Bathroom exhaust fans are quite famous… or infamous, for how LOUD they can get.
They’re loud, rickety and obnoxious. It was a small price to pay to get the smell and germs out of the bathroom.
BUT NOT ANYMORE — we went and found the top 5 quietest bathroom exhaust fans you can get your hands on.
We’ll go through each of their strengths and weaknesses and help you find the best ultra-quiet bathroom exhaust fan for your bathroom!
5 Quietest Bathroom Exhaust Fans – Full Reviews
These quiet fans were chosen from hundreds of models across dozens of brands.
They’re the BEST ones we can recommend, so take a look at which one will suit your needs best.
1. Panasonic FV-30VQ3 WhisperCeiling
The Panasonic WhisperCeiling is an absolute powerhouse of a quiet bathroom exhaust fan.
The WhisperCeiling comes with a Pick-A-Flow selector, which allows for varying airflow levels.
Starting at 50 CFM, which is good for small bathrooms, it goes all the way to 110 CFM, which is enough airpower for larger bathrooms and commercial settings.
Some versions go up to a whopping 190 CFM, heavy-duty air processing speeds that are more powerful than the competition.
This ensures your air stays fresh and your bathroom stays nice and dry!
Despite being such an incredibly powerful bath fan, it stays firmly in the 0.3-0.9 sone range and remains an ultra-silent fan.
It is so efficient that it is Energy Star compliant, meaning that it matches US Environmental Protection’s standards for saving energy, which saves you money in the long run.
Not to mention, its white grill matches virtually any bathroom decor.
- Variable airflow
- Smart-Flow Technology (for energy efficiency)
- Ultra-quiet at only 0.3-0.9 sones
- Energy Star certified
- High CFM options
- Very high demand (usually out of stock)
2. Broan – NuTone QTXE080
Best Value for Money
The Broan – NuTone may be the most prolific ventilation brand on the market right now.
And why shouldn’t it be? Although underpowered compared to the WhisperCeiling, the QTXE080 is as quiet as quiet can be.
Staying firmly within the 0.3 sone range, the fan sounds like nothing at all.
It is Energy Star rated, assuring users that it is an energy-efficient brand that doesn’t extort you on your electric bill.
The QTX 80 also possesses a permanently lubricated motor, which allows for continuous operation, and it could keep going for a long time with the proper maintenance.
It is also extremely high-tech. It comes with an automatic humidity sensor, which activates the machine. It’s a worry-free way to keep your bathroom cool and dry!
- Easy installation & energy-efficient
- Silent at 0.3 sones
- Energy Star certified
- Has humidity sensors
- Half the price of other brands
- Has an output of only 80 CFM (low airflow)
3. Tech Drive Very Quiet Fan
Best Budget Option
This budget-friendly fan is one of the cheaper fans on the list. It is so cheap that it’s cheaper than the QTXE080 by half.
This is THE fan for those looking for serious quality without having a serious budget.
Intended for residential use, it is perfect for medium-sized bathrooms up to 85 square feet.
It is another of those easy-to-install bath fans, requiring no cutting and needing no attic access to put in place.
Beyond being accessible in terms of price and assembly, it still stays on the cutting edge of technology.
Some models also come with LED bathroom lights. Why buy a separate light and fan when you can have both?
Adding to its lifespan is its Energy Star rating, meaning that it truly is energy-efficient, giving you the most usage out of your fan.
- Energy Star rated
- Quiet at 1.5 sones
- Very affordable
- Low-powered; 80 CFM at most
- Much louder (1.5 sones) than the ultra-quiet options (0.3 sones) on the list
4. Delta Electronics Breezeslim SLM70
A low-profile exhaust fan, the Breezeslim SLM70 is a small, light, relatively silent fan that is easy to install, use and maintain.
It’s Energy Star certified, ensuring that it’s efficient and energy-saving up to 85%.
For its size and price, the fan is quite high-tech, coming with a built-in indicator light to remind you that it’s on.
