Best Bathroom Fans – 2022 Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated: May 6, 2022

Ventilation is absolutely integral when you consider a bathroom. Badly ventilated bathrooms are the perfect habitat for mold to grow and fester. Terrible for your health, the mold is the result of poorly circulated humid air that cools after we shower and bath. Having a high-quality bathroom fan can prevent this by circulating and exchanging the air in your bathroom. This prevents the humidity settling and keeps the room fresh.

But how do you choose? Take a look over this guide to understand where to get started when deciding for a bathroom fan.

Best Bathroom Fans Comparison Chart

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Services up to 90 sq. ft. bathroom space
  • Dimensions: 9 x 7.5 x 9.25"
  • Sound Level (Sones) 0.8
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  • Best for the money
  • Dimensions: 9.25 x 0.38 x 9"
  • Sound Level (Sones) 4.0
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  • Covered by a 3-year limited warranty
  • Dimensions: 13.39 x 9.45 x 9.45"
  • Sound Level (Sones) 1.3
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  • LED light with 30,000 hours lifespan
  • Dimensions: 8.75 x 10.75 x 6"
  • Sound Level (Sones) 1.5
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What are the Available Options of Bathroom Fans?

There are four main types of bathroom fans available on the market. Depending on your needs and space, you can choose between in line, ceiling-mounted, wall-mounted, or combination fans.

In line Fans

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Known for their quieter performance, in line fans are mounted between the ducting. Not mounted on to a wall, they are more space-saving than ceiling fans.

Ceiling-mounted Fans

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Mounted directly into the ceiling, these fans are a popular choice among consumers. Most expel air out the roof, while some connect to the ducting and expel air out through an external vent.

Wall-Mounted Fans

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This fan is designed to be mounted on to an outside wall. Air is expelled directly out through the wall, neutralizing the need for ductwork. These fans are popular due to their simple installation.

Combination Fans

Combination fans have many HVAC features. They can come with functions for heating and lighting, as well as different air extraction techniques. You’ll find a variety of aesthetics to suit your home decor.

Photo credit: doityourself.com

Choosing the Best Bathroom Fans

In the search for a bathroom fan, understanding what you’re looking for will make the quest a whole lot easier. Here are a few details to keep an eye out for.

Sound Levels

Imagine trying to relax in a steamy lavender bubble bath, with a constant whirring buzzing through your brain. The sound level matters so try to look out for sones. While many people think they need to look for decibel levels, sones are the subjective measurement used to categorize sound level. The average very quiet fan is around 0.3 sones, while a loud fan is around 4.0 sones.

The Capacity

You need to make sure that your fan can cope with the bathroom’s ventilation needs. If the room isn’t well ventilated, you may end up with damp and mold. While quieter fans can give you a more relaxing experience, they may not be able to handle the amount of ventilation needed for your bathroom.

The power of a bathroom fan is measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm). This shows how much of the air will be pulled out of the room by the exhaust in every given minute. Any room, no matter how small, needs at least 50 cfm to cope with its ventilation needs. Above that, you need to add 1 cfm per square foot of area.

Consider a 5 x 5-foot bathroom is 25 square feet of area. 25 cfm plus an extra 50 cfm means the room needs a 75 cfm bathroom fan.

Installation

You need to think about where you want to put it and the restrictions you may have. This will help you understand the type of bathroom fan to choose. If you have an external wall, a wall-mounted fan will mean you don’t need as much ductwork installation. Equally, limited space may suggest you can’t have a ceiling fan.

Lighting

Many people choose to opt for models with lighting combined with design. The fan automatically activates as the light is switched on. It is a good option to keep the room highly ventilated, but can sometimes use more power than is needed, as you cannot use the fan without the light.

BV Ultra-Quiet 0.8 Sone Bathroom Ventilation and Exhaust Fan

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficient fans not only help the planet, but they also save energy cutting back on utility bills. Look for the Energy Star seal as this showcases the fans that can save as much as 70% on energy usage. Taking into account sound emission, energy consumption, power, and performance, the seal represents one of the most efficient models on the market.

