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The Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans to Help Prevent Excess Moisture

Bathroom Exhaust Fans
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Updated January 25, 2024

The bathroom tends to soak up a lot of moisture which can create unpleasant smells from damp bath towels, mold, and other issues. Luckily, there are plenty of options out there on the market for helpful exhaust fans to eliminate that extra moisture.

Next time you’re at Home Depot, Lowe’s, or browsing online, look for a few things when choosing an exhaust fan for your bathroom. You’ll want one that’s easy to set up, has great reviews, and ideally, looks good. Here’s my guide to help you choose the right bathroom exhaust fan for your household.

How to choose the right bathroom exhaust fan

When you’re choosing the right bathroom fan, there are a few things to consider.

Bathroom size

Bathroom size is a big one. The size of your bathroom determines what cubic feet per minute (CFM) rating—the fan’s air movement capacity—is needed. For example, a bathroom on the small or medium size might be good with a CFM in the 80s or 90s, where a much larger bathroom, you’d want to get a CFM over 100. The general rule for bathrooms under 100 ft.² is one CFM to every square foot. For bathrooms over 100 ft.², additional CFMs will be needed. (More on this later.)

Sound ratings

If you don’t want your exhaust fan waking you up or causing an annoying rattling noise, keep an eye on the sound level, a.k.a. the sone level, which ranges from less than 0.3 to 6. When it comes to the sone rating, the higher the rating, the louder the fan is. The reviews are a great place to start for feedback about a particular product, and how noisy it is.

Features

Think about what features are useful to you. Some exhaust fans come with an attached speaker or a heater, and those extra features can add value to an otherwise basic household item.

Local building codes

You’ll want to keep in mind any building codes that might prevent you from getting certain exhaust fans. According to Home Depot, “If your local building codes require an exhaust fan in bathrooms, then they also likely require that the fan vents air directly outside, rather than into other parts of your home.”

Safety certification

Just like you’ll want to look for safety certifications, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Edison Testing Laboratories (ETL), when shopping for the best electric fireplaces, make sure you pick an exhaust fan that is certified by the Home Ventilating Institute (HVI). An HVI-certified product has been third-party tested to ensure it meets industry standards.

Our top picks for the best bathroom exhaust fans

Best budget bathroom exhaust fan: Broan-NuTone 671 Ventilation Fan

If you’re looking for a good budget bathroom exhaust fan, the Broan-NuTone 671 Ventilation Fan is a fantastic choice at just $27.98. It’s ideal for a smaller bathroom with a 70 CFM, and blends in easily with the existing look of the bathroom.

Specifications:

  • Features: Water resistant
  • Mounting type: Ceiling or wall
  • Color: White
  • Dimensions: 9" L x 9.25" W x 4.625" H
  • CFM: 70
  • Material: Plastic
  • Noise level: 70 dB (6.0 sones)
  • Controls: Button
  • Price on publish: $27.98

What we like:

  • Easy installation (no tools needed)
  • Paintable grills
  • One-year limited warranty
  • HVI-certified and UL listed

What we don’t like:

  • Not the prettiest option, but it does the job
  • A few reviews claim that it can be loud

The bottom line:

The Broan-NuTone 671 Ventilation Fan is a great budget option for someone looking to spend less, but still enjoy a high-quality, useful exhaust fan.

Best budget bathroom exhaust fan
Broan-NuTone 70 CFM Wall/Ceiling Mount Bathroom Exhaust Fan, White

Broan-NuTone 70 CFM Wall/Ceiling Mount Bathroom Exhaust Fan, White

Best quiet performance bathroom exhaust fan: Panasonic WhisperCeiling DC Fan

If a quiet exhaust fan is important, go for the Panasonic FV-1115VQ1 WhisperCeiling. At under 1 sone, you can sleep soundly if your bathroom is near your bedroom. The ventilation is also excellent. With its Pick-A-Flow feature, you have the ability to select from three flow speeds ranging from 110 to 150 CFM, which is high enough to work in larger bathrooms.

