The 8 Best Exhaust Fans of 2023 | Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Say goodbye to steamy bathrooms, stuffy garages, and smoky kitchens.

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The 8 Best Exhaust Fans of 2023 | Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Exhaust fans are designed to remove humid, stale, or smokey air from areas around your home and replace it with fresh air from the outdoors. They're most commonly installed in bathrooms, kitchens, and attics, but are also useful in laundry rooms, garages, and workshops. These versatile units mount on the ceiling or wall to expel air through your existing ductwork or a vent, or can simply placed in a window frame, just like an air conditioner.

Along with making living spaces more comfortable, the best exhaust fans can also help prevent mold and mildew issues down the road, which can be costly to remedy. And, you don't need to spend more than $50 to get one up and running, especially if you choose a model that doesn't require an electrician for installation.

Exhaust fans are categorized based on installation and there are generally three types. They can be ceiling-mounted, wall- or window-mounted, or inline. Ceiling-mounted models are recessed and are commonly found in residential bathrooms, with exhaust expelled through a vent that's often mounted on the roof. Inline exhaust fans are placed in line with existing ductwork, moving air between intake and exhaust vents. These are generally the most time consuming to set up and are typically installed in the attic or another remote location. The benefits of inline exhaust fans is that they typically aren't as loud as ceiling-mounted units, plus they can draw air from more than one location.

You’ll also want to make sure your fan is strong enough to work effectively in your space. By using the square footage of the room, you’ll have a much easier time finding a fan with the appropriate CFM (cubic feet per minute) output.

Exhaust fan installation requirements can vary, depending on the type of fan and where it’s being mounted. To minimize the amount of DIY expertise required, make sure to choose a fan that’s compatible with the existing duct or cut-out size you’ll be mounting it in. If you’re not comfortable working with electrical wiring and don't want to hire an electrician to do the work for you, consider purchasing an exhaust fan that plugs directly into a wall outlet.

To help narrow down the number of potential options, we did our best to include at least one of each type of common exhaust fan, and offer a few different options for the bathroom, which is where they're most commonly installed. Along with selecting a range of types, we chose models with a range of maximum airflow output for effectiveness in small and large spaces. We also considered budget, so whether you have $20 or $200 to spend, you should find an option that works for your specific situation.

We’re most impressed with the variable speed control on this wall-mounted exhaust fan, which sets it apart for most other models that offer only two or three set speeds. Another reason this took our top spot is easy temperature adjustment right on the control panel.

The automatic shutters close to form a full seal against the outside when the unit is not in use, preventing any insects or debris from getting inside. Soft bumper strips on each shutter also help to block out exterior noise, contributing to relatively quiet operation.

Keep in mind that while the unit is plug-in and comes preassembled, you have to connect the wires to fan. But other than that, installation is easy.

If it's powerful airflow you're after—and you want the convenience of wireless control—this is the model to consider. The 14-inch wall-mounted smart exhaust fan produce an impressive 1,513 cubic feet of air per minute, so it's effective in larger structures, like a garage or greenhouse.

It’s also more durable than most of the competition, as its components are protected from water splashes and small debris. Through the Bluetooth app, you can do everything from schedule programs in advance to set notifications for alerts if there are performance issues.

If you’re comfortable with basic wiring, and aren’t concerned as much about extra features, this 12-inch exhaust fan is an affordable and hassle-free choice. It's designed to be mounted in a window or into an existing wall cutout, so installation is considerably straightforward.

The exhaust fan is ideal for areas that are subject to harsh exposure, with industrial-grade rustproof shutters and corrosion-resistant blades. Despite its low price, the fan produces impressive airflow, offering coverage for spaces up to 1,200 square feet.

This inline fan is designed to be used in either new or existing 4-inch ductwork, and its eight blades can blast air up to 2,300 RPMs. A convenient control switch allows you to easily power on the unit, as well as select between low, medium, and high speeds, and at just 3.7 pounds, is one of the lightest options on our list.

This light weight, combined with a plug and play design and universal mounting bracket, make this option fairly simple to install. Although it can be used in a variety of applications, it's an excellent choice for indoor gardening or grow rooms.

We recommend this model if all you need is a basic, inexpensive inline fan. It’s designed to be used in 6-inch ducting, and although some relatively extensive installation is required, its light weight and simple design make this a quick process.

The exhaust fan's 5.5-foot long power cord is nice and long, which can also be very helpful when it comes to installation. It’s available in 4- and 8-inch models as well, so you should be able to find a size that fits your ductwork.

We’re big fans of the lighting options built in to this Panasonic exhaust fan. There's a dimmable LED light and nightlight, always a nice-to-have feature in the bathroom. It's also easier to install than most, thanks to a bracket that expands to fit your existing joists, minimizing the amount of time spent mounting it to the ceiling.

Another highlight is that you can choose from three different airflow outputs: 50, 80, or 100 CFM. Just keep in mind that installation requires some basic electrical wiring, so it may not be the best choice if you aren't comfortable with DIY and don't want to hire an electrician.

Our favorite feature of this exhaust fan is its integrated humidity sensor, which automatically activates the fan when a certain level of humidity is detected, making this an especially hassle-free option. Plus, if you prefer not to use this sensor, you can also use the timer setting instead.

We also appreciate its brushless motor, which typically lasts much longer and operates more efficiently than older brushed motors. Small, colored LEDs set inside the grill of this fan let you know when it’s running, a feature that can really come in handy with a fan as quiet as this one.

Alex Rennie is a freelance writer who specializes in the Home Improvement, DIY, and Tool space. As a former residential and commercial carpenter, Alex uses his hands-on experience to write practical buying guides, how-to articles, and product reviews. His work has also appeared in Business Insider's Insider Picks, and before his writing career, he was a full-time carpenter living in New York City. There, he worked as part of a team designing, building, and installing large furniture pieces, as well as performing a variety of home repair and maintenance projects. Alex currently lives in Los Angeles, CA, and spends his free time exploring the beaches and mountains with his fiancé and their dog Louie.

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