The Best Bathroom Exhaust Fan to Keep Your House Fresh

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Get Smarter On Architecture and Design

Get the 3-minute weekly newsletter keeping 5K+ designers in the loop.

Enter your Email to Sign up

Side-bar-footer-forum

The bathroom needs to be fresh for good hygiene and relaxation after a long day or before a hard day. Bathroom fans are mandatory in cases where the bathroom does not have windows. In some places, even bathrooms with windows are expected to have bathroom exhaust fans.

In my search, I came across some decent options. My first choice is the Broan-Nu Tone fan because of its low Sone rating and high CFM. Furthermore, the fan further is customizable. My second option is the Air-King bathroom exhaust fan. The fan has 100 CFM and works for large rooms of up to 125 sq. ft. My third option is the Ventile fan which is affordable and has a plastic body that will not rust in a bathroom.

I delve deeper into my top picks and more in this article. But first, what is a bathroom exhaust fan?

What Is A Bathroom Exhaust Fan?

The bathroom exhaust fan extracts air from the bathroom, replacing it with fresher air. The bathroom is the top contender against the kitchen and the laundry room for the moistest area in your house. The water running in the bathroom when you use a hot shower increases the air's moisture significantly. A ventilation fan ensures that the bathroom stays fresh and gets rid of excess moisture in the bathroom. A bathroom fan ensures no stale air in the bathroom once you are done showering.

Image Source: thespruce.com

Without a bathroom exhaust fan, your bathroom might start having mold growing at a higher rate than you might have anticipated. While there are ways to get rid of mold, the best bathroom exhaust fans come with light and offer enough ventilation to keep mold away. Furthermore, the best exhaust fans offer energy efficiency to keep your bills manageable while serving your needs. 

Since it could take you too long to find the most suitable options, here are our top picks for the best bathroom exhaust fans. I've also included the factors to keep in mind to select the most optimal choice.

10 Best Bathroom Exhaust Fan

1) Broan-Nu Tone 671 Ventilation Fan

Broan-NuTone 671 Ventilation Fan, White Square Ceiling...
  • VERSATILE FAN: Ventilation fan helps eliminate , tobacco smoke,...
  • EFFICIENT: Operates on 70 CFM and has a 6.0 Sone rating to ensure...
  • EASY INSTALLATION: Torsion springs grille mounting - no tools...
  • DECORATIVE: Paintable polymeric grilles allow you to ensure the...
  • FEATURES: Plug-in, permanently lubricated motor with the...

Being one of the quietest bathroom exhaust fan options I have used, Broan-Nu Tone comes first on my list. Broan-Nu Tone is a versatile fan that I can use in any room, including the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room. The fan gets rid of odors like cooking, or tobacco smells with ease and can be installed either on the roof or wall.

Broan-Nu Tone is easy to install, and I did not need to buy any tools to tie it in place. The housing is compact and easy to fit to ceiling joists or wall studs. I find Broan-Nu Tone quiet and comfortable to use because of its 6.0 Sone rating while passing air at 70 CFM.

The Broan-Nu Tone aesthetics makes the fan an easy pick as my first choice to fit a decent bathroom interior design. The grills are paintable, which makes it easy to match the fan to the preferred room colors.

Pros:

  • Customizable design
  • Quiet
  • Efficient, permanently lubricated fan
  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Wall and ceiling mount

Cons:

  • Not too suitable for bathrooms larger than 80 sq. ft.

2) Air KING Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Sale
Air King BFQ 110 BFQ110 Exhaust Fan, 100-CFM
  • White, polymeric grill measures 10 x 10-Inch, with durable...
  • Operates at 100 CFM at 3.5 scones, Features a special snap-in...
  • Comes with 4-Inch plastic duct collar with back draft damper for...
  • Can handle continuous operation, is rated for ceilings insulated...
  • Easily installs using the included snap-in mounting system, High...

Next in line on my list is the Air King Bathroom Exhaust Fan, which features a Snap-in system that provides an easy in-ceiling installation and a white polymeric grill. The steps to install it are as clear as connecting the wires and the ducts and adding the grill, which only takes minutes. The high-impact plastic housing provides better performance while minimizing noise effectively, making it one of the best bathroom exhaust fans for my bathroom.

