Have you ever taken a hot shower and then tried to shave in a bathroom that has no exhaust fan? Even worse is going into a bathroom without an exhaust fan after your roommate’s spicy food didn’t sit well with them. These simple bathroom devices may not seem to do a whole lot but do not underestimate their ability to provide you with a healthier and more user-friendly bathroom.
10 Bathroom Exhaust Fan Reviews
Here we have written a series of reviews on top bathroom exhaust fan products to give you some helpful information to use when shopping for them, too. Once you have read this article you will be able to use the information to choose a great bathroom ceiling fan for yourself.
Here are some highly rated exhaust fans for bathrooms along with a breakdown of the characteristics that make them some of the best bathroom fan purchases.
#1 The Winner
Panasonic FV-30VQ3 WhisperCeiling 290 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan
Some people don’t like bathroom exhaust fans because of the noise they generate while running. Well, that’s something you will never have to worry about if you choose to install this quiet exhaust fan from Panasonic in your bathroom. It’s definitely one of the quietest operating bathroom exhaust fans on the market.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking because it’s quiet that this bathroom fan lacks power. That’s hardly the case thanks to its strong 290 cubic feet per minute (CFM) air flow rate. It uses a wider than normal Sirocco blower wheel that moves more air at lower rotations per minute (RPM) than most bathroom exhaust fans. So, you get sound reduction without sacrificing air movement.
The Panasonic FV-30VQ3 exhaust fan can also be mounted inside any tub or shower enclosure. It comes with all the necessary wiring to do that including the GFCI branch circuit wiring. This model does not include a light.
This is one solidly built model. It’s made out of extra-thick zinc-coated galvanized steel. That means it can really handle the toughest bathroom environments without corroding. Panasonic warranties the fan motor itself for an incredible 6years and the rest of the unit comes with a very decent 3-year warranty.
The duct diameter is 6 inches and the mounting opening measures 12 square inches. The sound emission has a rating of 2.0 sones.
- Extremely quiet
- 290 CFM of air exhaust movement
- Suitable for tub/shower enclosure
- Made from thick gauge zinc-coated galvanized steel
- Wide Sirocco/reduced RPM blower wheel
- Heavy at almost 18 pounds
- Does not include a light
#2 Runner Up
Broan Nutone SPK110 110-CFM Sensonic Speaker Fan with Wireless Technology
Nowadays, bathroom fan manufacturers have come up with some innovative ways to help you relax while you take a bath or shower. This model is a great example of that. It’s a bathroom fan with Bluetooth speakers that can stream your favorite music as you wash up or get ready for work. This Bluetooth exhaust fan will definitely help you get the most relaxation possible out of any trip you take to the bathroom. This Broan exhaust fan will provide some nice quality sound to any bathroom that’s 105 square meters or less.
If you look closely, you will see it’s much more than just a Bluetooth bathroom fan that helps entertain you. Its 1.0-sone sound emission produces very little background noise to interfere with your music listening pleasure. The Broan SPK110 will also move air nicely thanks to its blower wheel that will exhaust air at a rate of 110 CFM.
This is also a very energy efficient bathroom exhaust fan. Its long-lasting permanently lubricated motor is Energy Star certified and it will use much less energy than most standard bathroom exhaust fans in this size range.Broan backs this product with a 3-year warranty.
The duct diameter 4 inches and the mounting opening measures11 ½ inches x 10 ¼ inches. The sound emission rating is1.0sones.
- Only generates 1.0-sone of background noise
- 110 CFM air movement
- Dual high-fidelity Bluetooth speakers
- Energy Star compliant, permanently lubricated motor
- 3-year warranty
- Light bulb sold separately
- Does not fit 2-inch x 6-inch joist construction
#3 Best Budget
Broan 655 Heater Bath Fan with Light Combination
Here is another very well-designed bathroom fan with optional heater. It’s made by the reputable home appliance manufacturer Broan. It does a great job of heating or keeping moisture from building up in any bathroom up to 65 square feet.
This Broan bathroom heater fan has a built-in 1300-watt heating element. That makes it a lifesaver when it comes to boosting the heat level in your bathroom on those cold winter mornings. It exhausts air at a rate of 70 CFM so your bathroom will not build up excess moisture on its surfaces when you take a hot shower or bath.
