11 best cooling fans for your home in 2023
Whether you don’t have an air conditioning unit at home or want to cut down on how much you use yours, investing in a fan may be on your mind. The device circulates air to create a breeze and cool down a room. And the benefits of a fan extend beyond helping you regulate a room’s temperature, said Carl Prouty, tech expert at Abt Electronics.
“[Fans are] much quieter than window or wall air conditioners and they use far less energy, so their operating costs are much lower,” he said. They’re also often more portable than air conditioners, so you can move them between rooms with ease and bring them with you on the go.
SKIP AHEAD How we picked the best fans | Best fans to keep you cool | Types of fans to consider | How to shop for fans
Our top picks
- Best tower fan: Dreo Nomad One S Tower Fan
- Editor’s favorite desk fan: Vornado Flippi V6 Personal Air Circulator Fan
- Editor’s favorite pedestal fan: Lasko 1820 Pedestal Fan
How we picked the best fans
Because fans come in a variety of styles to accommodate different situations, we talked to an expert about how to decide which type is best for you and highlighted features you may want to keep in mind while shopping. We also rounded up a handful of fans across styles and price points according to expert guidance.
- Fan type and size: Deciding which type of fan to purchase largely depends on where you’re using it and how large of a space you’re aiming to keep cool. Size also matters — bigger fans will circulate air throughout rooms, while smaller fans might just cool you down.
- Fan speeds: If you like to adjust the intensity of airflow coming from your fan, consider purchasing one with multiple speeds so you have options.
- Oscillation: This refers to the fan’s ability to circulate air across a room. If you’re trying to cool down a larger space, oscillation can help do so.
- Price: Pricer fans tend to have more bells and whistles, while lower-priced options are usually more basic in design.
Best fans to keep you cool in 2023
To help guide your shopping, we highlighted a handful of highly-rated fans across a range of styles. We included larger fans designed to cool entire rooms as well as tabletop and handheld options for personal use. For each model, we pointed out specs that might aid in narrowing down the best options including oscillation, smart features, types of filters, modes and more.
Best tower fan
Dreo Nomad One S Tower Fan
Built with an 8-hour timer, this fan comes with a hidden handle you can grip when moving it around your home. The fan’s touchscreen display also allows you to easily switch between modes. To help you get rid of dust that accumulates over time, the fan comes apart so you can reach all its nooks and crannies.
Fan type: Tower fan | Size: 36 inches tall | Fan speeds: 4 | Oscillation: Yes | Remote control: Yes | Smart features: Yes, companion app and voice control | Filters: None | Modes: Normal, natural, sleep and auto | Rating: 4. 6-star average rating from over 1,800 reviews on Amazon
Best handheld fan
Snawowo Mini Handheld Personal Portable Fan
This personal, portable fan has three flexible legs you can bend and wrap around beach umbrellas, shelves, strollers and more. You can also stand it up on its own and place it on a flat surface. The fan has a rechargeable battery and you can choose from three fan speeds.
Fan type: Handheld fan | Size: 7.83 inches tall | Fan speeds: 3 | Oscillation: No | Remote control: No | Smart features: No | Filters: No | Modes: Manual | Rating: 4.6-star average rating from over 14,500 reviews on Amazon
Best desk fans
Vornado Flippi V6 Personal Air Circulator Fan
My office tends to get hot in the morning, so I keep this on my desk to cool me down as needed. It takes up minimal space, but it’s very powerful. I particularly like the adjustable tilt head and manual swivel base, both of which allow me to angle the fan perfectly in my direction. I bought this fan three years ago and it’s still as good as new.
Fan type: Desk fan | Size: 6.2 inches tall | Fan speeds: 2 | Oscillation: No | Remote control: No | Smart features: No | Filters: No | Modes: Manual | Rating: 4.4-star average rating from over 18,900 reviews on Amazon
Vornado VFAN Mini Classic Vintage Air Circulator
Vornado also offers a retro, vintage-looking fan that has an adjustable tilted head so you can easily change the direction of airflow.
Fan type: Desk fan | Size: 8.3 inches high | Fan speeds: 2 | Oscillation: No | Remote control: No | Smart features: No | Filters: No | Modes: Manual | Rating: 4. 6-star average rating from over 10,400 reviews on Amazon
Treva Portable Desktop Battery Powered Fan
Editor Christina Colizza set up this battery-powered fan on a side table while sleeping in a cabin with no air conditioning — she said it kept her cool, even in the summer. The fan folds flat when it’s not in use and it has a built-in handle. You can also adjust the fan’s angle.
Fan type: Desk fan | Size: 6 inches tall | Fan speeds: 2 | Oscillation: No | Remote control: No | Smart features: No | Filters: No | Modes: Manual | Rating: 4.4-star average rating from over 20,800 reviews on Amazon
Best window fan
Holmes Bionaire Thin Window Fan
You can install this window fan vertically or horizontally, making it a versatile option for your home. The fan has a programmable electric thermostat with a temperature range between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fan type: Window fan | Size: Adjustable from 25 to 36 inches | Fan speeds: 3 | Oscillation: No | Remote control: No | Smart features: No | Filters: No | Modes: Manual | Rating: 4.0-star average rating from over 10,200 reviews on Amazon
Best pedestal fans
BLACK+DECKER Stand Fan with Remote
This is built with an auto timer that shuts the fan off after 7.5 hours of use. You can adjust its height and tilt angle too.
