One of the primary reasons for having a bathroom fan is moisture control. When you take a hot shower or run hot water in the sink, steam is generated. This moisture can linger in the bathroom without proper ventilation, leading to mold and mildew growth. These not only affect the aesthetics of your bathroom but also pose health risks.
However, choosing a bathroom fan is always a daunting task. You want a powerful fan that will keep your space well-ventilated but not a noisy one that no one will ever want to use. But the paradox is, will the fan do its job effectively when you bring the noise levels down?
Bathroom Exhaust Fan Decibel Measurements?
Bathroom fans noise levels are measured in sones rather than decibels. Sones is a sound measurement similar to decibels but with one unique difference.
Sones are linear, while decibels are logarithmic. This means that 1.0 sone is half as loud as 2.0 sones and 3.0 sones are half as loud as 6.0 sones. Additionally, sones are measured in half increments (1,.5, 2.0, 2.5, etc.), but in some other cases, especially when products get quieter, the sones are listed in 10th increments (0.7, 0.8, 0.9, etc.)
The next important thing to understand is what each level means. Standard bathroom fans range sound levels between <0.3 sones to 6.0 sones. Below is a simple chart detailing sound levels you can expect for your bath fan.
|<0.3 sones||It’s considered the lowest possible sound rating for a ventilation fan. At this level (0.3 sones), you can’t even know whether the fan is running.|
|0.3 – 0.9 sones||At this sone level, the fan is high-performing, and it’s also hard to hear a noise at this level unless you’re keenly listening to them.|
|1.0 sone||This can be compared to the sound of a refrigerator running|
|2.0 sones||It can be compared to the noise levels of an office workplace|
|3.0 sones||At 3.0 sones, this can be compared to the noise people make on a one-on-one conversation|
|4.0 sones||Similar to the sound of a television noise at home|
|5.0 sones||Bathroom fans rated 5.0 sones are as loud as a busy restaurant at dinner time|
|6.0 sones||Bath fans at these levels will definitely hurt your ear. They are as loud as noise generated by a sporting even in a stadium or arena.|
How Many CFM for Bathroom Fan?
Cubic Feet Per Minute, commonly known as CFM, is the amount of air sucked out per second.
Determining the CFM of your bathroom fan is an important factor to consider, just like when choosing a quiet bath fan.
Determining the right CFM is very simple and can be achieved by following the simple steps I highlighted below.
- First, measure the size of your bathroom. You will need to get the length, width, and height.
- Secondly, calculate the total volume of the bathroom. Simply multiply the measurements obtained above. LXWXH= Volume. For example, my bathroom measurements are 10ft in length, 8ft in width, and 9.5ft in height. The total volume is 10×8.9.5=760cubic ft
- Lastly, divide the volume by 7.5- below is an example
My standard bathroom CFM is as follows (10x8x9.5) = 760
Then divide 760 by 7.5 =101.33CFM
The basic formula is Cubic Volume/7.5= CFM requirements for your bathroom.
The most standard bathroom will use exhaust fans with a CFM rating of 50cfm-110cfm, with commercial baths requiring units with higher CFM. Getting a unit with higher CFM will only result in higher energy bills and more noise.
Low CFM means that the vent fan will spin faster (overwork), resulting in premature wear and increased electricity bills.
Another simple way to estimate the minimum CFM required is to calculate the floor area in square feet. Each square foot is then allocated 1 cfm- in this case, a bathroom measuring 10×8 would have an area of 80sqft with a minimum requirement of 80CFM.
What Is the Quietest Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Light?
- Impressive Airflow: This unit boasts a substantial airflow capacity, reaching up to 100 cubic feet per minute (CFM).
- Minimal Noise: It operates quietly, with a low loudness rating of just 0.8 sones, ensuring a peaceful bathroom environment.
- Easy Ceiling Installation: Designed for easy installation, this fan utilizes a ceiling mount configuration in your bathroom.
- Extended Warranty: Your purchase is backed by a generous 3-year warranty period, providing you with long-term confidence in its performance.
The KAZE APPLIANCE Ultra Quiet Bathroom Ventilation Exhaust Fan is the quietest bathroom exhaust fan with light.
This bath fan made it the first on my list because of its low noise operation. It’s rated 0.3 sones, approximately 22 decibels, or compared to the sound a person makes when whispering. It’s ideal for most standard bathrooms measuring up to 120 square feet/ 11 square meters.
