The bathroom is the most important room in the home to ensure you have proper ventilation within. In this article, we’ve looked into the best bathroom exhaust fan options and reviews of some of the top products in this area that can be installed in your bathroom to increase air flow and reduce the issues that humidity and poor ventilation can cause.
If you don’t properly ventilate this space, the problems can be more than just a bit of humidity. In the long term, mold, mildew and damp can occur. These can be very difficult to resolve, not to mention expensive. Being organized enough to get a bathroom wall fan or a ceiling exhaust fan can save you a huge amount of hassle in the long run. They can also make your bathroom a more comfortable place to be.
- Bathroom Exhaust Fan Reviews
- Panasonic FV-30VQ3 WhisperCeiling 290 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan
- Akicon Ultra Quiet 90CFM Ventilation Fan Bathroom Exhaust Fan with LED Light
- Panasonic FV-08VQ5 WhisperCeiling 80 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan
- Delta Breez SLM70 Slim 70 CFM Exhaust Fan
- Delta Breez GBR80 GreenBuilder 80 CFM Exhaust Fan
- Broan SPK110 110-CFM Sensonic Speaker Fan
- Delta Breez GreenBuilder GBR80LED
- Delta BreezRadiance RAD80L 80 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan/CFL Light and Heater
- Broan 655 Heater and Bath Fan with Light Combination
- Panasonic FV-05VQ5 WhisperCeiling 50 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan
- Buying Guide
- Final Thoughts
Bathroom Exhaust Fan Reviews
Our bathroom exhaust fan reviews are designed to help you find a model you can rely on to meet your own specific needs.
- Panasonic FV-30VQ3
- Size: 290 CFM
- Dimension: 15 x 15 x 10.2 inches
- Color: White
- Material: Steel
- Weight: 17.45 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Akicon Ventilation Fan
- Size: 90CFM
- Dimension: 16 x 13.5 x 11.5 inches
- Color: White
- Material: N/A
- Weight: 8.8 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Panasonic FV-08VQ5
- Size: 50, 80, 110 CFM
- Dimension: 14.9 x 15.8 x 10.2 inches
- Color: White
- Material: Galvanized Steel
- Weight: 12.2 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Delta Electronics SLM70
- Size: 70 CFM
- Dimension: 7.5 x 7.3 x 4 inches
- Color: White
- Material: Galvanized steel body
- Weight: 1 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Delta Breez GBR80H
- Size: 80 CFM
- Dimension: 10.8 x 10.8 x 6 inches
- Color: White
- Material: N/A
- Weight: 1 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Broan SPK110
- Size: N/A
- Dimension: 11.4 x 7.6 x 10.5 inches
- Color: White
- Material: Plastic
- Weight: 11 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
Panasonic FV-30VQ3 WhisperCeiling 290 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan
With a name like “WhisperCeling”, this ceiling-mounted fan really needs to be one of the quietest exhaust fans in order to live up to its name. It manages to stay so silent by having a large wheel that turns slower than some of the smaller models. This allows more air movement without a high rate of rotations per minute (RPM). The wheel can also take air from both sides of the bathroom, which keeps it quiet due to there being more surface area to work with.
The 290 cubic feet per meter (CFM) rating means it can handle large bathrooms and can quickly alter the airflow to prevent the room from steaming up.
The Panasonic FV-30VQ3 is also very well made. The motor itself has long lasting lubricants and because it can run slowly, it won’t wear out as quickly as its competitors. The housing itself is made from high quality steel and is both galvanized and painted to prevent corrosion.
This is definitely one of the more heavy-duty ceiling fans out there. This means that it requires some skill to install. It doesn’t have a mount so if you don’t have decent DIY skills you may need to employ a professional to get it up and running quickly.
This is one of the top options out there if you have a large bathroom and need something that can handle quick temperature changes.