The Broan 655 bathroom exhaust fan/heater combination is fairly energy efficient. That’s due in part to its energy efficient dual blower wheel technology. The motor that drives the blower wheels is permanently lubricated to greatly extend its useful life.
Other useful features on this model include a 100-watt light setup and adjustable mounting brackets to help simplify the installation. This Broan exhaust fan is also corrosion resistant thanks to its 23-gauge steel housing that’s coated with electrically bonded epoxy paint.
It has a duct diameter of 4 inches and a mounting opening of14 ¼ inches x 8 ¼ inches. The sounds emission is measured at 4.0 sones.
- Efficient operating dual blower wheels
- Exhausts air at 70 CFM
- 1300-watt heating element builtin
- Permanently lubricated plug-in motor
- 100-watt Light
- Heater needs a separate 20-amp line
- The light bulb is not included
#4 Best Small on a Budget
Delta Electronics SLM70 Bath Fan
If you are looking for an affordable small exhaust fan that works great you will want to take a closer look at this model. At 70 CFM it will exhaust plenty of air easily out of a small bathroom. That’s why Delta exhaust fans are such a popular choice among both contractors and DIYers.
Delta has done a nice job with its design as far as noise is concerned. When it’s running, this bathroom fan has a low-noise rating of 2.0sones. That means the fan noise is so low that the company had to include an indicator light to show that the fan is on and working.
This is a very low-profile and low-energy consumption bathroom fan. It uses so little energy because of its Energy Star certified DC brushless motor. You can also choose to wall mount or ceiling mount this fan.
The Delta Breez SLM70 is built to last. Its frame construction and most of its metal components are made from corrosion-resistant galvanized steel. The 3-year warranty that it comes with is very generous for an inexpensive bathroom exhaust fan like this one.
It has a duct diameter of 3 inches and a mounting opening of 7.5 square inches. The sound emission rating is2.0sones.
- Reasonably quiet
- 70 CFM of exhaust air movement
- Wall or ceiling mountable
- Galvanized steel construction
- Energy Star certified DC brushless motor
- Up to 86% energy savings
- Not powerful enough for medium to large sized bathrooms
#5 Best Energy Efficient
Delta Breez GBR80 GreenBuilder 80 CFM Exhaust Fan
Many people are into making their homes much greener and more energy efficient these days. If that describes you and you are looking for a bathroom fan, this model from Delta will really appeal to you. It’s estimated that this Energy Star certified fan uses 86% less power than similar sized bathroom fans.
Not only will this Delta Breez bathroom fan make your home greener, but it will also provide a much more relaxing bathroom experience. Unlike very noisy bathroom exhaust fans, this one only has an average noise rating of 0.8 sones. That is among the lowest noise rating you will ever find in a bathroom exhaust fan.
This bathroom exhaust fan can be used in a tub or shower enclosure if it’s hooked up to a GFI circuit. One very cool design element in this bathroom exhaust fan is its built-in humidity sensor. It will automatically turn this fan on if it senses the humidity in the bathroom has climbed to over an acceptable level.
Delta is very confident in how well this bathroom fan is constructed, too. The warranty is for 3years. The fan’s duct diameter is4 inches and the mounting opening is 8.5 square inches. The sound emission is a low0.3sones.
- Quiet operation
- 80 CFM air movement
- Energy efficient
- Built-in humidity sensor
- 3-year warranty
- This model does not have a light
- Not very retrofit friendly for some applications
#6 Best With LED Light
Delta Breez GreenBuilder GBR80LED 80 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan/Dimmable LED Light
Here is a great working bathroom exhaust fan with a light from Delta Breez’sGreenBuilder line. It’s very similar to the Delta Breez GBR80 model, with the exception that this model comes with a fully dimmable, 850-lumens LED light built in. So it’s the perfect bathroom exhaust fan and light combo for use in the ceiling over any shower or tub stall where the regular bathroom lighting does not provide enough light.
