Fan control refers to the process of managing an electric fan’s rotational speed. It is not only applicable to electric fans, though, as a fan controller is also crucial in the world of computers. Your PC needs to use the best fan controller as it helps provide enough cooling to its vital components, thereby preventing them from overheating and getting damaged in the process.

​Various fan control features and mechanisms are also capable of balancing the noise they produce as well as their cooling capacities. However, because of the many options that are presently laid out to the computer users, finding the best fan controller may be a challenge. Fortunately, you can make the selection process easier and less challenging by considering several factors.

But before we go to the factors of consideration for the best choice, let’s first highlight the five best products on the market.

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Product

Summary​

My Rating​

NZXT Sentry LX High Performance Fan Controller (Black)
NZXT Sentry LX 

​​This is fan controller have automatic and manual modes, adjust the fan speeds to correspond to a specific temperature with absolute silence.

Sentry 2 Fan Controller 5.25-Inch Touch Screen, Black ACC-NT-SENTRY-2-TS
Sentry 2 Fan Controller ACC-NT-SENTRY-2-TS

​This is fan controller have automatic and manual modes of control.

AC Infinity AI-ATC, Fan Thermostat and Speed Controller, for Home Theater AV Media Cabinet Cooling
AC Infinity AI-ATC, Fan Thermostat and Speed Controller

​This is fan controller high quality and have a high compatibility, with mode automatically adjusts the fans speed depending on the temperature.

Zalman Fan Speed Controller FANMATE-2
Zalman Fan Speed Controller FANMATE-2
Fan controller for adjusting the fan speed of a single fan according to user preference.
Thermaltake Commander FT Touch Screen 5 Channel Single 5.25
Thermaltake Commander FT Touch Screen Fan Controller AC-010-B51NAN-A1

Thermaltake's first-ever touch screen fan controller give you comprehensive control of fan cooling performance.


Factors to Consider in Buying a Fan Controller

1. Speed Control

The speed control circuit is extremely useful in maximizing the longevity of your computer’s cooling fan, so you have to make sure to check out this feature before you purchase a fan controller. The faster your cooling fan operates, the faster it also tends to wear out. To prevent that from happening, you ought to manipulate the speed. This is a huge help in controlling its life expectancy.

​In addition, since the speed of the fan contributes a lot to the amount of noise it produces, you can also use the controller in minimizing the sound. In this case, it would be wise to seek the aid of the different types of fan controllers – the fan fail monitor, fan fail shutdown, fan speed control and fan speed monitor.

In your search for the best fan controller, you have to know exactly which among the mentioned types you specifically need. Consider your needs. Ask yourself what’s lacking in the fan that you wish to fix. That way, you can easily pick the specific type you need.​

2. Application

You have to immediately consider this factor right after you have calculated the airflow that your PC needs, as well as after mapping out the cooling air path. To take this factor into consideration, it is necessary to compute the system impedance. Take note of when the air starts to travel between the air inlet and the air exhaust vents as this causes the air pressure to drop.

​To determine the system impedance, you just have to take the sum of the drops in air pressure. All you have to do is to measure the drop in between each path then totaling them.

​Once you have identified the impedance, as well as the needed overflow, you can measure the specific operating point showing that the static pressure is within the needed airflow. Note that you need to determine the accurate operating point in this stage as this helps in finding the most ideal cooling solution.

3. Thermal Analysis

It is necessary for you to consider this factor when you’re in search of the best PC fan controller, as this can help you identify the specific air volume needed in cooling a system. In this case, what you have to identify first are the primary sources of heat. Heat dissipation, temperature, as well as thermal resistance can help you determine the required amount of airflow needed in cooling sources.

You need to compute the amount of heat generated by each source. It’s also necessary for you to study the worst case and typical heat dissipation of the identified source of heat. Critical sources of heat will, of course, require adequate airflow, so as to have an easier time maintaining the proper coolness.

