You’ve been planning about it for a few months now – to install the best bathroom exhaust fan with heater. But, you still can’t decide which model to pick. Or maybe, you had one initially, but it’s broken. So, now you’re shopping for a replacement.
From design to features and even manufacturers, there are endless options to consider. What’s important is meeting your needs.
Some bathroom exhausts fan with heater even have integrated lights, so you won’t need to install bathroom lighting separately. Additionally, some work as dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture from the bathroom.
This bathroom exhaust fan with heater reviews guide aims to make the selection process easier by highlighting some of the top models to consider.
After that, we also discuss how to compare the various exhaust fans as you seek value. Let’s begin with the reviews.
What’s a Bathroom Fan Heater, and How Does It Work?
Also known as just bathroom fan heaters, a bathroom fan with a heater comprises an exhaust fan and heating function. These two parts work independently.
An exhaust fan is a type of fan that uses the principle of suction to draw odors, moisture, and other elements up and out of the bathroom through a vent.
The excess moisture and stale air can be passed directly outside the house or vented into the home’s central ductwork to be carried outside.
The fans have a motor that runs on electricity. When the power is switched on, the motor helps draw up moisture and vent it outside.
In models that double up as heaters, you’ll find either a heating element or infrared heat lamp within the fan housing.
The heating element, which is the most common heat source, is a resistance wire that generates heat energy when an electric current is passed through it.
The heat then passes out of the unit into your bathroom. Most of these units comprise a fan system (separate from the main vent fan) to blow the fan system’s heat and throughout the bathroom. The majority of these heaters are rated between 1,000 watts and 1,500 watts.
Infrared heat lamps work a little differently. There’s no resistance wire. Instead, the heat comes from a beam of light produced from the infrared bulb. When an electric current is passed through the heater, the bulb produces infrared light (a type of light invisible to the naked eye).
Infrared light possesses heat value. It’s actually how the sun’s rays warm the earth. The heaters are typically rated 200-300 watts.
Benefits of a Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Heater
Bathroom fan + heater combos provide the benefits of bathroom ventilation and heating at a go. Some of these benefits include;
Bathroom odors can come from several sources, especially clogged drains. These odors can make the bathroom uncomfortable. Moreover, the smell can quickly find a way to other rooms in the house, causing discomfort.
The exhaust fan is one of the best tools to remove stale air and odors in general. Unlike the standard fan, exhaust fans “suck” out and dispose of the stale air outside the house.
Remove Excess Humidity
No one wants an excessively moist bathroom. It causes foggy mirrors and can result in condensation on the walls and ceiling, which isn’t a pleasant sight.
Both the fan and heater help in fighting humidity. The fan does so by sucking out the moisture through the vent system and dumping it outside the house. The heater, meanwhile, works by drying the bathroom. If you live in a very humid climate, you might want to consider humidity sensing bathroom fans.
Providing Warmth During Baths
When the bathroom is cold, even a warm shower is rarely fun. Immediately you step out of the shower, you’ll be shaking and your teeth chattering. In the end, it diminishes the quality of time spent in the bathroom.
Adding heating to your bathroom instantly solves this problem. You’ll enjoy your bathroom time more and no longer have to dread the morning shower.
Fight Mold and Mildew
We’ve already mentioned excess humidity in the bathroom. One of the biggest dangers of excess moisture is mold and mildew – two microorganisms capable of causing or worsening various health issues such as allergies, asthma, flu, and cold.
Drying up the bathroom deprives both mold and mildew of the moist conditions they need to thrive. You’ll never see the two in your shower again.
Protect your Home from Moisture Damage
Finally, excess moisture and condensation in the bathroom can also cause damage to the home. It can destroy the paint and wallpaper. Too much humidity can also cause doors to warp and, if left unchecked, cause rotting of wooden parts and items. This can result in costly damages and expensive maintenance.
Adding heating and ventilation simultaneously helps to eliminate the humidity, thus preventing the damage.
