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A bathroom exhaust fan is the kind of thing you only notice when it’s not quite right. Functioning correctly, it will clear your bathroom of odors and steam without attracting any attention. However, when not working as it should, you may find yourself dealing with unpleasant odors, steamed-up mirrors or a high-pitched noise whenever it’s running. If any of these complaints sound familiar, it’s time to upgrade to one of the best bathroom exhaust fans.
What Is the Function of a Bathroom Exhaust Fan?
Unlike opening a window or leaving the door ajar, an exhaust fan actively ventilates your bathroom, cleaning it of a range of unpleasant and potential problem-causing molecules floating around in the air. These include:
- General bathroom odors
- Manmade odors
- Tobacco smoke
- Cleaning product odors
- Other pollutants
If not removed, some of these air-borne annoyances can actually lead to bigger problems. For example, excessive moisture in the air and on your surfaces can lead to mold growth. The best bathroom exhaust fans also remove unpleasant odors rather than letting them diffuse over time. Plus, they get rid of excess steam which is particularly useful if you want to prevent mirrors from steaming up.
In addition to clearing your bathroom of moisture and odors, the best bathroom exhaust fans are multifunctional. While single-function devices are available, many models include other functional elements including:
If these additional functions sound appealing, make sure to check out our full range of bathroom exhaust fans below. But before you scroll down, here are a couple of key elements to understand before choosing your device.
What Is CFM?
When searching for the best exhaust fan for your home, you’ll notice each device is accompanied by a CFM value. CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and is a measurement of the fan’s ability to move air. This means a fan with a bigger CFM value can move more air per minute than a fan with a smaller CFM value. It’s important to choose a fan with a big enough CFM value to clear your bathroom, otherwise, you may find that even though it’s turned on, it’s incapable of fully removing as much steam or smell as you would like. If you aren’t sure what size you require, check out this fan size guide.
What Are Sones in Fans?
Aside from the amount of air it clears, another major factor that affects people’s choice of bathroom exhaust fan is how much noise it makes. While it’s easy to assume the quieter the better, it’s worth noting that some people may prefer a bathroom fan to make some noise to provide a level of privacy to the bathroom occupant. Handily, fans come with an industry-standard value to indicate how much noise it makes. This value, rated in sones, starts at zero (indicating no noise) and increases with more noise production. Here is a general guide to fan noise levels:
- 0.5 Sones – Rustling leaves
- 1.0 Sones – Sound of a refrigerator
- 2.0 Sones – Soft music
- 3.0 Sones – A face-to-face conversation
In general, a fan creating less than 1.0 sone is considered quiet. If you do want a little bit of noise from your fan, anything between 1.0 and 3.0 sones should be more than sufficient.
Below you’ll find our top 12 picks for the best bathroom exhaust fans. We’ve included a range of bathroom fan styles to ensure there’s an option for every preference and budget. Read on to find the right fan for your home.
1. BROAN NuTone Bluetooth Bathroom LED Light
With its integrated high-fidelity speaker and Bluetooth connectivity, the BROAN NuTone SPK80L Bluetooth Bathroom LED Light brings bathroom fans into the 21st century. This easily installed bathroom device lets you enjoy your favorite tunes, audiobooks and podcasts as you shower, shave and do everything else which goes on in the bathroom. Alongside its impressive audio performance, the fan moves 80 CFM and runs at a user-friendly 2.5 sones to ensure all the essential fan work is well taken care of.
2. Broan InVent Series Single-Speed Fan
The Broan InVent Series Single-Speed Fan offers homeowners 110 CFM at 1.0 sones, making this fan a top pick if your priority is clearing air quietly. The fan comes backed by over 1,000 five-star ratings from users who love how quickly and capably it removes steam and odors from their bathroom. It’s also a great choice for homeowners looking to switch out an existing fan as installation can be done using front access only. In addition, the fan is available in an 80 CFM version which is slightly quieter, coming in at only 0.8 sones.
3. Broan-NuTone 688 Ceiling and Wall Ventilation Fan
With a price tag under $20, it’s hard to beat the Broan-NuTone 688 Ceiling and Wall Ventilation Fan when it comes to value for money. It’s an effective answer to clearing any room of pollutants and odors. The design includes a permanently lubricated motor that allows the fans to run continuously without issue. It also includes a corrosion-resistant, galvanized steel housing and a damper to prevent unpleasant backdrafts. Handily, the included polymeric grill can be painted to match your existing room decor. Furthermore, this popular fan is available in three different sizes, ranging from 50 to 60 CFM.
4. Broan-NuTone 671 Ventilation Fan
The Broan-NuTone 671 Ventilation Fan is a great option for anyone wanting a well-balanced device across the board, including price. This popular 70 CFM fan is capable of covering spaces up to 65 square feet and runs at a slightly louder than average noise level of six sones, making it a good choice for providing plenty of privacy. The fan is made from corrosion-resistant galvanized steel and includes a lubricated motor that is capable of continuous running. Plus, it comes with a paintable grille to match your existing decor and a one-year warranty to give you greater confidence in your purchase.
