Best Exhaust Fans for Creating Healthy Indoor Environment

Review & Comparison, Last Update April 29, 2018
Too much humidity in your bathroom? Stale air in your kitchen? Tobacco smoke in your rec room? A top-quality exhaust fan can create a healthy environment almost anywhere. Keep on reading our review and choose one of the best exhaust fans for your need. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Installation
Airflow
Noise Level
Grille Size
Dimensions
Extras
Warranty
 
PROS

The fan has a reliable motor with low power consumption, which increases the efficiency and reduces your spendings on electricity bills. Thanks to the WhisperCeiling technology, the fan works very quietly.

CONS

The instructions are a bit tricky. 

OUR VERDICT

The Panasonic FV-11VQ5 is one of the best bathroom exhaust fans for continuous use. It's extremely quiet and efficient. It can keep your bathroom cool even if you take a hot shower. Models with different airflow levels are also available.

detailed parameters
Type

Ceiling mounted fan

Installation

Requires more space above the 2" x 6" ceiling joist for clearance

Airflow

110 CFM

Noise Level

0.3 sone

Grille Size

13" х 13"

Dimensions

10.83'' x 14.17'' x 16.73''

Extras

WhisperCeiling™, Integrated 4" or 6" duct adaptor, ENERGY STAR Certified, double hanger-bar system, UL listed for tub/shower enclosure, The motor is equipped with a thermal-cutoff fuse

Warranty

3 years

PROS

The Broan 509 through-wall kitchen exhaust fan has a simple "twist-lock" design. Its white polymeric grille and rugged steel housing can be painted in any color to match your home decor and outdoor style of your house.

CONS

It's rather noisy.

OUR VERDICT

The Broan 509 exhaust through-wall fan is designed for ventilation of workshops, bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. Also, it can be useful in rec rooms, since it can eliminate smoke. The fan is compatible with 8-inch round ducts.

detailed parameters
Type

Through-wall fan 

Installation

Wall thickness 4.5" - 9.5"

Airflow

180 CFM

Noise Level

6.5 sones

Grille Size

11.5" x 11.5"

Dimensions

14.25" x 14.25" x 3.25" 

Extras

Built-in damper, 8-3/8” diameter sleeve, Specially designed polymeric fan blade

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The Bionaire BW2300 window exhaust fan can boast numerous settings which are displayed on an LCD screen. It comes with a remote control which ensures the ultimate convenience of use. It's a thermostat controlled exhaust fan.

CONS

You can't mute the beep of the buttons.

OUR VERDICT

The Bionaire fan is incredibly easy to install. It can be mounted directly on the window. It has two fans that can turn in different directions and run either simultaneously or independently. Therefore, the unit can intake fresh cool air and exhaust hot stale air.

detailed parameters
Type

Twin window fan

Installation

Fits into most standard double-hung and slider type windows, 

Larger windows from 24 to 37 inches wide (with screen expands)

Airflow

N/A

Noise Level

N/A

Grille Size

Two 8.5" fans 

Dimensions

25.5" x 14.1" x 6"

Extras

LED display, Water-resistant motors, Three speed settings, Programmable digital thermostat, Reversible airflow control, Remote control, Built-in adjustable extender

Warranty

5 years limited

PROS

This bathroom vent fan has an innovative DC brushless motor that uses 74% less power compared to popular AC motor exhaust fans. Plus, it can outlast them by as much as 70%. With 0.6 sones, the motor is extremely quiet.

CONS

The slightly cream cover might show against a bright white ceiling. 

OUR VERDICT

The Delta SLM80 fan for a bathroom or other utility rooms can be installed in two ways, on the ceiling or on the wall. This vent fan is very powerful, durable, and quiet. If you want, you can get a model with a humidity sensor. 50 CFM, 70 CFM, and 100 CFM options are also available.

detailed parameters
Type

Ceiling or sidewall fan

Installation

Fits in a 4" wall

Airflow

80 CFM

Noise Level

0.6 sone

Grille Size

14" x 14"

Dimensions

11.25" x 10.5" x 4"

Extras

4" oval duct, ENERGY STAR certified,  LED indicator 

Warranty

3 years

PROS

The Holmes HAWF2043 Dual Blade fan has a built-in screen that extends to fit most double-hung and slider windows (24" to 27"). If you have 28"-37" window, you can use one or two extension panels that come in the set.

CONS

It has a single button for turning the fan on/off and choosing settings.