Like every GreenBuilder model bathroom fan with light, this one is extremely energy efficient. It’s estimated that it will save up to 80% on your electric usage compared to similar exhaust fans. That also makes it an Energy Star compliant product. It’s very quiet, rated at less than 0.8 sones of noise emissions while running.
This is one tough product. It has many features that will help it hold up well in your bathroom for a long time including the corrosion-resistant galvanized steel outer construction and high-efficiency DC brushless motor. The GreenBuilder GBR80LED bathroom exhaust fan is also backed by Delta’s standard 3-year warranty. It’s one of the better bathroom exhaust fans with a light that you can buy.
It has a duct diameter of 4 inches and a mounting opening of 8.5 square inches. The sound emissions are rated at0.4sones.
- Very quiet
- Exhausts air at 80 CFM
- Highly energy efficient
- Added humidity sensor
- Dimmable LED light
- Use of 3-inch duct adapter significantly increases the fan’s noise level
- Tough to use as part of exhaust fan retrofit
#7 Ultra Quiet With LED Light
Akicon Ultra Quiet 90CFM Ventilation Fan
This is yet another very quiet bathroom exhaust fan. It’s made by the reputable bathroom fan maker Akicon. Once you install this fan in your bathroom, exhaust fan noise will never again be an issue.
The Akicon Ultra-Quiet Ventilation Fan works great to keep steam and moisture from building up in small to medium sized bathrooms. It generates a very nice 90 CFM of air flow. The oversized fan and low RPM combination make for a more comfortable level of fan noise when showering, shaving, or taking a bath.
This bathroom exhaust fan is a UL-listed product as long as it’s hooked up to an electrical circuit with GFI protection. That means it can even be installed above a shower stall or encapsulated tub area. All the required wire harnesses for connecting to a GFI are built right into this exhaust fan’s motor.
Akicon stands behind this sturdily built bathroom fan with a full 3-year warranty on the entire unit. It features a heavy plastic low-profile grille assembly and the rest of the fan is mostly made of coated galvanized steel.
The duct diameter is4 inches and the mounting opening measures 12 square inches. The sound emission rating is 0.8 sones.
- Very quiet
- 90 CFM of air movement
- UL-listed for over tub or shower
- Low-profile grille assembly
- 3-year warranty
- Light could be brighter
- Not efficient in bathrooms over 90cubic feet
#8 Best With Heater and Light
Delta Breez Radiance RAD80L 80 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan/CFL Light and Heater
One of the toughest places to heat in your home during the cold months seems to be the bathroom. This is especially true if your bathroom has tile floors and walls. Well, this bathroom fan with a light and heater can solve this issue. That’s because this unit has a built-in 1300W heating element. There is even an included thermostat to help you maintain an even temperature in your bathroom.
It’s also very quiet. It has an extremely low noise emission rating of only 1.5 sones. That is among the quietest running bathroom fans you will find.
This particular bathroom ceiling heater fan also features a long lasting DC brushless motor. That not only helps expand its useful life but makes it much more energy efficient than standard market AC motors, which are found in most bathroom exhaust fans.
This bathroom fan is made of corrosion-resistant galvanized steel and is backed by Delta Breeze’s standard 3-year product warranty.
It has a duct diameter of 4 inches and a mounting opening of14 3/8x 8 ¼ inches.
- Quiet operation
- 80 CFM air movement rate
- Built-in 1300-watt heating element with thermostat
- Very energy efficient DC brushless motor
- 26-watt light
- Requires a large cutout in the ceiling to install it
- Light is not dimmable
#9 Best Quiet
Panasonic 80 or 110 CFM WhisperFitEZ Bathroom Fan FV-08-11VF5
This Panasonic bathroom ventilation fan is extremely quiet, generating only 0.3 sones during use. With that low of an operating noise, you’ll wonder if the fan is actually running. The fan is adjustable to move either 80 or 110 CFM. Depending on the size of your bathroom, one setting will definitely be better than the other.
This fan measures 10.25 inches wide and 10.25 inches long. It has a 5.62 inch height clearance as well. When it comes to installation, this fan is fast and easy. You can use the Flex-ZFast bracket to position the fan exactly where you want it, while the exhaust is compatible with both 3 and 4-inch ducts. The fan is designed to fit into 2x6 joist construction spaces. During installation, this fan can be hard wired into a junction box using UL-approved wire nuts. This fan does not come with a light kit or a heater, making it suitable for use in any bathroom in your home.
