When it comes to finding the best PC case for your next build, there are a few key areas that everyone needs to keep in mind. Ensuring your components have sufficient airflow is one of the most important, and many of the best PC case manufacturers take care of this issue with ease. Trickier areas to tackle, such as aesthetically pleasing design and acoustic performance, are not so easily handled without additional costs. Still, regardless, the best PC cases tend to offer a balance of all three.
Build quality and performance are just two of the factors that should weigh in on your decision. You need to think about form factor, if you care about viewing your system through a tempered glass panel, and what budget restrictions you have, as all these can affect your decision.
In our search for the best PC cases out there, we have ensured to include high-quality models from reputable manufacturers. Furthermore, regardless if you are going for a full-tower, Mini-ITX, or a case constructed entirely of tempered glass, our recommendations have spacious interiors and promote excellent airflow. If you’re interested in seeing what sets them apart from other cases, then read on. You can also check out our collection of PC case reviews right here.
Our Top Picks
First Look: Best PC Cases
The Lian Li O11 Xl lives up to its smaller predecessor, in terms of both features and looks. The tempered glass side window is toolless, and the clever design trumps the competition. This may be closer to the enthusiast level of consumers and deserves to house a water-cooled system.
A brilliant combination of brushed aluminum and smoked tempered glass gives this case a look and feel like no other case on the market. It supports liquid cooling with heaps of space inside to mount your liquid kit and has plenty of cable management options.
Make sure to pick up a set of fans to go with your build, but other than that, you are good to go, with arguably one of the best PC cases currently available
The NZXT H510 is another brilliant addition from the guys at NZXT. This mid-tower case challenges the popular Meshify C from Fractal Design and features that classic sleek look we have all come to love from NZXT. Like it’s predecessor, the H500, this is once again packed with features, with included fans, a PSU shroud, water-cooling support, and an impressive cable management system.
You really can’t beat this mid-tower PC case’s aesthetics. It’s stunning. NZXT, as many will know, are builder-friendly for both beginners and veterans.
Even when the fans are running at full blast, the case remains relatively quiet. Aside from a small NZXT logo on the front panel, the minimalistic looking H510 is free of branding, yet oozes quality.
We recommend this case in a lot of our best PC builds for its excellent airflow and style.
The Enthoo 719 is one of the best full-tower cases on the market, with a fantastic amount of features for the price. Aside from value, this Phanteks beast is visually stunning, offers great water-cooling support, and can house a dual system setup.
The Phanteks Enthoo 719, originally known as the Enthoo Luxe 2, is one of the best PC cases available, narrowly missing out on the top spot to the Lian Li chassis. Enthusiasts get a lot of bang for their buck with this PC case; the quality is of the highest out there.
This may look simplistic in photo form, but in real life, this is a real beauty. The thick tempered glass panel sits hinged and reveals a massive interior that has room for a dual system setup. You will have to purchase fans separately with this case, but with elegant design, massive amounts of water-cooling support, and a logical layout, you can’t go wrong.
This NZXT PC case is Mini-ITX, meaning it’s a smaller form-factor than the rest of the cases on this list. It has a tempered-glass window to see inside the system, superb water-cooling potential for its size, and a clever cable management system.
The NZXT H210 is an incredibly well-designed case, aesthetically and functionally. It takes after its bigger brother the H510. Despite its smaller form factor, it features clever SSD mounts, a PSU shroud, water-cooling support, and a tempered glass side panel.
The case has great radiator and fan mounting capabilities, which is impressive for a case of this size. You can set up a custom loop or an air cooling solution easily, whichever you prefer. It comes with two 120mm fans pre-installed to provide you with ample airflow out of the box.
If you’re interested in building a computer with a lower profile, or you don’t like big bulky cases, you should consider the NZXT H210. It has all of the features you’d want in a case compacted into a mini-ITX design.
Fractal Design is known for its incredible build quality and love of providing us builders with useful features. The Define 7 PC case follows this trend and is an update on the brilliant R6. This has some of the best acoustic performance out there, with heavy-duty sound dampening materials being used on most of the panels.
One of the most simply designed cases we have featured, but its functionality is like no other case on the market. Its vast size supports liquid cooling and has plenty of cable management options. This line of cases is highly regarded by consumers who love silent operation, and the Define 7 definitely delivers. This case features similar performance to the older Fractal Design Define R6, and while its cooling performance may be in question, the acoustics are not.
All of the computer cases on this list are here for a reason – we didn’t just pick them out of thin air. First and foremost, we conducted a search to discover which PC cases gamers are into while trying to balance those with the highest reviews against those with the lowest price tags.