Fan type: Pedestal fan | Size: Two sizes available, one is adjustable up to 49 inches tall and the other is adjustable up to 52 inches tall | Fan speeds: 3 | Oscillation: Yes | Remote control: Yes | Smart features: No | Filters: No | Modes: Manual | Rating: 4. 1-star average rating from over 20,400 reviews on Amazon
Lasko 1820 Pedestal Fan
While this fan is a more basic, low-tech option, reporter Harry Rabinowitz said it works well and he’s used it for years. The fan is designed with a tilt-back head, allowing you to direct airflow upward or downward if you’d like to. It also has a wide base for stability.
Fan type: Pedestal fan | Size: Adjustable up to 54.5 inches tall | Fan speeds: 3 | Oscillation: Yes | Remote control: No | Smart features: No | Filters: No | Modes: Manual | Rating: 4.4-star average rating from over 21,300 reviews on Amazon
Best ceiling fan
Honeywell Carnegie Ceiling Fan
Designed with five blades, this ceiling fan also has a built-in dimmable light. If you get too cold, the brand says you can reverse the fan’s blades to push warm air (which tends to rise to the top of rooms) downward. You can mount the fan in either a straight or angled position.
Fan type: Ceiling fan | Size: 52 inches wide | Fan speeds: 3 | Oscillation: Yes | Remote control: Yes | Smart features: No | Filters: No | Modes: Manual | Rating: 4.6-star average rating from over 200 reviews on Amazon
Best purifying fans
Blueair Blue Pure Purifying Fan
Though this fan doesn’t oscillate, it lets out a stream of air across a 90-degree range, according to the brand. The device is designed with Blueair’s proprietary HEPASilent technology, which the brand says uses electrostatic and mechanical filtration to remove allergens like dust, pollen, pet dander and more. The purifying fan is built with an air quality indicator and you can purchase machine-washable pre-filters in five colors. It also has a top handle so you can move the fan around your home.
Fan type: Table fan | Size: 15.5 inches tall | Fan speeds: 3 | Oscillation: No | Remote control: No | Smart features: No | Filters: Pre-filter, HEPASilent filtration technology | Modes: Auto | Rating: 4.4-star average rating from over 440 reviews on Amazon
Types of fans to consider
When shopping for the right fan, decide whether you want to cool off yourself or a whole room. Household fans are usually needed when a space doesn’t have air conditioning or a central air system. On the other hand, handheld fans are ideal for personal use, especially for travelers, those who work outside or those who want a burst of cool air while on the move.
Here are the fan types you should know about, as well as the purpose of each:
- Ceiling fans are permanently installed on a room’s ceiling. They move air around to keep rooms cool — during colder months, you can often reverse the airflow to circulate warm air as well. In addition to indoor ceiling fans, you can purchase models specifically designed for outdoor use on porches or under pergolas. Some also incorporate lights.
- Tower fans — also sometimes called floor fans — are portable units designed to move from room to room. They’re tall and narrow, so you can usually fit them in small spaces.
- Window fans sit in window frames, similar to air conditioning units. However, they use less energy and are easier to set up compared to window AC units, experts told us. They bring in cold air from outside, and they’re often more effective than traditional fans at cooling larger spaces. Keep in mind that window fans need to be removed when it gets cold out and can cause leaks when it rains.
- Desk fans are personal fans that either attach to or stand upright on tables. Since you can also place them on top of a counter, bedside table or end table, you might also see them referred to as table fans. You can place these next to you while you’re working, sleeping or watching TV on the couch.
- Pedestal fans are similar in design to desk fans, but their base is at ground level. Stand-up fans are typically larger and taller than desk fans and create a stronger breeze, though they’re still portable.
- Handheld fans are another type of personal fan. Due to their small size, they won’t cool you off as well as other options, but they’re convenient since they’re cordless and portable.
How to shop for fans
Once you decide what type of fan you’re interested in, think about whether or not the following features are important to you. Identify your must haves in a fan and look for models that come with those features.
- Remote controls: So you can adjust the settings from wherever you are in a room.
- Smart features: Some models have Wi-Fi compatibility, while others pair with a companion app, which allows you to control the fan, review air quality and usage reports and more from your phone. Fans may also connect to voice-activated smart devices for hands-free use.
- Filters: Similar to air purifiers, some fans come with a range of filters that can remove allergens like dust or pet hair. For example, you may see fans built with HEPA filters, which pull out very small particles from the air, or charcoal filters, which can get rid of odors. Before purchasing a fan, consider how often you’ll need to replace the filter and how much the replacement filters cost.
- Oscillation: This refers to a fan’s ability to move from side to side or up and down, thus moving air in multiple directions across a room. This helps the fan circulate cool air throughout a space instead of directing it into one spot.
