Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans | Top 8 Picks

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Everyone loves having a steamy shower once in a while, but many people forget to think about the damage that steam can do to a bathroom if it’s not taken care of. Thankfully, there’s a solution. Today, we’re going to help you find the best bathroom exhaust fan for you.

By installing a great exhaust fan, you can stop worrying about excess steam in your bathroom and instead enjoy your relaxing bathing time without a care in the world.

Our top pick is the Broan NuTone Flex. Not only is this fan incredibly efficient, making it great for those looking to keep their bills down, but it also does a great job at removing moisture.

Read on to find out more about what a bathroom exhaust fan actually does, why you should install one, and how to choose the right one for you.

What is a Bathroom Exhaust Fan?

Bathroom exhaust fans evacuate warm, moist air from a room and safely transfer it to the outdoors. They are by far the best method to remove excess moisture from a bathroom and are much more effective than simply opening a window.

An exhaust fan is a mechanical device that is typically operated via a switch on the outside of the bathroom. When switched on, the fan draws air out of the bathroom, before passing it through a flexible metal vent that leads to the exterior of the house.

If You’re in a Hurry – My Tops Picks at a Glance

Why Should I Install an Exhaust Fan?

Although having steam in the bathroom can be a positive thing (steam can promote healthy skin and clean pores), it can actually be quite damaging to the room. A moist environment can encourage rapid mold growth, as well as weakening the structure of walls and floors.

Since bathroom exhaust fans help remove this moist air, they also help prevent mold growth and structural damage. This is one of the biggest reasons why homeowners look to invest in an exhaust fan and is one of the main advantages of such a device.

This isn’t the only benefit of an exhaust fan. They also eliminate bad odors and generally improve the air quality in the bathroom. Additionally, you’ll find that your mirrors are much less likely to fog up when the fan is operating, which is an annoying situation that we’ve all experienced!

The Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans Reviews

1) Best Overall - Broan-NuTone Flex AE110LK Bathroom Exhaust Ventilator

Broan-NuTone AE110LK Flex Bathroom Exhaust Bath Fan, 110 CFM, White
  • HIGH-QUALITY FAN: Quiet, energy efficient exhaust fan...
  • EFFICIENT: Powerful ventilation removes moisture and reduces...
  • EASY INSTALLATION: Easy to install new/replace existing...

Broan is one of the most popular brands in the bathroom fan business, and the NuTone Flex AE110LK is one of their best-selling models. The NuTone Flex is available at two different CFM values for different sized bathrooms – 80CFM and 110CFM.

This bathroom fan is extremely efficient. Despite the device’s low energy usage, it still manages to effectively ventilate the bathroom, reducing moisture and improving the air quality. The unique TrueSeal Damper technology works to reduce air leakage out of the bathroom by 50%.

You rarely find a fan that manages to keep energy costs down and still remove moisture effectively – making the Broan NuTone Flex our favorite overall pick.

One of the best features of the Broan NuTone Flex is how easy it is to install. The design of the fan means it can be easily retrofitted to an existing bathroom fan vent, without the need for attic access or any complex processes.

Pros:

  • Very efficient performance – reduces your energy bills and carbon footprint.
  • Simple to install and use – can be installed without attic access from room-side.
  • One of the best brands around – Broan-NuTone is known to create reliable and durable products.

Cons:

  • Quite popular – can be hard to find in stock.

2) Best Noise Level - Panasonic WhisperFit EZ Bathroom Fan and Ventilation System 

Panasonic FV-0811VF5 WhisperFit EZ Retrofit Ventilation Fan, 80 or 110...
  • Retrofit Solution: Ideal for residential remodeling, hotel...
  • Low Profile: 5-5/8-Inch housing depth fits in a 2 x 6...
  • Pick-A-Flow Speed Selector: Allows you to pick desired...

Our next recommendation in this ‘best bathroom exhaust fan’ list is the Panasonic WhisperFit EZ. As the name suggests, this product is designed to keep noise levels to an absolute minimum. In fact, users have reported a sone rating of under 1.0, which is extremely impressive!

Although having a low noise output is great, the ventilation performance is just as important. Thankfully, the WhisperFit doesn’t drop the ball in this area, offering fantastic moisture removal and a high airflow capacity.

A cool feature with this particular bathroom fan is that you can switch between different CFM levels. You can choose between 80 and 110 CFM, depending on how fast you need the fan to be running. This is actually quite a rare feature and isn’t offered by many other exhaust fans.

Pros:

  • Speed selection switch – so if steam builds up, you’re able to clear it with a higher speed.
  • Extremely low noise level – prevents the fan from becoming an annoying distraction.
  • Rapid moisture removal – quickly clears moisture before it gets into the walls or ceiling.

