If you’ve ever used a 3D printer, you’ll already know how many intricate parts and components are involved in the construction of such a device.
However, what you may not know is that most 3D printers need some kind of cooling system to operate at their full potential.
There are several parts of a 3D printer that need cooling on a regular basis, from the control panel to the hot end. This means that having at least one fan for your 3D printer is quite crucial.
Unfortunately, not all 3D printers come with fans built into all of the necessary components, and fans frequently need replacing. Therefore, if you use a 3D printer for a significant length of time, you’ll probably need to purchase a fan for it at some point.
But if you’re not especially well-versed in 3D printer technology, don’t panic! We’ve already chosen the best 5 fans for 3D printers to review for you in today’s article.
The 5 Best Fans For 3D Printers
OUR TOP PICK
The SoundOriginal Cooling Blower Fan is a multipurpose cooling fan that can be installed at various points in a 3D printer, depending on which component is at the greatest risk of overheating.
In fact, this is such a versatile fan that it can also be used for purposes outside of 3D printing, including humidifiers and aromatherapy diffusers, but we digress.
This is a 12-volt fan, meaning it should be compatible with the majority of 3D printing systems with the exception of the hot end on some models, which can sometimes be 24 volts.
Thanks to the 2-terminal connector, installing the SoundOriginal Cooling Blower Fan is easy and not time-consuming.
You should get 20,000 hours of use out of this fan as long as it’s used according to the directions. Plus, when one reaches the end of its lifespan, you can simply replace it with the second one in the pack, meaning that this purchase will last you a long time.
Our only criticism of this fan is the fact that it can get a little noisy, but luckily, a bit of lubricant usually solves that problem quickly enough.
- Multipurpose - Extremely versatile
- 20,000-hour run time - Durable
- 12 volts - Widely compatible
- 2-terminal connector - Easy installation
- 2-pack - Includes replacement
- Slightly noisy - Lubricant may be required
3D printers are notoriously expensive pieces of equipment, but your 3D printer fan doesn’t have to be!
The Coolerguys Ultra Quiet Fan is the most budget-friendly 3D printer fan on the market for this level of quality.
Rated at 12 volts and 25.4 decibels, this fan from Coolerguys is both 3D printer-compatible and quiet (about as loud as a whisper from a moderate distance).
You can expect this fan to run without any issues for a total of 40,000 hours, which is an impressive fan life for a model at this price.
Additionally, the Coolerguys Ultra Quiet Fan has an RPM (Rotations Per Minute) rating of 3500, which bodes very well for the efficiency of this fan’s cooling performance.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the fan’s airflow is only rated at 4.9 CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute), which isn’t the most powerful rating. With that being said, it’s still a very effective 3D printer cooling fan for the price.
- 3500 RPM - Efficient
- 40,000-hour life - Good longevity
- 12 volts - Printer-compatible
- 25.4 dB - Low noise level
- Affordably priced - Budget option
- 4.9 CFM airflow - Not the most powerful unit
The hot end, also known as the heatsink, is one of the most important areas of any 3D printer. Because the hot end is where the actual printing occurs, it is prone to overheating.
Luckily, with the Creality Ender 3 Hot End Fan, you can keep your printer’s hot end cool and protect its overall functionality and longevity.
This is a brushless fan, which is a fan type with many advantages over other fan types. Brushless fans are extra-durable, reliable, and most importantly, energy-efficient, so they don’t cost a fortune to run.
While the Creality Ender 3 Hot End Fan is advertised as a replacement fan for specific Ender 3D printer models (including the Ender 3, 3 Pro, and 3 X), its 24-volt rating and easy installation process make it compatible with most 24-volt printers.
The silicone-carbide construction of this fan ensures that it is lightweight, meaning that no matter which 24-volt 3D printer you attach it to, it should sit comfortably without affecting any of the other components.
We also appreciate that this fan comes in a 2-pack, so you’ll have a replacement on standby at all times.
