A 3D printer has tons of different components, from the nozzle to the print bed. But none are as underrated as the fans.
The fans on a 3D printer might not look or seem important, but they’re absolutely vital to your printer. And not just for printing performance but also for the overall safety of the machine. Without fans, many of the electronics on your 3D printer would overheat during long prints, costing you a lot of money.
As such, you should never sleep on the fans on your 3D printer. This is especially the case with budget 3D printers, such as the Creality Ender 3 (V2/Pro). This printer, while an amazing option for makers, has pretty cheap fans that are just dying to be upgraded.
The Evercool EC4010 is a terrific upgrade for the part cooling fan onboard the Ender 3 if you’re looking for enhanced print quality. I also suggest changing the hot end fan to a Noctua NF-A4X10 FLX to prevent problems like heat creep!
Want to learn more about the best Ender 3 fan upgrades? Keep reading!
Table of Contents
- Best Ender 3 (V2/Pro) Fan Upgrades At A Glance
- Part Cooling
- Hot End Fan
- Motherboard Fan
- PSU Fan
- Why Upgrade the Fan?
- Types of Fans on the Ender 3:
- Considerations for 3D Printer Fans
- Ender 3 Fan Ducts
- How to Upgrade Ender 3 Fan?
- What is the Fan Size of Ender 3/Pro/V2?
Best Ender 3 (V2/Pro) Fan Upgrades At A Glance
First up, we have the SoundOriginal 5015. Hence the product’s name, this is a 5015 fan, meaning its dimensions are 50 x 50 x 15 mm. As such, this fan is a bit larger than the stock part cooling fan on the Ender 3 (V2/Pro), but it’s so so so much more powerful.
On top of being physically larger, the structure of the SoundOriginal 5015 fan looks a lot like a jet turbine. And, to some extent, it functions like one too! Furthermore, this fan is an absolute beast when it comes to pushing air and cooling filament.
I’ve personally tested this fan, and it’s 100% my favorite fan upgrade for not just the Ender 3 (V2/Pro), but any budget 3D printer. Moreover, I’ve never had an under-cooling problem once with this fan. In fact, I’ve had more of the opposite, where I have to lower the fan speed settings in my slicer because they’re just too powerful!
As you might expect, this fan is a good bit louder than the Ender 3’s stock part cooling fan. But this is a small price to pay for the immense cooling abilities of the SoundOriginal 5015 fan. And, on this note about price, the fan is also a steal for the price, costing just over $5 apiece.
Sadly, given the larger size of this fan, it’s a bit more difficult to install compared to other options. You’ll need to 3D print a special mount or fan duct so that the part can fit on the Ender 3’s printhead and so the airflow can be properly directed toward the nozzle.
But if you want a part cooling fan that won’t let you down in terms of cooling ability and isn’t expensive at all, the SoundOriginal 5015 is the one for you!
The Evercool EC4010 is easily the least expensive fan upgrade you’ll find on the market. Costing under $5 per fan, the EC4010 is a 40 x 40 x 10 mm fan, the same size as the current part cooling fan on the Ender 3 (V2/Pro).
If I’m being honest, the Evercool EC4010 is a pretty mediocre fan upgrade by any standard, but, for the price, it’s a great deal. Based on my experiences, the fan is slightly more powerful than the original Ender 3 fan, likely due to a better bearing. As such, it’s a good option if you only need a little more cooling but don’t want to overkill the problem.
The EC4010 fan has a 3-pin connector, different from the default fan’s 2-pin connector. But don’t worry as you can just snip the wires off or cut the 3d pin area off the connector to wire the fan to your Ender 3’s motherboard. And the hardware installation should also be a perfect fit because the fan is the same size as the stock one.
So, if you want a very low-cost fan upgrade that provides a little better cooling and has an easy installation, the EC4010 is perfect!
Noiseblocker is a company that specializes in making low-noise fans, and the BlackSilent XM1 is an excellent option that you can use for your Ender 3’s part cooling fan.
The XM1 is a 4010 fan, the same size as the Ender 3’s original cooling fan. As such, the installation process should be a breeze because it’s an exact swap. Sadly, like the EC4010, the BlackSilent XM1 has a 3-pin connector, but, as I said, you can just cut the 3d pin off without an issue.
But we didn’t include the BlackSilent XM1 for its ease of installation. No, we chose it because it’s so quiet. According to the manufacturer, and confirmed by yours truly, the fan has a noise level of just 9 decibels, a good bit under the ~40 decibels that the default Creality fan produces.
And, just so you know, the decibel unit range is basically exponential, so a 3db increase is actually a 100% increase in sound energy and about a 23% increase in audible noise. As such, this fan reduces the print noise from fans almost entirely.
If your Ender 3 is in your bedroom and you can’t get any sleep, or you just simply want your 3D printer to be less noisy, installing the Noiseblocker BlackSilent XM1 is a great idea!
