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Best Bathroom Exhaust Fan Reviews (Guide for 2021)

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The airtight design used in bathrooms leads to the trapping of excess moisture. And all the humidity and condensation can spell doom for your bathroom with the surfaces becoming breeding grounds for mold and mildew. This is not only damaging for the surfaces but is also a risk to your health. That’s why it’s essential to install a high quality bathroom ventilation fan. It would help remove moisture and prevent mold growth. And to help you understand the ins and outs and find the best product for your needs, we’ve prepared this best bathroom exhaust fan buying guide with reviews of options at different price points.

Top 6 Bathroom Exhaust Fans

ImageProduct nameDetailsCheck price
top rated bathroom fan with lightBroan-NuTone 678
  • 50 CFM, 2.5 sones
  • Fan and light combo
  • Housing: 8.25" x 8"x 5-3/4"
  • Grille: 10-5/8" x 11-1/8"
  • 4" duct type
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ceiling extractor fanBroan-NuTone 688
  • 50 CFM, 4 sones
  • Housing: 7-1/4" x 7-1/2"x 3-5/8"
  • Grille: 9" x 9-1/4" x 3/8"
  • 3" duct type
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bathroom ceiling ventilation fanAir King BFQ 110
  • 100 CFM, 3.5 sones
  • Light combo available
  • Housing: 8-1/2" x 9-1/8"x 4-3/4"
  • Grille: 10" x 10"
  • 4" duct type
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combo of bathroom exhaust fan heater and lightBroan-NuTone 765H80LB
  • 80 CFM, 2.0 sones
  • Fan, heater, and light combo
  • Housing: 14-1/4" x 8-1/4"x 5-3/4"
  • Grille: 16-3/4" x 10-5/8"x 2-1/8"
  • 4" duct type
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quiet ventilation fanPanasonic FV-0811VF5
  • 110 CFM, 0.8 sones
  • Dimensions: 10.2" x 10.2" x 5.6"
  • 4" and 3" duct type
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durable bathroom exhaust fanDelta Electronics GBR80
  • 80 CFM, 0.8 sones
  • Housing: 8-1/4" x 8"x 5-3/4"
  • Grille: 10-3/4" x 10-3/4"
  • 4" duct type
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Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans Reviewed

Broan-NuTone 678 Bathroom Exhaust Fan

best bathroom exhaust fanOne of the top rated bathroom exhaust fans in 2021 is the Broan-NuTone 678 model. It’s a powerful unit that is designed to keep your bathroom both dry and bright. So it’s a great option for those that are looking for the best bathroom fan light combo.

This bathroom fan heater is built for durability. It comes in a rugged construction design made of 26-gauge galvanized steel. Moreover, it features a permanently lubricated plug-in motor, which promises consistent performance throughout the years of its use.

The unit is powerful enough to provide efficient ventilation for bathrooms up to 45 square feet. It operates at 50 CFM and has a 2.5 Sones rating. It helps to eliminate humidity, odors, and airborne particles, providing a safe and comfortable bathroom environment.

However, this bathroom exhaust fan doesn’t stop at just powerful ventilation. It also provides extra lighting with 100 watt brightness capacity. It also features a high quality, shatter resistant lens that diffuses the light and provides a comfortable brightness level. However, keep in mind that the bulb is not included, so you would have to purchase it separately for the light to work.

There are also a few safety features included in this bathroom fan light combo. It operates as approved by the UL and HIV standards. And once connected to a GFCI-protected circuit, it can be safely used over bathtubs or showers.

Another advantage of this combo unit is the ease of installation. It’s designed with key-holed mounting brackets, a polymeric duct fitting that also features a built-in backdraft damper, and a positive duct connection. All these design features allow quick and easy installation.

The last feature we’d like to mention for this high quality bathroom fan is its attractive design. It’s built with a white polymeric grille that can become a great addition to the decor of your bathroom.

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PROS
  • Efficient ventilation for rooms up to 34 sq ft.
  • 50 CFM, 2.5 Sone.
  • 1.5 amps.
  • Quiet.
  • 100 watt light.
  • Durable galvanized steel construction.
  • Easy installation.
  • Inexpensive.
  • 1 year warranty.
CONS
  • More difficult to install if you’re don’t have access to the attic above.
  • Does not include a bulb for the light.

Broan-NuTone 688 Bathroom Ceiling Fan

best bathroom ceiling fanOur next pick for the best bathroom ceiling fan is the Broan-NuTone 688. This is a cheap bathroom exhaust fan that comes in a decorative design and offers efficient performance.

