The Best Bathroom Fans of 2023

Control humidity and excess moisture in the bathroom with an exhaust fan. Learn what to look for in a quality model—and which models are top performers.

By Glenda Taylor and Deirdre Mundorf | Updated Jan 11, 2023 4:08 PM

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The Best Bathroom Fan Option


There’s the potential for structural and surface-level damage if a bathroom isn’t properly ventilated. Excess humidity causes damage in myriad forms—cracked paint, peeling wallpaper, and warped cabinetry.

Moisture buildup in the bathroom also encourages mold growth in drywall and caulking, threatening indoor air quality. The best bathroom fan removes excess moisture effectively, protecting the bathroom from water damage while helping eliminate mirror fog and odors.

There’s a wide variety of options, from bare-bones models to high-end fans that come with built-in lighting, heaters, and motion sensors. Read on for a guide to navigating the options and some top picks below!

  1. BEST OVERALL: Broan-NuTone HD80L Heavy Duty Ventilation Fan
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Broan-NuTone 688 Ceiling and Wall Ventilation
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Broan-NuTone 9093WH Exhaust Fan, Heater, and Light
  4. BEST QUIET: Kaze Appliance SE110PL2 Bathroom Exhaust Fan
  5. BEST DECORATIVE: Hunter 81021 Victorian Decorative Bathroom Fan
  6. BEST WITH HEATER: Delta Electronics Exhaust Light and Heater Bath Fan
  7. BEST FOR HUMIDITY: Delta Electronics GreenBuilder Exhaust Fan
  8. BEST FOR LARGE BATHROOMS: Kaze Appliance SEP150L2 Ultra Quiet Bathroom Fan
  9. BEST DUCT-FREE: Broan-NuTone 682 Duct-Free Ventilation Fan
The Best Bathroom Fan Option


How We Chose the Best Bathroom Fans

After searching through an array of ventilation systems available for bathrooms, the top picks represent some of the most thoughtfully designed and reliable options. The models featured in this guide are all from trusted manufacturers with a demonstrated history of producing quality bathroom fans.

Taking into account functional features like lights and heaters, installation requirements, and pricing, the above list accounts for different bathroom sizes and user needs. As a bonus, many of the fans are Energy Star certified, meaning they perform more efficiently and offer greater savings compared to typical exhaust fans.

Our Top Picks

Continue reading to discover some top picks to consider when shopping for the best bathroom exhaust fan. These products were selected using the features outlined above to meet a variety of needs and budgets.

Best Overall

The Best Bathroom Fan Option: Broan-NuTone HD80L Ventilation Fan for Bathroom

This Broan-NuTone model is made to mitigate moisture, odor, and mildew buildup effectively within spaces of 80 square feet or less. The Home Ventilating Institute (HVI)-certified fan produces 80 cubic feet per minute (CFM) and has a reasonable 2.5 sones rating. For those looking for the best bathroom exhaust fan with light, built-in lighting supports a 100-watt incandescent bulb protected with a shatter-resistant glass cover.

The branch circuit in this model is GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protected for a longer lifespan and increased durability. Installation is relatively straightforward with the included keyholed mounting brackets and a tapered, polymeric duct fitting.

Product Specs

  • Style: Fan and light
  • Airflow: 80 CFM
  • Ideal for: Small and medium-size bathrooms


  • HVI-certified ventilation provides excellent performance; great for busy bathrooms
  • GFCI-protected branch circuit helps provide a longer lifespan
  • Shatter-resistant bulb housing reduces the risk of breakages


  • At 2.5 sones, louder than comparable models
  • Not suitable for bathrooms over 80 square feet

Get the Broan-NuTone HD80L bathroom fan at Amazon, Overstock, or Broan-NuTone.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Bathroom Fan Option: Broan-NuTone 688 Ceiling and Wall Ventilation

Save money with this 50-CFM model from Broan-NuTone that eschews bells and whistles without sacrificing quality. Though its 4-sone rating means it hums more loudly than some of its peers, this basic bathroom fan does a great job of eliminating humidity and excess moisture in bathrooms up to 50 square feet.

This model features a white polymeric grill that can be painted to coordinate with different bathroom decors. The fan boasts easy installation in the ceiling with a 3-inch duct connection, or it can be mounted on an exterior wall.
With the torsion springs grille mounting, no tools are required for either installation option. This bathroom ventilation fan features a permanently lubricated motor to ensure long-lasting operation.

