Voltage/ Under Voltage Protection
- Single Drive Bay Design
- Nothing as Such
I am not a very big fan of NZXT as a brand but some of their gaming products have set a bar in the market. NZXT Sentry 3 Fan controller is one such product. In fact, it is the best fan controller you can buy in 2019.
NZXT Sentry 3 fan controller gives you seamless control over the cooling of entire rig, no matter how big or small. The intuitively designed touch panel lets you adjust everything you would want with just a swipe of your finger.
Having 5 channels with 15 watts of power per channel, it can control three high-performance case fans on each channel. Also, you can link two channels together just in case you want to control a set of fans together. This comes handy especially for gamers with more fans in their rigs.
Also, the NZXT Sentry 3 fan controller has support for both 3-pin and 4-pin connector set-up that allows backward compatibility making it usable with both older as well as newer motherboards.
The best part about this pc fan controller is the awesome 5.4” capacitive touch panel. And interestingly, it fits pretty well on the front panel of my PC case, so all the tweaking becomes much easier.
Another thing that you will find in this pc fan controller is improved safety with the short circuit, under voltage and over voltage protection.
Overall, NZXT Sentry 3 is the best pc fan controller that you can buy under 75 bucks (Amazon) for your gaming build right away!
2. Thermaltake Commander FT
- 5.5″ LED Touchscreen
- Five Channels
- 10 Watts per Channel
- Affordable Price
- Performance & Silent Mode
- Standard 3-pin Connectors only
Literally speaking, Thermaltake Commander FT fan controller is actually Thermaltake’s answer to NZXT Sentry 3. With almost equal display size and five channel system, this could be a second option if you like Thermaltake as a brand.
This fan controller will fit into a single 5.25” drive bay and you can use the touch controls to monitor and adjust the speeds and temperatures of up to 5 fans simultaneously. The 5.5” LED touchscreen UI gives you the option to select the individual fan RPM and temperature of each fan connected to the controller.
But, the five channel setup of this pc fan controller gives an output power of 10 Watts as compared to 15 watts from the NZXT Sentry 3.
You can operate Thermaltake Commander FT fan controller in two different modes i.e. Performance mode and Silent mode. These modes are designed so that the fan speeds gets adjusted for high RPM and airflow or for minimal noise during operation.
Though you will get support for 3-pin and 4-pin connectors, technically the 4-pin connector is only on the motherboard side while the connectors for fans are just standard 3-pin connectors. So, all the PWM adjustments are done via the software.
You can also choose from Auto and Manual modes in case you want to take a break from all the tweaking and let the fan controller do the work automatically.
Overall, Thermaltake Commander FT is a good pc fan controller with a large size touch screen display and a satisfactory performance at an affordable price on Amazon.
3. Aerocool Touch 2000 Fan Controller
- Extra Large Display
- Four Channels
- 6 Watts per channel
- Double Drive Bay Design
- Audio Jack, eSATA port
- Switch Temp Scale
- Priced comparatively Higher
For those who want see each and every bit of information about their gaming rig’s cooling system, Aerocool Touch 2000 fan controller with an extra-large screen will prove to be the best fan controller without a doubt. And, that too at around $50 on Amazon.
When I say extra-large it actually means 2 x 5.25” drive bays. Yes, that right! Though most PC cases do not generally have 2 spare drive bays to fit this big fan controller, just in case you do, you will get a lot of actionable information all at once on it’s LCD display.
While it isn’t quite as fancy as some of the other fan controllers on our list, it does a very efficient job of keeping your system at a safe temperature. The touch screen options are minimal but do provide functionality and convenience in operation.
There is a handy option to switch from Fahrenheit scale to Celcius scale and vice-versa. Also, just in case your gaming rig gets overheated, the Aerocool Touch 2000 fan controller blows off a warning alarm.
The best part about this fan controller is that the face also provides 2 USB 2.0 ports, high def mic and audio jacks, and an eSATA Port. It allows you to monitor and control up to 4 fans.
4. Kingwin FPX 001 Fan Controller
- Four Channels
- Turn Knob Control
- 8 watts per channel
- 3.5″ Drive Bay Design
- Easy to Operate
- No Digital Display
- No PWM fan support
If you are more of an old school person, Kingwin FPX-001 Fan Controller with standard turn knob control is something you can get at an inexpensive price for your gaming rig.
