Top 5 Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans With Lights (*2020 Review*)

Do you want a bathroom exhaust fan that has a light included? You are in the right place.

If you want additional lighting in your bathroom, then buying a bath fan that already has a light is the right choice. (And if you only want fans with LED lights, check it out here.)

In this review, you will learn…

  • My #1 top choice for best fan with light
  • Why I recommend LED light bulbs
  • How bathroom vent fans actually work
  • Features to look for in bath fans with illumination
  • All of the advantages of having a bath fan with a light included

Let’s get started with this guide!

best bathroom exhaust fans with lights

My Overall #1 Rated Pick

panasonic whisperfit best bathroome exhaust fan with light
  • One 10-watt dimmable LED light
  • Includes a 1 watt night light
  • Very quiet at less than 0.3 sones
  • Speed selector switch (choose between 80 and 110 CFM) for fan control
  • Easy install with a flex bracket
  • Quality motor that uses less energy (with 3 year limited warranty)

The Panasonic WhisperFit is my top pick for a bathroom exhaust fan that comes with a light. The energy efficient dimmable LED light also comes with a less than 1 watt night light. This bathroom fan is also very quiet since it is rated at less than 0.3 sones...hence the name "WhisperFit".  


The Panasonic Fan will also be pretty easy to install since it comes with a flex install bracket. You will also be able to choose between 80 or 100 cfm at any time with the flick of a switch.

ImageProduct
digital-business-prep-table__image
Panasonic WhisperFit
  • Dimmable
  • Quiet
  • Speed Switch
  • Dimmable
  • Quiet
  • Speed Switch
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Delta BreezIntegrity
  • LED
  • Wide Selection
  • Energy Star
  • LED
  • Wide Selection
  • Energy Star
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Hunter Decorative
  • Nice Look
  • Two Bulbs
  • Frosted Glass
  • Nice Look
  • Two Bulbs
  • Frosted Glass
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Broan 678
  • Easy Install
  • Shatter Resistant
  • 100-Watts
  • Easy Install
  • Shatter Resistant
  • 100-Watts
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Air King Decorative
  • Nickel Finish
  • Two Bulbs
  • Easy Install
  • Nickel Finish
  • Two Bulbs
  • Easy Install
View on Amazon

The Top 5 Best Rated Bathroom Exhaust Fans With Lights

Here is my list of the best bathroom exhaust fans with lights. These bathroom fans with lights come with a light fixture as part of the unit, saving a separate light fixture installation. If you want to read my full reviews, keep scrolling.

  1. Panasonic WhisperFit Retrofit Bathroom Exhaust Fan With LED Light (My #1 Top Pick)
  2. The Delta BreezIntegrity Bathroom Exhaust Fan With Light  (A Close Second)
  3. Hunter 83002 Decorative Bathroom Exhaust Fan With Light (Best Look)
  4. Broan 678 Bathroom Exhaust Fan With Light
  5. Air King Decorative Bathroom Fan With Light

What is a Bathroom Vent Fan With a Light?

A bathroom exhaust fan with a light is a combo fan that works to remove moisture from your bathroom, and at the same time also acts as a  light fixture. The fan light can be the only source of illumination in the bathroom, or it can be supplemental to a wall or ceiling fixture.

Moisture Removal

The main purpose of a bathroom vent fan is to remove moisture from the bathroom area. If not removed, moisture can eventually cause paint damage, drywall damage, rusted hardware, and may eventually cause structural damage to the wood framing. In addition, mold loves to grow in the presence of water, so a bathroom ventilation fan helps prevent toxic mold growth.

As shared by the Center for Energy and Environment, our modern homes are thoroughly insulated and nearly air tight---which is great for energy efficiency and comfort. Unfortunately, the side effect is too little ventilation or air flow. A bathroom exhaust fan is an important part of maintaining high quality indoor air.

A Light Fixture

Installing a bathroom fan that already has a light is a great choice if you need more light in your bathroom. Since you will be doing electrical wiring, and possibly cutting out the ceiling, this is a great time to add more lighting to the bathroom.

