Bathroom fan on yellow wall

Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans

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Kevin

December 22, 2021

If you’re in the market for a brand new bathroom exhaust fan, you’re probably confused by the sheer number of different models available on today’s market. Have no worries – in this article, I’ll be taking a detailed look at the 10 best bathroom exhaust fans you can get for your money, with the goal of helping you find the right appliance of this type for your needs.

Below the reviews, you will also find a handy buying guide that should further assist you in getting a suitable exhaust fan for your bathroom.

Reviews of the Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans

1. Panasonic WhisperSense FV-0511VQC1

Panasonic DC ventilation fan

Specifications:

  • Weight: 9.48 lbs
  • Air Volume: 50/80/110 CFM
  • Level of Noise: 0.3 – 0.9 Sones

Check Price on Amazon

The very first product of this type I’ll be taking a look at is made by Panasonic, the world-known manufacturer of consumer electronics. Due to its amazing build quality and wide range of features, the WhisperSense FV-0511VQC1 is undoubtedly one of the best bathroom fans currently available on the market.

This particular bathroom vent fan is exceptionally versatile, and can, therefore, be used in any other room of your house. It can remove air pollutants and humidity from your laundry room, mudroom, garage, basement, or wherever else you decide to have it installed. It’s the best bathroom fan with a humidity sensor.

Performance-wise, this is one of those bathroom exhaust fans that can be used at multiple speeds. In other words, the WhisperSense FV-0511VQC1 can be set to work at 50, 80, or 110 CFM, which is one of its biggest advantages. The mode selection process is as easy as possible, as the unit combines its SmartFlow technology with the so-called Pick-A-Flow Speed Selector.

Even though it’s equipped with a very potent ECM motor that ensures efficient performance, this bathroom exhaust fan stands up to its name and is genuinely whisper-quiet in operation. As you can see in the specifications section, the model’s noise level stands at only 0.3 Sones when it’s used at the lowest airflow speed, which deserves special words of praise.

Another praiseworthy feature of this Panasonic ventilation fan is the integrated Dual Sensor Technology, which is quite unique and which automatically controls the odor and moisture. As expected, it shuts down whenever the levels of moisture reach a minimum, which, as you can already guess, increases the overall energy efficiency of this bathroom exhaust fan.

Besides the fact that it’s powerful and whisper-quiet, the 0511VQC1 also has a great design and provides flexibility in duct layout. Namely, it can be obtained with either a 6” or a 4” duct connector, which makes the whole installation process a lot easier. Another thing that makes installing this bathroom fan effortless is the presence of the so-called Flex Z Fast Bracket, which lets owners position the appliance exactly where they want it.

Finally, this quiet bathroom fan features a very elegant grille design, which is bound to be appreciated by all those who care about bathroom decor. It comes accompanied by a 3-year warranty on the parts and a 6-year warranty on the motor. If you like this one, make sure to check out our post on the best Panasonic bathroom fans as well.

Pros:

  • A powerful but quiet bathroom exhaust fan
  • Energy-efficient (Energy Star-certified)
  • Easy installation

Cons:

  • Not the most affordable bathroom exhaust fan

2. Delta Electronics BreezSignature VFB25AEH

DE Bathroom fan

Specifications:

  • Weight: 9.81 lbs
  • Air Volume: 130 CFM
  • Level of Noise: 2.0 Sones

Check Price on Amazon

Next up is the VFB25AEH bathroom exhaust fan, made by Delta Electronics and a member of the company’s BreezSignature series. While it’s not flawless, this particular model undoubtedly deserves its place among the market’s best appliances of this type, and for a couple of good reasons.

Just like most fans on this list, this one was also designed for folks looking for convenience, power, and (relatively) quiet operation. It’s a high-quality appliance that effortlessly deals with excess moisture and easily outperforms a lot of other products of this type. What are the features that put it above the competition?

First of all, this is one of those genuinely powerful bathroom vents. Its airflow capacity stands at 130 CFM, which is seriously impressive and turns BreezSignature VFB25AEH into a suitable choice for larger bathrooms. As you probably already know, 1 CFM corresponds to a single square foot, so if you have a 130 sq. ft. bathroom, this model is an excellent option.

