Quiet bathroom fan

Best Rated Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fans

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Kevin Jefferson

December 17, 2021

To control the mold and moisture levels in the bathroom, one has to have a bathroom exhaust fan – it’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, these appliances can be quite loud, which can be very distracting – even annoying – when you’re trying to take a shower or a bath after a stressful day at work.

Fortunately, today’s market offers bathroom exhaust fans that are whisper-quiet and provide all the advantages of efficient air circulation without making too much noise. To help you find the right model for your needs, I analyzed the market’s best-rated fans to find the quietest exhaust fan and also wrote a short but comprehensive and informative buying guide.

Reviews of the Best-Rated Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Broan-NuTone QTXN110HL Exhaust Fan

QTXN exhaust fan

Specifications:

  • Noise (Sones): 0.9
  • Air Volume (CFM): 110
  • Duct Diameter: 6”
  • Light: Yes
  • Warranty: 3 years

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Unlike other exhaust fans in this roundup, this particular model has an integrated heater. It goes without saying, but this can come in quite handy during the winter months. It can be utilized independently of the unit’s fan, and at 1500 W, it is more than capable of warming bathrooms whose square footage isn’t over 110.

As the fan’s name suggests, its CFM rating stands at 110. Although it features a 6” exhaust connector, it comes without the adapter. This is why it’s very important to take a good look at your current setup and get yourself an adapter if necessary.

Unfortunately, installing Broan-NuTone QTXN110HL can be somewhat difficult even with the adapter. This is primarily due to the fact that one has to wire three separate components in order to make it work. This won’t be a problem if you have some DIY know-how, but if you don’t, you’ll probably have to hire an electrician to do it for you.

In terms of noise, this is a middle-of-the-road exhaust fan, as its sound level stands at 0.9 Sones. While it’s true that you probably won’t be able to hear it unless you really want to, it should still be pointed out that QTXN110HL isn’t the quietest bathroom exhaust fan out there.

Finally, this Broan-NuTone model comes equipped with 2 lights, and these are the 7 W nightlight and the 120 W bulb. The nightlight is particularly useful – nobody likes being blinded during his nighttime bathroom trips.

Pros:

  • A compact model that fits most setups
  • 2 different lights
  • Integrated heater

Cons:

  • Somewhat complicated installation

Delta Electronics BreezIntegrity ITG100ELED Exhaust Fan

ITG100ELED fan

Specifications:

  • Noise (sones): 1.5
  • Air Volume (CFM): 100
  • Duct Diameter: 4”
  • Light: Yes
  • Warranty: 3 years

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The next exhaust fan comes from Delta Electronics and its name is BreezIntegrity ITG100ELED. This particular model is the best bathroom exhaust fan for those who’ve had it with the fans whose lights are too bright or too dull – on this unit, the light is dimmable.

In fact, the light of this exhaust fan is one of its primary selling points. It covers the whole bottom part of the unit’s housing and it’s edge-lit by LEDs. Even at just 17 W, it provides more than enough illumination in the bathroom.

The next good thing about this exhaust fan is that it’s very compact. Retro-fitting it into an already-existing setup is effortless, and the model comes accompanied by an exhaust adapter. Keep in mind, however, that you’re going to need two switches for ITG100ELED – one for the fan itself and the other for the light.

This Delta Electronics model is a great option for 100 sq. ft. bathrooms, as it has a CFM rating of 100. It is also energy-efficient, which is precisely why it bears the Energy Star certification. However, although it’s certainly among the quieter appliances of this type available on the market, it is the “loudest” exhaust fan on my list.

Whether this product is actually noisy or not is debatable, but those looking for a genuinely quiet unit should definitely go with a model whose Sone rating is 1 or less. But still, ITG100ELED nicely balances this drawback with one of the best dimmable lights you can find on a bathroom exhaust fan today.

If you like Delta, check out our post on the best Delta bathroom exhaust fans.

Pros:

  • Dimmable LED light
  • Energy Star certification
  • Easy to install

Cons:

  • The “loudest” fan in the roundup

Panasonic WhisperSense FV-0511VQCL1 Exhaust Fan

Whispersense Fan

Specifications:

  • Noise (Sones): 0.3 – 0.9
  • Air Volume (CFM): 40 – 100
  • Duct Diameter: 4” or 6”
  • Light: Yes
  • Warranty: 6 years

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One can expect only high-quality products from a manufacturer such as Panasonic, with this exhaust fan being a great example. This is an extremely well-designed model with plenty of convenient features that aid air circulation and make installing this unit as easy as possible.

