Do you want to find the best ventless bathroom exhaust fan?
Duct-free bath fans use activated charcoal filters to remove foul odors and they recirculate the air in the room.
In this product review, I will go over...
- My #1 top pick for duct-free bathroom fans
- How activated charcoal filters work
- Why 'through-the-wall' bathroom fans may be a suitable option
Let's get started with this guide!
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My Overall #1 Rated Pick
Updated On September 14, 2022
My overall top pick for the best ventless bathroom exhaust fan goes to the Broan-Nutone 682NT. This exhaust fan operates completely ventless so you don't need an exterior wall or duct hassles. The 682NT uses an activated charcoal filter to remove odors from the air as well as circulate the bathroom air. The installation is pretty easy with a snap-in metal housing.
Our List of Highly Rated Ductless Bath Fans
In a rush? Check out our top 4 recirculating bathroom fans below! Keep reading for our full reviews and the buyer's guide.
Duct-Free Bath Fans Will Remove Smells & Improve Air Circulation Only
Sometimes homeowners just need a ventless bathroom fan instead of a regular vented fan. Exterior vented exhausts primary purpose is to remove excess moisture from the air.
But if you have a powder room or half bath, a vented exhaust fan may not be required since there isn't a lot of moisture in the air. For half bathrooms, removing smells and odors may be a bigger concern.
And if it isn't possible to install a long vent to the outside, or maybe you just need minimal air circulation in a closet, then a duct-free bathroom fan is the way to go.
Ductless Exhaust Fans Use Charcoal/Carbon Filters
Ventless bathroom fans use activated charcoal filters to cleanse the air of odors.
Activated charcoal is an extremely porous substance with millions of microscopic holes. The high surface area of activated charcoal binds to the odor molecules wafting in the air of your bathroom.
Activated carbon filters are also known to remove things like benzene, and other volatile organic compounds.
Kitchen range hoods that are recirculating also use activated carbon filters just like these duct-free bathroom fans.
Duct-Free Bathroom Exhaust Fans Will Never Be As Good As Regular Bath Fans
These recirculating bathroom fans don't work as well as exterior vented bathroom fans, but they get the job done. In addition to removing smells, there is some value in just moving air in the small bathroom or closet.
Stale air can create off smells and may even cause damage to your belongings.
Even though the air isn't going to the outside, there is some value in just moving the recirculating existing air.
Read Also >> What Are Bath Fan Sone Ratings?
'Through-The-Wall' Bathroom Vent Fans May Work If It's On An Exterior Wall
In my product reviews, I have also included a few 'through-the-wall' exhaust fans.
These fans aren't strictly ductless fans, but they are pretty close. Through-the-wall bathroom fans vent directly through an exterior wall to the outside or even to an adjacent interior room.
Since it is directly vented, the 'vent hose' is literally only a few inches long. Vent elbows or long vent runs aren't needed which can make the installation significantly easier.
And since these exhaust fans are removing air from the room (not just recirculating), the air quality and odor removal is much higher than ventless bath fans that use charcoal filters.
Read Also >> How To Stop Condensation In A Exhaust Fan?
Our Reviews of Highly Rated Ductless Bathroom Exhaust Fans
Here are my full reviews of the best ventless exhaust fans together with their pros and cons. Check it out below...
The 682NT by Broan-Nutone is a basic bathroom fan that can be installed without ductwork. It filters the air using an activated charcoal filter which will need to be periodically replaced.
This is a nice bathroom fan for small rooms, closets, or half baths. It will not remove moisture from a room, but it will help remove smells and give the room some air circulation.
The 682NT includes a snap-in metal housing for a fast installation in a ceiling or wall. It includes a white plastic grille that will fit in with most home decor.
The 682 by Broan-Nutone is bascially the same bathroom fan as the 682NT except for the fact that the housing dimensions are different. The 682 is 7.5" x 7.13" x 3.75" (while the 682NT is 7.13" x 3.75" x 7.13").
The 682 includes an activated charcoal filter to remove odors which needs to be regularly replaced. This ventless bathroom fan is great for small rooms, closets, or half baths.
For installation, this duct-free exhaust fan required at minimum 2" x 4" open space and can be installed in the wall or ceiling. It features a permanently lubricated motor so that it will last a long time.
The 512 by Broan-Nutone is a premium exhaust fan that can be used for small rooms, closets, or powder rooms. This fan is designed to be installed on an interior wall, and will vent one room into another.
If you need to go duct-free for your small bathroom or half bath, then the 512 is a great option. It is rated at 90-cfm which means it can move 90 cubic feet of air per minute.
It is also rated at 3.5-sones which gives some sound cover in a bathroom. The 512 can be installed on any interior wall with at least a 5-1/8" thickness, and it includes an adjustable housing for easy installation.
The WhisperWall by Panasonic is a high quality through-the-wall exhaust fan that can be installed in bathrooms, closets, bedrooms, or garages. It is rated at 70-cfm and is great for bathrooms where a ceiling mounted fan is not possible.
A traditional multi-foot vent is not required with this unit, but it needs to be installed on an exterior wall. It features a quality capacitor motor that is permanently lubricated for many years of smooth operation.
The WhisperWall comes with an exterior hood as well as a backdraft damper.
My #1 Top Pick: Broan-Nutone 682NT
My overall top rated pick for recirculating bathroom fans goes to the Broan-Nutone 682NT. Here's why...
#1. Ductless Operation
This bathroom fan doesn't require a vent and can be used totally duct-free. It uses an activated charcoal filter to remove odors and to freshen the air.
#2. Easy Install
The 682NT features a snap-in metal housing to make the installation much easier. A 2" x 4" space is required for the installation of this fan.