And with 130 cubic feet per minute of air-moving power and one of the most well-engineered humidity sensors, you can rest assured that this model will easily deal with excess moisture in your bathroom. Even though it’s not one of the quietest bathroom exhaust fans out there, the unit is still fairly quiet at 2.0 Sones, which is always a big plus in my book.

Another great feature of BreezSignature VFB25AEH is its LED indicator light. As its name suggests, the job of this LED light is to tell the user that the appliance is currently in operation. Unfortunately, however, this bathroom fan doesn’t have a night light, and can also be somewhat tricky to install if you don’t have a bit of DIY know-how.

One thing I particularly liked is the presence of a DC brushless motor. Not only do the engines of this type ensure efficient air circulation but they’re also significantly more reliable than their AC counterparts. What is more, they are energy-saving – this Delta Electronics bathroom exhaust fan is also Energy Star-rated.

The last two things worth mentioning are the fact that this bathroom fan can run flawlessly for tens of thousands of hours without stopping and that it’s backed by the manufacturer’s 3-year limited warranty. All in all, a great purchase for all those looking for a reliable unit with a humidity sensor and lots of power under the hood.

Check out our post on the best decorative bathroom fans as well.

Pros:

  • A well-made, energy-efficient unit for folks with lots of bathroom space
  • Outstanding airflow capacity – 130 CFM
  • Reliable DC brushless motor

Cons:

  • Tricky to install

3. KAZE Appliance Ultra-Quiet SEP120H

Kaze Ultra Quiet fan

Specifications:

  • Weight: 11.58 lbs
  • Air Volume: 120 CFM
  • Level of Noise: 0.3 Sones

Check Price on Amazon

You’ve never heard of KAZE Appliance? Have no worries – the construction quality and impressive performance of this company’s bathroom vent fans are quite difficult to match. For that matter, I’ll be taking a closer look at one of their most popular products of this type, whose name is the Ultra-Quiet SEP120H Bathroom Exhaust Fan.

What turns this model into one of the best exhaust fans is the fact that it comes equipped with a genuinely sophisticated humidity sensor. It responds to an increased amount of moist air by quickly transferring this info to the ceiling fan itself, which, consequently, works fast to remove the moisture from the bathroom.

Performance-wise, this bathroom exhaust fan has an airflow capacity of 120 CFM. This turns it into an excellent choice for both larger and mid-sized bathrooms. And one particularly great thing here is that, despite all of its air-moving power, this unit is astoundingly quiet – its noise level stands at mere 0.3 Sones. It is also Energy Star-rated.

Thanks to its wall-mounted fan switch, the unit allows hands-free operation. Setting the desired humidity level is as easy as it gets. However, one feature I really liked here is the delay timer. As its name suggests, the job of the delay timer is to allow this bathroom fan to operate for 30 additional minutes even after the moisture level has dropped down, so that the unit can complete ventilation. Pretty convenient, wouldn’t you say?

But even despite all of these advantages described above, I consider SEP120H’s build quality to be its biggest advantage and the main selling point. If durability is your biggest priority when shopping for bathroom ceiling fans, look no further than this model. The combo of a Polymeric resin grille and housing made out of galvanized steel turns this KAZE Appliance bathroom exhaust fan into one of the most hard-wearing devices of this type out there.

Is there anything else worth mentioning about this long-lasting ceiling fan? I should point out that its engine comes permanently lubricated, which significantly increases its lifespan. And, just like many bathroom fans available on today’s market, KAZE Appliance Ultra-Quiet SEP120H is also backed by a 3-years warranty.

In conclusion, this is a truly well-made machine and a bathroom vent fan that certainly won’t disappoint you in terms of performance, reliability, and durability. Its only major drawback is the price – those looking for an affordable bathroom exhaust fan will have to look elsewhere.