Cons:

  • Some may find it hard to operate – included instruction manual isn’t very clear.

3) Most Affordable - Broan-NuTone 688 Wall and Ceiling Ventilation Fan 

Broan-NuTone 688 Ceiling and Wall Ventilation Fan, 50 CFM 4.0 Sones,...
  • VERSATILE FAN: Ventilation fan helps eliminate humidity,...
  • EFFICIENT: Operates on 50 CFM and has a 4. 0 Sone rating to...
  • EASY INSTALLATION: Torsion springs grille mounting - no...

Here we have another product from Broan, this time their NuTone 688 model. The 688 is an exceptionally good bathroom fan for the cost and competes with other ventilators that have much higher price tags.

This device has a 50 CFM value, which means it’s perfect for smaller bathrooms. When operating at this power, the 688 is very efficient and won’t be heaping any extra costs onto your energy bills.

This NuTone model has a sones value of 4.0, which is quite high when compared to some of the brands’ other options. But when you consider the price of this device and the features that it has, this rating is still pretty decent.

Pros:

  • Very affordable – this is an ideal choice for those on a budget.
  • 50 CFM – ideal for smaller bathrooms as it uses less power.
  • Simple and attractive design – blends in beautifully to most bathroom ceilings.

Cons:

  • 4.0 sone level – is on the higher end but still very manageable.

4) QuFresh Ultra Quiet Bathroom Fan

QuFresh Ultra Quiet Bathroom Ventilation Fan (80 CFM Quiet Operation)
  • Dependable Motor - 80 CFM PSC motor. Permanently lubricated...
  • Rugged - Galvanized steel housing. No flimsy parts here,...
  • Easy Installation - Includes mounting tabs and hanger bars...

With the Ultra Quiet Fan, QuFresh has clearly worked hard to create a product that offers great performance at a reasonable price. The biggest attraction here is undoubtedly the low noise output, which makes this QuFresh model perfect for those that want to be able to fully relax in the bathroom.

The Ultra Quiet has an airflow capacity of 80 CFM, which is enough to effectively remove moisture from areas up to 80 square feet in size. This is typically more than enough power for small to medium-sized bathrooms.

This device can be fitted into most standard-size bathroom fan holes, so users usually won’t have to do any extra work in order to get their ventilator installed. When the fan is installed, only the white grill will be exposed to the bathroom, giving the Ultra Quiet a sleek finish.

Pros:

  • Very quiet when running – ideal for those who don’t want distracting noise.
  • 80 CFM – good airflow capacity for medium-sized rooms.
  • Comes with mounting tabs – makes installation incredibly simple.

Cons:

  • Low airflow rating – might be too low for very large bathrooms.

5) ESD Tech Bathroom Ventilator

ESD Tech Bathroom Exhaust Fan – Ultra Quiet 0.7 Sones, 80 CFM, White...
  • ✔️ ULTRA QUIET – This bathroom fan has a very low...

  • ✔️ COVER MORE SPACE – With such a low noise level,...

  • ✔️ HUMIDITY CONTROL – Bathroom fans are vital to...

This model from ESD Tech is yet another bathroom fan that has been designed to minimize noise production. In fact, this fan has one of the lowest sound ratings on this list at an impressive 0.7 sones. This rating means the device is quieter than the hum of a refrigerator, so you probably won’t be able to hear anything whilst you’re reclining in the bath.

This ESD Tech ventilator is a solid solution for anyone that is experiencing problems with humidity in their bathroom. The powerful fan draws in moisture-dense air and quickly passes it to the outside of your house.

If you’ve already got a vent installed in your wall, then setting up the ESD Tech fan is an absolute breeze. It has been designed for use with a standard 6-inch duct but comes with an adapter for installation inside a 4-inch duct.

Pros:

  • 0.7 sones – whisper-quiet noise output.
  • Fully certified – ensures the fan is both incredibly safe and efficient.
  • 4” duct adapter- makes setup quick and easy.

Cons:

  • Hard to find – this model sells out often.

6) Homewerks 7140-80 Ceiling-Mounted Bathroom Fan

Sale
Homewerks 7140-80 Bathroom Fan Ceiling Mount Exhaust Ventilation, 1.5...
  • OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE: This Homewerk's bath fan ensures...
  • BATH FANS HELPS REMOVE HARSH ODOR: When cleaning the...
  • BUILD QUALITY: Designed to be corrosion resistant with its...