Unfortunately, some customers have reported an annoying rattling noise during operation, so this isn’t a silent fan by any means. However, it’s still an affordable and widely-compatible solution to the problem of your printer’s hot end overheating.
- 24-volt - Widely hot end-compatible
- Silicone- carbide construction - Lightweight
- Brushless design - Energy-efficient
- 2-pack - Replacement included
- Some rattling noises - Not silent
Sometimes, your 3D printer’s filament may also need a dedicated fan. This usually isn’t so much to do with overheating as exposure to moisture, which can render filament useless.
If your printing filament needs drying, we recommend purchasing this Filament Dryer Box with a built-in fan from EIBOS. Technically, this isn’t a printer fan in the sense that it doesn’t mount to the printer itself.
However, it performs a crucial function related to your 3D printer and is, in our opinion, the best fan for 3D printer filament.
One of the best things about this fan/dryer box is the fact that the temperature and humidity are both adjustable using the LCD control panel. This means that you can set the box to the perfect temperature for drying your filament without fusing it together.
This fan box is compatible with many different spool types, so you don’t have to worry about using a specific type of spool - this is a versatile product.
Another benefit of using the EIBOS Filament Dryer Box is that it can also be used as a storage box, so you’ll always have somewhere safe to keep your filament when you’re not using your 3D printer.
This is a quiet fan, operating at very low noise levels. However, its current price point means that this is not a very good budget option for filament drying.
- Adjustable temperature and humidity - Versatile
- Holds various spools - High compatibility
- Doubles as storage box - Convenient
- Low noise levels - Very quiet
- LCD screen - Easy to monitor
- High price point - Not budget-friendly
The 3D Printer Fan from MakerFocus is a solid 3D printer fan with a versatile design and a good level of functionality.
Boasting a 30,000-hour fan life, the MakerFocus 3D Printer Fan will see you through many printing projects without allowing your printer to overheat.
This is a powerful fan, rated at 6,200 RPM and 5.75 CFM. This means that both the speed and airflow of this fan are at a good level, providing effective cooling.
In addition to being efficient, this 3D printer fan is also very precise thanks to the high-precision bearing. This allows you to direct the airflow exactly where it’s needed so there’s no unwanted interference and maximum targeted cooling.
Because this fan comes in a pack of 4, it’s excellent value for money, and you don’t have to worry about being without a fan if your first one reaches the end of its life.
This isn’t the loudest 3D printer fan out there by any means, but it does make a high-pitched whining sound during operation, which may be annoying or distracting at times.
- 30,000-hour life - Long-lasting
- 6,200 RPM - Powerful
- 5.75 CFM - Good airflow
- High-precision bearing - Precise cooling
- 4-pack - Good value for money
- High pitched whining noise - Not very quiet
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing A Fan For Your 3D Printer
Choosing a high-quality fan for your 3D printer has the potential to maximize its performance and improve the quality of your printing projects. Conversely, a low-quality fan will likely prove to be a waste of money and may even have a detrimental impact on your work.
This is why it’s so important to consider the individual features that make up an effective 3D printer fan before you add any products to your cart.
Keep reading this buyer’s guide to find out which factors and features you should be thinking about when choosing a 3D printer fan.
Fan Speed (RPM)
One of the first specifications we recommend checking if you’re interested in a specific 3D printer fan is the RPM, which reveals the speed of the fan in terms of rotations per minute.
The faster the fan, the more you can expect in terms of airflow - although there is not always a correlation, as we’ll see shortly. In general, though, a higher RPM indicates a more powerful fan.
RPMs for 3D printer fans can vary significantly, ranging from under 3,500 to over 6,000.
If you’re purchasing a fan for a printer component that doesn’t typically need much additional airflow (the motor, for example), you may prefer to purchase a lower RPM fan (ideally, for a lower price).
However, if your fan is going to be responsible for cooling, say, the hot end of your printer, we recommend a higher RPM.
The airflow of a 3D printer fan is usually expressed in CFM (cubic feet per minute). This is a measurement of how much air a fan is able to move in the space of a minute.