If you want

Pros:

  • Stunning build quality – a very durable bathroom fan
  • Very quiet operation
  • Delay timer feature

Cons:

  • Pricey

4. Broan-NuTone Ultra-Silent QTXE110S

Broan Nutone Ultra-Silent Fan

Specifications:

  • Weight: 11 lbs
  • Air Volume: 110 CFM
  • Level of Noise: 0.7 Sones

Check Price on Amazon

The next model in my roundup of the best bathroom exhaust fans is Ultra-Silent QTXE110S, made by Broan-NuTone. This manufacturer is actually well-known for its feature-rich and user-friendly bathroom fans. The model that we have here continues that tradition and stands as one of the company’s best offerings so far.

Those looking for a healthy, odorless bathroom are bound to appreciate what this model has to offer. It’s a high-performance, modern-styled bathroom vent fan that looks and works just as advertised. Its only major disadvantage is that it has one of the most sensitive humidity sensors I’ve seen so far – it’s almost like it has a mind of its own.

In terms of performance, the Broan-NuTone Ultra-Silent QTXE110S sports a 110 CFM rating and is capable of effortlessly dealing with steam and moisture, but also tobacco smoke and cooking odors. It works best when used in mid-sized bathrooms, although it does a pretty good job of moving air in larger washrooms as well. And, as expected, its engine is engineered for continuous operation – durability is not something you’ll have to worry about here.

When it comes to the installation of this model, on the other hand, it’s as easy as possible – it arrives accompanied by hanger bars, so affixing it in all types of constructions is as easy as it gets. In the package, you will also find a patented spacer that will help you mount this bathroom fan to “I” joists.

Although much advertised, the model’s Sensaire technology is definitely not the best thing about this bathroom fan. The manufacturer claims that it is exactly this feature that turns the unit into an ideal option for high-traffic bathrooms, but, as I said above, it is way too sensitive – a lot of owners experienced “phantom” fans where the unit would start moving air even when there was nobody doing anything in the bathroom.

I should also mention that this Broan-NuTone bathroom exhaust fan has an auto on/off switch, which the user can program from 5 minutes to 1 hour. And yes – the appliance undoubtedly stands up to its name in terms of noise. It is “ultra-silent” at just 0.7 Sones and you’ll have a hard time hearing it when it’s in operation.

Last but not least, the Ultra-Silent QTXE110S is very energy-efficient (it is Energy Star-certified) and has a heavy-duty, corrosion-resistant housing. What is more, the white grille of this bathroom vent fan easily blends into most ceilings and doesn’t ruin the aesthetics of the washroom in any way.

Pros:

  • The best bathroom exhaust fan made by Broan-NuTone
  • Excellent performance & build quality
  • Quiet in operation

Cons:

  • Very sensitive humidity sensor

5. Air King Dual-Speed E130DH

Air King Dual Speed fan

Specifications:

  • Weight: 15.45 lbs
  • Air Volume: 50/130 CFM
  • Level of Noise: 0.3 – 0.4 Sones

Check Price on Amazon

Next up is the Dual-Speed E130DH bathroom fan, an appliance made by one of the most renowned manufacturers of bathroom exhaust fans – Air King. There’s a lot to like about this particular model, but I think that it’s pretty safe to say that its biggest advantage is the airflow capacity of 130 CFM – this unit is a perfect choice for large bathrooms.

But, as you can see in the model’s name, E130DH can actually be used at two different speeds – 50 CFM and 130 CFM. Obviously, this adds versatility to the list of its many virtues. In other words, you can use this bathroom exhaust fan at the maximum speed whenever you’re having a bath, but also at the minimum speed – when it will move only 50 cubic feet of air per minute – when you’re just using the sink.

This can be controlled manually by using the wall control switch, or you can allow Air King Dual-Speed E130DH to swap between its two speeds automatically. After all, this is one of those bathroom vent fans with a humidity sensor, which allows it to raise the airflow speed whenever it detects a high concentration of humidity in the air.

One thing that really surprised me about this bathroom exhaust fan is how quiet it is. Even when it’s operating at maximum speed – at 130 CFM – the unit is still very quiet, at only 0.3 Sones. This is very impressive and undoubtedly deserves special words of praise. And in case you’re worried about power consumption, you’ll be pleased to know that this is yet another energy-efficient (Energy Star-certified) bathroom fan on my list.

