No one wants a noisy bathroom exhaust fan. If anything, the majority of complaints we usually see about bathroom fans concern noise. Some people have gone as far as replacing their exhaust fans because of noise.
The good news is that there are hundreds of extremely quiet bathroom exhaust fan models. We’ll review a couple of them shortly. If you can pick the right one, you’ll never complain about noise issues throughout the fan’s life.
However, the bad news is that finding the right quietest bathroom fan isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. Why? Because although the whisper-quiet operation is one of the primary considerations when shopping for a bathroom fan, it isn’t the only factor.
Additionally, something could go wrong during the life of the unit. When that happens, even a quiet fan can become noisy.
So, what’s the solution?
I believe in a two-prong approach. First, you need to invest in a silent bathroom fan you can afford (keeping in mind other factors). Secondly, you must know how to diagnose and even fix fundamental exhaust fan noise issues.
Bathroom Exhaust Fan Sones
Perhaps we should begin by understanding how exhaust fan noise is measured. Generally, fan noise is measured in “phons,” a unit of measurement created by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
“Phons” measures the level of loudness of the noise. However, for most home appliances, including bathroom exhaust fans, the sound level is rated based on a “sone.”
These two, i.e., “phons” and the “sone system,” are related. Forty phons equals one sone. The two are also related to the more familiar decibel (dB) measurement. By definition, one (phon) = 1 decibel at 1000Hz (1 kHz) = 40 sones.
It’s essential to keep the frequency in mind. A sound with a higher frequency, such a grating sound, will have a higher sone than decibel value.
What’s a “Quiet” Exhaust Fan?
Now that we understand what “sones” means in noise measurement, it wouldn’t be too difficult to determine a range in which the bathroom fan would be considered quiet or noisy.
First off, it’s important to mention that the standard bathroom exhaust fan produces 4 sones of noise. Any fan rated under four sones is considered very quiet while those above four sones would be categorized as not very quiet.
Secondly, bathroom fans are rated anywhere from 0.3 sones to 7.5 sones. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a model rated lower than 0.1 sones. At that sound level, the unit barely produces any sound.
On the other side of the scale, values above 7.5 sones are also not very common. Indeed, you should stay away from models rated over 7.5 sones.
Finally, perhaps a few comparisons will give you a clue of the sound levels represented by the various sone rating.
- One (1) sone is about the sound of rustling leaves
- Two (2) sones is the sound of a quiet refrigerator
- Three (3) sones is the sound of a silent office
- Four (4) sones is the sound of the television
- Seven (7) sones is the sound of a normal conversation
- Nine (9) sones is the sound of a noisy restaurant
As you can see from the comparison, anything lower than 4 sones would be ideal for a bathroom exhaust fan.
It Starts with Choosing a Quiet Bath Fan
The first step to a noise-free fan operation in the bathroom is selecting a quiet bathroom exhaust fan. The following are a few considerations to help you pick out the right fan.
Always choose a fan rated below 4 sones. If you must select a 4-sone+ unit, it should be an irresistible fan with strong abilities in other areas. As we’ve already mentioned, even a few models are rated under 0.5 sones, with some as quiet as 0.3 sones. Anything below 2 sones is good enough for bathroom use.
There are a few people who don’t mind low noise levels. Indeed, some even desire a bit of white noise. For such people, a 3/4 sone fan would be ideal.
The ability to move air, measured in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM), will also determine the fan’s level of noise. You want just enough CFM power to effectively remove the moisture in your bathroom, but not so much so that it creates noise. To this end, we recommend one (1) CFM per square foot. Therefore, for an 80 square-foot bathroom, you need an 80 CFM fan.
Add 50 CFM for every toilet, another 50 CFM for each shower/bathroom combination, and 100 CFM for every whirlpool.
This is another crucial factor. Some of the quietest bathroom fans are also the most energy-efficient. But, that’s not always the case. In some cases, the manufacturer may sacrifice energy efficiency for silent operation or vice versa.
You don’t want to compromise energy efficiency for quietness. It’s counterproductive to enjoy less noise in the bathroom while spending more on energy bills, right? Instead, try to balance the two. The fan must score highly in both departments.
Cost vs. Noise
Usually, you have to pay more to get a quieter bathroom exhaust fan. The opposite is also true – you can choose to spend less but accept to deal with a more noisy model — a significant dilemma.