The vent fan measures 11 3/8″ x 10 1/2″; therefore, you may need to resize your existing ceiling vent opening if the existing one is smaller. Additionally, this fan is fitted with an 11-watt LED light panel with a color temperature of 3000k.
Pros and Cons:
- Whisper-Quiet Operation: This bathroom exhaust fan stands out for its exceptionally silent and quiet performance, ensuring a peaceful environment in your bathroom.
- Impressive Ventilation: It boasts impressive ventilation capabilities, ensuring efficient air circulation and maintaining a fresh bathroom atmosphere.
- Durable Construction: Built to last, this fan features a robust construction that ensures long-lasting performance.
- Generous Warranty: The product comes with an extended warranty period, providing peace of mind and assurance of its quality.
- Bulkier Dimensions: It’s worth noting that this fan is on the larger side in terms of its physical dimensions and form factor, which may require more installation space.
Broan- AE80LK Exhaust Fan
- Fits 2 in. x 6 in. ceiling
- 4 in. duct connector
- ENERGY STAR certified
- Measures-1/4″ x 10″ x 5-3/4″
High-Quality Ventilation: This top-notch exhaust fan operates quietly and holds ENERGY STAR certification, offering a reliable performance with an airflow capacity of 80 cubic feet per minute (CFM) and a noise level as low as 0.7 Sones. It’s suitable for effectively managing air quality in rooms, including bathrooms, up to 75 square feet in size.
Efficiency at Its Best: With a powerful ventilation capability of 80 CFM, this fan ensures that your indoor environment remains comfortable and well-ventilated, especially in full bathrooms.
Easy Installation: Installing or replacing this product is a breeze. Its retrofit installations can be completed entirely from the room-side, eliminating the need for attic access. Plus, it’s designed to fit perfectly into 2″x6″ ceiling constructions.
Reliable Performance: Featuring TrueSeal Damper Technology, these fans are known for reducing air leakage by up to 50% compared to competing models. This not only results in better home performance during blower door tests but also minimizes cold and warm air backdrafts, ensuring a more efficient and consistent indoor environment.
Three-Year Limited Warranty: For your peace of mind, this product comes with a three-year limited warranty, offering you confidence in its long-term performance and reliability.
Pros and Cons:
- Quiet and reliable performance
- Simple installation
- Comes with a 3 year old limited warranty
- The downside is that some users have complained about the plastic design, which feels a bit delicate, and sometimes the installation is not straightforward.
OREiN Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Light
Bathroom Fan with Illumination: The OREiN exhaust fan combines efficient performance with illumination, operating at a speed of 100 cubic feet per minute (CFM) and a noise level of 1.5 sones for quiet and effective ventilation. Its bright 1000lm 5000K LED light provides ample illumination for your entire bathroom, ensuring high-quality and long-lasting use over the years.
Exceptional Functionality: OREiN’s bathroom exhaust fan not only enhances your comfort at home but also eliminates excess moisture and humidity in the bathroom. It incorporates high-quality components, ensuring a long lifespan while maintaining whisper-quiet operation. The fan employs a slow start and stop mechanism to protect the DC motor, ensuring durability.
Simple Installation: Installing the OREiN ventilation fan is hassle-free, thanks to the included fast bracket. The ceiling opening size required is 8.11″ x 7.48″, and the housing dimensions are 7.68″ x 7.55″ x 6.42″. In case the original hole is too large, you can easily patch the ceiling. The fan can be mounted between ceiling joists using the fast bracket or directly attached with nails or screws to the joist. It holds certifications from HVI, FCC, ETL, and is Energy Star Certified, guaranteeing reliability even in shower areas.
Modern Aesthetic: Designed with a simple and modern style, this fan complements residential construction beautifully. Enjoy a bathroom free of steam and fogged mirrors after hot showers, reducing the need for frequent ceiling wiping.
AmazonBasics AB-BV100 Air Ventilation Fan
- 1.0 sones
- For up to 100 square feet bathrooms
- Delivers up to 110 CFM
- Durable construction
Whisper-Quiet Operation: Enjoy ultra-quiet operation with a noise level of just 1.0 sone, equivalent to the gentle hum of a soft refrigerator.
Effective Humidity and Odor Control: Say goodbye to humidity, foggy mirrors, and unpleasant odors as this fan effectively dissipates them, creating a more comfortable bathroom environment.