Another great thing about the Dual-Speed E130DH bathroom exhaust fan is that it has a gasket damper and a 6” round zinc-plated duct connector. As you can already guess, these are bound to prevent the moisture from re-entering the bathroom. I also liked that the unit comes accompanied by adjustable hanging brackets. You can wire the unit inside the housing or from the outside with its side-access panel.

When it comes to the disadvantages, this particular bathroom exhaust fan comes accompanied by a not-so-generous 1-year warranty deal. I think it’s pretty safe to say that a warranty such as this one certainly doesn’t inspire confidence in the longevity of the product. But still, I found the E130DH to be a genuinely well-built and high-performing device, and I consider the lack of an indicator LED light as its only major disadvantage.

All in all, this model definitely deserves its place among the market’s best fans because of its fantastic performance and also due to the fact that it makes almost no sound while in operation. It’s not perfect, but it’s still a phenomenal bathroom ventilation and one you certainly won’t regret making.

Pros:

  • One of the best bathroom fans for large bathrooms
  • Two different speeds – 50 and 130 CFM
  • Very powerful yet extremely quiet

Cons:

  • No indicator LED light

6. Panasonic WhisperGreen FV-1115VKL2

Panasonic Whisper Green Fan

Specifications:

  • Weight: 12.65 lbs
  • Air Volume: 110/130/150 CFM
  • Level of Noise: 0.3 – 0.8 Sones

Check Price on Amazon

Here we have yet another Panasonic bathroom fan, but this time it’s a member of the WhisperGreen family. As you can see in the specifications section, this particular model is not only one of the most powerful but also one of the quietest exhaust fans out there. This turns it into an ideal choice for all those with a lot of floor space in their bathrooms.

Folks who opt for this bathroom exhaust fan will be able to choose between three different airflow speeds. These are 110, 130, and 150 CFM. When working at the highest speed, the unit provides such incredible performance that it can easily remove moisture from not only a bathroom but also a laundry room, garage, or basement. In other words, this is one of those truly versatile bath fans.

The WhisperGreen FV-1115VKL2 allows some customization, too – the unit can be upgraded with various “Plug’n’Play” modules. But it’s a feature-rich bathroom fan even without any upgrades. It comes with goodies such as the condensation timer, which turns on the unit when needed. The SmartAction motion sensor and the delay timer also deserve a mention.

Believe it or not, a LED light is not a very common feature on bathroom exhaust fans. Most fans that cost around 50 bucks won’t have one, which makes it difficult to tell whether they’re currently in operation or not. Fortunately, however, this Panasonic model doesn’t only have an indicator LED light but also a night light as well. And even though its illumination power stands at only 1 watt, the night light is sufficiently bright to make those midnight trips to the bathroom a bit safer (nobody likes to blind themselves with regular light in the middle of the night).

In terms of construction quality, I was pleased to find out that the housing of this bathroom vent fan is made out of a 26-gauge magnesium-zinc-aluminum mixture. In other words, it is exceptionally durable and inspires confidence in the unit’s longevity. You also won’t have to worry about corrosion. Another thing worth mentioning here is that the model’s grille is cream-colored, so it fits in quite well with the standard bathroom decor.

Are there any disadvantages to opting for this Panasonic bathroom fan? The only drawback I could find is the fact that this is one of those ceiling fans that take some time to get going. When switched on, WhisperGreen FV-1115VKL2 needs about 40 seconds to reach the highest speed.

But still, it is certainly one of the best exhaust fans you can get on today’s market – the sheer number of convenient features that it’s equipped with turns it into a genuinely worthwhile purchase. It can move 150 cubic feet of air at the highest speed setting and is, therefore, a great option for large bathrooms.

Pros:

  • Three different airflow speed settings
  • Night light & dimmable LED light
  • Excellent construction quality

Cons:

  • Takes some time to reach the maximum speed

7. Tatsumaki Ultra-Quiet TA-120

Tatsumaki bathroom fan

Specifications:

  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Air Volume: 120 CFM
  • Level of Noise: 1.2 Sones

Check Price on Amazon

If you’ve never heard about this company before, here’s a fun fact – in Japanese, Tatsumaki means “tornado”. And believe it or not, this affordable exhaust fan actually does live up to its name, as it provides a pretty good performance despite its low price. And that’s not the only good thing about it, as it also looks quite attractive and is extremely easy to install.

