While you want a bathroom exhaust fan to get rid of humidity in your bathroom, you do not want one that is so loud that you never get to use it. But if you find one with near-silence noise levels, it might not suck humidity out of your bathroom the way you need.
With so many exhaust fan brands, you can find the quietest bathroom fan that still does its job perfectly. Noise and efficiency are not always directly proportional. The perfect bathroom exhaust fan will remove all humidity from your bathroom quietly.
To help you find the quietest bathroom fan, I tested and reviewed the features of more than 20 bathroom fans. I came up with a list of the best five quiet ventilation fan for your bathroom. These fans are efficient, quiet, and also affordable. Read on to learn more.
Let's find out…
Before we go in depth detail guide, here are 5 best sneak peeks into the features of our top 5 Quietest Bathroom Fan picks:
Quietest Bathroom Fan
1: Win Air Ultra Quiet Bathroom Fan
2: BV Ultra-Quiet Ventilation and Exhaust Bath Fan
3: Broan Very Quiet Bath Exhaust Fan
4: Panasonic FV-30VQ3 WhisperCeiling Ventilation Fan
5: Delta BreezGreenBuilder Exhaust Bath Fan
The 5 Best quiet bathroom exhaust fans of 2020
1. Win Air Ultra Quiet Bathroom Fan – Best Hidden Bathroom Fan
Broan has a long history engineering fans, heaters and range hoods. Their Ultra Quiet Bathroom fan is rated 0.3 sones which makes it the quietest bathroom fan you can buy.
Again, it is an ideal choice if you need a hidden fan.
The Win Air Ultra Quiet Bathroom Fan is designed for small to medium-sized bathrooms. The unit works perfectly with 4-inch ducts and fits into a 9.4 by 9.4-inch ceiling opening.
Due to its compact size and its quiet nature, you will hardly note the presence of this fan. However, it is powerful enough and you will feel its presence.
When fitted on the bathroom ceiling, the designer-styled grills will complement the décor of any bathroom.
Besides reducing excess moisture and humidity, the fan is designed to circulate fresh air to keep the bathroom smelling fresh.
Each unit is engineered for safety and carries an Energy Star certification and other certifications to use in enclosed spaces.
2. BV Ultra-Quiet Ventilation and Exhaust Bath Fan – Best for Standard Bathrooms
If you need a dead-quiet yet powerful bathroom exhaust fan, BV Ultra-Quiet Ventilation Fan is an ideal choice for you.
BV is a renowned name in home improvement and appliances in North America. Their bath fan features silent clever technology with a motor that performs efficiently allowing it to move large volumes of humid air while making minimal noise.
The exhaust fan sports a durable design with stainless steel element housing to make the unit last for many years.
To make the bath fan run for many years, the motor fitted into the unit is heavy-duty. This motor is thermally protected and features lifetime lubrication making it maintenance free.
3. Broan Very Quiet Bath Exhaust Fan – Best Budget Exhaust Fan
Are you looking for a quiet, powerful, and yet budget-friendly bathroom exhaust fan? This Broan exhaust fan matches that description succinctly.
All Broan Fans sport an Energy Star certification as proof of efficiency. The Broan Very Quiet Bath Exhaust Fan has a perfect balance between power and noise. The unit is designed for safety and use over tubs and enclosed spaces.
Out of the package, the fan is easy to install with 6-inch ducting for enhanced performance. You will only need a 2-inch by 8-inch ceiling space to install the fan.
Use the hanger bars that accompany the unit to install it on any wall. Its white polymeric grille suits the décor of any bathroom – you can paint the grille if you need a different color.
At 0.3 sones, the unit operates nearly silent. It is ideal for bathrooms of up to 75-square-feet. Their motors are designed for continuous operation, so you can leave it on as long as possible without it spoiling.
4. Panasonic FV-30VQ3 WhisperCeiling Ventilation Fan: Best All-Round Quiet Bathroom Fan
If you are looking for a quiet yet powerful bathroom exhaust fan, the Panasonic FV-30VQ3 is the quietest bathroom fans you can buy.
It delivers a maximum output of 290 CFM at 2.0 sones – which makes it the most powerful fan in this list.
You can use the fan for light commercial applications or if you have a large bathroom at home.