Cleaning and routine maintenance should be done at least once per year on this fan. Before doing any cleaning, the power should be shut off at the main breaker box and a lockout installed. The grille should be cleaned using warm water and non-abrasive cleaners. Remove dirt and dust with a vacuum cleaner and lightly wipe away dirt from the fan body with a damp cloth. Before reinstalling the grille, ensure that all parts are clean.
This bathroom fan comes with a 3 year limited warranty on all parts other than the DC motor. The motor is covered for 6 years from the date of the original purchase.
#10 Quiet and Powerful
Panasonic FV-11VQ5 WhisperCeiling 110 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan
This is a quiet and powerful bathroom exhaust fan from Panasonic. Bathroom fans don’t get much quieter than a 0.3-sone rating. It’s so quiet that you won’t even hear it over the sound of running water. This model is part of Panasonic’s popular ‘Whisper Ceiling’ line of bathroom exhaust fans.
Panasonic did not sacrifice power in this well-designed bathroom exhaust fan. It has a generous 110 CFM air movement rate thanks to its Energy Star certified motor. That’s enough to keep the steam and moisture from building up in most average sized bathrooms.
The unique special duct adapter that comes with this bathroom fan means it can be hooked up to both 4-inch and 6-inch exhaust ducts. Other very nice design features include its GFCI-integrated branch circuit wiring and its torsion spring grille attachment that allows for easy cleaning. The double hanger positioning system makes this bathroom exhaust fan easy to line up perfectly when installing it.
This is a very low heat generating bathroom fan, which will help greatly extend its motor life. The Panasonic FV-11VQ5 also comes with an industry standard 3-year warranty. This is more proof that a Panasonic bathroom exhaust fan is always a solid choice for your home.
The duct diameter measures either 4 or 6 inches and the mounting opening measures10.5 square inches. The sound emission is rated at0.3sone.
- Super quiet 0.3-sonerating
- Energy Star certified,110 CFM
- Enclosure capable GFCI branch circuit
- Double hanger bar positioning system
- Torsion spring grille attachment
- Not powerful enough for big bathrooms
Bathroom Exhaust Fan Comparison Chart
|Fan||Air Flow Capacity||Color||Weight||Warranty|
|Panasonic FV-30VQ3||290 CFM||White||17.45 pounds||3 years|
|Akicon E26||90 CFM||White||8.8 pounds||Manufacturers|
|Panasonic FV-08VQ5||50, 80, 110 CFM||White||12.2 pounds||3 years|
|Delta Electronics SLM70||70 CFM||White||1 pounds||3 years|
|Delta Electronics GBR80||120 CFM||White||1 pounds||3 years|
|Broan SPK110||110 CFM||White||11 pounds||3 years|
|Delta GBR80LED||80 CFM||White||1 pounds||3 years|
|Delta Electronics RAD80L||80 CFM||White||5.51 pounds||3 years|
|Broan-NuTone 655||70 CFM||White||12 pounds||Manufacturers|
Bathroom Exhaust Fan Buying Guide
Although a bathroom exhaust fan is not a super-complicated device, you’ll certainly want to get this purchase right the first time. That way you won’t have to spend more money buying the right one after a bad purchase or have to go through the tedious process of doing a bathroom ceiling fan installation a second time.
Here are some of the main characteristics of bathroom exhaust fans you should concentrate on when you are shopping online or in store for the best bathroom fan.
The cutout size and depth are listed first because no matter how perfectly you meet all the other criteria when choosing a bathroom exhaust fan, it won’t matter if the ceiling fan doesn’t fit in the space you have between the joists in your bathroom ceiling.
Most ceiling fan manufacturers will display the height, width and length specifications of each model. That makes it very easy to identify bathroom exhaust fan models that will meet your retrofit or new installation height, width and length requirements. So make sure you know what the height, width,and length requirements are for the opening in your ceiling (do not confuse this with grille fitting size; the opening specs are always smaller than your grille fitting size) before you start shopping for a new replacement bathroom fan.