​It’s also essential to map out the cooling air path as this helps in ensuring that the primary components of heat contain enough air, which helps in cooling your PC. Note that in some cases, there are systems that require the use of an air baffle as it further stimulates the process of cooling. You can use this tool alone or along with an air duct, which is helpful in maximizing airflow.

4. Your Available Options

During your search, you will most likely encounter several options. Make sure that the fan you’ve chosen is highly reliable, so you won’t end up having to find the most high-end controller to make it function well. It should also be noted that those with ball bearings are among the best options as you can expect them to withstand excessive heat.

​Ball bearings are also flexible, and they can help extend the life of your unit. This is the main reason why you have to look for this feature in your unit as this ensures that the electrical system will be fully protected from overheating, which can eventually lead to malfunction and the failure of running programs and applications.

​An external fan controller for your PC is indeed a great investment as it allows you to have full control over everything. Most of these controllers are also inexpensive while featuring several knobs designed to help you control the speed of each fan manually.

​To help you make your choice, here are five of the best fan controller models in the market today.

Top 5 Best Fan Controller Reviews

NZXT Sentry LX High Performance Fan Controller

NZXT Sentry LX High Performance Fan Controller (Black)

Editor Rating

Available in black, NZXT Sentry LX fan controller is often included on the list of options of those who are searching for the best fan controller. It’s mainly because of its efficiency, performance and features.

Pros

  • Easy to install and use
  • Features an LCD display, which also has an intuitive interface
  • Comes with 5 temperature probes while having the ability to control, either manually or automatically, up to 5 fans
  • Has control unit inserted into two empty drive bays. This provides all the details in the LCD screen.
  • Has manual or automatic modes installed in the unit, making it possible for you to adjust the speed of the fan automatically based on a certain temperature.
  • Temperature alarm, which instantly notifies you in case the temperature goes beyond the specified point

Cons

  • Has too much header length
  • A bit difficult to mount into the team probe

Still, it’s a good buy because it’s affordable and has several functional features. It has a nice feel and look plus it helps your fans spin quietly and slowly. Moreover, it features long wires, preventing the risk of discomfort.

Sentry 2 Fan Controller ACC-NT-SENTRY-2-TS

Sentry 2 Fan Controller 5.25-Inch Touch Screen, Black ACC-NT-SENTRY-2-TS

Editor Rating

Sentry 2 is an improved version of the original Sentry fan controller from NZXT. Just like other controllers out there, Sentry 2 also provides you with the capability of adjusting the speed of your computer fan. It has two additional features. One is that it allows you to see the temperature of five different hardware pieces. It also has a touchscreen function.

Pros

  • Capable of providing manual and automatic modes of control - Both of these settings can switch between fans or control five of them simultaneously.
  • Built-in audio alarm - This feature is designed in such a way that it will alert you in case the temperature goes beyond what you initially set.
  • Has a large fan image that you can find on the right - You can use it in switching between the presently chosen fan and the one in your case.
  • Provides freedom in setting your desired temperature

Cons

  • Tends to create messy wires.
  • The fact that the wires are glued to the computer also means that you have to take out the sensors when you need to bring the wires out.

The benefits of this fan controller outweigh their weaknesses, though, so you have an assurance that it’s still a good investment.

AC Infinity AI-ATC, Fan Thermostat and Speed Controller

AC Infinity AI-ATC, Fan Thermostat and Speed Controller, for Home Theater AV Media Cabinet Cooling

Editor Rating

This is another of the best fan controller options that you have as it has several remarkable features. For one, it boasts of a feature, which makes it capable of controlling up to 4 USB and AC infinity cabinet fans.

Pros

  • Has a multi-speed controller, which allows you to use a power switch to set the speed of your fan. Once set, you can expect to reach your desired airflow and noise levels based on the application you intend to use the controller to.
  • Frame is made of aluminum material. This makes it more effective in dissipating heat faster than those made of steel. You can mount the frame on cabinets and wall panels.
  • Has CNC-machined edges featuring a brushed black finish, which perfectly matches modern cabinets.
  • Highly efficient and made of high-quality materials

Cons

  • LED is too bright
  • Some users find the mounting option unnecessary, as they would have preferred to use a stand.