For consistent performance, this bathroom exhaust fan is built with a permanently lubricated motor, so it won’t need any lubrication maintenance. This motor is also removable. It easily snaps in and out without any tools, which makes it easy to remove it for cleaning.

You can also rest assured that this ventilation fan is safe for use in bathrooms. As long as it’s connected to the GFCI circuit, you can safely use it over a bathtub or a shower.

Moreover, the fan is equipped with a polymeric blower wheel that delivers efficient operation at 50 CFM. It can effectively remove humidity and odors in bathrooms up to 45 square feet. However, the downside of this unit is that it’s loud. It features a 4.0 Sone rating, which is the highest among the exhaust fans on our reviews list.

Another advantage of this budget bathroom ceiling fan is the ease of installation. You can install it between ceiling joists or wall studs with a duct diameter of 3 inches. And the grille features torsion springs, making it possible to install it without any tools.

One more feature that is worth mentioning is the decorative grille. You can paint it whatever color you want in order to make it more fitting with the design of your bathroom.

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PROS
  • Durably built.
  • 50 CFM.
  • For bathrooms up to 45 sq ft.
  • UL listed for use over bathtubs and showers.
  • Permanently lubricated motor.
  • Paintable grille.
  • Cheap.
  • 1 year warranty.
CONS
  • Loud.

Air King BFQ 110 Powerful Bathroom Vent Fan

most powerful bathroom exhaust fanIf you’re looking for the most powerful bathroom exhaust fan, we recommend checking out the Air King BFQ 110 model. It operates at 110 CFM and is powerful enough to provide proper ventilation for bathrooms that are as large as 125 square feet.

However, if you think that 110 CFM is too much for your small bathroom, this exhaust fan is also available in 50 CFM and 90 CFM options. The 50 CFM option is suitable for bathrooms up to 65 square feet and the 90 CFM is recommended for rooms up to 110 square feet.

This bathroom ventilation fan is highly durable. It’s made of high impact plastic housing, which means that it won’t rust or break, making it perfect for use in a bathroom. Moreover, like all the other bathroom exhaust fans on our list, this unit is also designed for safe use over bathtubs and showers if it is connected to a GFCI circuit.

As a downside, this bathroom vent fan is not whisper quiet. It has a rating of 3.5 Sones, which is a medium noise level for a fan. However, the high noise level of this fan is due to the fact that it moves a higher volume of air. If you choose one of the lower CFM units, the Sones rating is also lower. And it does come equipped with a back draft damper, which helps to damper noise for quieter operation.

For ease of installation, the fan features a snap in mounting system. It comes with four screws for mounting the included bracket to a ceiling joist. Then you just snap in the housing, do the wiring, and connect the ducting. Moreover, it features 4 inches round ducting that you can choose whether to install it on the right or left hand side.

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PROS
  • Durable high impact plastic housing.
  • Powerful performance at 110 CFM.
  • Different CFM options available.
  • For rooms up to 125 square feet.
  • UL listed for mounting over a tub or shower.
  • Snap-in mounting system.
  • Rated for ceilings insulated to R-40.
  • Right or left hand ducting.
  • 1 year parts warranty.
CONS
  • The 110 CFM unit is a bit noisy.

Broan-NuTone 765H80LB Bathroom Exhaust Fan With Light and Heater

quiet bathroom exhaust fan with heater and lightFor those looking for the best bathroom exhaust fan with light and heater, the top rated product is the Broan-NuTone 765H80LB. It offers versatile functionality, providing for your bathroom ventilation, heating, and light. This is not the cheapest bathroom exhaust fan, but since you get three functions in one unit, it offers the best value for money.

This is a quality engineered fan that is efficient and quiet in operation. It’s made with a galvanized steel housing, so it’s built to last years of use without any rust problems.

Moreover, it features two separate motors with one of them being for the fan and the other for the heater. You would have to install a multi-switch or separate switches in order to be able to operate the three functions separately.

This exhaust fan combo also delivers powerful ventilation. It operates at 80 CFM and it’s designed for use in rooms up to 60 square feet, so it’s powerful enough for most bathroom sizes. And though powerful, it’s still also a quiet bathroom exhaust fan with a rating of just 2.0 Sones.

Additionally, the fan offers powerful heating. It’s equipped with a 1,300 watt heater, which provides efficient heating for small bathrooms. It’s definitely a great addition as it can make getting out of the shower on a cold morning a much more pleasant experience. The heater is also designed for safe operation as it additionally features thermal protection.

Moreover, there’s the light feature, which is a great addition for brightening up the bathroom space. And you can choose whether to add an LED or an incandescent bulb.