As listed in the specifications section, the maximum amount of air volume Tatsumaki Ultra-Quiet TA-120 can move during one minute is 120 cubic feet. And since 1 CFM roughly equals 1 square foot, it’s pretty safe to say that this Tatsumaki exhaust fan is an excellent option for folks with 120 sq. ft. bathrooms.

Even though it costs significantly less than, say, Panasonic bathroom vent fans I’ve described above, it is still quite well-built and it looks and feels quite rugged. One thing I particularly liked is the design of the whole thing. This is definitely a decorative bathroom fan – its grille sports sharp edges and a very low profile. As far as I’m concerned, it would never look out of place even in a luxurious hotel room.

The next great thing about Tatsumaki Ultra-Quiet TA-120 is how easy it is to install it. It is accompanied by an adjustable mounting bracket, which, if the situation requires so, can even be cut with heavy-duty wire cutters. An important thing to mention here is that this is not one of those wall-mounted fans – the aforementioned decorative grille just doesn’t hang well when the unit is installed on the wall.

Unfortunately, this Tatsumaki exhaust fan does have a couple of disadvantages. After all, this is a budget-friendly option, so you can’t really expect it to be very energy-efficient or Energy Star-certified. Obviously, it doesn’t have an indicator or a night light, but that’s something one can totally expect from bathroom fans in this price category.

In my opinion, the biggest drawback of this Tatsumaki bathroom exhaust fan is its flimsy exterior flap. It is very light and tends to rattle when hit by wind, creating a very annoying noise. Fortunately, however, this drawback is quite easy to fix – simply duct-tape something to the exterior flap and this added weight is bound to solve the issue. I suggest duct-taping a coin.

All in all, I consider the Tatsumaki Ultra-Quiet TA-120 bathroom vent fan to be an excellent choice for all those who don’t really care about the extras and want to save as much money as possible without sacrificing performance or build quality. What is more, this model is also a very good option for folks looking for an affordable decorative bathroom fan.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive but powerful and quiet
  • Sleek & minimalistic grille design
  • Very easy to install

Cons:

  • Flimsy exterior flap

8. Broan-NuTone Ceiling & Wall Ventilation 688

Ceiling and wall ventilation

Specifications:

  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • Air Volume: 50 CFM
  • Level of Noise: 4.0 Sones

Check Price on Amazon

The Tatsumaki bathroom exhaust fan reviewed above is easy on the wallet, but nothing beats this Broan-NuTone model in terms of affordability. While it certainly can’t beat most bathroom fans from this list in almost any category, it’s an absolute winner in terms of price and the only reasonable choice if your budget is really tight.

Furthermore, those with small bathrooms will find that this exhaust fan is just perfect for their needs. Its air volume rating stands at 50 CFM, which, obviously, makes it a lot less powerful than all of the bathroom exhaust fans described above. But still, this kind of power is everything you’ll need if your bathroom isn’t that big – Broan-NuTone 688 will quickly and efficiently remove the moist air from it.

Low price is often accompanied by a not-so-great noise rating, and the same can be said for this particular bathroom exhaust fan. Broan-NuTone 688 certainly isn’t among the quietest bathroom exhaust fans out there – it operates at 4.0 Sones and can be quite loud while in operation. But let’s look at that from the bright side – the hum produced by this appliance can offer privacy from other bathroom noises.

At the heart of this unit is a permanently-lubricated engine that operates very smoothly and without any hiccups, which is quite admirable once we consider how inexpensive this exhaust fan is. Moreover, the whole appliance can be easily snapped in and out of its position (there are no screws here), and keeping it clean is effortless. It is also available in a 60 CFM variant (5.5 Sones).