Each unit is engineered to use less energy during operation. This way, it does not produce any heat making it last for long. To guarantee durability, the manufacturer offers a limited three-year warranty.
Besides its power, the bath fan is designed for 6-inch ducts to move as most air as possible. It sports a double hanger bar system that is expandable up to 24 inches. This way, you can position your bath fan just where you need it.
5. Delta BreezGreenBuilder Exhaust Bath Fan: Best Quiet Fan for the Money
Delta Breez fans are not only quiet vent fans but also powerful enough for larger-than-standard baths and at affordable prices. Even better, they are highly efficient.
The Delta Breezbath fan boasts in its energy efficiency. The unit exceeds Energy Star’s requirements in energy efficiency by 840 percent.
This means that the unit produces less heat which translates to now breakdown even if you leave it to run continuously.
Each unit is fitted with a DC brushless motor which is compact and lightweight for ease of installation.
You are provided with all the installation accessories to install within a few minutes. The bath fan is engineered for durability thanks to its galvanized steel construction that resists corrosion.
When in operation, you can adjust the airflow between 80 and 130 CFM depending on the size and requirements of your bathroom.
Even at maximum output, the unit still operates at 1.2 sones which are nearly silent operation. At the lower output, 80 CFM operates at 0.3 sones.
How Did I Pick The Quietest Bathroom Fan?
A good bathroom fan should not only be quiet but also powerful enough to provide the needed airflow to keep your bathroom fresh.
I chose the above bathroom fans to fit the needs of different sizes of bathrooms. If yours is a small bathroom, pick the Win Air Ultra Quiet Fan.
If you have a larger than a standard bathroom or you need a fan for a commercial bathroom, pick the Panasonic FV30VQ3. Other fans in the list are ideal for standard or slightly larger than standard bathrooms.
Granted, you are sure to find a bath fan that meets your needs from the list above. All the fans will produce no noise and you might not note their presence, you can only feel that the bathroom feels more comfortable.
How Did I Test for the Quietest Bathroom Fan?
I installed these bathroom fans for a week before writing the review. To run continuously at maximum output to see how they operate and whether they get noisy after some time.
Some units started producing some noise after a few days – I left those ones out in my review.
During that week, I interchanged the fans and placed them in different bathroom sizes to see how they operate in different bathroom sizes.
To ensure they work efficiently, I tested them during the most humid month of the year.
Besides the level of noise and power, I also checked that all the fans are Energy Star Qualified for energy efficiency.
Lastly, I browsed the internet looking for reviews of users who have had them for more than a year. The above bathroom fans received positive reviews, an indication that most users find them appealing.
What are some of the Factors to Consider when Shopping for Quiet Bathroom Fans?
Throughout the reviews, I have mentioned the sones rating of different bath fans. Sones is a measure of the intensity of noise based on an individual’s psychological perception.
It is the accepted unit of measurement when evaluating the level of noise for bathroom fans. The quietest bathroom fans have a sones rating of 0.3 or lower while the loudest have at least 4.0 or higher.
2. Power in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)
CFM is a measure of the power of a bathroom exhaust fan. It refers to the volume of air that a fan can suck out of your bathroom in one minute.
Even for a small bathroom, the minimum power a bathroom fan should have is 50 CFM. To ensure your fan is running optimally, leave the bathroom door ajar when it is running. This when the fan sucks humid air from your room, there will be enough fresh air to keep the air exchange smooth.
3. Efficiency Per Sone Rating
Does your fan make noise when set at maximum output? Some fans will make more noise at maximum CFM.
Ideally, it is important to have a fan that does not make noise even as it sucks massive volumes of air from a room.
In most cases, the sone rating of a bathroom fan increases as the volume of air sucked out of a bathroom increases.
Most fans with an output of 80 CFM or less have a sone rating of 0.3 or less. Fans with a sone rating of 1.0 tend to have a maximum output of 140 CFM, sometimes more. Nevertheless, there are outliers – some suck a high volume of air while producing less noise.
You can compare the CFM-per-sone rating of fans by dividing the sone rating by the CFM. For instance, is a bathroom fan has an output of 80 CFM at 0.3 sones, its CFM per sone is 0.00375.
If a fan with the same output had a sone rating of 0.9, its CFM-per-sone would be 0.01125, which is higher than the previous fan. In short, the lower the CFM-per-sone rating, the more efficient the bathroom fan.
