Best Bathroom Fans Consumer Reports Reviews

Anybody who is even remotely interested in air circulation in their bathroom knows how useful a bathroom fan can be.

If you have the right fan installed in your bathroom, you’ll enjoy proper circulation that is not overwhelmingly loud, as fans like this tend to be. A bathroom fan can either be a nice luxury or a necessity that you need to take very seriously depending on your living situation. The thing about bathroom fans is that they have different dimensions, different methods of air circulation, and different methods of installation. That is what makes choosing just one so difficult.

Top Picks : 3 Best Bathroom Fans

Ten Featured Bathroom Fans

1. “WhisperFitEZ” 80 or 110 CFM Bathroom Fan by Panasonic

Panasonic FV-0811VF5 WhisperFit EZ Retrofit Ventilation Fan, 80 or 110 CFM

One of the most universal complaints that anybody has about bathroom fans is that they are too loud. You can hear some of them from outside of your home and this can turn most off from even using a fan in their bathroom, let alone installing a new one.

Excess noise is not an issue at all with Panasonic’s WhisperFitEZ. Operating at .3 sones at most, you’ll hear it far less than most other bathroom fans. It also uses a lot less energy than other bathroom fans while still generating the same amount of air. This will reduce the need to repair them, which is another universal issue that bathroom fans share.

At an ability to run at 80 or 110 CFM, you also get a lot more versatility out of the WhisperFitEZ than other bathroom fans that only use one speed. It also saves on power, especially if you are used to bathroom fans that operate on a speed that is faster than you might want it to be.

The only thing about the WhisperFitEZ that sets it back is that it does not include a light. This is unfortunate because most modern bathroom fans do contain a light.

2. “BreezSlim” 70 CFM Exhaust Fan by Delta Electronics

DELTA ELECTRONICS (AMERICAS) LTD. BreezSlim SLM70 70 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan, Off White

There are a number of reasons why people do not even use their bathroom fans in their homes, and one of these reasons is because the fan is too strong in their circulation. If a bathroom fan operates at too many CFM, it can cause you to make a lot more repairs than you might want to make. This is especially true if the bathroom is really small.

Operating at 70 CFM, Delta Electronics’ BreezSlim takes care of this issue. You’ll want to install one if you have a smaller bathroom whose fan currently operates at more than 70 CFM because when you install the BreezSlim, you’ll do a lot less repairs because it will use far less power.

Speaking of installing a bathroom fan, this is another reason why many are turned off from installing a new bathroom fan. Most of the time this is too complicated an undertaking. The BreezSlim solves this issue as well with its slim profile. You can install it on the ceiling, wall, or even on a retrofit bracket.

The only real issue with the BreezSlim is that it only operates at 70 CFM. You’ll need to look for a different bathroom fan if you need one that has the option to operate at higher CFM levels.

3. “NuTone” Ventilation Fan and Light Combination by Broan

BROAN NuTone 678 Ventilation Fan and Light Combo for Bathroom and Home, 100 Watts, 50 CFM

Most bathroom fans are nothing more than that – a fan. It provides ventilation but not much else. It is pretty rare to encounter a bathroom fan that has several functions but there is a demand for them all the same. It is very convenient to possess a bathroom fan that also contains a light.

You get this convenience with the NuTone, by Broan. It functions as a fan and a light with both connected to one breaker. This is not only convenient but being able to turn both your fan and your light on with one breaker saves power as well.

The NuTone operates at 50 CFM which is another thing that saves you power. Contrary to popular belief, 50 CFM is all you need in order to perfectly ventilate even a bathroom that is 45 square feet. This is clearly better than fans that operate at 70 CFM or more which can result in staggering energy costs.

The only thing that might make the NuTone a little worse than other bathroom fans is that you do not get any CFM options. Some situations do require higher CFM levels and with the NuTone, you are stuck with just 50 CFM.

4. Ultra Quiet 90 CFM Bathroom Fan by BV

BV Bathroom Fan Ultra-Quiet 90 CFM, 0.8 Sone Bathroom Ventilation and Exhaust Bath Fan, Bathroom Ceiling Fan, HVI 2100-certified and UL Approved (No Attic Access Required)

Bathroom fans that operate above 70 CFM are extremely noisy. Prepare to hear the fan from outside of your home if it operates at these kinds of levels. This is common among bathroom fans and oftentimes, it is a sole reason why some do not even bother turning on their bathroom fan to provide some ventilation.