Most bath vent fans are pretty bland anyways, installing a light can significantly add to it’s aesthetics as well.

Since most of these bathroom fans typically do not include light bulbs, I highly recommend installing energy efficient LED bulbs which will go into any standard socket---so will fit 99% of bathroom exhaust fans. Most bathroom exhaust fan lights will be between 50 to 100 watts.

Read Also: How To Size A Bathroom Exhaust Fan (The Best Method?)

If you want to install your bathroom exhaust fan with a light over a shower or tub, it must be rated for that purpose from the manufacturer.

Water and electricity don’t mix, so bathroom fans rated for use over showers are designed to be safe in these wet areas. These specially rated exhaust fans need to be on dedicated electrical circuits that are GFCI protected (at the panel box or dedicated wall reset).

GFCI stands for "ground fault circuit interruptor" which basically means there is a switch that will cut off power if it detects a problem. You don't want to get shocked when taking a shower if you know what I mean.

Many of these products are already rated for use over wet areas, just don't forget to make that your electrical circuit is GFCI. The breaker at the panel box that goes to the bathroom fan will have a button on it and say "GFCI".

Use in Rooms Other Than Bathrooms

These bathroom exhaust fans can be used in rooms other than bathrooms where more ventilation is wanted. There are bathroom exhaust fans that look like regular lights such as the Hunter 83002 bath fan which can be installed in any room.

These bath exhaust fans don’t look like the normal “bathroom fan”.

Installation in these alternative areas may include…

  • Garages (smelly chemical fumes)
  • Mud room (allergens, dander)
  • Exercise room (smelly odors)
  • Kitchen area (food smells, but do not install directly over cooktop)

Read Also: Venting a Bathroom Fan Into An Attic (My Detailed Guide)

How Does A Bathroom Ventilation Fan With A Light Work?

Bathroom exhaust fans with lights work by removing air from the bathroom. Most bathroom fans will be able to completely remove the total volume of bathroom air once per minute. This air is transferred to the outside through a flexible or rigid duct (a vent hose).

Must Vent To Exterior

It is important to make sure that it is actually being vented to the outside, as stated by University of Southern California. If the bathroom vent goes into a wall cavity or into the attic, the excess moisure can lead to mold growth or wood decay — a potentially costly problem.

During my home inspections, I frequently come across bathroom vents to go directly into the attic. It is okay for a bathroom vent to go through an attic if it goes all the way to the roof. On the roof, there needs to be a special roof cover that has a flap.

Wall Switch For The Light

Bathroom exhaust fans with lights are designed to be used with wall switches for operation. You have to option to wire the exhaust fan to one switch, so it will turn on the fan and the light at the same time.

You can also wire the fan to one switch, and the light to another. 

How To Pick The Best Bathroom Exhaust Fan With a Light?

There are a few key essentials in picking the best bathroom fan that comes with a light.

Since having a light is important to you, it is good to know that there are a few different options…

  1. Decorative Light. These lights look like a normal bedroom light fixture, and people won’t even notice that it is a fan (at least until it’s turned on).
  2. Recessed Light. These bathroom fans look like a normal recessed ceiling light. There is a small, barely noticeable gap above the light bulb that pulls in air. These exhaust fans are great if you want the exhaust fan to match existing recessed lights, or for installation in a closet.
  3. Normal Light. These are the units that look like your average bathroom exhaust fan. If your install is in the bathroom, and you don’t need anything fancy, this is the most affordable choice.

Fan Strength in “CFM”

The most important rating for bathroom fans is called CFM or Cubic Feet Per Minute. This metric simply means how much air the fan takes out, let’s say 50 cubic feet in one minute. Then the fan is rated at 50 CFM.

Most fans will be anywhere from 50 CFM and up to 120 CFM. The general rule for CFM is that you want 1 CFM per square foot of bath area.

