Tired of trying to find ways to clean the mold and mildew out of your bathroom? Sick of your kids (or significant other) turning your entire bathroom into a steam shower? Want to keep steam to a minimum, your mirrors fog-free, and vent out those nasty bathroom smells? Sounds like you’re in the market for a bathroom fan. Lucky for you, we have plenty of experience in searching for quality bathroom fans. We’ve used that experience to find you the best bathroom exhaust fans on today’s market.

Buying Information for Bathroom Fans

As with any purchase, there are a few things you will want to consider before you go ahead and purchase your bathroom fan. Let’s run through a few of those things before we delve into to the reviews of our actual recommendations, to be certain you select the one which is right for you.

CFM Rating – First of all, I’m sure that many of you are wondering what on Earth a CFM rating even is. It’s actually rather simple to understand. The letters CFM stand for cubic feet per minute. Basically, the higher the CFM rating, the larger a room the fan can effectively service. Therefore, while a high CFM rating is preferable over a low CFM rating, your small bathroom isn’t likely to need a fan with an extreme CMF rating – save those fans for larger rooms in your home or business.

Noisiness – How much noise your fan makes may not seem all that important at first. Trust me, though – it will become much more important once you actually begin using your fan. Of course, this will depend on where you bathroom is located in your house and what time of day you and your family members use the fan.

My husband likes to run the fan after every trip to the bathroom. Let me tell you, my nose and touchy stomach are both very grateful for this. I cannot tell you how happy I am that we now have a whisper quiet fan, though. Since he often makes trips to the bathroom while I am trying to sleep, the noise of our old fan used to wake me up in the night.

Whisper quiet fans are usually more expensive than loud fans, though. You will want to weigh your budgetary concerns against your noise concerns when making this decision. Luckily, some companies have come out with lines of bathroom fans which range from loud to somewhat quiet to whisper quiet, allowing you the opportunity to choose the middle option.

New Install or Upgrade? – If you do not have a fan at all, the answer to this question is obvious. If you do have a fan already, however, you may want to consider simply upgrading the appearance or inner workings of the fan you already have. Updating the look of a fan with a new grate or making it function better by installing a new motor will be much less expensive than replacing the entire unit.

Do You Have the Necessary Skills? – It will be necessary to not only cut through your ceiling, but also to find a way to vent the system outside. You need be certain you have the necessary skills to accomplish these tasks as well as to hook into electricity and run the necessary ductwork for the system. If this is all a little over your level of experience and expertise, take the time to call in a qualified professional for help with the job.

Just Exhaust Venting or Heat As Well? – Most fans are simply fans. They work to pull the moisture and foul smells from your bathroom. Some fans, however, also have built-in heaters which add heat to your room on cold winter days. If a cold bathroom is a problem in your house you may want to look into this option. Alternatively, you can choose to purchase a separate bathroom heater (we have a page for those, too).

Panasonic FV-11VQ5 Whisper Ceiling 110CFM Bathroom Fan

Here we go, off to the world of built-in ceiling fans. First on our list, for no particular reason, is the Panasonic FV-11VQ5. First, I want you to know that this is a full fan system. This isn’t just an upgrade or an external façade. It features a duct hookup, a 120 volt motor, full housing, and electrical wiring hookups as well.

Apparently, unlike many of the others on this list and the current market, this one is fully capable of handling the extremely damp environment inside a shower unit. It has been rated as appropriate for use in the ceiling of a shower stall. I assume that this is mostly related to the fact that its electrical components are fully enclosed, grounded, and water rated.

If you are looking for a ceiling fan which is barely noticeable, this one is likely to catch your attention. Its whisper quiet motor isn’t likely to become a nuisance – you are hardly likely to even notice it is running at all. You aren’t likely to notice its presence in the ceiling, either. Its fine, white grate will easily blend in with most ceiling designs. If, however, you are hoping to create some sort of décor statement, you may want to look into replacing the grate with something slightly more fashionable.

Installing this unit shouldn’t be much of a problem. It comes with almost everything you will require for a smooth installation process. It also features a double hanger bar so that you can easily maneuver it into the ideal location.

Panasonic FV-15VQ5 Whisper Ceiling 150CFM Bathroom Fan

You may be thinking that this is the same as the fan listed above. It is not. Though both look the same and their names are quite similar, allow me to assure that this is no typo – it is an entirely different fan system. Correctly assuming that much about this fan and the one above is the same, I am sure you are wondering, “What is different?”

The biggest difference between these two fans is their CFM rating. The fan listed above is rated for only 110 CFM. This fan, on the other hand, has a 150 CFM rating. If you recall from the buying information at the top of this page, a CFM rating indicates how large a room the fan can service. When we are talking about fans designed to pull moisture out of a room, we always want to be certain that we find the right fan for our spaces. Otherwise, we could end up doing too much or too little, wasting valuable energy or rendering the fan ineffective.

Like the fan above, however, this one is fully rated for use inside a shower stall. It also comes with a ductwork hookup and full electrical components and hookups. This will be a rather simple fan to install, provided you possess the necessary skills.

Broan 655 Heater and Bath Fan with Light Combination

Somewhat different in overall design from the two fans listed above, this Broan fan is quite popular among consumers. Like the two above, it is a full fan installation kit and does come with most of what is necessary for installing it yourself (again, provided you possess the necessary basic skills).