How to Pick the Best Bathroom Fan with Heater
You’ll need to consider several factors when shopping for a bathroom exhaust fan + heater combo. We recommend prioritizing the following;
There are two main types of exhaust fans –standard exhaust fans and inline exhaust fans. Standard exhaust fans are ceiling mounted just above the ceiling and feature an intake vent cut into the ceiling below that extends through the roof. The vent system sucks air from the bathroom and carries it outside the house.
Inline fans, meanwhile, are mounted on a joist in the attic and feature two ducts. The first duct runs from the fan to the ceiling vent but the second from the fan to the roof vent. The first duct sucks air from the bathroom and sends it to the fan.
The second fan then carries the stale air to the roof vent, which discharges the bad air out of the house. Standard exhaust fans are both more common and easy to install.
The size/capacity of an exhaust fan is measured in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM). The CFM is a measure of how much air (in cubic feet) the unit can pull out of the bathroom every minute. Most bathroom exhaust fans are rated at 50 CFM to 140 CFM.
We recommend that you consider two things when choosing one for your bathroom. First, follow the Home Ventilation Institute (HVI) guide of 1CFM per square foot.
So, if your bathroom measures 80 square feet, you need an 80 CFM fan. Secondly, add 50 CFM for every additional toilet, 50 CFM for a bathroom/shower combo, and 100 CFM for every whirlpool.
For large rooms, you might want to look at some of the high CFM bathroom fans.
The good news is that bathroom exhaust fans, in general, are very quiet. In most cases, you won’t even notice that there’s a fan up there in the ceiling. Nevertheless, you still want to compare the noise levels and pick the quietest bath fan within your budget.
To this end, we recommend models rated under 4 sones (fan noise is measured in sones). A 4-sone unit makes almost the same amount of sound as a quiet television.
If you can find one below 2 sones, that would be even better. Impressively, some fans are rated as low as 0.3 sones or less, which is essentially a sound-free range.
Heating Type and Capacity
As we’ve seen, exhaust fan heating is usually accomplished either through electric heating elements or infrared bulbs. Infrared bulbs are incredibly efficient, but the heat is gentler/less-strong. Meanwhile, heating elements pump out more heating, which has made them a lot more common but aren’t as efficient.
With regards to heating capacity, 1,500 watts is more than enough to warmth a standard-size bathroom. For a larger bathroom, consider a more powerful heating option. Alternatively, you may want to bring in supplemental heating in the bathroom.
Features and Other Key Consideration
With regards to features, you may want to consider lighting, night lights, humidity sensor, timer, and wall controls. The wall control is especially an essential factor. Some combos can be wired so that the fan, heat, and light (where such is present) can be controlled separately. It is a convenience option worth considering.
Finally, consider the build material (metal housings are the best), grille material, the unit’s design, certifications (e.g., Energy Star, HVI, UL, CUL, and ETL), and warranty.
How to Install a Bathroom Heater Fan Combo
I always recommend professional installation for the best outcome and avoid issues such as voiding the manufacturer’s warranty. However, if you’re confident in your DIY skills, you can install a bathroom exhaust fan + heater combo without much trouble.
- Drills and bits
- Oscillating saw
- Putty knife
- Drop cloths
- Ladder or step stool
- Tape measure wire strippers
- Straight edge
- Hole saw
- Circuit tester
- The exhaust fan + heater combo
- Wire connectors
- HVAC tape
- Sparkling patch kit
- Flexible insulated duct
- Roof vent cap
- Roofing cement
- Roofing nails
This guide is only for replacing an exhaust fan + heater combo that vents into the attic. For new installation or where the unit vents into the home’s primary ductwork, it’s best to hire an HVAC professional.
- Determine the exhaust route: The exhaust fan must vent outside, preferably through the attic. If the attic isn’t an option, you can vent it through the sidewall.
- Determine the electrical options: Where an existing switch is available, you don’t need much wiring. Otherwise, call an electrician.
- Remove the old fan: Turn off the circuit breaker, remove the grille cover, and using the circuit tester, ensure that there’s no power in the wires. Then, remove the motor, take out the housing, and disconnect the electrical cables and duct.