OUR VERDICT

The Holmes HAWF2043 is a simple yet powerful twin fan that can draw in or exhaust out the air. Its housing is made of high-quality and durable plastic that is resistant to UV rays. Due to its small size and light weight, the installation is completely hassle-free.

detailed parameters
Type

Twin window fan 

Installation

Slider windows; For double-hung windows with minimum openings of 25 inches wide and 12 inches high.

Airflow

High: 410 +/- 20 CFM
Low: 320 +/- 20 CFM

Noise Level

Not specified

Grille Size

Two 8.5" fans

Dimensions

13.5" x 25.9" x 5.7"

Extras

LED indicators, 2 speeds, Adjustable thermostat, Reversible arflow, Built-in adjustable extender

Warranty

3 years

Panasonic FV-11VQ5

Super Quiet, Super Powerful

The Panasonic company has been delighted customers with innovative home products for more than 50 years now. Their award-winning products really make American houses more comfortable and "healthier", and the Panasonic FV-11VQ5 bathroom exhaust fan is no exception. It's a real workhorse that can give you trouble-free ventilation for many years without increasing your energy bills. By circulating 110 cubic feet of air per minute, this exhaust fan is an excellent pick for residential applications. Compared to most other bath fans, this Panasonic exhaust fan uses much less energy to move much larger volumes of air. The item is extremely durable, so it can give your bathroom continuous freshness for long years to come. It boasts a galvanized steel body with a built-in damper preventing backdrafts. It's made of top-quality components that are resistant to heat and rust. By the way, the powerful plug-in motor is lubricated, which also adds to the longer service life of the whole device. And since the fan uses less energy than most other models, it is less likely to overheat and end up with the motor or bearing failure. The condenser AC motor is totally enclosed and equipped with a thermal cut-off fuse. However, the best part about this vent fan is that it uses a double-tapered blower wheel that moves air super quietly. The Panasonic FV-11VQ5 fan works so silently that you might not even know it is on.

Review of Panasonic FV-11VQ5 Ceiling Mounted Fan

Flexible Installation

This Panasonic bathroom exhaust fan will work really whisper quiet if you install it correctly. The instructions inform that it's suitable for installation in an existing ceiling, or from below the ceiling (no need to enter the attic). The fan features an integrated dual 4" or 6" duct adapter, giving you more flexibility in duct layout. Also, it has a double hanger-bar extension system that can be expanded up to 24". Therefore, you can install this exhaust fan right where you want. Like most Panasonic fans, this one is UL listed for tub/shower enclosure.

The Panasonic FV-11VQ5 is heavy-duty and nicely made. This ventilating unit is manufactured from high-quality materials and is finished with rust-proof paint. The fan is ENERGY STAR certified and meets all requirements set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So, it's an extremely safe, high-performance yet quiet fan that is very easy to install. The model is also available in 50 CFM, 80 CFM, and 150 CFM as well to suit any ventilation need.

Panasonic FV-11VQ5 Ceiling Mounted Fan in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Broan 509

Customize It!

BROAN is the leading company in home ventilation in North America. It offers the huge choice of kitchen ventilation products that effectively reduce humidity, odd odors, dust, pet dander, and chemicals. And the Broan 509 Through-Wall Fan is one of them. Moving air at 180 cubic feet per minute, it's very powerful and does a superb job at removing stale air from kitchens or other utility rooms. However, with this high CFM rating, it's a bit loud - it produces a 6.5-sone level of sound. The fan is equipped with a permanently-lubricated and thermally-protected plug-in motor. The motor can run continuously, and even if the rotor locks up, the motor won't overheat. The fan has a built-in damper that minimizes backdrafts.

This vent unit is fairly easy to assemble and install. It requires wiring installation to a wall switch. And you'll need to cut an 8" round duct through the wall to the outside. The unit fits walls from 4" 1/2' to 9" 1/2'-thick. The exact dimensions of the fan are:

  • the grille of this unit is 11-1/2" square;
  • the sleeve running through the wall is 8-3/8" in diameter;
  • the outside housing flange is 14-1/4" square.
  • The fan comes with very detailed step-by-step instructions, so the assembly won't be a tricky job and it won't take you a long time.

    This wall mounted exhaust fan has a classic white polymeric grille which can be painted to whatever color you need to match your home decor. And the rugged steel housing of the fan is finished with an electrically-bonded epoxy paint that can also be painted to fit your outdoor style.

    Review of Broan 509 Through-Wall Fan

    Versatile Mini Fan

    The BROAN 509 Through Wall Ventilation Fan is suitable for lots of applications. It can remove hazardous contaminants and provide a comfortable living environment almost anywhere. It's extremely powerful and can eliminate cooking fumes from kitchens, remove tobacco smoke from rec rooms, fumes from workshops, eliminate Carbone dioxide produced by a fireplace, and reduce humidity in laundry rooms. And no excess moisture means no mold and mildew. Plus, it also effectively removes allergens, dust, pet dander, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from the air indoors. The only thing we would like to note is that this Broan exhaust fan is not designed for a bathroom specifically, however, the can be safely used for its ventilation. Powerful and versatile. Sums it up!

