Are you looking for a great bathroom exhaust fan that has a light AND a heater?
You are in the right spot.
I have created an in-depth review of the best exhaust fans for your bathrooms with this unique combo of features.
In this guide, you will learn…
- How to pick the best light as part of your bathroom fan
- How to choose the best heater to warm up your bathroom on those cold mornings
- The advantages of having a combo bathroom fan versus a standard exhaust fan
- My top reviews for bathroom fans that include with integrated lights & heaters
Let’s get started!
Our Top Five Picks
- Broan Deluxe Heater & Light Fan Combo
- Delta Electronics BreezRadiance Heater/Fan/Light Combo
- Aero Pure Quiet Bathroom Heater Fan With Light & Heater
- Universal Security Instruments Bathroom Exhaust Fan
- Panasonic WhisperWarm Ceiling Mounted Fan Combo
What Are Bathroom Exhaust Fans with Lights and Heaters?
Your bathroom serves your life in several important ways.
First, it’s a practical place to do your business. Second, it’s a place many people retreat to bring some peace into their lives. Your bathroom exhaust fan should do both things very well.
While the name perhaps explains everything, there are a few points about these fans worth remembering. Bathroom exhaust fans with lights & heaters are useful because they provide three functions in one product.
The Fan’s Function
The bathroom exhaust fan will mount to the ceiling of your bathroom. The fan connects to ductwork and removes humid air completely from your bathroom. This is important to prevent mold and damp conditions.
Combination exhaust fans have multiple control options. They can be turned on/off by switches and timers. We’ll explore these options later.
Heating For Your Bathroom
These combo exhaust fans are engineered with integrated heaters. They warm up the air being moved by the fan. Fan heaters are a very efficient way to heat a small space quickly.
Most of these bathroom combo units come with a form of forced air heating. However, we’ve included a few with radiant heating lights. These are better for heating objects and people instead of heating the air.
The heating elements are usually incandescent. Extra electrical wiring may be required for some retrofits in existing homes.
Bright and Tidy
Bathrooms need light. A poorly lit bathroom will look dirty and dingy. No one wants their bathroom to look like a cheap interstate toilet. Thankfully, these combo units are designed to provide brilliant lighting to your bathroom.
Choices abound for lighting your bathroom. You can have LED lights, decorative light fixtures, dimmable lights, timed lights, nightlights, and the the list goes on. Choice is good!
Many units have lighting options. Since they often replace the traditional single light unit on the ceiling, options are good. We’ll explore more of these in a moment.
Controls and Installation
The controls for these units are up to you. You can have a separate switch for the fan, the heater, and the light, or you can control all three with one switch. The bathroom exhaust fan will not come with a wall switch.
Many people are paranoid about their bathroom heaters in the same way they worry about their oven or iron. A heater left on can burn the house down!
Thankfully, many of these heaters can be controlled with a thermostat or a timer.
Why Install a Combination Bathroom Exhaust Fan?
As we mentioned, these units give you three specific functions – heating, ventilation, and light – in a single unit. Let’s take a look at each function.
Clearing the Air
Exhaust is the primary function of the bathroom fans in combination units. The amount of air moved is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).
A larger bathroom should have a fan with a higher CFM rating. The minimum rating is 50 cfm for bathrooms as mentioned by the EPA.
The horrible smell from some trips to the toilet is nothing compared to the health problems caused by mold.
Allergic reactions to the presence of mold range from mild breathing problems to very serious complications for those with severe allergies or those whose immune systems are compromised.
The CDC has a sobering guide on the effects of mold in the home.
The noise level of the unit is a hidden cost. A mechanical machine on its final death rattle clattering above your head will not make your bathing experience enjoyable.
As explained by Wikipedia, bathroom fans are rated in sones according to the amount of noise they make. A sones rating of 2.0 or lower is generally considered quiet.
Let There Be Light
Bathrooms need light. Many bathrooms are made with smaller windows than normal rooms. Of course, most people visit the bathroom at night at some point.
The bathroom mirror is also a regular stop for makeup sessions.
These are all reasons why a light is useful in the bathroom.
Combo units have several lighting benefits:
- They can be more attractive by reducing the clutter of different objects mounted to the ceiling.
- Combo units get rid of several switches on the walls. This makes the bathroom seem to be designed better and more elegantly.
- New units come with different light levels available. Some are dimmable while others have a night light mode. Options are always useful.
Heating as You Want It
These systems are built with integrated heaters. Heaters can transform your bathroom from a cold, miserable place into a beautifully snug environment.
Beyond the motivation for comfort, there is one big reason why bathroom heaters are useful: Warm air holds more moisture as explained by NASA.
