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The average bathroom fan operates at 35 decibels. While you could literarily say that this is ultimately quiet, you may find 35 decibels much louder than normal in a confined space with hard tiles surfaces reflecting the sound in all directions.
I dug enough and discovered research shows that 80% of consumers would pay more for a quiet and relaxing bathroom.
One of the ways you can make your bathroom quieter would be by investing in a quiet bathroom fan with light. Manufacturers have improved their design, allowing you to pick a quiet fan for your bathroom. For example, continuous bathroom ventilating fans operate at an almost inaudible 10dBA, while sporadic bathroom fans operate at 14dBa on average.
The trick here is to go for a continuous ventilating fan as they extract all the time at reduced fan speed- and the lower the fan speed, the quieter the bathroom fan.
About Bathroom Fan Sound Ratings?
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?
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.
It’s important to note that the KAZE ventilation fan comes in three different styles, with the higher model delivering up to 150 CFM but at the cost of increased noise generation of up to 0.5 sones.
This vent fan comes with a 6” metallic exhaust duct with a version that includes a damper allowing it to fit in most standard exhaust setups.
Even though I have chosen this as the quietest bathroom fan with light, it should be noted that some users are quite disappointed by the warm lighting, which doesn’t light up very bright. Besides the lighting problem, this product should be able to satisfy your needs, extracting all bathroom odors without generating unwanted noises.
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″
Another perfect option for a bathroom fan with light is the Broan- AE80LK Exhaust Fan. Though not as quiet and powerful as the Kaze above, this unit is silent, powerful, and Energy Star Certified.
There are two versions; one offers an 80CFM, and the second option is a 110cfm capable of extracting bad air from bathrooms up to 75 square feet. Additionally, the vent fan is rated 0.7 sones which is truly quiet than competitor brands in the same price range.
I truly adore Broan-NuTone’s TrueSeal Damper Technology that reduces air leakages by up to 50%. This helps efficiently get rid of bad odors and reduce warm and cold air backdrafts.
The housing dimensions are 9-1/4″ x 10″ x 5-3/4″, allowing it to fit in 2inches x 6 inches ceilings. It also comes with a 4 inches duct connector with a damper.
This bath fan is UL listed for use on showers or bathtubs but only when connected to the GFCI-protected branch circuit purchased separately.
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
You’ve probably never heard of it, but the OREiN is a brand that has been operating for the last 10 years in the technology space.
The OREiN vent fan produces only 1.6 sones while operating at 100CFM. It’s also fitted with a 5000k 1000Lumen LED bulb to help light up your whole bathroom for many years. The exhaust fan eliminates bad odors from the harsh toilet chemicals without leaving fogged mirrors or steam leftovers after a hot shower.
What I love about this bath fan is the ease of installation. It fits an 8.11”x8.11 ceiling, and it comes with a Flex-Z Fast bracket to ensure that it’s tightly secured to the ceiling. Its simple yet modern design makes it ideal for residential setups.
This unit has also met most certifications, including FCC, Energy Star, ETL, ensuring that you get a quality efficient product without excess power usage.
AmazonBasics AB-BV100 Air Ventilation Fan
- For up to 100 square feet bathrooms
- Delivers up to 110 CFM
- Durable construction
Despite delivering a quiet operation at only 1.0 sones, the AmazonBasics AB-BV100 Air Ventilation Fan is a powerful bathroom fan designed for spaces up to 100sqft. With a 110CFM, this unit guarantees to dissipate mirror fog, humidity, and odors in the shortest time possible.
Additionally, it boasts a galvanized plate housing, ABS plastic grill, polypropylene, and pure copper motor, guarantying durability for many years to come.
I’ve seen users complain that the bath fan is loud. Well, it’s rated 1 sone, which is relatively quiet but not dead silent. You should hear it, but the noise it generates isn’t loud enough to cause distractions.
Additionally, you should note that noise is relative; what is loud to you could be silent to someone else. In fact, you won’t hear the noise when the shower is running or when outside the bathroom with the door closed.
Compared to competing models on the market, the AmazonBasics AB-BV100 Air Ventilation Fan is an excellent value for money.
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.
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
Moist air from the tubs, showers, and other fixtures in your bathroom can accumulate, resulting from painting peeling off and rotting. For this reason, you need a powerful yet quiet bathroom exhaust fan that will get the job done without creating unwanted noise.
The BV Ultra-Quiet 90 CFM uses clever silent technology and a powerful performance motor to get the job done fast, efficiently, and silently.
Weighing only 9.2 pounds, this unit won’t bog down your ceiling. It produces 0.8 sones which are quieter than the sound of a whisper. You will only require a mounting opening of 9.24×9.0 and a 4” duct collar for mounting purposes.
The package includes the housing, wiring compartment, adaptor, support braces, secure tabs, grille, user manual, and installation hardware.
The good: 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.
The downside: 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.
Quiet Bathroom Fan/ Exhaust and Ventilation Fan Buyer Guide
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.
Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fan Brands/ Low Sones
There are popular brands that I would personally recommend if you’re looking for the quietest bathroom exhaust fan. They include:
This is one of the most popular American brands with branches worldwide. You will find them in China, America, Chile, Mexico, and Canada.
They are my favorite brand to go as they manufacturer bathroom exhaust fans that produce less than 1.0 sones which is truly amazing.
They’ve dubbed themselves as giants in residential indoor air quality, and that’s true, given that their products withstand the test of time.
I know you’re aware of this popular brand specializing in electronics ranging from headphones, televisions, and bathroom exhaust fans.
While they design quiet fans, they aren’t as quiet as Broan (IMO), but the state-of-the-art features that come with these fans are outstanding.
Some of the features include; humidity sensors, built-in light, Bluetooth connectivity, and motion sensing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Many Sones Is a Quiet Bathroom Fan?
For a bathroom fan to be considered quiet, it should generate less than 1.0 sones. You won’t even realize when they’ve been turned on with such fans. On the other hand, something in the range of 2-3 sones is considered very loud and not ideal for residential installations.
What Makes a Bathroom Fan Quiet?
Motor design and the fan blades’ size determine how loud or quiet a bathroom fan is. Fans with oiled motors and large fan blades are quiet compared to fans with cheap fans and fast-moving motors.
Are Bathroom Fans Loud on Purpose?
No bathroom fans aren’t loud on purpose. It’s only that some brands are more audible than others while others are quieter. I have discovered Broan and Panasonic bath fans to be very quiet. However, it’s important to note that all fans will become louder as the fan blades accumulate dust and grime.
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.