Image Source: airkinglimited.com

With this 100 CFM Bathroom Fan, Air King, I get a four-inch duct collar and a backdraft damper, ensuring quiet operation. Since the plastic parts are rust-proof, this bathroom exhaust fan is suitable for places with high moisture or near saltwater bodies.

The Air-King Bathroom Exhaust fan can withstand continuous operation and can be installed over your tub or on a GFCI circuit to cover a capacity of 100 -125 square feet.

Pros:

  • Durable plastic housing
  • 100 CFM
  • 1-year warranty for parts

Cons:

  • Not easy to install for all users

3) Ventline Ceiling Exhaust Fan

Sale
Ventline (V2262-50 (7") 50 CFM Ceiling Exhaust Fan
  • Ventline Ceiling Exhaust Fan
  • Powered ceiling or bath fan, very efficient for smaller...
  • 8 inch Diameter rough-in opening required
  • Dynamically balanced polypropylene blade will not bend out of...
  • 7 inch Fan without Cap and Flange, 115V, 50CFM

There are very few fans that can match the uniqueness Ventline brings to the table. The ceiling mount fan is affordable and easy to install. The fan has a plastic body, which makes it perfect for use in bathrooms.

Image Source: highskyrvparts

Ventline has a dynamically balanced blade that will not bend out of shape easily, potentially lasting longer than most other fans. Ventline is a reliable bathroom exhaust fan perfect for small rooms, including the kitchen and the bathroom.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Plastic body perfect for bathrooms
  • Easy to install
  • Improves indoor air quality
  • Powerful fan

Cons:

  • No remote control

4) BV Ultra-Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Sale
BV Ultra-Quiet 90 CFM, 0.8 Sone Bathroom Ventilation &...
  • Super quiet performance. Silent-Clever Technology with only 0.8...
  • Mounting opening: 9.25" x 9.0". Height: 7.5" Stainless steel 4"...
  • Ventilating area for bathroom space up to 90 sq-ft
  • HVI 2100-certified and UL Approved. Quality & performance...
  • One-year limited product warranty with technical support service...

The moist air from showers, tubs, and other fixtures in the bathroom can collect up on the bathroom surfaces, which can cause rot, peeling paint, and mold growth. That is why I got the BV Ultra-Quiet bath fan to remove the steamy air volume and provide better air quality inside the bathroom.

Image Source: homedepot.com

BV Ultra operates at a low noise level while comprising stainless steel housing. As a result, it's a durable and efficient bathroom exhaust fan. With a heavy-duty motor, this fan can handle continuous operation effortlessly while having thermal protection and energy efficiency.

Instead of suspension brackets, the BV Ultra-Quiet fan features Joist Mounting, a unique feature among the best bathroom fans. The super quiet technology makes sure I don't notice the bathroom fan, all while maintaining excellent motor performance.

The models in this series come with different capacities, including 90, 110, and 150 CFM.

Pros:

  • Silent smart technology
  • Excellent solid steel build
  • Energy efficient
  • Heavy-duty motor

Cons:

  • The installation instructions are not easy to follow.

5) Delta Electronics GBR80HLED Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Sale
Delta Electronics (Americas) Ltd. GBR80HLED Delta...
  • Ultra energy-efficient LED module (11-watt equivalent to 60-watt...
  • Extracts air at a rate of 80 CFM to properly ventilate bathrooms...
  • Precision engineered with DC brushless motor for extended...
  • Energy Star qualified for efficient cost-saving operation,...
  • Fan impeller Stops If obstructed, for safe worry-free operation,...

The Delta BreezGreenBuilder has exceptionally low power consumption, effective at cutting operation costs. The humidity sensor will automatically power on the fan when the moisture levels exceed a particular mark. The insulation around this bathroom exhaust fan minimizes heat build-up to ensure it doesn't overheat during operation. I used a four-inch duct for the installation of this bath fan.

