120 mm Vs. 140 mm Fans: Battle Tested Comparisons

Verdict: Both the 120 mm and 140 mm fans offer some excellent output. While 120 mm fans are reasonable in terms of price and performance. They can be suited to any type of build. However, the 140 mm ones deliver better outputs and airflow levels, making them superior to some extent.

PC builders typically use 120 mm and 140 mm fans for cooling and air circulation purposes. These fans do a great job of keeping the system free from overheating.

But the question remains, which size is better.

To figure this out, I did comprehensive research and finally concluded.

Want to know more?

Let’s dive deep into the discussion.120mm-vs-140mm-pc-case-fans

Are 120 mm fans better than the 140 mm ones?

Usually, the bigger fans move out the same amount of air as the smaller ones but at a lesser speed. Therefore, it’s a tricky question to answer.

For getting a better view of this subject, we are about to discuss something interesting. This article will discuss the 140 mm and 120 mm fans and the significant differences between them that set them apart.

We’ll also be comparing them to give you a better idea of getting your priorities right.

Therefore, let’s not forget any moment and jump right into the discussion.

Here are the five factors you should consider between 120 mm and 140 mm fans:

1. Better AirFlow

Whatever you do with your CPU, it is inevitable that heat will be generated. Be it gaming or everyday tasks, at least something will be produced. It’s a regular phenomenon.

That is why a fan with superior airflow is desired. But not all fans can give you the same level of airflow. There are obviously some discrepancies.

Here, if I talk about the 120 mm fans, they come with a low CFM rating. But usually, they do a decent job in keeping the CPU cool. They produce proper air circulation, which eventually makes them an excellent option for overpowering the heat snags. And the best part is, such low CFM ensures tremendous static pressure. Eventually, this trait makes it perfect for handling heavy tasks.case-fan-airflow

Now, for the 140 mm fans, the CFM rating is high. It ensures better airflow and quickly tames down overheating. In fact, for handling heavy workloads, the 140 mm fans are better than 120 mm.

Therefore, the bottom line is, the 140 mm wins here for better airflow over 120 mm, mainly for its greater exhaust pressure and excellent cooling potential.

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2. Spinning Ability

The spin speed of a CPU fan is measured in RPM, and it is an essential factor to consider while choosing the right fan for your system.

Now, as we talk about fans with 120 mm and 140 mm, some notable differences eventually decide the one that spins better.

The 120 mm fans generally spin at a speed of more than 1200 RPM, making the PC process faster. Such speedy functioning is necessary for carrying out heavy tasks as it ensures faster responses.

The good thing about this fan is that it also helps eliminate any sorts of dust or debris settling down quite quickly than the 140 mm one.

Talking about the counterpart, 140 mm fans, they run at a speed of 1000 RPM or something slightly lesser than that. To be honest, any speed over 800 RPM is okayish. But you need to make sure that such speed remains constant all the time.

So, here the clear winner is the 120 mm fans as they have a greater spin speed. They outperform the 140 mm ones both in terms of output and speed.

3. Noise Level

The noise level really matters. You won’t definitely choose something that causes you an irritating experience while gaming or doing tasks.

That said, the 120 mm fans come with a very low dBA. They run using small spins, which makes the rotation faster without making any significant noise. As a result, you won’t hear anything too loud, and even there are few occasions when the sound seems almost inaudible. The prime phenomenon is that the 120 mm fans don’t spin roughly at all, which creates a low noise level.

For the 140 mm fans, I would say that the level of dBA is high. Though, you would find few models out there that produce tolerable sound. But in a general sense, at max RPM, the 140 mm fans can get loud. The reason is the larger spins they have compared to the 120 mm ones. Especially during multitasking, this thing is much noticeable.

So, for the lower noise levels, here the clear winner is the 120 mm fans.

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4. Size

Well, the fans inside your CPU do take considerable space. So, this aspect deserves at least some consideration.

If I talk about the 120 mm fans, they take less space and are light in weight. Even if you install them in your system, there is a considerable amount of space for use.