The cubic feet per minute (CFM) is very important. That’s because an 80 CFM rated exhaust fan for a bathroom will not move enough air out of a large bathroom to keep steam and moisture from building up on the walls and other surfaces when you shower.The manufacturer will usually note the exact amount of square footage a particular model can handle.
A good general rule of thumb to go by when determining if a bathroom exhaust fan will meet your individual bathroom square footage needs is to go by the listed CFM number. The CFM number should be equal to or higher than the listed square footage of the bathroom an exhaust fan is being installed in (i.e. a bathroom exhaust fan that is rated 50 CFM is ok to use in bathrooms that are 50 square feet or smaller).
Just about everyone has been in a bathroom with an extremely noisy and annoying exhaust fan. That really takes away from the peaceful and relaxing setting that bathrooms are meant to be. For this reason,it’s important to get a quiet bathroom fan for your space.
The noise level of a bathroom fan will be indicated by the manufacturer in what is known as sones. The higher the sone rating a bathroom fan has, the noisier that model is when it's running (i.e,. a bathroom exhaust fan that’s rated 0.7 sones runs much quieter than a bathroom fan that is rated 4.0 sones).
Included GFCI wiring harness
Personally, I like to see every electronic device that’s installed in a bathroom wall or ceiling attached to a GFCI circuit. It makes them extremely safe to use in a wet environment. Bathroom fans are no exception.
It helps too if the bathroom fan that you are about to install is prewired to be hooked up to a GFCI circuit. That means that it has all the electrical wiring elements necessary to install it into a GFCI circuit neatly included in a harness that is attached to the device. This will make it extremely easy for you or your electrician to wire your new bathroom exhaust fan into a GFCI-protected safety circuit.
Exhaust duct size
It’s very important that you match the size of the existing exhaust ductwork you have in your house to that on the back of your new exhaust fan if you are doing a bathroom fan retrofit. For new construction, you must size your duct venting the same as that on the opening at the back of your new bathroom exhaust fan. The reason the duct vent opening size and the actual exhaust duct piping size need to be matched up perfectly is so that your new exhaust fan will operate efficiently and with the least amount of excess noise.
***Please note: Be careful if you’re planning to adapt a bathroom fan to fit an exhaust duct that is smaller than required. This will cause the bathroom exhaust fan unit to work much less efficiently and will significantly increase its noise output too.***
Most bathroom exhaust fans are designed to run continuously without any problems. Unfortunately, all that use can lead to higher energy bills. That’s why you want to look for a new bathroom exhaust fan that’s energy efficient. The most energy efficient bathroom exhaust fans are those that use DC motors instead of much less efficient AC motors. Also, look for a bathroom light/fan combination that’s Energy Star certified.
There are few environments in your home that are tougher on electrical equipment than your bathroom. That’s because bathrooms produce very wet and humid working conditions due to the heat and steam produced by hot showers and baths. So you want your new bathroom fan to be built as tough as possible. Look for such things as permanently lubricated motors and coated,galvanized steel bodies to help your new bathroom exhaust fan last longer under tough bathroom working conditions.
Bathroom fan/light combo
A bathroom light/fan combo can be an easy solution for a bathroom that is lacking natural or artificial light. The best models of bathroom fan/light combos are also a great way to help brighten a dark shower or bath stall. If you get a bathroom ceiling fan with a built-in light that has a dimmer switch, you can even use that handy switch to help you change the mood settings in the bathroom.So an exhaust fan with a light can really be a helpful addition to any bathroom.
A bathroom exhaust fan with a heater can be a nice addition to your bathroom. This is especially true if you are one of those people who gets chilly easily after taking a hot bath or shower on a cold morning. A heater built right into your bathroom exhaust fan is also great if you have a lot of tile or natural stone on your bathroom walls or floors. That’s because these types of materials typically make bathrooms harder to heat.
Ease of installation
This one is especially important if you are thinking about installing your new bathroom ceiling exhaust fan yourself. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to retrofit a new bathroom fan yourself if it’s not designed for that purpose. The easiest bathroom fans to install tend to be ones that fit standard joist construction, have adjustable mounting brackets, and come with clear-cut directions on how to replace a bathroom fan/light combo.
