What Is a Muffin Fan? (Explained for Beginners)

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A muffin fan is a very versatile fan with a funny name.

What is a muffin fan?

A muffin fan is a small, electrically powered fan that blows air. Muffin fans are used in many industries to cool down equipment and machines. Muffin fans can help regulate the temperature of many devices, including computers, aquariums, arcade systems, LED signs, and industrial equipment.

In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about muffin fans.

Why Is It Called a Muffin Fan?

Muffin fan—What Is a Muffin Fan?
Image by the author via Canva—What Is a Muffin Fan?

When most people hear the term “muffin fan,” they immediately want to know where the fan got its name.

There are several theories about the origin, but no one really knows for sure.

For example, the original fans looked like muffin tins (unpainted aluminum rotors and housings somewhat resemble aluminum muffin tins).

I think the most likely reason the name stuck is that Roton, a company that makes these fans, trademarked the term. Also, when the fans were first made, their part numbers started with MU.

Over time, Roton’s brand name became synonymous with the product.

This happens in many industries. The term “Q-tips” is a brand name for cotton swabs. The same is true for Xerox, Jet Skis, Kleenex, Jacuzzis, and Bubble Wrap.

Types of Muffin Fans

There are many types of muffin fans used for various personal, business, and industrial purposes.

To really understand muffin fans, you need to know as many types as possible.

Common muffin fan types:

  • Muffin fan for computers
  • Muffin fan with thermometer
  • High-temperature muffin fan
  • Muffin fan with filter
  • Solar muffin fan
  • USB muffin fan
  • Waterproof muffin fan
  • Round muffin fan
  • Muffin fan for RV fridge

What Is a Muffin Fan for Computers?

A muffin fan for computers helps regulate your computer’s internal temperature.

Computers generate a lot of heat when they are turned on. This heat can damage the computer’s internal components and reduce its lifespan.

Muffin fans for computers help to cool the computer down, which in turn reduces the amount of heat it generates.

Muffin fans for computers are related to PC fans, computer fans, or computer case fans.

What Is a Muffin Fan With a Thermometer?

A muffin fan with a thermometer can measure the temperature of whatever is being cooled.

This type of muffin fan is very helpful for keeping track of your computer’s internal temperature, aquarium’s water temperature, or just about any other machine you want to monitor.

I suggest getting a muffin fan with a built-in thermometer.

What Is a High-Temperature Muffin Fan?

A high-temperature muffin fan can withstand very high temperatures.

This type of muffin fan is often used in industrial and commercial settings where the equipment needs to be cooled down quickly.

Industrial machines are expensive. If one overheats, it could stop production or cause a serious accident.

What Is a Muffin Fan With a Filter?

A muffin fan with a filter helps clean the air that is being blown through and out of a machine.

You may want to consider this kind of muffin fan if you live near a factory, farm, or another area that emits dangerous pollution.

Or, if your environment is otherwise very dusty or filled with particles potentially harmful to your device.

What Is a Solar Muffin Fan?

A solar muffin fan is powered by the sun.

This type of muffin fan often comes with rechargeable batteries and can be used to cool down almost any item that needs ventilation.

One of my good friends uses a solar muffin fan to keep his RV refrigerator cool during the summer.

What Is a USB Muffin Fan?

A USB muffin fan plugs into a USB port on any computer.

This type of muffin fan is very easy to use and portable. A USB muffin fan might come with an extra USB port. You can also use the extra USB port to “daisy chain” or connect multiple fans.

Before you do, make sure that you check the max current that the USB, fan, and computer will support.

What Is a Waterproof Muffin Fan?

A waterproof muffin fan is perfect for cooling things down in wet environments.

You may need a weatherproof muffin fan if you are looking to cool down a machine or device that is in an outdoor area or in a place where it is constantly exposed to heavy moisture or water.

For example, you might need a waterproof muffin fan to cool down your boat’s engine or your pet’s kennel.

What Is a Round Muffin Fan?

A round muffin fan is just what it sounds like—a fan with a round shape. Most muffin fans come in a square shape.

A round muffin fan is often used in exhaust applications.

Most likely, you will need a square-shaped muffin fan for your device, but it’s always a good idea to check the manufacture’s instructions or website.

What Is a Muffin Fan for an RV Refrigerator?

An RV refrigerator is powered by electricity, so it needs strong fans to help regulate its internal temperature.