- Modes: While some fans may only allow you to manually program their settings, others come with a variety of modes designed for different circumstances. Some have an auto mode, for example, which can adjust to a room’s air quality or light, and others have a sleep mode that can dim an LED display.
Meet our expert
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
- Carl Prouty is a tech expert at Abt Electronics.
Why trust Select?
Zoe Malin has been covering home appliances like fans, air purifiers and more for over a year at Select. For this piece, Zoe interviewed an expert in the space and researched dozens of fans on the market. We recommended fans that are highly rated and meet expert shopping guidance.
Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date.
How To Cool Down A Room
We know how difficult it can be to get a restful night’s sleep in hot weather, but there are a few tricks you can try with just your fan to help cool your bedroom before you go to bed, and it can be as simple as using a bucket of ice.
Here’s how to cool down a room….
1. Create a crosswind
The experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute recommend creating a crosswind, which essentially gets the hot air out and the cool air in.
‘First, keep your windows, doors and blinds shut during the day to avoid hot sun beating down into your house. Then, during the evening, open your windows and place one fan facing out of your window, so it pushes the heat out,’ they advise. ‘Use a second fan, placed inwards, to circulate cool air into the room.’
Duux Whisper standing fan
Duux Whisper standing fan
£129 at Amazon
2. Use a bucket of ice
According to the GHI, placing a bucket of ice in front of a fan as a homemade AC unit is just as effective. ‘As the air passes over the ice it will be chilled and will circulate refreshingly cold air around the room,’ they explain.
3. Freeze bottles
There is one method that is particularly ‘favoured’ by the GHI’s consumer director, so listen up. All you have to do is freeze an empty one litre plastic bottle, place it on a tray and cover with a damp cloth. Position this in front of the fan so the breeze is cooled from the iced bottle and your room will benefit from the cooler temperature. It couldn’t be easier.
Sleeping during a heatwave
When it comes to getting some kip, bedrooms should ideally be around 16-18°C (60-65°F), explains Lisa Artis from The Sleep Charity, but if the outside temperature remains higher at night time, or your bedroom has retained the heat from the day, it can be difficult to keep cool.
If you find that your cooling fan isn’t as effective as it should be, there are other tricks you can use that doesn’t involve a fan at all in hot or humid weather. For example, switch to 100 per cent cotton bedsheets, avoid consuming too much caffeine, alcohol or a big meal before bedtime, or fill your hot water bottle with ice cold water (read more useful tips for sleeping during hot weather here).
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Olivia Heath is the Executive Digital Editor at House Beautiful UK, covering tomorrow’s biggest interior design trends and revealing the best tips, tricks and hacks to help you decorate your home like a pro. Week by week Olivia shares the most stylish high street buys to help you get the look for less and showcases the best real homes, from House Beautiful’s One Room Renovation video series, to the hottest and most unique properties on the market.
Acer Nitro 5, or how I was afraid of gaming laptops and did the right thing – Hardware on DTF
A small disclaimer: I’m very bad at hardware, and I’m not saying this to immediately try to smooth corners or prepare myself a comfortable defensive position, as is often the case. Not at all, just some of my statements at the end of the post will come from a lack of knowledge, but at the same time I firmly believe that I am not talking complete nonsense.
And one more thing: I ask you not to raise the question “why was it necessary to buy a subject at all?” Bought and bought, what the hell.
The topic of the post, let’s be frank, is a bit rotten, since the laptop in the configuration that I got is no longer for sale (at least in the configuration that I got). But the words are true for the entire Nitro 5 line. Specifically, I have an Acer Nitro 515-54 51CU. It is positioned as a gaming laptop, and even seems to look like it. Was bought about a year ago at a discount in mvideo for 60k. Onboard Intel 9300h and GTX 1050. The laptop belongs to the budget segment (among gaming laptops for sure). In general, the performance is absolutely satisfactory, even cyberpunk on the release managed to pass without any problems, albeit at 30 fps (sometimes with large drawdowns, but that’s not the point). Death Stranding on medium at a resolution of 1600×900 with 40-50 frames and much more. You can play it without any problems. However, there is one but, which became the reason for the post.
At first, I didn’t even think about what temperature the processor reaches during games and during idle time. For two reasons: I know that laptops often heat up, especially gaming ones; I used an external keyboard, so I didn’t touch the laptop, so I didn’t really care about the temperature either. The strong noise of the cooling system during operation does not really bother me either, I always sit in headphones.
From the start, the system has a built-in Acer Nitro utility, in which you can adjust the cooling and view the temperature of the processor / video card.
Playing again, I saw a very high 86 degrees for the processor. Well, probably a bit too much – well, to hell with it, you can hear that the coolers are working at full capacity, warm air almost blows everything around, and I also have a wonderful stand with backlight. On top of that, I didn’t experience any framerate drops. By the way, Intel 9300h seems to be designed for high temperatures and high power consumption.