Cost

Your thoughts about cost need to cover not only the upfront price but also the running costs of the fan. Energy efficient models with the Energy Star seal may be more expensive, to begin with. But you’ll find that you save a great deal of money on your bills as they use less power.

Benefits of Installing Bathroom Fans

Bathroom fans help to provide ventilation in the bathroom by circulating the air. When we take baths and showers, the warm air can cling to the room. If windows and doors are shut, the air has nowhere to move. The water vapor condenses as the air cools, forming water droplets on the walls, surfaces, and fabrics in the bathroom.

These damp conditions are the ideal environment for mold to develop. Mold that forms in bathrooms is often bad for your health – black mold in particular. These types of mold cause respiratory problems and can have very negative effects on your bones. Molds in bathrooms can also cause and spread fungal infections such as Athlete’s Foot.

Installing a bathroom fan helps to push and pull the air through the room. By sucking the air out of the bathroom, it creates a vacuum for new fresh air to exchange back into the room. This circulating action prevents water from settling, dramatically reducing the likelihood of mold.

Key Terms to Know

To help compare products in this review, we have included a few key specifications for each. Here is a quick summary of what they mean.

  • Dimensions: The actual dimensions in l x w x h. 

  • Sound Level (Sones): The amount of noise the fan makes. 

  • Mounting Type: The way the fan mounts. This can include in-line, ceiling, and wall mounting. 

  • Energy Efficiency: Whether the unit has any features or ratings relating to energy usage. 

  • CFMs: The air movement produced by the fan measured in cubic feet per minute. 

  • Square Footage: The size of space the fan can effectively provide ventilation for. 

Quick Take: Best Bathroom Fans

These are our recommendations for the best bathroom fans:

  1. Panasonic FV-08-11VF5 WhisperFitEZ Fan
  2. BV Ultra-Quiet 0.8 Sone Bathroom Ventilation and Exhaust Fan
  3. Broan 688 Ceiling and Wall Mount Fan 4.0 Sones

Reviews of the Best Bathroom Fans

Searching for a bathroom fan can leave you wading through a whole jungle of bathroom fan designs and brands. Here are a few of the top picks of bathroom fans available currently, and a breakdown of why they hit the Bull’s Eye.

Best Overall

BV Ultra-Quiet 0.8 Sone Bathroom Ventilation and Exhaust Fan

BV Ultra-Quiet 90 CFM, 0.8 Sone Bathroom Ventilation & Exhaust Fan

Specifications

Dimensions: 9 x 7.5 x 9.25″

Sound Level (Sones): 0.8

Mounting Type: Ceiling

CFMs: 90

Square Footage: 90 sq ft

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Designed for super quiet performance, this ceiling fan operates at 0.8 sones. It can vent up to 90 square feet of space, and it is Energy Star approved.

Designed for silence, this model is very quiet, although perhaps not as quiet as advertised. It is energy efficient but can be a little hard to install. It comes with technical support to help though, and good customer service.

Pros

This fan is energy efficient, boasting the Energy Star Seal

This option is excellent value for money due to its high power

A great option for relaxing, this fan is very quiet when in operation

It comes with a one-year warranty, which also includes technical support

Cons

Installation on this model can be a little tricky

Some customers have complained that this fan rattles a little

Best for the Money

Broan-NuTone 688 Ventilation Fan

Broan-NuTone 688 Ceiling and Wall Ventilation Fan, 50 CFM 4.0 Sones, White

Specifications

Dimensions: 9.25 x 0.38 x 9″

Sound Level (Sones): 4.0

Mounting Type: Ceiling and Wall

CFMs: 50

Square Footage: 45 sq ft

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For both ceiling and wall mounting, this fan is easy to install. It is compact and fits between ceiling joists and wall braces. This model is for smaller bathrooms, with a capacity of 50 cfm.

