Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans & Buying Guide (2022)

Bathroom exhaust fans are an excellent feature to have while showering because they remove the excess moisture from your home to the outdoors. 

However, some households might not have good ventilation in their restrooms or might not even have a fan, so you search far and wide for the best bathroom exhaust fan possible within your home. 

So, what are the best, you might ask? Here is a quick and easy list down below. 

  1. Panasonic FV-0511VFL1
  2. BV Ultra-Quiet 90 CFM
  3. Delta Electronics (Americas) Ltd. SIG80-110LED 
  4. KAZE APPLIANCE SEP120L2
  5. Panasonic FV-0510VS1 WhisperValue 
  6. Nutone LPN80 
  7. Panasonic FV-30NFL1 
  8. Vortex Powerfans VTX1200 

Seeing how you have the best bathroom ventilation fans right at your fingertips, you will need more specific information and why they are so important. 

If you keep reading, you will find that there is one that will satisfy your needs and wants! 

Why Are Bathroom Fans Important?

Firstly, you might not realize that bathroom fans are critical for quite a few reasons, but the most important thing you should know is that it draws out the moisture from within the room itself. This information is incredibly accurate if you do not have a window in your bathroom. 

Being able to draw moisture out is essential because it prevents mold and mildew build-up. Plus, the paint inside the bathroom is less likely to peel off because of it. 

Another reason why a bathroom fan is essential is because it helps control and eliminates bathroom odor from the house itself. 

However, some people may not quite understand when to turn it off. In that case, we highly recommend you turn the fan on right before you get into the shower and for 20 minutes afterward. 

We do not recommend keeping it on longer than that because it should be left on just enough to remove the moisture from within your home. 

Different Types of Bathroom Fans

There are multiple different types of bathroom exhaust fans that you should consider. Since we will recommend all three of them to you today, it is crucial to know beforehand to decide which one is right for you. 

1. Ceiling Bathroom Fans

First off, our most popular one goes directly on the ceiling. As you may already know from science class long ago, heat rises, and since the humid air becomes hot, it is wise to place the bathroom fan on the ceiling itself.

They work by pulling the warm and damp air into the vent and through the roof. It is pretty self-explanatory if you think about it. However, if you cannot access the ductwork through the ceiling, you can vent it out by the wall. 

Of course, if you choose this option, you need to understand what pros and cons go along with it. 

Pros

  • Lots of options to choose from since it is a popular option.
  • It saves wall space, especially if you have a small bathroom or want to add a little decoration.
  • Ideal if you wish to have optimal ventilation.
  • Installation is much easier than other bathroom exhaust fans.
  • Since ventilation fans drip occasionally, the walls get spared from the constant dripping. 

Cons

  • If there is an issue, a ceiling fan will be more challenging to access. 
  • Leaking through the roof might cause moisture damage.
  • Animal interference from the roof vent or along the duct roof inside the attic might be an issue. Check to make sure there is no damage from animals every so often.

2. Wall Bathroom Fans

Next up, we have the wall ventilation fans, the second most popular option. You will often find that wall fans can convert into a ceiling-mount fans, providing many choices. 

However, if there is no ceiling insert option, you will typically want to go with a wall-mounted fan. 

Also, if you wish to have an easy installation that still provides excellent performance, then a wall-mount option is best. 

Keep the fan further away from the shower or tub to prevent water from dripping on your drywall. 

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of a wall-mounted fan:

Pros

  • Repairs are much easier since you do not have access to the roof or attic where the issues might occur. 
  • You can vent a wall-mounted bathroom vent through the wall, making it to where there is no need for ducting. 

Cons

  • There is a greater risk of back-drafting.
  • It becomes more invasive because you are venting through a wall. 

3. Inline Bathroom Fans

Lastly, we have an inline or remote-mounted bathroom fan option. These bathroom fans get mounted inline with the ductwork, bringing the inside air to outside your home. You can use them in laundry rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Because of the ductwork, they are entirely different from the other two mentioned above. However, that does not mean inline exhaust fans do not have issues. Let us go over them below. 

Pros

  • You can use one fan to exhaust more than one area simultaneously. 
  •  Since they are inside the ductwork, they are much quieter than the other two options above.

Cons

  • Their installation process is more complex than the other two mentioned above.
  • They are ineffective if the ductwork becomes too complicated with many blends or you have limited space.
  • If you have a drop in power, it will not function as correctly as a fan behind the bathroom vent.

Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Now that we have gone over the importance of a bathroom ventilation system, let us go over the best ones. We have done a vast amount of research in finding these, so let us get started!

Ceiling-mount Bathroom Fans

1. Panasonic FV-0511VFL1

The Panasonic FV-0511VFL1 is the first option on our list, and for a good reason too! It is a relatively quiet ventilation system that is ENERGY STAR certified, so although you might be spending a little money upfront, it will save you a ton in the long run. 

More often than not, you do not get to choose which airflow comes out of your bathroom fan, as it is only one option. 

However, you can select which airflow you want with the Panasonic exhaust fan. The different options are 50, 80, or 110 CFM, and you can turn it on just with a flick of a switch. 