Specifications:

  • Features: Energy efficient, Pick-A-Flow switch
  • Mounting type: Ceiling
  • Color: White
  • Dimensions: 13" L x 13" W x 8.51" H
  • CFM: 110-130-150
  • Material: HAWA
  • Noise level: 39.5 dB (1.5 sones)
  • Controls: Button
  • Price on publish: $232.46

What we like:

  • Simple design that blends in nicely
  • ENERGY STAR certified
  • HVI-certified
  • Thermal-cutoff fuse to avoid overheating
  • Whisper-quiet
  • Six-year warranty on the motor, three-year warranty on parts

What we don’t like:

  • Expensive

The bottom line:

If you’re looking for something quiet and high-quality, the Panasonic FV-1115VQ1 WhisperCeiling is one of the quietest options on the market.

Best quiet performance bathroom exhaust fan
Panasonic WhisperCeiling DC Fan with Pick-A-Flow Speed Selector 110/130 or 150 CFM and Flex-Z-Fast Installation Bracket, White

Panasonic WhisperCeiling DC Fan with Pick-A-Flow Speed Selector 110/130 or 150 CFM and Flex-Z-Fast Installation Bracket, White

Best exhaust fan for large bathrooms: KAZE APPLIANCE SEP120

If you have a larger bathroom, go for the KAZE APPLIANCE SEP120. It's extremely quiet and has a 120 CFM rating, so this could work in a bathroom that’s 120 ft.² or less. There’s also a three-year warranty if you run into any issues with the fan.

Specifications:

  • Features: Ultra quiet
  • Mounting type: Ceiling
  • Color: White
  • Dimensions: 11.38" D x 10.5" W x 7.63" H
  • CFM: 120
  • Material: Metal
  • Noise level: 0.3 sones
  • Controls: Wall switch
  • Price on publish: $134.50

What we like:

  • Three-year warranty
  • Very quiet

What we don’t like:

  • A little expensive

The bottom line:

If you’re looking for a quiet, reliable fan that will cover your larger bathroom, the KAZE APPLIANCE SEP120 is a great option.

Best exhaust fan for large bathrooms
KAZE APPLIANCE SEP120 | 120 CFM | 0.3 Sone Ultra Quiet | Energy Star-Certified Energy-Saving Bathroom Exhaust Ventilation Fan

KAZE APPLIANCE SEP120 | 120 CFM | 0.3 Sone Ultra Quiet | Energy Star-Certified Energy-Saving Bathroom Exhaust Ventilation Fan

Best bathroom exhaust fan for 4-inch ducts: VIVOSUN 4-Inch 100 CFM Inline Duct Fan

When shopping for bathroom exhaust fans, if you need a fan for four-inch ducts, the VIVOSUN 4-Inch Inline Duct Fan 100 CFM is a solid choice. It's durable and covers 100 CFM with wide application options. It not only works for bathrooms, but other areas of the home, like the basements, attics, workshops, plant grow rooms, and kitchens.

Specifications:

  • Features: Lightweight
  • Mounting type: Inline
  • Color: Black or Silver
  • Dimensions: 4" H x 4" W x 7” D
  • CFM: 100
  • Material: Alloy steel
  • Noise level: 30 dB (0.4 sones)
  • Controls: Button
  • Price on publish: $24.99

What we like:

  • Powerful
  • Inexpensive
  • ETL listed
  • Easy to install

What we don’t like:

  • Some reviews claim that it vibrates slightly at times

The bottom line:

The VIVOSUN 4-Inch Inline Duct Fan 100 CFM is the ideal option for four-inch ducts.

Best bathroom exhaust fan for 4-inch ducts
VIVOSUN 4 in. 100 CFM Inline Duct Fan with 5.5 ft. Grounded Power Cord

VIVOSUN 4 in. 100 CFM Inline Duct Fan with 5.5 ft. Grounded Power Cord

Best bathroom exhaust fan for three-inch ducts: Hon&Guan 3-Inch Duct Fan

A bit similar to the four-inch, if you’re looking for something specific like a three-inch exhaust fan, the Hon&Guan high efficiency inline is the pick. The exhaust fan is quiet, but works at a high speed. It’s easy to install and to keep clean, and is ideal for smaller bathrooms or utility rooms at a 76 CFM.

