Best PC Cases 2018: Our Tested Picks for Your New Build

There's far more to consider than attractive looks when choosing a case. Good airflow is key when it comes to keeping your components cool, and noise levels can be affected by everything from the number and type of fans you use to the shape of the fan mounts. Size is also important. You need a case that's big enough to accept the components you have today, as well as what you might want to add in the future.

Choose the right case and it could serve you well through multiple PC builds, thus saving you hundreds of dollars. Pick one that you don't really like to look at, or that doesn't fit the graphics card you decide you want a few months down the line, and you might be looking to replace it before that new case smell starts to fade. But with hundreds of available options, from closet-like EATX chassis to tiny sub-shoebox-size Mini-ITX models, where do you start? You're in the right place.

Why Trust Us

We've tested hundreds of cases over the years, from massive luxury models to tiny Mini-ITX budget chassis, with plenty of RGB-lit tempered-glass models spending time on our test bench in recent years. We build a full system in each case we review, and test airflow, temperature, and noise. Below you'll find our favorites among dozens we've tested, broken out by size and, with the most-common ATX category, price. 

Quick Shopping Tips

  • Figure out what parts you have/want first. Aesthetics are important, but before you get to that, you’ll want to know what motherboard, graphics card, and cooler you’ll be using, plus how many drives you’ll want to install. This will dictate the size and shape of the cases you should be considering.
  • You probably don’t need a huge tower. Multi-card setups seem to be on the wane, storage is always getting denser (plus with M.2, SSDs are physically smaller than ever), and coolers are getting more efficient. So unless you are building a component-packed workstation or you just like the looks and upgradability of a full-sized tower, something smaller will probably serve you well.
  • Cooling is key, especially in small cases or with lots of components. Airflow is important, especially when it comes to high-end components in tight spaces. Check reviews for our cooling test results before buying, and remember that cases with tempered-glass fronts and tops often restrict airflow and may require additional fans.
  • Tiny cases are tougher to build in. This is especially important if you’re a novice builder, but even veterans can find it tough to fit components in a small Mini-ITX chassis. There’s no doubt that compact builds with powerful parts are impressive and space-saving. But remember to set aside extra time and patience—and double-check those key component dimensions—before attempting to build a tiny PC.
  • Choose a chassis that you like to look at. Unless you don’t care about aesthetics at all and are going to be shove your new system far under your desk, your case is likely to spend lots of time in your peripheral vision. Don’t forget to check airflow and that your parts will fit. But after that, find something that appeals to you visually, whether that be a glass-enclosedrainbow of RGB LEDs, or a simple black box with smooth lines and lots of top-mounted USB ports. There are tons of case options out there. You should take the time to find one that appeals to you visually.

Best XL/EATX Cases

Alternate

Best High-End ATX Case

Best Mid-Range ATX Cases

Best Budget ATX Case

Best MicroATX Case

Alternate

Best Mini-ITX Case

Alternate

Best Tempered-Glass Case

Alternate

Best High-End Showcase PC Case

MORE: All Case Content

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject
17 comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • Soaptrail
    No case choice if you still have an ODD to put in a 5.25" bay. :(
  • BraneDed
    Couger Panzer EVO link and price are opinting to the Fractal R6.
  • totalinsanity4
    The link for the Cougar Panzer in the table is incorrect, it leads to a Fractal Design case would lead people to believe it's $70 cheaper than it is
  • thisjustanother
    not having rgb shouldnt be considered a con.... stupid reviews
  • mihen
    As a person who has moved on to more premium cases, all I see are similar looking boxes with the PSU on the bottom under a shroud and poor material quality. I feel quite confident I would not use a single case suggested in this article.
  • kazkasuzkampo
    Agree with Thisjustanother.
    I'm looking for NON rgb, NON glass and NOT eATX or as-big-as-possible ATX (a mATX a sweet spot), so nothing from this list..
  • ubercake
    I was torn when I was shopping for a case a few months ago and chose the Define R6 TG. I considered a lot of the available mid-tower builds. What my decision came down to was whether a case could facilitate my NH-D15 or not, because I haven't found anything better or quieter.
    I like the Define R6 TG a lot. The style is a contemporary take on a conservative case with a well thought out design. So many drive configuration options. It would take real effort not to manage cables well in this case.
    I have no HDDs in my build so I moved the HDD cage bracket back for the "open" configuration. I also keep the solid top on for the more "silent" configuration. You simply have a lot of options with this case. I could still mount an ODD at the top, but I keep an external Blu Ray DVD RW around for use as necessary. It includes dust filters in the top, bottom and front. The included fans are OK, though I replaced the stock fans with 2x140 Noctuas in front and a single in back.
    The other thing about this case that's pretty amazing is it has a replaceable front I/O panel. Who does that??? Theoretically, if Fractal continues to create these front panel replacement units to meet all future technological demands, you'd never have to buy a new case!
    Link in my signature is to pictures of my build in the Define R6 pre-1080 ti.
    I'm not big into RGB, but you can see where the case could facilitate any level of bling.
  • rafe78yap
    for cheap imitation of "COUGAR PANZER EVO RGB", can try seaching for Tecware Vision, but be prepared for very average 4x RGB 120mm fans included with controller. Like the ThermalTake view 71 looks awesome, well COUGAR PANZER EVO RGB is still stunning if not the fingerprints magnet.
  • abryant
    Anonymous said:
    Couger Panzer EVO link and price are opinting to the Fractal R6.


    Fixed. Thanks.
  • bloodroses
    Is it just me, or does almost all these cases look rather bland and uninspiring?
  • Pixdawg
    About time this was updated, but I'm not terribly impressed with the cases. Part of it is the general lack of an open-to-the-front 5 1/4" bay for an optical drive--I want my optical drive, tyvm. I also don't want glass on both sides or anywhere but the one side, and would have no problem doing without it. I wound up with the CM Trooper (the new version, not the one from 2+ years ago). It's a full tower, but not a giant, it has lots of room inside--no HD cage, because the HDs along with SSDs mount to the side of what would otherwise be the HD cage. That works well with a mobo having two M.2 slots--allows me up to 5 SSDs if I want them. Has excellent airflow, and is pretty quiet.
  • omischon
    Na...pass. Clumsy uninspired LQ boxes. Prefer my 240 Carbide Air.
  • papality
    Where's the Lian Li PC 011 Dynamic?
  • vMax
    I have the H500P Mesh and overall for form and function, it does a very good job. The interior is very well laid out making installation easy with plenty of room to work with and can handle water cooling setups with ease. The two front 200mm fans do a fantastic job in driving airflow through the case without noise...Cable management is good and I suppose it comes down to looks for some but it works for me and my temps are great.
  • Larmo-Ct
    I'm surprised that there are no EVGA cases mentioned here. I find their product inventory to be first class, along with great customer service. I have three tower PCs - a Full tower, mid-tower, and small tower, (not mini). All of them have optical drives, and two have card readers. I was stunned when looking for a new tower, for my latest build. That the higher end cases, didn't provide front panels, where optical drives could be easily, (if at all), installed. I have a ton of most of the various types of optical disks, and SD Memory Cards. Lastly, I just bought an LG internal drive that plays DVD-RAM disks. I guess I'm just a pack rat dinosaur. :-)
  • godsa26
    Laser3D LZ7 anyone?