Product Specs

  • Style: Fan only
  • Airflow: 50 CFM
  • Ideal for: Small bathrooms


  • Cost-effective option provides great value compared to other models
  • Ceiling or wall-mounted installation options for added flexibility
  • Easy to remove; great for regular maintenance and cleaning
  • Grille can be painted for personalization; suitable for matching most decor choices


  • At 4 sones, significantly louder than other options available
  • Not suitable for bathrooms over 50 square feet

Get the Broan-NuTone 688 bathroom fan at Amazon, Lowe’s, Build with Ferguson, or Broan-NuTone.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Bathroom Fan Option: Broan-NuTone 9093WH Exhaust Fan, Heater, and Light

Shoppers looking for a bathroom fan that will do more than simply remove moisture and odors from a bathroom may want to consider this model from Broan-NuTone. The 70 CFM rating means that this model can be used to ventilate, light, and heat bathrooms up to 70 square feet.

It offers a 1,500-watt heating element and is safe to use with up to 100-watt bulbs. Buyers can also use the included four-function wall switch to turn on the 7-watt night light (bulb sold separately) for a relaxing bath or middle-of-the-night bathroom runs.

This bathroom fan has a 3.5-sone rating. The model is designed for easy installation for professionals and home users alike. All of the parts needed are included in the fan’s box.

Product Specs

  • Style: Fan, light, heater
  • Airflow: 70 CFM
  • Ideal for: Small bathrooms


  • Various light settings allow users to achieve different looks
  • Multifunctionality enhances value; exhaust fan, heater, and light all in a single unit
  • Includes all parts and accessories; easy installation


  • Extra fan power makes it louder than other bathroom fans
  • Not suitable for bathrooms over 70 square feet
  • More expensive compared to similar options on the market

Get the Broan-NuTone 9093WH bathroom fan at Amazon, The Home Depot, Wayfair, Build with Ferguson, or Broan-NuTone.

Best Quiet

The Best Bathroom Fan Option: Kaze Appliance SE110PL2 Bathroom Exhaust Fan

If choosing an ultraquiet bathroom fan is a top priority, this model from Kaze Appliance should be a top consideration. Considered one of the quietest bathroom exhaust fans, the whisper-quiet 0.9-sone rating means users can turn the bathroom fan on, and they’ll barely be able to tell it is running.

This energy-efficient, quiet fan offers a 90 CFM output for bathrooms under 90 square feet. The design also incorporates an 11-watt LED light and 2-watt LED night light rated for 30,000 hours of use.
When producing this Energy Star–certified model, the manufacturer relied on high-quality elements and included a permanently lubricated motor for reliability and lasting operation. Installation is straightforward, and the adjustable mounting brackets and 4- and 6-inch duct options allow for flexibility.

Product Specs

  • Style: Fan and light
  • Airflow: 90 CFM
  • Ideal for: Small and medium-size bathrooms


  • Energy Star certification ensures that this unit runs efficiently
  • Ultraquiet operation at only 0.9 sones; great for en-suite bathrooms
  • Long-lasting construction using durable materials; less prone to breakage


  • Installation process can be quite a complicated and involved process
  • Not suitable for bathrooms over 90 square feet

Get the Kaze Appliance SE110PL2 bathroom fan on Amazon.

Best Decorative

The Best Bathroom Fan Option: Hunter 81021 Ventilation Victorian Bathroom Fan

Unlike other models, this decorative bathroom fan from Hunter features a classic Victorian-style design with a chrome and porcelain frame and white glass dome.

It has a 90 CFM output and a 2.5-sone rating, making it suitable for use in smaller bathrooms. The fan is designed to circulate the air in the room effectively to reduce humidity levels, moisture, and odors.

Users can choose to wire the light and fan to the same switch or wire them separately depending on their needs and preferences. The manufacturer includes all the necessary hardware for installing this flush-mount fan. Remove the chrome finial and glass cover when needed for easy cleaning or to change the bulbs.

Product Specs

  • Style: Fan and light
  • Airflow: 90 CFM
  • Ideal for: Small and medium-size bathrooms


  • Attractive Victorian-era design creates a sense of style
  • Easy access makes cleaning and bulb changes a breeze
  • Includes all hardware necessary for easy installation


  • Higher CFM means it operates slightly louder than average
  • Not suitable for bathrooms larger than 90 square feet

Get the Hunter bathroom fan at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Wayfair.

