Though full-sized desktop PC are not quite as portable as laptops, they are definitely much more powerful and considerably less expensive. To help make desktops somewhat portable, some case manufactures added handles atop the cases. These handles used to be reserved only for micro-ATX and mini-ITX form factors, but now all form factors have a case variant that includes handles; even full towers!
The handles are great and all, but they are definitely not the only aspect to be analyzed when purchasing a case. Cases are a very important component of a PC rig, for they allow you to future proof your build, and determine the type and level of cooling your setup will function under. In particular, the four main aspects that you need to take into account when purchasing a case are:
- Its cooling capability: How many fans it allows to be mounted, whether or not it includes any fans, whether it has an airflow optimized design, and its cable management design so that the case isn’t cluttered.
- Its size: Full towers can house pretty much any type of motherboard, while mid-towers can carry EATX, ATX, and smaller mobos, mini-towers can sometimes hold an ATX motherboard, but are usually used for mATX or mITX motherboards, and finally SFF cases can only have an mITX motherboard attached.
- Its noise levels: The amount of noise the case allows to escape from its enclosure, be it from the multiple case-fans, the CPU cooler, or the PSU.
- Its looks: A case doesn’t necessarily need to have a tempered glass panel and RGB lighting to look good. Even a sleek simplistic design can also look great, so it all depends on its overall design.
Depending on which of the aspects above you would prefer to focus on, you must keep in mind that the remaining aspects will suffer to a degree. For example, a small form factor case will inevitably have higher temperatures due to the cramming of hardware in a limited amount of space. That being said, no matter what type of case you choose to go for, it is always a good idea to invest a good portion of your budget, because the tower can stay with you even after several upgrades to your hardware components. To help you find the best case for your particular needs, one that will also include level of portability, we’ve compiled a list of the best handle-including cases for every form factor available.
Best PC Cases with Handles – Our Recommendations
Best Mid-Tower Case with Handles
ASUS’s mid-tower option provides a unique level of portability support, as the TUF Gaming GT501 has woven-cotton handles atop the case which can support up to 30 kilograms (about 66 pounds) of weight. The case is made of 1.5mm thick galvanized steel with a special coating that is scuff and scratch-resistant. Of course, galvanized steel is nowhere near as thermally efficient as aluminum, but having an all-aluminum mid tower case would drive the price up considerably.
The TUF GT501 has a sturdy 4mm smoked tempered glass side panel, fitting up to seven 120mm case fans, five 140 mm case fans, or two 360mm radiators. Four case fans are included with the case, one in the back (140mm) and three in the front (120mm). The 140mm fan is PWM controlled, and the three front fans are Aura Sync RGB compatible. The top panel has adjustable mounting points for easier installation. Magnetic dust filters are also included: one up front, one on the top, and one on the bottom where the PSU is mounted. For easier cable routing the case also has a cable grommet, three Velcro wraps and a 30mm cable management hole. In terms of storage, it can hold up to seven 2.5” SSDs, four of which can be swapped for 3.5” HDDs. The front panel I/O is a bit lacking, with only two USB 3.0 slots and the standard audio jacks.
All-in-all the ASUS TUF Gaming GT501 is a sturdy mid-tower with plenty of compatibility and a nice set of stylish woven handles that give it a degree of portability lacking in similarly sized towers. You can find the GT501 for $169, which is a bit on the expensive side, but for the four fans included and the overall build, it is definitely worth the cost.
Best Full Tower with Handles
Cougar’s Panzer is appropriately named, because it is built like a tank. The Panzer EVO RGB is one of the only full towers that includes handles for portability, and these handles can hold up to 35kg of weight (roughly 77 pounds). The Panzer comes in various models, with the EVO, EVO RGB, and Max having the same characteristic handles. The Panzer EVO RGB comes equipped with not one, not two… but four tempered glass panels: one on each side, one in the front, and one on the top panel. So, if you are a gaming enthusiast that loves a panoramic RGB light display, this case if perfect for you. It even has a headset hook (front) and a keyboard tray (top) to allow you to free up space from your desk while the computer is not in use.
The Panzer itself includes four 120mm case fans: three in the front and one in the rear side of the case, and all four of these fans have RGB lighted rings equipped with 18 LEDs. The case can support a total of eight 120mm fans and four LED strips, so there is plenty more RGB pizzazz that you can still add on for the case to feature. The Panzer EVO RGB allows you to control the speed of the fans via a fan control slider-switch in the front I/O. In addition, the case includes a Cougar “Core Box” with a remote control that allows you to adjust the lighting effects of the case fans and any LED strips you install.