Hot End Fan
Noctua is a very popular manufacturer of fans for computers, 3D printers, and other applications. The NF-A4x10 FLX is a special, super-low-noise fan that can work on your Ender 3 (V2/Pro) hot end.
While installation is a bit tricky because the fan is 12V and the Ender 3 (V2/Pro) is 24V, the actual fan is so nice. On top of faster top speeds, the A4x10 is extremely quiet, with a minimum noise output of just over 12 decibels. This is a lot quieter than the ~40-decibel noise output from the stock fans on the Ender 3.
But don’t let the facts speak for this fan. Let the reviews do the talking! If you check Amazon, this fan has tons of 5-star reviews with pictures of the fan on all sorts of 3D printers, including the Ender 3.
Everyone has something to say about the A4x10 FLX, such as its low noise, decent cooling power, and visually-appealing color scheme!
You may have heard of TH3D from their popular firmware releases or their EZABL Pro automatic bed leveling kit. But they also sell a terrific fan that can be used as the hot end for the Ender 3 (V2/Pro).
The TH3D Sealed Bearing Fan is a 24V 40 x 40 x 10 mm fan, so swapping the stock hot end fan on the Ender 3 with this one should be a seamless process. And, unlike most of the options on this list, this TH3D fan only has two wires like the stock fan, so you won’t even need to cut the wire down to fit it in the motherboard port.
The fan, due to its better and likely more lubricated bearings, runs a lot smoother than the stock hot end fan onboard the Ender 3. And, according to TH3D, it’s meant to last a long time, so you won’t need to worry about it failing on you and causing a hot end clog mid-print.
Our first and only motherboard fan replacement option is the Noctua NF-A4x20 FLX. This fan, like the other Noctua fan we talked about, is known for being super quiet.
But the difference between this option and the A4x10 is that this one (A4x20) measures 40 x 40 x 20 mm, while the other measures 40 x 40 x 10 mm. The stock motherboard fan on the Ender 3 is a 40 x 40 x 10 mm fan, but don’t worry because there’s enough space to fit the extra 10 mm of height for this fan in the motherboard housing. So, as long as you have decent cable management inside your Ender 3’s motherboard housing, you can fit this fan just fine.
And that extra 10 mm of fan height helps a lot with its cooling abilities compared to the stock motherboard fan. Although this might not seem super important, having good motherboard cooling, specifically over the stepper motor drivers, is necessary for achieving a high level of print quality. Moreover, not enough cooling on the Ender 3’s motherboard has been known to lead to bad printing effects like banding, zits, and other issues on your prints.
After accidentally bricking one of my Ender 3’s motherboards by leaving it uncooled in an enclosure, I have installed Noctua A4x20 FLX fans on all my printer’s motherboards. And I suggest you do the same!
The Anvision YDM4010B24 might not be a super sexy name for a fan, but it’s no doubt a great option for cooling the Ender 3’s PSU. As included in the name, this Anvision fan is a 4010 fan, so it should fit perfectly as a replacement for the stock PSU fan.
On top of that, as indicated by the reviews, the fan can go pretty fast. While you can’t control the power given to the PSU fan, because this one is faster and runs smoother than the stock PSU fan, the cooling should be improved.
It’s also very inexpensive, which is another benefit!
Lastly, the Noctua NF-B9 Redux-1600 PWM fan is another great upgrade option for the Ender 3’s PSU fan. While, like the previous product, its name is just way too damn long, it’s a very quiet and powerful fan.
This fan is a bit louder than the other Noctua fans we mentioned, but it’s also a good bit faster. This is good because the PSU is probably the most sensitive electronic component on the Ender 3, so it makes sense to have the most powerful fan right on it. And the fan is still noticeably quieter than the Ender 3’s stock PSU fan, so it will still be an improvement.
Unfortunately, like basically all Noctua fans, it requires 12V power, which will be annoying to configure on the Ender 3 because it’s a 24V printer. But many users have already done it in the past, so it’s definitely possible. You’ll also have to cut off two of the pins from the 4-pin connector on the fan.
That said, if you really want to make sure that your Ender 3’s PSU is properly-cooled, then the installation process will be worth it because of the amazing cooling abilities and low-noise aspect of the NF-B9 Redux fan.
Why Upgrade the Fan?
You should upgrade the fans on your Ender 3 to get better 3D prints and reduce the chances of damage or failure for the electronics onboard the machine.
Moreover, because cooling is so essential for a 3D printer to print small features (details), using a more powerful and precise part cooling fan will improve the quality of your prints.
Upgrading the hot end fan on the Ender 3 will prevent a hot end clog from happening because the improved cooling keeps heat creep at bay and ensures that filament only melts where it’s supposed to.
And using a better motherboard and PSU fan will ensure that these very sensitive electronic parts don’t fail, especially when you’re performing long print jobs or using high temperatures.