4. Power, Noise, and Cost Balance
A super-quiet bathroom fan will come at a relatively higher price. If that does not meet your bathroom remodeling budget, you can always go for a fan with a little higher sone rating.
A cheap fan, on the other fan, will be so loud that you rarely use it.
When shopping, look for a bathroom fan that does not exceed a 2.0 sone rating. These will be quiet enough and most of them come at a decent price range.
However, as I explained above, the sone rating will also be determined by power. All the fans I received above are powerful and quiet enough for their prices.
How Do You Choose the Right Bathroom Fan Size for your Bathroom?
Some fans are engineered for small bathrooms, some for standard, and others for larger-than-standard bathrooms.
Earlier on, I mentioned that the fans above will meet the needs of all bathroom sizes, you only need to pick the right one. Sizing a bathroom fan is crucial if you need the unit to function optimally.
If you install a less powerful fan in a large bathroom, you will barely feel its effect. You need at least 1 CFM per square foot – which means that a standard fan will work best in a bathroom not larger than 100 square feet.
Start by measuring the square footage of your bathroom by multiplying its length by its width.
If the length of your bathroom is 10 feet and its width is 6 feet, then your bathroom is 60 square feet (6x10).
In such a bathroom, the bathroom fan you choose should have an output of at least 60 CFM. You can oversize your fan with a few CFM for efficiency.
However, if your bathroom has a jetted tub or there is an extra room, you will need to include an extra fan to get rid of all the humidity.
For homeowners with a bathroom smaller than 50 square feet, get a fan of 50 CFM as it is the least powerful of all fans.
What If You Have a Larger Bathroom?
If you have a bathroom larger than 100 square feet, you will need to size your fan based on the fixtures in it.
In this case, a toilet needs 50 CFM, a shower 50 CFM, jetted tub 100 CFM, and a bathtub 50 CFM. If you have all the fixtures above, you will need a bathroom fan with an output of at least 250 CFM.
If your large bathroom only has a shower and a toilet, a 100 CFM bathroom fan will work just fine. A shower, a jetted tub, and a toilet will need a fan with an output of about 200 CFM.
If your bathroom ceiling is higher than 8 feet, you will need to use a different formula to size your fan. Start by multiplying the size of your bathroom (in square feet) by the height of your ceiling (in feet).
Divide your result by 60 which is the number of minutes in an hour and then multiply the result by 8, which is the number of air exchanges in an hour.
If your bathroom is 100 square feet and the ceiling is 8 feet high, you will have 100x8 = 800, 800 ÷ 60 = 13.33, 13.33x8 = 106. In this case, your bathroom fan needs to have an output of at least 106 CFM.
How Do You Install a Quiet Bathroom Fan?
I have installed so many fans when I am testing them that it feels easy to me. However, if you are not confident with your handy skills, call a professional.
Nevertheless, the installation process is simple if you follow the right steps. Again, there are so many DIY installation guides online to guide you through the process. Here are the simple steps:
- Start by identifying where in your bathroom you need the exhaust fan. Mark the area and ensure that it fits the fan succinctly without leaving any spaces on the sides of the fan. Some fans come with a large grill to cover any ugly stone cut marks. Ensure that the space where you need to position your fan is free from electrical wires and that the ceiling is strong enough to support the weight of the fan.
- After you have identified and marked the area you need to install the fan, drill a pilot hole. Later, cut the hole using a saw.
- Using the brackets or the hangers and screws that come with the package, install the exhaust fan in the hole you have already drilled. Usually, the manufacturer provides you with an installation manual with pictures – all you have to do is follow. Ensure that the power cord stays over the fan’s motor so the electrician can reach the cord with ease. Tighten the fan in place and then place the grill in place to cover it.
As a rule of thumb, you need to have someone pass the tools to you as you might have to climb a ladder.
Again, you need to wear gloves when working to stay safe from injuries. You also need to wear protective eyewear when you are drilling a pilot hole to keep your eyes safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a dedicated circuit for a bathroom fan?
The electrical requirements of a bathroom fan will vary depending on the functionality and features of the fan.
A fan with heating functions might need a dedicated circuit but a simple standard fan will operate from a light circuit.
Does a bathroom exhaust fan have to be wired with the lights?
