Do you want to find the quietest bathroom exhaust fan for your home? Are you tired of having a jet fighter roaring in your bathroom?
In my opinion, a quiet bathroom exhaust fan is one rated at less than 1.0 sones and is whisper silent --- even difficult to know that it's on --- which is why some fans have indicator lights.
In this guide, you will learn things such as...
- My best choice for the most quiet bathroom exhaust fan
- Why installing a larger vent duct to the outside should be considered
- Learn how noise is rated using “sones” (what does it really mean?)
- My guide on picking the right ultra silent bathroom exhaust fans
- The pros and cons of my top choices in very quiet bathroom fans
Let's get started with this guide!
My Overall #1 Rated Pick
(Updated as of 10/15/2019)
- 80 or 110 CFM (dual speed)
- Made by a high quality manufacturer...Panasonic
- A very powerful exhaust fan, rated up to 110 CFM
- ECM motor for quiet operation
- UL Listed for tub/shower with GFCI
The Panasonic WhisperFit is an incredibly powerful bath fan that is rated at less than 0.3 sones --- an ultra quiet fan. You may have trouble hearing if this exhaust fan is even on...one of the very quietest exhaust fans on the market. This near silent bath fan comes with a “fast install bracket” that should make installation much quicker. It is rated for either 80 or 110 CFM --- there is a switch that allows you to choose. The higher CFM is just a tad bit louder.
Our Top 5 Best Ultra Silent Bathroom Exhaust Fans
What Is A Near Silent Bathroom Exhaust Fan?
A quiet exhaust fan according to the Home Ventilating Institute will be rated at a minimum of 1.0 sone or LESS. In my opinion, anything less than 0.5 sone is extremely quiet — almost silent.
With the highest quality quiet bath fans, you will barely even know that it's on...this is why some fans have indicator lights so that you know it's working. A common test is to put a piece of toilet paper up to the fan to see if there's suction.
Sone is a sound rating that is used for bathroom exhaust fans and other appliances. Anything from 1.5 to 3.0 sones is considered average loudness, and anything 4.0+ is pretty loud. Most homeowners in my neck of the woods complain about the builder-grade Broan 688 bath fans that are so typical in many bathrooms, and seem to get louder with age and dust buildup.
How Does An Ultra Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fan Work?
Usually, if a bathroom exhaust fan is very quiet, that means it has a higher quality motor which greatly reduces noise. The motor may be a brushless DC motor, or it may be an ECM controlled motor — so overall the bath exhaust fan just runs that much quieter.
Ulta quiet exhaust fans are also usually a bit more expensive. And that makes sense if you think about it — a higher quality motor is going to cost more but run much more efficiently.
Besides the higher quality motor, many of the most quiet bathroom exhaust fans use 4″ ducts rather than the standard 3″ ducting used with older bath fans. When the duct is larger, the bath fan can exhaust out more air but with less power needed — reducing the noise even more.
Pro Tip: According to Nachi.org, if you have an older bathroom exhaust fan and it is very quiet — it is more likely that it isn’t working properly!
How To Install A Quiet Bathroom Fan?
If you would like a detailed guide on how to install bathroom exhaust fans, check out my guide here. But the basics are that you will first need to remove the existing exhaust fan from the ceiling mount. Then, you will have to install the new bathroom exhaust fan in the existing cutout.
Most bath fans will come with some type of bracket where you mount the fan onto — and the bracket gets screwed onto the ceiling/wall framing. Sometimes they are called “fast install brackets” or something similar.
You will then have to connect the wiring to the existing switch and electrical wiring. If you have to add additional wiring because you want a separate switch to turn on the exhaust fan, more wiring work will be required. If you install a new switch, you may want to consider hiring an electrician.
In addition, installing a 4″ duct for a quiet bathroom exhaust fan may also require more work such as widening the exterior wall hole, as well as replacing the duct inside the wall or ceiling. According to HomeEnergySaver.Gov — if you have a vent duct that has many twist and turns, it can be just as loud as an older lower quality bath fan --- the vent duct matters.
How To Pick The Best Quietest Bath Fan?
The most important thing to consider for the quietest exhaust fan is the sone rating. In my opinion, anything 1.0 and below is considered quiet, and a fan rated 0.5 and below is ultra quiet. Of course, this is relative to how accurate the claim is made by the manufacturer. How reputable is the maker of the fan?
It's important to choose the right CFM rating for your bathroom. CFM stands for "cubic feet per minute" which is simply a rating for how much air your bathroom fan moves. A larger bathroom will require a fan with a higher CFM rating.
You also want to take into account the size of the bath fan. If you have older 2×4 wall studs, some fans may not fit into the wall. It is important to measure the housing size before you buy the exhaust fan.