This is where a muffin fan for an RV fridge comes in handy.

Muffin fans keep the fridge from overheating. This protects both the fridge and the food inside the fridge.

How Do Muffin Fans Work?

Muffin fans are devices that help cool down machines and other devices by generating airflow.

The way they work is pretty simple.

A muffin fan’s blades turn, creating a flow of air through the device to cool it down.

The most common task they accomplish is preventing machines from getting so hot they damage themselves or shut down completely.

Some people also use muffin fans to blow out smoke or other fumes. Others use them to clean the air inside of devices.

The bottom line is that a muffin fan can be used for a lot of different things, and it’s a great tool to have in your arsenal when it comes to cooling down equipment or devices.

What Does a Muffin Fan Not Do?

It’s just as important to know what muffin fans don’t do.

Muffin fans don’t heat things up or create a very strong cooling effect. Only industrial muffin fans produce greater airflow, and they do so inside of machines.

Standard muffin fans don’t generate much noise.

So, if you’re looking for a fan to help keep you warm in the winter, cold in the summer, or to drown out some unwanted noise, a muffin fan is not the right choice for you.

Who Is a Muffin Fan For?

Muffin fans are for anyone who owns a machine or device and is looking for a safer way to ensure it always operates at peak performance.

Manufacturers use muffin fans to prevent excess heat from damaging the mechanics of machines.

Homeowners can use them to keep electronic equipment such as computers and video game systems from overheating.

How Many Muffin Fans Do I Need?

One muffin fan should be enough for most small appliances.

However, if you want to cool down a larger device or multiple machines at the same time, opting for two (or more) fans is best.

You can also use two or more muffin fans in combination for greater cooling power.

Computer users often use more than one muffin fan to protect the internal systems of their machines.

Muffin Fan Sizes

Muffin fans come in different shapes and sizes. The most common shapes for muffin fans are square and round.

Here is a simple list with typical muffin fan sizes:

  • 80 x 80 x 25 mm
  • 80 x 80 x 38 mm
  • 92 x 92 x 25 mm
  • 92 x 92 x 38 mm
  • 120 x 120 x 38 mm
  • 172 x 150 x 51 mm
  • 254 x 89 mm

How Long Do Muffin Fans Last?

If you take care of them properly, muffin fans can last for 5-6 years.

However, if you don’t take care of them and they get clogged or wet, they will not last as long.

Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for how to best care for your specific muffin fan. To ensure your muffin fan lasts as long as possible, be sure to clean it regularly and keep it dry.

How Much Do Muffin Fans Cost?

Muffin fans cost anywhere from $15 to $100, depending on the brand, what kind of fan you get, and where you buy it.

The average price for most non-industrial use is closer to $20-$40.

If you’re looking for a basic muffin fan that will serve a simple purpose, be sure to shop around and compare prices. If you’re looking for a high-powered industrial muffin fan, that will likely cost more.

But, as always, be sure to do your research and find the best deal for you. You can often save money with bulk orders.

What Else Do You Need To Use a Muffin Fan?

When you go to actually use a muffin fan, you’ll need some way to mount it.

This could be as simple as a clip or bracket that attaches the fan to the device you’re trying to cool, or it could be a more elaborate setup with multiple fans and mounts.

Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to see what is included in the fan’s mounting kit.

You might also need:

  • Muffin fan controller
  • Muffin fan motor
  • Muffin fan guard (also called a grill)
  • Muffin fan cord

Muffin fans often come with several of these parts.

Watch this video to see how the fan (and related parts) look right out of the box:

YouTube video by Prime Unboxing—What is a Muffin Fan?

What Are the Best Muffin Fans?

Since I have worked with muffin fans for years, here are my recommendations for the best muffin fans:

CategoryBest Muffin Fan
Best OverallAC Infinity AXIAL 1238
Budget-FriendlyWathai EC Axial Fan AC
Super QuietTupavco Network Cabinet Fan TP1511
Round AC Infinity AXIAL 2589
What is a Muffin Fan? (Best Muffin Fans)

Final Thoughts: What Is a Muffin Fan?

When you go to purchase a muffin fan, you’ll want to know how you intend to use it and the size, shape, voltage, and power you need.

A little research upfront and some notes can really make the purchasing process (and installation process), much better.

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Sources

IEEE (Research Journal)
University of Minnesota (Digital Conservancy)