PC ComponentsCooling

How To Test Laptop Fans

Laptop Fan

Laptop fans play a critical role in cooling off the internal components of your computer. They prevent overheating, which can cause damage or malfunctions to the motherboard and processor. You must ensure that your laptop’s fan is working optimally to cool the system, and that’s where testing comes in. 

Quick Answer

Testing your laptop’s fan is an easy process that you should do regularly. There are three methods you can use to do that. They include listening to the noises the fan makes as it whirs, feeling the air coming out of the vents with paper or hands, and using special software. 

We’ve got a detailed explanation of these methods below. But we’ll first mention a few signs that may indicate issues with your fan, and you certainly don’t want to miss that. So, let’s get started. 

Signs That May Indicate Fan Issues

There are many indications of faulty or malfunctioning laptop fans. You should pay attention to identify the following signs quickly and take your laptop for a check-up and fine-tuning of the fans:

  • Overheating is the first sign that your laptop’s fan may not be working. 
  • You may realize that your fans are constantly running and making undue sounds.
  • The fans aren’t running even when you run demanding programs.
  • The laptop shuts down suddenly.
  • Error messages on your screen.

There could be other mechanical problems causing some of the above glitches and inconveniences. However, you should test your fans whenever you notice any of the above issues.  

How to Test Your Laptop Fans

Here are the three methods you can use to test your laptop fans.

Method #1: Listen to the Noise of a Whirring Fan

Your computer fans will produce some whirring noise as they spin. The noise shouldn’t be too high, but you should still hear it at a close distance. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Turn on the laptop, and after a few seconds, put your ear on the side with the fans.
    Sometimes the fans may not start immediately. Don’t worry if that happens to be the case with your laptop. The fans will only be helpful to the machine when it starts to heat up.
  2. Run a demanding app and wait a few more seconds if you don’t hear the fans a few moments after starting the computer. Listen keenly for any sound. A demanding app could be a high-resolution game or anything that requires high GPU usage. 
  3. If you can hear the fans, then know that it is working for sure

The sound of the laptop’s fans is usually smooth and uniform. Any irregularities such as cracking, lopsided noise, or weird sound could indicate issues. And in that case, you should have the fans checked and tuned up (as explained above). 

Method #2: Feel the Air with a Piece of Paper or Hands

You can also test your laptop’s fans by feeling the air coming out of its vents with a piece of paper or your bare hands. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Turn on your computer and run a demanding program (as explained in Method #1). Wait for a few seconds and put out a piece of paper in front of the vents. 
  2. You should see the paper being blown out or moved slightly by air
  3. Alternatively, you can move your hand in front of the vents. You should feel a faint and warm air. That’s it!

Method #3: Use Third-Party Software

Both Method #1 and #2 above are mainly physical. So, let’s now go the software way and dig deeper into the computer’s hardware. 

Reliable software will give you detailed information about the fans’ status. They are designed to push a computer processor to its limits and then test its speed. The software will also monitor the heat coming out of the machine. These programs also test the stress your PC can handle and diagnose issues that come from heat.  

The software approach to testing laptop fans is fun, easy, and effective. It involves a couple of steps as explained below:

  1. Download and install the software on your computer. 
    You can get the software free or after paying a small fee. There are many software programs out there. Some of the most popular are SpeedFanBurninTest, and HWMonitor. Try iStart Menu if you’re using a Mac computer. 
  2. Run the software on your system and wait for the process to complete. Now view the readings to know how efficiently your laptop’s fans perform! 


It’s easy to test your laptop’s fans, and you should do it regularly. We’ve described three simple methods above for doing that. 

Two of them are mainly physical. One method is listening to the whirring sound that the fans produce as they spin. The other involves feeling the air with your bare hands or a piece of paper. 

Last but not least, you can go the software way, which digs deep into your system’s hardware. There are numerous software programs to choose from – some come free while others ask for a small fee. You only need to download, install, and run a software program on your system. The readings will inform whether or not your fans are working – and if so, how effectively. 

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