One of the best things about WhisperSense is its dual sensor technology. A lot of devices of this type switch on when they detect moisture, but this one has sensors for both moisture and motion. This makes the unit even more efficient when it comes to automatic odor and moisture control.

The variable airflow also deserves words of praise – you can set WhisperSense FV-0511VQCL1 to 50, 80, or 110 CFM. In other words, one can use the maximum airflow rate while taking a shower or the lowest one while using the sink. Depending on the selected mode, WhisperSense will reach a noise rating of between 0.3 and 0.9 Sones.

Although it’s a bit bigger than the other quiet bathroom exhaust fans, this Panasonic model is very easy to install. It comes together with a convenient flex bracket, which you can just screw into the desired spot and then simply clip the appliance in. I should also mention that the model is very energy efficient – it bears the Energy Star certification.

The only disadvantage of this phenomenal device is that its light is too bright. However, in my opinion, this is a very minor drawback and one that shouldn’t really decide whether you should purchase this exhaust fan or not. Consider getting the Delta Electronics model described above if you’d like your fan to have a dimmer light.

Pros:

  • Dual sensor technology
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Great Sone rating

Cons:

  • The light is too bright

Broan-NuTone AE80LK Exhaust Fan

AE80LK fan

Specifications:

  • Noise (Sones): 0.7 / 1.0
  • Air Volume (CFM): 80 / 110
  • Duct Diameter: 4”
  • Light: Yes
  • Warranty: 3 years

Check Price on Amazon

Are you looking for a bathroom exhaust fan that is both quiet and budget-friendly? If that’s the case, this Broan-NuTone model is undoubtedly one of your best bathroom exhaust venting options – it is quiet, energy-star rated, and has a very bright LED light.

Although it’s definitely less expensive than, say, the Panasonic model reviewed above, this exhaust fan isn’t as high-performing or quiet as the pricier units. But still, the noise rating of 0.7 Sones is very good and makes it hard to tell whether this model is currently on or off. However, the air volume rating of 80 CFM makes it unsuitable for larger bathrooms, although the company also offers a 110 CFM variant.

Broan-NuTone AE80LK is fitted with damper seals around its exhaust. It goes without saying, but these make it more effective and also successfully eliminate noise leakage. It should also be pointed out that this budget-friendly unit bears an Energy Star certification and that it’s backed by the manufacturer’s 3-year warranty.

Another thing I liked is the compact design – the fan’s dimensions stand at 10” x 9.25”. The installation process, on the other hand, is as simple as it can be and requires only minimal changes to an already-existing setup. Also, to install this bathroom exhaust fan, you won’t have to go to your attic.

In terms of drawbacks, the only one worth mentioning is that the model’s cover spring clips can be somewhat difficult to handle. I would recommend using spare clips from recessed lighting if you find yourself having trouble with fitting the unit’s cover into the clips.

Pros:

  • Compact & energy-efficient design
  • Bright LED light
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Potential trouble with the cover spring clips

Kaze Appliance Ultra Quiet Exhaust Fan

Kaze appliance bathroom fan

Specifications:

  • Noise (Sones): 0.3
  • Air Volume (CFM): 120
  • Duct Diameter: 4” or 6”
  • Light: Yes
  • Warranty: 3 years

Check Price on Amazon

I think it’s pretty safe to say that this particular model lives up to its name. As you can see in the specifications section, Kaze Appliance Ultra Quiet is rated at just 0.3 bathroom fan sones. Basically, it is as quiet as a device of this type can be – it’s next to impossible to tell whether it’s on or off.

Fortunately, however, that’s not the only great thing about this model. With an airflow rate of 120 CFM, it’s not only the quietest but also the most powerful exhaust fan on this list. Pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say? If you have a 120 sq. ft. bathroom, Kaze Appliance Ultra Quiet is the only exhaust fan you’ll ever need.

Its dimensions stand at 7.6” x 10.5” x 11.4”, which means that you’ll probably have to do some fan housing resizing if you decide to go with this exhaust fan. For those with a bit of DIY know-how, this won’t be an issue at all.

The model comes accompanied by a 4” adapter and a 6” exhaust duct which is made out of metal and includes a damper. It is backed by a 3-year warranty, which, although not comparable to the warranty deal offered by Panasonic (6 years), is still quite generous.

When it comes to disadvantages, I should point out that the built-in light on this Kaze Appliance exhaust fan isn’t really the brightest one out there. It works fine as a nightlight, but it’s not capable of fully lighting a bathroom on its own.