The next option that we have for you is the 7140-80 model from Homewerks. This bathroom fan has a ceiling-mounted design, which means it probably won’t be suitable if you have an in-wall ventilation duct. That being said, if you do want your bathroom fan in the ceiling, the 7140-80 is a solid choice.

The extractor is available in two different airflow ratings, 80 CFM and 110 CFM. Whatever size of bathroom you have, you can be sure that there will be a version of the 7140-80 that’s perfect for you. Even with the larger 110 CFM size, the noise rating is kept below 1.5 sones.

The build-quality on show here is second to none. Homewerks have built the 7140-80 out of corrosion-resistant parts, so you can be sure that your fan is going to last for a long time into the future.

Pros:

  • Available in multiple airflow ratings – allows you to find the perfect fit for your bathroom.
  • Very sleek and inconspicuous – ideal for those who want a low-profile exhaust fan.
  • Corrosion-resistant parts – increases unit lifespan and reduces maintenance costs.

Cons:

  • Installation can be a little complex – some may prefer an easier setup.

7) KAZE APPLIANCE Ultra Quiet Ventilator Fan

KAZE APPLIANCE Ultra Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Ventilation Fan (120 CFM,...
  • Please note the size of the housing is 11 3/8" x 10 1/2",...
  • Powerful 120 CFM and Super Quiet operation at 0.3 Sones...
  • Includes double hanger mounting bars. Detachable 6 inch...

Our penultimate recommendation is the KAZE APPLIANCE Ultra Quiet Ventilator Fan. KAZE APPLIANCE is another brand that is very well-respected in the ventilation industry, and this Ultra Quiet model is definitely one of their best creations.

This product is available at a range of airflow levels, stretching from 90 CFM all the way up to 150 CFM. The 150 CFM version is particularly impressive since it manages to retain very low excess noise production, despite the incredible amount of airflow power.

The KAZE APPLIANCE Ultra Quiet is typically compatible with existing ventilation ducts, but you may have to use the included adapter in some cases.

Pros:

  • Rapid moisture removal – quickly removes steam before it causes damp build-up.
  • Quiet performance, even with high air-flow models – ideal for those who need high power for a large bathroom, but also want low noise.
  • Comes with hanger mounting bars – makes it easy to set up and use.

Cons:

  • Not the most attractive grill – some may prefer a more discreet design.

8) Tech Drive Very-Quiet Bathroom Fan

Sale
Tech Drive Very-Quiet 80 CFM, 1.5 Sone No Attic access Needed...
  • Very quiet bathroom fan (1.5 sones) and Strong air movement...
  • Easy-to-Install: No cut housing with no attic access...
  • Housing size: 7.5in x 7.25in x 6in with 4in duct. ceiling...

The final bathroom fan that we recommend is the Tech Drive Very-Quiet. This 80 CFM model is suitable for small to medium-sized bathrooms and can very capably remove moist air from those areas.

In most cases, the Tech Drive Very-Quiet is going to be very easy to install. In fact, we’d say that this device offers one of the easiest installation processes on this list, and can be used with most existing duct openings.

If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable bathroom fan, then this Tech Drive model should definitely be near the top of your list.

Pros:

  • Affordable option – impressive CFM for the price.
  • 1.5 sones – barely audible so you may not even notice it’s operating.
  • Perfect for smaller bathrooms – 80 CFM ideal for smaller rooms as it uses less power.

Cons:

  • Instructions aren’t the clearest – some may find it hard to set up.

Bathroom Exhaust Fan Buying Guide

When you first start looking into bathroom exhaust fans, you’ll quickly realize that there is plenty of choice on offer. Although this is great, it can also be quite overwhelming.

No need to worry though, by using this useful bathroom exhaust fan buying guide, you’ll easily be able to work out exactly which product you need to buy.

Budget

When you’re making an investment in any product, deciding on your budget is an important first step. By doing this, you’ll quickly be able to narrow down your options to a much more manageable number – there’s really no point spending loads of time looking at bathroom fans that are outside your price range.

Thankfully, when it comes to bathroom exhaust fans, there are great options available at nearly every price point. You don’t have to drop loads of cash to get a decent fan. In fact, there are some solid bathroom exhaust fans with price tags below $20!

Of course, as you spend more money you typically will get more premium features, such as a humidity sensor or greater air-flow capacity. However, if you’re just looking for a basic fan that gets the job done, you’ll still have plenty of products to choose from.

CFM Rating

CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. The CFM rating describes how much air an exhaust fan can shift in a given amount of time. The higher the CFM value, the more moist air the fan will be able to remove from the bathroom.