One way to get a better idea of a near silent bathroom fan quality is to read customer reviews and to try and find out how happy customers are with the noise level. I also recommend finding out how challenging the installation will be as well as the durability of the fan. Is it still quiet after being used for a few years?
How Are Low Sone Bathroom Exhaust Fans Different Than Other Bath Fans?
The quietest bathroom exhaust fans are very similar to other bathroom exhaust fans except for the fact that they were designed to be ultra quiet. Most users report that they sometimes don’t even know that the fans are on.
Also, other bath fans come with different features such as humidity sensors. Humidity sensors or “humidistats” can automatically turn on the exhaust fan based on the level of humidity in the bathroom. This is a great bathroom fan feature if you want to “coerce” people to use a bathroom exhaust fan such as for renters or children.
There are also bathroom exhaust fans that come with an array of different lights. These bath fans can be a great source of additional bathroom lighting if you only have a vanity light fixture or if you need more lighting — rather than installing a separate light fixture.
Where To Buy The Best And Quietest Bathroom Exhaust Fan?
In my opinion, the best and easiest place to buy a near-silent bathroom exhaust fan is with Amazon. On Amazon you can read all of the reviews, and have a wide selection to choose from. And if you aren’t happy with the model, the return process is usually very easy.
When shopping at a big box store, they may or may not have exactly what you are looking for --- and it can be difficult to compare fans standing in an aisle with other people around. On Amazon you can compare the best quiet bath fans in the comfort of your home --- and shipping is usually very fast and reliable.
What Are The Best Ultra Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fans? (2019 Review)
Best Quality Pick: Panasonic WhisperfitEZ (80-110 CFM Dual Speed) Bath Fan
The Panasonic WhisperFit is an incredibly powerful bath fan that is rated at less than 0.3 sones — an ultra quiet fan. You may have trouble hearing if this exhaust fan is even on — one of the very quietest exhaust fans on the market.
This near silent bath fan comes with a “fast install bracket” that should make installation much faster. It is rated for either 80 or 110 CFM — there is a switch that allows you to choose. The higher CFM is just a tad bit louder.
- Made by a high quality manufacturer — Panasonic
- A very powerful exhaust fan, rated up to 110 CFM
- ECM motor for efficient operation
- UL Listed for tub/shower with GFCI
- May not fit 2×4 wall construction
- Used for 4″ or 6″ duct, so if you have a 3″ it will need an adapter
- Some LED bulbs won’t fit, only buy what is suggested by Panasonic
Best Reviewed Pick: Broan Very Quiet Ceiling Bathroom Fan
The Broan Very Quiet Bath Fan is for bathrooms up to 75 square feet, which is large enough for the average bathroom. The Broan Very Quiet Exhaust Fan is rated for 80 to 150 CFM (depending on ducting and bath size).
It is motor engineered for continuous operation so it won’t wear out prematurely, and the operation is almost silent.
- Energy Star & HVI certified — ensuring a high quality build
- Includes a hanger bar system for installation — making it simple to install
- Can be used with 6″ ducting — to move the most air
- May be more work to install a 6″ duct
- Not rated for tub/shower
Best Budget Pick: Delta Breez SLM80 Bathroom Exhaust Fan
This Delta Breez model is rated at 80 CFM but it also comes in 50, 70, and 100 CFM. The bathroom fan has indicator light to know if it’s on because at 0.6 sones it may be difficult to know.
The motor is a DC brushless type which will probably outlast many other appliances.
- Galvanized steel construction (including duct adapter) — higher quality than cheap plastic
- Can fit in a 2×4 stud wall — important for older homes
- Can be used for 3″ or 4″ ducting
- Enlarged grill cover obscures poor drywall cuts
- If used with 3″ duct it is rated for a lower 57 CFM
- The sound also increases to 0.9 sones with a 3″ duct
Best Economy Pick: BV Ultra Quiet Bath Fan
The BV Bath Fan is super quiet at 0.8 sones and is made with a stainless steel body for a long life.
The fan comes with an adjustable bracket for easy installation, and is HVI certified and UL approved.
BV created "silent-clever technology" for a whisper quiet bathroom exhaust fan --- it may be challenging to know if it's on.
- Quiet at 0.8 sones
- Stainless steel body
- Adjustable braket for install
- One year limited warranty
- May be difficult to install
- Complaints of unexpected loudness
Best Hidden Pick: Win Air Ultra Quiet Bath Fan
The Win Air bathroom exhaust fan is very quiet at an amazing 0.3 sones and has a maximum 70 CFM exhaust output.
The white grill matches virtually any bathroom decor, and the unit is pretty simple to install.
Designed to be installed with a 4" duct.
- 0.3 sones (very quiet)
- Rated for small to standard bathrooms (70 CFM)
- Decent price
- Not a name brand
- May get louder with usage