After a long day of working, all you want is a relaxing bath. You grab your robe and bath bombs, head to the bathroom, flip the switch, and suddenly you awaken the beast that is your outdated bathroom fan. As the fan roars to life, that moment to decompress slips away.
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But bathroom fans serve an essential function, drawing out impure and humid air, which helps to prevent things like mildew, mold, and general deterioration. In that moment of needed relaxation, rather than having to choose between your mental health and your bathroom's health, look towards getting a new, quiet bathroom fan.
Before launching into our favorite quiet bathroom exhaust fans, here's what you need to know when choosing your commode's next ceiling fan.
1. Noise Level: Sones serve as a measurement of sound – the lower the number, the quieter the noise. According to Pete Schrader, associate product manager at Broan NuTone, "Typical bath fans range anywhere from <0.3 sones to 6.0 sones," with .3 representing the quietest range, which should be nearly undetectable when turned on, and 6.0 being "equal to the noise at a sporting event in an arena or stadium." Because we're looking for a quiet bathroom fan, we should aim to keep the sone level between 0.3 and 1 sone, which can be deemed "whisper quiet."
2. Airflow: While noise is important to the experience, airflow is important in maintaining the health of your bathroom, and is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The Home Ventilating Institute suggests, "one CFM per square foot of bathroom area…A 50 CFM rating is recommended as a minimum for bathrooms 50 sq. ft. and smaller." For a bathroom 8' x 10', this would work out to 80 CFM. 10' x '10' requires 100 CFM and 11' x 10' needs 110 CFM (and so on and so forth; you get the idea). They additionally suggest that larger bathrooms need multiple sources of ventilation — one for an enclosed toilet, one for a bathtub, and one for a shower.
With this knowledge, you should be able to find the perfect fan for your space. But we'll make that search simple, starting you with our six favorite super quiet bathroom fans.
The Best Quiet Bathroom Fans
One of The Home Depot's top-rated bathroom exhaust fans, this WhisperChoice allows you to pick a flow, offering 80 and 110 CFM. This range allows you to cater the fan to your bathroom size. Additionally, this fan is remarkably quiet, with the sone rating coming in under 0.3, advertised as "operat[ing] just as loud as an actual whisper." The Flex-Z installation bracket makes installation simple — so you can easily do it yourself — and fits in 2" x 8" construction. What we, and reviewers, love about this fan is the ease with which you can install it, as well as the choice for your CFM setting.
This fan from Broan-NuTone operates at 80 CFM and runs at 0.3 sones. Perfect for a medium-size bathroom, this is energy efficient — Energy Star qualified — and HVI certified. Similar to the WhisperChoice, the Broan-NuTone fan is easy to install, all you need is a 2" x 8" construction place. One Amazon reviewer indicated that there was "no motor noise at all. It sounds like a light rain outside your window." Another reviewer, speaking to the effectiveness of the airflow, indicated that even with the door and windows closed, there was no fog on the mirror post-shower.
While this fan might have a higher noise level than others we've seen, coming in at 1.5 sones (still remarkably quiet), the many other features make it a favorite. The Delta Electronics fan comes with an LED light, humidity sensors that detect when humidity levels are too high, and a "built-in thermostat for consistent temperature." This fan is made for smaller spaces, with a max CFM rating of 80 (alternating between 50 and 80 depending on the humidity level).
This bath fan isn't just budget-friendly. It's also long-lasting, tested to run continuously for 70,000 hours. The noise level is low, at just 0.6 sones, and circulates at 80 CFM. This is a relatively small fan, with the "slim profile perfect for retrofit, ceiling, or wall-mount installation." Additionally, one of our favorite features is this fan's EPA-certified energy efficiency. It saves up to 85% of energy, making it budget-friendly from purchase to continued use.
Yet another Delta fan we love for yet another reason, namely, the CFM level. From this list, the BreezSmart fan features the highest cubic feet per minute rating. At 150 CFM, this fan should theoretically be able to ventilate a 150 square-foot room, giving those with larger bathrooms a good single-fan option. And, because the fan is so quiet (0.3 sones), a green light at the bottom lets you know when the fan is on and off. Though this fan might be the most expensive on the list, the footage it covers makes it well worth the price.
Kaze is quiet, coming in at 0.4 sones, and effective, with a CFM of 90. It's energy- and cost-efficient, as well as easy to install oneself. This fan features a permanently lubricated motor, allowing for a smooth and long run period. But what we really love about this fan is the motion sensor, which turns on the fan, up to 90 CFM, for a pre-selected amount of time when activated. It's one of those great, energy-saving features you don't think about needing until you have it (and then you won't want to go back).
If You Don't Want to Buy a New Fan
Alternatively, if buying a new bathroom fan is not in your budget, you can try quieting what you have by giving the fan (and parts) a good clean and lubricating the fan motor and blades.