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Bathroom fans don’t just remove odors or prevent your mirror from fogging up; several serious issues can arise from poor bathroom ventilation. Thus, exhaust fans are crucial, particularly in windowless bathrooms. Fortunately for homeowners, there are many options available with different installation styles, capacities, and noise levels, ensuring that you can find the perfect fan to suit your home.
Ceiling Insert Bathroom Fans
As hot, humid air rises, the logical positioning of a bathroom exhaust fan is on the ceiling. This is why ceiling-insert fans are the most recommended and popular choice for a bathroom.
Ceiling insert fans work by pulling the warm and moist air out of the bathroom along a duct and venting it through the roof. When the roof is not accessible by the ductwork, it can be vented out the wall.
- Ideally positioned for optimal exhausting
- Their popularity means that there are plenty of options available on the market
- Save valuable wall space (particularly beneficial in small bathrooms)
- Walls are spared from the damage of installation and water, which may drip from the fan on occasion (if this happens frequently, you might have a problem, and you should investigate why your fan is dripping)
- Installation is comparatively easier than other fan types
- Leaking through the roof vent and subsequent moisture damage
- Animal interference at the roof vent or along the duct in the attic
- It is more difficult to access ceiling insert fans should there be an issue
The Best Ceiling Insert Bathroom Fans
1. Panasonic Whisperceiling
The Panasonic Whisperceiling is energy star certified.
If you’re looking for a fan that rids your bathroom of unwanted toxins without a loud and obnoxious buzzing, this is a great option. It is made to run quieter and has a simple installation process. With speed-adjusting technology, you can change from 50, 80, and 110 CFM.
Customers mentioned the products’ instructions can be hard to follow, so I’ve included a demonstration video below:
2. Panasonic Whispersense DC
The Panasonic Whispersense DC is energy star certified.
One of the best-rated exhaust fans overall, customers rave about this product’s straightforward installation and manual. Also included is a duct adaptor (4 or 6 inches), making it a good option for renovations.
You can adjust the CFM from 50, 80, and 110 to reach the target airflow for your bathroom, and if guests frequent your bathroom, you’ll find the automatic sensors a convenient addition.
3. Panasonic WhisperRemodel
The Panasonic WhisperRemodel is energy star certified.
If you’re looking to replace your existing fan, the WhisperRemodel is an excellent option. It is designed for breezy installation and includes an adaptable template if the hole needs to be re-sized.
It has an airflow capacity of 80 or 110 CFM and a low sound range of 0.3-0.8 sones.
Wall Insert Bathroom Fans
Most bathroom fans, even if intended for the ceiling, can be mounted on the wall. That said, finding a fan made for the wall is the best choice for installation ease and better performance.
Bathroom fans are typically mounted on the wall only when ceiling inserts are not an option. However, this does not mean they do not have their own advantages.
- Often they can vent directly through the wall, eliminating the need for ducting
- Not having to access the roof or attic when there are issues is very convenient and makes repairs easier
- Venting through a wall makes installation more invasive
- There is a higher risk of backdrafting
The Best Wall Insert Bathroom Fans
1. Panasonic Whisperwall 70 CFM
The Panasonic Whisperwall 70 CFM is energy star certified.
This through-wall fan uses propellor technology and allows airflow (rated 70 CFM) in both directions. The high-quality motor makes the fan resilient for years and performs quietly but powerfully.
Specifically designed to use through the wall, installing the product is uncomplicated and doesn’t require additional ducting.
2. Broan-Nutone 512 M
If you’re looking for a wall insert exhaust fan on the cheaper side, this product offers quality performance without being too costly.
The fan operates with an airflow of 70 CFM. Installation is simple, and the fan has adjustable housings that can fit 4.5-9.5- and 5.25-10-inch-thick walls.
3. Broan-Nutone 509S
Another wall-mounted fan from Broan-Nutone, this product is simple but effective. It operates at 180 CFM with a damper system to halt harmful backdrafting.
Buyers note that the fan is powerful and moves air at an exceptional rate, removing humidity and unpleasant smells better than other fans.
Inline Bathroom Fans
Inline bathroom fans are those that sit further back within the ducting (typically in the attic). Their advantages set them apart from the ceiling and wall insert fans, but they are not without their problems.
- One fan can be used to exhaust multiple areas at the same time
- Their inline position makes them quieter than the other options (you’ll hardly know they are there!)
- They have quite a complicated installation process
- If your ducting space is limited or involves many bends, then they become ineffective
- Any drop in power will have a more significant effect on functioning than a fan that is located right behind the bathroom vent
The Best Inline Bathroom Fans
1. Panasonic FV-10NLF1E WhisperLine
The Panasonic FV-10NLF1E WhisperLine is energy star certified.
At 1.0 sones, this fan is notably quiet from 120 to 340 CFMs. It promises a long life span and has a 3-year warranty on its parts.
This fan is designed to sit in four-inch ducts and has five positions for installation with suspension brackets and other included tools.
2. Panasonic FV-08VRE2 Ventilation Fan with Recessed LED
The Panasonic FV-08VRE2 Ventilation Fan with Recessed LED is energy star certified.
What’s better than having a high-quality fan that disguises itself as a light?
This inline fan runs at 80 CFM and has a built-in 11W LED light fixture. The fan can be conveniently hidden in the ceiling making only the light visible. It is quiet, and the bulb itself is specialized to allow proper airflow.
3. Broan-Nutone ILFK2502 In-Line Bathroom Exhaust Fan Kit
Broan-Nutone ILFK2502 In-Line Bathroom Exhaust Fan is energy star certified.
This inline fan bundle comes with a 6-inch duct fan along with two grilles and dampers. The included adaptor (3-way, 6 inches) eases the installation process.
Though small in size, it works well for large spaces and effectively clears air out of one or multiple bathrooms.
How to Choose a Bathroom Fan
So, now that you know the variety of exhaust fans available for bathroom use, how should you choose one?
There are personal preferences that can help guide your decision. Do you care the most about the noise level, ease of installation, air clearing performance, etc.? How you want to operate the fan: on/off switch, humidity sensor, timer switch?
Your bathrooms design, space, and outer ductwork will also influence your choices. I.e., how strong the fan has to be, where it should go, where it can be installed, what room you have for ducting, etc.
There are so many decisions to make, but I have made it easy with this 6-step process to finding the right bathroom exhaust fan for you. You can also check out this detailed comparison of wall and ceiling bathroom fans.
Related article: Is There a Bathroom Fan That Doesn’t Vent Outside?
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