Best Ventilation Fan

Those long, luxurious showers you enjoy so much could be hurting your house. How so? All that humidity and moisture in a concentrated space—your bathroom—creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can damage building materials, including drywall and wood framing. Fortunately, you have a friend and defender—the bathroom exhaust ventilation fan. This little workhorse removes excess moisture, odors and even mold spores that can lead to health problems. Ventilation Fans are most often found in bathrooms but can be used in any room where air circulation is an issue.
Best Ventilation Fan Reviews
13 mins to read
64 products considered
18 products reviewed
44 hours reviewing

1. Panasonic 11VQ5

Best Overall Ventilation Fan

5/5 Product Rating
The Panasonic FV-11VQ5 Whisper Ceiling Mounted Ventilation Fan is the top pick because it is both powerful and quiet in its operations. This fan has both a motor and a blower built into the housing and operates on 120 volts and 60 megahertz. This is a design that can be installed with new construction or retrofitted into an existing shower or bath. It uses GFCI circuit wiring and circulates air up to 110 CFMs with noise levels at 0.3 sone, making it virtually silent. The housing features a double hung system that allows you to position the unit in its most ideal way for efficient operations. The grille is built into the housing for a sealed unit that installs with torsion springs.

The Panasonic FV-11VQ5 Whisper Ceiling Mounted Ventilation Fan is designed to be ducted to the exterior, rather than venting the air into the attic. This provides superior ventilation and prevents moisture build up in your attic space. The Grille is 13 inches square and includes an enclosed condenser motor that has four poles. The motor also includes thermal cutoff fuses. It is built to run continuously and includes a motor that is permanently lubricated giving the motor a longer life. It is a low noise unit and runs so quiet you will barely be able to tell it is on. The unit is energy star rated and conserves energy. It is also certified by the HVI (Home Ventilation Institute), certified under both UL and CUL to meet their ridged safety standards. The housing of the fan is made of galvanized steel and features rust proof paint for longer wear. The brackets are able to expand up to 24 inches for easy installation to fit your space. Lastly is features a damper that is built into the unit and prevents a backdraft. Outside air is not allowed to come through the fan, saving you money caused by energy loss.

Sarah Lytle

2. Panasonic 11VVHL2

Best Overall Ventilation Fan – Runner Up

4.9/5 Product Rating
The Panasonic FV-11VVHL2 Whisper Warm Mounted Ventilation Fan Heat and Light Combination is a top pick because it offers a virtually silent operation with both a light and heat exchange for the perfect combination unit. It may be installed in new construction or as a retrofit to an existing ventilation fan. This unit is designed to be ducted to the outside air, rather than ducted to the attic, reducing moisture and condensation in the attic which cause mold growth or other forms of water damage to your home.

The Panasonic FV-11VVHL2 Whisper Warm Mounted Ventilation Fan Heat and Light Combination is smaller, quieter and easier to install than most of its competitors. The unit includes a heating element with chrome wires with magnesium oxide. This provides optimal heat transfer and warms air coming in to save energy. There is a blower wheel that draws air in from both sides of the unit providing access to better air circulation. The heating element and housing are made from stainless steel material. The air exchange warms the bathroom better than a heat lamp and gives you a comfortable transfer from a warm shower into a warm room. The unit them takes out the moisture in the air to prevent mold or mildew growth.

The unit includes a ventilation fan, a heater and a light. The ventilation fan holds 2 18 watt compact fluorescents which is the equivalent of a 100 watt lightbulb. There is also a 4 watt nightlight build in for seeing in the dark. The motor has virtually silent operations and includes an enclosed condenser fan for more efficient operations and a longer motor life. There is a blower than silently moves the air throughout the room and draws the air into the ducts. The wide blower is able to move more air with less noise than traditional ventilation fans. It is also designed to operate at lower temperatures reducing heat buildup in the unit extending the life of the motor. The fan combination has a noise level of 0.7 sone and the fan operates at 110 cubic feet per minute ventilating a bathroom of up to 110 square feet. The damper prevents backdrafts and the rust proof paint ensures the unit will stay in top condition for years. The dimensions of the unit are 18 X 13 inches and it weighs 39 pounds.

Sarah Lytle

3. Broan 690

Best Budget Ventilation Fan

4.8/5 Product Rating
The Broan 690 Bathroom Fan Upgrade Kit is a top pick because it can save you money by installing an upgrade kit that uses the existing housing and duct work and only replaces the motor and cover. This upgrade kit features a bath fan and cover that will fit into your existing unit. Installation is easier and can be accomplished in minutes’ savings you both time and money. It does not require ne duct work or new wiring, yet you gain the benefit of updated technology that operates more efficiently that older fan models.