Most of the bathroom fans can be set up so they operate on an independent switch. However, if you want to wire the light and the fan together, you still can.
What is the right position for a bathroom fan?
You can install the bathroom fan above where the majority of bathroom fixtures are. If the fixtures are scattered, the best place would be above the bathtub or the shower. However, if the bathroom fan comes with heating functions, you need to install it at the center of your bathroom.
Do I need to clean the fan?
Most fans are almost maintenance-free. However, after every three months, you need to clean the fan to remove dust. If the fan is not clean, it will create static electricity which will restrict the flow of air thereby reducing the efficiency of your fan.
How long should the bathroom fan stay on after a shower?
Immediately after taking a shower, there is a lot of humidity in the bathroom. As such, the bathroom fan should stay on to make the bathroom dry.
When determining how long to leave your fan on, the size of your bathroom and the power of your fan will determine how long it stays on after a shower.
In most cases, it only takes 20 minutes to get rid of the humidity created during a shower and to reduce the rate of condensation.
If you have a large bathroom and a small fan, you might need more than 20 minutes to get all the humidity out.
For a new fan, monitor the time it takes to remove all the humid air without condensation for a few days. You will know how long it takes to dehumidify your bathroom through monitoring.
Should you leave your bathroom exhaust fan all night?
You should avoid leaving the bathroom exhaust fan running the whole night. For starters, the fan will leave the air in your bathroom dryer than needed.
Again, because you only need 20 minutes to rid your bathroom of dry air, leaving it running overnight will be overkill.
Again, even in instances where you buy a high-quality fan, there is a chance that the fan might overheat and cause a fire. Where the fan doesn’t cause a fire, it might break down.
Your fan should not run for more than 30 minutes after a shower even in a large bathroom. The ball-bearings inside the fan’s motor might lock up and result in overheating which can cause a fire.
Between above the shower and above a bathtub, where should I place an exhaust fan?
An exhaust fan is best placed above either the shower or a bathtub. You can place the fan in between the two closer to the one you use the most.
If you use a shower more than a bathtub, place the fan close to the shower. Ideally, the fan should be above the fixture that produces the highest amount of moisture.
Correctly positioning the bathroom fan will ensure that all the annoying humid air from your bathroom is removed in an efficient manner.
If incorrectly positioned, the fan does not remove the humid air and this leads to condensation in your bathroom.
If the bathroom fan has a heater, do not place it above a shower or bathtub. Instead, position it away from the two fixtures but close enough to suck all the humidity.
Are quiet bathroom fans energy-intensive?
Some fans will use a lot of electricity depending on their power and their functionality. It also depends on how long you leave the fan on.
Generally, bathroom fans are energy-efficient – most of them are Energy Star qualified.
Simple bathroom fans are rated 6 watts while larger units with heating functionalities are rated up to 60 watts.
There is no standard electricity use for all bathroom fans – how you use your fan and the functionalities of the fan determine how much power it uses.
Simple ones consume as much as a light bulb, larger ones with complex features will consume as much as a heater.
The quietest bathroom fans work the same way as any other fan; they suck the humid air out of your bathroom and exchange that with fresh dry air.
If a closed bathroom, the fan will now work as efficiently as it should as you will be suffocating it with humid air. As such, ensure there is a steady supply of dry air from outside the bathroom.
Among the five the bathroom exhaust fans reviewed above, there are no one-fan-fit-for-all-bathrooms.
Each fan is engineered to ventilate a specific size of the bathroom. Note that, even as you consider the power and noise levels of a fan, you will need to consider your ventilation needs and your budget.
Powerful units with an output of more than 250 CFM will cost you more than $300.
Simple units for small bathrooms will cost less than $50. While the units I reviewed up there cover a wide price range, they are all great for the money.
Jessica is a Acoustical Engineer, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. After graduating from her degree in Master of Engineering degree in Acoustics from Solent University in 2014, Jessica worked for a few companies before She will be blogging about her past and current experiences in the studio and sharing her journey as she pursues her career goals. She enjoy the balance of work inside and out of the office, solving practical problems on a daily basis as every project is different and requires a different solution, the variety of work (sound insulation testing, background noise survey, mechanical plant commissioning, external plant assessment, plant room breakout assessments) and the mix of independent and team work.