We all know about the benefits of having a bathroom exhaust fan. These appliances remove excess moisture, keep the unpleasant odors at bay, and also reduce various airborne contaminants.
However, they can also do a lot of other things – modern bathroom exhaust fans are often equipped with various additional features.
One of these features is the light. A bathroom exhaust fan can be installed in such a way that it turns on together with its built-in light, or separately from it (for this, a homeowner needs to wire the fan and the light to separate switches).
If you’re thinking about getting yourself a fan/light combo, you’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll be taking a look at:
- The performance and features of the market’s best bathroom exhaust fans with lights;
- How do these appliances work and why you should install one of them in your bathroom;
- Whether these devices can be installed above showers or used in other rooms;
- How to pick the right one in terms of CFM rating.
- 1 Overview of the Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans With Lights
- 2 The Best Bathroom Exhaust Fan With a Light
- 3 Reviews of the Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans With Lights
- 4 What are Bathroom Exhaust Fans With Lights?
- 5 How Do These Appliances Work?
- 6 Why Should I Get a Bathroom Fan With a Light?
- 7 Can I Install This Type of Fan Above a Tub or a Shower?
- 8 Can I Use A Bathroom Fan With a Light in Other Rooms?
- 9 How To Pick the Right Model For Your Needs
- 10 Choosing the CFM for a Light-Equipped Bathroom Exhaust Fan
Overview of the Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans With Lights
|Model||Broan-NuTone HD80L||Panasonic WhisperSense FV-0511VQCL1||Delta BreezIntegrity ITG80LEDAC Premium Round Duct||Hunter 83002||Broan-NuTone 678||Air King DRLC702|
|Sone rating||2.5||0.3 - 0.9||1.3||3.0||2.5||4.0|
|Lighting capacity||1 x 100-watt bulb||1 x 10-watt LED chip panel||1 x 13-watt LED lamp||2 x 60-watt bulbs||1 x 100-watt bulb||2 x 60-watt bulbs|
The Best Bathroom Exhaust Fan With a Light
- 80 CFM – ideal for medium-sized bathrooms
- Key-holed brackets for easy installation
- Bright 100-Watt incandescent light
- Fits well with most bathroom décors
- UL-listed for use over showers & tubs
While it’s not the quietest or the most feature-rich appliance in my roundup, Broan-NuTone HD80L is a great all-around model and an ideal choice for most homeowners.
It’s a perfect exhaust fan for a medium-sized bathroom, where it will efficiently remove unpleasant odors and excess moisture while providing bright illumination at the same time.
It is easy to set up, thanks to the included key-holed brackets, can be installed over showers and bathtubs (UL-listed), and its minimalistic design allows it to easily blend in with the aesthetics of a typical bathroom.
Reviews of the Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans With Lights
1. Air King DRLC702
- CFM rating: 70
- Sone rating: 4.0
- Lighting capacity: 2 x 60-watt bulbs
The first model on my list comes from a well-renowned manufacturer of bathroom exhaust fans – Air King. Their DRLC702 model sports an excellent design and looks exactly like a normal light fixture you’d hang on the ceiling.
Fortunately, the combo of a nickel finish and a frosted glass lens is not the only good thing about this eye-catching appliance. It is also quite potent and capable of efficiently removing moist air and unpleasant odors from bathrooms whose size stands at about 70 square feet.
One particularly good thing about this unit is that it arrives together with an adjustable hanging bracket. As you can already guess, this makes installing it as easy as it gets.
The light itself is suitably bright and provides good illumination in the bathroom. There are two bulb slots beneath the glass lens, and for these, you will need two A19 60-watt bulbs.
Another feature worth mentioning is the 4-inch damper, whose primary purpose is backdraft protection. It should also be mentioned that this fan’s functions can be wired to operate separately.
When it comes to disadvantages, Air King DRLC702 is the loudest bathroom exhaust fan with a light in my roundup. Rated at 4.0 Sones, it’s definitely not a good choice for homeowners looking for a genuinely quiet appliance of this type.