Kingwin FPX-001 fan controller offers support for up to 4 case fans. There is no hi-fi technology used as Kingwin has kept things really low key. The four turn knobs are connected to four fans and each knob can be used to adjust the voltage input for each fan.
Talking about the size, this pc fan controller is rather smaller and can fit in 3.5” drive bay making it a good choice for small sized PC cases. Kingwin FPX-001 does exactly what a legit fan control would do, it simply lets you adjust the speed of your pc fans. That’s it.
I won’t recommend this if you are a power gamer and want more precise cooling with all the temperature sensors and PWM support because Kingwin FPX-001 won’t give you that. But, as the best budget fan controller (available on Amazon), it is efficient and easy to operate.
5. NZXT Sentry LX
- Dual Digital Display
- Five Channel
- 4 Watts per Channel
- Silent Mode
- Dual Drive Bay Design
The next one is another good fan controller from NZXT. With dual display, five channels and pretty neat design, NZXT Sentry LX is certainly a good fan controller!
The main screen is larger and displays the RPM and temperature of each of the five fans that this fan controller can manage. The LCD color scheme is mainly blue with animated fans on the extreme right.
While the secondary display has a clock complete with date and calendar year. Along with that, there is a temperature alarm indicator and a mode indicator.
None of the screens is touch sensitive but NZXT has found an easy-to-use button programming that lets you control all the five fans individually using the Fan Select button and the Up/Down arrow for adjusting the speeds.
While you are not gaming, you can simply put it to automatic mode and it will control the fans on its own according to the temperatures inside. Also, you can set a temperature warning alarm that will let you know if the temperatures rise beyond the set value.
An interesting feature which is unavailable in other fan controllers on this list is the Silent mode which, when turned on, optimizes the fan speeds for the lowest noise yet providing efficient cooling.
Overall, NZXT Sentry LX is a good fan controller for its performance and features though it falls in the higher price range. If budget is not your problem, you can get it on Amazon without a second thought.
6. Thermaltake Commander F6 RGB LCD
- RGB LCD Display
- Six Channels
- 30 Watts per channel
- Lumi LED Strip Support
- Temperature Warning Alarm
- Over Priced
- No Touchscreen
The next one on our list of best fan controllers is another traditionally designed Thermaltake Commander F6. But, that does not make it any less effective than the modern ones on this list.
With 6 turn knobs controlling up to six case fans individually, the Thermaltake Commander F6 comes with a 16-color RGB LCD display. Though the display is not the most advanced one, it certainly allows you to monitor the individual temperature and voltages of all 6 fans along with the RPM at which they are running.
It has a single 5.25” bay design, so technically it can fit comfortably in any PC case. So, Thermaltake Commander F6 makes it very simple to tweak your build’s cooling in a geeky way!
There are some interesting features as well such as you can have two Lumi LED strips connected with this for an extra show off. Also, there is a short circuit warning alarm that proves to be a lifesaver when comes to power failure of any kind.
The thing that makes it a perfect buy for gamers is that you can see the temperatures of individual areas of your PC right in front of your eyes. And, while gaming, when you see abrupt temperature rise, just turn the corresponding knob to full and have all the heat pushed out in no time.
In case you don’t want to keep an eye always on this display, you can simply set a maximum value and when the temperature rises beyond that, there will be warning alarm and you can prevent overheating then and there.
Something that worries me is the price of this fan controller as it will cost you somewhere around 50 bucks which I think is a bit overpriced. Rest, everything is just satisfying with the Thermaltake Commander F6 pc fan controller.
7. Corsair Fan Controller Commander Pro
- Corsair LINK support
- Six Fan Channels
- 2 RGB Channels
- 12 Watts per Fan Channel
- 3/4 Pin Support
- Not So Affordable
- Cannot Tweak Fans while Gaming
Guys, are you using a lot of Corsair products like pc case, case fans, CPU coolers in your gaming rig? If yes, then there can be no better option for you then the Corsair Commander Pro pc fan controller. No, not because you get an all-Corsair build, there’s more than just that.
All of us are known of the Corsair LINK i.e. a one-stop software that helps you manage different Corsair components in your gaming build. The Commander Pro fan controller takes advantage of Corsair LINK and syncs everything to provide the maximum performance.
As all the tweaking happens on the software interface, you would not get any display or knobs on the fan controller itself. It has connectors to add up to six fans (3 or 4 pins), 2 RGB channels and different USB devices using the two internal 2.0 USB ports.