Specifications:

  • Features: Two speeds
  • Mounting type: Ceiling or wall
  • Color: White
  • Dimensions: 5.5" D x 6.5" W x 9.7" H
  • CFM: 76
  • Material: Plastic and steel
  • Noise level: 21 dB (0.15 sones)
  • Controls: Button
  • Price on publish: $44.99

What we like:

  • Easy to install
  • Inexpensive
  • Two speeds: low and high

What we don’t like:

  • Some reviews claim it’s not the most powerful option

The bottom line:

If you’re looking for something easy to install for a three-inch duct that’s quiet and reliable, the Hon&Guan 3-Inch Duct Fan is ideal.

Best bathroom exhaust fan for three-inch ducts
Hon&Guan 3 Inch Duct Fan, High Efficiency Inline Fan Mixed Flow Ventilation System Exhaust Air Fan for Bathroom, Kitchen, Grow Tent, 3D Printer (S Series)

Hon&Guan 3 Inch Duct Fan, High Efficiency Inline Fan Mixed Flow Ventilation System Exhaust Air Fan for Bathroom, Kitchen, Grow Tent, 3D Printer (S Series)

Best bathroom exhaust fan with heater: Broan-NuTone PowerHeat 80 CFM Ceiling Bathroom Exhaust Fan

When you’re choosing the best bathroom exhaust fan, you’ll notice some come with extra features. If you’re looking for an exhaust fan with a heater, go with the Broan-NuTone PowerHeat 80 CFM Bathroom Exhaust Fan. It has a 1300 W heater, a fan, and a dimmable light.

Specifications:

  • Features: Heater, adjustable LED light
  • Mounting type: Ceiling
  • Color: Bright white
  • Dimensions: 8.25" W x 14.25" L x 5.87" H
  • CFM: 80
  • Material: Galvanized steel
  • Noise level: 1.5 sones
  • Controls: Dial
  • Price on publish: $169

What we like:

  • Built-in heater
  • Adjustable lighting includes warm white, bright white, and daylight
  • HVI-certified and UL listed

What we don’t like:

  • Some reviews claimed it was difficult to install

The bottom line:

For a powerful heater and a built-in light, go with the Broan-NuTone PowerHeat Bathroom Exhaust Fan.

Best bathroom exhaust fan with heater
Broan-NuTone PowerHeat 80 CFM Ceiling Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Heater and CCT LED Lighting, Bright White

Broan-NuTone PowerHeat 80 CFM Ceiling Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Heater and CCT LED Lighting, Bright White

Best bluetooth bathroom exhaust fan: Broan-NuTone SPK110 Bluetooth Speaker Ventilation Fan

The Broan-NuTone SPK110 Bluetooth Speaker Ventilation Fan has a built-in Bluetooth speaker, a quiet motor, and works in larger bathrooms up to 105 ft.² with a 110 CFM. The built-in wireless stereo lets you listen to music while showering or getting ready.

Specifications:

  • Features: Bluetooth speaker
  • Mounting type: Ceiling
  • Color: White
  • Dimensions: 13" D x 14" W x 8.63" H
  • CFM: 110
  • Material: Plastic, galvanized steel
  • Noise level: 1.0 sone
  • Controls: App control
  • Price on publish: $147.06

What we like:

What we don’t like:

  • Some buyers don’t like that the fan needs to be running for the speaker to work

The bottom line:

If you’re looking to turn a boring household purchase of a bathroom exhaust fan into something fun, the Broan-NuTone SPK110 Bluetooth Speaker Ventilation Fan is the move.