Not only that but having some extra lighting would be fantastic, and that is just what this model offers. The only catch about this portion is that you need to wire it separately, which might turn away buyers. 

However, if this is something you do not mind or can live without, then let’s continue to the other perks of this beauty. 

The FV-0511VFL1 comes with an ECM motor with SmartFlow technology to ensure the CFM output has excellent optimization.

In terms of the installation process, they advertise that it is a relatively easy installation, although some buyers mention the ductwork can get tricky. 

On the other hand, the device is compliant with the following:

  • ASHRAE 62.2
  • LEED
  • IAP
  • California Title 24

2. BV Ultra-Quiet 90 CFM

The second bathroom exhaust fan we are discussing today is the BV Ultra-Quiet with only 90 CFM and 0.8 sones, making it where your ears do not ring after being in the bathroom for too long! 

However, some buyers mention that it is not as quiet as they say, while others note it is hushed, so remember that before proceeding. 

One of the first perks you might notice about this beauty is that it comes with a one-year warranty which includes technical support service. Register the model number and other information on their website if you go with this product. 

However, there are another two options available regarding a protection plan by Asurion. 

You can choose a 4-year or 3-year plan. You can file a claim easily online or through the phone. Both of these options are under $10. 

The BV has an ENERGY STAR certification, having it to where it pays off within a few years. For $79.99, it is budget-friendly and will pay off on its own time with all the energy you will be saving! 

One thing to mention is that many customers thought it was a bit hard to install, but it is an overall great purchase.

The last bit we will discuss is that the BV can ventilate an area up to 90 square feet, leaving it to where there is plenty of space going around. The BV is also UL approves and is HVI 2100-certified. 

3. Delta Electronics (Americas) Ltd. SIG80-110LED

If you want quiet while showering, then look no further. The Delta Electronics SIG80-110 has a 0.3 sones rating, making you feel like it was never there. 

You can adjust the fan’s speed at 80 or 110 CFM, which you can choose to whatever one you like the most. When static pressure gets encountered with the fan, it also has an automatic motor lock protection for self-compensating motor speed. 

Not only that, but this device is exceptionally energy-efficient with yet again another ENERGY STAR rating. You will only use a power consumption of 8.2 watts. 

The Delta Breez has a design of running 70,000 continuous hours, so seeing as how you’ll only be using it for showering, it will last you a relatively long time. 

We despise not seeing where we go when we use the restroom in the middle of the night. On the contrary, this device comes with a night light, making it extremely easy to use the bathroom. 

Although you might have to pay extra money to have this bad boy in your home, it is well worth the investment. Many people who already have this exhaust fan up and running say it is worth it. 

4. KAZE APPLIANCE SEP120L2

Last on our ceiling mount comes the KAZE APPLIANCE SEP120L2This particular device is suitable for up to a 120 square foot bathroom. This ample square footage lets you have the bathroom of your dreams if you don’t have it already. 

The KAZE is as quiet as a mouse, making it where the sound level is 0.3 sones at 120 CFM. 

The fan also comes with warm 3000K LED lights, leaving it to where it does not feel cold once you walk inside the room. 

You will feel warm and cozy, and it is perfect for when you need to use the bathroom at night or want to take a quick shower without all the harsh lighting. 

On the other hand, many customers have complained the lighting was not eliminated enough. So, if you wish to have a fan with a light with more brightness, then this may not be the one for you. 

The company is also highly confident in their product that they provide a 3-year warranty, so you can tell they are reliable in what they do. 

You can install the bathroom ventilation system in three ways:

  • Mounted between trusses.
  • Mounted to I-joists & joists.
  • Mounted with additional mounting holes.

Lastly, this device has a removable 6-inch metal duct with a backdraft prevention damper, and it also includes a 4-inch duct reducer. 

One downfall that you might not like is that the fan is relatively large, so you will need to cut a hole in the ceiling according to what it says. 

If you ever wish to change the fan because of a defect or upgrade later in the future, then it might be frustrating to work with the drywall afterward.

Wall Mount Bathroom Fans

5. Panasonic FV-0510VS1 WhisperValue

Moving right along to the wall-mount exhaust fans, we have our first runner, the Panasonic FV-0510VS1 WhisperValue. The design is slim, as its housing depth is 3 3/8-inches. 

You can install this device for a wall-mount and ceiling-mount, so whatever fits your style is the one you can use. 

Although the fan is relatively quiet, it has a powerful ventilation system, making it to where it sucks the excess moisture out of your bathroom in a flash of an eye. Plus, you can choose a fan speed from 50, 80, or 100 CFM. 

Although the ventilation powerfully removes moisture and pollution, you do not need to feel like you are wasting energy with Panasonic’s ENERGY STAR rating.

As with many Panasonic fans, many customers are pleased with their purchase! 

6. NuTone LPN80

The last wall-mount bathroom vent on our list is the Nutone LPN80. You may have already seen some of our latest posts about range hoods for your kitchen that NuTone sells, but it does not stop there, as they sell bathroom fans too. 

This particular fan is versatile and helps eliminate many odors, including tobacco smoke and cooking odors, from what they advertise. 

