Expert Reviews: Top 5 Best Bathroom Fans According to Consumer Reports’ Standards

by iupilon
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Choosing the right bathroom fan can be a challenge with so many options available. To help you find the best one for your home, we’ve compiled reviews of five top-rated bathroom fans. Our expert analysis breaks down each fan’s features, pros, and cons, making it easier to choose the right one for your needs and budget.

The Broan-NuTone 671 ventilation fan is a budget-friendly option with a high airflow of 70 CFM, but it can be noisy and challenging to install. The Panasonic FV-0511VQC1 is a great choice for larger bathrooms, with its quiet operation and efficient moisture and odor elimination. Our reviews of the Delta BreezSlim SLM70, BV Ultra-Quiet, and Homewerks 7140-80 also provide a detailed analysis of each fan’s features and performance.

By reading our expert reviews, you can make an informed decision and find the right bathroom fan for your home. We’ve provided a breakdown of each fan’s features, including airflow, noise level, ease of installation, and energy efficiency. With this information, you can find the best bathroom fan to meet your needs and budget.

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Broan-NuTone 671 Ventilation Fan

Pros:
  • Perfect fit for a same-sized housing replacement.
  • Good performance in clearing moisture from the air.
  • Inexpensive, reliable, and straightforward.
  • Easy to access interior for maintenance and cleaning.
Cons:
  • Noisy, some customers complain that it hurts their ears.
  • Difficult installation, the instructions can be unclear, and modifications to the housing may be required.
  • Does not move much air, even for small bathrooms.
  • The housing is slightly smaller and rougher than previous models.
  • Can be confusing to order the correct replacement parts due to the alpha code system.

The best thing about this bathroom fan is that it can eliminate smoke, including cooking odors, tobacco, etc. That is because it offers airflow of 70 CFM and has a 6.0 sone rating. It ensures little to no disturbance, even when the ventilation fan runs consistently. With the spring-based grill mount mechanism; there is no need to get any complex tools for installation either.

Want a fan that can amalgamate with the bathroom decor?

If so, painting the grills of this fan is possible since they are made of polymer. The plug-and-use design makes it easy to use. The high airflow is possible because of the centrifugal blower wheel. In terms of durability, it uses corrosion-resistant galvanized steel.

In summary, the Broan-NuTone 671 ventilation fan is a budget-friendly option that works well for small spaces but can be noisy and challenging to install. It may be a good choice as a drop-in replacement for a same-sized housing but may not be suitable for new installations or larger spaces. Customers may need to do some research or watch instructional videos before attempting installation to avoid confusion.

Panasonic FV-0511VQC1 WhisperSense DC Ventilation Fan

Pros:
  • Easy to install, especially for replacing an old Panasonic fan.
  • Quiet operation at lower speeds.
  • Good build quality.
  • Multiple settings, including automatic moisture sensing and motion sensor.
  • Helps cool the house and prevent moisture-related issues.
  • High airflow for quick ventilation.
Cons:
  • May not be as quiet as desired due to ductwork.
  • The mounting bracket may not fit all installations.
  • Some users experience difficulty with the fan shutting off.
  • Technical support may not resolve all issues.
  • Instructions for automatic moisture sensing may be confusing.

The advantage of this bathroom ventilation fan is the three-speed levels on offer. The lowest is 50 CFM, the moderate one is 80 CFM, and the highest is 110 CFM. It means the ventilation fan is suitable for bigger bathrooms. Compatibility with 4-inch or 6-inch duct adapters makes it perfect for any bathroom. The quiet design helps in consistent usage. Besides that, it eliminates moisture and pollution to create the right ambiance in the bathroom. It uses dual sensor technology to detect moisture and odor, and accordingly, it eliminates them. Since it is energy star rated, one won’t have to worry about electricity consumption either.

With a Flex-Z bracket, installation requires less than 1 hour. While it is designed mainly for bathrooms, the efficiency is so high that one can use it in the laundry room, garage, or basement. This certainly makes it better than many other bathroom fans. The ventilation fan does have a humidity sensor (as highlighted above). Apart from that, it has a motion sensor.

Unplug the sensors to bypass them and control the fan using the switch. In this mode, it will turn on and off with the help of a button. The plastic construction makes it lightweight but durable. Plastic can handle humidity well, which is why this fan lasts long. The low noise makes continuous operation possible. It doesn’t rattle even after a few months of use.

Overall, if you’re looking for a bathroom ventilation fan that is easy to install, operates quietly, and effectively prevents humidity and bad air quality, the Panasonic FV-0511VQC1 WhisperSense DC fan is a great choice. Whether you’re renovating your bathroom or simply looking to upgrade your current fan, this model is definitely worth considering.