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PROS
  • Fan, heater, and light combo.
  • Galvanized steel construction.
  • 80 CFM.
  • 1,300 watt heater.
  • Thermal protection.
  • Quiet operation at 2.0 Sones.
  • UL listed for mounting in insulated ceilings type iC.
  • 1 year limited warranty.
CONS
  • While the fan is fairly quiet, the heater is a bit loud.
  • Its small wiring box makes it difficult to fit all the wires inside the unit.

Panasonic FV-0811VF5 Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fan

good bathroom fan light comboThis fan is perfect for those that are looking for the quietest bathroom ceiling fan. It delivers up to 110 CFM with a sones rating of only 0.8. On top of that, you can adjust the fan’s air flow speed between 80 and 110 CFM. This not only gives you more flexibility for a range of ventilation requirements but also allows you to choose quieter operation as at 80 CFM, its sones rating is as low as 0.3.

However, some users mentioned that it’s not as quiet as the manufacturer claims. So it’s not completely silent. However, it’s still much quieter than many other bathroom exhaust fans, especially exhaust fans with the same power level.

This high quality bathroom exhaust fan is also built for efficient performance. It’s designed to deliver greater air moving power without wasting energy. The fan is also Energy Star certified, which shows that it complies with energy efficiency requirements.

The fan features an ECM motor that is engineered to perform beyond the minimum static pressure. It can overcome static pressure at 0.375 inches, which is most common in typical duct runs. With 110 CFM, this exhaust fan can quickly remove from your bathroom contaminated air and humidity. It can help prevent mold, mildew, and other humidity problems in a bathroom.

For long lasting durability, the exhaust fan features a rugged housing made of galvanized steel, an improved blade design, and a high performing motor.

The manufacturer also made this bathroom ceiling fan easy to install. It comes with a Flex-Z Fast bracket and a detachable installation adapter. This system provides trouble-free installation, even from under the ceiling.

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PROS
  • Galvanized steel housing.
  • Airflow speed selector.
  • Powerful performance at 110 CFM.
  • Quiet operation at 0.8 sones.
  • Energy Star rated.
  • Low profile.
  • Easy installation system.
  • 3 year parts warranty.
CONS
  • Expensive.

Delta BreezGreenBuilder GBR80 Bathroom Ventilation Fan

bathroom exhaust fan reviewsThe Delta BreezGreenBuilder GBR80 is also a good quiet bathroom exhaust fan option. It offers a good combination of quality, power, and efficiency. On top of that, it provides quiet operation, so you can use your bathroom without the disturbing noise.

This is one of the most efficient bathroom exhaust fans. Even though offers powerful performance, it has very low power consumption. It uses only 10.5 watts and has an efficiency rating of 7.6 CFM per watt. This can contribute to great energy savings. And this fan is qualified for Energy Star certification.

This ventilation fan is also not only efficient and powerful but also very quiet. Its maximum sound level is 0.8 sones. So it might not be whisper quiet, but it is quiet enough not to be disturbing and just loud enough for you to know that it’s on.

Another advantage of this fan is its durable construction. It features strong galvanized steel housing and a DC brushless motor, which provide reliable, long lasting performance.

There are also a few different options for this model, so you can buy it with a few extra features that you might consider important. You can buy it as just the fan or as a fan with light combo. Other additions include dual speed functionality and a humidity sensor. Moreover, if you want a more powerful unit, you can also purchase this highly rated bathroom exhaust with 100 CFM.

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PROS
  • Galvanized steel body.
  • Operates at 80 CFM (100 CFM option available).
  • 7.6 CFM per watt efficiency.
  • Energy Star qualified.
  • HIV certified.
  • 0.8 sones loudness level.
  • Available with extras, such as light, a humidity sensor, and dual speed functionality.
  • 3 year limited warranty.
CONS
  • Difficult to install without attic access.

What is a Bathroom Exhaust Fan?

A bathroom exhaust fan is a ventilation device that ducts out excess humidity from your bathroom. In a highly insulated bathroom, humidity tends to create an ideal atmosphere for mold and mildew to grow. With, the excess humidity and steam also begin to wear out paint from your bathroom’s walls, causing rusting on door knobs or even crack tiles. A quality wall mount bathroom exhaust fan can eliminate that humidity and replace it with fresh air.

Size

A typical bathroom exhaust fan measures 14x15x10 inches. Hardly will you find a large bathroom exhaust fan. That’s because this fan is a simple device with a motor and a few other components. Its performance is determined by its ability to move air in cubic feet per minute (CFM). A small bathroom exhaust fan for, example, is one with a low CFM rating. Bathroom exhaust fans for bigger bathrooms will have larger CFM.