You can place it in a room up to 75 square feet, making your house smell extremely clean and fresh. Although the fan is a wall mount, it can be placed on the ceiling if you desire it. 

Its high quality makes it energy-efficient, economically, and environmentally friendly to be within your home. 

You can install the exhaust fan easily as the fan is relatively narrow. Lastly, the sones rates at 1.0 with 80 CFM with a 4″ duct or 70 CFM with a 3″ duct.

Inline Bathroom Fans

7. Panasonic FV-30NFL1 

On our final two ventilation fans for your bathroom, the first one we are delving into is the Panasonic FV-30NFL1. This model is highly efficient with how well the air quality is at 340 CFM. However, you can purchase a lower CFM of 120 and 240 at a lower price.

The bathroom exhaust fan by Panasonic removes odors from the air, making it a much cleaner environment to enter into daily.

You have the option of installing this beauty in five different positions. It helps that the suspension brackets, truss, and joints are included in this mixture.

The Panasonic features an enclosed condenser motor with a large blower that sucks out the moisture at a much quieter pace.

Overall, you can balance the airflow in multiple units, making it a multifunctional fan.

8. Vortex Powerfans VTX1200 

As we conclude what the best bathroom fans are as of this year, you will notice the Vortex Powerfans VTX1200 is next up.

The fan is yet another powerful option coming to you at 1124 CFM and is 12 inches long. However, you can choose different sizes at 4, 6, 8, and 10 inches long, but the elements might be other than the one we mention.

The collar and lip are extendable, making the ductwork much easier to hook up, and the heavy gauge steel casing is sound-absorbing, so your eardrums will not be hurting.

You can also control the speed with its factory-installed 120-volt power cord. Plus, the motor has lubricant on it, making it where it will last a relatively long time.

Considerations Before Choosing the Right One

Energy Efficiency

One of the biggest things we have been trying to accomplish in recent years is energy efficiency. Finding a bathroom vent with an ENERGY STAR rating or something similar is wise. 

Doing so will save you a lot of money in the long run, mainly if you use it properly when you shower and 20 minutes after finishing taking one. 

Noise Level

Have you ever been inside a bathroom with an extremely loud bathroom fan? It is not very pleasant, and you do not want to experience it if you have not done it yet. You want to get a low noise level or a lower sones rating to avoid the issue altogether. 

For example, if the sones rating is 4.0 or higher, you are working with the understanding that you cannot even hear yourself think. However, with a sones rating of 1.0 or lower, it is serene and peaceful. 

Effective Area

Suppose you have a relatively large bathroom of 100 square feet but only get a ventilation fan covering 70 square feet. 

In that case, the bathroom exhaust fan will not work the way you want it to. Plus, it might be overworking to ensure all the moisture left the bathroom. 

If that is the case, you will need a bathroom fan that effectively fits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Many CFM Do I Need for My Bathroom?

It is best to get 1 CFM per square foot of that room area. If you are unsure of the square footage, multiply the length by the width. 

For example, if your bathroom is 7 feet wide and 10 feet long, multiple 7×10 to get 70 square feet in space. In that case, you will want your bathroom exhaust fan to have at least 70 CFM to match that. 

2. Where is the Best Place for a Bathroom Exhaust Fan?

It would help place the bathroom fan directly above the bathtub or shower in most cases. That is because your bathtub creates the most moisture over everything else, making it harder to get rid of water.

However, suppose you choose a ventilation system that has to go on the wall. If you do not want water to drip down the wall and continuously clean it up, put the fan on the wall furthest from the shower. 

3. Do Bathroom Exhaust Fans Work?

To put it shortly, yes, bathroom exhaust fans work exceptionally well. They get rid of the excess moisture and prevent mold, mildew, and other odors from occurring. 

4. Is Plastic or Metal Exhaust Fans Better?

Considering how metal exhaust fans rust, plastic will be a better option. Plus, plastic blades are much quieter than metal. 

On the other hand, if you wish for a greener alternative, choose metal as it has a much better recycling rate than plastic does in the USA. 

5. Do Bathroom Exhaust Fans Need to Be Vented Outside?

It would be best if you vented bathroom exhaust fans outside. 

However, if you have no other option or space to vent it on the exterior of your home, then having a ductless fan might suffice. They have a charcoal filter, removing moisture and odors from the air. 

6. How Much Does it Cost to Have Someone Install a Bathroom Fan?

Installing a bathroom fan might be easy for some, but if you are like me and take hours on a project that is supposed to take 30 minutes, you might think it is wise to pay a professional to install a bathroom fan instead.

If that is the case for you, installing a new device would be roughly $100 to $800, depending on a few factors. 

These things could be ductwork to installing humidity sensors, increasing the price. Ask around for quotes and check to see if the company has reliable sources before continuing. 

Conclusion

We have many great options above, but it all boils down to personal preference and what suits your needs. There are many factors to consider, but we hope you have made the best choice possible!

Sources

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
DISCLAIMER: The content published on HomeInspectionInsider.com is not professional advice. You should consult with a licensed professional and check local permit requirements before starting any project.
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