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The Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Bathrooms are often the most humid rooms in a house. From hot showers to relaxing baths, the activities that take place in a bathroom create humid air. Without proper ventilation, this humid air can lead to problems like mould, mildew, and peeling wallpaper. That's where bathroom exhaust fans come into play.

Exhaust fans are essential for maintaining indoor air quality in your bathroom. They help to remove excess moisture and odours, ensuring a fresh and healthy environment. Whether you're looking to replace an old fan or install a new one in your powder room, choosing the right bathroom exhaust fan is crucial.

In this guide, we'll explore the best bathroom exhaust fans available, focusing on features like built-in humidity sensors, LED lights, heating elements, and more. We'll also provide tips for easy installation and professional installation options.

A variety of white plastic objects including pots, bowls, drain covers, pipes, fittings, containers, cups, and fire extinguishers arranged on a wooden table.

The image displays an assortment of white plastic objects related to bathroom ventilation, arranged thoughtfully on a wooden table. The collection includes white plastic pots and bowls, drain covers, pipes, and pipe fittings, all essential components in bathroom ventilation systems. Additionally, white plastic containers with red lids and cups add to the variety. A stack of white plastic fire extinguishers in the top left corner stands out, perhaps indicating safety considerations in the design.

Types of Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Bathroom exhaust fans come in various designs and functionalities, catering to different needs and preferences. Understanding the different types can help you choose the best bathroom exhaust fan for your specific requirements. Here's an overview:

Ceiling Mounted Fans

  • Description: Installed in the ceiling, these fans are the most common type of bathroom fans.
  • Best For: Most bathroom sizes, especially where attic access is available.
  • Special Features: May include built-in light, humidity sensor, or heating element.
  • Examples: Broan NuTone models with Flex-Z Fast bracket for easy installation.

Wall Mounted Fans

  • Description: Installed in an exterior wall, these fans are suitable for bathrooms without attic access.
  • Best For: Smaller bathrooms or powder rooms.
  • Special Features: Can be energy efficient, with options for LED light.
  • Examples: Wall-mounted fan models designed for easy installation.

Inline Fans

  • Description: These fans are installed in the ducting, away from the bathroom itself, reducing noise.
  • Best For: Those seeking quieter operation and larger bathrooms.
  • Special Features: May include remote control, multiple-speed settings.
  • Examples: Models designed for reduced noise and powerful air circulation.

Fans with Built-in Heaters

  • Description: These fans include a heating element, providing warmth in the bathroom.
  • Best For: Colder regions or those seeking added comfort.
  • Special Features: Built-in thermostat, energy-efficient heating.
  • Examples: Broan NuTone fans with heating element and heater lowers options.

Fans with Humidity Sensors

  • Description: Equipped with automatic humidity sensors, these fans can detect excess humidity and operate accordingly.
  • Best For: Automated moisture control, energy efficiency.
  • Special Features: Built-in humidity sensor, adjustable sensitivity.
  • Examples: Models with automatic humidity level detection.

Decorative Fans

  • Description: These fans combine functionality with aesthetics, offering stylish designs.
  • Best For: Those looking to match the fan with bathroom accessories.
  • Special Features: Various finishes, built-in lighting options.
  • Examples: Hunter Victorian Decorative Bathroom Exhaust Fan.

Energy Efficient Fans

  • Description: Designed to minimise energy consumption, these fans are environmentally friendly.
  • Best For: Eco-conscious consumers.
  • Special Features: Energy Star-rated, efficient motors.
  • Examples: Energy-efficient fan models with reduced power consumption.

Duct-Free Fans

  • Description: These fans do not vent outside, using filters to clean the air instead.
  • Best For: Situations where venting outside is not feasible.
  • Special Features: Requires regular filter replacement.
  • Examples: Broan-NuTone 682 Duct-Free Ventilation Fan.

From ceiling-mounted fans with built-in lights to wall-mounted options for powder rooms, the variety of bathroom exhaust fans ensures that there's a perfect fit for every need. Whether you prioritise quieter operation, energy efficiency, or decorative appeal, understanding these types will guide you in making an informed decision.

A stunning close-up of a black and white bathroom fan, showcasing intricate details, elegant curves, and delicate lines.

Beautiful close-up image of a black and white bathroom fan, highlighting the intricate details of its design. The contrasting shades create a visually captivating pattern, while the elegant curves and delicate lines add a sense of grace and sophistication. This fan not only serves a functional purpose but also contributes to the aesthetic appeal of the bathroom, reflecting a blend of modernity and elegance.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Bathroom Exhaust Fan

The Broan-NuTone AE110 Single-Speed Ventilation Fan is our top pick for the best bathroom exhaust fan. With nearly two decades of reliability, this fan operates at 110 CFM, making it suitable for most bathroom sizes.