When your bathroom is warm, more moisture in the air means less moisture on your mirror. Also, the fan is removing moist air and replacing it with dry air. This reduces the possibility of mold buildup.
Heating your bathroom with a combination bathroom exhaust fan is more efficient than using your entire HVAC system.
Since these units can be installed with timers, you could even set your heater to have your space nice and toasty for your morning beauty time.
How to Pick the Best Bathroom Exhaust Fan with a Light and Heater?
There are a few important things to think about when choosing a bathroom exhaust fan with a light & heater for your bathroom.
If the fan is going into a new house, then installation will be simpler.
If the fan is going into the master bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, then comfort and serenity may be more important than price.
Having said that, here are a few key areas where you will need to make your own judgement.
The best light for you depends on the purpose for the light. The most common specific purpose for a light is at night.
No one wants to wake up at two in the morning.
What if the bathroom light wakes you up, though?
Studies done by numerous scientists over the past fifty years show a strong connection between bright light and sleep cycles.
The summary of them all, in a simple way, is bright light wakes you up early or makes you stay up later, as explained by the National Library of Medicine.
Bathroom combo units have two options to fix this problem for you:
- Dimmable lights are available so you can change the level of light to suit your immediate needs.
- Separate night lights are built into other models in order to produce only a low level of light during the night.
For some people, the color of the light is important. Applying makeup is just one example of when clear lighting matters.
If bright daylight is your goal, then look for LED lights emitting light in colors above 5000K.
The US Department of Energy explains all of this simply in their guide to LED lighting.
Speaking of LED’s
Lighting is a major energy savings area. By replacing your top 5 most-used lights with EnergyStar light bulbs, you could save $45 per year.
This number could be higher if you use dimmable LED lights in your bathroom.
Simply put, the best light depends on the intended use of the light. Brightness and color both affect the suitability of the light.
Modern combo unit bathroom exhaust fans have many different lighting options to suit your aims.
Two Letters (IC) for Safety
Lighting installed in or near your ceiling needs special consideration. Above your ceiling is probably insulation material.
Improperly designed and/or installed lighting may be a fire risk. Look for units designated IC-compliant.
IC refers to the thermal environment in an insulated ceiling. Basically, insulation blocks the transmission of heat.
This is good if you want to keep heat inside your home.
This is bad if a heat source is next to the insulation.
Over time, the heat source may cause the insulation to catch fire. An IC-compliant installation is designed to reduce or eliminate this risk.
The Right Fan
Choosing the best fan revolves around two considerations: noise and air.
Remember the sone rating? A low sone rating will make your bathroom really quiet. A slightly higher sone rating will provide a little background noise to soothe you or mask other … activities.
Choose the noise level you want for your space.
Fans are also rated by their CFM. The simple thing to remember is bigger bathrooms need combination exhaust fan units with higher CFM ratings.
If you blow too much air out, then the fan may struggle to keep the space heated.
Hot Air or Warm Skin
Heating works in two main ways on combination bathroom exhaust units: forced air or radiant heating.
Which one should you choose?
Forced air heating works by blowing air across a heating element. The result is hot air replacing cold air in your bathroom. Choose this method if you want to really warm up the whole space.
Radiant heating works by using infrared and ultraviolet infrared light to heat your skin and other objects.
This feels a little like standing outside on a sunny day early in the spring. You feel the warmth of the sun even though the air temperature may still be chilly.
Choose this if you’re not going to spend a long time in the room and just want to feel warm for a quick towel-off.
What Should You Know About Installation?
Building a new house makes including various components much easier. Trying to fit the same components into spaces designed for something different can be tricky.
Wiring these units should be simple for a qualified electrician. However, it will be even easier if the walls, drywall and spaces are open for installation and inspection.
Replacing older units with new systems, especially if you are adding heating, may require specific electrical work in order to be installed safely and properly.
If you’re building a new house, then choosing a product with slightly more difficult installation requirements won’t be an issue.
Replacing an old fan with a new unit might mean choosing a system with slightly easier installation requirements.
You don’t want to be cutting joists to make space for a unit that’s an inch too wide.
Removing the existing ceiling light in favor of a combo unit is often a good idea.
The new light will offer more options in connection with the fan and heater. It will also help the environment by reducing energy costs.
How Are Bathroom Exhaust Fans with Heaters and Lights Different from Other Types of Bathroom Exhaust Fans?
Apart from the obvious point about having heaters and lights, these exhaust fans are complete systems. They do more than one thing. An exhaust fan is just a fan. It moves air. A light is just a light.
Adding a heater may make your space more pleasant without needing two systems, two switches, and two sets of wiring into your room.
Adding a heater and a light all in one replaces three systems with only one unit.