Best bluetooth bathroom exhaust fan
Broan-NuTone SPK110 Bluetooth Speaker Ventilation Fan, ENERGY STAR Certified, 110 CFM, 1.0 Sones, White

Broan-NuTone SPK110 Bluetooth Speaker Ventilation Fan, ENERGY STAR Certified, 110 CFM, 1.0 Sones, White

Best bathroom exhaust fan with light: Homewerks 7141-110-G4 Bathroom Fan Integrated LED Light

If you’re looking for some nice lighting in your bathroom, go with the Homewerks 7141-110-G4 Bathroom Fan. At 110 CFM, it’s built to suck out the humidity and moisture from a room that’s 110 ft.² or less. It also features a quiet motor and built-in lighting.

Specifications:

  • Features: 1000 lumens LED light
  • Mounting type: Ceiling
  • Color: White
  • Dimensions: 10" D x 7.48" W x 10" H
  • CFM: 110
  • Material: Plastic
  • Noise level: 2.0 sones
  • Controls: Button
  • Price on publish: $87.84

What we like:

  • Modern design
  • Inexpensive
  • Light is dimmable when paired with a Homewerks Bathroom Switch

What we don’t like:

  • Some reviews mention disliking that the LED isn’t easy to replace once installed

The bottom line:

For a bathroom exhaust fan that also incorporates nice lighting, the Homewerks 7141-110-G4 Bathroom Fan Integrated LED Light is a good choice.

Best bathroom exhaust fan with light
Homewerks 7141-110-G4 Bathroom Fan Integrated LED Light

Homewerks 7141-110-G4 Bathroom Fan Integrated LED Light

Best bathroom exhaust fan with humidity sensor: OREiN OL003 Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Light

This fan has 160 CFM speed and is extremely quiet when operating. There’s also a bright LED light with a toggle to dim when needed. The built-in humidity sensor kicks on when the humidity reaches 60%, which can keep your bathroom free of potentially harmful moisture.

Specifications:

  • Features: Humidity sensor, three speeds, light, nightlight
  • Mounting type: Ceiling
  • Color: White
  • Dimensions: 10.59" D x 12.87" W x 7.91" H
  • CFM: 160
  • Material: Plastic, metal
  • Noise level: 1.0 sone
  • Controls: Wall switch
  • Price on publish: $189.99

What we like:

  • Modern style
  • Red and green indicator light lets you know if humidity sensing mode is on or off

What we don’t like:

  • Some reviews say the fan could be stronger
  • Tools are required for installation

The bottom line:

For a product with a humidity sensor, the OREiN OL003 Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Light is great.

Best bathroom exhaust fan with humidity sensor
OREiN OL003 Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Light, 40W Bathroom Fan with Humidity Sensor, 160 CFM 1.0 Sones Bathroom Vent Fan with Light For Home, 1500lm LED Light 3000K/4000K/5000K Selectable & Nightlight

OREiN OL003 Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Light, 40W Bathroom Fan with Humidity Sensor, 160 CFM 1.0 Sones Bathroom Vent Fan with Light For Home, 1500lm LED Light 3000K/4000K/5000K Selectable & Nightlight

Best decorative bathroom exhaust fan: Hunter Garden District Decorative Rubbed Bronze 70 CFM Ceiling Bathroom Exhaust Fan

For a quiet, high-quality fan that also looks a little fancy, go with the Hunter Garden District Decorative Rubbed Bronze Bathroom Exhaust Fan. It’s a wonderful choice for something that not only looks nice, but is quiet and reduces potentially harmful humidity and moisture in your bathroom (after all, your best bath towels deserve to be mildew- or mold-free).

Specifications:

  • Features: Decorative design
  • Mounting type: Ceiling
  • Color: Oil-rubbed bronze
  • Dimensions: 17.64” H x 15.2” W x 15.28” L
  • CFM: 70
  • Material: Glass, metal
  • Noise level: ‎1.5 sones
  • Controls: Wall switch
  • Price on publish: $141.97

What we like:

  • Decorative design
  • HVI-certified
  • ETL listed
  • ‎5-year limited warranty on the motor
  • 1-year limited warranty on the parts

What we don’t like:

  • Some reviews mentioned noticing a little rust developing over time

The bottom line:

If you’re looking for more than just a bathroom exhaust fan, and a product that actually looks nice with a more decorative design, go with the Hunter Garden District Decorative Rubbed Bronze Bathroom Exhaust Fan.