The best solution here is to buy the best fan – within your budget. Fortunately, some bathroom exhaust fans are very affordable. Even among the quiet models, a few are priced under $100. With your budget in mind, identify and compare the products in that range and pick one with the lowest noise rating.
Finally, you must read customer reviews before you make the final decision. Why? Because the manufacturer doesn’t always tell the truth. These people want to sell their fans as quickly as possible. So, they must say all the positive things about the products. Some of the attractive features are usually exaggerated.
Reading reviews (at least a few) will tell you what people already used the fan in real life. Do they agree with the manufacturer? Did they find the fan quiet? If so, then that must be a good exhaust fan.
When an Initially Quiet Fan Becomes Noisy
It’s also possible for the noiseless exhaust fan you bought and installed a few weeks to make a few noises. When that happens, there could be two problems – blockage or damage/breakage.
Cleaning a Blocked fan
Often, when your fan is making lots of noise, the motor could be dirty. Or, it could be a dusty fan or crud. It should be relatively easy to blow out the dirt using a blower. Alternatively, use a hand vacuum. The vacuum will also remove any debris.
When you’re done, start the fan again and see if there’s change. If the noise hasn’t gone away, there’s likely to be a bigger underlying problem.
Repair/Replace a Broken Motor.
A lot could go wrong inside the fan system. Some of the wires may be damaged, and it could be a short circuit, the motor may break down – the list is endless.
You can always attempt to repair the fan – or call an HVAC professional to take a look at it. But repair comes with one major downside, i.e., finding replacement parts. Not many hardware stores stock these parts. Moreover, if you hire a professional, the cost would exceed the price of a new fan by the time you’re done.
For the above reasons, if a fan you’ve been using starts making unfamiliar noises and you’ve tried blowing and vacuum cleaning it in vain, the more straightforward solution is to replace it. The good news is that bathroom exhaust fans are easy to replace. Better still, you can take the opportunity to bring in a quieter replacement.
Installing a Bathroom Fan for Quiet Operation
For the best outcome, we recommend that you call in a professional to do the installation. That’s because even a small mistake during the installation process can contribute to bathroom fan noise. Just one missing screw can create a rattling sound that you won’t like.
If you decide to install it yourself anyway, begin by reading through the user guide. Then proceed as follows;
- Pick the installation location: The guide usually suggests a few ideal spots. Mark the area and ensure that it fits the fan, leaving enough space on the sides. Also, ensure that the surrounding wall/material is strong enough to hold the grill.
- Drill the pilot hole: Start by drilling a small hole with a hand drill. Then use a hole saw to make the hole bigger.
- Install the exhaust fan: All you have to do is follow the instructions in the user guide. The hanger and screws should be in the package. Make sure that the power cord stays over the motor fan for easy access during electrical wiring. Once everything is in place, tighten the fan using the screws then put the grille in place.
8 Top Rated Quietest Bathroom Fan With Light Reviews
1. Panasonic FV-11VHL2 WhisperWarm 110 CFM Ceiling Mounted Fan/Heat/Light
- EXTREMELY QUIET: At .7 sones, this bathroom fan is so quiet you might not know it's on.
- LONG LIFE, GUARANTEED: Panasonic ventilation fans use less energy to move larger volumes of air. Less energy leads to less overheating and motor failure, saving you on repair costs. Included 3-year limited warranty.
- EASY-TO-INSTALL: Designed for use with 4" ducts, this ventilation fan comes with all needed mounting hardware.
- HEATED, CLEAN AIR: Increase your air quality as you eliminate chilly mornings in addition to humidity, mold, mildew, and other air pollutants from any room.
- CODE COMPLIANT: This product is ENERGY STAR certified and complies with ASHRAE 62.2, LEED, California Title 24, Washington VIAQ codes and standards.
- Panasonic WhisperWarm Ceiling Mounted Fan/Heat Combinations are smaller, quieter, warmer, and easier to install
- A tubular, stainless-steel-sheathed heating element features Nichrome wire with magnesium oxide for optimal heat transfer
- Blower Wheel Type Sirocco is designed to draw air in both sides allowing more area for air to enter the wheel
- Continuous, trouble-free operation for many years due to high-quality components and permanently lubricated motors
- Rated 110 cubic feet per minute
A long-life product from the ever-reliable Panasonic, the FV-11VHL2 operates as quietly as a whisper. It operates at three speeds – 50 CFM, 80 CFM, and 110 CFM.