However, after half a year the temperatures became completely unfunny – once the sensor showed 105, and I was even surprised why the laptop did not pass out from such heating. Naturally, when touching the case, it was now possible to understand for sure that the temperature was too high. Of course, I didn’t get burns, but the sensations are clearly not pleasant. First of all, I wrote off everything for dust, so I gave it to a friend in a service center to change the thermal paste and clean it. There I was assured that the aforementioned 57 in idle and 86 degrees under load is normal, it should be so – the laptop is gaming. After cleaning at the start, it became about 50-55, but when I launched a random game from Steam – at that moment I chose sidge – I again saw 9 that had already become native2 degrees after 10 minutes of play. I didn’t understand what the problem was. I decided to check out less demanding games and fired up the first System Shock. And the laptop from Acer again pleased me, regularly reporting on the processor temperature of 86 degrees.
After conferring with Google, I discovered the wonderful world of Nitro 5 owners (English speakers, if that matters) who repeated my story on various forums (including the official manufacturer’s forum, where the moderator advised him to try undervolting, lol). The only difference was that the owners of configurations with 1050 ti and 1660 did not receive temperatures above 85-90, how my ward managed to do it. In order not to torment the reader, who is already tired of my almost biblical scale of suffering, I will move on to the two final parts of the post.
How I solved the problem . To begin with, I tried to solve the problem by undervolting. I used the official Intel ETU software and gradually reset the values. It helped, I achieved about -10 degrees in idle, but in stress tests the laptop still managed to warm up to 90 degrees.
In addition, in the stress tests it was constantly displayed that the processor had reached the throttling temperature. I was desperate, but I noticed that there was an inactive Intel Turbo Boost option in the program window. I couldn’t disable it in the Intel software, so I organized another meeting with Google.
Turbo Boost Short Power Max, which can be seen on the picture, can be turned off and even necessary. But the main Turbo Boost in the software is not disabled.
The answer killed . To disable this feature, you need to go into the power management in Windows and in the additional parameters set the processor to work from the network 99 percent instead of the default 100.
After that (along with the already selected comfortable negative undervolting value, with where the laptop does not crash into the blue screen), the temperature at the start of the switcher dropped to 38-42, and in loads, for example, after a couple of hours of playing Days Gone, the temperature did not even reach 70 degrees, and the performance did not change at all.
Epilogue . I’m open to the possibility that 300k gaming laptops like the Rogue don’t have these issues, but at 300k I definitely won’t be picking up a gaming laptop. At the time of purchase, this laptop was chosen as optimal, since I don’t know how to assemble computers and I didn’t have time for this, as well as for buying peripherals and a monitor. I didn’t need a monster, just a working machine.
In the end, I want to ask a question, moreover, I would like to hear an answer from people rummaging around for hardware – how can you allow a situation where a large number of laptops with different configurations, but from the same line, have the same problem? Why do I need a Turbo Boost, which boosts the processor frequency to 4 GHz at any load, if the cooling system cannot cope with this, and at a frequency half as low, I did not suffer any problems with low performance? I often saw materials on the topic of overclocking iron, but I didn’t know that I had to LOWER the frequency in a not the most powerful laptop just so that at one fine moment the percentage would not boom.
Yes, the processor worked properly even at the highest frequencies, but how long would it last if it sometimes warmed up to 100 degrees? I think the answer is a little predictable, and my paranoia was appropriate.
A little afterword . The funny thing is that now that I’ve sorted out the problem, I don’t play demanding games at all. At the moment, I am spiritually enriched by the first one, and in the backlog, in addition to the sequel to which, there are a few more old games. It’s funny – I suffered from high temperatures in demanding games, and as soon as I reached low temperatures, I stopped playing demanding games. Traumatic experience is obtained. Therefore, I temporarily remain on a diet of older games.
How to replace the cooler (fan) of a computer, video cards
All active computer components generate heat. Especially a lot of heat is emitted by the processor, video card, RAM and power supply. Natural air circulation does not always allow the generated heat to be removed until the temperature of the elements drops below the maximum allowable, which should not exceed 80 ° C.
The optimum heating temperature for semiconductor devices is up to 60°C. This issue is especially relevant in the summer, when the ambient temperature reaches 30˚С. When overheating, the processor starts to slow down, crashes and causes the computer to freeze. It rarely fails, as there is a thermal protection circuit.
Program for measuring the temperature of the processor
In order to be able to find out and control the temperature of the computer’s processors and video cards during operation, sensors are installed in their cores. In modern computers, the CPU temperature can be found by going into the BIOS. But restarting the computer while working on it is inconvenient, and during the reboot, the load on the processors will decrease and the measured temperature will be lower than it was during the maximum processor load.
But this issue is easily solved with the help of the program. It is enough to run the utility and you can monitor the temperature regime of the computer’s CPU. Programs, as a rule, provide a lot of additional information about the operation of the computer.
I bring to your attention two simple programs tested by me for monitoring the temperature regime of processors, which can be downloaded directly from my site. These utilities do not need to be installed, just run and immediately see the CPU temperature and many other computer parameters in the pop-up window.
The Real Temp program works only with Windows and is designed to control the temperature and other parameters of a computer built on the basis of an Intel processor.