Reviews from various manufacturers were taken into account, as well as reviews from others in the PC gaming industry.
Next, we get our hands on as many of our recommendations as possible so we can see the build quality up close, test how easy they are to build in, and see how they effectively cool components.
From graphics cards to PC cases, we like to get hands-on with all the hardware we recommend. Testing the products is a huge part of our overall selection process and it is a way we can be sure that a specific option is the best for the job.
PC Cases must pass our testing which is largely a lot of PC building, with some other boring stuff but most if not every recommendation will have gone through a strict testing process.
With a PC case, we need to assess build quality, construction, thermal performance, and finally, value.
This process enables us to provide you with an accurate take on how well a case performs and, ultimately, if it’s worth your hard-earned cash.
When purchasing cases, there are certain things you will need, like support for your cooling or motherboard. But there are other things you will really want or value as quality of life improvements.
Before anything else, you’re going to want to know what parts you’ll be using with your case. You’ll want to know your motherboard form factor (ATX, micro-ATX, mini-ITX), graphics card length, how many drives you’ll be using, how many fans you need, whether or not you’re installing a radiator, etc.
All of these factors are important to take into consideration before buying your case. That’s why we’ll go over these things in some more detail.
Motherboard Form Factor
Before buying a case, you’ll need to know your motherboard’s form factor. The three most popular form factors are ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX, each of which being smaller than the former.
Being smaller means you have less room for components and that you’ll generally have fewer features. This isn’t bad if you don’t need a lot, but if you’re making a high-end gaming build, or a mid-range build you intend to upgrade in the future, then you might want to stick with the classic ATX board.
PC Case Form Factor
Since there are motherboards with different sizes, there will obviously be smaller cases that can’t accommodate for larger form factors. However, larger cases can usually fit smaller motherboards but always be sure to double-check compatibility before you make a purchase.
There are three prominent types of computer cases (although there are more) and each is compatible with different types of motherboards:
- Full-tower PC cases are the largest cases and can work with E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX. Their large size is more meant for extra components rather than exceptionally larger motherboards. You can view our best full tower PC cases here.
- Mid-tower PC cases are the most popular and can also work with motherboards from Mini-ITX up to ATX.
- Mini-ITX PC cases sacrifice the larger ATX boards, but can always fit Mini-ITX boards inside, with the odd PC case being able to cope with Micro-ATX.
Form factor aside, there are cases that follow similar dimensions but don’t conform with design. Take open-air PC cases, for example, giving water-cooling enthusiasts a very unique chassis to create some incredible loop designs.
Airflow And Water Cooling
If it weren’t for your CPU cooler, your processor would reach dangerous temps. While PC components are designed to operate at relatively high temperatures without being damaged, that doesn’t mean you want them to get too hot. If your components overheat, it will damage them and significantly reduce their lifespan.
When building a computer, it needs to have good airflow. Most cases ship with fans already installed, some even with built-in LEDs. It would also be wise to have additional space for aftermarket fans or a radiator if you choose to use an all-in-one cooler.
I would recommend having at least two case fans, but three or more is ideal. If you’re only using two, you’ll want one of them to draw in cool air while the other exhausts hot air. This system will keep a constant stream of air passing over your components, while at the same time drawing in cooler air and expelling warm air.
Fan configurations vary based on your case, and the level of airflow your system requires. For example, heavy overclockers would need more airflow to their hot components than the average builder.
Of course, some PC cases are designed to benefit from negative air pressure (only have exhaust fans), but this can attract dust in unwanted places, so be wary.
Knowing how to pick the best case for water cooling can be tricky. Water coolers tend to have large radiators and pumps, so you’re going to want a case with plenty of space for the water cooler itself, not to mention the large radiator fans.
Drive Bays And Expansion Slots
In general, cases ship with three different kinds of drive bays, each with their own uses:
- 2.5-inch bays are generally used for SSDs (solid-state drives)
- 3.5-inch bays are used for standard mechanical hard drives.
- 5.25-inch bays are used for optical drives (aka DVD or BluRay readers). However, many manufacturers have started to do away with 5.25-inch optical drive bays since physical disks are becoming less and less popular (or needed).
Cases will also come with expansion slots. These are found in the back of the case and are used for graphics cards, sound cards, etc. That’s to say they are very vital.
Some PC cases now do away with drive bays all together and favor SSD/HDD mounting brackets instead. This system is no different and is actually a more efficient way of using space in some cases.
