The 8 Best Bathroom Fans to Keep Your Powder Room Dry
Remodeling a bath, shower or laundry room? Find the best bathroom fan to keep air circulating, humidity down and mold at bay.
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Exhaust fans are particularly important in rooms with small windows or no windows at all. Ironically, these window-challenged rooms are most often the ones that have excessive amounts of moisture, like laundry rooms and bathrooms. The best bathroom fan will suck moist, humid air out of a room, and exchange it with fresh, dry air from the outside.
A well-made bathroom fan will not only refresh stale air, but will prevent condensation, eliminate odors and stop mold from forming. Here are our picks for the best bathroom fans to keep your dampest rooms dry.
Of all the fans on this list, the Panasonic WhisperChoice is best suited for large bathrooms. Besides removing unhealthy air at a rate that exceeds industry standards, the versatile ceiling fan provides the right airflow based on the size of the bathroom or amount of moisture.
Toggle between 130 cubic feet per minute (CFM) (just what you need for standard-sized bathrooms) and the more powerful 150 CFM (ideal for large and en suite bathrooms). It’s also UL Listed, so it can be placed directly above a shower enclosure safely. Plus, it comes with a Flex-Z Fast bracket for fast installation.
- Made of durable galvanized steel
- Low-profile housing to fit aesthetic
- Comes with six-year warranty on the motor and three-year warranty on parts
- Doesn’t have a built-in heater
- May be difficult to install by the average DIYer
Best with Ultraviolet Light
Broan NuTone SurfaceShield Bathroom Fan
Indoor air quality is more important than ever, and that’s why we chose the Broan-NuTone SurfaceShield as one of our top performers. It uses patented antimicrobial violet light-emitting diode (LED) light technology—in addition to powerful ventilation for effective protection against bacteria, mold, mildew and fungal growth. DIYers will especially appreciate the Ezduct connector for easy room-side installation—no attic access required.
- Two lighting modes: surface shield LED and everyday white
- TrueSeal damper reduces air leakage by up to 50 percent
- Comes with SnapFit Flange Kit for new construction or retrofits
- Faceplate can come loose
Panasonic WhisperCeiling Bathroom Fan
A noisy fan can discourage people from using it, rendering it ineffective. That won’t be reality with the Panasonic WhisperCeiling bathroom fan. Noiseless and powerful, its SmartFlow technology senses static pressure and adjusts the speed accordingly for optimal output. The fan comes with a Flex-Z Fast bracket and either a 4- or 6-inch duct adapter for simple installation.
- Pick-a-Flow airflow selector has low, medium and high speeds
- Energy Star-certified
- Compliant with most building codes and standards
- Doesn’t have a light
- Fan takes about 30 seconds to get up to speed
Hunter Halcyon Bathroom Fan
Cast in contemporary chrome with a swirled marble glass cover, the Hunter Halcyon Bathroom Fan is designed to look good while removing excess moisture from your bathroom. Aesthetically, the fan mounts flush to the ceiling to maintain a sleek profile. On the practical side, the Halcyon boasts an air flow of 90 CFM, and can be installed so that the fan and light work together or independently.
- Stylish appearance doesn’t look like a fan
- Has a polished cast chrome finish
- Heat -and water-resistant
- Not fitting for large bathrooms
Best with Heater
Delta Electronics BreezRadiance Fan with Heater
Wouldn’t it be nice to get out of the tub or shower in a warm, toasty environment? With the BreezRadiance bathroom fan, you can. The best bathroom fan for chilly and under-insulated bathrooms, the BreezRadiance comes with a built-in thermostat to regulate temperature. The heating element does more than adding comfort. Keeping your bathroom warm also inhibits vapors from condensing on floors, walls, ceilings and furniture.
- 1,300-watt heating element with built-in thermostat
- Galvanized steel construction
- DC brushless motor for longevity
- No light source to indicate when on
- Air heats in one direction only
Best Budget Option
Broan-NuTone Ceiling and Wall Ventilation Fan
Not very quiet, but plug-in ready, the Broan-NuTone Ceiling and Wall Ventilation Fan is a steal at less than $25. Fitting for half baths and small powder rooms, the compact fan with torsion-spring grille mounting installs easily between ceiling joists and wall studs without tools.
What’s more, the galvanized steel housing stands up to corrosion, and the polymeric damper prevents cold backdrafts. This best bathroom fan pick is UL Listed, so it’s approved for use directly in tub or shower enclosures.
- Less than $25 and doesn’t require professional installation
- White cover is paintable to match decor
- Can continuously run to constantly remove contaminants
- Metal grill kit must be purchased separately
- Not ideal for large bathrooms
Best with Humidity Detector
Delta Electronics BreezGreenBuilder Exhaust Fan
Another standout from Delta Electronics, the dual-speed BreezGreenBuilder Exhaust Fan has a sensor that automatically kicks on the fan when the humidity level reaches a certain threshold. Available in either 80 or 100 CFM (and with or without an LED light), the fan is engineered with a direct-current brushless motor to ensure optimal reliability.
- On-board humidity sensor can be adjusted or disabled
- Impeller stops if obstructed for safety
- Hanger bars included
- Intended for new construction only
- Can’t be placed on a timer
Best Smart Option
Broan-NuTone Sensonic Bathroom Exhaust Fan
Equipped with dual, high-fidelity Sensonic speakers with Bluetooth functionality, the Broan-NuTone Sensonic lets you play your favorite tunes, listen to the news or catch up on your daily podcasts while bathing or getting ready for the day. The best bathroom fan for music lovers pairs with all Bluetooth-enabled devices in seconds, leaving electrical outlets free.
- Quiet ventilation with quality wireless speakers
- Covers rooms up to 105 square feet
- Connects to phone within five seconds
- Ceiling mount only
- Not compatible with Amazon Alexa
Types of Bathroom Fans
There are generally three different types of bathroom fans to choose from:
- Ceiling-mounted: The optimal position to draw moisture from the bathroom (since warm, moist air rises) is venting through the roof. However, if there’s a problem, ceiling-mounted bathroom fans can be more difficult to access.
- Wall-mounted: Because these fans may be mounted and vented through an exterior wall, there’s often no need for ducting. They tend to be easier to repair, but backdrafting can be an issue.
- Inline: This type of bathroom fan can be installed within the home’s existing ductwork (often in the attic). The advantage to an inline fan is that it can exhaust more than one area of the house at the same time. The downside: They’re more complicated to install.
How We Found the Best Bathroom Fans
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
What are bathroom fans for?
The best bathroom fans get rid of excess moisture, odors and pollutants. They also remove vapor that fogs up mirrors and shower doors. In addition to providing proper ventilation in the bathroom, you’ll breathe easier and be much more comfortable.
How do bathroom fans work?
Simply put, a bathroom fan sucks the air out of a room, sending it outside through ductwork. For optimal performance, make sure the bathroom fan you choose is powerful enough for the space and is properly installed. They’re relatively easy to put in or replace yourself. Here’s how.
Can bathroom fans run continuously?
Although continuously running the fan can consistently remove excess humidity and contaminants in the air, it could cause the motor to wear out, as well as increase the risk of fire from dust and lint collecting in the grate. Be sure to clean exhaust fans of debris periodically.
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