The job of an exhaust fan is simple: to remove hot, humid, or contaminated air from a space so that it can be replaced with cool, clean air from a window, door. or an open vent. They are versatile enough to be used in window frames to simply blow unwanted air outside, or ceiling or wall mounted, and expel their air through ducts or vents. Exhaust fans are commonly used in residential bathrooms, but you might be surprised to see other places where they come in handy, such as garages, home kitchens, or anywhere else where humidity can rise. ‘accumulate, like a laundry room.
What to consider
The main thing to consider when choosing an exhaust fan is where you are going to use it, which will help reduce both the type and size of the fan you will need. Plus, if you can find the square footage of the space, you’ll have a much easier time finding an efficient fan with the proper CFM (cubic feet per minute) output.
Installation is also something to consider. If you’re not comfortable working around electrical wiring, you’ll either need to choose an option that will plug directly into a wall outlet or hire an electrician to do the work for you.
How we selected
Since there are several types of exhaust fans, it can be difficult to find the right one for your specific situation. To help narrow down the number of potential options, we’ve done our best to include at least one of each type of common exhaust fan, and since most will be looking for a bathroom exhaust fan, we’ve gone be sure to include a fair amount. We’ve also factored in the budget, so whether you have $ 20 or $ 200 to spend, you should find an option that suits your specific situation.
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Easiest to use controls
ILIVING ILG8SF10V wall-mounted shutter exhaust fan
This fan’s control panel allows you to easily adjust speed and temperature settings, and easily plugs into an existing wall outlet. We’re very impressed with the variable speed controller, as opposed to typical fans which only offer two or three set speeds to choose from. The shutters close to form a full seal against the exterior when the unit is not in use, preventing insects or debris from entering the unit.
The soft bumper strips on each flap also help block out outside noise, contributing to the quiet operation of this fan.
- One year limited warranty
- Heavy-duty steel frame
Best low budget online option
VIVOSUN 6 Inch Inline Duct Exhaust Fan
If you don’t need a large amount of horsepower and just want a basic inline fan that won’t break the bank, this model might be just what you’re looking for. It is designed for use in 6 inch ducts, and although relatively intensive installation is required, its light weight and simple design make it a quick process. Its 5.5ft long power cord is nice and long, which can also be very useful during installation. It is also available in 4 and 8 inch sizes, so you should be able to find a size that fits your ducts.
- Low prices
- Quiet operation
Best multifunctional bathroom option
Delta GBR100H GreenBuilder exhaust fan
$ 115 (42% off)
Our favorite feature of this fan is its humidity sensor, which automatically activates the fan when a certain level of humidity is detected, making it a particularly simple option. Also, if you’d rather not use this sensor, you can also use the timer setting instead. We’re also big fans of its brushless motor, which will last much longer and run more efficiently than older brushed motors. Small, colorful LEDs placed inside the grille of this fan let you know when it’s running, a feature that can come in handy with a fan as quiet as this one.
- Energy Star certified
- Heavy duty steel construction
- Relatively low CFM output
Best budget window unit
12 inch iPower shutter exhaust fan
If you’re comfortable with basic wiring and don’t care as much about extra bells and whistles, this 12 inch window fan could be an affordable, hassle-free choice. It is designed to be easily mounted in an existing window or wall cutout, so if you already have one in place, this could be an even more practical option. The durability of this fan makes it perfect for areas that might be too rough for less rugged models, thanks to its rustproof shutters and corrosion resistant blades. Despite its low price, this fan still produces an impressive amount of airflow, capable of blowing 1,600 CFM.
- Not practical if you don’t wire it yourself
Best affordable bathroom option
Broan-NuTone HD80L Heavy Duty Fan
We love this fan’s subtle and understated design and, combined with its matte white finish, allows it to blend in with a variety of bathroom styles and decors. The oversized light is a nice plus as well, with a diffusing lens that casts a soft, bright light onto the room.
The unit itself is also designed for safe use above tubs and showers, provided it is connected to a GFCI protected circuit. Its 80 CFM output isn’t the most powerful compared to the other options on our list, but if you’re using it in a bathroom that’s under 75 square feet, it should perform just fine.
Ideal for quiet operation
Panasonic FV-0811VFL5E WhisperFit Fan
If you want to replace your noisy and outdated bathroom fan, this Panasonic model would be a great choice, thanks to its quiet operation and easy installation.
We are big fans of LED lights due to their low power consumption and long lifespan which is another great advantage of this fan and its bright white LED. The convenient Flex-Z Quick Bracket extends to fit your existing joists, minimizing the time spent mounting it to the ceiling. You will need to do some basic electrical wiring though, so keep that in mind.
- You can choose between an airflow of 80 or 110 CFM
- Very calm
Ideal for indoor gardening
VIVOHOME VH188 4 Inch Inline Duct Exhaust Fan
This in-line fan is designed for use in new or existing 4-inch ductwork, and its eight blades can blow air at up to 2300 RPM. A handy control switch lets you easily turn on the unit, as well as choose from low, medium, and high speeds, and at just 3.7 pounds, it’s one of the lightest options on our list. .
This light weight, combined with a plug and play design and universal mounting bracket, makes this option quite simple to install. While it can be used in a variety of applications, it would be a great choice for indoor gardening or grow rooms.
Ideal for powerful airflow
AC Infinity AIRLIFT T14 exhaust fan
Those looking to get maximum airflow from their exhaust fan should probably consider this wall mounted model. The 14-inch fan and powerful motor produce an impressive 2,418 cubic feet of air per minute, making it a great choice for large structures like greenhouses, garages or restaurants.
It is also rated IP-44, which means its components will be protected from water splashes and small debris, making it more durable than most of its competition. The included control panel makes it easy to adjust its settings, timers and speeds, and alerts you if something goes wrong.
- Ready-to-use design
- Efficient motor
- May be overkill for small areas
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