Types of Fans on the Ender 3:
There are a few different types of fans on the Ender 3, and in the mini sections below, I’ve gone over them:
Part Cooling Fan
The part cooling fan is the fan on the side of the printhead, and it’s responsible for cooling the melted filament after it comes out of the nozzle. Changing to a faster and more effective part cooling fan, such as the three we mentioned, can significantly improve the quality of prints, especially those made in PLA.
Hot End Fan
The hot end fan is the front-facing fan on the printhead (right next to the cooling fan). It’s responsible for ensuring the hot end isn’t overheating and keeping the cold side of the hot end cool, so filament doesn’t melt early and cause clogs.
The motherboard fan is the cooling fan located on the inside of the Ender 3’s motherboard housing. It’s responsible for lowering the temperature and providing adequate air circulation for the motherboard, which is the “brain” of a 3D printer. It’s especially meant for cooling the stepper motor drivers on the motherboard, which are known to get hot during long prints.
Lastly, we have the PSU fan, which is the fan for the power supply unit on your Ender 3 (V2/Pro). The power supply is responsible for converting the power from the outlet and transforming it so that your motherboard can use it. If not cooled properly, the PSU can overheat and cause massive damage to your printer, so having a good fan for the power supply unit is necessary!
Considerations for 3D Printer Fans
When picking the right 3D printer fan for you, there are a few things to keep in mind. In the mini sections below, I’ve covered what to consider:
The first and most important aspect of any fan, whether it’s the part cooling fan or PSU fan, is the cooling power of the device. The faster the fan can safely spin, the more air will be pushed, and the cooler the part it’s focused on will be.
The best way to determine the cooling ability of a fan is by looking at its RPM, or rotations per minute. But this isn’t purely indicative of its cooling ability because the size of fans, number of blades, and other factors also play a part. As such, I like to check reviews for the product and see what confirmed users have to say about the product.
3D printers have been known to be noisy, and a large part of the sound produced by 3D printers comes from their fans. As such, you should look for fans with low noise levels, especially if your 3D printer is in your bedroom, office space, or any other location where you don’t want to hear noisy fans.
You can check how loud a fan is by looking for the number of decibels the fan produces (higher = louder). The reviews also help because not all manufacturers are honest.
Lastly, you should consider the compatibility of a fan. On top of making sure that a fan can work on your Ender 3 (V2/Pro), you should look at the process for installing the fan. For example, you can get a 12V fan to work on the Ender 3 (a 24V printer), but it’s a lot more difficult than installing a 24V fan.
Just make sure that whatever fan you get has an installation process that you would feel comfortable completing.
Ender 3 Fan Ducts
Now that we’ve gone over some different fans for the Ender 3, you might be interested in getting a new fan duct. A fan duct is the part that controls the direction and flow of air produced by a fan, and they’re mainly important for the part cooling fan onboard the Ender 3.
The stock part cooling fan duct is pretty poorly-designed and doesn’t provide the best airflow for melted filament. As such, you might want to 3D print one of these alternative fan duct options that I’ve described below:
The Satsana duct is a fan duct for the Ender 3 V2 that provides more surround cooling compared to the stock Ender 3 cooling fan. As such, the air pushed by the part cooling fan on the Ender 3 won’t just hit one side of the print but, instead, come from both sides to provide better print cooling and, thus, higher-quality prints.
The Hero Me is a type of 3D printer printhead that’s 3D printable and fits a wide variety of hardware due to the many versions of the parts available. You can check out the Hero Me Gen5, one of the latest and my personal favorite iteration of this project, and pick out a fan duct that’s compatible with your fan and the Ender 3.
How to Upgrade Ender 3 Fan?
Upgrading the Ender 3 fan isn’t a one-size-fits-all process, and the installation procedure varies by what fan you’re installing and what type of fan it is. However, to give you an overview of what the process entails, I’ve broken down the process into the main, universal steps below:
- Turn your Ender 3 (V2/Pro) off
- Unscrew the current fan shroud
- Unscrew and remove the current fan
- Locate the corresponding fan wire
- Follow the wire back to the motherboard and unplug the connector
- Remove the wire from the wiring mesh
- Slide the new fan’s wire through the Ender 3’s wiring mesh until the connector reaches the motherboard side
- Plug in the fan connector to the corresponding motherboard port
- Screw in the new fan
- Reattach the fan shroud
And that’s it!
Overall, cooling is super important on the Ender 3, and if you don’t have the right fans, your prints might come out terribly, or your printer’s electronics might even get permanently damaged.
I suggest upgrading ALL of the fans on the Ender 3.
You can start by installing a Sound Original 5015 fan for the part cooling fan because of its insane power and relatively-low noise. Then, use a Noctua NF-A4x10 FLX fan for the hot end due to its low sound output.
The same goes for the motherboard fan but for the Noctua NF-A4x20 FLX fan. Finally, change out the PSU fan with the Anvision YDM 4010 fan because it’s slightly better than the stock PSU fan and super easy to install.
And that’s it! Hope you enjoy your new and improved cooling abilities on your Ender 3!