5. Homewerks Bathroom Ventilation Exhaust Fan
By incorporating an LED light where you would normally find just a plain white grille, this Homewerks Bathroom Ventilation Exhaust Fan offers style as well as function. To further increase its visual appeal, the 20-watt dimmable integrated LED light is surrounded by a brushed nickel trim. Functionally, the 100 CFM fan can cover spaces up to 100 square feet while running at a pleasantly quiet 2.5 sones. You’ll also find quick-connect wires to ensure installation is both quick and easy.
6. Homewerks 7141-50 Bathroom Fan
The Homewerks 7141-50 Bathroom Fan is a great choice if you’re looking to eliminate moisture and humidity from your bathroom in the quietest way possible. With a running noise level of only 0.7 sones, you can expect to hear nothing louder than something comparable to rustling leaves from this 50 CFM fan. The device also includes a built-in 16-watt LED which delivers 900 lumens of cool white light. In addition, the no-cut design and ceiling mount make installation simple while the galvanized steel construction provides long-term resistance to corrosion.
7. Broan-NuTone HD80L Heavy Duty Ventilation Fan
The Broan-NuTone HD80L Heavy Duty Ventilation Fan is another popular device that covers all the key areas. The 80 CFM fan is capable of dealing with rooms up to 75 square feet in size. And at 2.5 sones, this fan is well suited to anyone wanting a small amount of background humming. The design also includes a fitting for a 100-Watt incandescent light which is surrounded by a shatter-resistant diffusing lens, ideal for comprehensive yet well-diffused illumination. Plus, the fan’s bright white grille fits in with almost any existing decor style.
8. Panasonic WhisperChoice Pick-A-Flow Exhaust Fan
If the ability to choose between fan speeds sounds appealing, this Panasonic WhisperChoice Pick-A-Flow Exhaust Fan could be the right choice for you. Switch between 80 CFM and 100 CFM to tailor the fan speed to your needs at the time. There’s also surprisingly little difference between the accompanying running noise, with 80 CFM measuring 0.3 sones and 110 CFM measuring 0.4 sones. For easy installation, the fan includes a Flex-Z Fast bracket which makes positioning it where you want it easier. Furthermore, the fan comes with a three-year warranty on motor and parts to provide greater confidence in any purchase.
9. Aero Pure Decorative Bathroom Exhaust Fan
BEST IN BLACK
If a bright white exhaust fan doesn’t really suit your existing bathroom decor, you may find this Aero Pure Decorative Bathroom Exhaust Fan more to your liking. The oil-rubbed bronze finish gives it a sleeker, more stylish appearance which is better suited to darker bathroom color schemes. In addition to bathrooms, the 80 CFM, 0.3 sones fan can be used in laundry rooms. It also sports a low-profile design and comes with a four, five and six-inch duct adapter for easier installation.
10. Aero Pure Low Profile Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fan
BEST LOW PROFILE
By featuring a square grille and particularly low profile design, this Aero Pure Bathroom Exhaust Fan draws less attention than a lot of the competing devices. The 110 CFM fan runs at an ultra-quiet 0.7 sones and includes a built-in LED light. This light delivers 850 lumens of 3000K illumination for clean, comprehensive coverage in your bathroom. Additionally, the Energy Star-qualified fan comes with an easy-to-install bracket that can be attached to a range of duct sizes.
11. Broan-NuTone 9093WH Exhaust Fan
Given its attractive design and range of functions, this Broan-NuTone 9093WH Exhaust Fan is definitely worth your consideration. Inside this circular, ceiling-mounted device you’ll find an exhaust fan, two lights and a heater. The 70 CFM fan is designed for rooms up to 65 square feet and produces 3.5 sones of sound when running, while the 1500-watt heating element is a welcome addition to households that go through colder periods. The 100-watt light and seven-watt nightlight ensure you are never left in the dark, even during late-night bathroom visits. Furthermore, the fan comes with a four-function wall switch to give you control over each individual element.
12. Panasonic WhisperWarm Ceiling Exhaust Fan
The Panasonic WhisperWarm Ceiling Exhaust Fan is a multifunctional device that can be adjusted to your individual needs. It’s possible to select between 50, 80 and 110 CFM, with the accompanying noise levels ranging between 0.3 and 0.7 sones. This makes the Panasonic WhisperWarm one of the quietest exhaust fans available. It also includes a built-in damper to prevent backdrafts and sports a built-in 1600-watt heater with an adjustable grille for directed airflow. In addition, the dimmable 10-watt LED and a one-watt LED nightlight to give you multiple lighting options for your bathroom visits.