Costs

Bathroom exhaust fans cost considerably low compared to typical ventilation fans. They range between $50 and $200, with the most expensive fans having better performing features. A quality bathroom exhaust fan is, however, not necessarily expensive. Continue reading to learn more of why you need a bathroom exhaust fan.

Why do you need a Bathroom Exhaust Fan?

Excess humidity is bad for your skin, for your overall health, and for your bathroom. With a quality extractor fan, you can reduce this humidity and forever shower in a well ventilated bathroom. Bathroom extractor fans are also easy to affordable, easy to install, and durable. But most importantly, is that you will benefit from their services in the following ways.

  1. To Control Steam and Odors

    The work of a fan extractor is to remove smoke, steam, and odor particles from your bathroom or kitchen. A quality extractor fan will operate consistently and prevent much of the steam from causing damage to your walls and tiles. Since most drainage systems don’t eliminate odors, having a fan that can reduce unwanted smells will ensure you have a fresh bathroom every day.

  2. Heat Maintenance

    Some bathroom extractor fans feature heating elements that add warmth to your bathroom during cold seasons. Quality extractor fans also feature heat controlling mechanisms. This is meant to help maintain ideal bathing temperatures at all times. Heat maintenance is important especially with modern insulated bathrooms that can hold a lot of heat in them and potentially cause long term damages to your wall and tiles.

  3. Humidity Control

    Where else except for your kitchen do you experience high humidity levels? With all the steam and water particles in your bathroom, you can’t escape the humidity. And while humidity is not generally bad, too much of it is dangerous. Excess humidity in your bathroom can affect a sensitive skin. It can create a breeding environment for mold, mildew and potentially deface your bathroom walls.

  4. For your Health

    If you are like most people, you probably don’t enjoy the flu. Unfortunately, the flu virus thrives in humid places like your bathroom. Having a quality extractor fan can help keep you and your family healthy by keeping the flu virus off your bathroom.

Guide to Choosing the Best Bathroom Ventilation Fan

There is no doubt that buying a bathroom exhaust fan helps improve your bathroom. If you are not allergic to excess humid air, your bathrooms are. Excess steam and humidity damps them and wears out their beautiful paint with time. Fortunately, investing in a quality bathroom exhaust fan will defend you from the hurting drawbacks of steam in your bathroom. Here are the features and factors you need to ensure you get a high quality bathroom exhaust fan that will serve you for many years.

Air Flow Capacity

A bathroom exhaust fan is only as good as its air flow capacity. The air flow capacity determines how fast and efficient the fan is at a given bathroom. You need the right size of an extractor fan if you want excess humidity and odors of your bathroom. Bathrooms are measured in their ability to move air in cubic feet per minute (CFM).

The smaller bathroom exhaust fans register low CFM, while the more powerful extractor fans have high CFM. So, how do you know that an extractor fan is right for your bathroom? According to the Home Ventilating Institute, a single CFM rating represents one square foot in your bathroom. That means if you have a 100 sq. ft. bathroom, get a bathroom vent fan with a 100 or more in CFM rating.

Noise Level

One of the most important features of a bathroom exhaust fan is its noise level. No matter how powerful the extractor fan, you will most likely hate it if it is noisy. Noise level is thus, an important feature. It is even more important if you prefer to shower in a quiet, tranquil environment. Bathroom extractor fans’ noise level is measured in sones. One sone is the equivalent of a really whisper quiet refrigerator. If you find a low humming refrigerator still noisy, then you need to find an extractor fan with much less noise level. The lowest sone level is 0.3. Yes, there are bathroom exhaust fans that quiet. But they are more often more expensive. If you have no problem with white noise, invest in a fan with a sone level of 2 or 3.

Energy Efficiency

Everyone wants an energy efficient device. You probably are looking for the most energy efficient bathroom exhaust fan. Why anyway would want to buy an inefficient device? With bathroom exhaust fans, energy efficiency is measured in watts. A quality, energy efficient device is that which uses the least amount of watts. According to statistics, the most energy efficient bathroom exhaust fan uses a mere 3 watts. Average exhaust fans, however, use about 28 watts.

When shopping for a bathroom exhaust fan, buy one with an energy star. They usually are certified for having the best energy efficiency capabilities. Energy Star rated devices typically use 70% less energy. In most cases, these devices are less noisy too. Additionally, you gain a lot in energy bills when you buy an energy saving exhaust fan. Investing in the most energy efficient fan, for example, would save you seven times what the average extractor fan owner spends in a year.