A good case has plenty of options for cable management. Most cases have holes in the back panel for you to run cables through, but some cases are better for cable management than others. For example, the holes may be there, but not in ideal locations. Some cases also don’t leave enough space underneath the back panel for cables.
Not only do poorly managed cables look bad, but they can also restrict airflow. We threw this quick video together to show how to do cable management correctly in one of our budget PC case picks, the Fractal Design Focus G.
Silence Is Bliss
Nobody wants to be bothered by noisy case fans. If your case ships with fans, make sure they aren’t too loud – trust me, you’ll thank me later. Many popular cases, including all of the cases in our roundup, have been reviewed online. Before you purchase a case, make sure you look at their reviews. During testing, many reviewers will make note of not only the fans’ cooling performance but also their noise levels.
Understanding Build Quality
If you’re building a computer, odds are you’re investing a decent chunk of change. Damaging or destroying your components is the last thing you want to do – that’s why it’s important to buy a case with a solid construction (this is an even bigger concern if you move your PC around frequently). Side panel windows are okay, but make sure the glass is strong, and the case is sturdy. If you are keen on a tempered glass PC case, read our guide to the best tempered glass PC cases right here.
Let’s have a quick run-through of our best PC case selections and a sneak peek at their stats.
Best PC Cases Of 2021
Great interior layout
Very aesthetically pleasing
Premium construction and materials
Uninterrupted tempered glass
Hot swappable drives
Better suited for water-cooled builds
The Lian-Li O11 Dynamic was a hit back when it was released and this XL version is no different, with the same non-standard layout and one of the nicest designs on the PC case market. This computer case is, of course, meant for water-cooling but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a standard build in there, you’ll just want to make sure you include an efficient amount of fans.
This spacious enclosure can support motherboards from Mini-ITX all the way up to E-ATX. There is an optional accessory you can purchase if you wanted to fit an EBB too.
With the increased size over its predecessor, it is now even easier to install the most ambitious of systems inside. The case also comes with hot-swap drives, which is a great feature when compared to your standard cages/ bracket mounts. Inside you get four hot-swap 2.5″/3.5″ and six internal for 2.5″ SSD.
The case features are tailored primarily for custom water-cool builds, with some added cutouts for different system configurations. Furthermore, everything almost tool-free and easy to access, which is surprisingly rare with PC cases. There is a lot of support for radiators and fans. The front I/O ports are fairly standard but it is good to see USB Type-C involved.
There are eight standard expansion slots at the back with an option to vertically mount your GPU too, supporting high-end GPUs up to 169mm in height.
Overall this is one of the best PC cases we have ever seen, with great GPU cooling, hot-swap drives, great rad/fan support, multi-PSU support, and one of the nicest looking designs out there, great stuff Lian-Li.
Great thermal and acoustic performance
Clean, modern design
Vertical GPU mounting option
Cable management brackets
Elite version is overpriced
Airflow config attracts dust in unwanted places
Screw fittings are too tight
Limited front I/O ports
NZXT are no strangers to premium cases and this mid-tower, the H510, is yet another impressive model from the brand. At first glance, you instantly recognize it’s from NZXT with the overall design being minimalist yet elegant. The quality speaks for itself and this PC case has impressive cooling performance too.
The case supports motherboards up to ATX and comes with a healthy amount of features for the price. Along with the included 120mm Aer fans, we see superb water-cooling support, a PSU shroud, cable management brackets, and tempered glass.
NZXT has added USB Type-C port to this refreshed model and it features a vertical GPU mount option, which is always great in a tempered glass case. The case gives off a sleek feel with its two-tone glossy metal panels and the “cable bar” rounds off the design nicely.
Considering the modest asking price, the H510 is easily one of the best mid-towers on the market. This case will make your PC build look superb with minimal effort and thanks to NZXT’s clever design, it is incredibly easy to build in.
Impressive build quality
Dual system support
Plenty cable management room
Could be too tall for some desks
Phanteks takes build quality and useful features as seriously as anyone else, all while offering superb PC cases at affordable prices. The brand has cases to suit all budgets and needs and the Enthoo 719 sits as one of the best full-tower cases you can get. Not only is this tower huge, but it’s also built to last and looks incredibly premium. Furthermore, the price to performance with this chassis is near unbeatable.
This PC case supports motherboards from EEB all the way down to Mini-ITX and can even support a dual system setup. That’s right, if you are a streamer/ content creator you can get everything you need and fit it inside this one full-tower.
