8 Best Bathroom Fans of 2021
Remodeling a bathroom or building a house? Here's a collection of top-rated bathroom fans to keep the air circulating, humidity down and mold at bay.
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What To Consider When Buying a Bathroom Fan
A bathroom fan is a motorized ventilation device that removes excess moisture from a damp space (bathroom, shower room, laundry room), and exchanges it with fresh air from the outside. They are particularly important in airtight spaces (without windows or windows that won’t open). A good bathroom exhaust fan not only refreshes stale air but also prevents condensation, eliminates odors and stops mold from forming.
Every bathroom should have one. They’re also relatively easy to install or replace yourself. Here’s how.
“[The] most important consideration is where the fan will be vented,” says Vincent R. Christofora, Jr. PE, owner of Woodstock Hardware in Woodstock, New York. “A bathroom fan can be vented through an exterior wall or the roof. And no, you cannot just vent the fan into an unfinished attic space,” warns Christofora. “Doing so will add excess moisture to that space and can/will lead to mold problems there.”
If you’re on the hunt for a bathroom exhaust fan for your upcoming renovation project, important design elements and features to look for include:
- Airflow capacity (CFM; cubic feet per minute);
- Energy efficiency;
- Noise level (Stay away from sone rating of 2.0 or higher. A sone is a unit of loudness.);
- Integrated lighting;
- Built-in heater;
- Motion sensors;
- Bluetooth connectivity.
For optimal performance, make sure the bathroom fan you choose is powerful enough for the space and is properly installed. Following are eight excellent choices.
Quietest Bathroom Fan
A loud fan can discourage people from using it, rendering it ineffective. Not so with the Panasonic WhisperCeiling Fan. Noiseless and powerful, this fan is engineered to operate at less than 0.3 sones at any speed: low, medium or high. Energy Star rated, the fan comes with a Flex-Z Fast bracket and either a 4- or 6-inch duct adapter for easy installation.
Best Decorative Bathroom Fan
Cast in contemporary chrome with a swirled marble glass cover, the Hunter Halcyon Bathroom Exhaust Fan and Light is designed to look good while removing excess moisture from your bathroom. Aesthetically, the fan mounts flush to the ceiling to maintain a sleek profile. On the practical side, the Halcyon boasts 90 CFM and offers the option to wire it so the fan and light work together or independently. It comes with two simple to swap out 60-watt bulbs.
Best Bathroom Fan With Ultraviolet Light
Indoor air quality is more important than ever, and that’s why we chose the Broan SurfaceShield Exhaust Fan for our list of top performers. Using patented antimicrobial violet light technology to prevent bacteria and mildew growth, it also kills up to 99.985-percent of viruses on hard surfaces in rooms up to 100 square feet. Do-it-yourselfers will especially appreciate the fact that the fan can be installed room-side (no attic access is required) and has a TrueSeal damper to reduce air leakage up to 50 percent, according to the manufacturer.
Best Bathroom Fan With Heater
Wouldn’t it be nice to get out of the tub or shower in a warm, toasty environment? With the BreezRadiance by Delta Electronics you can. Ideal for under-insulated bathrooms, this energy-efficient bathroom fan has a 1,300-watt heating element with a built-in thermostat to maintain a consistent and cozy temperature. Keeping your bathroom warm also further inhibits vapors from condensing on floors, walls, ceilings and furniture.
Best Budget Bathroom Fan
Not quiet but plug-in ready, the Broan-NuTone Ceiling and Wall Ventilation Fan is a steal at less than $17. Perfect for renters or to ventilate small powder rooms, the compact fan with torsion-spring grille mounting installs easily between ceiling joists and wall studs without needing tools. What’s more, the galvanized steel housing stands up to corrosion and the polymeric damper prevents cold backdrafts. UL listed for use directly in tub or shower enclosures, the cover is paintable to match any decor.
Best Bathroom Fan with Humidity Detector
Another standout from Delta Electronics, the BreezGreenBuilder Exhaust Bath Fan has dual speeds and a sensor that automatically starts the fan when the humidity level reaches a certain threshold. Available in either 80 or 100 CFM (and with or without an LED light), the fan is engineered with a direct-current brushless motor to ensure optimal reliability. Keep in mind it’s intended for new construction only — to be installed before the drywall goes up.
Best Smart Bathroom Fan
Equipped with dual, high-fidelity speakers with Bluetooth functionality, the Broan-NuTone Sensonic Bathroom Exhaust Fan lets you play your favorite tunes, listen to the news or catch up on your daily podcasts while bathing or showering. Pairs in seconds with all Bluetooth-enabled devices, leaving electrical outlets free for the hairdryer and room on the counter for toiletries. It’s brilliant, world-class sound, out of sight.
Best In-Line Bathroom Fan Kit
The Broan-Nutone In-Line Bathroom Exhaust Fan Kit has everything you need to install a single-exhaust system “in-line” (a fan mounted inside an attic, basement or roof space). Included is a six-inch duct fan, two grilles, two sleeves with dampers and duct clamps. The kit also comes with a three-way, six-inch U adapter for easy installation in bigger bathrooms (up to 215 square feet).