The dimensions of the Broan-NuTone 688 are 3.6” x 7.5” x 7.25”. In other words, this is one of those genuinely compact bath fans that are easy to squeeze between wall studs or ceiling joists. And yes, the model belongs in both categories – ceiling fans and wall-mounted fans – at the same time, as it can be installed both ways. Also, be careful while affixing this exhaust fan to the wall or ceiling of your bathroom, since its metal edges are quite sharp.

The last thing worth mentioning about this inexpensive exhaust fan is that it looks quite sleek despite its low price. It features a white polymeric grille that blends easily with most bathroom decors. The warranty period lasts for just one year and covers only the parts, but this is, in my opinion, more than generous for an exhaust fan that costs less than $20.

All in all, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Broan-NuTone 688 is the best bathroom exhaust fan for those on a really tight budget. And the best thing here is that this model actually does look and work just as advertised, unlike many bathroom fans sold for the same price. A great deal!

Pros:

  • The best option if you’re looking to save money
  • Easy to install and keep clean
  • Perfect for small bathrooms

Cons:

  • Not the quietest or most powerful exhaust fan out there

9. Delta Electronics BreezIntegrity ITG70BT

DE ITG70BT fan

Specifications:

  • Weight: 6 lbs
  • Air Volume: 70 CFM
  • Level of Noise: 1 Sone

Check Price on Amazon

The second of the Delta Electronics bathroom exhaust fans on my list is a member of the company’s BreezIntegrity family and its name is ITG70BT. The feature that puts this particular model above the competition is its Bluetooth speaker – this exhaust fan won’t only improve air quality inside your bathroom but also let you listen to your favorite songs or podcasts while you’re showering. Pretty neat, wouldn’t you say?

This is a Bluetooth 3.0 speaker that is situated right underneath the grille and which easily pairs with most modern gadgets, including laptops, tablets, and, of course, smartphones. The speaker can be used separately from the exhaust fan, but both devices can work at the same time as well. Switch it on and enjoy some music while taking a relaxing bath!

In terms of performance, however, this Delta Electronics exhaust fan is not the most powerful appliance of this type out there. While it can certainly improve indoor air quality as long as it is used in smaller rooms – including smaller bathrooms – it is incapable of efficiently removing moist air from larger spaces. This is because it has an airflow rating of just 70 CFM.

But still, the motor that is at the heart of this appliance is certainly one of the better bathroom exhaust fan engines out there. Not only is this fan’s motor using brushless technology, which significantly increases its lifespan, but it’s also very energy efficient. In fact, the entire unit bears the Energy Star certification – cost-saving operation is guaranteed.

The housing of Delta Electronics BreezIntegrity ITG70BT measures 10.75” x 7.25” and uses a 4” duct. The model has to be installed to the ceiling and the installation process itself is as easy as it can be, particularly for folks with attic access. If you don’t have attic access, on the other hand, you’ll have to drill a few holes in the unit’s housing.

In terms of noise, this is a very quiet bathroom exhaust fan. The level of noise it produces stands at only 1 Sone – it’s not the quietest appliance of this type on the market but you really have to listen to it very carefully in order to hear it at all. The 3-year warranty deserves special words of praise, as does the simplistic look of the model’s grille.

So, at the end, who is this exhaust fan best for? If you have a mid-sized bathroom and you don’t want to spend too much money on a bathroom exhaust fan, this model is a fine choice. It’s an especially great choice if you like listening to music or podcasts while taking a shower.

If you want a fan that can also play your favorite tunes, check out our other picks for the best bathroom fans with speakers.

Pros:

  • Equipped with an integrated Bluetooth 3.0 speaker
  • Efficient & long-lasting brushless motor
  • Quiet operation

Cons:

  • Not for large bathrooms

10. Broan-NuTone Single-Speed AE80B

BN Single-Speed fan

Specifications:

  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • Air Volume: 80 CFM
  • Level of Noise: 1.5 Sones

Check Price on Amazon

The last appliance I’ll be taking a look at is the third one from Broan-NuTone – this company is really good at designing and manufacturing first-class bath fans. This particular bathroom exhaust fan is significantly more expensive than the previous Broan-NuTone model I reviewed – the 688 – but it’s also more powerful and not as noisy.