This is not an issue at all when you install BV’s bathroom fan. Although it operates at 90 CFM, it uses a minuscule .8 sone level when operating. This makes it extremely quiet, so much so that you will not even notice it being on when you turn it on. It is perfect for large bathrooms that measure over 90 square feet.

Being so powerful yet quiet does come with a couple of sacrifices, however. The first of these is aesthetics. BV’s bathroom fan tends to stand out, and not in a good way. While this is negligible to most, it will definitely be a concern for anybody who does want their bathroom to look nice.

Installing BV’s bathroom fan is not as easy as installing other bathroom fans is. It contains a few more components that need to be installed and this can require you to use different methods and tools to install it that you might not be experienced with.

5. “WhisperCeiling” 190 CFM Mounted Fan by Panasonic

Panasonic FV-20VQ3 WhisperCeiling 190 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan

It is very difficult to find a bathroom fan that is able to provide circulation for a large area yet does not sound like a rocket ship is going off every time you turn it on. It is also difficult to find a bathroom fan that prevents backdraft, which is a major thing that any bathroom fan struggles with.

Both of these issues are decisively solved with Panasonic’s WhisperCeiling. True to its name, it really is as quiet as a whisper given its CFM level. At a level of a staggering 190 CFM, you’ll be able to install this in any given bathroom for maximum circulation. You’ll feel the difference without hearing it – 1.3 sones is the loudest that the WhisperCeiling gets.

Backdraft is another issue that bathroom fans deal with, and you will not need to deal with it with the WhisperCeiling. It contains a damper that prevents backdraft. It also prevents outside air from interfering with the fan and polluting the air that it expels. It is surprisingly easy to install as well, with most of its components being easy to remove and adjust as necessary.

The only thing that prevents the WhisperCeiling from being perfect is that it does not have adjustable CFM levels. You are stuck with 190 and this means that operating it will take a lot of power.

6. “BreezRadiance” 80 CFM Fan, Dimmable Light, and Heater Combination by Delta Electronics

Delta Electronics (Americas) Ltd. RAD80LED Delta BreezRadiance Series 80 CFM Fan/Dimmable Light with Heater, 10.5W, 1.5 Sones, LED Light & Heater

The majority of bathroom fans are tragically one dimensional. Most of them do one thing and one thing only, and that is circulate air in a bathroom. Some of them cannot even do that properly since they encounter backdraft.

The BreezeRadiance by Delta Electronics is perhaps the closest you can get when it comes to a bathroom fan that does everything. It contains a dimmable light and a heater, which is extremely convenient. No longer will you need to attach these separate fixtures to separate breakers; with the BreezRadiance, you’ll have all three of these in one breaker. This is convenient and it will also save on power costs.

These features do not take away from BreezRadiance’s longevity, either. Even with a built in light and heater, it can still operate at the industry standard of 70,000 hours. This is a surprisingly good aspect about it.

The only thing that really sets the BreezRadiance back is that it is a little too loud for its CFM level. Operating at 80 CFM and a loudness level of 1.5 sones, there are definitely bathroom fans out there that are way more quiet.

7. Exhaust Fan, Heater, and Light Combo by Broan NuTone

Broan-NuTone 9093WH Exhaust Fan, Heater, and Light Combo, Bathroom Ceiling Heater, 1500-Watts, 70 CFM, White

As fantastic as combination bathroom fans are, connecting each fixture to each different function is a very troublesome and frustrating undertaking. In fact, it is one of a few reasons why so many do not care to possess a combination bathroom fan.

You will not need to deal with this at all with Broan NuTone’s bathroom fan combo. It contains a four function wall switch that allows you to use one breaker for all of its functions, which include lighting, a fan, heating, and ventilation. Being able to use just one breaker for all four functions is extremely convenient.

Another good thing about Broan NuTone’s combination fan is that you can install it in any room of your home, not just a bathroom. Even though you can install it in a bathroom, you can install it in practically any room that measures up to 100 square feet. This is very impressive for a bathroom fan that only operates at 70 CFM.

Unfortunately, all of these features come at a price. And that price is power usage. Prepare to use a lot of power when operating Broan NuTone’s bathroom fan combo because it has so many components. Installing it is also a lot more difficult than most other bathroom fans because of this.