  • Exhaust Fan Power: 110 CFM
  • LED Light: Yes
  • Humidity Sensor: Built-in humidity sensor
  • Noise Level: Quieter operation at 0.7 sones
  • Special Features: Flex-Z Fast bracket for easy installation, Energy efficient

This quiet bathroom top fan is perfect for those looking for a reliable bathroom exhaust fan with a built-in light and humidity sensor. Its quieter operation ensures a relaxing bath experience without the distraction of a noisy fan.

Best Budget Bathroom Exhaust Fan

For those looking for an affordable yet powerful enough bathroom fan, the Broan-NuTone 671 Ventilation Fan is the best bathroom fan in the budget category.

  • Exhaust Fan Power: 70 CFM
  • LED Light: No
  • Wall Mounted Fan: Optional wall mounted installation
  • Special Features: Easy installation, Suitable for powder rooms

This bathroom exhaust fan is ideal for smaller bathrooms or powder rooms. Its 70 CFM fan power provides adequate air circulation without breaking the bank. The option for wall-mounted installation adds flexibility to fit various bathroom's square footage.

Best Splurge Bathroom Exhaust Fan

If you're looking to invest in a high-end bathroom exhaust fan, the Panasonic WhisperCeiling DC Fan is just what you need.

  • Exhaust Fan Power: 150 CFM
  • LED Light: Yes, with indicator light
  • Ceiling Mounted: Yes
  • Special Features: Built-in heater, Automatic humidity sensor, Reduced noise, Flex-Z Fast bracket for easy installation

This bathroom fan is designed for larger bathrooms, offering powerful air circulation and a heating element to keep you warm after a shower. The fan includes built-in thermostat and automatic humidity sensor to add a touch of luxury to your bathroom experience.

These top picks represent the best bathroom fans in various categories, catering to different needs and budgets. Whether you're looking for the best bathroom fans, the quietest bathroom exhaust fan or a fan with a built-in heater, these options have you covered.

In the next sections, we'll delve deeper into what to look for in a bathroom exhaust fan, including specific features like ceiling joists compatibility, energy-efficient fan options, and more. Stay tuned as we explore the technology scene behind the best bathroom exhaust fans.

A detailed metal grille on a wooden surface, adjacent to a sleek black and white radiator, showcasing intricate design and contrasting textures.

Striking close-up of a metal grille, prominently displayed on a beautiful wooden surface, as part of a bathroom ventilation system. The grille's symmetrical patterns and meticulously aligned bars create an elegant visual, complemented by the warm tones of the wood. Adjacent to the grille, a sleek black and white radiator adds a modern touch, contrasting with the organic patterns of the wood.

What to Look for in a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Choosing the right bathroom exhaust fan is not just about picking the most powerful fan. Various factors need to be considered to ensure that the best bathroom fan fits your bathroom's specific needs. Here's what to look for:

Local Building Codes

Before purchasing a new fan, it's essential to check the local building codes in your area. Some regions may have specific requirements for bathroom fans, such as minimum airflow capacity or energy efficiency standards.

Bathroom Size

Understanding your bathroom size is crucial in selecting the right exhaust fan. Larger bathrooms will require a more powerful fan to ensure proper air circulation in large bathrooms. Here's a general guideline:

  • Small Bathrooms: 50-80 CFM
  • Medium Bathrooms: 80-110 CFM
  • Large Bathrooms: 110-150 CFM or more

Remember to consider the bathroom's square footage and the existing fan (if any) when making your decision.

Sound Ratings

The quietest bathroom exhaust fan can make a significant difference in your bathroom experience. Look for fans with a sone rating of 1.0 or less for quieter fan operation.

Style and Design

Bathroom exhaust fans come in various styles, from ceiling-mounted to wall-mounted fans. Consider the design that matches your bathroom décor, whether it's a sleek modern look or a classic design with built-in lighting.


  • LED Light: Many bathroom fans include LED lights, providing additional illumination.
  • Humidity Sensor: An automatic humidity sensor can detect excess humidity and turn the fan on/off accordingly.
  • Built-in Heater: Some fans come with a heating element, adding warmth to your bathroom.
  • Energy Efficient Fan: Look for Energy Star-rated fans for energy-efficient options.
  • Easy Installation: Features like the Flex-Z Fast bracket can make installation a breeze, even without attic access.

A dimly-lit room with a ceiling fan wrapped in aluminium foil and duct tape, a metallic vent duct with a spiral pattern, a pipe covered in silver foil, and a close-up of a giraffe's head.

Unconventional image of a dimly-lit room, featuring a ceiling fan wrapped haphazardly in streaks of aluminium foil and patched with duct tape. Adjacent to the fan, a metallic vent duct with a distinctive spiral pattern and a pipe enveloped in crinkled silver foil add to the room's peculiar charm. Amidst this unique environment, a detailed close-up of a giraffe's head serves as a striking and unexpected contrast, sparking intrigue and wonder.