    Broan 509 Through-Wall Fan in the use

    Additional Info

    User Manual     Manufacturer


     

    Bionaire BW2300

    Smart Design

    The Bionaire BW2300 window exhaust fan is an excellent choice if you can't tolerate hot weather and would like to have cool fresh air circulating around your house all year long. The unit has two fans that can move an incredibly large volume of air for their size. Yet, they run without any vibration and are almost whisper-quiet at the lowest speed. By the way, the unit features three different speeds (high, medium, and low) for more controlled airflow. It uses 43 watts on low, 49 watts on medium, and 64 watts on high speed. On the highest setting, the fans run incredibly fast but they are a bit on the loud side.

    The 8.5-inch fans are very smartly designed and can work both simultaneously or independently. They can operate in an exchange mode where one fan pushes in fresh cool air from the outside and the other exhausts hot stale air from inside. In other words, two fans can be set independently for a full room air circulation. This reversible fan feature is fabulous, as it gives you an opportunity to draw in cooler air into the kitchen, for example, and exhaust out stuffy air while cooking. This way, it can cool any room you need, however, remember that the outside temperature rules everything. It should be at least ten degrees cooler than the inside temperature.

    This twin fan can be mounted on double-hung, vertical-slider, and casement windows. It comes fully assembled and with two solid, and one expandable side extenders to fit non-standard windows as well (from 24 to 37 inches wide). The extender panels offer rigid support for either horizontal or vertical orientation. If needed, you can buy additionally Bionaire 3-inch spacers that can be stacked together to give this fan extra height or width. The Bionaire BW2300 is an excellent 2-in-1 unit that can not only exhaust air from your room but also cool it down a bit. An excellent alternative to AC units.

    Review of Bionaire BW2300 Reversible Airflow Window Fan

    So Easy to Control

    Made with a user's convenience in mind, this multi-fan comes with a handy remote control that allows you to change speeds, airflow direction, temperature, and toggle between automatic and manual modes. It requires 2 AAA batteries and can work from up to 15 feet away.

    The Bionaire fan has a programmable digital LED thermostat that is extremely easy to use. You can set the desired temperature level (from 60 to 80 degrees F) and the fan will automatically turn off when it reaches the target temperature. If you don't need to use the thermostat function, you can simply turn the fan on and it'll run all night. The unit features an LCD screen showing the selected temperature and the ambient room temperature. Also, there is a button allowing you to change the brightness of the temperature readout.

    Bionaire BW2300 Reversible Airflow Window Fan in the use

    Additional Info

    User Manual     Manufacturer


     

    Delta SLM80

    Quiet as a Breeze

    The Delta BreezSlim SLM80 is virtually silent. Unlike other 80 CFM bath fans that run at 0.8~2.5 sones, this one produces just 0.6 sones. In other words, when it's working, you barely can hear it. However, the fan is not only quiet. It's very strong and good looking. With an air flow of 80 CFM, it's suitable both for ceiling and sidewall mounting (it fits any 4" wall). The installation is fairly straightforward. The package includes a 4” metal oval duct with a 3” adapter. The black plastic adapter is oval on one side and round on the other. If you want to make sure that exhaust isn't leaking out or prolong the adapter service life, you can further wrap it in tape after installation. The fan has an enlarged grille that will help relieve cutting errors if needed.

    This Delta exhaust fan is ENERGY STAR qualified and HVI certified. With an efficiency rating of 9.4 CFM per Watt, it consumes just 8.5 Watts. This low energy consumption reduces not only electricity bills but also emissions, thus, protecting the environment. The fan is excellent for single home retrofits and large multifamily projects. It will effectively improve the quality of the air and remove excess moisture from your living environment. And less humidity means less risk of health problems.

    The fan is made of galvanized steel that is resistant to corrosion. Underneath the grille, you'll see an LED indicator light. When the fan is running, the LED indicator flashes green. Overall, if you need a very quiet and energy-efficient fan for its rated flow, the Delta Breez SLM80 is a reasonable purchase.