8. Sensonic Exhaust Fan with Bluetooth Speaker by Broan-NuTone

Broan-NuTone SPK110 Sensonic Bathroom Exhaust Fan With Bluetooth Speaker, ENERGY STAR Certified, 1.0 Sones, 110 CFM, White

Most modern bathroom exhaust fans are able to accomplish a few things. They can circulate air, some of them can provide light, and some of them can also provide heating if possible. While this is acceptable for most, it is possible for bathroom fans to go even further in what they can do.

One of the most innovative and impressive things about Broan Nu-Tone’s sensonic exhaust fan is that it contains a bluetooth speaker. This speaker is concealed behind the fan and it connects to most bluetooth devices. A feature like this is one of a kind.

Even though it operates at 110 CFM, Broan Nu-Tone’s sensonic fan is very quiet, operating at 1 sone. This is much more quiet than other bathroom fans that operate at 110 CFM and it is refreshing to see this.

The addition of a bluetooth speaker does not make Broan Nu-Tone’s fan any more difficult to install, either. You’ll be able to install it very easily as it includes a spacer for l-joist mounting, which is one of the most common ways to install a bathroom fan.

The only thing that makes Broan Nu-Tone’s bathroom fan incomplete is that it does not contain a light. It also uses a lot of power because of the bluetooth technology that it contains.

9. Ultra Quiet Ventilation Fan with 6 inch Duct by Win Air

Ultra Quiet Ventilation Fan Bathroom Exhaust Fan (110CFM/0.8Sone) with 6 Inch Duct Size

There are two common complaints about bathroom exhaust fans that are designed for large rooms that operate at 110 CFM. The first thing about it is that they use a lot of power. Another complaint is that they are extremely loud. Both of these will prevent anybody from upgrading their current bathroom fan.

Win Air’s ventilation fan is designed for large rooms, and to the delight of many, it is one of the quietest of its kind. Operating at .8 sones, you will barely hear it when you turn it on. It also uses far less energy than other fans of its kind, which is something else that will draw you to it.

Although you’ll get a lot out of Win Air’s ventilation fan if you are the type who needs one to circulate air and circulate air only, it contains no other features other than this. You cannot adjust the CFM levels like you can with other fans and it does not contain a light like some other bathroom fans do. You’ll need to look elsewhere if you need a bathroom fan that is able to do these things.

10. Sona Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Light by Hunter

Hunter 83002 Ventilation Sona Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Light, Imperial Bronze (Bathroom Vent Fan, Exhaust Fan)

You can spot the majority of bathroom fans from a far distance, and if you possess one that does not complement the rest of your bathroom well, it will stand out in a bad way, compromising the aesthetics of your bathroom or any given room that the exhaust fan is installed in.

This is not an issue at all with Hunter’s exhaust fan. It takes the form of a light fixture, with flowing scrollwork and an imperial bronze finish. Even though it looks like a ceiling light, it works just as well as any other bathroom fan when it comes to air circulation. Hunter’s fan looks much more impressive than any other exhaust fan and this is the best thing about it.

You’ll also be able to install Hunter’s fan and light combination in any room. This is possible because it runs on an impressive 110 CFM which is ideal for any room that measures over 100 square feet.

There are two things that you really need to watch out for with Hunter’s fan and light combination. First, it uses a lot of power. Exhaust fan and light combinations tend to do this. Also, it is much louder than other exhaust fans, running at 3 sones.

Benefits of Installing an Exhaust Fan in a Bathroom

Best Bathroom Fans

Although installing an exhaust fan in your bathroom is optional, there are a lot of benefits to installing one.

The first, and probably most obvious of these benefits is to ensure that the air in your bathroom is clean. Your bathroom is home to a lot of foreign particles that spread through the air. You are probably not aware of these foreign particles and an exhaust fan will make sure that the air in your bathroom is as clean as it can be.

Another benefit is to keep your bathroom insulated. Bathrooms can be unpleasant if they are too hot or too cold and an exhaust fan can balance out the temperature in your bathroom this way they are a little more comfortable to spend time in.

The final main benefit of an exhaust fan in your bathroom is to clear up steam after running your bath or shower. This can be really frustrating to deal with and having a proper exhaust fan in your bathroom will clear up this steam right away.

These are just a few benefits that an exhaust fan has when you install one into your bathroom.

There are other benefits, but these are particular to the other features that they have outside of general ventilation.

How do Exhaust Fans Work in Bathrooms?

The main purpose of an exhaust fan in a bathroom is to provide ventilation.