Best with Heater

The Best Bathroom Fan Option: Delta Electronics (Americas) Ltd. Radiance 80 CFM

Thanks to its heating element, this Delta Electronics fan radiates warmth while working to remove humidity in bathrooms up to 80 square feet with its 80-CFM rating. A built-in thermostat allows users to set the temperature to their desired level. Just know that because the fan includes a heater, it must be wired to a dedicated electrical circuit.

The fan operates at a soft 1.5 sones to keep noise and vibration to a minimum. This model also includes an LED light, which can supplement existing bathroom lighting.

The corrosion-resistant galvanized-steel construction and DC brushless motor work together to offer a long-lasting product. A detachable 4-inch duct adapter is included to simplify installation.

Product Specs

  • Style: Fan, light, heater
  • Airflow: 80 CFM
  • Ideal for: Small and medium-size bathrooms


  • Multifunctionality enhances value; great for heating up cold bathrooms
  • Built-in thermostat aids in accurate temperature control
  • Durable materials make for a long-lasting build


  • Dimmer lighting compared to similar models; may require additional bathroom lighting
  • Not suitable for bathrooms over 80 square feet

Get the Delta Electronics heater bathroom fan on AmazonThe Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Delta Breez.

Best for Humidity

The Best Bathroom Fan Option: Delta Breez GreenBuilder Bathroom Exhaust Fan

The Delta Electronics GreenBuilder Exhaust Fan features a built-in humidity sensor that detects when bathroom humidity levels are too high, and then adjusts the CFM output accordingly. Users can program specific humidity levels between 50 percent and 80 percent.

This quiet, energy-efficient bathroom fan operates at just 1.4 sones. Since it’s so quiet that users may not even notice when it’s running, it also includes an indicator light beneath the grille to verify that the fan is indeed on. To reduce utility bills, this is also an Energy Star–certified bathroom fan.

Product Specs

  • Style: Fan only
  • Airflow: 100 CFM
  • Ideal for: Small and medium-size bathrooms


  • Energy Star certified; provides great energy efficiency
  • Built-in humidity sensor for automated adjustment; ideal for steamy showers
  • Quiet operation at just 1.4 sones; great for early mornings without disturbing others


  • Not suitable for bathrooms over 100 square feet
  • Installation can be quite complicated for DIY novices

Get the Delta Electronics Greenbuilder bathroom fan on Amazon, The Home Depot, or Delta Breez.

Best for Large Bathrooms

The Best Bathroom Fan Option: Kaze Appliance SEP150L2 Ultra Quiet Bathroom

This bathroom exhaust fan from Kaze Appliance offers a 150 CFM output to remove moisture and odors from bathrooms as large as 150 square feet. The fan’s design includes an 11-watt LED light to add soft glow lighting to the space, although this may not be bright enough to be the only light source in the bathroom. It has a near-silent 0.5-sone rating.

This model offers universal installation options and adjustable heavy-duty triple-point mounting brackets. It features a permanently lubricated brushless motor that operates at low temperatures for long-lasting durability and operation at multiple humidity levels.

Product Specs

  • Style: Fan and light
  • Airflow: 150 CFM
  • Ideal for: Large bathrooms


  • Clears steam easily; great for users who enjoy hot showers
  • Universal installation makes it suitable for most homes
  • Very quiet operation at just 0.5 sones


  • 11-watt light is not very bright; will require additional bathroom lighting to compensate

Get the Kaze Appliance SEP150L2 bathroom fan on Amazon or Kaze Appliance.

Best Duct-Free

The Best Bathroom Fan Option: Broan-NuTone 682 Duct-Free Ventilation Fan

Shoppers looking to control humidity levels in a smaller space where there is no room to install ductwork should consider this option from Broan-NuTone. Installed between either ceiling joists or wall studs, this compact and duct-free square ceiling fan helps reduce humidity in smaller bathroom spaces. The white grille is paintable to suit a more colorful decor, so it won’t stick out in a bathroom styled in darker tones.

Installation is a breeze with a toolless torsion spring-mounting system. It’s also budget-friendly, so this fan is a great option for covering multiple areas with additional ventilation. Maintenance and cleaning is made more simple thanks to the snap-to-fit motor, with no need to worry about screws.
While this fan does not exhaust air from the room, it does filter the air and recirculate it, helping reduce humidity and odors.