Energy-Efficient Design: Designed with energy efficiency in mind, this fan proudly bears the Energy Star certification. It delivers high-volume airflow at 110 cubic feet per minute (CFM), ensuring optimal ventilation.
Durable Construction: Built to last, this fan features a galvanized plate housing, a pure copper motor, a polypropylene plastic wind wheel, and an ABS plastic grill, ensuring longevity and reliable performance.
Complete Package: The package includes all the necessary hardware, components, and clear instructions for easy installation. The ceiling hole size required is 10.8 x 10.5 inches, making setup hassle-free and convenient.
Homewerks 7141-110 Bathroom Fan
- 2 sones equivalent to 40 decibels
- Available in 50,80 and 110 CFM series
- Bright built-in LED bulb
Though not as quiet as the other models I have highlighted above, the Homewerks 7141-110 boasts additional features that you would want in a bathroom exhaust fan.
Firstly, it boasts a white grill that matches the aesthetic décor of most bathrooms. It comes with an energy-efficient LED bulb that will light up your bathroom and save you energy costs. The LED bulb is also great for eliminating fumes and humidity from your bathroom.
The unit produces 2 sones which is equivalent to the noise in a work office. Other versions of this bath fan produce 0.7, 1.1, and 1.5 sones, depending on the CFM.
The installation process is relatively straightforward; the no-cut design ensures no modification when replacing your old fan.
The three series, 50CFM, 80CFM, and 110CFM, are designed to provide air movements to rooms with respective floor surface area as the CFM ratings. You get a 3-year limited warranty upon purchase.
From the reviews I read online, one user complained about how there’s little room for the wiring in the electrical cavity. This makes the installation process quite a challenge.
Broan-NuTone QTXEN080FLT Ventilation Fan
- Rated Sones: 0.3
- 6 inches duct size
- Ideal for 75sqft rooms
- 6 pounds weight
This is the second bath fan from the Broan brand. It operates at 80 CFM producing only up to 0.3 sones which is barely audible even in the dead of night. The vent and light combo help get rid of cooking odors, tobacco smoke in an ultra-quiet operation for bathrooms up to 75 square feet to keep your bathroom smelling fresh and clean.
The housing dimensions for this unit are 10.5 x11 3/8, x 7 5/8 inches, the grille measures 13×14 inches, and it comes with a 6inches duct size.
The good: This is a quiet fan that most users have voted for. Broan is popularly known for manufacturing high-quality and quiet bathroom fans, and true to its name, the fan doesn’t disappoint.
The downside: one of the users on Amazon claimed that their unit had a broken bulb socket which they attribute to the use of cheap tabs.
Pros and Cons:
- Top-Performing Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fan: This product stands out as one of the best performers in the category of quiet bathroom exhaust fans.
- Remarkably Silent Operation: Despite its impressive performance, it maintains a relatively quiet operation, ensuring a peaceful atmosphere in your bathroom.
- Sleek and Modern Design: With its sleek and modern design, it offers an aesthetically pleasing addition to your bathroom, featuring an almost flush installation for a clean look.
- Not the Most Budget-Friendly Option: It’s worth noting that this quiet bathroom exhaust fan may not be the most budget-friendly choice available in the market.
Quiet Bathroom Fans Without Light
While lighting is an important factor to consider when choosing a bathroom fan, some people prefer bathroom fans without light. Below is my detailed guide on some of the quietest bathroom fans without light.
BV Ultra-Quiet 90 CFM
- Duct Diameter – 3-3/4″
- Housing Dimension: 9″ x 9″ x 7.6″
- Weight – 9.2 lbs
Exceptionally Quiet Operation: Experience super-quiet performance with the Silent-Clever Technology, boasting a noise level of just 0.8 sone, ensuring a peaceful environment in your bathroom.
Sturdy Construction: This ventilation fan features a stainless steel 4-inch duct collar and has a mounting opening size of 9.25″ x 9.0″. Its height is 7.5 inches, providing a durable and reliable build.
Effective Odor Elimination: The fan excels at eliminating various odors, including tobacco smoke and cooking odors, making it ideal for bathrooms up to 90 square feet in size.
Certifications and Warranty: It holds HVI 2100 certification and is UL Approved, assuring you of its quality and performance. Additionally, it comes with a one-year limited product warranty, along with technical support service for your peace of mind.