Let’s say your bathroom floor is 8′ x 8′ or 64sf. In this case, you would want a bathroom fan that is at least 64 CFM or higher.

Regardless of size, a bathroom will always need a CFM rating of at least 50 CFM as stated by the Berkeley Lab.

bathroom exhaust fan with light

How Are Bath Fans With Lights Different From Other Bathroom Exhaust Fans?

A bathroom exhaust fan with a light is different in a few ways from other bathroom exhaust fans. There are bath exhaust fans that come with humidity sensors. These special fans will turn on and off automatically without needing to flip a wall switch. Humidity sensors are perfect for homes where you don’t think the residents are actually using the bathroom exhaust fan and are worried about causing damage.

Besides humidity sensors, there are bath fans that include heaters. Installing a fan with a heater is a great idea if your bathroom get’s very cold in the morning. The heater will heat up the bathroom in a few minutes without having to touch the central thermostat — so you also save energy.

Where To Buy The Best Fan With a Light Included?

You can buy bathroom fans with lights at most big box stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. At Home Inspector Secrets, we recommend Amazon because it is the biggest online retailer in the world.

Besides, who wants to drive to a department store, possibly in poor weather, when they may not even have the bathroom fan that you want? When you shop on Amazon, you can be sure that they have the widest possible selection of bathroom exhaust fans with lights.

You will be able to easily compare prices, read informative reviews, and make a decision in the comfort of your own home.

What Are The Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans That Include Lights?

Here are my top picks of bath fans that include built-in lights...

The Panasonic WhisperFit is a great bathroom exhaust fan that comes with an LED light. The 10-watt dimmable LED light also includes a less than 1-watt night light.

This fan includes a speed selector switch so you can control the fan speed from 80cfm to 100cfm. It is also easy to install with a flexible bracket included.

The Panasonic WhisperFit is also very quiet at less than 0.3 sones.

  • Dimmable 10-Watt LED Light
  • Less Than 1-Watt Night Light
  • Quiet (less than 1.0 sones)
  • Speed Selector (80 or 110cfm)
  • Easy Install Bracket Included
  • More Costly
  • No Humidity Sensor
  • Fits Only 4" & 6" Vents

Here is our best budget friendly bathroom fan pick that comes with a light.

This Delta model comes in a wide range of sizes from 50 CFM up to 100 CFM (small and large bathrooms).

It also comes with an LED light bulb so you don’t have to buy one.

At 0.7 to 1.5 sones, these are pretty quiet fans.

  • A quiet bathroom exhaust fan
  • Comes with the LED light bulb
  • Model comes in different CFM sizes, take your pick
  • Affordable price

  • It is a plain looking bath fan, nothing decorative about it
  • Says it is “dimmable,” but doesn’t come with dimmer switch

This bathroom fan with a light is made by Hunter and is a 110 CFM, so it is suitable for medium to large bathrooms.

This decorative fan has an beautiful bronze finish with a frosted glass lens.

The fan uses two light bulbs at 60 watts each.

  • A beautiful looking fan, it looks like a nice light fixture
  • Rated for use over wet areas (with a dedicated GFCI circuit)
  • Fits medium to larger sized bathrooms
  • Light bulbs not included
  • Some users have complained that LED bulbs get clouded by the glass lens
  • At 3 sones, it is louder than your average bathroom fan

This Broan model comes in two sizes of 50 CFM and 70 CFM, so you can choose the right one for your bathroom.

The bathroom vent fan holds a 100 watt light bulb, and LED is recommended for install.

The permanently lubricated motor ensures that you don’t have to lube the motor in the future.

  • Has “keyholed” mounting brackets for an easier install
  • The light lens is shatter resistant for safety
  • With two different sizes (50 CFM & 70 CFM), you can choose the right size for your bathroom
  • At 2.5 to 3.5 sones, this fan may be a little loud

This beautiful fan looks like a normal ceiling light fixture, suitable for a small to medium sized bathroom — or any room where air quality needs improvement.