Image Source: deltabreez.com

Delta extracts air at a rate of 80 CFM, which can ventilate an 80-square-foot bathroom. At 0.8 sones, all the operations this bathroom fan will run will be noiseless. The DC brushless motor adds the this fan's reliability and longevity. With galvanized steel in its construction, this fan can withstand corrosion from moisture exposure. Additionally, ENERGY STAR is qualified, which means that it has been tested, verified, and approved to be one of the best bath fans on the market.

The grill provides a stylish look to my bathroom and ensures safe operation, stopping the motor if the fan is obstructed.

Pros:

  • Cost-saving model
  • LED lighting
  • Strong motor
  • Durable build

Cons:

  • Challenging to install without attic access
  • The instructions in the manual are not clear.

6) Panasonic FV-0510vs1 WhisperValue Ventilation Fan

Panasonic FV-0510VS1 WhisperValue DC Ventilation Fan,...
  • Installation: Features a low profile can ideal for residential...
  • Precision Spot Ventilation: Quiet and powerful ventilation while...
  • Pick-A-Flow Speed Selector: Allows you to pick desired airflow...
  • Slimmest Design: With a 3-3/8-Inch housing depth, WhisperValue DC...
  • Energy Star Rated: Delivers powerful airflow without wasting...

This Panasonic model is a ceiling-mounted bathroom exhaust fan that is easy to operate, quiet, and powerful. It's one of the best bathroom fans I have since it features an exceptional EMC motor with SmartFlow technology that detects resistance to adjust the fan speed for optimal operation.

Image Source: na.panasonic.com

This bathroom fan has an in-built Pick a Flow function that allows me to choose between 50 CFM, 80 CFM, and 100 CFM with the flip of a switch. This versatile bathroom exhaust fan is both ceiling and wall-mountable, letting me position it where it's most convenient.

The L-shaped bracket of this Panasonic WhisperValue fan simplifies the installation process. I could place it on either the right or left side stud to get the best position.

Pros:

  • Energy star qualified
  • Three CFM options
  • Ceiling and wall-mountable
  • Slim design
  • Quiet operation
  • Trusted brand
  • Very quiet operation
  • Flex z fast bracket for fast installation

Cons:

  • You need to access the attic to install
  • It can produce an annoying rattle sound.
  • Not suitable for wall fitting

7) Air King Round Bath Fan With Light

Sale
Air King DRLC702 Round Bath Fan with Light, Nickel
  • Decorative bath fan comes with a stylish grill (13-1/2" diameter)...
  • Operates at 70 CFM at 4.0 scones, and comes with a 4" round duct...
  • Exhaust fan and light can be wired to function separately
  • Easy installation with included adjustable hanging brackets or...
  • Uses two 60-watt maximum standard, type A19 medium base bulbs...

Air King is one of the best bathroom exhaust fans on the market today, based on reviews and sales. The bathroom fan enjoys a huge market because of the quality products that the company produces. However, air King reigns above all because of its amazing features. The round shape complements my bathroom design by balancing the boxed shape and straight walls. In addition to the relaxing look, Air King is easy to install and offers a quiet operation.

Image Source: airkinglimited.com

Pros:

  • Quiet operation
  • Brings style to my home
  • Best on-sale bathroom combo you can find

Cons:

  • The fan is not suited for wall-mount installation.

8) Harrier Hardware Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Harrier Hardware Very Quiet Bathroom Exhaust...
  • Quiet 2.0 sone ventilation fan (approximately 40 decibels)
  • Great for use in your bathroom and other small rooms
  • Galvanized steel housing, quick-connect wiring
  • UL Listed for over tub and shower with GFCI
  • 3-inch duct outlet, joist mount installation

Harrier is not only a good bathroom exhaust fan but one I can rely on. The fan has a quiet 2.0 Sone rating, which makes it one of the quietest bathroom exhaust fans one can get. Harrier has a galvanized steel housing, making it the perfect bathroom exhaust fan.

Image Source: popularmechanics.com

Connecting the Harrier fan is easy as it has a quick-wiring design. The 3-inch duct outlet and the joist-mount installation feature make the installation process easy.