- Sophisticated design
- A bright, well-illuminating glow
- Comes with a hanging bracket
- Fan & light can be wired separately
- Loud (4.0 Sones)
2. Broan-NuTone 678
- CFM rating: 50
- Sone rating: 2.5
- Lighting capacity: 1 x 100-watt bulb
When it comes to bathroom exhaust fans, Broan-NuTone is a brand that is just as well-known as Air King. That’s also the reason why I’ve decided to review two of their models in this article, the first of which is Broan-NuTone 678.
As it’s rated at only 50 CFM, this particular unit is an ideal choice for folks with smaller bathrooms. Moreover, it’s a fine option for a large bathroom with an enclosed toilet area, particularly due to the fact that it has a light.
The light itself is hidden beneath a non-shatter lens and is sufficiently bright. The manufacturer states that you’ll need a single 100-watt incandescent bulb for it.
You can, however, install a LED bulb instead, and that’s something I would definitely recommend doing as those bulbs are much more energy-efficient. I should also point out that the aforementioned non-shatter lens looks quite minimalistic and should easily blend in with any bathroom décor.
Although it’s not the quietest bathroom exhaust fan out there, this Broan-NuTone model produces a lot less noise than the unit described above (Air King DRLC702). If you’re looking for a relatively quiet fan, this one is a solid choice.
It is worth noting that Broan-NuTone 678 is also a budget-friendly option, although that can be expected from a 50 CFM-rated bath fan.
- Sleek, minimalistic design
- Shatter-proof lens cover
- Relatively quiet
- Very affordable
- Not for larger bathrooms
3. Hunter 83002
- CFM rating: 110
- Sone rating: 3.0
- Lighting capacity: 2 x 60-watt bulbs
As far as I’m concerned, this is the best-looking bathroom exhaust fan with a light in the roundup. If the design of bathroom fixtures and appliances is really important to you, this model is probably the best choice.
Besides the Imperial Bronze finish and the flowing scrollwork, this bath fan also has a potent 110 CFM-rated motor. As such, it is capable of efficiently removing unpleasant odors and excess moisture from larger bathrooms.
To use the model’s light, you will need two A-15 60-watt bulbs. To use its nightlight, on the other hand, you will need a single 7-watt bulb. Unfortunately, you won’t get any of these three bulbs together with the fan.
As a 110 CFM-rated model, Hunter 83002 is somewhat noisy. It is rated at 3.0 Sones and may not be the best choice if you’re looking for a truly quiet appliance of this type.
One thing you will definitely like, however, is the 5-year limited warranty, as well as the fact that this bath fan is relatively easy to install.
All in all, Hunter 83002 stands as a phenomenal choice for folks looking for beautiful design and impressive performance in one package.
If you are interested in other round fans, check out our best round bathroom fan reviews.
- Elegant design
- Powerful – 110 CFM
- Integrated nightlight
- 5-year limited warranty
- Could be quieter
4. Delta BreezIntegrity ITG80LED
- CFM rating: 80
- Sone rating: 1.3
- Lighting capacity: 1 x 13-watt LED lamp
No roundup of bathroom exhaust fans – whether they have lights or not – is complete without at least one Delta Electronics model. The fans made by this company are extremely popular due to their excellent build quality and great performance.
Their BreezIntegrity ITG80LED model is one of the finest light-equipped models out there. It is powered by an 80 CFM-rated brushless DC motor, which also bears the Energy Star certification.
And the best thing about this motor is that it’s extremely quiet. In fact, ITG80LED is one of the quietest bath fans with lights you can get on today’s market, as it is rated at only 1.3 Sones.
Its 13-watt LED lamp, on the other hand, is equivalent to your standard 60-watt incandescent bulb. It provides decent illumination and can last up to impressive 30,000 hours.
Other features worth mentioning are the fact that this bathroom exhaust fan is both UL-approved and HVI-certified, as well as that its LED light is dimmable.
If the size of your bathroom stands at around 80 square feet, this Delta Electronics model is a phenomenal choice. It works just as advertised and produces no annoying noise while removing humid air and unpleasant smells.
If you are interested in Delta fans, check out our best Delta bathroom exhaust fan reviews.
