Updating your bathroom exhaust fan can add a boost to your space as well as make your bathroom more comfortable. Look for a fan that is sized correctly and includes extra features such as a built-in light and ultra-quiet operation.
“Bathroom exhaust fans should be replaced when they start to drop in performance to prevent mold and mildew from growing,” general contractor Alan Rickmint says. “It’s an expense up front, but better than having to deal with mold remediation.”
Our top pick, the Broan NuTone AE110 Single-Speed Ventilation Fan, is affordable and creates a comfortable environment in even larger bathrooms.
Here are the best bathroom exhaust fans.
Broan-NuTone AE110 Single-Speed Ventilation Fan
Easy to install
Safe to install over bathtubs
Professional installation recommended
Only one speed
This bathroom exhaust fan is affordable and reliable. It only has one speed but works for most bathrooms. The cover creates a seal that allows the air to flow exactly where you need it. It is also super quiet—one of the best aspects of this fan, even among a great lineup of products from Broan.
Installation is also easy, especially if you are replacing an existing unit. The fan comes with retrofit hardware you can use to install the new ventilation fan without having to crawl into your attic. It is also a standard size and shape, meaning fewer touch-ups are necessary for your drywall.
This is a simple yet effective bathroom exhaust fan that works for most bathroom sizes and is still affordable enough to stay within your budget. It works with GFCI outlets and can be placed right over a bathtub. It's compatible with 4-inch ducts and might need an adapter if you have larger- or smaller-sized ductwork. Either way, professional installation is a good idea because it is hardwired and requires that you connect it to your home’s electrical system.
Price at time of publish: $267
Dimensions: 11.5 x 12 x 5.75 inches︱Weight: 8 pounds︱Material: Alloy steel, plastic︱CFM: 110︱Noise Level: 1.0 sones
Broan-NuTone 671 Ventilation Fan
Only for small bathrooms
High noise level
For one of the most affordable bathroom exhaust fans, look at the Broan NuTone 671. It lacks the power of some more expensive options, but works in small bathrooms or powder rooms up to 65 square feet. It is also a bit louder at 6.0 sones. For its budget-friendly price, however, it’s hard to beat.
This fan comes with the features and customer service that people love about Broan. The grill is a fresh bright white, but you can paint it to match your ceiling color. The purchase comes with a one-year warranty in case you have any problems, which Broan is quick to correct.
Price at time of publish: $40
Dimension: 7.5 x 3.63 x 7.25 inches︱Weight: 3.7 pounds︱Material: Galvanized steel︱CFM: 70︱Noise Level: 6.0 sones
Panasonic WhisperCeiling DC Fan
Easy to install
Comes with installation adapters
Light not included
If having an ultra-quiet bathroom exhaust fan is important to you (and almost priceless!), we recommend the Panasonic FV-0511VQ1 WhisperCeiling DC Ventilation Fan. Although expensive, this splurge-worthy fan does a great job of removing humid air and impurities from your bathroom and circulating fresh air. And its Flex-Z Fast bracket, as well as a 3- or 4-inch adapter, makes installation easy, whether you are adding it to new construction or replacing another exhaust fan.
There are three airflow settings: 50 CFM, 80 CFM, and 110 CFM. All you have to do is flip a switch on the unit. It doesn’t include a light, which would be a nice addition for the price. (Panasonic has a similar model that includes an LED light, at a higher cost.)
Price at time of publish: $150
Dimension: 13 x 13 x 8.5 inches︱Weight: 11 pounds︱Material: Metal, plastic︱CFM: 50, 80, 110︱Noise Level: 0.3 sones
Best With Humidity Sensor
Delta BreezSlim SLM70H Exhaust Bath Fan with Humidity Sensor
Automatic humidity sensor
Lower air output
This compact bathroom exhaust fan is also great at keeping humidity monitored and out of the bathroom. It is relatively quiet at only 2.0 sones and puts out 70 CFM. It is perfect for most small or medium bathrooms, especially those that lack windows or other places to potentially release humidity.