Harrier is listed for use over showers and tubs, with a GFCI installed, making it a safe option to use.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • GFCI available
  • Listed for use over showers and tubs
  • Galvanized steel construction for durability
  • Energy-efficient fan
  • Water-resistant

Cons:

  • Not great for large rooms

9) Homewerks Bathroom Fan With LED Light

Homewerks 7141-80 Bathroom Fan Integrated LED Light...
  • OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE: This Homewerk's bath fan ensures comfort...
  • BATH FANS HELPS REMOVE HARSH ODOR: When cleaning the bathroom or...
  • BUILD QUALITY: Designed to be corrosion resistant with its...
  • EASY INSTALLATION: This exhaust bath fan is easy to install with...
  • HOMEWERKS TRUSTED QUALITY: Be confident in the quality and...

Homewerks is the bathroom exhaust fan I prefer going to after a long day of work. The exhaust fan operates at the quietest level while giving the ambient night light to make the moment magical. The 80-CFM light has an outstanding performance that removes harsh odors and keeps the bathroom warm and lovely to be inside. In addition, I do not have to worry about mold with this fan.

Image Source: homedepot.com

Pros:

  • Quiet operation
  • The exhaust fan includes a built-in light
  • Energy-star certified option
  • Frosted glass lens for a warm feeling
  • High airflow capacity
  • Extremely quiet
  • No-cut design when installing

Cons:

  • No built-in thermostat
  • I could not install the fan on the bathroom walls

10) KAZE APPLIANCE Ultra Quiet Bathroom Fan

KAZE APPLIANCE SEP120L2 Ultra Quiet Bathroom...
  • HOUSING SIZE: Ceiling opening size is 11 3/8" x 10 1/2". Resizing...
  • SUPER QUIET - Sound level of 0.3-Sones at 120-CFM. Suitable for...
  • LED LIGHT - 11 watt LED light panel. Color temperature: 3000K.
  • INSTALLATION - Sliding hanger bars allow fan housing to be...
  • DUCTING - Removable 6 inch metal duct with back draft prevention...

KAZE is a huge industry player in today's interior design market. Apart from the elegant design, the fan is a well-thought-out fan that solves many installation problems. The fan has a removable metal duct that makes installation a breeze. The fan also prevents back-draft to keep the air flowing in the required direction. With KAZE, I am sure of enjoying the fresh air in the bathroom every time I step in there.

Image Source: walmart.com

Pros:

  • Quiet operation
  • Easy installation
  • Affordable fan
  • Efficient air movement

Cons:

  • You may need to resize the existing ceiling joists.

Factors To Consider When Buying The Best Bathroom Exhaust FanFactors To Consider When Buying The Best Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Image Source: extractorfanworld.co.uk

a) Size And Power

Having a bathroom exhaust fan that fits the entire bathroom is nice because no one hates feeling like they are showering outdoors where there is fresh and superb air quality. However, the size of the exhaust fan might not be your choice after all. There are building codes that require you to fit a bathroom exhaust fan depending on the bathroom space and the partitioning of the bathroom.

Bathroom vents need to work efficiently in getting rid of moisture. Therefore, medium-sized bathrooms need standard-sized fans to get the job done. When buying an exhaust fan, you need to check the CFM, which stands for cubic feet per minute. CFM is the amount of air that the fan can draw every minute and is measured in cubic feet per minute. The standard fan is installed in bathrooms less than 100 square feet.

The ceiling installation is meant to get rid of excess humidity. Therefore, ensure that you install an exhaust fan with about one CFM for every square foot. Many bathroom fans have specifications. However, you need to know which fan your bathroom might need. Bath fans are graded as follows;

  • Jetted tub- 100 CFM

  • Toilet-50 CFM

  • Bathtub-50 CFM

  • Shower-50 CFM

Take a keen note of these specifications to ensure you get it right from the word go when installing a bathroom exhaust fan. If your bathroom is below 50 sq ft, you still need to install a fan with 50 CFM. 50 CFM is the lowest exhaust fan allowed by most states regardless of how small the size of the bathroom is in sq ft. So, you should have the dimensions of your bathroom at hand to use as a reference for the power capacity of the exhaust fan.

b) Noise

Every exhaust fan emits some degree of noise which is rated in ones. The majority of fans will feature a sone rating ranging between 0.5 and 6.0. A low sone rating is directly equivalent to a quiet bathroom exhaust fan. The models with a rating of about 1.0 or less will be the quietest units you can get.