Although bathroom exhaust fans are relatively inexpensive in price, they are still not what one would consider a disposable item. That means it’s always nice to have some warranty protection for peace of mind. Look for a warranty that covers every part of your new bathroom exhaust fan for the longest amount of time possible. A warranty can be used as a helpful deciding factor when choosing between two very similar models.
Bathroom Exhaust Fan Troubleshooting Guide
Once you have installed your new bathroom exhaust fan, there is always a chance it may give you some problems sometime in the future. Here are some common problems that people have with their bathroom exhaust fans and a few possible solutions to those problems:
Problem: The bathroom fan will not turn on when you flip the switch.
Solution: Most bathroom exhaust fans will be hooked up to a special GFCI safety breaker. This is especially true if they are located inside of a shower or bathtub enclosure. GFCIs are electrocution prevention devices that are designed to shut off the power supply to the bathroom fan in less than a second if there is an interruption in power flow (i.e. the power going out or the breaker is not equal to the power going back to it.). Even a drop of water somewhere in the motor housing is enough to cause this safety tripping.
To get the electric supply going to your bathroom fan again, you simply need to reset the GFCI safety circuit. To do this you have to find where the electrical panel box in your house is located. GFCI breakers usually have a lot more white parts on their face than regular breakers do. Find the one that is marked for the bathroom you are having a problem in. To reset it, first turn it all the way off then back on again.
*** Note: if the breaker trips again, you have a bigger problem and will need to call your electrician. Also, if you have restored the power to the bathroom exhaust fan and it’s still not running, you might have to buy and install a replacement motor for it.***
Problem: Your bathroom fan is starting to squeak and get very noisy when it runs.
Solution: This most likely means that the bearings inside your exhaust fan’s electric motor have started to lose their all-important lubrication. The solution to this problem is to try and add a few drops of bearing lubrication into the back of the exhaust fan motor where the bearings are. If this does not solve the noise problem or the squeaking comes back after a short period of time, then you most likely have to change out the entire exhaust fan motor to get rid of this problem.
Problem: Weak or no suction when your hand is placed over your bathroom exhaust fan’s grille while running.
Solution: In this case, it sounds like your exhaust fan is simply in need of a good cleaning. You should be able to gently remove the grille to gain access to the fan area that needs to be cleaned. Once you do this you may be shocked to see a lot of dust,lint and other debris that collects inside of your bathroom exhaust fan.
***Make sure the power is off before proceeding. ***
Start by cleaning any large debris out of your fan, such as clumps of lint or dust, by hand. After that, you can use a handheld vacuum if you have one handy to get up the finer dust and lint particles. The final step in the process should be wiping down the entire inside of the unit with a damp rag.
Cleaning your bathroom fan is something that should be placed on your yearly house cleaning/maintenance schedule.
If this cleaning process does not work you may have a clogged bathroom air vent line.
Without a doubt, the best bathroom exhaust fan will greatly enhance your bathroom experience. There is just something much nicer about using a bathroom where the moisture and steam levels are kept in check. If you can add a quiet and efficient bathroom exhaust fan, it will increase the comfort level of your bathroom even more.
Anyone of the bathroom exhaust fans that I reviewed here would make a great addition to any bathroom that they are properly sized for. So keep that in mind during your new bathroom exhaust fan search. Be sure to refer to the advice in the buying guide before and during your search. When you combine all of the information found in the buying guide with the other information in this article, you should then have the know-how to find the best bathroom vent fan for your needs.
- 10 Bathroom Exhaust Fan Reviews
- #1 The Winner
- #2 Runner Up
- #3 Best Budget
- #4 Best Small on a Budget
- #5 Best Energy Efficient
- #6 Best With LED Light
- #7 Ultra Quiet With LED Light
- #8 Best With Heater and Light
- #9 Best Quiet
- #10 Quiet and Powerful
- Bathroom Exhaust Fan Comparison Chart
- Bathroom Exhaust Fan Buying Guide
- Bathroom Exhaust Fan Troubleshooting Guide