The ribbed and frosted glass lens adds a nice sophistication to a bathroom fan.

The vent fan comes with a useful adjustable hanging bracket for ease of install.

  • Looks good with a nickel finish, a hidden vent fan in plain site
  • Uses two 60 watt bulbs (preferably LED) so you can use it as your only light
  • Adjustable hanging brackets will help make it an easy install
  • Glass lens won’t yellow like with a plastic lens

  • At 4 sones, it will be somewhat noisy, unless you like white noise
  • At 70 CFM, it is not suitable for large bathrooms
  • Some users have complained about it rusting (spraying it with a coat of polyurethane did the trick for one reviewer)

My #1 Top Pick: The Panasonic WhisperFit Retrofit EZ Bathroom Exhaust Fan With Light

Here are a few reasons why the Panasonic WhisperFit is my top choice...

1. Dimmable 10-Watt LED Light

The fan comes with a dimmable LED light panel. The LED lighting is much more energy efficient than standard lighting, and frankly, it looks better.

2. Night Light

A less than 1-watt LED night light is also included with the lighting.

3. Quiet

At less than 0.3 sones, this fan is very quiet, hence the name "WhisperFit".

4. Speed Selector Switch

An awesome feature of the Panasonic fan is that you can flick a switch and go from 80cfm to 110cfm. You can control the fan speed to your liking.

5. Easy Install

Included is a flexible metal bracket that makes installation so much easier.

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4 thoughts on “Top 5 Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans With Lights (*2020 Review*)”

  1. Hi There!
    I just finished reading through ‘Top 5 Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans with light’ (2020).
    It was the most useful and informative (and easy to read) page I’ve found on the web! Thank you!
    I’ve got an older Nutone fan mounted in the ceiling of my shower stall, and it’s worked fine for years. It vents to a side wall. It still seems to work just fine with the motor and blades moving and sounding just as they always have. However, over the past month the unit has developed an unusual ‘thump, thump’ sound that seems independent of the motor. The sound is not consistent in its cycle or volume; it speeds up and down and gets louder and quieter. Kinda weird. But the fan rotates and motor continues on doing their thing.
    I’ve had the cover off and vacuumed out everything I could reach, but it’s had no impact on the sound.
    So I’m wondering if the entire unit needs to be replaced. Or perhaps there is something amiss with the exhaust hose or wall vent (the vent looks just fine visually from two floors away).
    Any ideas?
    I’m happy to switch it out with the Broan NuTone 678 you recommend, assuming the dimensions are similar. It’s affordable and would provide a welcome light in the sometimes dark shower stall (it has a light tube in the ceiling). I will probably also go with a GFCI switch too. Thanks for that recommendation!
    Good website!

    Reply
  2. Would it be ok to if I put in a 100cfm exhaust fan in a smaller bathroom in hopes to pull out even more moisture from the bathroom?

    Reply
    • Hey Curtis,

      It will probably be fine. But I would be aware that there is a possibility of backdrafting gas-burning appliances if the CFM of all the home’s exhaust fans are too strong. It is usually recommended 1-cfm per SF up to 100-sf for bathrooms. I would keep a watch on any signs of backdrafting or negative air pressure in the home.

      Another possibility is to go from a 3″ vent pipe to a 4″ pipe. I would also make sure that the bath vent fan is not obstructed, and that there isn’t a bird’s nest on the end of the vent. Is the hood flap working? Is there good air flow on the outside when the bath fan is on?

      Cheers,

      Arie

      Reply

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Arie Van Tuijl

Arie Van Tuijl

Arie is the founder of Home Inspector Secrets, an online resource dedicated to helping people understand how homes work. He is a licensed home inspector in two U.S states and owns a residential and commercial inspection company (read his full bio on the About page). To ask Arie a question, please use the comment box at the bottom of the relevant article.

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Home Inspector Secrets is an online resource for owners, buyers, and sellers to understand all aspects of home maintenance. We have detailed home guides, product reviews, inspection advice, and much more.