This is one of those bathroom exhaust fans that are suitable for mid-sized bathrooms, as it has an airflow rating of 80 CFM. In other words, it is capable of ventilating washrooms that are no larger than 75 – 85 square meters. You’ll be pleased to know that this exhaust fan also consumes as little energy as possible, which is precisely why it bears the Energy Star certification.

The next great thing about this medium-sized Broan-NuTone exhaust fan is that it’s impressively quiet. The level of noise it produces stands at just 1.5 Sones, which is, in my opinion, outstanding for a model that retails for about 80 bucks. So, if you’re looking for a quiet mid-priced exhaust fan, you won’t make a mistake by going with this one.

Due to the fact that it comes accompanied by foldable fan mountings, this unit is also exceptionally easy to install. You won’t have to go into the attic in order to retrofit Broan-NuTone AE80B – the whole thing can be set up right there from the bathroom. Although designed for ceilings, this is one of those bathroom exhaust fans that can also be wall-mounted. All you’ll need are 8” x 2” studs.

Those replacing a smaller builder’s fan should know that they’re going to need a 3” x 4” duct reducer. Fortunately, these are very affordable and can be obtained at most hardware stores. The grille of this exhaust fan measures 12” x 11.75″ and, while it’s certainly not the prettiest fan grille I’ve ever seen, it’s relatively unobtrusive and easily blends with white bathroom ceilings.

Broan-NuTone Single-Speed AE80B is one of those bathroom exhaust fans with galvanized steel housing, which is always a big plus in my book. There is also a 4” polymeric duct connector. The last feature worth mentioning is the so-called TrueSeal Damper Technology, whose job is to improve air circulation by reducing air leakage.

All in all, I consider the Broan-NuTone AE80B to be one of the better bathroom fans for folks whose bathrooms are neither too big nor too small. It’s not the best-looking or the most powerful exhaust fan available on today’s market, but it does its job well and stays quiet while doing it. What more could one want?

Pros:

  • 80 CFM of air-moving power – great for medium-sized bathrooms
  • 26-gauge galvanized steel housing
  • Quiet operation

Cons:

  • Plain-looking grille

Best Bathroom Exhaust Fan Buying Guide

There are quite a few factors one needs to keep in mind while shopping for the best bathroom exhaust fan. Let’s take a detailed look at each one of them:

Type

Bathroom fans can be roughly separated into three categories – ceiling-mounted, wall-mounted, and inline fans.

Ceiling-Mounted Fans

Ceiling mounted fan

Photo by Antonio Mette via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

These are, as their name suggests, exhaust fans that are mounted to the bathroom ceilings, where they are connected with the house’s ventilation system. These are the most common bathroom fans and ones that you’re bound to see the most in both commercial and residential settings.

Wall-Mounted Fans

Wall-mounted fan

Once again, the name is pretty self-explanatory. A fan of this type is mounted on the wall of the bathroom and it vents the moist air directly through the exterior wall. Wall-mounted fans are used when it is difficult to connect an appliance of this type to the aforementioned main ventilation system.

For more information, see our post on how to install a bathroom vent through a wall.

Inline Fans

Have you ever heard of inline fans? An inline fan uses reverse air pressure to eliminate the moisture out of one’s bathroom, but unlike the two types described above, an inline fan can’t be seen. This is because an inline fan is directly connected to the ductwork instead of being located on the ceiling or the wall, which is precisely why it makes even less noise than the other types of exhaust fans.

Airflow Capacity

The performance of bathroom fans, or how much air one of these appliances is capable of moving, is measured in CFM, which stands for Cubic Feet per Minute. In most cases, the packaging of the exhaust fan will have the CFM number written on it, and there’s usually the suggested room size info as well.

According to the HVI (Home Ventilating Institute), the CFM rating of a particular exhaust fan should match the bathroom’s square footage. So, for example, if you have a 100 sq. ft. bathroom, you should go with one of the 100 CFM-rated exhaust fans.  For more information, check out our bathroom exhaust fan sizing chart.