- Great for medium-sized bathrooms
- Energy Star-certified motor
- Very quiet – only 1.3 Sones
- Dimmable LED light
- Hard-to-access wiring compartment
5. Panasonic WhisperSense FV-0511VQCL1
- CFM rating: 50/80/110
- Sone rating: 0.3 – 0.9
- Lighting capacity: 1 x 10-watt LED chip panel
This Panasonic bathroom exhaust fan with a light is the most feature-rich model on my list. If money is not a problem and you want all the features, this unit is probably the best choice.
As you can see in the specifications section, Panasonic WhisperSense operates at three different speeds – 50, 80, and 110 CFM. This is due to the fact that it’s equipped with dual-sensor technology, which detects the current amount of moisture in the air and puts the fan into an appropriate speed setting.
The model truly lives up to its name when it comes to the level of noise that it produces. It is whisper-quiet even when working at full speed (110 CFM – 0.9 Sones).
Its 10-watt LED chip panel, on the other hand, provides bright illumination. Also, the unit arrives together with a Flex-Z Fast bracket that makes installation quick and easy.
I should also point out that the user can choose the air-moving speed manually. All you have to do is flip a small switch on the model’s housing.
Finally, Panasonic WhisperSense FV-0511VQCL1 is Energy Star-rated and backed by the manufacturer’s 6-year warranty.
- An exceptionally quiet bathroom fan
- Operates at three different speeds
- Flex-Z Fast installation bracket
- 6-year warranty
6. Broan-NuTone HD80L
- CFM rating: 80
- Sone rating: 2.5
- Lighting capacity: 1 x 100-watt bulb
This is where we come to my #1 pick: the Broan-NuTone HD80L. In my opinion, the feature-rich and expensive Panasonic model described above is overkill for most homeowners – this Broan-NuTone fan is a much better option for most people.
First of all, it has a CFM rating of 80, which makes it suitable for use in a typical residential bathroom. Secondly, installing it is as easy as it gets, as it arrives together with key-holed installation brackets.
The light that this bathroom exhaust fan provides is very bright and easily illuminates a typical medium-sized bathroom. All you’ll need is one 100-watt incandescent bulb.
Another thing I like about this model is its sleek, minimalistic design. While some people may prefer more decorative units (such as Hunter 83002), I think that a fan that looks like this one blends in with the bathroom aesthetics much more easily.
Broan-NuTone HD80L is also UL-listed for use over showers and bathtubs and doesn’t produce too much noise while it’s in operation (it is rated at 2.5 Sones).
All in all, I consider it to be a fantastic all-around model and the best bathroom exhaust fan with a light you can get for your money.
- Ideal for medium-sized bathrooms
- Installation brackets included
- Bright 100-watt light
- Minimalistic design
- Could be quieter
What are Bathroom Exhaust Fans With Lights?
As its name suggests, this appliance combines a regular bathroom fan with a light in one single unit. It eliminates humid air and unpleasant smells while acting as a light fixture at the same time. Pretty convenient, wouldn’t you say?
One important thing to mention here is that this device doesn’t really have to be your bathroom’s only source of illumination. You can simply use it as an extra addition to your already-existing, independent light fixture.
These appliances are a particularly great choice for folks with smaller bathrooms. It goes without saying, but having both the exhaust fan and the light in a single unit can save you quite a bit of space.
How Do These Appliances Work?
The only major difference between these appliances and the regular bathroom exhaust fans is that they come with a built-in light.
The fan itself and its light can be wired to separate switches or to just one switch (if you want the fan and the light to turn on at the same time).
And, just like in the case of all bathroom exhaust fans, a model with an integrated light also needs to vent humid air to the outside.
They Have to Vent to the Outside
As stated in the bathroom exhaust fan venting code, these appliances have to vent humid air to the outside. Venting excess moisture into the attic or into a wall cavity can lead to all sorts of costly issues, such as wood decay or mold growth.
Over the years, I have been in a lot of homes where the bathroom exhaust fan vents through the attic, which is a completely different thing. Venting excess moisture through the attic and to the outside via the roof is undoubtedly a much better choice than having your fan exhaust the potentially destructive humid air straight into the attic.
Why Should I Get a Bathroom Fan With a Light?
One of the simplest reasons why a homeowner would want to opt for one of these “combo” appliances instead of just a regular exhaust fan is the need for more light inside the bathroom.