The best part of this fan is that you don’t have to actively monitor your bathroom’s humidity, because the exhaust fan does it for you. A sensor indicator light changes based on the humidity readings. And more impressively, when humidity levels rise above 60 percent—during someone’s shower, for example—the fan automatically kicks on. Once the humidity falls below 60 percent, the fan turns off. Not only does this not needlessly run the fan but it also ensures that mold and mildew don’t start growing in a humid bathroom.
Price at time of publish: $89
Dimension: 7.2 x 7.5 x 3.9 inches︱Weight: 4 pounds︱Material: Metal, plastic︱CFM: 70︱Noise Level: 2.0 sones
Best With Heater
Delta Breez Radiance Series 80 CFM Ceiling Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Heater
Good for medium-sized bathrooms
Bright white exterior
May need additional switches or ductwork
Requires dedicated circuit
If you want a combo heater/fan unit, the Delta Breez Radiance Series is a great choice. This unit provides 80 CFM of fan power while also having a built-in heater and thermostat to keep the temperature where you set it. (You can run the heater and fan separately, but each requires its own switch when being installed.) It works for bathrooms up to 80 square feet and mounts flush into the ceiling. The cover is bright white, which matches most bathroom ceilings. It is relatively quiet at 1.5 sones and comes with a three-year warranty and great customer service.
The Delta Breez is compatible with existing 4-inch ducts. If you have another size, you need to consult with a pro to see whether you can find an adapter (purchased separately). You also need a dedicated 15 amp circuit to install this exhaust fan. We recommend that this be installed by a pro, unless you have some serious DIY skills.
Price at time of publish: $99
Dimension: 14.375 x 5.5 x 8.25 inches︱Weight: 9.81 pounds︱Material: Galvanized steel︱CFM: 80︱Noise Level: 1.5 sones
Best With Light
Broan-NuTone AER110RGBL ChromaComfort Ventilation Fan
Adjustable LED light
Works for medium-sized bathrooms
Light works with smartphone app
Including a light with your bathroom exhaust fan can streamline your bathroom decor and fixtures. The Broan NuTone AER110RGBL ChromaComfort fan comes with 24 color options in its built-in LED light and wall fixture. If you set up the smartphone app, you have even more options. The grate also has an intricate design that provides just a bit of style to a normally utilitarian fixture.
This exhaust fan is a bit pricier than more basic options, without much difference in actual performance. The higher cost is for aesthetics and extra features, such as the multicolored light. It operates at 110 CFM and works for rooms up to 105 square feet. It is reasonably quiet at 1.5 sones.
Price at time of publish: $238
Dimension: 13.25 x 13.25 x 5.75 inches︱Weight: 1 pound︱Material: Alloy steel, plastic︱CFM: 110︱Noise Level: 1.5 sones
Broan-NuTone Nutone 682NT Duct-Free Bathroom Ventilation Fan
No need to run ductwork
Includes charcoal filter
Easy to install
Requires power outlet
Not great for odors
Running new ductwork or replacing old ducts may be a bigger job than you want to take on. The Broan NuTone 682NT Duct-Free fan is the perfect answer, combining many of the popular features of Broan’s other fans, such as efficiency and easy snap-in installation, with duct-free design. It is good for a half bath or powder room that can’t fit traditional ductwork in the ceiling.
This is a smaller fan, which helps it fit in the wall without worrying about space. It includes a charcoal filter to take care of some bathroom smells, but it isn’t great for removing major odors. You have a plug-in motor assembly for easy removal to change filters. To hardwire the housing, you have to supply power to the installation site as with any exhaust fan. But even if you need to add an outlet—or have a pro do it—it is likely easier than running ductwork.
Price at time of publish: $71
Dimension: 7.13 x 3.75 x 7.13 inches︱Weight: 3.21 pounds︱Material: Plastic︱CFM: 60︱Noise Level: Not listed
Best With Bluetooth
Homewerks Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Bluetooth Speakers and LED Light
Works with phone, tablet, or laptop
No need to recharge or replace batteries
Built-in LED light and night light
Exhaust suitable for most bathrooms
If you like to sing in the shower, the Homewerks 110 CFM Ceiling Mount Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Bluetooth Speakers and LED Light is the fixture you didn’t know you were missing. It is a bit pricey but includes everything to make your bathroom into the humidity-free performance space of your dreams. The fan operates at 110 CFM, perfect for bathrooms of most sizes. It also has a white LED light and blue or amber night light to provide just the right amount of illumination.