On the other hand, the bathroom exhaust fans with a sone rating above 4.0 sones will be loud enough to silence your shower singing. Modern versions are designed to operate quietly with their wider ducting attachments. A wider duct will facilitate easier airflow, which places less strain on the exhaust fan, ensuring minimum noise production.

c) Installation And Ducts

The moisture-saturated air the bathroom exhaust fan draws will need to be vented somewhere. Some vents direct the attic’s exhaust, which is hardly ideal since it can cause mold development from moisture accumulation. The best direction to vent the air is to the outside of the home.

If the bathrooms or laundry rooms are on the first level of a home with multiple stories, you should vent the air through the side. This will necessitate running a duct through the ceiling joists to an exterior wall. If it’s not possible to run the duct between the ceiling joists, or if the bathroom has one exterior wall, a wall-mounted bath fan can force the air through the side of the house.

In bathrooms located directly below the attic, the most optimal action is to direct the air towards the attic through the ducts and out the vent pipes in the roof or to a soffit under the eaves. Larger bathrooms could require several fans to ventilate the space efficiently.

d) Positioning

Positioning

Image Source: bobvilla.com

There are three types of mountings for bath fans to check for when fitting or replacing a bathroom fan; ceiling-mounted, wall-mounted, and inline fans.

  • Ceiling Fan

This type of bathroom exhaust fan is mounted to the ceiling and linked to the main vent system to facilitate moisture removal. It is the commonest exhaust fan on the market, and it’s found in many homes and commercial settings.

  • Wall Fan

Wall fans are situated along an exterior wall, and it is rare to have them connected to the main vents. While they look unique, wall fans are positioned lower than the ceiling, which means they can’t remove all the humidity that rises in the bathroom. Since they need a connection to an exterior wall, it doesn’t work well with bathrooms located away from the outer walls.

  • Inline Fan

These directly connect to the ducts away from the ceiling. As a result, they are more flexible and quiet; however, they don’t offer many perks for bathroom users. These expensive bathroom exhaust fans are energy efficient since they can cover several bathrooms on the same line.

e) Accessories

The best bathroom exhaust fans feature several additions that add another level of style or comfort to the user. Some of these accessories include

Heat lamps – to provide some extra warmth in your bathroom. They can run simultaneously with your exhaust fan but have a separate control switch so you can switch it off without powering.

Bluetooth Compatibility – Bathroom ventilation fans that are Bluetooth enabled lets you control them from your phone and play music from the Bluetooth speakers inside the fans. This eliminates the need for a bathroom-ready radio since you can easily listen to music in the shower without more electronics.

In-Built LED Night Light- These lights kick in after dark to provide energy-efficient and comforting illumination that can make it easier for you to go to the bathroom at any time of the night.

Humidity Sensors – These detect humidity changes to automatically turn the bathroom exhaust fans on when the moisture reaches a certain level.

LED Indicator Light – To provide visual confirmation when you turn the fan on.

Motion sensors – A motion sensor will detect movement to automatically activate the night light function or LED lights when someone walks into the bathroom.

f) Partitions

If your bathroom has partitions, you might have to get more than one bathroom exhaust fan. For example, some bathrooms have a toilet partition right next to them. In such a case, the toilet will require a fan. The best thing you can do is get a fan for each space to avoid pockets of moisture around the shower area. The toilet area is never that large and might require a combo fan with about 50 CFM or more if you want. The point is to avoid ending up with any air pockets from the bathroom into the toilet.