- Mounting the fan (with attic access);
- Trace the fan’s house onto the ceiling using a pencil and cut out the section inside the marked area using a keyhole saw.
- Make sure the hole is of the right size. You can use the drywall to make the hole the correct size.
- Attach the duct connector to the fan housing, attach the housing brackets to the ceiling joists, connect the electrical wiring, and connect the fan wires to the house wires.
- Push the wiring into the housing and secure the cover to the housing with screws using the screwdriver.
- Connect the duct: Most ducts are 4 inches. Secure it to the duct connector using a clamp or duct tape. Make sure the duct vents outside.
- Test the connections by turning on the power and listening to hear if the fan is working. You can also test the heating.
- Finish up: If everything is working as expected, install the grill by squeezing the springs into the slots. Then, push the cover towards the fan, touch the ceiling with sparkling, and paint the ceiling if needed. That’s it!
Best Bathroom Exhaust Fan With Heater
1. Panasonic FV-11VH2 WhisperWarm Fan/Heater Combination
Panasonic’s WhisperWarm range of exhaust fans derives their name “WhisperWarm” from the fact that they are extremely quiet and come with integrated heaters. This particular model, the FV-11VH2, is rated at just 0.6 sones, making it one of the most silent fans.
The FV-11VH2 moves air at 110 CFM, making it ideal for bathrooms in the 100 to 110 square-foot range. It’s permanently lubricated motor is designed for continuous operation and rotates at a slower pace for reduced wear. The motor also works at lower temperatures for a longer motor and bearing life.
The built-in damper prevents backdraft, while a nickel-chromium wire with magnesium oxide provides 1,500-watt heating. The heater is very light at just 0.01 pounds, UL Listed, and a 6-year motor and 3-year parts warranty.
- Easy ceiling mounting
- Very quiet at just 0.6 sones
- UL Listed, Energy Star Certified
- 3-year parts warranty
- 6-year motor warranty
- No light
- It’s on the expensive side
2. Delta BreezRadiance RAD80L 80 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan with Light and Heater
The RAD80L is a Breeze Radiance series exhaust fan combo from Delta. The first thing you need to know about these heaters is that they combine exhaust fan + heater + light operation.
For the RAD80L, the fan is rated at 80 CFM and made from an energy-saving motor technology. It operates at just 1.5 sones while consuming 10.5 watts (i.e., 7.6 CFM/watt).
Its heating is also very reliable. At 1300 watts, it’s more than enough to warm an 80 square-foot space comfortably. A built-in thermostat ensures consistent temperatures while a thermo-module equipped with thermal cut-off guarantees protection. One GU24 26-watt CFL lamp is included.
The RAD80L combo is built with corrosion-resistant stainless steel and is HVI Certified. It’s backed by a 3-year warranty.
- Fan + heater + light combo
- Rated at 80 CFM, 1.5 sones
- HVI Certified, Energy Star Qualified
- Corrosion-free steel construction
- Backed by a 3-year warranty
- The installation process isn’t straightforward
- Wiring guide is confusing
3. Broan-NuTone 655 Bath Fan and Light with Heater
One of the more affordable products on this list, the NuTone 655 from Broan, is a popular fan + heater + light combo, and for a good reason.
Though best suited to smaller bathrooms, it moves air at a commendable 70 CFM and generates 1,300 watts of heating power. That’s more than you’ll get in bigger fans. The 100-watt light bulb is bright enough to discount the need for additional lighting.
Other likable features of the 655 include the resilient anti-vibration mounts, plug-in permanently lubricated motor, and adjustable mounting brackets. The compact 23-gauge stainless steel housing finished with electrically bonded epoxy paint is moisture-proof and corrosion-resistant.
The fan, heater, and light can be wired together or individually. When wired individually, a 3-way switch allows you to control each function independently.