Note on Housing Size: Please be aware that the housing size for this fan is 9.25″ x 9.0″. If your existing fan housing is smaller, resizing your ceiling opening will be necessary for installation.
Pros and Cons:
- The unit is quiet and effectively eliminates odors and lowers humidity in a bathroom. Additionally, the package includes the wire nuts, something you won’t find in most competing brands.
- I’ve personally had bad experiences with the manual. It had blurry images, and that would be confusing, especially for DIY newbies.
Panasonic FV-0810VSS1 WhisperValue DC Ventilation Fan
- Pick-A-Flow airflow selector
- ECM motor with SMartFlow technology
- Rated 0.8 sones
- 50, 80, or 110 CFM
Panasonic is a brand that’s been around for several decades right now, and thanks to their innovative technology, we have the Panasonic FV-0810VSS1 DC Ventilation Fan. It’s one of its kind as it allows you to choose between three CFM’s depending on your bathroom size or depending on exhausting and ventilating needs.
It’s equipped with an ECM motor that uses SMartFlow technology for maximum CFM output without exceeding the rated 0.8 sones.
The downside is that the fan doesn’t have a fast bracket, which is useful for retrofit installation. If you’re planning on getting this unit, I would highly recommend you purchase a fast bracket separately.
Tech Drive Bathroom Ventilation and Exhaust Fan
- Housing size: 7.5in x 7.25in x 6in
- 4inches duct
- Opening: 7.6in x 7.3in.
The Tech Drive is a quiet bathroom vent/exhaust fan. It’s also the loudest bath fan in my guide through its quiet compared to other standard bathroom fans on the market today.
The unit provides strong air movement, approximately 80CFM, and is ideal for bathroom sizes up to 85 square feet.
What I love the most with this fan is the simple yet easy installation. You won’t need attic access when installing as it replaces most small bathroom regular fans just through the existing opening.
However, it’s important to note that the housing for this fan is 6 inches. Therefore, if you’re going to replace an old fan with a 4” housing height, it’s important to ensure that the ceiling is deep enough before replacement.
The quietness for this unit is contributed by the efficient motor performance that guarantees up to 25000 hours of operation. You won’t have to worry about performance as this fan is Energy Star HVI and UL certified.
Zeyzer Exhaust Fan with Timer
- Features a timers
- 0/ less than 34 decibels
- Oil containing motor for durability
The Zeyzer exhaust fan is my guide’s first bathroom exhaust fan with a timer. Simply set the timer either 1 minute-30 minutes, depending on your requirements. You should consider this fan because of the easy installation, simple operation, and cost-effective maintenance.
Like all other bathroom fans I’ve included in my guide, the Zeyzer exhaust fan is quiet. Thanks to the oil-containing motor that delivers quiet spins, generating less than 34 decibels/ 1.0 sones.
The fan also features backflow protection that helps prevent foreign particles from entering the duct pipe. This makes it ideal for bathrooms and other rooms in your house, including offices, basements, tool rooms, and living rooms.
Another feature that makes this fan unique is that it can be installed on the ceiling and walls and requires 3.9-4.3 Inches opening size.
Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Heater and Light
If you’re looking for a quiet bathroom exhaust fan with a heater and light, then the options given below are my most recommended picks.
Broan- QTX110HL Heater Fan for Bathroom
- Includes 1500 Watts heater
- Nearly silent operation at 0.9 sones
- Delivers up to 110CFM
- Easy installation
- Requires a special 20-amp circuit
The Broan- QTX110HL is a powerful yet quiet bath fan with a heater and light recommended for use in the bathroom, kitchen, office, and home. The unit comes with a 60-watt bright light and a 1500 -watt heater that work together or independently to provide comfort in your bathroom.
The white polymeric grille beautifully blends into the ceiling, matching the room’s aesthetics.
Like most Broan bathroom fans, this unit gives a near-silent operation generating 0.9 sones while at the same time extracting 110CFM. The fan uses two bright 60watts incandescent bulbs and a 7-watt night light to light up your bathroom efficiently. The bulbs are sold separately.
The downside: some reviewers claim that the heating element doesn’t last, stating that they’ve changed the element 4 times in 4 years. This seems to be a major problem that the manufacturer should address ASAP.