- Operates very quietly, almost silently in the right environments
- Great for large bathrooms
- Long lasting and hard-wearing components
- Can be tough to install for the average consumer
- May be overkill for smaller bathrooms
Akicon Ultra Quiet 90CFM Ventilation Fan Bathroom Exhaust Fan with LED Light
The Akicon Ultra Quiet model is a high-quality bathroom exhaust fan with LED lighting. It is relatively small with a four-inch duct diameter and is great for smaller bathroom spaces such as shower rooms.
The 90CFM rating means it is suitable for a bathroom up to 90 square feet in diameter. It works efficiently, and importantly, it operates very quietly. This is partially because it is small and compact.
The light itself is very efficient and perfect to serve as the main light in small bathroom spaces. The replacement process for the LED bulb is simple, for when it is eventually time for a new one.
The UL listing means it can be installed over the tub and shower for maximum efficiency. The Akicon is high quality with a three-year warranty and optional support for those who need help with installation or experience issues.
- Works quietly and efficiently
- Can be installed above the tub or shower
- Comes with a three-year warranty and manufacturer support
- Comes with a metal bracket for installation
- Not suitable for large bathrooms
Panasonic FV-08VQ5 WhisperCeiling 80 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan
This is yet another ceiling exhaust fan from Panasonic, designed to be both powerful and quiet. The FV-08VQ5 has a lot of safety features and is UL listed. When used with GFCI wiring it can be installed above a bathtub or shower enclosure for maximum efficiency.
The extension bracket allows this to extend up to 24 inches and you can hang it in the ideal position via the double hanger bar. It runs at 80 CFM or above. The motor of this fan is a ‘condenser’ motor. It can run continuously, has a damper to avoid backdrafts and the high level of lubrication means that it will run for many years. The FV-08VQ5 has the level of construction quality and components that we expect from Panasonic—a prolific manufacturer of quiet exhaust fans.
The 80 CFM of power is not always as efficient and reliable as some other Panasonic fans. Also, some users have reported the sone rating to be inaccurate;it is arguably a little louder than many of the other options from the brand.
- GFCI rating for installing above bathtub or shower enclosure
- High quality components designed to last many years
- Damper included to avoid backdrafts
- One of the older models of Panasonic bathroom exhaust fans
- Some consumers report this isn’t as quiet as advertised
Delta Breez SLM70 Slim 70 CFM Exhaust Fan
Delta exhaust fans are more affordable than many of the other exhaust fans on the market, but they still offer a fair amount of quality and are suitable for small to medium sized bathrooms. They are also available in multiple CFM ratings so you can choose the exact fan you require. We’ve focused on their 70 CFM exhaust fan here.
Considering the price point, this is a very impressive slim exhaust fan. It is extremely lightweight and is designed to either be retrofitted into where your previous fan was or it can be wall/ceiling-mounted.
The motor is brushless and requires no maintenance. It is UL approved as a safety precaution and also has an LED indicator built in. This is not just energy efficient;the product exceeds the ENERGY STAR rating requirements by over 450%!
At two sones, the noise level is more than acceptable for a fan of this size. It isn’t totally silent, but certainly isn’t noisy either. It is simple to install even for relative beginner DIY fans as it is not overly complicated and can be mounted on the ceiling or mounted on the wall.
- Relatively straightforward installation
- ENERGY STAR rated and can save 85% on energy usage
- Great value for money
- Relatively quiet for this size of exhaust fan
- Not as effective at preventing backdrafts as some other bathroom air vents
- Doesn’t have a mounting kit included
Delta Breez GBR80 GreenBuilder 80 CFM Exhaust Fan
This Delta fan is one of the most impressively environmentally friendly products on the market, hence the name “GreenBuilder”. With 80 CFM, this is a medium capacity fan that will suit small or medium sized bathrooms.
The efficiency of this product has an impact on your spending, too. The manufacturer estimates that an average bathroom exhaust fan will cost you around $28 per year to run, while the GreenBuilder can run for a whole year for less than $4.
ENERGY STAR requirements have been exceeded by 840% with this design, which should give you an idea of just how impressive this is for efficiency.
The incredible efficiency is also backed up by the ultra-low 0.3 sones of noise—about as noisy as rustling leaves. It is the quietest model in the Delta range.