Products Specs

  • Style: Fan
  • Airflow: None
  • Ideal for: Small bathrooms


  • Very simple installation and easy access to motor for maintenance
  • Paintable grille helps match the fan with existing decor choices
  • Budget-friendly price point is suitable for bulk installation in multiple rooms
  • Quiet fan makes almost zero noise


  • Does not actually exhaust the air; only recirculates it through a filter

Get the Broan-NuTone 682 bathroom fan at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Broan-NuTone.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Bathroom Fan

While looking through the best bathroom exhaust fans, there are quite a few features to keep in mind. These include the airflow capacity, energy efficiency, and noise of each model. Beyond technical features, consider ease of installation, versatility, and how it will look in a space.

Airflow Capacity

The best bathroom exhaust fans’ performance is measured in CFM, which gives the amount of air moved by the fan each minute. The product’s box will list the CFM number, and it will typically give a suggested room size as well.

As a general rule of thumb, choose a fan with a minimum CFM rating equal to the bathroom’s square footage. For example, choose a 50-CFM-rated fan for a 50-square-foot bathroom and a 100-CFM-rated fan for a 100-square-foot bathroom.

For even more accuracy, measure the bathroom and use the following mathematical formula:

Length x Width x Height x 0.13 = Suggested CFM

Suppose the bathroom is 10 feet long by 8 feet wide by 8 feet high. Multiply 10 by 8 by 8 by 0.13 for a total of 83.2. In this case, a fan with a CFM rating of 80 would probably be sufficient for the bathroom.

Energy Efficiency

As with purchasing any new appliance or electrical product, consider energy efficiency when shopping for a bathroom fan. Fans that are energy efficient use less energy than other models, meaning that they can help save on monthly electric bills while also decreasing the home’s environmental footprint.

Energy Star certifications were developed to help users easily identify energy-saving models. Energy Star–certified ceiling fans use an average of 70 percent less energy than their less-efficient counterparts.

In order to receive Energy Star certification, most bathroom fans must also meet the maximum allowable sound levels and performance levels for airflow.


Many bathroom fans are designed for more than just ventilation. Consider models with these convenient features:

  • Many people opt for a bathroom fan with an integrated light, which can replace an existing light fixture using the same wires, making for easy installation.
  • Night lights offer a comforting glow to guide late-night bathroom visitors.
  • Some bathroom fans have motion sensors that turn on the light automatically when someone walks into the bathroom.
  • Fans with humidity sensors activate automatically when the moisture levels reach a specific level.
  • For cold days and chilly baths, built-in heaters can warm up the room and ventilate simultaneously.


Visual appeal can also be important when choosing a bathroom fan. Consider the overall style and decor of the bathroom, and choose a fan that will coordinate with the space. One basic item to consider is the fan’s color.

Most bathroom fans are white, but some may include a paintable cover that will allow shoppers to customize the fan’s color to blend in with their ceiling or walls.

Other bathroom fans offer decorative fixtures that can help add to the style of the space. For example, some bathroom fans may feature interchangeable finials or trim in different finishes (such as white, chrome, nickel, or brass), hanging pendant lights, or other intricate or eye-catching designs.


The noise emitted by an exhaust fan is rated in sones, and the quietest bathroom exhaust fans have a sones rating between 0.5 and 0.6. The lower the sones number (which is typically printed on the fan box), the quieter the fan will be when operating.

Since a sones rating of 1 compares to the sound of a quiet refrigerator, any fan with a sones rating of 1 or less is considered among the quietest bathroom exhaust fans. On the other end of the scale, a sones rating greater than 4 might be loud enough to drown out someone’s shower singing.

Many manufacturers today produce bathroom fans that operate quietly. If shoppers are very concerned about sound, they might want to consider installing a 6-inch ducting attachment for the fan rather than the standard 4-inch attachment. Air can move easier in a wider duct, so a 6-inch duct puts less strain on the fan and allows for quieter operation.


When drawing moisture-filled air out of the bathroom, it needs somewhere to go. Some bathroom vents release exhaust into a home’s attic; however, this setup isn’t ideal since excess moisture in the attic can lead to mold-related issues. It’s usually best practice to vent bathroom fans to the outdoors.