Again, CFM ratings are highly variable when it comes to 3D printer fans, so the best rating for you will depend on where you’re installing the fan and how much cooling you need it to provide.
3D printing fans don’t typically need to cool a large surface area, so you don’t need the same CFM as you would for a ceiling fan, for instance.
However, if your fan is going to cool an area like the hot end, which is very much prone to overheating, we recommend prioritizing fans with CFM ratings over 5, since anything less than this may not be sufficient for the level of cooling required.
In terms of compatibility, one of the most important specifications to verify is the voltage of your new fan.
This is crucial information because incompatible voltages can cause serious technical problems. If you connect a 24-volt fan to a 12-volt printer, you might end up with an overvoltage situation which can cause melted fuses and burnt printer parts.
While most 3D printers are compatible with 12-volt fans, some (such as a few models in the Ender series) require 24-volt fans. Be sure to check what fan voltage your printer requires before you buy your fan.
When it comes to the installation of your new 3D printer fan, you’ll need to take several different factors into consideration.
We’ve already discussed the voltage of the fan, which will ultimately determine the fan’s compatibility with your printer. However, this isn’t the only thing you need to take into account.
The length of the cable attached to your fan will come into play here, and the length of cable you need will largely depend on where you’re planning to install the fan. You will also need to check that the connector is compatible with your printer.
Before purchasing a 3D printer fan, we recommend that you take some measurements of your printer so that you know the wires will be long enough to be pulled through your mounting block. Also, make sure that the connector matches the terminal.
Of course, if you’re purchasing a less conventional fan, such as a fan-driven filament cooling box, there will be no installation required.
When working on a creative project, the last thing you want is a distracting noise irritating your ears the whole time.
Unfortunately, the majority of 3D printer fans are not silent, which means that you should expect some level of noise during operation. You can, however, prioritize low-noise fans to reduce the amount of annoyance and distraction you need to deal with.
Fan noise should be measured in decibels, and most manufacturers will provide this information.
For reference, 20 decibels is roughly equivalent to the noise of a whisper from a few feet away, while 30 decibels is akin to a close-by whisper. Most of the fans we’ve reviewed for today’s article fall into this category.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where in my 3D printer should I install a fan?
There are several components of a 3D printer that may require the help of a fan to cool down and prevent overheating.
One area of a 3D printer that many people think would need a fan, but actually doesn’t most of the time, is the motor.
While some 3D printers have coils that may be more prone to overheating, most of these motors don’t run hot enough to require a fan, and if they do, they usually have a built-in heatsink.
With that being said, your 3D printer’s power supply may well need a fan because of the heat generated by transistors, resistors, and transformers.
The hot end is another obvious part of a 3D printer that can benefit from a fan. The heater cartridge that melts the filament for printing is susceptible to overheating, so a fan can definitely help to counteract this.
Additionally, the motor drivers, transistors, and processors inside 3D printer control boards are all sources of heat generation, so directing a fan at your control board is a wise move if you want to prevent heat-related damage to the system over time.
Do I Really Need A Fan For My 3D Printer?
It’s likely that at least one of the components of your 3D printer that are exposed to heat will need a fan to cool it down.
3D printers are expensive investments, so it’s better to invest in a fan even if your printer doesn’t seem to be having problems rather than discover overheating damage too late.
Does Fan Speed Affect 3D Printing Quality?
A faster, more effective fan can improve the quality of your 3D prints.
This is because a fan prevents overheating, allowing the other components of the printer (some of which are crucial for detailing and clean edges) to function better. This results in better prints overall.
Choosing a compatible 3D printing fan with a high RPM, decent CFM, a long life expectancy, and low noise levels will do wonders for your 3D printing projects.
Not only will your 3D printer probably perform better for longer, but you can also expect better-quality results from your prints.
Remember to check the voltage of your 3D printer, measure the distance from the mounting point to the terminal, and verify the terminal type before buying a fan to ensure compatibility.