Still, it’s a worthwhile investment as it provides most, if not all, that one needs from a fan controller. Other features of AC Infinity AI-ATC speed controller are the backlit LCD digital display, which is capable of showing data in either Celsius or Fahrenheit, 36-inch thermal probe, USB ports and auto-mode programming.

Zalman Fan Speed Controller FANMATE-2

Zalman Fan Speed Controller FANMATE-2

Editor Rating

This unit is the best fan controller for you if what you’re looking for is one, which is capable of making adjustments on the speed of a single fan based on your preferences. It’s mainly designed for 3-pin connectors.

When boot a computer in which FAN MATE 2 is used with the CPU fan, a alarm sound may be generated by a system monitoring program to indicate that the rotation of the CPU fan is slow.

When this happens, you may turn the speed control knob fully clockwise to increase the fan speed, set "CPU Fan Detected" to "Disabled" in the BIOS settings, or set the slowest rotation of the CPU fan in the system monitoring program to less than or equal to 1500 RPM.

Pros

  • Comes with a 31-inch unseparated ribbon cable
  • Easy to mount inside a PC case
  • Well-built while being offered at a reasonable price
  • Easy to install and can adapt to various installation scenarios.
  • Has a long cable, making it possible for you to mount it outside of the case to screw it conveniently
  • It’s a simple device, so you can use it in controlling the power of your fans just by making manual and simple adjustments.
  • Configured in such a way that it can vent out more air from the GPU’s VRM. This is where you can produce the power for the GPU.

Cons

  • Has limitations such as the fact that you can’t turn it off – What you can do is just to reduce its speed.

Still, this is a decent unit, which tends to deliver what it promises to users. You can also expect it to work on both 3- and 4-pin motherboard headers.

Thermaltake Commander FT Touch Screen Fan Controller AC-010-B51NAN-A1

Thermaltake Commander FT Touch Screen 5 Channel Single 5.25

Editor Rating

This touchscreen fan controller has been receiving positive reviews lately because of its great features. In fact, you can find many people who will recommend this to those in search of the best fan controller.

Pros

  • Features an expansive 5.5-inch touch screen – This means interacting with it whether you prefer to set it on silent operating, auto, performance and manual mode, is easier. With that, you can expect to have more extensive control in terms of fan cooling performance.
  • Smartly designed auto-mode – It can make automatic adjustments on the fan based on the temperature readings on the thermal sensor.
  • Allows you to fully customize the manual mode, encouraging individual adjustments of fan speed
  • Features a performance mode, which you can tune to attain the best cooling performance.
  • Has a silent mode to ensure that it continuously performs its function without producing unnecessary noise.

Cons

  • Pretty loose connection between the controller, itself, and the fans – This means that it will most likely alarm even if it only gets disconnected accidentally.

One other remarkable thing about this fan controller is that it has an intuitive fan speed slider. This specific feature can provide full fan control with the help of its easy to use interface.

Conclusion

The information that this article provided focuses on helping you find the best fan controller based on your specific needs and requirements. Undeniably, fan controller is one of the most essential investments that you ought to make, especially if you have your own PC and you want it and its components to last for a long time. Not being able to control its heat will most likely cause it to wear out too soon.

​Fortunately, there are now several computer case fans that you can use. Pair it up with the best fan controller, and you will be on your way towards attaining the highest level of satisfaction from your investment. With the best fan controller around, you can prevent wasting energy when your PC is idle but your fan is still at full speed. You need it as it helps you adjust the fan speed along with the changes in the gauged temperature.

​But just like when buying other vital products, you need to spend time studying all your options. Avoid buying the first fan controller offered to you. Check its durability, ability to perform its functions, reliability, price and features first before you make your final decision.

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