Best decorative bathroom exhaust fan
Hunter Garden District Decorative Rubbed Bronze 70 CFM Ceiling Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Hunter Garden District Decorative Rubbed Bronze 70 CFM Ceiling Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Best bathroom exhaust fan with light and heat: Broan-Nutone QT9093WH Heater, Fan, and Light Combo

The Broan-Nutone QT9093WH Heater, Fan, and Light Combo has a nice look that fits with most decor and with 110 CFM, it’s ideal for bathrooms up to 100 square feet. The 100 W light with the powerful 1500 W heater adds a lot to this bathroom exhaust fan.

Specifications:

  • Features: Heater, light, nightlight
  • Mounting type: ‎Ceiling
  • Color: White
  • Dimensions: ‎13.25" L x 18.12" W x 7.5" H
  • CFM: 110
  • Material: Aluminum, galvanized steel, glass
  • Noise Level: 4.0 sones
  • Controls: ‎Wall switch
  • Price on publish: $284.39

What we like:

  • Powerful suction
  • Heater
  • HVI-certified and UL listed

What we don’t like:

  • Expensive
  • No bulbs included

The bottom line:

The Broan-Nutone QT9093WH comes with a built-in heater and lighting to give your exhaust fan some useful extra features.

Best bathroom exhaust fan with light and heat
Broan-Nutone QT9093WH Heater, Fan, and Light Combo for Bathroom and Home, 4.0 Sones, 1500-Watt Heater and 100-Watt Light, 110 CFM , White, Medium

Broan-Nutone QT9093WH Heater, Fan, and Light Combo for Bathroom and Home, 4.0 Sones, 1500-Watt Heater and 100-Watt Light, 110 CFM , White, Medium

Bathroom exhaust fan measurement guide

“Sizing” a bathroom exhaust fan has to do with the CFM rating. For regular-sized bathrooms, it’s generally one CFM to every square foot. So if you have a bathroom that’s 100 ft.², then a CFM rating of 100 or more would work. For large bathrooms over 100 ft.², you’ll need an extra 50 CFM for each of the following fixtures: bathtub, shower, and toilet. If you have a jacuzzi tub, add another 100 CFM.

How do bathroom exhaust fans work?

Bathroom exhaust fans run a motor that works to pull out moisture and humidity through the fan and into the duct. Ideally, if the exhaust fan is installed correctly, the air is pushed outside of the house.

How we picked the best bathroom exhaust fans

After researching personal reviews, ratings, and features to look for, I compiled a list of the best bathroom exhaust fans for each category. Two important areas that I focused on were sone levels and CFM—since no one wants a bathroom exhaust fan that sounds like a plane getting ready for takeoff, and since bathroom sizes vary, CFM is a crucial data point for knowing if an exhaust fan will be effective.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Who is best to install a bathroom exhaust fan?

Many bathroom exhaust fans claim to be easy to install but ideally an electrician would do it. It's always better to call a licensed electrician to make sure that everything is properly put together, or if you need any repairs done.

What is the best CFM for a bathroom exhaust fan?

For bathrooms 100 ft.² or smaller, the proper CFM for your bathroom depends on the square footage of the room. You’ll want to choose a fan that can ventilate at least 1 CFM for every square foot of the room, according to Home Depot. For bathrooms larger than 100 ft.², additional fans will be needed depending on what fixtures are in the bathroom.

When should you replace your bathroom exhaust fan?

Most bathroom exhaust fans have a 10-year lifespan, but sometimes you’ll notice changes in your bathroom, such as moisture on the walls, steam not clearing as quickly, or even potentially dangerous dots of mold, which are indicators that it needs to be replaced.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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