At the 50 CFM mode, it generates 0.3 sones or less, which quieter than a gentle breeze. The 80 CFM and 110 CFM settings are rated at <0.6 and <0.9 sones respectively. The three CFM settings are manually adjustable.
The unit employs an enclosed brushless ECM motor technology rated for continuous running. The motor is permanently lubricated and equipped with a cut-off fuse.
Other qualities of Panasonic FV-11VHL2 that stand out include the Smart Flow Technology that automatically adjusts output when static pressure is detected and the sturdy 26-gauge zinc-aluminum-magnesium housing. It comes with an integrated 4-inch or 6-inch diameter duct adapter.
This Panasonic exhaust fan is Energy Star Certified and UL and CUL Listed. It’s backed by a 6-year ECM warranty and a 3-year warranty for the remaining parts.
- Extremely quiet at just 0.3 sones
- Three (manually adjustable) fan settings
- Energy Star Certified, UL Listed
- 6-year ECM motor warranty
- 3-year parts warranty
- Has a delayed start of about five seconds
2. Broan-NuTone QTXE080 QTZE080 Very Quiet Ceiling Bathroom Exhaust Fan
- HIGH-QUALITY FAN: Very quiet, energy efficient exhaust fan runs on 0. 3 Sones and is motor engineered for continuous operation
- EFFICIENT: Operates at 80 CFM in bathrooms up to 75 sq. ft. for a high-quality performance
- EASY INSTALLATION: Fan is easy to install and/or replace existing product for DIY'ers and needs only 2" x 8" construction space. Can be used over bathtubs or showers when connected to a GFCI protected branch circuit
- FEATURES: Includes hanger bar system for fast, flexible installation for all types of construction and a 6" ducting for superior performance
- CERTIFIED: ENERGY STAR qualified and HVI Certified to ensure the best quality for your home
- INSTALLATION MANUAL REFERENCE: it is very important to use the correct ducting for proper air flow performance. They must use 6" ducting or larger and the shortest amount of ducting is best. Any turns in duct work should be 2 feet away from the fan housing and at least 2 feet between the next elbow if additional turns are needed
QT Series fans from Broan NuTone are some of the quietest, and this model doesn’t disappoint. As with most fans on this list, it’s rated <0.3 sones and motor-engineered for continuous operation.
It operates at speeds between 80 CFM and 150 CFM. Remember that higher operation (CFM) levels make slightly more noise.
The unit itself comes with most of the installation materials ready, including a hanger bar system. It uses a 6-inch ducting for superior performance and requires a minimum construction space of 2-inches x 8 inches. It’s certified for use over the bathtub or shower with the GFCI circuit.
The unit is HVI Certified and Energy Star Qualified. It’s also UL Listed. The manufacturer recommends that it’s used for bathrooms in the 75 to 80 square feet.
- Very quiet at under 0.3 sones
- Continuous operation motor
- Hanger bar system included
- Certified for use over the bathtub
- HVI Certified, UL Listed
- Difficult to install in existing rooms
- Requires professional wiring
3. Delta BreezSignature VFB25ACH 80 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan with Humidity Sensor
- Virtually silent at less than 0.3 sones
- Precision engineered with DC brushless motor for extended reliability
- Easily switch in and out of humidity sensing mode by toggling wall switch
- ENERGY STAR qualified for efficient cost-saving operation
- Precision engineered with DC brushless motor for extended reliability, this fan will outlast many household appliances
This fan also operates at under 0.3 sones. However, what truly sets the Delta Breeze Signature VFB25ACH apart is the automated performance.
It doesn’t wait for you to push a button when you get into the bathroom. Instead, it turns on automatically when it senses humidity. An LED indicator light under the grill will alert you when the unit is turned on.
The unit moves air at between 80 CFM and 130 CFM. But, it operates very efficiently at just 11.75 CFM per watt. The DC brushless motor is designed to last at least 70,000 hours or approximately eight years.
The Breeze Signature exceeds Energy Star requirements by 685% and is HVI Certified. It uses a 4-inch duct system and has been evaluated by the Underwriter Laboratories (UL). It is also UL and CUL listed for use in a tub or shower with a GFCI circuit. Buyers get a 3-year warranty.