If you’ve already decided to get yourself a brand new bathroom exhaust fan, you will probably have to cut a hole in the ceiling and deal with the electrical wiring.
Use this chance to add more lighting to your bathroom. It’s better to do it right away, as it removes the need to cut another hole in the ceiling later.
And also, let’s be completely honest here – most bathroom exhaust fans sport a minimalistic design and look quite bland. A model with an integrated light can considerably add to the aesthetics of your bathroom.
Due to the fact that most of these appliances come without light bulbs, I would recommend buying a LED bulb for your particular model. These fit the majority of bath vent fans (as they can go into all standard sockets) and are far more energy-efficient. To be completely sure that a LED bulb will fit inside your fan, check the manufacturer’s website.
Can I Install This Type of Fan Above a Tub or a Shower?
Are you thinking about installing your bathroom exhaust fan with a light above a tub or a shower? If so, you will have to make sure that the manufacturer has rated the model for that purpose.
It goes without saying, that electricity and water don’t go well together. For that matter, the appliances of this type that have been rated for use above showers and tubs are designed to be safe in these damp spots.
A bathroom exhaust fan of this type has to be on a GFCI-protected dedicated electrical circuit. If you’ve never heard about this term before, it stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor.
In simple terms, it’s a special switch that, upon detecting an issue, cuts off access to electricity. The last thing you want is to get electrocuted while taking a morning shower.
A vast majority of these appliances are already rated for use above tubs and showers. Still, if you’re planning to install a bathroom exhaust fan in such a location, it is absolutely vital that you confirm with the manufacturer that it can actually be installed there.
You will also have to verify that your electrical circuit is GFCI. To do this, go to your panel box and take a look at the breaker that goes to the bathroom exhaust fan. There should be “GFCI” written on it.
If you need a duct for your new fan, check out our post on the best ducts for bathroom fans.
Can I Use A Bathroom Fan With a Light in Other Rooms?
In short – yes, you can. Besides bathrooms, these kinds of appliances can be used in all rooms where more lighting and ventilation are needed.
The models like Hunter 83002, which I have reviewed above, have a very appealing design and can be installed in pretty much all rooms.
Some of the alternative areas where you might want to install a bathroom exhaust fan include:
- Kitchen (food odors)
- Exercise room (sweat odors)
- Mudroom (dander, allergens)
- Garage (various chemical fumes)
How To Pick the Right Model For Your Needs
When it comes to bathroom fans with lights, there are a couple of different options homeowners can choose from, and these are:
1. Normal Light
These kinds of appliances look almost exactly like the regular bathroom exhaust fans.
If you’re looking for something simple and minimalistic to install in your bathroom, a fan with normal light is undoubtedly the best (and the most affordable) option.
2. Recessed Light
These bath vent fans, on the other hand, look like regular recessed ceiling lights. A standard fan of this type will have a small air-pulling gap right above the bulb.
If you already have recessed lights in your bathroom and don’t want to spoil the overall décor with a regular-looking appliance, these bathroom exhaust fans are an excellent option.
3. Decorative Light
These are the most attractive-looking bathroom exhaust fans with lights, as they look just like your average bedroom light fixtures. A lot of times, people don’t even notice that these are actually air-moving appliances.
In most cases, a decorative bathroom exhaust fan with a light will be round-shaped – just like your standard bedroom light fixture.
Choosing the CFM for a Light-Equipped Bathroom Exhaust Fan
The CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) rating is by far the most important rating for bathroom exhaust fans.
It’s a very simple metric that tells how powerful a particular model is, i.e. how much moisture it is able to move out of the bathroom. For example, if a bathroom exhaust fan can move 70 cubic feet of humid air in one minute, it is rated at 70 CFM.
A vast majority of these convenient appliances are rated between 50 and 200 CFM. And when it comes to choosing a fan with an appropriate CFM rating for your bathroom, the general rule of thumb is to simply add 1 CFM per every square foot of your bathroom’s area.
However, things get a bit more complicated when it comes to getting the correct exhaust fan CFM rating for larger bathrooms (over 100 square feet in size). Make sure to check out my CFM sizing chart article, where I explain this in great detail.
If you are more interested in fans with LED lights, check out our top pick for the best bathroom exhaust fan with a LED light.