Pros:

  • A powerful 120 CFM-rated fan
  • Very quiet – only 0.3 Sones
  • Comes with an exhaust adapter

Cons:

  • The light is too dim

Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fans Buying Guide

When shopping for a quiet exhaust fan for your bathroom, make sure to consider the following criteria:

Sone Rating

Much like the Decibels, a Sone rating is a measurement used to describe how loud a particular device is. However, this is a linear scale, which can’t be really be said for the Decibels. So, an appliance whose Sone rating stands at 2 will be twice as noisy as an appliance rated at just 1 Sone.

In other words, Sone measures the loudness of a particular device in relation to CFM (cubic feet per minute) or speed. The Decibels, on the other hand, measure the perceived loudness of the noise. The following chart should make all of this a bit easier to understand:

 

Noise Example Decibles Sones
Live concert 120 6.0
Busy restaurant 70 5.0
Typical TV volume 65 4.0
Typical conversation 60 3.0
Office noise 50 2.0
Refrigerator sound 30-40 1.0
Whisper 20 0.3 – 0.9
Almost imperceptible 10 Below 0.3

 

In general, the Sone scale is easier to understand due to its linearity. It is used for all kinds of appliances with airflow, such as bathroom fans or cooker hoods. If your budget allows you, I would highly recommend you to get an exhaust fan whose Sone rating is below 1 – such models are really quiet.

Airflow (CFM)

“CFM” stands for Cubic Feet per Minute, and, as its name suggests, is a measurement with which we measure the amount of air (in cubic feet) that a particular exhaust fan is capable of moving during one minute.

Picking an exhaust fan with a suitable CFM rating is very important. Failing to do so can lead to all kinds of issues. A model with a CFM rating that is higher than necessary can cause circulation and ventilation problems. A model with a CFM rating that is too low, on the other hand, can cause the system to overwork.

The good news is that the CFM rating directly correlates to the size of the bathroom. For a bathroom whose square footage stands at 100, an exhaust fan with a CFM rating of 100 is the best choice. And that’s precisely why it’s crucial to measure your bathroom before buying one of these appliances.

Check out our bathroom exhaust fan sizing chart if you want to know how many CFM your bathroom fan should have.

Housing Unit

Exhaust fan in wall

Unfortunately, these appliances do not have standardized housing unit sizes. Due to this, you’ll have to either resize the area where you’re planning to install the exhaust fan or find one whose size matches that of your already existing model. Our post on how to vent the bathroom fan through the wall might be helpful.

The size of the cutout in your ceiling will be determined by the fan’s housing. Obviously, making the cutout larger is easy, but making it smaller isn’t. That’s why the best course of action would be to simply go with a fan that is just as big as your current exhaust fan, or larger than it.

The bathroom ceiling joists also need to be considered. These are almost always either 2 x 8 or 2 x 6 and they impact the height of the exhaust fan’s housing. For example, the housing height of a model designed to be used with 2 x 6 joists will stand at 6”.

Installation

Man installs a bathroom fan

Besides the housing unit, one also needs to take the installation method into account. This is because some exhaust fans can be installed directly from the bathroom while some need to be installed from the attic.

The thing that makes all the difference in this department is whether a particular exhaust fan comes with detachable mounting clips or not. Some models come accompanied by special frames that can be easily screwed to the joists, after which you only have to clip the appliance in.

It goes without saying, but such exhaust fans are the best option for people who can’t access their ceiling cavities, as well as for folks living in apartments.

Light

Since some of the quiet bathroom exhaust fans I reviewed above have lights, this is yet another topic that needs to be covered, although very briefly.

The most important thing here is to make the decision whether you want your fan’s light to be just a supplement or the main source of light in your bathroom. Lots of models include dimmable lights and nightlights for this reason.

Cost

The final criteria you’ll need to consider is the cost. A bathroom exhaust fan is not something you want to save money on – it’s an appliance you’ll be using on a daily basis. Therefore, it is recommended to get a higher-end model if your budget allows you to do so.

And when it comes to these kinds of devices, the material quality is closely tied to the noise level. In other words, cheaper models make more noise and aren’t as efficient. If you want a bathroom exhaust fan that provides the right balance of noise reduction, functionality, and overall quality, do not go for models that cost less than $100. A cheaper fan might not make much noise in the beginning, but chances are it will become noise after a few months. If this is a problem with your old fan, read our guide to fixing a noisy bathroom exhaust fan.

The Conclusion

The exhaust fans reviewed in this article are the market’s best-rated appliances of this type for a good reason – each of them is a great option in its own right. However, I consider one model to be the best of the best, and that’s the Kaze Appliance Ultra Quiet Exhaust Fan.

Not only is this exhaust fan the quietest of them all, at just 0.3 Sones, but it also provides the best performance overall with its airflow rate of 120 CFM. To put it simply, it’s a purchase you definitely won’t regret making.

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