Therefore, keep in mind that you might end up getting more than one bath fan. The best bathroom fans will have both spaces well taken care of in most cases. However, you do not want to be taking your chances. Be free to buy a new exhaust fan because it only serves your best interest.

g) Fittings

You might have the best bathroom vent fan with light and all that. However, if you do not fit the bathroom exhaust fan with the correct fittings, you might end up doing a disservice to yourself. Even the quietest bathroom exhaust fans will start choking up if the vent tube is too thin and has a small diameter.

Fittings

Image Source: homewerks.com

The quietest bathroom fans need to have vents that will make the process easier for it. Bathroom exhaust fans with light might need more intentional fittings to accommodate the electrical parts of the lights and the ventilation fan. A quiet bathroom exhaust fan will use a system that complements all its functions.

Check the duct size with your electrician and ensure it is the largest or the most appropriate you can get. The LED light should not affect the bathroom exhaust fan as much because the light comes fitted to the fan with only wires cutting through. The wires are not enough to cause a distraction to the bathroom fan.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bathroom Exhaust Fans

i) What Is The Best Bathroom Exhaust Fan To Buy?

The Broan-Nu Tone 671 is the best bathroom exhaust fan to buy. The fan is within a decent price range and has a quiet operation. Furthermore, the fan is easy to install.

ii) How Many CFM Do I Need For My Bathroom Fan?

You will need at least a CMF per square foot of your bathroom area. To get the square footage of your bathroom, multiply the length and width of the space, then use the same CFM value.

iii) Is More CFM A Better Bathroom Fan?

A higher CFM translates to stronger air movement power which is essential for large bathrooms. However, a CFM that equates to the area in sq. ft of the bathroom will suffice to ventilate. 

While having a higher CFM is better for bathrooms, a fan can be too large in some instances. If the fan is oversized, the power bill might be higher, which is a disadvantage. Additionally, during winter, the bathroom will be colder than it should be. An oversized, therefore, would not be performing its job well.

iv) What is the difference between an extractor and an exhaust fan?

Functionally, the extractor fan and the exhaust fan are similar. Exhaust and extractor fans are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing. However, in places like the UK, an exhaust fan is the larger version of an extractor fan.

v) What is the most common bathroom fan?

Ceiling mount exhaust fans are popular compared to the other fan types. These fans are used in situations where the exhaust duct is run in between floors or the attic. Alternatively, the wall-mounted fan is an option when there is no possibility of running the duct in the attic.

vi) How do I know if my bathroom fan is strong enough?

There is a test to check whether the bathroom exhaust fan is working or not called the toilet paper fan test that works on most bathroom fans. The test entails taking a piece of toilet paper and sticking it to the fan. If the fan operates normally, the paper should stick to it when turned on.

vii) What happens if a bathroom fan is too powerful?

The downsides that come with an overly powerful fan are a higher noise level and too much cold. A fan that is too powerful will take up a lot of energy, shooting up the electricity bills.

Final Take on the Best bathroom exhaust fans

Final Take

Image Source: ixlappliances.com

Getting a good exhaust fan is meant to make you feel good about your space and your health in the long run. Having a bathroom that grows mold every second is not the best bet for safe living. The fact that you use a hot shower once every while makes exhaust fans even more necessary. Once you have gotten all the features right, it is time to look for the light feature. Are you someone who wants a bathroom light that is funky and exciting, or do you like the classic ambient light? There are many options out in the market for you.

Light is one of the most manipulative experiences of our senses. A blue light will make us feel colder, while a warm and yellow light will make us feel warmer. Therefore, the colors and styles you choose for your bathroom matter. When in doubt, ask yourself why the candle works all the time in such situations.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Related Articles
Best Japanese Toilets

What is a Japanese Toilet, and What is the Best Option?

Japan is known to turn everyday items into futuristic concepts to make them easier to use with additional features for ...

bathroom cabinet colors

20 Best Bathroom Cabinet Colors for an Elegant Look

Bathrooms are some of the most functional areas of the home, but that does not mean that they should look ...

mirrors with led lights

 5 Best Mirrors with LED Lights for Your Bathroom

LED lighted mirrors have proved to be the combination of futuristic technology and classic beauty. They not only offer traditional ...