Unlike other quiet exhaust fans, this wall-mounted fan has a brushless motor, ensuring a longer lifespan and lower power usage with only minimal noise.
It even comes with a humidity sensor, where your fan senses change in temperature and humidity. Thus, allowing for hands-free activation when your room gets too thick and humid.
It has all the perks of other, larger brands at only a fraction of the price.
- Easy installation
- Has a humidity sensor
- Energy Star rated
- Louder than the others at 2.0 sones
- Lower airflow/CFM Level (70 CFM) compared to others
5. Kaze Appliance SE90PL2 Exhaust Fan with LED Light
This Kaze appliance fan is a solid contender for the best quiet bathroom exhaust on the market.
This ultra-quiet bathroom fan is made with a stainless steel body. It is easy to install thanks to its double hanger mounting bars, requiring no sawing or patching of the ceiling entrance.
The SE90 has a 90 CFM airflow, making it powerful and capable of filtering the air. But that’s just one of the models.
Coming in 6 different models with different airflow speeds, the highest model goes up to a mind-boggling 290 CFM, ideal for pushing air in industrial and extra-large bathrooms!
All while staying at an extremely quiet 0.3 sones.
It also comes with a motion sensor, unique among all the options on this list. It activates when you enter the room and provides an LED ceiling light to match.
- Relatively high airflow (90 CFM)
- Easy installation, double hanger mounting bars
- Energy Star certification
- Very quiet
- Options are often unavailable
How to Install a Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fan
Installing an ultra-quiet fan and replacing the existing fan may seem daunting, but it is a relatively quick experience — if you know what you’re doing.
We go over the important steps when it comes to installing a new fan below:
Step 1: Pick Your New Replacement Fan
When replacing your bathroom exhaust fan, it’s important to look at certain dimensions, such as your fan’s length, width, and height.
If your new ceiling fan will be a different size, it’s best to compare its CFM (cubic feet per minute) Rating to the machine’s total size (in both square and cubic feet).
FUN FACT: CFM is the measure of how much air your bath fans can process.
Ceiling fans with a CFM rating of 80 and above work best for a large or commercial bathroom.
The CFM rating is often balanced by the sone rating or how much fans produce sound.
You want your bathroom exhaust fan to be quiet yet powerful enough to push fresh air in and take bad air out.
So be 100% sure to get the right one before making a purchase!
Once the air’s escape route is confirmed, it is then time to confirm your electrical options.
Although it’s best to REUSE the previous wiring, you may also need to consider if new wiring will be needed.
Step 2: Remove Your Old Exhaust Fan
With your new quiet bathroom exhaust fan ready and waiting, it’s time to say goodbye to your old noisy bathroom fan:
- The first thing to do is turn off the power directly at your circuit breaker. Ensuring that there is no power running will help you focus on the task at hand.
- You can then pull down the fan cover and unclick the locking springs, exposing the essential pieces like the motor.
- Once that’s done, you can then unscrew and remove the entire motor from the bathroom fan’s housing.
- With the motor out of the way and without accessing the attic, you may have to saw the brackets holding the fan in place against the ceiling joists.
- The last step is disconnecting the wiring connections and pulling them out of the fan’s housing. This will allow you to finally remove the housing from the ceiling and clear a path for the new, very quiet bath fan.
Step 3: Install Your New Bathroom Fan
You may need to make adjustments to ensure the new fan fits in the slot.
If it is TOO SMALL, you may need to saw around your previous hole to make it wider.
On the other hand, having a hole TOO BIG will mean patching the ceiling.
Extra wood will need to be drilled onto at least one side attached to ceiling joists. This creates a tighter seal for your quiet bathroom exhaust fans to slide into.
Once you get the right slot size, follow these steps:
- The first item to go in will be the duct connector, which connects to the existing duct with HVAC tape to prevent air leakage.
