High static pressure fans: standard and small form factor models

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When choosing a tower PC cooler (both air coolers and liquid coolers), models with more fans or larger-sized fans generally seem to be more effective in cooling. However, this is not how it always works as cooling a tower PC isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. 

One of the most important aspects of achieving optimum cooling performance is using the right type of fan. While there are different types of cooling fans available, the two types that are commonly used for PC cooling include airflow fans and static pressure fans. 

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While both types of fans are designed for cooling, they work in different ways and therefore one should not be used in place of another. For example, using a high airflow fan where there’s considerably high static pressure will not do any good in terms of cooling results. 

Static pressure inside tower PC

Every tower PC is different in terms of interior hardware layout and the number of hardware components used; some have spacious/roomy interiors while others have crammed hardware layouts and very little free space. The differences in interior layout, in combination with the overall size of the case, make each tower PC have different airflow and static pressure. 

When there are fewer internal components, there is very little disturbance to the airflow which also means that the static pressure is significantly low. In this type of scenario, high airflow fans are best suited as they can freely move large volumes of air without having to combat airflow resistance. 

Image credit: Oriental Motor

On the other hand, if the interior is jam-packed with more components, there’s high resistance to the airflow which also means that there is high static pressure. And in order to combat higher static pressure, it’s important to use high static pressure fans that draw in or draw out the air more forcefully than airflow fans. 

Image credit: Oriental Motor

In simple terms, high static pressure fans are well-suited for cooling tight spaces where components sit close to each other. 

Where to install high static pressure fans? 

Now that we know that high static air pressure fans work great in combating static pressure-induced airflow resistance in tight spaces, where to actually use static air pressure fans? 

Many gamers/PC building enthusiasts prefer high static pressure fans on the CPU cooler, specifically CPU air coolers. This is mainly because CPU air coolers can be obstructed by other hardware components such as the GPU, RAM modules, storage drive, or power supply unit. 

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GPU manufacturers commonly use high static pressure fans in GPU modules in order to maintain uncompromised cooling despite the obstructions that the GPU modules may face from components that are in close proximity. 

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Also, high static pressure fans are more common in the radiators of liquid coolers. This is because the radiator itself poses as an obstruction which causes the static pressure to increase. 

Here is a demonstration of how a high static pressure fan can compensate for the static pressure caused by the radiator and maintain higher airflow for better cooling. 

GIF credit: Hardware Canucks

Many PC component manufacturers, including Cooler Master, recommend using high static air pressure fans on the front panel for cooling hot components that are located close by. 

Source: Cooler Master

Types of high static pressure fans

Similar to standard high airflow fans, high static pressure fans are available in standard 120 mm and 140 mm sizes. However, you also get the option to choose from small form factor high static pressure fans. 

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So essentially, there are two types of static pressure fans, standard-sized high static pressure fans, and small form factor high static pressure fans. 

1. Standard static pressure fans

Standard-sized static pressure fans are available in both 120 mm and 140 mm sizes. However, it’s in the thickness (or height) that standard-sized static pressure fans differ from small form factor models. Standard-sized static pressure fans measure 25 mm in thickness. 

Image credit: Noctua

Standard-sized static pressure fans are well-suited for improving air intake in parts of the PC case where there’s very little space for air circulation. In most cases, it’s the mesh anti-dust air intake vent that creates static pressure for air intake. 

2. Small form factor static pressure fans

Small form factor static pressure fans have a standard 120 mm length and width but have a relatively compact thickness of 15 mm and 14 mm. This compact thickness makes them well-suited for applications in low-profile CPU coolers and space-restricted areas. 

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Reviews of Standard high static pressure fans

Standard static pressure fans with 25 mm of thickness are the best options for higher static pressure. This is because the 25 mm thickness opens up more room for better fan blade curvature and broader overall fan blade dimensions. 

When used for air intake, standard high static pressure fans work great in compensating for the static pressure that anti-dust mesh coverings create. Here are three standard-sized static pressure fans that have different static pressure ratings: 

1. Cooler Master Masterfan Pro 120 Air Pressure – check it out here

One of the most versatile standard-sized static pressure fans we could find is the Cooler Master Masterfan Pro 120 Air Pressure. Like many standard static pressure fans, this model has three operation modes, performance mode, quiet mode, and silence mode. In performance mode, you get a whopping 4.6 mm H2O of static pressure. The quiet mode has 3.14 mm H2O static pressure, and the silent mode has 1.45 mm H20 static pressure. 

What’s best is it supports pulse width modulation as it uses a four-pin connector. High-precision bearings, silent motor driver, and anti-vibration rubber mounting are the other features that make this model one of the best options.


  • Three dedicated operational modes
  • Static pressure in performance mode reaches up to 4.6 mm H2O
  • Up to 4,90,000 hours of fan life expectancy


  • No LED or RGB lighting
  • Can get noisy in the performance mode

2. Noctua NF-A14 – check it out here

If you are planning to upgrade your 140 mm case cooling fan with a high-performance model, Noctua NF-A14 is a good option to consider. Unlike many static pressure fans, this model delivers a considerably good static pressure of 2.08 mm H2O while maintaining an equally good airflow of 140.2 m³/h.