Delta BreezSlim SLM70 70 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan

Pros:
  • Easy to install without having to access the attic or cut a larger hole
  • A sturdy plastic enclosure reduces overall operational noise
  • Quieter than the Broan 688 with a noise level of either 2 or 1 sones
  • Powerful for its size and suitable for a small half bath
Cons:
  • The plastic duct port may not be well-fitted and may require patching with tape and mastic
  • Does not include an installation bracket and may allow unconditioned air from the attic to enter the home
  • The wiring process may be difficult
  • May not be powerful enough for a full bath with a shower
  • Not as high quality as the Panasonic Whisper series exhaust fans

The Delta BreezSlim is suitable for any bathroom size due to its availability in 4 different variants with a rating of 50 CFM, 70 CFM, 80 CFM, and 100 CFM. Another reason this fan is so reliable is because of the powerful DC motor fan inside. The motor is rated for 70000 hours or 8 years of continuous operation. Of course, hardly ever will someone run it consistently for that long. However, such a rating speaks volumes about the build quality of the motor inside.

Such high reliability comes with a noise rating of 2.0 sones. Compare it with any similar fan; one will realize that the noise level is pretty low. Another advantage is the slim profile of the fan, which enables ceiling installation, wall mount installation, and even retrofitting. Modifying the bathroom isn’t necessary to install this fan.

A simple rule is to get the 50 CFM variant for a bathroom of 50 square feet, and 70 CFM fan for a bathroom of 70 square feet, and so on. The energy-rated design ensures that electricity consumption is limited even with consistent use.

Overall, the Delta BreezSlim SLM70 is a good option for those who are looking to replace an old fan, but it is not as high quality as the Panasonic Whisper series exhaust fans. The Panasonic fans are easier to install and provide lifetime energy savings, making them a more durable and reliable option. However, the Delta BreezSlim SLM70 can be a good alternative for those who are looking for a cheaper and more convenient replacement option.

BV Ultra-Quiet Ventilation and Exhaust Bath Fan

Pros:
  • Provides more powerful suction than some older models.
  • Reasonably priced.
  • Can be installed without attic access.
  • Quiet when installed properly.
  • Looks nice when installed.
Cons:
  • Poorly written instructions with low-quality images.
  • Installation can be difficult and time-consuming, especially without attic access.
  • May require modifications to fit in some ceiling holes.
  • Some quality control issues were reported, such as burrs on plastic parts or gaps between the motor and mounting plate.
  • May not work well in larger bathrooms or with hot showers.
  • The vent cover color may not match the ceiling color.
  • Not as quiet as advertised.

Bigger bathrooms require even bigger fans with higher airflow. This one offers 90 CFM and 110 CFM variants. Despite that, the noise rating is only 0.8sone. The larger variant is even suitable for commercial bathrooms. This bathroom fan comes with stainless steel 4-in duct collar. Consequently, installing it is easy.

Necessary installation hardware is included with the fan, like housing, wiring compartment, support braces, secure tabs, and a detailed installation guide. The fast humidity elimination helps to deal with mild steamy mirrors, peeling wallpaper, and so on. Creating the right ambiance in the bathroom is easier because of fast humidity elimination.

In conclusion, while the BV ultra-quiet ventilation and exhaust bath fan may be a good option for some, it is not without its issues. Users who are comfortable with DIY installation and have a smaller bathroom may find the fan easy to install and effective. However, users who are not comfortable with DIY installation, have larger bathrooms, or like hot showers may find that the fan does not work as well for them. Finally, users should be aware that modifications may be needed to fit the fan in some ceiling holes, and that the instructions are not very helpful.

Homewerks 7140-80 Bathroom Fan

Pros:
  • Powerful and effective at removing moisture from the bathroom.
  • Whisper-quiet operation.
  • Sturdy and well-packaged.
Cons:
  • Challenging installation, particularly with bracing and mounting.
  • Bright status light.
  • No adjustable humidity levels, which can result in a colder bathroom in winter.
  • Some reviewers reported durability and quality issues.

Homewerks bathroom fan comes with different air flow variants like 50 CFM, 80 CFM, 110 CFM, and so on. There is an energy-rated and 40 CFM variant with a humidity sensor. The point is, multiple variants are available to fulfill any requirement. The fan is efficient enough to remove foul odor. Even the 110 CFM fan has a noise rating of 1.5 sones. Consequently, the noise is low.

The frame is made from galvanized steel. Despite that, the fan has a modern design. Galvanized steel is also corrosion-resistant. The duct connector is embedded into the design for easy installation. ETL certification makes it highly reliable. The fan comes with a status indicator light. It means in the absence of noise, one can know the exact status of the bathroom fan. However, installation can take some time.

Overall, many reviewers still found the Homewerks 7140-80 bathroom fan to be a good value for its performance and quiet operation. The fan appears to be effective in removing moisture from the bathroom, which is a critical function for a bathroom fan. While installation and durability may be concerns for some, many reviewers felt that the fan performed well and provided good value for the price.

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