    Review of Delta SLM80 Exhaust Fan

    Innovative Motor

    This BreezSlim small exhaust fan boasts an innovative DC brushless motor that is extremely powerful, durable, and efficient. It's designed for low noise, low power consumption, and long life. Compared to the majority of popular AC motor exhaust fans, the Delta Breez SLM80 motor uses 74% less power and can last 70% longer. As we have already mentioned. the motor is ENERGY STAR qualified and features start and lock protection functions. The fan can run continuously for up to enormous 70,000 hours. The motor starts up and begins spinning slowly and reaches the full speed in 5 seconds after switching on. This is a smart solution, since you won't experience a sudden burst of noise that might awaken you or your family members at night.

    Delta SLM80 Exhaust Fan in the use

    Additional Info

    User Manual     Manufacturer


     

    Holmes HAWF2043

    Two in One

    For less than $40, you can get an extremely effective double window exhaust fan. It features two 8.5-inch fans with six blades each. The fans can run both simultaneously or independently. This way, you can set one fan on intake and the other one on exhaust during hot nights. The fans will circulate the cool night air through your bedroom, keeping a perfect temperature. Or you can install the fan in the kitchen window to draw in fresh air or exhaust out stale air when cooking.

    The fan can operate either manually or automatically. It has a thermostat that can maintain a selected temperature in your room. You can preset 60, 65, 70, 75, or 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the unit will automatically turn itself off once the sensor detects the selected temperature. Also, you can select low or high mode. The fans run relatively quiet at both speeds. The unit uses about 46 watts on low and 63 watts on high modes. It has a one-touch electronic control for switching between temperature settings and switching device on/off. You'll need to push through every mode to get to "off", which is not very convenient. However, for the price, it's a minor sacrifice. Overall, if you need an affordable twin fan to exchange air with outside, this one will fit the bill perfectly.

    Review of Holmes HAWF2043 Dual Blade Window fan with One Touch Thermostat

    Pretty Easy to Install

    This twin fan is lightweight and will fit your window frame nicely. It's suitable for double-hung, slider, and casement windows with minimum openings of 25 inches wide and 12 inches high. The fan is extremely easy to install.

    For double hung and slider windows, you just need to set the unit into your window opening. In case it doesn't fit snugly to the top or the bottom of the window, attach the extender panel (or panels) and pull out the built-in extender screen. If needed, you can buy additional extenders for this very model of fan. Then, close your window. The bottom edge of the window should rest on the flat area on the top of the fan. The power cord runs from the lower left corner, so it won't interfere with the bottom of the window frame.

    If you have a casement window, you'll need a special mounting bracket. However, you can order it for free. Just specify the type of your window when making an order. For greater safety, the manufacturer recommends you to leave your window screen in place.

    Holmes HAWF2043 Dual Blade Window fan with One Touch Thermostat in the use

    Additional Info

    User Manual     Manufacturer


     

    What Is an Exhaust Fan?

    Too much steam and humidity can lead to mildew, mold, foul odors, poor air quality, and of course damage to paint, drywall, and framing. So, if you love taking long relaxing soaks in your bathtub or often steam food in your kitchen, an exhaust fan is an absolute must. The basic function of this fan is very simple: exhaust stale or foul air and draw in clean and fresh air. Typically, exhaust fans for bathrooms come in such designs: wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, or inline/remote. Also, you can find window-mounted fans that can be installed in kitchens, bedrooms, laundry rooms, etc. They can even consist of two fans that can work independently to take stale, hot air out and fresh, cool air in. The choice is really vast. To help you find the proper one for your needs, we have rounded up the best models with different performance and installation options. Using a fan will help you maintain a healthy living environment and keep you and your family members comfortable.

    If you need to purify your indoor air as well, you might be interested in an air purifier. And a good air conditioner can quickly cool your room during hot summers.

    What Features to Compare

    Type

    Exhaust fans come in various designs and suit different purposes. You can find models that should be mounted on a roof, in a wall, in a duct, or in a window frame. It's necessary to pick a fan that will fit your particular needs (location, ductwork configuration, etc). Speaking of bathroom vent fans, we would like to mention that there are three main types of them:

    • ceiling-mounted fans (pull air to the outside via the ducts or through the attic);
    • wall-mounted fans (vent the air directly to the outside);
    • inline/remote fans can be installed in the ceiling or in the wall (pull the air to the outside remotely).

    When looking for a bathroom fan, consider where you want to install it first. And then, choose a model with the appropriate duct adapter that will suit your home's ductwork. In case you want to install a fan in your kitchen or bedroom, you might be interested in through-window models. They are usually more versatile than bathroom fans, as they can replace humid inside air with fresh, cool outside air. This type of fans usually comes with extenders to fit any window.