Similar to high-end cooling fans, Noctua NF-A14 supports pulse width modulation by using the four-pin header connector. This model also uses Noctua’s Advanced Acoustic Optimization frame that combines anti-vibration pads with the brand’s proprietary stepped inlet design in order to improve operational efficiency while lowering overall noise levels. 


  • Fan blades maintain airflow while compensating static pressure
  • Low motor and vortex noise
  • PWM supported with 4 pin header connector


  • No LED or RGB lighting 
  • No multiple operation modes

3. Thermaltake Toughfan 14 – check it out here

Thermaltake Toughfan 14 is undoubtedly one of the most powerful high static pressure fans in the 140 mm size category as it is rated for a whopping 3.45 mm H2O static pressure. What is interesting to note is that this static pressure fan is also capable of maintaining a considerably good airflow of up to 119.1 CFM. 

Despite the fairly large-size fan blades, Thermaltake Toughfan 14 has a relatively quiet operation, thanks to its anti-vibration mounting system and a metal-reinforced motor hub that works great in suppressing vibrations. This model lives up to the brand’s Toughfan lineup with an operational expectancy of 40,000 hours. 


  • Up to 3.54 mm H2O static pressure rating
  • Pulse width modulation supported
  • Low noise adapter used


  • No RGB or LED lighting
  • Fan life expectancy may seem limited to some 

Small form factor static pressure fans

For overcoming static pressure in tight spaces where hardware components are located in close proximity, small form factor static pressure fans offer the right solution. With a significantly compact thickness, small form factor static pressure fans are well-suited for low-profile CPU and GPU coolers.

Here are three small form factor static pressure fans that vary in terms of static pressure, airflow, and operational noise: 

1. Noctua NF-A12x15 – check it out here

Noctua NF-A12x15 comes as a great option for low-profile CPU coolers as it has a relatively low thickness measuring at 15 mm. However, this model offers a considerably impressive static pressure of 1.53 mm H2O despite having a compact form factor.

Noctua NF-A12x15 also comes with several features such as flow acceleration channels, stepped inlet design, metal-reinforced motor hub, and an advanced acoustic optimization frame that the brand uses in its standard-sized static pressure fans. 


  • Slim profile measuring at 15 mm
  • Pulse width modulation supported with four-pin header connector
  • Up to 52,560 hours of fan life expectancy


  • No LED or RGB lighting included
  • The slim profile may impact overall mount bracket vibration

2. Silverstone FN123 – check it out here

Another 15 mm thin small form factor static pressure fan that can effectively compensate for static pressure in tight spaces is Silverstone FN123. Although this model does not fail to deliver up to 1.52 mm H2O of static pressure, it is also effective in maintaining up to 32.6 CFM of airflow. As such, this model comes in a sort of a hybrid territory where it can balance static air pressure with airflow. 

Silverstone FN123 features aerodynamically designed air inlets that work great in lowering the noise levels caused by air turbulence and vortex. Also, a combination of precision bearings and a rugged motor helps this fan achieve a life expectancy of 40,000 hours. 


  • Fan blades designed for both air pressure and airflow
  • Optimized air inlets for low air turbulence noise


  • Pulse width modulation not supported
  • No LED lighting integrated

3. Noctua NF-A9x14 – check it out here

Noctua NF-A9x14 is one of the most compact small form factor static pressure fans as it measures 14 mm thin and has 92 mm of length and width. Compared to other 92 mm fans that are designed for 92 mm low-profile CPU coolers, this model is remarkably thin. But despite the thinness, this fan is rated for up to 1.64 mm H2O of static pressure. 

Noctua NF-A9x14 features a custom-designed IC for pulse width modulation that offers the flexibility of fully automatic speed control. This model comes with all the features that the brand uses in its top-tier static pressure fans to make sure you don’t have to make any compromises with the cooling performance. 


  • One of the slimmest 92 mm form factors measuring at 14 mm thin
  • Fully automatic PWM integrated
  • Relatively low operational noise


  • No LED or RGB lighting
  • Not the best static pressure rating

Over to you 

It’s the cohesion between the right types of fans that helps you achieve optimum cooling results in your tower PC. As such, it’s important to do more than just buy the right type of static pressure fans. It’s crucial to match static pressure fans with high airflow fans in order to balance the air pressure which, in turn, facilitates better airflow. 

Use too many high airflow exhaust fans and you will have positive air pressure inside your tower PC. 

GIF credit: NCIX Tech Tips

Using only high static pressure fans for front air intake can result in negative air pressure which, again, can disrupt airflow. 

GIF credit: NCIX Tech Tips

The key is to combine high airflow and high static pressure fans that have similar CFM and RPM to create neutral air pressure for balanced airflow.  

GIF credit: NCIX Tech Tips