For temperature sensing, there are four thermistor inputs that will give the most accurate temperature readings. You can install these thermistors anywhere inside the PC case and monitor the temperatures on the LINK software thus enabling better cooling.
Corsair Commander Pro has a sleek design and can be installed nearly anywhere in your gaming build comfortably.
Corsair ships all the necessary cables and components right in the package. You will get your Corsair commander pro fan controller, four thermal sensors, two mounting tapes, two LED RGB hub cables, four extension fan cables, and one installation guide.
Remember, to use this pc fan controller effectively, you have to download CORSAIR LINK 4.7 or above and your motherboard should have an internal USB2.0 header as well.
My only complaint with Corsair Commander Pro is that you cannot tweak with the fans without pausing your game and switch to Corsair LINK interface. No gamer wants that! I hope Corsair would do something about it in future.
In my opinion. Corsair Commander Pro is the most premium fan controller that allows seamless control over your cooling components. The price is not very affordable but that’s all worth it. Check it out on Amazon
8. Kingwin FPX 003 Fan Controller
- Small LCD Display
- Four Channels
- 8 watts per channel
- Single Drive Bay Design
- High-Temperature Alarm
- Multi-Function Ports
- No Touchscreen
In case you were thinking it would be cool if Kingwin could add a display in their FPX-001 model, I have good news for you. The Kingwin FPX-003 is just what you wanted. With knobs for four fans, this mid-range PC fan controller has a decent blue LED display and multi-function ports as well. For testing, I ordered it from Amazon for around 45$.
The Kingwin FPX-003 is a quite simple fan controller in terms of design but it is definitely not something that people would dislike immediately.
Having a 5.25-Inch single bay design, it comes with four traditional turn knobs using which you can control the speed and voltage of four individual fans. Right next to the knobs, there is a small LCD screen enough to display to the temperature and RPM of the fans along with other information like the Mode, Alarm temperature etc. That’s almost all the necessary readings.
Talking about the power, it is slightly disappointing with just 8 watts per channel; other fan controllers on this list have better watts per channel. The only drawback with this that you may not be able to run the high RPM fans but it makes your rig more silent.
The FPX-003 is equipped with a 3-pin connector along with a 4-pin Molex fan connector for the power. Also, it has 4 thermal sensors that measure the temperatures accurately and display it on the screen.
The plus point is the multi-function ports like the all-in-one USB 2.0 card reader, eSATA port etc. Also, you have the push buttons for selecting temperature units (C or F), switching modes and Reset to default.
In my opinion, Kingwin FPX-003 is not something extraordinary but does a good job allowing efficient control on the cooling fans in your build. I would recommend this only if you don’t want to spend much as it is one of most affordable fan controllers with an LCD screen.
9. Lamptron FC2 PC Fan Controller
- Six Channel
- 45 Watts per channel
- Aluminum Frame
- No Display for Monitoring
The Lamptron FC2 is another simple old-fashioned fan controller able to control up to 6 case fans. Though there is no screen on this fan controller, Lamptron has an integrated software-based control to allow monitoring different cooling parameters.
This pc fan controller comes with 3 Pin connectors for the fans, however, there’s a 4 Pin Molex cable used to connect with the power supply. It fits well in a standard single drive bay.
Don’t get fooled by the simple looking design, this fan controller surprisingly offers a maximum of 45 Watts per channel which no other fan controller on this list can offer. Such high power output allows you to install high RPM fans in your gaming build.
One cool feature that I personally liked about Lamptron FC2 is the LED lights behind each knob that increase intensity with the increase in RPM and vice-versa. It works as a geeky indicator to let you know which fan is running faster.
Lamptron FC2’s main-frame is built with CNC milled aluminum that makes it ultra strong and sturdy. So, you don’t have to worry about any wear or tear for years.
Controlling the PC fans is very easy with this because there is no complex display UI and touchscreen. All you need to do it turn the knob to adjust the input voltage of the individual fans.
Overall, if you are not a fan of displays and RGB lighting, Lamptron FC2 is a solid fan controller for its near 40$ price on Amazon. It can control 6 fans at once. It is recommended for larger PC cases with more fans.
10. NZXT Sentry Mesh
- Slider Controls
- Five Channels
- 30 Watts Per Channel
- Impressive Mesh Design
- Priced Higher
- No Display for Monitoring
- No Auto-mode
At the final spot on our list of best pc fan controllers is from the same brand we started with. I am talking about the NZXT Sentry Mesh fan controller which gets its name from the impressive mesh design on the front.