Some may consider this to be a “budget” full-tower but don’t let that fool you, this is one classy chassis. Any type of build looks amazing behind the huge uninterrupted tempered glass panel. Water-cooling isn’t a must but the main features go a long way to support a custom loop setup. Furthermore, there is a vast amount of drive options at hand here, with 11 places to mount a 2.5″ SSD and 12 spots for a 3.5″ drive.
As there is plenty of radiator and fan support options, the Phanteks Enthoo 719 comes with a fan hub. A simple feature to include but it much appreciated when you need to tidy up the cables in this build. Looks great and performs even better, a superb full-tower PC case.
NZXT’s stylish design
Good airflow for a mini tower
Some consider this a bit noisy
The NZXT H210 comes with similar features to its bigger brothers, only compacted into the smaller form factor. The design is, once again, superb from NZXT and this Mini-ITX-only case is actually a little bigger than most competitor models on the market.
With the H210 you’d struggle to find many design features that are different from the H510. This comes with tempered glass, cable management brackets, and a few SSD mounting options too. Furthermore, it is available in similar color schemes and has impressive water-cooling support for the price.
The case comes with two preinstalled Aer 120mm fans, so make sure your ITX board can accommodate for this. Otherwise, go for the H210i model with the included smart device V2.
This may not offer the same compact size as cases such as the Thermaltake Core V1 or Fractal Design Node 202 PC cases but its unique size in this bracket means you can get some impressive builds in there and fit ATX sized PSUs.
With its aesthetic steel and tempered glass design, it’s a real sight to behold.
Take a look at our full NZXT H210 review here.
Great acoustic performance
Packed with cooling options
Easy cable management
Quality materials used
Modular top panel
Retains optical bay
Excellent build quality
Sound dampening door bad for thermal performance
Similar performance to previous model
Fractal Design has released some unbelievably good PC cases over the years and this latest refresh follows that trend. The Define 7 is essentially the latest update on the brilliant R6, aimed towards those who love silent operation. The interior, color options, and tempered glass options all remain the same, with a few tweaks that make this one of the best silent PC cases I have seen in recent years.
You can’t hide from Fractal’s build quality, it hits you in the face straight away. Furthermore, the brand constantly adds useful features whenever they spot a gap for one and while you may not always need it, it’s great to have these extra options.
We see a lightly tinted glass back on these and the interior now sports a gorgeous white coat on the tempered glass models. Of course, if you go for the non-TG version the inside remains that gun-metal grey color. This case supports all the way up to E-ATX but you will lose the use of the cutouts. For optimal use go for ATX form factor when building in this case.
Sound performance is very close to its predecessor, with the added quality of life improvements making all the difference. The cooling performance takes a hit with the case door at the front but you are most likely grabbing one of these to cut down on system noise. The front, sides, and top all feature heavy-duty sound dampening materials to give you excellent acoustic performance.
This well-constructed case comes with a modular layout, plenty of cooling support, water-cooling support, and drive options. A truly amazing case and one of the best for silent operation.
Check out our full Fractal Design Define 7 review here.
If you are looking for any additional information, feel free to check out our wide range of related PC Case guides from below.
As well as some of our featured PC Case reviews:
Are Expensive PC Cases Worth It?
The humble PC case is a vastly underappreciated aspect of any build. Often treated as an afterthought, it actually has a massive impact on system performance, so it’s a good idea to allocate a bigger chunk of your budget to your build’s house than you first thought to.
Ultimately, how much you should spend on a case really depends on what kind of build you’re dreaming up. If it’s a low power system that’s relatively quiet and doesn’t give off too much heat, you don’t need to worry about fancy-schmancy designs.
If you’re working on a mid-range build, you don’t need the most expensive case on the market, but forking out for one that allows your hardware to reach its true potential is a no-brainer.
A case worthy of a gaming supercomputer, on the other hand, will need to have optimal airflow, pristine cable management, sound dampening panels, and attractive aesthetics, and that, folks, is going to cost you.
Is a Bigger PC Case Better?
The idea that a big PC case is somehow inherently better than a compact design is something of a myth derived from the idea that if a case can fit more fans in, it will cool your components more efficiently, thereby improving performance.
The truth is that smaller cases can keep your CPUs and GPUs just as cool by optimizing airflow. If the airflow throughout the case is sufficient, you don’t necessarily need a ton of fans. You can even boost a micro-build performance beyond that of a mid-tower build by installing some liquid cooling.
Having said that, bigger cases do offer more clearance room for hefty tower-style CPU coolers, which is definitely a bonus. They also offer more room for tweaking, keeping you feeling like King Kong every time you reach in to make an adjustment, but the best argument of all for choosing a larger case is expandability.