Open Hardware Monitor works under all versions of Windows and Linux, supports motherboards based on Intel and AMD processors.
Why install a processor cooler
To ensure the stable operation of the computer, radiators are installed on elements that emit significant thermal energy. The radiator is a massive metal part made of aluminum or copper, with a large surface area.
To improve heat transfer, a thin layer of thermal paste is applied to the contact surfaces of the processor and heatsink to fill in micro-roughness. But even this measure does not always help, and then an electric fan is additionally installed, which is often called a cooler.
The cooler drives a large volume of air through the heatsink fins and thus ensures optimal thermal operation of the chips. Thanks to the use of coolers, computers are small in size. But you have to pay for this with additional acoustic noise that the coolers emit during operation.
The direction of air flow from the cooler is easy to determine without connecting the cooler to the supply voltage. On the air outlet side, the impeller blades are slightly concave. Sometimes there are arrows on the cooler body indicating the direction of air flow and rotation of the impeller.
Like any mechanical device, over time, the rubbing parts of the cooler, these are rolling or sliding bearings, must be lubricated with machine oil. In no case should vegetable oils, sunflower, olive and the like be used as a lubricant. After a while, the oil will dry up like drying oil, and it will even be impossible to disassemble the cooler.
Insufficient lubrication is usually accompanied by gradually increasing acoustic noise from the cooler. If preventive maintenance is not carried out in a timely manner, then the bearings begin to wear out intensively and the cooler will need to be replaced.
Computer manufacturers often install coolers of the original design for cooling processors and video cards, which are not available in the assortment of stores. In terms of functionality, all coolers are the same and differ only in performance and the way they are attached to the radiator. The performance of the cooler depends on the diameter of the impeller and the speed of its rotation. All coolers rotate at approximately the same speed, about 5000 rpm, so when choosing a replacement cooler, you can be guided by the diameter of the impeller.
One of the main enemies of efficient cooling is dust. It covers all the elements inside the computer and significantly reduces their heat exchange with air. Therefore, it is necessary to remove the side cover of the system unit at least once a year and remove all available dust with a brush using a vacuum cleaner.
It is especially important to remove dust that has settled between the fins of the processor and video heatsinks. The heat dissipation efficiency of the heatsink is reduced by several times and can cause computer malfunctions. Coolers themselves often fail due to overheating, since during operation they blow themselves over and thereby cool. And since there is nowhere for the air to move due to dust, the cooler does not cool down and overheats itself.
How to open the computer system unit
In order to get to the computer coolers, it is enough to remove one side cover from the system side, which is located further from the connectors on the motherboard.
Before disassembling the system unit, the first thing to do is to remove all the wires from the connectors, starting with the 220 V supply voltage cable. , and insert it when connected, last.
The wire through which the system unit is connected to the electrical network, usually black, less often gray and the thickest. Plugs directly into the power supply. Next, unscrew the two screws (topmost in the photo) that hold the cover. Slide the cover towards you, the hooks will disengage, and the cover can be easily removed upwards. Full access to all nodes and maps of the computer will open.
There are four coolers installed in the system unit in the photo. On the processor, video card (standing vertically), in the case of the system side at the top left (highlighted by a blue LED) and inside the power supply (not visible in the photo).
The cover is put on the system unit in reverse order. When assembling, make sure that the wires coming from the power supply do not touch the impellers of the coolers. When touching the wires of the impeller, its blades will rub against the wires and make noise. A wire caught between the blades of the cooler impeller can completely stop its rotation.
Finding a noisy cooler
When one of the coolers in a computer makes noise, it is often not clear which one. Due to acoustic resonance, it may seem that the noise is not the one that actually makes noise. In order to accurately determine, you need to turn off each cooler from the power supply by removing the connector, or slow down with your finger at the center of the impeller. You should not slow down for the blades, you can get hurt. If the coolers on the video card, processor and system unit (in some computers an additional cooler is installed on the system unit) do not make noise, then the cooler in the power supply is the culprit.
Types of connectors for connecting a cooler in a computer
For the cooler to work, it is necessary to supply a DC voltage of 12 V to its windings. Coolers are connected to the computer using connectors. In computer power supplies, before coolers were also connected using a double connector, and for some time they began to save money and solder the wires directly into the printed circuit board, which greatly complicates the lubrication and replacement of the cooler during repairs. You have to solder the wires or cut them and then splice them.
Depending on the type of cooler, two, three and four pin connectors are used. The two-pin connector is supplied with voltage by wire black color (-12 V, first pin) and red wire (+12 V).
The three-pin connector is supplied with voltage in the same way as the two-pin connector, with black wire (-12 V, first pin) and with red wire (+12 V). But one more conductor of yellow color has been added, through which a signal is transmitted from the Hall cooler rotation speed sensor to the motherboard. This conductor does not take part in the operation of the cooler, as it is informational and allows you to control the rotation speed on the monitor. Connect yellow wire is optional, the cooler will work just as well without it.
Four-pin cooler wire colors are different. Black – -12V, yellow – +12V, green – speed sensor, and blue – to control the speed of the main board. On the motherboard, next to the connector for connecting the processor cooler, the marking CPU_FAN is usually marked, as in the photo below.
