Long, steamy showers may be restorative after a stressful day, but they have the opposite effect on bathrooms—there’s the potential for structural and surface-level damage, especially if the space 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 your bathroom from water damage while helping eliminate mirror fog and odors.
There’s a wide variety of options at different price points, from bare-bones models to high-end fans that come with built-in lighting, heaters, and motion sensors. To understand the ins and outs, continue ahead for a guide to navigating the options—and don’t miss the top picks below!
and motion sensors. To understand the ins and outs, continue ahead for guide to navigating the options—and don’t miss our top picks, below!
- BEST OVERALL: Panasonic FV-0511VQ1 WhisperCeiling DC Fan
- BEST BUDGET: Broan-Nutone 670 Ventilation Fan
- UPGRADE PICK: Broan-NuTone 9093WH Exhaust Fan, Heater, and Light
- BEST DECORATIVE: Hunter 81021 Ventilation Victorian Bathroom Fan
- BEST WITH HEATER: Delta BreezRadiance 80 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan
- BEST WITH LIGHT: Panasonic WhisperValue DC Ventilation Fan with Light
- BEST WITH HUMIDITY SENSOR: Delta BreezGreenBuilder 80 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan
- BEST FOR SMALL BATHROOMS: Tech Drive Very-Quiet Bathroom Ventilation Fan
- BEST FOR LARGE BATHROOMS: KAZE APPLIANCE Ultra Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fan
- MOST QUIET: KAZE APPLIANCE Sone Ultra Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fan
Types of Bathroom Fans
Before looking for the best bathroom fan for your space, it is important to decide which fan type you’d prefer. Bathroom fans come in two main types: ceiling fans and in-line fans. Each type offers pros and cons to consider.
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 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