Smart features

You gain a lot in a modern bathroom vent fan than someone who uses traditional extractor fans. There are a number of features you find in these high tech engineered fans that will make their maintenance easier. Some of the fans feature integrated lighting to help you reduce energy bills since you won’t have to switch on conventional lights anymore. If you invest in a fan with heating elements, you won’t have to worry about a cold bathroom during the winter season.

There are many more features with modern bathroom exhaust fans. You just have to look at those features that will help you the most. Humidity sensors, for example, are helpful features because they can sense when humidity levels increase. Some fans with motion sensors will only operate when someone gets inside the bathroom. This feature is helpful if you are concerned about energy consumption in your home. Finally, look for a bathroom exhaust fan with multiple functions and a control panel. A wall control panel ensures that you can manage all the helpful features in your extractor fan conveniently.

Bathroom Exhaust Fan Installation

Installing a bathroom exhaust fan is not a daunting task. If you installed your bathroom’s rainfall shower yourself, you shouldn’t have trouble with this. All you need to know is where to install it and get prepared to do some wall busting. However, if you are not sure about the job, hire a pro. You will have to pay double or even triple the amount you paid for the device itself. But that’s the price. Nothing good comes cheap.

Decisions to make

Before you have an extractor fan installed in your bathroom, consider the location to install it. The most ideal position is between your toilet and the shower head. It should also be close to the wall. The nearer the vent fan to the wall, the more efficiently it will perform. Note also that your bathroom should have a ventilation source besides this fan. Preferably, let your bathroom door have clearance on the lower end. This will ease the fan’s work and prolong its service life. Door clearance also brings in fresh air after the humid air is vented out of your bathroom.

  1. Step One: Drill a Small Reference Hole into the Ceiling or Wall

    If you purchased a ceiling mounted fan, drill a hole where you will install it. Draw a mark on the ceiling and then use a spade bit to drill a hole into the ceiling and attic. If you are using a wall mounted fan, drill a hole in the exact location where you want the fan installed. With this reference hole, measure up the fan’s vent size and bore a hole that size. When busting your wall, take caution to ensure that you only drill the required hole size.

  2. Step Two: Position the fan and Install it

    Position the fan through the holes on the ceiling and wall. Secure each bracket end with a drywall screw and work on the electrical connections. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you attach every part into its rightful position.

Bathroom Exhaust Fan Maintenance

Just as smoke and odors make a kitchen dull and unattractive, excessive humidity is the enemy of a beautiful bathroom. One piece at a time, excess humidity peels off the wall finish, causes rust on the door knobs, and increases odors in your bathroom. Humidity also offers a breeding ground for the flu virus, mold, and other unwanted pollutants. If you have a bathroom exhaust fan, you can avoid such damages by regularly maintaining it. This will ensure that it performs at its best at all times.

Cleaning the Grilles

If you own a new bathroom exhaust fan, you probably don’t need to uninstall it to check what is wrong with it. All you need to do is unscrew the grilles that protect the fan and vacuum clean them. If you still use the older models, you will need to add some oiling to your fan on a regular basis. Modern extractor fans don’t need oiling as they are permanently lubricated.

Cleaning the Vents and Ducts

One of the reasons why you need to install your vent fan properly is so that it vents out the mold and humidity out of the bathroom. Some fans tend to damp the moisture into your attic where mold and mildew get a breeding place. For regular vent maintenance, check the wall cap to ensure that is cleared of any bird nests and debris. If that area is clear but your fan performs inefficiently, check the attic. Many malfunctioning vent fans damp moisture into the attic instead of out of your walls. Also, check the duct to confirm that it is properly attached to the bathroom exhaust fan.

Bathroom Fan Cleaning Process

If you should decide to clean the whole bathroom exhaust fan unit, follow the following procedure

  1. Turn off the circuit breaker.
  2. Unscrew the vent fan cover or grilles. Some fan covers are not screwed, which should make them easy to use.
  3. Use a vacuum cleaner that has bristle brushes to clean the cover and grilles. Use a crevice tool to clean areas that are difficult to reach
  4. Ensure you clean the area around the motor and inside the wall cap by using a small paint brush or toothbrush.
  5. Reinstall the components you removed one at a time. Tighten the grilles properly or push the cover until it is firmly attached into place.

Bottom Line

If you love your bathroom as much as you love your living room, you should do everything possible to keep it looking stylish and livable. One way to do that is to invest in the best bathroom exhaust fan and to regularly maintain it. With a quality fan eliminating excess humidity and pollutants from your bathroom, the air in your bathroom will stay fresh and mold free. Fortunately, an extractor fan is not an expensive tool. You can find your ideal match on our bathroom exhaust fan reviews above.

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