On the motherboard, in addition to the connector for connecting the processor cooler, as a rule, there are several more connectors. They are all the same type and easy to find. One three-pin connector is designed to connect a cooler installed in the system side case. Next to it is usually the inscription SYS_FAN. Another one or two are also three-pin without inscriptions. They are usually free and you can connect one or two additional coolers to them, if necessary.
Four-wire coolers are rarely used. Typically, the cooler rotation speed is controlled by changing the supply voltage, which varies depending on the temperature of the processor heating.
The color coding of the wires coming out of the power supply is different, on red wires +5 V, black – common wire, and yellow +12 V.
So when connecting the cooler directly to the wires coming from the unit supply, red cooler wire must be connected to yellow wire coming from the power supply. If you connect the red wire to the red one coming from the power supply (+5 V), the cooler will rotate slowly and will not be able to develop maximum speed. If the polarity is reversed, the cooler will not fail, but simply will not work.
How to replace the connector on the cooler
When replacing the cooler, connection difficulties sometimes arise due to different types of connectors on the cooler wires and the motherboard. For example, the motherboard has a three-pin connector, and you replace it with a cooler with a two-pin connector, or vice versa. For compatibility, you can remove the contacts from one connector and rearrange them in another connector.
In order to remove the contact from the housing, you need to drown the contact lock with the end of an awl or a needle, slightly pressing in the slot in a place closer to the outgoing wire and pulling the wire to remove the contact.
On the right photo in the upper part you can clearly see the latch, which secures the contact in the connector housing. In this way, contacts are fixed in almost all connectors, regardless of the size and number of contacts. After all the contacts are taken out, they are inserted into the other connector housing. After installation, you need to pull the wires to check the reliability of the fixation, and if the contact comes out, you need to slightly bend the latch with a knife, which could, if pressed excessively during removal, drown.
When reinstalling contacts from a three-pin housing to a two-pin housing, the yellow wire must be insulated by putting on an insulating tube or a pair of turns of insulating tape.
In this way, without soldering or cutting wires, I swapped the connectors of two coolers. This operation takes no more than two minutes and, most importantly, guarantees a reliable connection.
How to replace the cooler connector by soldering with a soldering iron
When replacing the cooler installed on the case of the system unit, you may encounter a situation that the wire length of the new cooler is not enough to connect to the motherboard or the connector on the wire does not fit. This issue can be resolved using one of the methods suggested below – replace the cooler wire with a longer one or, without interfering with the design of the cooler, make an extension cord on the connector.
For those who know how to work with a soldering iron, I suggest another way to extend the wires or adapt the cooler to connect to any type of connector on the motherboard.
The wires for connecting the cooler enter its case through a hole with a narrow slot as in the photo on the left and are soldered to the printed circuit board as in the photo on the right. The place for soldering, as well as the place for lubricating the cooler, is sealed with a protective label.
To replace the wires by soldering, you must first unsolder the wires with connectors from the old and new cooler. Before soldering, do not forget to draw or photograph the color sequence of soldering the wires in the new cooler. Next, to the contacts pads of the printed circuit board of the new cooler, observing the color marking, the wires from the old one are soldered. I came across a wire from a donor cooler, in which white was used instead of a yellow wire. So don’t be surprised if you encounter this.
After laying the wires in the cooler case and sticking the label in place, the cooler is ready for connection. The test showed that the performance of the cooler after replacing the wire was not disturbed.
How to extend the cooler wires without resoldering them
Not everyone dares to resolder the wires of a newly purchased expensive cooler. Yes, and there may be a case, for example, when, after replacing the motherboard, the length of the cooler wire installed in the system unit to the connector on it is not enough. For this case, there is a simple solution – the manufacture of an extension cord.
To do this, you will need a wire from an unnecessary cooler with a corresponding connector at the end and a mating part of the male connector, soldered from the motherboard or another place. For the extension cord, I took the wire from the cooler from the processor and the colors of the wires also did not meet the standard.
The ends of the wires are stripped 5 mm long, tinned with solder and soldered to the connector soldered from the motherboard. After soldering the wires, pieces of a PVC tube are put on the terminals of the connector to insulate and obtain a beautiful appearance.
On the photo you can see the result of the work. This method of extending wires is convenient because you don’t have to touch the cooler and the extension cord can be useful for other applications.
Replacing the processor cooler
The cooler installed to cool the computer processor has become unbearably constantly noisy. Prior to this, the noise was only during the first few minutes when the computer was turned on. This was already a signal that the cooler needed to be lubricated urgently, but the time was lost. The noise, after some time, stopped because the remnants of the lubricant from friction in the bearing warmed up, the fluidity of the oil increased, and it got into the bearing, there was enough oil for normal operation. But, for the first few minutes of operation, when the cooler was noisy, the bearings were wearing out intensively, rendering it unusable.
Lubrication of the rolling bearing (ball bearing) helped for a few hours and again the noise. Finding bearings of the required size is an unrealistic task. It is necessary to change the cooler, which turned out to be the original design. An attempt to find the same replacement was unsuccessful. I had to solve the problem based on the existing possibilities.