The CFM rating is affected by a few different factors. These include the power of the fan’s motor, the shape and length of the blades, and the overall design of the vent unit.

Although CFM is important for a bathroom exhaust fan, it definitely isn’t everything. A fan could have a very high CFM rating, but use loads of energy in the process. This is where the efficiency of an exhaust fan comes into play.

Efficiency

The efficiency of a bathroom exhaust fan determines how much energy the fan uses whilst it operates. Ideally, you want to look for a fan that keeps the efficiency as high as possible, whilst still offering enough power to maintain a solid CFM rating.

The balance of CFM and efficiency is an important process for manufacturers and is an area that has seen quite a lot of innovation in recent years. These days, it’s pretty common to find very effective exhaust fans that don’t suck up tons of electricity and energy.

If you want to ensure that your bathroom exhaust fan isn’t going to be a drain on your energy bills, then make sure to look into the airflow efficiency before you buy.

Noise Production

When you’re settling down for a lovely relaxing bath, the last thing you want to hear is an exhaust fan buzzing away in the ceiling. The very best bathroom exhaust fans will keep excess noise to an absolute minimum, whilst performing their task efficiently and effectively.

Exhaust fan noise is usually measured in ‘sones’, and every fan is given a sones rating. The higher the rating, the louder the fan is when it’s in operation. For context, the gentle humming of a fridge is around 1 sone, whereas a normal conversation is typically 4 sones.

If you want your bathroom to be as peaceful as possible, then choosing a bathroom exhaust fan with a low sone rating is essential.

Build-Quality

When you’re buying a bathroom exhaust fan, it makes sense that you’ll want it to last for many years to come. For this to be the case, it’s important to find a fan that is built to a high standard and out of great materials.

Many people assume that you have to invest more money to achieve this. Although this is sometimes the case, there are definitely some affordable bathroom exhaust fans that provide the quality without the hefty price tag.

All of the options that we’ve included in our list are built to a high standard, and you really can’t wrong with any of them. That being said, we’d still recommend that you check out other customer reviews before buying to see what they have to say about the durability and quality of the product.

Extra Features

Extra features are the additional functions and tools that manufacturers add to their bathroom fans in order to help them stand out from the competition. Common additions include humidity sensors, motion sensors, a speed selector switch, or an LED indicator light.

None of these things are necessary for a great bathroom exhaust fan to have, but you’ll find the user experience more pleasurable if you do have them. Sensors in particular are great additions since if you forget to switch the exhaust fan off, it will automatically stop and you won’t be wasting loads of energy.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of which bathroom fan is the best for you, or a least feel more comfortable in knowing what to look for.

The last thing we’d say is that it’s important to remember that the best bathroom fan for one person might not be the best for you. Just make sure that you take all of the important factors into account before you buy!

FAQs

What is the best exhaust fan for a bathroom?

Since there are so many great bathroom exhaust fans on the market, it’s actually pretty hard to say which one is the very best. In our article, we named the Broan NuTone Flex as our number one pick, but all of the exhaust fans we reviewed are excellent choices.

If you’re struggling to work out which is the best bathroom exhaust fan for you, then be sure to read through our buying guide above. There, you’ll find out everything you need to know about bathroom fans and the features to look out for.

How many CFM do I need for my bathroom fan?

The CFM rating that you need will depend entirely on the size of your room. The general rule is that you should have 1 CFM for every square foot of room space. So if your room is 40 square feet, then you’ll need an exhaust fan with at least a 40 CFM rating.

To calculate the square footage of your bathroom, simply multiply the length and width (in feet) together. If you don’t get a fan with a high enough CFM level, then the fan is going to struggle to replace the moist air in your bathroom at a fast enough rate, and it won’t be able to do its job properly.

Is more CFM better bathroom fan?

The higher the CFM, the more air a bathroom fan can move out of a room. Although you might think having the highest possible CFM is the best, this isn’t necessary in most cases. You only need a fan that is powerful enough for the size of the room that it’s circulating – more CFM isn’t going to have much of an extra impact.

The rule of thumb is that you should have 1 CFM for every square foot of room space. Therefore, if your bathroom measures 10 x 8 feet, then you need a fan with a CFM value of at least 80.

Who makes the quietest bathroom exhaust fan?

These days, bathroom fan manufacturers recognize that the noise output of their products is an important factor for buyers. As a result, many modern bathroom fans are pretty quiet, and you have plenty of choices if this is one of your criteria.

One of our favorite quiet bathroom fans is the Panasonic WhisperFit EZ, which we reviewed in our list above. This particular bathroom exhaust fan manages to effectively remove moisture and odors from a room, whilst hardly making any noise.

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