- Fan + heater + light combo
- Independent function control
- 23-gauge steel housing
- Designer white polymeric grills
- Fairly quiet at just 4 sones
- Requires 20 amp circuit
- Light bulb not included
4. Broan-NuTone 9093WH Exhaust Fan, Heater, and Light Combo
This is another excellent exhaust fan that comes with integrated heating and lighting. It’s also rated 70 CFM, making it ideal for bathrooms in the 60 to 65 square-foot range. However, it provides even more heating at 1500 watts. It uses a heating element.
Lighting is curtsy of a 100-watt incandescent bulb. A 7-watt nightlight is also built into the unit for night use. A four-function switch allows you to control the fan, heating, lighting, and night lighting individually. The unit is fairly quiet at 3.5 sones.
A galvanized steel housing, decorative white grille, and automatic thermal protection are other standout features of the combo. It’s UL Listed for safety.
- 1500-watt heating
- 100-watt bright lighting
- Integrated night lights
- UL Listed
- Bulbs sold separately
- Found on the more expensive end
5. Aero Pure A515A W Quiet Bathroom Fan with Heat and Light
Two things stand out about this Aero Pure. First, it’s one of the quietest bathroom fan + heater combos. At 1.0 sones, it’s hard to tell whether it’s on or not.
Secondly, the model A515A-W comes with one of the best warranties. You get a whole 48 months during which the manufacturer fixes any mechanical malfunctions.
You’ll also notice that the A515A is the only combo on this list that uses infrared lamps. Though usually not as strong as convection heat, radiant infrared heat is gentler and even healthier. This combo uses two or four 270-watt anti-blast infrared bulbs.
The combos come standard with mounting brackets, vibration dampening rustproof steel housing and easy maintenance grills. A backdraft damper and the multi-function switch are also included.
- Gentle, infrared heating
- 60-watt incandescent lighting
- Quiet operation at 1.0 sones
- UL and CUL Listed
- 4-year warranty
- Priced at the higher end (about $200)
- Requires professional installation
6. Air King AK965 Deluxe Combination Heater with Exhaust Fan and Light
The 3.5-sone Air King AK965 is a powerful fan + heater + light combo built with galvanized steel for corrosion-resistance and durability.
The exhaust fan component is rated at 70 CFM, ideal for medium-sized bathrooms in the 65 to 70 square feet range. The heating element, meanwhile, outputs 1500 watts, equivalent to about 5,000 BTU.
For lighting, you have the option of a 100-watt incandescent bulb or a 26-watt CFL bulb. For energy conservation, most buyers opt for CFL bulbs. A 7-watt nightlight function is also built into the unit. The bulbs are, however, sold separately.
This unit is HVI 2100 Certified with the switches and wall plate included. It also features a unique frosted moonstone glass lens that doesn’t yellow or becomes brittle like plastic lenses.
- Fan + heater + light + night light combo
- Individual function control
- Switches included
- HVI 2100 Certified
- 1-year parts warranty
- Light bulbs sold separately
- Not the quietest (despite a 3.5-sone rating)
7. Broan-Nutone 665RP Heater, Fan, and Light Combo
Finally, the Broan NuTone 665RP is another value-for-money exhaust fan + heater + combo. The exhaust fan is rated at 70 CFM and operates at 4 sones. As you’ll find out shortly, 4 sones are industry standard. The combo is recommended for bathrooms around 65 square feet.
Heating comes from a heating element. You can expect up to 1300 watts worth of heat energy at peak operation. A 100-watt incandescent bulb provides lighting. The bulb is sealed safely behind a polymeric grill.
This fan combo comes with a four-way adjustable hanger bar and mounting clips for easy installation. It is UL Listed and backed by a 1-year warranty.
- Cold-rolled, galvanized steel housing
- Decorative, polymeric grills
- Permanently-lubricated plug-in motor
- 100-watt snap-in lighting
- 1300-watt heating
- Requires 20A wiring
- Switch pad/panel not included
The right bathroom exhaust fan + heater combo can completely transform your bathroom, allowing you to enjoy your showers and baths more.
A combo also helps eliminate odors and foul smells and protects the home from the damaging effects of excess moisture. What’s important, though, is finding the right combo unit and installing it correctly. You’ll not regret the investment.
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