The cooler is usually attached to the processor heatsink with self-tapping screws, which are screwed into the grooves between its ribs. If the screws are nowhere to be seen from above, then you need to look for latches. to release the cooler on the latches, you need to take these latches aside one by one, while holding the ones already removed, otherwise they will return to their place again. You can clearly see how the latches are fixed on the heatsink in the photos in the site article “How to remove the cooler from the processor heatsink”.
The work must be carried out very carefully, make sure that the tool does not accidentally slip off and hit the motherboard. Sometimes it is difficult to get close to the latches and it is easier to remove the entire radiator and only then remove the cooler. But here you have to be prepared for the fact that you will have to apply a thin layer of heat-conducting paste to the surface of the heatsink and processor, instead of the dried one.
It is possible to replace such a cooler with a standard one. It is enough to make a few fasteners. According to the technical characteristics, a cooler is suitable for replacement, from a computer power supply. Sometimes, a cooler of this size for additional cooling is also installed in the case of the system unit.
I made 2 brackets from the broken-out plugs from the system unit, from the place for installing additional cards. I screwed them to the cooler with 4 screws unscrewed during its dismantling. I cut off the supply wires from the noisy cooler and connected them to the conductors of the new technology with a shift. Red (+12V) connects to red, black (-12V, common) to black. Even if you accidentally connect incorrectly, nothing will happen, just the cooler will not work. I did not connect the yellow wire, through which the signal about the rotation frequency is transmitted from the cooler. I don’t like it when the speed of the cooler impeller changes all the time with a “howl”. So the lack of feedback doesn’t bother me.
I screwed the cooler to the processor heatsink using 2 self-tapping screws through the gaps in the impeller. Self-tapping screws must be selected with such a diameter to ensure their reliable fixation. If a self-tapping screw, while the computer is running, accidentally gets on the motherboard, it can disable it.
Tests, after replacing the cooler, showed a quiet operation of the computer and sufficient cooling of the processor at an ambient temperature of more than 30 ° C. The processor temperature at full load, according to the BIOS, did not exceed 60 ° C.
Replacing the video card cooler
All video cards come with coolers of original design, and it is almost impossible to get exactly the same, especially if the card has worked for many years.
Replacing the cooler with a standard fan
The cooler on the video card started making unbearable noise. I decided to lubricate the bearing, took it apart and found that the plastic base of the impeller was cracked.
Lubrication will no longer help in this case, the cooler needs to be replaced with a new one. I picked up a cooler according to the diameter of the impeller, got caught with a large size. So, it will be even better to cool than standing native cooler.
When choosing a new cooler, you should also take into account the size of the radiator fins so as not to make additional fasteners and screw the self-tapping screws directly into the grooves between its fins. I fixed it with two self-tapping screws, which turned out to be quite enough, since the radiator fins turned out to be quite rigid. It can also be fixed with four self-tapping screws. If you don’t feel like fixing it with self-tapping screws, you can successfully tie the cooler with a thick thread to the radiator fins from two opposite sides by the mounting holes. It will hold up no worse.
The standard video card cooler was supplied with voltage through a two-pin connector. The new one was with three contacts. In order not to do additional work, I installed the video card in the slot and connected the cooler to the motherboard. They almost always have free three-pin connectors for connecting additional coolers. The cooler that was previously installed on the video card did not have a label, and it is quite possible that it was designed for a supply voltage of 5 V. Therefore, if you connect the cooler to the connector on the video card when replacing, pay attention to the matching of the supply voltages.
The test showed quiet operation and sufficient cooling of the video processor.
Modification of a standard cooler for installation in a video card
The computer began to freeze, when it was opened, it was found that the impeller of the cooler installed on the video card did not rotate.
After removing the cooler, it became obvious that it was beyond repair. The microcircuit that regulates the rotation speed of the cooler burned out, as a result of which the stator winding was charred, and the cooler fell apart due to overheating.
It was possible to screw a standard cooler to the radiator with self-tapping screws, as in the previous case, but I wanted to do everything professionally.
For replacement, a standard cooler of a suitable size for a voltage of 12 V was selected (the burnt one was also designed for a voltage of 12 V) and the case ring was removed from it with a hacksaw, as shown in the photo.
An old cooler was used as a jig for precision drilling. To do this, the coolers were connected to each other with a thread, as in the photo. After drilling the first hole, for the accuracy of obtaining the next, a self-tapping screw was immediately inserted into it.
Since the connector for supplying voltage on the old cooler was different in design, we had to unsolder the wires from the connector from the board of the burnt one and solder them, observing the color coding, to the board of the new cooler.
The new cooler’s fastening tabs turned out to be thicker than the burnt one. Therefore, I had to use longer self-tapping screws for fastening. As you can see in the photo, the cooler, after being finalized, perfectly fit into the shape of the video card heatsink.
Before installing the video card in the computer, the cooler connector was powered. It worked quietly and blew the radiator fins well. Checking the heating temperature of the radiator after installing the video card in the computer showed a good performance of the new cooler.