A brushless motor and lightweight design as well as good quality components (though not as amazing as some of the Panasonic bathroom fans) make this a good option for a small budget.
Fitting can be relatively easy if you know what you are doing. It is especially simple if you are fitting from scratch, whereas some buyers have reported retrofitting and using this as a replacement bathroom fan can be more difficult and time consuming. Knowing how to replace a bathroom fan/light combo is not easy, so it may be best to consult a professional.
- Extremely energy efficient and cheap to run
- Easy to install for experienced DIYers
- HVI certified
- Low sone rating means it doesn’t create much noise at all
- Can be difficult to retrofit
- Switched-controlled rather than automatic
Broan SPK110 110-CFM Sensonic Speaker Fan
A bathroom fan with a Bluetooth speaker may not be the first thing to spring to mind when you think about sorting out the humidity, mold or damp problems in your bathroom; however, many people use both a waterproof speaker and an exhaust fan in their bathroom, so combining the technologies makes sense. The Broan SPK110 does exactly that.
One of the big benefits of this is that you can add a speaker to the room without taking up additional counter or wall space. The speakers are good quality and the Bluetooth works reliably so you can connect from your phone or other device and listen to whatever you please.
The fan itself is arguably more important. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is some sort of novelty product.The SPK110 is a good ventilation fan. It is quiet, with 1.0 sones of noise that can easily be drowned out by the speakers.
It can be mounted simply by installing a hanger bar, though this is sold separately. This mounting can be done over the bathtub or shower, as long as it’s used with a GFCI circuit. It has a four-inch round duct for installation and is very lightweight at just 11 pounds.
- High quality audio while you shower or bath
- 110 CFM which can be used for large or medium sized bathrooms easily
- UL listed with multiple safety features and ENERGY STAR rating
- More expensive due to the inbuilt speakers
- Speaker can’t be used without operating the fan
Delta Breez GreenBuilder GBR80LED
This product is exactly the same as the Delta Breez GBR80 in many ways, but is an upgraded product that has been fitted with an LED light. There are plenty of people who are in the market for a bathroom exhaust fan with light to kill two birds with one stone, and the Delta Breez offers this option.
Just like its sibling product, it has a very quiet operation at 0.8 sones. There is an indicator light under the grille that shows when the fan is on (you may not be able to tell otherwise!).
Like a lot of the other exhaust fans we’ve listed here, this has ENERGY STAR certification, meaning it is environmentally friendly and economical.
The high-quality motor has a brushless motor; it requires no maintenance and is built to last for many years. On top of this, the housing is designed with galvanized steel so it is built to last and won’t rust over the years.
This model is a combination of a bathroom vent fan with an LED light. The light gives off 850 Lumens at a color temperature of 2700K, but it is dimmable to allow you to control exactly the level of lighting you want in your bathroom at any given time.
- Immensely energy efficient, as is the rest of the Delta Breez GreenBuilder range
- LED light is easy to replace if needed
- Relatively quiet operation
- Can be difficult to retrofit
- No automatic sensor
Delta BreezRadiance RAD80L 80 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan/CFL Light and Heater
The BreezRadiance is an all-in-one solution for people who need a bathroom exhaust fan with a light and heater. It is immensely efficient despite having to do the job of lighting, ventilating and heating the bathroom, which it does with a 1300W inbuilt heating element.
The product is UL certified for safety, which is an absolute must when you’re including so many electrics in your bathroom. The thermostat it comes with can regulate the temperature and kick in when you need it to rather than being manually turned on.
The sones rating of 1.5 is a good rating, though not totally silent. It is understandable that this model creates some noise when you consider how much it can do.
The motor, as with most Delta fans and exhausts, is brushless and very good quality. It is designed to last years or even decades, with corrosion-resistant materials and a quality steel casing.