- Then, you will need to remove the wiring cover and unscrew the knockout plug. These give you access to the wiring, which you will connect to the previous wiring in the ceiling.
- Once the wires are through the cable clamp, you’ll need to attach the house wires to the fan wires. Use the connectors to match the wire colors.
- You will then slide the fan assembly into the ceiling, screwing it in place.
Step 4: Test It Out
Once the grills come back on, your bathroom fan is ready for action.
With the change complete, you can now turn on the breaker and confirm that the quiet fan is working to its full capacity.
When working with just the fan, the basic steps involve simply taking out the old fan and connecting your new quiet exhaust fan in its place.
NOTE: The steps vary slightly if you have access to the attic.
Using your attic access will allow you to ensure proper venting to the outside. This will prevent condensation and molding of the attic ceiling.
However, this version requires more work and may need the hands of someone more competent in carpentry.
What to Look for in Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fans
Each of these quiet fans delivers results in its unique way.
Deciding on which one to buy will depend on just some of these factors listed below:
You may have the quietest bathroom exhaust fan ever, but if it cannot fit in your ceiling, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
While it is possible to enlarge the opening, the size of your exhaust fan also affects its weight and its ability to stay above your head.
A good rule of thumb is to check for the size of your exhaust fans in square feet (i.e., getting its area – length x width) and its volume (length x width x height) in cubic feet.
A good fit will ensure no air leakage through your ducts and help you choose the fan with the right CFM, thus a good Sone rating for you!
2. Air Flow
Speaking of CFM Rating, that is the rating that refers to the airflow of quiet bathroom fans.
To put it simply, Cubic Feet Per Minute is the measure of how much the exhaust fan moves.
A higher CFM means a higher movement rate, meaning more energy efficiency and sound.
It would be best to strike a BALANCE between wanting a high CFM and a low sone rating.
But the best quiet bathroom exhaust can give you anywhere from 50 CFM (small bathrooms) to 100 CFM (large bathrooms) with only 0.3-0.5 sones worth of sound.
3. Noise Output
The yin and yang of selecting a bathroom exhaust fan are how much air it pumps out compared to how much noise it makes.
The noise output for bathroom exhaust fans is measured through its Sone rating.
Though based on people’s perceptions of sound, sones are a mainstay of sound measurement and an important factor in choosing your ideal exhaust fan.
An older model ceiling fan makes far more noise, going at around 4 sones. This is equal to the sound a TV makes.
This is what led to the rise of ultra quiet bathroom exhaust fans in the first place.
The best quiet bathroom exhaust fans cost a pretty penny more than a regular fan but are more silent than rustling leaves at less than 1 sone.
4. Distinct Features
Exhaust fan technology has come a long way in the past few years.
Your bathroom exhaust fan now comes with various fan features that suit different personal preferences:
- Higher price exhaust fans now come with humidity sensors, allowing them to regulate bathroom temperature and keep your mirrors from fogging.
- These models come with an indicator light to let you know they’re on.
- Bath fans nowadays may also double as a bright LED light, having an LED light integrated into the machine. You won’t have to worry about having a separate bathroom ceiling light if you get these models.
5. The Price
Price is another important factor to consider.
An expensive bathroom exhaust fan may not be the best for all occasions, especially if your bathroom is small or outside your budget range.
On the other hand, lower-priced exhaust fans may be loud and abrasive. It is thus important to balance air output (CFM) with sound level (sones).
A quiet bathroom exhaust fan (those with 0.3 sones) goes for between $40 and $400.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions or concerns about best optimizing your quiet bath fan usage?
Don’t worry; we’re here to help.
What Makes a Bathroom Fan Noisy?
There are several reasons why your fan may be noisy. The first of which is just how it was made.
Cheap models have fast motors and small turbines, which leads to more sound for less work.
These fans stay in the 4 sone range, and while they’re cheap, they tend to have low CFMs for the noise they produce.