What I like about them is there is a decent space between the screw holes. The distance between the holes makes airflow easy so that heat doesn’t settle down around the fans.case-fan-size-comparison

However, for the 140 mm fans, the space between the screw hole isn’t that well adapted. As a result, the airflow isn’t constant, which doesn’t make it better than the 120 mm fan in this case. This fan is also heavier than the 120 mm, not to mention its bigger size consuming space.

5. Budget

You would obviously want the best bang for the buck. As it’s utter stupidity to waste money on something that isn’t reasonable.

Let me get this thing straight to you. The 140 mm fans are expensive compared to the 120 mm fans. But the difference isn’t that big. You might think that the price of a 140 mm fan is high. But the tag it bears is justified considering the leverage it is going to give to your system. In the case of 120 mm, it is cheaper than 140 mm because of its slightly lower output level. It’s mainly for the budget builds, whereas the 140 mm fans are for all builds.

Are 140 mm fans better than 120 mm?

If you want my honest opinion on this matter, I would say that 140 mm fans are better than 120 mm to some extent. It is always wise to prefer 140 mm fans over 120 mm when you have several slots.

The reason is quite simple. The 140 mm fans are large, and that’s why they spin slowly. They offer optimum cooling performance at an almost inaudible noise level. Most importantly, they move a good amount of air at a very low RPM.

Now, if it’s a choice between dual 140 mm and dual 120 mm, always go for the 140 mm fans. The reason is what I mentioned above. The benefits of a 140 mm fan always have the edge over the 120 mm ones. Therefore, for deciding which one is better, look upon the things you’ll get from them.

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Is it better to have Two 140 mm fans or Three 120 mm fans?

If you consider the output of both these types of fans, the difference is negligible. In the case of larger fans, the air is pushed at much lower speeds. That said, such rates create less noise than the fans that spin at a much higher speed.

Isn’t that amazing?

However, in terms of static pressure, the larger fans aren’t that better than the smaller ones. Because the smaller fans, like the 120 mm ones, pull pressure in a better way. But then again, the problem with the 120 mm fans is that they are loud.

Overall, I would say that if you want some top-notch cooling, then 2x 140 mm fans might be better than 2x 120 mm ones. But if it’s 3x 120 mm fans, they are obviously a way better choice over 2x 140 mm.

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Do 140 mm fans move more air?

Generally, a notion exists among most users that if the fan size is large, then it will eventually move out more air. Whoever thinks like this is pretty much accurate with their belief, but there are some aspects to talk about.

The 140 mm fans come with a larger radius. If we talk about their CFM, it’s usually on the higher side, and they move a significant amount of air. But, to be honest, practically, you won’t feel so.

And why is that?

The reason is pretty simple. 140 mm fans move out air at a much lower velocity. If you compare the fan speed of both the 140 mm and 120 mm fans, you will notice the difference. A 120 mm fan with a smaller radius than a 140 mm one moves at a much high RPM. And for this, you will face a situation where you will feel that these fans are pushing out more air at a much higher speed than a 140 mm fan.

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Although, the situation is exactly the opposite. The CFM of a 140 mm fan would be greater than a 120 mm fan in every situation. It’s just that air pressure is lower, but the volume of air getting moved out is always greater.

How big is a 120 mm fan?

The main point of using fans in a PC case is to move out the hot air inside very efficiently. These fans come of different sizes, and one of the most sought types is the 120 mm fans.

The 120 mm fans are one of the most used fans out of all types. You would love to know that, be it RGB or non-RGB build, this particular fan size suits all. Now, the question is about their size. How big are they?

Usually, they are 120 mm x 120 mm, along with a thickness of 25 mm. The biggest edge that fans have over other typical case fans is that it possesses comparatively larger blades. This trait allows them to produce a good amount of air, even after not spinning that quickly.

Final Thoughts

Now that we have compared both the 120 mm and 140 mm fans based on various parameters, I would like to say that both these types of fans are suitable for different purposes.

Still, I drew a comparison between these two types to make your task relatively easier. Overall, before taking any decision, I would suggest you reread the article to clear the confusion. Still, if any query arises, the comment section is open for you.

About The Author
Steven Arends is a computer science graduate and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a vast collection of computer hardware and loves exploring the latest advancements. As a contributing author to 10Scopes, Steven shares his expertise to make the world of technology more accessible and easier to understand for all readers.

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