If you’d rather have water cooling rather than case fans, then the Panzer EVO RGB can support up to four radiators: one 360mm on the front and on the top, one 120mm in the back, and one 140mm underneath. For better cable management the case has two covered cable guides that route the cables behind the motherboard tray. The front I/O itself has two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.1 Type-C port, and the standard audio jacks. In terms of connectivity, the Cougar EVO RGB can fit an EATX motherboard, up to four two-slot 390mm GPUs, four 2.5” SSDs, and two 3.5” HDDs which can also be used for 2.5” SSDs. Do note that due to the all-around glass panels, the noise levels emitted from this case may be high, so it is best to opt for hardware that emits the least amount of noise possible.
The Panzer EVO RGB allows for a deep level of customization and a plethora of lighting effects. It is a stylish, and portable, full tower case that is well worth the $169 investment. If you are not that much into RGB lighting, then do check out the Cougar Panzer Max which comes at a $152 price and removes the front, top, and right-side glass panels; keeping only the one on the left side. The Panzer Max is also missing one of the included case fans (it comes with three fans), and the fan remote control, so the price drop may not be that enticing.
Best SFF/HTPC Case with Handles
If you are building a home theatre PC then you want a case that is simple, slim, and can hold a full-sized graphics card—-. A case that is easily transferred from one room to another, or from one house to another, and has good enough noise isolation to where the fans down interfere with the audio. Well, the SilverStone Milo Slim fits all these qualifications and then some.
Standing upright at about the size of a small briefcase, with a handle at the top and four base supports, this 12-liter PC case can fit a full-sized graphics card of up to 330mm in length, so you won’t need to worry about finding a low-profile graphics card. The GPU also has its own compartment in the case for optimal airflow. The Milo Slim can fit a CPU cooler of to 58mm in height, and it has a motherboard tray cutout for easy M.2 SSD installation. For storage, it has two tool-less 2.5” drive caddies for SSDs, which should be more than enough for an HTPC or SFF PC. It even has an optical drive bay for those that prefer using old-school Blu-Ray or DVD discs. On the front side of the case, underneath a cover, lie the I/O ports, which include two USB 3.0, and two audio jacks.
The only downside of this case is its inability to hold case fans, so despite its airflow optimized design it can still run hot. This means that certain hardware options that reach high temperatures should be avoided for this case, like for example AMD’s 5700 XT. If your hardware components have good thermal solutions, then this case is perfect for an HTPC setup that can even be used as a gaming console alternative.
You can currently purchase the SilverStone Milo Slim for £79.99, which is a great price for a small, simple, and portable mini-ITX case that works great for a living room PC setup.
Best Mini-ITX Case with Handles
Definitely one of the coolest mini ITX cases out there, the Lian Li TU-150WX shows that function can also have style. Equipped with a magnetic retractable handle on the center top of the case, the TU-150WX doesn’t sacrifice its sleek looks for its portability.
It has a 3mm tempered glass side panel and an all-aluminum body with 1.5mm brushed aluminum front, top, and side panels. It can hold a dual-slot GPU of up to 320mm long, and either two 2.5” SSDs, or one 2.5” SSD and one 3.5” HDD. Where this case excels is its cooling potential. It can support a CPU cooler of up to 165mm tall, meaning it can potentially fit a high-end Noctua NH-D15; which is quite impressive for a mini-ITX case. In addition, it can also fit up to four 120mm fans: two of which would be situated underneath the GPU, one in the back of the case, and one in the front. The Lian Li TU-150WX also has ventilation holes on the right and back panels, so it is optimized for airflow. The case does not support much in terms of liquid cooling, but with four 120mm case fan slots and a full-sized CPU cooler, there really isn’t any need for such. The cable management is equally impressive, as you can hide cables either atop or behind the motherboard tray, depending on what better fits the build you are looking to make. The top I/O panel supports two USB 3.0, one USB 3.1 Type C, and two HD audio jacks. Important to note is that this case only support SFX or SFX-L PSUs.
Despite not quite fitting the SFF size parameters, as it is slightly larger than 20L, the Lian Li TU-150WX is an elegant and sleek mITX case that is easily portable, and has great cooling potential. You can currently find the silver version of the TU-150WX for $109, which is a great deal given the quality of materials and overall design of the case.