- Galvanized steel housing
- Automatic humidity sensing
- Humidity sensor included
- Energy Star Certified
- UL, CUL, and HVI Certified
- 3-year warranty
- The switch can be a little confusing at first
4. Hauslane BF100 Electric Bathroom Fan
- POWERFUL VENTILATION SYSTEM: Strong motor rated at 120 CFM to remove moisture from a hot shower and help preventing mold & mildew in your bathroom.
- QUIET OPERATION: Use the 1007 RPM bathroom fan without disturbing other people in the house. The exhaust fan is rated at 1.2 sone, making it ideal for any housing.
- DETACHABLE DESIGN: Our bathroom fan is prefect for any remodeling project with no attic access or low-profile ceiling. See our video for instructions.
- PERFECT FOR ROOM SIZE UP TO 120 SQFT: Our bathroom fan can move air for any bathroom up to 120 SQFT. Why settle for less for the same price.
- 2 YEAR GUARANTEE: The electric bathroom fan unit is supplied with a 2 year limited guarantee.
Offering efficient ventilation over an expansive area, the compact Hauslane BF100 is an ultra-quiet 120 CFM fan rated at 1.2 sones.
The extractor unit uses suction to remove stale air and smells from your bathroom and is crafted from the highest quality materials. The unit is recommended for spaces up to 120 square feet.
It is supplied with a double hanger bar system for ideal positioning and comes in a standard housing to fit most ceiling joists. The 4-inch vent connector makes DIY installation even easier. The 120-volt, 45-watt fan features a flat cover design for minimal space use
The fan comes in a durable stainless steel housing (though it has a few plastic parts) and is both ETL Certified and UL Listed for complete peace of mind. It’s backed by a one-year warranty.
- Durable stainless steel housing
- Impressively quiet operation
- Bright LED light panel
- Moves air at 120 CFM
- ETL Certified, UL Listed
- 1-year warranty
- Instructions in the user guide aren’t very clear
You can also read about the best bathroom exhaust fan with led light
5. KAZE APPLIANCE Ultra Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Ventilation Fan
- Please note the size of the housing is 11 3/8" x 10 1/2", resizing your existing ceiling opening will be needed if your current fan housing is smaller
- Super quiet sound level of less than 0.3-Sones at 90-CFM
- 26-watt Compact Fluorescent Light and 4-watt Night Light (both bulbs included)
- Includes double hanger mounting bars, both 4 inch and 6 inch duct adapter
- Main CFL light, night light and fan can be combined or individually wired to wall switches
Another bathroom exhaust fan rated at under 0.3 sones, the 90 CFM KAZE Appliance Model SE90T, is built from high-quality components, making it an ideal choice for large families.
The permanently lubricated motors keep the unit working continuously without much trouble. The condenser motor’s electrical configuration is also designed to operate at low temperatures for increased appliance life.
This fan comes in a 26 GA galvanized steel housing painted to protect it from rusting. It also arrives with heavy-duty, triple-point mounting brackets that can be adjusted to 24-inch joist centers. It uses 4-inch and 6-inch round ducts (included) with built-in backdraft dampers.
This unit is HVI, ETL, and CETL Certified. It’s also Energy Star rated and backed by a three-year limited manufacturer warranty.
- 26-gauge galvanized steel housing
- Permanently lubricated motors
- Ultra-quiet at < 0.3 sone (noise level)
- ETL Certified, UL Listed
- 3-year warranty
- Takes a bit of effort to install
6. Win Air Ultra Quiet Ventilation Fan Bathroom Exhaust Fan
- Works with 4” ducts only; Fits into 9.4" x 9.4" ceiling openings. Height: 8".
- Designer styled white grill complements virtually any decor
- Reduces excess moisture and humidity and circulates air to fight odors
- Maximum 70 CFM output at 0.3 sones
- Engineered for safety - Certifications including Energy Star, HVI 2100, and UL listed for tub/shower enclosures when protected by a GFCI outlet
Win Air bathroom fans are made in China by Foshan ShundeShunchang Electric Appliances Industry Co., Ltd. They are some of China’s best fans, with most of the products Energy Certified and even HVI Certified and UL Listed.