For smaller bathrooms, this budget model is an easy, quick fix to humidity problems. It can be mounted on the ceiling of the wall.

Pros

This is a great budget model for smaller bathrooms

It is easy-to-install, meaning no extra installation costs from professionals

It has a versatile installation and can be mounted on both the walls or the ceiling

Cons

It is not designed to cope with larger rooms

This model is on the louder end of the spectrum

Editor’s Pick

Panasonic FV-20NLF1 WhisperLine In-Line Fan

Panasonic FV-20NLF1 WhisperLine Remote Mount In-Line Spot Ventilation Fan, Quiet Air Flow

Specifications

Dimensions: 13.39 x 9.45 x 9.45″

Sound Level (Sones): 1.3

Mounting Type: In-line

Energy Efficiency: 4.1 CFM/W

CFMs: 240

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This in-line fan is designed to be placed anywhere. It has a blower wheel to draw air and can be installed in five different positions. It can handle 240 cfm and helps to filter pollutants.

It is a fan for larger spaces and for ventilating many spaces at once. Energy efficient and very quiet, it is a fan of great value.

Pros

It is impeccably quiet to run

It filters the air as well as moving it around

It is Energy Star Qualified making it energy efficient and cheaper to run

This one fan can vent multiple areas or rooms as well as large bathrooms

Cons

This model is higher in price

It is not designed for smaller rooms and will run inefficiently in them

Honorable Mention

Delta BreezGreenBuilder GBR100LED Exhaust Bath Fan

Delta Electronics (Americas) Ltd. GBR100LED Delta BreezGreenBuilder Series 100 CFM Fan/Dimmable LED Light, 13.6W, 1.5 Sones

Specifications

Dimensions: 8.75 x 10.75 x 6″

Sound Level (Sones): 1.5

Mounting Type: Ceiling

Energy Efficiency: 7.3 CFM/watt

CFMs: 100

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This ceiling bathroom fan combines a LED light into its technology. It boasts the Energy Star seal due to its brushless DC motor. It operates at 1.5 sones and has 100 cfm of power.

Slightly pricier and a little more complex to install, this model offers both light and ventilation. Working quietly and efficiently, its quality parts make it highly durable, increasing its longevity.

Pros

This model is very quiet, working at 1.5 sones

The LED light has a very long lifespan, lasting 30,000 hours

The tech installed in motor allows it to run at 7.3CFM/watt, making this fan very energy efficient

Cons

It a little more complicated to install

It is a little more pricey upfront than other models

Panasonic FV-08-11VF5 WhisperFitEZ Fan

Panasonic FV-0811VF5 WhisperFit EZ Retrofit Ventilation Fan, 80 or 110 CFM

Specifications

Dimensions: 10.25 x 10.25 x 5.62″

Mounting Type: Ceiling

CFMs: 80 or 110

Square Footage: 100 sq ft

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This ceiling mount fan has a speed selector for versatile airflow. The Flex-Z Fast bracket makes it easy to install. They are designed to fit anywhere that’s needed, even down to 2×6 constructions. It comes with duct adapters and a detachable installation adapter.

A versatile design, this fan fits into most bathrooms and provides variable air flow. It can be a little noisy, but it can help save on energy bills.

Pros

It is an energy efficient fan, complying with Energy Star-level regulations

The Pick-A-Flow Speed Selector enables you to choose between 80 or 110 CFM for variable power

This model is designed to be flexible, fitting into any location. The detachable installation adapter also increases flexibility

Cons

This model is louder than expected

Sometimes this fan lets dust into the room

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a bathroom fan, firstly you need to know your needs. Are you looking at budget options for smaller bathroom space, or are you trying to run an energy efficient air filter for a large selection of rooms? This will help you narrow down your search for a bathroom fan. Remember to consider where you want to install it and the size of the room you have available.



My name is Bob Wells and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs. Find more info about me and HVAC Training 101.