Small cases obviously can’t fit all that much hardware in. Sure, you may have masterfully measured out every aspect of your build to ensure it fits into your tiny case, but what happens when you’re ready to upgrade?
Are Mesh Cases Better?
Mesh-focused cases do tend to enable a better airflow than solid closed-front designs and that’s simply because it’s easier for air to get in. Closed panel designs typically only use small vented zones to facilitate airflow, and sometimes, it’s a little restrictive.
That’s not to say that a well-made solid front case can’t compete at a near-mesh-level, but if you check out any of the ‘best airflow case’ lists, at least 90% of them well have a mesh front panel. Do bear in mind; however, that mesh doesn’t always mean better airflow.
If the mesh panel is clogged up with a bunch of unnecessary or ill-designed filters, airflow is going to be just as stilted as it is with a solid panel case.
Are Full Tower Cases Worth It?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, whether a full tower case is worth your money depends on the kind of computer you’re building. Typically, gamers only really shoot for a full tower if they’re building something akin to a NASA supercomputer. The extra room gives you a ton of space for high-powered hardware, fitting loads of chunky thermal solutions, and opens the door for future upgrades.
If you’re not trying to create a computer so powerful that it will one day cast off the shackles of a subservient existence, rise up, and lead the machine revolution, a full tower case doesn’t really bring anything essential to the table. They’re incredibly expensive, weigh more when empty than a small form factor case does carrying your whole build, and stick out like a sore thumb.
For the average build, you’re much better off opting for a large mid tower case. It’ll fit bigger, modern GPUs in without too much bother, and there’ll be plenty of space for advanced cooling systems should you choose to dabble with a spot of manual overclocking.
Are Musetex Cases Good?
Much like any other brand, Musetex has a bunch of options on the market at varying qualities. They’ve been turning a lot of heads recently due to their arresting designs, RGB brilliance, and of course the budget price tags.
Although some minimalists might find them to be somewhat garish, judging by appearance alone, they seem as if they’d be high-performance, premium-price cases, but the truth is you’d be hard-pressed to find many that cost over $110.
While you shouldn’t automatically write them off just for being affordable, they won’t compete with your Corsairs, your NZXTs, and your Fractals. We’d consider them a great entry to mid-level case, perfect for gamers looking for striking aesthetics on a budget.
Are Open PC Cases Better?
Open air cases do have some perks, but there is an equal amount of downsides to their design as well.
As there’s literally nothing inhibiting airflow, they almost always have better thermals than closed or mesh panel cases, but only at first. In the absence of panels and filters preventing debris from the environment from getting into your open-case build, the accumulation of dust can bring running temperatures way up. The lack of shielding also leaves them vulnerable to impacts and moisture.
Often looking like some sort of exhibit in an alien museum of fine art, open cases can really make your build pop, but without full paneling, there’s nothing to dampen the noise of your hardware. In light of this, it’s best to replace as many fans as possible with liquid.
If you want the skinny on the best open PC cases around, you should definitely give our article a quick read – https://www.wepc.com/reviews/best-open-air-pc-case/.
Why Are SFF cases So Expensive?
They may be small, but SFF cases are almost always incredibly well-made. Fewer materials are required to craft them, but more often than not, those materials are the highest quality.
In addition, as things get smaller, production requires greater precision and different techniques. You may have also noticed that SFF cases are actually something of a rarity.
Being that there simply aren’t as many cases for SFF builds as there are for other form factors, their scarcity, comes hand in hand with value. They’re like rare gems, while mid towers are mere pebbles.
One last reason you shouldn’t expect smaller to mean cheaper is that manufacturers need to keep up their profit margins. These little things are harder to produce and don’t sell nearly as well as your standard ATX mid tower case. Bumping the price up a bit ensures making SFF cases is worth the resources they put into making them.
What is the Most Expensive PC Case in the World?
There are probably a few experimental case designs that aren’t available to consumers with hypothetical price tags that would send you running for the hills to live a simple life in an Amish community.
In terms of what’s available to the public, the most expensive is the spherical In Win WINBOT PC Case, costing a cool 1K. Coming in second, we have the Corsair Obsidian Series 1000 D, which will set you back something to the tune of $645.
Although often overlooked, the importance of a PC case cannot be overstated. Your case protects the rest of your components and provides them with airflow to ensure they’re running at a stable temperature, making it important to find the best PC cases available.
Now you have everything you need to choose a good case no matter what your needs are, whether it’s airflow or for that water-cooled build. Have you built with any of our best PC case selections? We would love to know what case you went for to house your build in and also if you have any alternate suggestions we should look into!