This particular model, the BTP14-13A, is a 9.2-pound, 18-watt/120-volt unit built with durable materials for long life. It’s very quiet at under 0.3 sones and moves air at 70 CFM, making it ideal for bathrooms in the 70 to 90 square feet. It comes in a high-quality metal housing, powder-coated for rusting and corrosion resistance.
The BPT14-13A is HVI 2100 Certified, Energy Star Certified, and UL Listed for tub/shower enclosures when protected by a GFCI outlet.
- Impressively quiet at <0.3 sones
- Simple and elegant appearance
- Durable, powder-coated steel housing
- Energy Star Certified, UL Listed
- Low power consumption
- Overheating protection
- No lighting
- No timers
7. Aero Pure A716R W Quiet Bathroom Fan with Heat and Light
- Air volume- 90 CFM; Noise level- 1.5 sones
- Includes multi-function switch, 4 270W anti-blast heat lamps and a 60W incandescent bulb
- Fan, heater, and light may be wired separately and 4 inch diameter duct connection
- UL/CUL Listed when used with GFCI branch circuit wire; do not install directly over tub/shower enclosure, requires a dedicated 15-amp circuit
- 15 A
If you’ve been shopping for quiet bathroom ventilation fans for a while, you might have come across the Aero Pure A716R elsewhere. It’s one of the more popular models, mainly because it’s quiet and doubles up as a bathroom heater and light.
The fan system operates at 90 CFM while generating less than 1.5 sones of noise. That’s impressive for a bathroom fan-heater-light combo. The heating is enabled by four (or two) 270-watt anti-blast infrared lamps.
Remember that infrared heat is very gentle and far healthier than convection heat. A 60-watt incandescent bulb provides the lighting. The fan, heater, and light can be wired together or separately.
This fan combo is UL and CUL Listed when used with a CFGI branch circuit and comes with a four-year limited manufacturer warranty.
- Very quiet at 1.5 sones
- Works as a fan/heater/light combo
- Includes a multi-function switch
- UL and CUL Listed
- 4-year warranty
- One of the pricier options on this list
- Requires professional installation
You can also check the best bathroom exhaust fan with light and heater
8. Tech Drive Bathroom Ventilation and Exhaust Fan
- Super quiet bathroom fan (0.8 sones) and Strong air movement (90CFM) for bathroom up to 90 Sq. Ft. Recommened for use in medium room.
- Housing size: 9in x 9in x 7.6in with 4in duct, ceiling mounting Opening: 9.4in x 9.4in.
- Low profile white grill cover, and It can attaching the fan steel plate housing mounts to the ceiling joists (spacing between16 in.- 24 in) using suspension brackets.
- Energy Star qualified, UL and HVI certified for performance assurance.Acceptable for use over a bathtub or shower when installed in a GFCI-protected branch circuit.
- 2 year limited product warranty.Efficient and quiet,excellent motor perfomance, working at least 25000 hours.
Finally, the Tech Drive is a 19-watt, 120-volt fan rated at 1.5 sones. Shortly, you’ll find out that 1.5 sones is still so silent you may not even notice that there’s a fan working in the bathroom. More importantly, it’s an 80 CFM fan ideal for bathrooms measuring around 85 square feet.
The Tech Drive is also a rather easy-to-install fan, making it a great option when replacing a damaged or broken exhaust fan. The installation can be completed from inside the bathroom without the need to access the attic. It uses a 4-inch duct and features a specially designed motor that lasts at least 2500 hours.
The unit is Energy Star Qualified, HVI Certified, and UL Listed for use over the bathtub or shower when installed in a GFCI-protected circuit branch.
- Very affordable
- Easy to install
- Ideal for up to 85 Sq. Ft. bathrooms
- Screws, housing, user manual all included
- HVI Certified, UL Listed
- You need to have basic DIY skills to install the fan
If you’re like most people, you desire a whisper quiet bathroom fan as it allows you to enjoy your time in the shower more. Fortunately, it shouldn’t be challenging to find a low noise bathroom exhaust fan. There are plenty of them from multiple manufactures.
What you need to keep in mind is that the quiet operation comes at a premium – the best quiet bathroom fans are also some of the most expensive. Additionally, remember that even a quiet vent fan can become noisy later on after a period of use.
Buying the quietest bathroom fan with light, rated at no more than 4 sones, and being prepared to maintain/clean and, eventually, replace it, is the only path to a lifetime of quiet exhaust fan use.