Broan Very Quiet Ceiling Bathroom Exhaust Fan
- Powerful 80CFM
- Operates nearly silent at 0.3 sones
- Energy Star Certified
- Ideal for 75sqft rooms
- Grille measurements: 13-inch length, 13-3/4-inch width
- Housing: 0-1/2-inch L, 11-3/8-inch W, 7-5/8-inch H
Like all other Broan bath fans, the Broan Very Quiet Ceiling Bathroom Exhaust Fan is a quiet exhaust fan that is motor engineered for nonstop operation generating 0.3 sones only.
Operating at 80CFM, this fan is ideal for bathrooms up to 75 sqft, guaranteeing high-quality performance.
Additionally, the fan is easy to install, either for new installation or replacing existing installation. It only requires a 2”x8” construction space. It also includes a hangar bar system that allows for quick installation for different types of constructions.
What to Consider When Choosing a Bathroom Fan
The most important factors to consider when purchasing a quiet bathroom fan are noise levels (measured in sones) and CFM. However, there are other factors that you should take into consideration to ensure that you get a quiet bathroom fan that meets your specific requirements.
Appliances are notorious for consuming too much power resulting in inflated energy bills. It’s no doubt that you’d want an Energy Star fan. In general, bathroom exhaust fans wattage often ranges from as low as 10 watts to as high as 180 watts. Unfortunately, data shows that most American homes use non-energy efficient fans, consuming up to 180 watts.
Energy Star certified fans will save you a lot in electrical bills besides the increased performance of the fan.
This is an important factor in the ventilation process and should be strongly considered.
Experts recommend that a bath exhaust fan runs for 20 minutes minimum after taking a hot shower to remove excess moisture and humidity.
Unfortunately, most bathrooms have a fan controlled by the same switch as the light bulb. As a result, the fan turns off whenever the occupant exits the room. For this reason, it’s highly recommended you get a separate switch for the fan, or alternatively, get a fan with a timer that allows it to operate for some amount of time after taking a shower.
Several studies have shown that most people often don’t turn on their bathroom fans as they are too loud. If sound level is your priority, it’s important to confirm with the HVI ratings- in most cases, fans who don’t have HVI ratings are noisy.
A good rating would be something below 1.5 sones. Luckily, all the articles I highlighted above have ratings below 1.5 sones.
A good alternative that guarantees quietness are the remote-mounted in-line fans. These are mounted in the attic, and the motor is hidden in the attic. These are a quiet and excellent alternative.
The Housing Unit
Bathroom fans come in different sizes. This means that you should strive to get one that is the same size as the existing model. The fan housing will also determine the cutout size made on your ceiling.
If possible, pick a fan that’s the same size as your existing one. But if you can’t get your hands on one, I would highly recommend getting a bigger one. It’s always easier to make the hole on your ceiling larger than make it smaller.
Bathroom Fan Features
Bathroom fans have features that you should take into consideration before purchasing. Today, most of the fans on the market include a room light that operates with the fan simultaneously or separately.
Some fans have integrated LEDs, while other models have fluorescent and incandescent lights. Bathroom fans with light offer an added convenience.
On the other hand, there are bathroom fans with a built-in heater that will help keep the bathroom warmer without the need for heating your entire house. Others have motion sensors, humidity sensors that automatically help reduce moisture without manually turning on or off.
Some have Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to stream music as you shower. Whatever feature you choose to pick will solely depend on your specific requirements.
Warranty and Cost
Each product you purchase nowadays has a warranty sorted out. However, it’s important to note that different brands have offered warranties under different conditions.
A bathroom fan interferes with the structural design of the ceiling. Therefore, you’d want something that will serve you almost permanently without breakdowns or needing repairs.
You should always strive to get a fan with longer warranty coverage, possibly a 2-4 years cover. Just in case the one you purchased becomes faulty, you can easily get a replacement that will fit your existing ceiling hole.
Additionally, the amount of money you have at hand is going to determine the kind of fan you get. There are good budget fans you can get today without breaking the bank.
In summary, quiet bathroom fans are a perfect efficiency and silence. They are great at getting rid of dampness and bad smells, all while being very quiet. In addition, they quietly make sure your bathroom stays comfy and calm, whether you’re taking a relaxing bath or just looking for a quiet moment.
So, if you want to make your bathroom better or just have a more peaceful time there, think about getting a quiet bathroom fan. It’s a small change that can make a big difference in how comfy and nice your bathroom feels every day. With these quiet fans, you can enjoy peaceful moments right in your home.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.