Noise

Besides knowing how much air the exhaust fan you’re looking to buy can move, you also need to consider the level of noise it produces while in operation. The noise produced by bathroom fans is rated in Sones, with most appliances of this type having a Sone rating of between 0.3 and 6.0. The lower this number is, the less noise will the exhaust fan produce when it’s working.

An exhaust fan whose Sone rating stands at 1.0 will be as “noisy” as your typical refrigerator. In other words, the 1.0 Sone-rated exhaust fans are very quiet. Exhaust fans whose Sone rating is 4.0 and above, on the other hand, can be loud to the point that they can drown out one’s shower singing. If you have an old fan that is noisy, there may be a few things you could try before replacing it. Read our guide on how to fix a noisy bathroom exhaust fan.

Energy Efficiency

As you already know, this is a very important factor to keep in mind while shopping for any new electrical product or appliance, including bathroom exhaust fans. Obviously, models that are efficient in the energy department consume less electricity, which can come in very handy if you’re trying to save on your electric bills.

To help consumers easily identify such appliances, Energy Star certifications were developed. Bathroom exhaust fans bearing this certification consume around 70% less electricity than the models that are not Energy Star-certified. And to earn this rating, an exhaust fan also needs to meet the maximum allowable performance and sound levels.

Installation

Person installs a bathroom fan

It goes without saying, but the moist air that is removed from the bathroom needs to go somewhere. Some fans transport this moisture from the bathroom to the attic of the house. But, as you can already guess, this is not the best solution – it can lead to all kinds of mold-related problems. That’s why installing fans in a way that allows them to vent outdoors is considered to be the best practice.

  • When a bathroom is located on the ground level of the house, it’s easy to install the exhaust fan so that it vents the dampness to the side of the house. Most of the regular ceiling-mounted units can be installed like this.
  • When a bathroom is located on the first level of the house, right below the attic, the best course of action would be to run the vented moisture to the attic and then to the outdoors through a roof pipe.
  • The best place to install one of these devices is between the toilet and the shower. Don’t forget that a bathroom with very large square footage usually needs more than just one exhaust fan for effective ventilation. Also, keep in mind that models with features like nightlights and heaters may require some extra wires.

For more information, check out our post on how a bathroom fan works.

Aesthetics

Don’t forget the visual appeal, too! While shopping for one of these appliances, take the overall decor and style of your bathroom into account and then select a model that will blend in well. Most of the exhaust fans available on the market are white, but some of them come with paintable covers that allow a degree of user customization.

There are also some models that come with special decorative fixtures. For example, an appliance of this type can have a trim in different finishes or feature hanging pendant lights or interchangeable finials. All of these things can turn a simple bathroom exhaust fan into an eye-catching part of your bathroom’s decor.

We also have a post for those wondering how much does it cost to install a bathroom exhaust fan.

Accessories

A lot of manufacturers of bathroom fans include various additions to their products or sell them as separate accessories. These extras range from luxurious to incredibly practical, and, depending on the model you’re using, can bring a sense of additional comfort to one’s bathroom.

Integrated Nightlights

Most people don’t even know that they need a nightlight on their exhaust fan until they actually see one in action at someone else’s place. These make midnight trips to the bathroom a lot easier – you don’t have to blind yourself with the regular light.

Bluetooth Speakers

Delta Electronics BreezIntegrity ITG70BT, which I reviewed above, is a great example of an exhaust fan with a Bluetooth speaker. Appliances with this feature are great for music lovers – they let you listen to your favorite songs while taking a shower.

Heaters

An exhaust fan with a built-in heater won’t only remove moisture but also keep your bathroom warm. Most models allow the owner to use the fan and its heating accessory separately or at the same time.

Best Bathroom Fan – The Conclusion

So, there you have it – detailed reviews of some of the market’s most popular bathroom exhaust fans and a short but informative buying guide that should help you get the right model for your needs.

Even though all of these appliances are great in their own ways, I consider Panasonic WhisperSense FV-0511VQC1 to be the best of them all. Its only major drawback is the high price – if you can fork out about $200 for it, your bathroom is bound to stay moisture-free for the years to come.

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