Need a bathroom exhaust fan that has a light? We have the best guide for you right here on Home Inspector Secrets.
In this ultimate buyer’s guide, you will learn…
- The top #1 best choice for a bathroom exhaust fan that comes with a light
- Why we recommend LED light bulbs
- How bathroom vent fans work
- How to pick the best fan with a light
- All of the advantages of having a bath fan with a light
Let’s get started with this guide!
Our Top 5 Best Bathroom Exhaust Fans With Lights
- Broan 744 Recessed Fan WIth Light (The Best of the Best)
- The Delta BreezIntegrity ITG80LED
- Hunter 83002 Decorative Exhaust Fan
- Broan 678 Bathroom Exhaust Fan With Light
- Air King Decorative Bathroom Fan With Light DRLC702
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 is also a light fixture.
The light can be the only source of illumination in the bathroom, or it can be supplemental to a wall fixture.
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 warping, rust door hardware, and may eventually cause structural damage to the ceiling joists.
In addition, mold love 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 airtight. Unfortunately, the side effect is too little ventilation or air flow.
A bathroom exhaust fan is an important part of maintaining a high quality indoor environment.
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 messing with the ceiling, this is the time to add more functionality to the bathroom.
Most bath vent fans are pretty bland anyways, installing a light can significantly add to it’s aesthetics.
Since most of these bathroom fans typically do not include light bulbs, at Home Inspector Secrets, we highly recommend installing energy efficient LED bulbs which will go into any standard socket.
Most bathroom exhaust fan lights will be between 50 to 100 watts.
Install Over Showers & Tubs
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 special rated exhaust fans need to be on dedicated electrical circuits that are GFCI protected (at the panel box or dedicated wall reset).
Many of these products are already rated for use over wet areas, just make sure to check.
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 Broan 744 Recessed bath fan or the decorative Hunter 83002 which can be installed in any room.
These bath exhaust fans don’t look like the normal “bathroom fan”.
Another way to increase ventilation towards an area of the home or for even the total home is to install a whole house 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)
How Does A Bathroom Ventilation Fan 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.
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.
If you have no experience with electrical wiring, we recommend hiring a qualified contractor to install the bathroom exhaust fan.
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…
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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? (**2019 Review)
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)
The Broan bathroom fan with a recessed light is a great choice if you want a “hidden” exhaust fan or a light that matches other ceiling lights.
This bath vent fan is 70 CFM so is good for small to medium sized bathrooms.
Due to it’s “recessed” light style, it can also be installed in other rooms such as a mud room or exerise room.
- Light will disappear into ceiling
- Adjustable mounting bracket makes installation easier
- UL Listed for use over wet areas such as tubs (with a GFCI dedicated circuit)
- Quiet at only 1.5 sones
- Doesn’t come with a light bulb
- The Panasonic WhisperSense is our #1 best pick in 2019 because of the following reasons…
- It looks like a normal recessed light for a chic modern look, can be installed in almost any room
- At only 1.5 sones and 70 CFM, it is much more quiet compared to similarly sized bathroom exhaust fans
3. Ease of Install
- This bath fan includes an adjustable mounting bracket up to 24″ that makes the install significantly easier
4. Rated for Wet Areas
- This bathroom fan can be installed over wet areas like a shower or tub (with a dedicated GFCI circuit)