They do this by acting as a filter of sorts, detecting excess air or steam in your bathroom and moving it into the fan unit. This provides much needed ventilation for your bathroom, especially if the bathroom is small. You can see this in action if you turn on your exhaust fan while taking a hot shower or a bath. You’ll see the steam from the shower or bath rise and get filtered by the exhaust fan. This is what creates the ventilation effect and it makes the air of your bathroom much more clean than it would be if you didn’t have an exhaust fan. Something you’ll need to be aware of with exhaust fans is backdraft.

This is especially true if your bathroom has a window that leads outside. While you may think that opening these kinds of windows provides ventilation just like an exhaust fan does, the air from outside can pollute the air of your exhaust fan.

The air in your home can also cause backdraft, and you’ll want to see if the exhaust fan you choose can counter backdraft effectively.

Bathroom Fans –  A Buying Guide

Best Bathroom Fans

As helpful as bathroom fans are, there are a lot of different features and specifications to them that you should consider.

Explore these considerations before making a decision on a bathroom fan.

What Room do You Need the Bathroom Fan For?

Bathroom fans are not just for bathrooms.

They can be for other rooms in your home as well, and it is a good idea to determine if you need your fan for bathrooms or other rooms in your home.

Which CFM Level are You Comfortable With?

CFM stands for “cubic feet per minute.”

Different fans ventilate at different CFM rates, so the second thing you should consider is the size of your room and match this size up to the CFM rate of the fan you wish to buy and install.

Understand that some bathroom fans are able to operate on multiple CFM levels and some are fixed to one CFM level.

It is up to you to decide which CFM level is best for your room.

Do You Need a Fan For Ventilation Only or Additional Features?

Some bathroom fans provide ventilation and ventilation only and some of them contain additional features such as lights or heaters.

These features make it possible for these kinds of fans to be utilized in other rooms of your home and if you are interested in providing ventilation throughout your entire home, you should certainly consider one.

How Much Power do You Want to Use or Save?

The final consideration involves a culmination of the other considerations.

You need to understand that the more “complicated” your fan is, the more power it will use.

High CFM levels and additional features are great, but they use a lot of power.

It is up to you to see if you determine how necessary this is.

Frequently Asked Questions

what size bathroom exhaust fan do i need

Q: What is the best CFM for bathroom fans?

A: The answer to this question really depends on how large the room itself is. Higher CFM levels tend to provide a higher volume of circulation and more constant circulation, but there are definitely situations where these higher CFM levels are not necessary. An easy way to determine what CFM level is best is to compare it to the square footage of your room. The CFM level of your bathroom fan should match up to the size of the room.

Q: What is the quietest bathroom fan?

A: The overall sound of a bathroom fan is measured in sones. The lower this level is, the quieter the fan is. The quietest fans usually produce less than 1 sone. However, things are not this simple. This level is also connected to the CFM level in that the higher the CFM level, the louder a fan usually gets.

Q: How do I choose a bathroom fan?

A: Choosing the right bathroom fan can be an overwhelming undertaking but the decision can be made a little easier if you consider the right things. You should consider the size of your room, what kinds of additional features you might want, as well as the CFM and noise levels of the fan. Making sure all these things match up will lead you to a solid decision.

Q: Why are bathroom fans so loud?

A: Understand that bathroom fans are not like ceiling fans or even air conditioning fan blowers. Bathroom fans produce air that flows inwards and outwards. This takes a lot of power and that is why bathroom fans are so loud. Also, keep in mind that they cover a lot of area just like an air conditioner fan would. This is another reason why they are loud.

Q: Is it better to have a higher CFM?

A: Higher CFMs do not necessarily dictate the overall effectiveness of any given bathroom fan. This is something that depends on the size of your room. One of the best things you can do to determine if a higher CFM is better is to compare the CFM level to the size of the room. This is how you determine the true effectiveness of any given CFM level instead of assuming that that higher levels are better.


While bathroom fans are not necessary for your bathroom or any room in your home, they are highly recommended.

This is because they are very good at providing good circulation among the rooms in your home and when you have installed the right one, you’ll notice this difference.

Because there are a lot of different CFM levels and additional features of bathroom fans, selecting one can be too complicated a process for some.

However, if you just take a little bit of time to explore these dimensions, you’ll be able to arrive at a solid decision on a bathroom fan without too much trouble. 

Leave a Comment