Re-repair of the video card due to the failure of the replaced cooler
Six months later, in the summer, the video card processor began to overheat. The analysis showed that the newly installed cooler stopped working. The impeller did not rotate, it turned tightly by hand.
It became obvious that the cooler burned out due to imperfections in the design of the cooling system. Its base was tightly attached to the radiator, and as a result, it not only worsened heat removal from the hottest surface of the radiator, but also heated itself to a high temperature.
Therefore, when replacing a failed cooler with a new one, it was decided to fix it in such a way that the cooler blows not only the radiator, but also itself.
Replaced with a used branded Pentium processor cooler of the right size, which has served for many years, but was in excellent condition. Before installation, it was disassembled and the bearing was lubricated with graphite grease.
The processor cooler had a three-pin connector, while the video card had a two-pin connector. There were two options for connecting the cooler to the power circuit. To the motherboard without soldering wires, or to the video card board, with soldering.
Any motherboard has a pair of connectors, one of which is shown in the photo, for connecting coolers that are installed in the computer’s system unit case. If the length of the wire allows, then you can install a video card and connect the cooler connector to one of these connectors. This connection method will additionally allow you to systematically control the speed of rotation of the impeller.
But in my case, the length of the wire was not enough and therefore I decided to solder the wires from the faulty one to the new cooler. For the cooler to work, you only need to supply voltage.
The cooler was fixed to the radiator with four self-tapping screws screwed between its ribs, as shown in the photo. The outer diameter of the self-tapping screw should be slightly larger than the distance between the radiator fins.
More than two years have passed since then, the cooler has been working stably. Thanks to the change in the way the cooler is installed, the cooling efficiency of the video processor has increased, and the cooler, blowing on itself, began to work in lighter conditions.
Replacing the cooler in the power supply
In order to do maintenance or replace the cooler in the computer’s power supply, you still need to get to it. After removing the side cover of the system unit, you need to unscrew the four screws securing the power supply, which are located on the wall where all the connectors are located. In this case, the system unit must be positioned in such a way that the power supply released from the mount does not fall on the motherboard.
The power supply is removed from the system unit. From the power supply to all devices and the motherboard there are conductors with plugs at the ends that supply the supply voltage. If the wires are of sufficient length, then the connectors can not be disconnected, or only those wires from which are pulled can be removed.
Having placed the PSU on the corner of the system unit, you need to unscrew the four screws marked in pink in the photo and remove the cover. Sometimes the screws are sealed with paper labels and must first be found in order to unscrew them. The cover is removed by shifting up. You will be surprised by the amount of dust on the power supply elements. It must be completely removed with a brush with a vacuum cleaner.
Next, the screws marked in yellow in the photo are unscrewed, and the cooler is removed. There are two conductors of red and black color coming from the cooler. Red wire (+12V), black wire (-12V). For the convenience of servicing the cooler, it is better to unscrew the power supply board and unsolder these wires, but this is not necessary, if it is enough to restore the normal operation of the cooler, just lubricate it.
Decreasing the cooler speed
If the performance of the cooler after replacement has become more than necessary, you can reduce the speed by reducing the supply voltage applied to it. It is enough to include one diode of any type, or several in series, with the cathode (it is usually marked with a strip on the case) in the red wire break towards the cooler. If the marking of the diode is not clear, then you can turn it on as you like, if the cooler does not rotate, swap the ends of the diode connection.
One diode will reduce the supply voltage by 0.8 V, or to 11.2 V. Turning on in series, for example, five diodes, will reduce the supply voltage of the cooler by 4 V, it will become equal to 8 V.
By reducing the speed, you need to make sure that the processor does not overheat when running at full load. To do this, there are programs that allow you to control the speed of rotation of the cooler and the temperature of the processor heating without leaving the operating system. The operation of the processor in severe thermal conditions leads to a slowdown in its performance, computer failures and even freezing are possible.
I looked on the site how you changed the cooler on the video card, I have a question for you, but do you need to remove the radiator? I have a different video card there, the fasteners at the cooler are completely different, what should I do?
It is not advisable to remove the radiator, as there is a heat-conducting paste under it and it will have to be applied again.
The design of the heatsink does not matter, the main thing is that the new cooler should blow it well. If you find it difficult to remove the failed cooler, then you can not even remove it, but turn it off and attach a new one to it in any way. The main thing is to have good radiator airflow. You can check it by touching the radiator with your hand. If you can hold it for a long time without taking your fingers off, that is, it burns, but it doesn’t hurt, then the airflow is normal.
Dear Alexander Nikolaevich!
Please inform, should the cooler on the video card turn on immediately, or only after the video card reaches a certain temperature? Thanks for your articles!
Usually, the cooler installed on the video card starts immediately after turning on the computer. But some modern models use a semi-passive cooling system, the essence of which is that the fan starts only after the video processor heatsink reaches a certain temperature. This is possible because powerful video cards have large heatsinks installed on the video processor, and with a low load on the video processor, there is no need to remove a large amount of heat, and the heatsink itself can handle this task.