Again, there is no display but there are no knobs as well. NZXT has experimented a bit and replaced the traditional knobs with easy sliders to adjust the fan speed and voltage which is very easy yet efficient to use.
NZXT Sentry Mesh has five channels so you can control up to 5 fans with this fan controller. Each channel has a maximum power output of 30 watts which is sufficient even for power consuming fans with high RPM. So, in case you are overclocking or looking forward to making an ultimate gaming rig, this PC fan controller can handle all the pressure.
The main drawback is the absence of automatic mode, so technically you are on your own with this one. That means if you – for some reason – forget to adjust the right RPM, you may end up with a fried motherboard which definitely could give a heart attack!
Being a little over-priced for its plastic material and no auto-mode, NZXT Sentry Mesh is a fan controller you want only if you look forward to having five fans and a mesh finish PC case that compliments this fan controller.
How to Install a PC Fan Controller?
With the end of the top 10 best fan controllers, I hope now you have some really good options to choose a fan controller for your PC. The next thing is to install it correctly in your PC and connect everything so that it works how it is supposed to work.
For the same, I have found this small and easy tutorial for you to learn how to install a PC Fan controller and connect your pre-installed fans with it for maximum performance.
What is PWM? Is it important?
PWM i.e. Phase Width modulation is a method of controlling fan speed according to the temperature readings inside the case. This allows seamless and automatic fan speed control. Also, with PWM, you can create configurations for quiet operation or best performance or somewhere in the middle of these.
Not all fans or fan controllers support PWM. For PWM to work, you have to make sure your fan, as well as the fan controller, supports it. And, its pretty simple to find that out. If you have a 4-pin fan connected with a 4-pin header on your fan controller, it will definitely support PWM. In case, either of these has 3 pins, means they are incompatible with PWM.
Choosing the Best PC Fan Controller: Buying Guide
Before you buy a PC fan controller, I want you to first understand what are the things that actually matter while buying a fan controller. These will help you to make a wise choice as per your needs because not all products can satisfy all consumers.
So, below are the most important things to check before you buy a PC fan controller.
Number of Fan Headers
I am sure if you are building a gaming PC, you must be considering having four or more fans to have maximum cooling. So, while choosing a fan controller, first thing is to check the no. of channels it offers. More the number of channels on your controller, more number of fans it can control. You can buy a fan controller is extra channels but having lesser number channels than the number of fans won’t be a wise decision.
Type of Fan Headers
Since the development of 4-pin fan headers, the 3-pin fans have almost been ditched. The reason is with the 4-pin design, you can control the speed of the fan which is also called pulse-width modulation (PWM). On the other hand, the 3-pin fan header only allows to control on and off status only.
I would suggest to you to choose a fan controller with 4-pin header because it allows more flexible control as well as they are backward compatible. That means you can still use your old 3-pin fan with a fan controller having a 4-pin fan header.
You know that different fans have different power rating for operation. And, different fan controllers offer different power per channel. So, it is important to identify whether the fan you are going to connect with a certain fan controller will provide the required power or not. Underpowered fans will reduce the cooling efficiency while overpowered fans will increase chances of damage. So, keep an eye on watts per channel while choosing a fan controller.
Automatic or Manual Fan Controller
Though fan controllers are meant for manual operation, some fan controllers also offer an automatic mode that allows you to let the controller optimize the fan speeds for the best possible thermal state in your PC case. Having an automatic mode is always an advantage over the ones with manual mode only. If a fan controller offers both, then just close your eyes and buy!
Digital Display or Touchscreen
I personally consider a Digital Display as a plus point because it comes handy to monitor temperatures while gaming and adjust accordingly. On the other hand, touchscreen displays are becoming more popular but I don’t think that’s a necessity for a fan controller until it performs the way it should.
So, guys, that’s all. In a nutshell, a stand-alone fan controller will give you all the control that you have been craving for on your PC cooling. For those who find pleasure in overclocking, a fan controller is literally a bliss.
I hope you also have understood why you need a fan controller and must have already chosen the best pc fan controller for your gaming build. Before I end this, let me just brief the whole thing so that you can make a final choice.
If this article has helped you, do share it with your gamer friends. Don’t forget to share your thoughts about PC Fan controllers in the comments sections below. If I have left out anything important, feel free to tell me. Keep visiting Glinkster for the latest product updates from the Gaming world.