Bathroom exhaust fans with humidity sensors are really useful items. They are slightly less functional than the combination units we’ve been looking at.
However, if you already have a great lighting system or heating in place, you could look at a simpler combination unit. We’ve produced a great buyer’s guide for you.
Likewise, bathroom exhaust fans with heaters are also good for your home. Integrated functions in one unit are a big step up from single-use installations.
You can look at our advice on bathroom exhaust fans with heaters here.
The lowest level of combination function is an exhaust fan with a light. These are really good for inexpensive installations. If you’re looking for one of these, then you can check out our list of the best on the market.
Modern combo units are designed to work in combinations of functions. The lights work together with the fans. The fans work together with the heaters. The goals are simple function, efficient engineering and elegant design.
Where to buy bathroom exhaust fans with heaters and lights?
The best place to buy these combination bathroom exhaust fans is online. Amazon offers a huge range of bathroom exhaust fans with heaters and lights.
You can choose different colors, different functions and different controls. To get you started, have a look at my top five products available now:
I recommend the Broan (By NuTone) Deluxe Light & Heater because it looks nice in most bathrooms and features a great night light.
No one wants to have to snap on a bright light over their head at two in the morning.
A much brighter 100W fitting gives you all the light you need at other times.
This fan unit will help you stay close to sleep in the middle of the night without drawing too much attention to itself in the middle of the day.
- Great looks make this blend into the rest of the room
- Night light helps ease your nighttime interruptions
- Four function wall switch gives you the right function at the right time
- Not the quietest unit on the market at 3.5 sones.
- Easy to install for new homes but trickier for retrofits
An integrated thermostat makes this combo unit an easy choice.
Sometimes people forget to turn off their bathroom heaters.
The thermostat makes sure the heating unit doesn’t simply burn through your whole bank balance while you’re gone.
The BreezRadiance is also a quiet unit with a slim, attractive profile.
- Thermostat keeps the room at the correct temperature efficiently
- Low noise level at 1.5 sones
- Brushless motor is great for long service in your home
- Installation is not as simple as some other models
- No thermostat or timer included for heater
Aero Pure can heat up your bathroom very well with this heater/fan/light combo unit.
There are four bulbs to bring heat to you at the speed of light.
A bulb in the middle of the unit provides light for your space.
The heat lamps are switchable in pairs so you can set the heat level for your comfort.
- Heat lamps work in pairs for extra control
- Provides a bit of flair for your bathroom ceiling if that’s what you want
- Four Year Warranty from Aero Pure
- Larger than older units so may require more installation work
- Some noise from air movement
Sometimes cheaper options suit the requirements better than more expensive options.
This brilliant little unit is great for your spare bathroom.
Your guests will appreciate the comfort while your budget will appreciate the savings.
The fan on this unit is also constantly lubricated to ensure it remains quiet through its years of service.
- Price is hard to beat for a combination unit
- Unique fan lubrication should ensure long, quiet working life
- Consistently described by owners as easy to install
- Loudest fan on this list at 4 sones
- Lower cfm makes this suitable only for smaller spaces
Panasonic produces the best product in this category in our opinion.
The WhisperWarm unit is very quiet at 0.7 sones. The heater will clear your mirror in no time after a hot shower.
The heating element features Nichrome wire with magnesium oxide for more efficient performance and heat transfer.
The installation of this unit won’t be as simple as others, but the performance is exactly what you’ve dreamed of for your bathroom.
- Super quiet, 0.7 sones rating
- 110 cfm will be sufficient for even the biggest bathroom spaces
- Energy Star bulbs and integrated night light provide great lighting solutions
- Installation is more complex than other fans
- Extra wiring may be required for adequate power supply for the heater
After looking at the five products below, we think the best choice is the Panasonic WhisperWarm fan with heater and light.
This one isn’t the cheapest to buy or the easiest to install, but its build quality and performance are the best on this list.
Bathroom fans are features you want to install and then appreciate without any further hassles.
The Panasonic WhisperWarm Fan comes with several brilliant features such as dual air intakes, Energy Star lighting, and a 3-level safety device to give you extra peace of mind.
Here are a few key features to remember:
- This is one of the quietest fans on the market. It only produces about .7 sones.
- Massive air circulation is suitable for even the largest bathrooms. The 110 cfm rating will clear the air in your space very quickly.
- The lighting is very flexible. An integrated night light allows you to use a dim light for midnight trips to the toilet.
The best bathroom exhaust fan with heater and light is, in our opinion, the Panasonic WhisperWarm fan.
Its low noise level, good operating efficiency, and great service life make it the right choice for best fan in this category.
It’s not the cheapest but the best things in your house are rarely the cheapest.