How to Install a Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Whether you're replacing an old fan or installing a wall-mounted fan in larger bathroom or a powder room, here's a step-by-step guide:

Type of Installation

  • Ceiling Mounted: Most bathroom exhaust fans are installed in the ceiling, connected to ceiling joists.
  • Wall Mounted: Wall-mounted fans are installed in an exterior wall, suitable for bathrooms without attic access.

Process of Installation

  1. Turn Off Electrical Wiring: Safety first! Turn off the power to the existing fan or the area where the new fan will be installed.
  2. Remove Old Fan: If replacing an existing fan, carefully remove the old fan and fan housing.
  3. Install Fan Housing: Secure the fan housing to the ceiling joists or exterior wall using the provided brackets or Flex-Z Fast bracket for easy installation.
  4. Connect Ducting: Attach the ducting to ensure proper air circulation and minimise air leakage.
  5. Wire the Fan: Follow the manufacturer's instructions for connecting the electrical wiring.
  6. Attach Grille and Accessories: Install any additional features like built-in light or humidity sensor.
  7. Test the Fan: Turn the power back on and test the fan to ensure it operates correctly.

Professional installation may be required for more complex setups or if you're not comfortable with electrical work.

Technology and Science Behind Quieter Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Understanding the technology behind the quietest bathroom exhaust fan can help you make an informed decision. Here's what makes a fan quieter:

  • Larger Duct Diameter: A larger duct allows for smoother airflow, reducing noise.
  • Reduced Noise Technology: Some brands, like Broan NuTone, offer specific technology for reduced noise operation.
  • Quality Materials: Using quality materials in the fan's construction can minimise vibrations and noise.

Why Trust Broan NuTone?

Broan NuTone has been a leading name in bathroom fans for nearly two decades. With a wide range of options, from the quietest of bathroom fans and exhaust fan to the most energy-efficient models, Broan NuTone offers quality and innovation.

  • Wide Range: From wall-mounted fans to ceiling-mounted models with built-in lighting, Broan NuTone has something for every bathroom.
  • Innovation: Features like automatic humidity sensors, Flex-Z Fast brackets for easy installation, and built-in thermostats set Broan NuTone apart.
  • Reliability: If you're looking for a reliable bathroom exhaust fan, Broan NuTone's reputation for quality and durability makes them a top choice.

A sleek and contemporary bathroom with a glass-enclosed shower, white bathtub, towel rack with a large white towel, small potted plant, white shutters, and a stack of white towels.

Modern image of a sophisticated bathroom, featuring a glass-enclosed shower and pristine white bathtub. The contrast of black and white sets a luxurious tone, complemented by a large white towel, small potted plant, white shutters, and neatly stacked towels. The bright and airy space reflects a clean and minimalist design, creating a serene ambiance for relaxation.


Choosing the best bathroom exhaust fan is a vital decision that impacts not only the comfort of your bathroom experience but also the overall health of your living space. From understanding the importance of CFM to considering features like LED lights, built-in heaters, and humidity sensors, this guide has covered everything you need to know.

Whether you're upgrading an existing fan in a large bathroom or looking for a wall-mounted fan for a powder room, the options are vast. Consider factors like bathroom sizes, energy efficiency, and easy installation to find the perfect fit.

Remember, a bathroom is more than just a functional space; it's a place of relaxation and rejuvenation. Investing in the best bathroom fan ensures a fresh, comfortable, and enjoyable environment for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bathroom exhaust fans are essential for maintaining a healthy and comfortable bathroom environment. Here are some common questions and answers that might help you in choosing the best bathroom exhaust fan for your needs.

What is the difference between a ventilation fan and an exhaust fan?

A ventilation fan is designed to circulate fresh air within a room, while an exhaust fan removes stale and humid air, typically venting it outside. In the context of a bathroom, an exhaust or ventilation fan also helps in removing excess humidity and odours, improving the indoor air quality.

What CFM do I need for a bathroom fan?

The CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) rating indicates the fan's airflow capacity. It should be matched to your bathroom size:

  • Small Bathroom: 50-80 CFM
  • Medium Bathroom: 80-110 CFM
  • Large Bathroom: 110-150 CFM or more for larger bathrooms

Do bathroom exhaust fans have to be vented outside?

Yes, bathroom exhaust fans should be vented outside to remove the humid air effectively. Venting bath fans into an attic or other enclosed space can lead to moisture problems and potential health risks.

Can you run a bathroom fan all the time?

Running a bathroom fan continuously can be beneficial in maintaining air circulation and reducing excess humidity. However, it's essential to choose an energy-efficient fan designed for continuous operation to avoid increased energy costs and wear.

How long should you run the bathroom fan after a shower?

It's recommended to run the bathroom exhaust fan for at least 20-30 minutes after a shower to remove excess moisture effectively. Some fans include a built-in humidity sensor that can automatically turn the fan off once the humidity level is reduced.

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