    Performance

    The amount of airflow is another key point to consider. It's measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). And the bigger your room is, the higher CFM rating an exhaust fan should have. For example, to determine the actual number of CFM’s needed for a bathroom, measure its area first. According to the Home Ventilating Institute, you should have one CFM per square foot. So, if your bathroom is 10 x 10 sq.ft., a vent fan with 100 CFMs is your choice. However, if the ceiling in your bathroom is more than 8 ft, you should opt for a fan with higher CFM rating. You can calculate the needed number of CFM for your very bathroom here. Also, we recommend you to choose EnergyStar-rated models. These fans can be 70% more efficient than their rivals, which will reduce your electricity bills significantly. Noise level is another point to take into account. Fan noise is rated in sones - the lower the noise rating, the better. Fans with less than 1 sone rating will run almost silently. Models with 2-3 sones are reasonably-quiet, while 3+ sones fans will produce a bit intrusive noise.

    Features

    Today, fans come jam-packed with some extra features that make them more convenient and efficient in use. Some fans are fitted with LED lights that can provide soft illumination or even replace existing fixtures on the ceiling. Fans with built-in heaters ensure extra warmth (and comfort) during cold seasons. Models with integrated humidity and motion sensors are much more energy-efficient. They can automatically switch on when the humidity level is too high and switch off once the humidity level drops back to optimal. A motion sensor detects when somebody enters the bathroom and switch on the device. Some high-end fans feature multi-speed settings and allow you to choose the intensity of the airflow depending on your needs. Also, you can find fans with thermostats enabling you to preset specific temperature. And if you want ultimate comfort, you can even choose exhaust fans with remote controls.

    Did you know?

    Why is the good ventilation so important?

    Did you know that on average we spend about 80-90% of our time indoors? And without a proper ventilation, the air in our homes might be five times dirtier than outside air.

    What does exhaust fan really do?

    An exhaust fan reduces chemical pollutants from personal care items, different cleaners, air fresheners, and more. Even your carpet or wallpaper can emit hazardous pollutants into the air. If the concentration of the chemical contaminants becomes too high, you might even experience nausea, headaches as well as eye or nasal irritation.

    Candles can be harmful to our health

    We don't know for sure what makes us sleepy - the glowing candles or the carbon dioxide they produce. So does a fireplace, chimney, gas dryer, furnace, and any other combustible item. A vent fan can exhaust carbon dioxide from your indoor air.

    Clean air is good not only for our bodies but also for our minds

    Unfortunately, indoor air pollution is one of the top 5 health issues today. Numerous studies show that dirty air can lead to cardiovascular diseases, allergies, asthma, and even premature death. The finest particles that are produced indoors might pass through our nose, lungs and reach our bloodstream and, consequently, every part of our body. That's why it's so important to have a good ventilation. Fresh air can help prevent these health issues, improve your digestion, straighten your immune system, and even make you happier. The thing is that the clean air is enriched with oxygen that can increase the amount of serotonin in your body. Serotonin can lift up your spirits and promote a sense of happiness. Also, more oxygen improves your concentration, boosts your energy level, and, actually, helps you think more clearly.

    Dangerous humidity!

    An exhaust fan can also help reduce indoor humidity. Excess moisture can be a big problem for most homeowners since it can lead to the appearance of mold and mildew which are another major reasons for indoor air pollution. Mold and mildew are especially dangerous for those with immune problems and allergy reactions. They can cause rhinitis, runny nose, and many other health issues. A proper ventilation is the most effective way to reduce the growth of these nasties and improve the overall quality of inside air.

    When was the first fan invented?

    Unbelievable, but Ding Huan (the Han Dynasty craftsman and engineer) invented the first manually-operated rotary fan in 180 AD. It was 10 ft. in diameter and had seven wheels. The first rotary fan appeared in Europe in the 16th century. It was used for mine ventilation. The similar machine was installed in British Parliament in 1727. And only in the early 1900s, people began to use fans for cooling and ventilating their homes. The air conditioning system was created by Carrier in 1907, however, it was not widespread until the 1950s.

    Sources:

    1. Charlotte Johnson How to Calculate the CFM of a Room, Hunker.

    2. How to Calculate CFM for Bathroom Fan, wikiHow.

    3. Danny Lipford Bathroom Vent Fan CFM Calculator, Today's Homeowner.

    4. Bathroom Exhaust Fans - A Consumer Guide, Home Ventilating Institute.org

    5. Lee Wallender How to Install a Bathroom Exhaust Fan, the Spruce.

    6. Whole-house fan, Wikipedia.

    7. Abigail Wise Why Getting Fresh Air Is So Good For You, HuffPost.

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    Publish Date: 2018-03-12 08:43:31