- Operates very quietly
- Very efficient and runs affordably considering how much it can do
- Reliable CFL light that is easy to replace
- 80 CFM is optimal for medium sized bathrooms
- Can be tricky to install, especially in older homes or as a retrofit
- Direction of the heat isn’t ideal as it points to the sides rather than directly below the unit
Broan 655 Heater and Bath Fan with Light Combination
This is another exhaust fan from Broan that comes with a light and heater attached. It is designed to instantly warm you up while you have your morning shower, even before the central heating has kicked in.
The Broan 655 heater and exhaust fan is well built with a great look, too. Polymeric grilles are pretty versatile and suitable for a lot of different bathroom designs. This is not a compact fan compared to many of the other products on this list, so if you are looking for a small exhaust fan, there may be better options. The inbuilt heater is 1300W, which means it can give off a lot of power instantly.
The housing is exceptional quality and has a damper to avoid backdrafts coming in from outside the room. The included mounting brackets mean that you can install without too much trouble, especially if you are handy around the home. The brackets are even adjustable.
- Comes with a quality light and plenty of heating power
- Relatively quiet exhaust fan
- Suitable for rooms up to 65 square feet in size
- Quite a big and bulky model
- Can be difficult to install if you don’t know what you’re doing
Panasonic FV-05VQ5 WhisperCeiling 50 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan
Here’s another Panasonic option—one of many to make our list of the top bathroom exhaust fans. This product has some smart features that have made it a popular choice in bathrooms all over the USA.
It works quietly thanks to Panasonic’s WhisperGreen technology. It isn’t totally silent, but is quieter than comparable units.
One very useful feature is the built-in motion sensor. It activates the fan when somebody walks into the room.
It has up to 130 CFM to effectively ventilated medium-size bathrooms, but the speed itself has been designed to be variable. It can work between 50 and 110 CFM, which only increases when it needs to. This ensures that it is always at the speed you need.
Like most of the other Panasonic fans out there, it is ENERGY STAR certified, which means it has been independently rated as energy efficient. The 0.3 sone level means that this is a very quiet product.
It has a clever electrical design which makes it more efficient for running at low temperatures. This puts less strain on the components and means it will last longer. It also has a built-in damper. This is designed to stop outside air coming into the bathroom via the fan. Three years of warranty also gives the buyer a good amount of protection on their purchase.
- Damper prevents backdraft coming from outside air
- Three-year warranty
- Very quiet operation
- Automatically increases and decreases CFM speed as required
- Motion sensor
- Not easily available due to being discontinued
- Only suitable for small and medium sized bathrooms
Benefits of an Exhaust Fan
The first thing that springs to a lot of people’s minds when thinking about the benefits of having an exhaust fan in the bathroom is to get rid of those nasty bathroom smells. While this is a small benefit, unpleasant odors are not a long-term issue.
The real reason people install exhaust fans is to keep moisture out of the bathroom. This may sound silly—of course most bathrooms are designed to handle some level of moisture—but this should be temporary. Water on the walls or within your bathtub is one thing, but moisture in the air itself can cause some big problems for your bathroom and beyond.
If your room is poorly ventilated, you may find that over time, mold and mildew build up on the walls, ceiling, or even in insulation. Getting this repaired and corrected can be immensely expensive and time-consuming, especially when you consider that it is avoidable if you install an exhaust fan.
Depending on where your home is, termites may also be a risk. Termites are attracted to moisture and if they get into the structure of your home, they can lead to huge problems.
Many modern homes are built with exhaust fans as standard because many people have experienced the negative effects of just relying on a window (or worse—not even having a window to ventilate). Windows do help circulate air and reduce moisture buildup in the bathroom, but they are not as effective as a fan, which can actively draw the moist air out.
A bathroom exhaust fan isn’t an everyday purchase for most of us. Unless your job involves a lot of DIY or bathroom fittings then it is unlikely that you will know a lot about bathroom products or exhaust fans, so some research is required to avoid purchasing a unit that is unsuitable.
Our buying guide will help you avoid slip-ups, and explain some of the terms you need to understand when it comes to exhaust fans for bathrooms.