This fan is best for those with relatively small bathrooms. With the ability to service approximately 70 cubic feet per minute, this would not be ideal for those of you with large bathrooms. In fact, it would be a waste of electricity for those with large bathrooms, as it isn’t likely to make a dent in the amount of steam collected inside the room.

This fan boasts two unique functions – a light and a heater. Let’s begin by discussing the light. Capable of handling up to a 100 watt bulb, this fan will never leave you in the dark – that is, of course, as long as you remember to change the bulb whenever it blows. Remember, though, that you do not need to place a 100 watt bulb inside. You can choose to use a bulb which isn’t quite so bright – a 60 watt for typical lighting or a 40 watt for a dim, relaxing glow.

Very few fans come with heaters. Similarly, very few heaters come with fans. Although we did feature another combination unit on our heaters page, we thought that this fan/heater combo was the best in the “fan department”. The entire system comes with a three-way switch which allows you to choose among its three options (light, fan, and heat). Since the three switches are separate, you can also choose to use any combination of the three functions.

Delta BreezRadiance RAD80L 80 CFM Exhaust Fan with Light and Heater

Despite saying that very few fans feature heaters, here we are with another combo unit. This one, like the one above, features a fan, a heater, and a light. We have chosen to include two of these combo units here to give you some variety. It wouldn’t really be right to simply provide you with one option and walk away. Though these were slightly harder to find than regular fans, we dug this one out just for you combo unit lovers.

This quiet fan runs at 1.3 sones. If you aren’t familiar with the term “sones” allow me to tell you that it is usually used to denote the level of noise which comes from the unit. When you consider that 4.0 sones is generally considered a somewhat loud level of noise, you will understand why 1.3 sones is considered quite quiet.

Accomplishing somewhere around 80 CFM, I would recommend this fan for small to mid-sized bathrooms. Larger bathrooms aren’t likely to be helped much by this unit, unless you routinely do not create much steam in your bathroom space. As someone whose children are bound to melt their own skin off in the shower one day, I understand the necessity of something a little more powerful in a large bathroom. My kids manage to fill the bathroom with so much steam that it collects on the walls and trickles down to the floor.

This is a slightly more expensive unit than the Broan listed above. That being said, it is a much quieter unit. It is also much more likely to blend in with its surroundings, thanks to its low-profile design.

Broan 678 Ventilation Fan and Light Combo 50CFM

Servicing a small area of 50 cubic feet per minute, this Broan bathroom fan will handle the necessary task of removing excess steam and unwanted scents from any small bathroom space. Incredibly, given its highly affordable price, this fan runs at a rather quiet 2.5 sones. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of sones, allow me to remind you that some of the louder fans on today’s market run at about 4 or 5 sones, whereas the “whisper quiet” fans run at about 1.5 sones. This makes a 2.5 sone rating quite acceptable.

This unit comes with all you should need to install it, so long as you are installing it in place of an old fan. Obviously, a new install will require you to add lengths to electrical wires and ductwork so that they reach the fan. However, unlike a simple upgrade kit, this kit comes complete with a ductwork hookup, electrical hookups, a motor, an outer casing, and a grate. What’s more, it even comes with a built-in light.

Though probably not necessary in your bathroom space, the lighting portion of this fan can handle up to a 100 watt bulb. I would suggest, however, that you select a 60 watt bulb for general room lighting or a 40 watt bulb if you wish to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Though the unit itself looks rather large, it is important that you remember that most of that unit will be hidden away inside the ceiling. Lower profile options are available on today’s market, but this one isn’t likely to stick out so far that it becomes obtrusive to the overall room design.

Broan 690 Bathroom Fan Upgrade Kit

Let’s get one thing very clear before we even begin to discuss this product – it is not a full fan kit. This is an upgrade kit. As such, it comes with only a new fan, a new motor, and a new grill. The encasement housing, electrical hookups, and ductwork must already be in place for you to install this kit.

What I like most about this kit is that it allows you to work with what you already have. Let’s say that your old fan breaks or you move into a new house with an old fan and simply want to replace it. What would be the point in wasting time and money installing an entirely new fan when you could choose to replace only the functioning parts of the fan? This fan upgrade kit requires no special skills. It even comes with simply instructions. All you will have to do is open your old fan, remove the motor and fan, replace them with the new motor and fan, and slap the new grill on the outside.

Running at about 3.0 sones, this isn’t the quietest fan on this list, but will still be significantly quieter than some of the other options on today’s market. It also requires less energy to run than most older systems, which means that replacing your old fan with this one should equate to savings on your electricity bill.

Panasonic FV-11VQL6 Ventilation Fan and Light Combination

Perhaps the quietest fan on the market, and certainly the quietest fan on this list, this Panasonic boasts a 0.5 sone rating! What’s more, it boasts this rating while maintaining the ability to service 110 cubic feet per minute! I know that I sound extremely excited about this fan. That’s probably because I am super excited about this fan. When I compare it to the others on this list, it is able to service a larger area than most while maintaining a quieter level of noise than all of the others on this list. Who can argue with performance like that?

I absolutely love that this fan system uses fluorescent lighting. The other fans on this list which include a light use incandescent bulbs. Not only do these bulbs require more energy to run, they also run out of life more often, requiring you to change them more frequently. You may notice, if you look at a quick product description of this fan system, which the lighting is built for a 32 watt bulb with a 4 watt nightlight option. While this may sound extremely dim compared to the 100 and 60 watt bulbs discussed for other fans, it is important to remember that fluorescent lighting is measured differently than incandescent lighting. A 32 watt fluorescent bulb should service your bathroom well.