The Bluetooth speaker is the big draw for this exhaust fan, pairing the fan with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. They are wired directly into the fan, which is hardwired to your home’s electrical system; this means no recharging the speakers or replacing batteries. Although this is a round exhaust fan, the housing is square and wouldn't require touching up your drywall if you already had a square fan of the same size.
Price at time of publish: $140
Dimensions: 9.25 x 17 x 11 inches︱Weight: 13.75 pounds︱Material: Metal︱CFM: 110︱Noise Level: 1.5 sones
Our top pick is the Broan NuTone AE110 Single-Speed Ventilation Fan for a simple but reliable bathroom exhaust fan that works with almost any budget. If you want something that takes care of all your needs in a bathroom fixture, consider the Homewerks 110 CFM Ceiling Mount Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Bluetooth Speakers and LED Light. It is more expensive but includes an LED light, night light, and Bluetooth speaker along with great exhaust fan performance.
What to Look For in a Bathroom Exhaust Fan
Local Building Codes
Your local building codes might mandate that each bathroom must have an exhaust fan. They also might require each fan to meet a certain minimum exhaust capacity, as well as other code requirements. It’s important to check with your local permitting department.
“Getting professional installation often includes necessary permits,” says general contractor Alan Rickmint. “You will also know that it’s done safely, especially where electrical is concerned.” While it does add to the cost, it’s important to know that hardwired bathroom exhaust fans are installed correctly.
Pick an exhaust fan that correlates to the size of your bathroom. A fan that’s too small isn’t effective, but a fan that’s too powerful might create unpleasant drafts. In some cases, a second fan might be recommended.
The lower the sound rating (expressed in sones), the quieter the fan. If you only plan to switch on the fan after taking a quick shower, the noise level might not be important. However, if you want to run your exhaust fan while taking a relaxing bath, look for a fan with a rating of 1.0 sones or less.
Most exhaust fans have simple and discreet grates, but others have more elaborate or noticeable designs. You might want to find one that fits with the style of your bathroom.
In addition to venting, some bathroom exhaust fans offer a number of additional functions, if you’re willing to spend more. You can find fans that also function as lights or heaters. Some even have built-in Bluetooth speakers or automatic humidity sensors.
How do you replace a bathroom exhaust fan?
Replacing a bathroom exhaust fan is a project that most DIYers can handle. First, measure the old fan, and get a new one that matches the size. (While this isn't mandatory, it makes the replacement process easier.) Remove the old exhaust fan, and make any necessary adjustments to the ceiling hole for the new fan to fit. Attach the fan duct connector to the new fan, and connect the wiring. Line up the duct connector, and insert the fan housing into the ceiling hole. Then secure the housing to the ceiling with screws. Test the fan, and if everything works properly, slide the grille into place.
How do you clean a bathroom exhaust fan?
Bathroom exhaust fans are prone to mold and mildew growth, because they move the hot, humid air created during baths or showers out of the bathroom to the outside of the home. To clean an exhaust fan, turn the fan off, and remove the cover from the fan housing. Place the cover on a towel, and use a vacuum with a bristle-brush attachment to clean both sides of the cover. The vacuum can also clean inside the fan housing, around the motors, and in tight spaces with the crevice tool.
What do you do if your bathroom exhaust fan is making noise when off?
It may be odd to think about if you have never encountered this problem, but sometimes, exhaust fans can make noise even when they are off. Heavy winds hitting the vent flapper outside the home often cause rattling or flapping sounds. Exhaust fans may also make a low buzzing noise if you live in an apartment or townhouse complex with interconnected exhaust ducts.
How do you size a bathroom exhaust fan?
When you are trying to determine the right exhaust fan for your bathroom, ensure that the fan is rated to move at least 1 cubic foot per minute of air for every square foot of room area. Just keep in mind that, if the bathroom has a jetted tub, alcoves, or a separate room, it may be beneficial to invest in more than one exhaust fan.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Begley, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. She has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. To help compile this list, Begley talked with general contractor Alan Rickmint about the benefits of replacing your bathroom exhaust fan. Then, she considered the output, noise level, and extra features of each exhaust fan.