Broan 690 Bathroom Fan Upgrade Kit is able to reduce noise levels by up to 50 percent and improve your airflow by approximately 20%. The unit will effectively control moisture eliminating problems with mold and mildew. The new motor is able to produce 60 CFMs and has a noise rating of 3.0 sones. The updated grill will fit on most standard units improving the look and feel of the fan with a modern look. Two motor plates are also included and will fit most existing fan housing.

Sarah Lytle

Ventilation Fan Comparison



Broan 690

Air King


Broan 678




Broan 688

Air Flow

11011060901505015070290 50










Amperage0. 1.60

21.1030.6013.8717.1128.4010.0023.4018.0064.00 10.00
Grille Size
13.0013.009.008.0013.0010.6313.008.006.00 6.00
Package112111111 1


Ventilation Fan Buying Guide

Ventilation Fan Buying Guide

What is a Ventilation Fan?

When looking for a Ventilation Fan there are several things you want to consider.

Ventilation Fan1What System is being replaced? The first question to ask is where the unit will be going. If you have an existing system do you need to replace ductwork and wiring or is the existing box acceptable. New construction applications or adding a ventilation fan into a bathroom will require a complete unit rather than a retrofit.

How Large Is Your Bathroom? Each ventilation fan is designed to circulate air over a specific square footage. Smaller bathrooms do not need as large a unit as larger bathrooms. It is better to get a bigger unit that does not need to work as hard than a unit that is too small and will not do an adequate job getting moisture out of the air.

Wall or ceiling mount? Nearly all ventilation fans can be used on the wall or ceiling without being specifically designed for one or the other.

Do you want just a fan or other bells and whistles? Basic ventilation fans are going to be the most cost effective option. Adding a light, a heater, or a heat exchange will add to your comfort and convenience but come at an increased price for the fan.

Can you install the unit yourself? Installation costs can be higher than the cost of the fan. If new electrical wiring needs to be added or duct work needs to de designed to ventilate the fan outside an electrical or HVAC specialist may be required for proper installation. If you are not knowledgeable it is best to leave this work to the professionals. Mistakes can cause a fire or lead to moisture buildup in your walls or attic.

Features To Consider

Ventilation Fans differ in features significantly. Technology has produced newer models that run more efficiently and quieter than previous models. Upgrading your existing fan can lead to higher levels of comfort in the bathroom along with additional features that may add to your comfort. A few valuable features to look for include:

Is the existing system properly vented? Just because you have a current fan does not mean it is vented to the outside. Many contractors vent the fans into the ceiling because it is cheaper to install. The trouble with this design is that it drives moist air into a dark insulated space that can trap that moisture into the attic where summer temperatures can reach above 100 degrees. In this environment mold and mildew thrive. Improper ventilation can lead to damage to the wood, insulation, dry wall and other foundational aspects of the home. It is a little more to ventilate the fan outside, but doing so could save you thousands in repair costs down the road.

What is the Air Flow Capacity? Air flow capacity refers to how large a room the unit is able to ventilate. The capacity is measured by CFMs or cubic feet per minute. You should install a unit that allows for a minimum of 1CFM for each square foot in the room. If the bathroom is bigger than 100 square feet add 50 CFMs for each toilet and 50 for each shower or bath to get proper venting.

Ventilation Fan2How loud is the unit? Noise levels are rated as sones and can range from 0.3 to 1.2 for units that are extremely quiet. A unit that is 1.5 to 2.0 are considered very good with regard to noise levels and those over 3 sones are considered to be loud compared to other units.

Do you want a motion sensor? Motion sensors turn the fan on automatically anytime someone walks in the room. This allows for efficient operations and ensures the moisture in extracted from the room without having to remember to turn the fan on.

Do you want a light? Adding a light to the fan also makes it so the fan will turn on anytime the light is turned on. This can be a great feature but may increase installation costs as the lighting must be wired into the outlet.

Do you want a heater? Heaters are one of the most popular added features because it warms up the bathroom while controlling moisture. In colder climates where the cold air from the bathroom is vastly different than the warm water from the shower can determine if you want to add a built in heater with the fan. This will likely double the cost of the unit but many find it to be well worth the upgrade.


Ventilation fans are a great addition to any bathroom and upgrading your unit during a bathroom remodel will be well worth it for the added comfort and new upgraded features that are now available. Older units tend to be loud and inefficient. Newer models have an upgraded look, run more cost effectively and reduce the sound by 50% or more.