All kinds of appliances, including bathroom exhaust fans, are measured in sones. The higher the sones rating, the higher the noise level. Some quiet exhaust fans are at just a fraction of a sone, whereas others can be two or three sones.
The noise of exhaust fans has reduced greatly in recent years as technology has improved and motors become quieter and more efficient. The noise level is also often impacted by the size of the fan. A larger fan with larger blades can do the same job with less movement and therefore less noise.
Many of the Panasonic exhaust fans do an excellent job of being very quiet.
To give some frame of reference, one sone is around the decibel level of a modern fridge in a quiet kitchen. Anything lower than this will be pretty quiet for an exhaust fan. Some of the quietest models on our list are around 0.3 sones, which is almost inaudible, especially when drowned out by other sounds or even Bluetooth speakers in the bathroom.
Two or three sones is bearable for a lot of us, and is likely to be a vast improvement on fans that were fitted ten or more years ago.
The CFM rating that you will see on all exhaust fansdetermines the amount of air that the fan can deal with per minute. CFM stands for “cubic feet per minute”. This should always be available to you when you are purchasing an exhaust fan. It is one of the main selling points, and just like you need different amounts of power for other products, you may require a higher or lower CFM depending on the size of your bathroom.
Often, an exhaust fan will have a suggested size of room that it can handle. This is calculated based on square feet. It is a rough calculation, but a simple way to work it out is that each square foot in your bathroom requires roughly 1 CFM.
A 70-square-foot bathroom will require roughly a 70 CFM exhaust fan. To work out your bathroom’s size in square feet, simply multiply the length and width of your bathroom, measured in feet. This can be more complex if you have an unusually shaped bathroom.
It isn’t an exact science. If your size works out as 72, a 70 CFM or an 80 CFM model of exhaust fan will probably be sufficient.
Installing an exhaust fan is not an easy job. If you are not confident with DIY and ventilation projects then it is likely that you will really struggle and not do a thorough job of installing the exhaust fan yourself. It is recommended that people who don’t have experience doing this type of installation get some help from a pro. There are also many regulations that need to be followed.
The fan must be routed to the outside of your home. This may sound very basic, but some people do not do a thorough job and poor workmanship can see a bathroom exhaust fan routed to crawlspace or up into an attic. This is an easier option, but it brings with it a lot of problems and means the space you are venting into becomes a significant risk.
It is extremely difficult to vent the fan out of the wall. This should be done by a qualified trades person, not your average DIY fan. It may be the case that you already have a vent and are just looking to replace the fan itself, in which case you may be able to do it yourself.
Many of the exhaust fans on our list can be installed over a shower or bathtub. This is a popular place for installation because moisture can be lifted straight out of the bathroom close to the source. If you are going to do this, you need to connect your fan to a “GFCI” outlet. This stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter. It basically means that the power will shut out quickly if there is any issue with grounding. It is a safety precaution that should definitely be taken.
Another precaution is putting a grille on the outside. Any output vent in your home is a possible access point for vermin and other pests, and a grille is the minimum you should do to protect yourself.
Inline, Ceiling or Wall Mounting
Whether you are mounting your exhaust fan yourself or getting a professional to do so, consider the type of mounting you need or prefer.
Ceiling mounting is popular, but a ceiling exhaust fan can mean that venting needs to go through an attic, which can lead to a bigger job. Wall-mounted bathroom fan options are also very common and this means you can ventilate straight outside.
Inline mounting can be a tough job. This is when your exhaust fan is flush against the wall or ceiling of your bathroom. This is a tricky installation process and can be more expensive both to purchase and install.
Most buying decisions around the home are influenced by budget. Bathroom exhaust fans can vary a lot in price. This is to be expected, and is the same for a lot of appliances and other household wares.
A very basic, small exhaust fan is relatively cheap. For example, you can pay $50 for a compact and cheap exhaust fan. This depends on what features you require. A small wall-mounted fan may be on the lower end of the scale, but if you want a bathroom exhaust fan and light combo or an exhaust fan with a heater, it can greatly increase the price. At the higher end of scale, units can cost between $200 and $250.