  • If the bathroom is located on the first level of a multistory home, the air can be vented through the side of the house. A standard ceiling-mounted fan is suitable for this type of venting, as long as the ducting can be run through the ceiling joists to an exterior wall.
  • For any bathroom located on the floor directly below the attic, the best bet is to direct the vented air to the attic and then, via ducting, either to a soffit under the roof’s eave or out through a vent pipe in the roof.
  • If ducting can’t be run between the joists, and if the bathroom has at least one exterior wall, a wall-mounted fan can be installed that vents the exhaust directly out the side of the house.

When installing a bathroom fan, the best location is typically between the shower and toilet, in an area of the ceiling without any obstructing joists or pipes. Replacement fans should be installed in the same location as the existing fan.

Keep in mind that larger bathrooms may require multiple fans to ventilate the space effectively. Fans with features such as lights, heaters, and night lights may require additional wires or a designated circuit to operate.

Types of Bathroom Fans

Before looking through the options for the best bathroom exhaust fans, it’s important to decide which fan type is preferred. Bathroom ventilation fans come in two main types: ceiling fans and in-line fans. Each type offers pros and cons to consider.

Ceiling Fans

As the name implies, ceiling fans are mounted in the ceiling of a bathroom. An air intake vent sits right in the ceiling, with the fan portion directly above it. The fan pulls air from the bathroom up into the vent by creating suction and then releases it through the roof vent on the other side.

Some ceiling fans include lights and can be used to make a bathroom brighter or to replace an existing overhead or vanity light. They are also generally a bit easier to install. However, due to their size and weight, the installation options may be more limited than they are with in-line fans.

Since ceiling fans are located directly above the bathroom, users may notice more noise and vibration than they would from an in-line fan.

In-Line Fans

In-line fans are installed either in the attic above the bathroom or another location a bit away from the bathroom. For these models, users install a vent in the ceiling with ductwork that routes to the exhaust fan.

This setup moves the fan a bit farther from the bathroom ceiling for reduced noise and vibration. It also makes it possible to add multiple ceiling vents and connect them to the same fan to provide additional ventilation to a larger bathroom.

With an in-line fan, shoppers aren’t as constrained by the available space in the ceiling directly above the bathroom. In some cases, this makes it possible to install a larger and more powerful fan than would otherwise fit. However, installing an in-line fan and setting up the ductwork can be more involved than installing a ceiling fan.


There are many benefits of adding a bathroom fan to your bathroom, but you may still have some questions about choosing the right fan for your space. Refer to the frequently asked questions below to gain more knowledge to help you make the best selection.

Q. What is the difference between a ventilation fan and an exhaust fan?

Ventilation fans and exhaust fans both share the goal of leaving the air in a space cleaner and fresher, but the way they go about reaching this goal is different. Ventilation fans pull cleaner air into spaces from the exterior, while exhaust fans remove pollutants and other contaminants from the air in a space.

Q. What CFM do I need for a bathroom fan?

To determine the CFM needed for your bathroom, consider the square footage of the space. The CFM should be at least as high as this number, so a 100-square-foot bathroom will require a fan with a rating of at least 100 CFM. For greater precision, use the following formula to make sure you choose the right fan for your bathroom: Length x Width x Height x 0.13 = Suggested CFM.

Q. Do bathroom exhaust fans have to be vented outside?

When installing a bathroom fan, it is important to vent it to the outside, either through the attic or a sidewall. If bath fans are not vented outside, you’ll simply be moving the moisture to another area in the home, where it may cause problems.

Q. Can you run a bathroom fan all the time?

Running a bathroom fan all the time is not a good idea. If the fan is run for too long, it can cause the motor to wear down or even pose a potential fire hazard. Run the fan for about 20 minutes after bathing or showering to allow it to do its job and remove the moisture from the room, and then turn the fan off.

Q. How long should you run the bathroom fan after a shower?

The HVI recommends running a bathroom fan for about 20 minutes after showering. This amount of time will allow for proper bathroom ventilation and prevent moisture from lingering and causing issues.

Why Trust Bob Vila

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Glenda Taylor is a freelance writer for the residential remodeling, homebuilding, and commercial roofing industries. She and her husband have been general contractors for over 20 years, and Ms. Taylor has written for leading media outlets as well as National Association of Homebuilders. In addition to her construction experience, Ms. Taylor is a Master Gardener, a former real estate professional, a universal design enthusiast, and an advocate for green building practices. The recipient of Journalism and Marketing degrees from the University of Kansas and Bauder College respectively, she enjoys life on a farm in the Midwest with her husband and their five Saint Bernards!