If your ceiling fan has been with you for a while, it may be dirt and poor maintenance that’s leaving it rattled.
After all, the dirtier your fan is, the worse it performs. Cleaning it and replacing the individual parts (fan, motor, etc.) may extend your fan’s lifespan.
How Can You Make Your Bathroom Fan Quieter?
While we’re on the topic of quiet bathroom exhaust fans, let’s talk about how to make your current fans quieter than they already are for a quieter bathroom.
The best quiet bathroom exhaust is one that is installed correctly.
Proper installation ensures that the fan doesn’t rattle in its pot and ensures that each part stays in place, no matter how vigorously that fan moves.
Screw everything down tightly, and you should get a solid foundation with lesser sound.
Your other option is to clean the fan completely every few months, disassembling it and using soap, water, and a toothbrush to eliminate any nasty dirt and grime.
What Is the Difference Between a Ventilation Fan and an Exhaust Fan?
Although most people use these terms interchangeably, these two kinds of fans are quite different.
Going by the name, a ventilation fan’s job is to ventilate a given space. This means it keeps the air fresh by bringing in the fresh air and spitting out stagnant air.
Meanwhile, an exhaust fan focuses less on the freshness of the air and more on keeping it from getting dirty. Exhaust fans take in air and spit out negative particles such as smoke and dust.
The main way to tell them apart is to look at where they are used.
An exhaust fan pushes out smoke and odors and is often seen in kitchens and bathrooms.
Meanwhile, a ventilation fan keeps air pure and is used in offices and bedrooms instead.
We have a guide on soundproofing vents if that is what you’re looking for.
How Many Sones Is Considered Quiet?
The Sone rating allows us to verify how loud a certain device is.
The higher the sone count, the louder the machine is.
The lowest sone count among bathroom fans is 0.3 sones, found in the “ultra-quiet” lines of most appliance brands.
Leaves rustling in the wind are slightly higher, ensuring that your fan is the quietest bathroom fan you can get.
But, to be considered quiet, a fan merely needs to hit a sone count of 1.0 or match the silent buzz of a refrigerator.
Anything above 0.3 sones but below 1.0 is already extremely quiet, and the more quiet an exhaust fan is, the more expensive it tends to be.
Our Top Picks
For a quick summary, here are our clear podium finishers amongst the five quietest bathroom fans we listed above:
Best Budget Pick – Tech Drive Very Quiet
The cheapest option on this list, the Tech Drive, packs the features from the top two in a much more accessible and affordable package.
It also has a stainless steel body, easy-install features, built-in LED lights, and a quiet package for only a quarter of the cost of the others on this list.
Best Value – Broan – NuTone QTXE080 Ultra Silent
The Broan has the best value for money among the fans on this list. Its price has an above-average CFM level while remaining extremely silent.
- It balances power and low sound levels while giving you other high-tech features.
- It comes with a humidity sensor, keeping you from struggling to adjust settings yourself.
- It may also come with LED lights, being a two-in-one appliance.
- Its permanently lubricated motor would keep it running forever, saving you money for a long time.
Best Overall – Panasonic FV-30VQ3 WhisperCeiling
The Panasonic WhisperCeiling is the best quiet bathroom fan on the market right now.
It has the highest CFM level by far, and its base model allows you to choose the airflow level automatically.
It’s energy-efficient, easy to install, ultra-silent, and the lighted models even have the brightest LED light available on fans.
It may be the one ventilation fan to rule them all.
Owning a quiet exhaust fan SHOULDN’T mean owning an ineffective exhaust fan.
Finding the right balance between noise rating and air movement is best to determine which exhaust fan is for you.
In the end, the best bathroom fan is the one that protects your den of zen from molds and foul odors.
BUT, it must also keep your ears from ringing with every trip to the porcelain throne.
We hope this article helped you decide what bathroom exhaust fan is best for your needs and budget.
Feel free to share this guide with your friends looking for a similar solution to their noisy bathroom problems!