The unit itself is not your only consideration, however. If you aren’t capable of installing it yourself, the price to get a qualified professional in to install your bathroom exhaust fan can be more expensive than the actual unit. This is worth considering before making the purchase. Electricians should be able to give you quotes if you send them details of the model of fan you have purchased and information about your bathroom.
As we’ve briefly stated already, if you are buying a replacement bathroom fan and are just changing the unit, the venting may not need to be altered which can mean a more affordable installation.
Bathroom Exhaust Fans with Lights
It is very common for bathroom exhaust fans to be sold in one unit with a light. It makes sense if you are going to be installing an electrical product in your bathroom. You can minimize the amount of wiring needed by having both a light and exhaust fan in the same unit.
Often a fan is needed because a room doesn’t have a lot of ventilation via windows, which will also mean there isn’t a huge amount of light getting into the bathroom. This increases the need for lights to be installed. A lot of people opt to solve both of these problems by purchasing an exhaust fan like the Delta Breez GreenBuilder GBR80LED, which has an inbuilt LED light. This is an efficient and cost-effective way of lighting your bathroom.
The lights can be sophisticated, too; this isn’t a case of just a flimsy bulb that has been added as an afterthought. Many of the best exhaust fans with lights have options for a dimmer, multiple hues, and replaceable bulbs.
Bathroom Exhaust Fans with Heaters
Bathrooms can be difficult areas of the home to heat. They’re often out of the area where you spend a lot of time, and having a heater on all of the time isn’t efficient.
You may go into the bathroom first thing in the morning for a shower, and this can be one of the coldest times of the day. Having a heater that can quickly kick in can be very useful, and just like including a light with your exhaust fan, including a heater can be an efficient use of space and electrical wiring.
Some all-in-one options such as the Broan 655 Heater and Bath Fan with Light Combination have a heater, light and exhaust fan all as part of the same unit. This means one installation for all three features, which can save money.
As well as heaters and lighting units, bathroom exhausts can include other clever added features.
One such model with a clever addition is the Broan SPK110 110-CFM 1.0-Sones Sensonic Speaker Fan. This is a bathroom fan with a Bluetooth speaker that works from a distance of up to 10 meters from your device, so you don’t even have to take your phone or tablet into the bathroom. Waterproof speakers for use in the bath and shower have grown in popularity, so it makes sense that some manufacturers are incorporating them into exhaust fans.
As technology continues to advance, some more ‘smart’ features have been introduced into bathroom fans. Motion sensors are becoming more popular. This means the fan can come on automatically when you enter the room, and turn itself off after a period of inactivity once you have left.
Humidity sensors have also started to be incorporated into some of the more elite bathroom exhaust fans. This way, when the humidity reaches a certain level, the fan will kick in. When it drops below a certain level, the exhaust fan will stop.
As you would expect, the more of these features that are included in an exhaust fan, the higher the cost is likely to be.
There is a lot of choice on the market for bathroom exhaust fans. It can be difficult to navigate these choices and find which is the best one for you. Considering size, installation, features and price will help you to work out which is most suitable for your bathroom.
There are many products available from Panasonic, Broan, Delta and others that we are happy to recommend, but the one you should purchase will be a decision made based on your needs.
If you have a large bathroom and require a powerful exhaust fan to ventilate and circulate the air, something like the Panasonic FV-30VQ3 WhisperCeiling 290 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan will be a suitable option. It combines a lot of power with Panasonic’s “WhisperCeiling” technology, which is extremely quiet.
For an extremely efficient bathroom exhaust fan, the Delta Breez GBR80 GreenBuilder 80 CFM is worth considering, as long as your bathroom isn’t over 80 square feet. It is much cheaper to run than many other modern exhaust fans, and a big upgrade on models from years gone by. Delta has other CFM ratings within its range, too. It also has options with lights and heaters included.
The best bathroom exhaust fan for you will come down to the home you’re in and a few personal preferences. There are some substandard models on the market, but taking time to read reviews and do your research will enable you to make the correct choice.