The best ventilation fans help prevent moisture damage, mold spores, and bad odors from affecting your home. Our evaluation criteria focused on airflow capacity, dB rating and energy efficiency. We also looked into “smart” options such as humidity sensing for automatic shutoff, built-in heaters, and multiple fan speed options.
After more than 20 hours of research and testing, our best ventilation fan pick goes to the Delta BreezSkim SLM5050 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan. This compact, little machine offers an outstanding combination of power, silent noise level, and energy efficiency that is hard to match.
- 1 Top 7 Best Ventilation Fans Compared
- 1.1 #1 Delta BreezSkim SLM50 50 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan – Top Pick/Best Value
- 1.2 #2 VIVOSUN 4-Inch 195 CFM Fan Vent Blower – Honorable Mention
- 1.3 #3 AC Infinity Cloudline T6
- 1.4 #4 VIVOSUN 6 Inch 390 CFM Inline Duct Fan
- 1.5 #5 Broan-NuTone 688 Ceiling and Wall Ventilation Fan – Best Budget
- 1.6 #6 Broan-NuTone 678 Ventilation Fan –
- 1.7 #7 Tjernland V2D UnderAire Crawlspace Ventilator Fan –
- 1.8 How We Decided
- 2 Product Category Buying Guide
Top 7 Best Ventilation Fans Compared
#1 Delta BreezSkim SLM50 50 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan – Top Pick/Best ValueWHY WE LIKE IT: This exhaust bath fan is a workhorse, featuring 50 CFM, a compact size of 7.2” x 7.25″ x 3.94″, ENERGY STAR certification, a retrofit sleek design, and 40 dBnoise levels, one of the quietest on our list. It is the perfect choice for people looking for an energy-efficient, quieter solution in a compact package.
Its compact size and weight of fewer than 5 pounds allow for easy refitting in an existing space or a ceiling or wall-mounted area, fitting easily within a 4-inch wall. Its ENERGY STAR rating is also legendary, besting ENERGY STARs own requirements by 458% to consume virtually pennies in energy bills a year.
Other auxiliary features include an LED indicator light to let you know it’s running and a 70,000-hour DC motor fan lifespan, lasting practically an entire lifetime of use without needing a replacement. It is also UL approved for ceiling or wall installations, a distinction granted by Underwater’s Laboratories, an organization that provides product testing and certification.
#2 VIVOSUN 4-Inch 195 CFM Fan Vent Blower – Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: This fan vent blower provides exceptional ventilation with a 2,930 RPM fan speed, 28 dB noise level, and 195 CFM. This unit works for larger rooms with greater surface areas of up to 195 square feet, such as home offices, kitchens, bedrooms, or greenhouses that need increased air circulation to reduce hot spots generated from hydroponics grow equipment.
This fan is compact, measuring 7.5″ x 6.75″ x 6.75″, excellent for placement in unobstructed corners in a crowded grow house or living area. Its 30 dB noise level uses a noise deflector to project the fan stream and limit kinetic energy, generating as much noise levels as quiet whispering, making it ideal in areas where a lot of people congregate.
Installation is a breeze (no pun intended), with a stand and 5.9-foot cord length. Both the intake and exhaust ends also contain flanges which makes it easier to set up. Like the Delta, it offers a silent operation, in part due to its permanently lubricated motor and blade construction.
#3 AC Infinity Cloudline T6WHY WE LIKE IT: This ventilation fan is a digital powerhouse, generating 410 CFM airflow, 32dB motor, and a smart programming controller with temperature and humidity sensors to optimize airflow This unit is ideal for hydroponic grow rooms and greenhouses with fluctuating high and low temperatures, which is very common weather behavior in tropical regions and microclimates.
One of our favorite AC Infinity CLOUDLINE T6 features is its “intelligent” controller, a sleek contraption that programs fan speeds, with additional functions such as an alarm system, failure alerts, countdown timer, and eco-mode. It optimizes airflow in response to current temperatures and humidity, along with 10 fan speeds from meek to powerful.
This model is very energy efficient, with its controlled DC-motor consuming a lot less energy than AC-motors, saving up to 40% in energy. IP44 certification also keeps dust and liquids from entering the unit and a mixed flow design performs well under high static pressure areas, so you do not have to worry so much about wiping it down.
#4 VIVOSUN 6 Inch 390 CFM Inline Duct FanWHY WE LIKE IT: The VIVOSUN inline duct fan uses a centrifugal impeller design for 390 CFM of airflow (second largest area coverage on our list) and features a variable fan speed controller, and <37 dB noise rating. This offers versatile ventilation power for mid-sized rooms up to 390 square feet, perfect for living room, dining room, or small hydroponics houses.
This ventilation fan offers modest fan speed adjustments using a simple knob, with 3 levels (High, Medium, Low), a step below AC Infinity CLOUDLINE T6’s digital controls and 10 speeds. Its 37 dB rating is a bit higheris about mid-range compared to our other picks, falling in between a consistent whispering sound and rustling leaves.
Its lightweight and compact design occupies very little space, with intake and exhaust end-flanges and a 5.9-inch cord for easy installation. It can be placed without issue on corners without obstructing foot traffic.
#5 Broan-NuTone 688 Ceiling and Wall Ventilation Fan – Best BudgetWHY WE LIKE IT: This ceiling and wall ventilation fan is the cheapest option on the list, offering a 50 CFM rating, 48 dB noise level level, and a paintable, white polymeric grille. This makes it a match for someone preferring style (matching decor) over substance with its lower than average room coverage and noise rating.
The Broan, with its 50 CFM ration and 48 dB noise level, serves a dual role as a bathroom fan to stave humidity and mold spores, as well as a traditional fan to loosen/remove airborne contaminants and bad odors.
Installation for this fan is easy, with a torsion spring grille set up, which negates the need for any hand tools. It also includes a snap-style motor assembly that is easy to remove without the use of screws. All in all, it feels like a highly durable unit to the touch.
#6 Broan-NuTone 678 Ventilation Fan –WHY WE LIKE IT: This ventilation fan is an odor, mold and mildew killer, featuring a sleek white, paintable polymeric grille, an average 40 dB sound level and 45 CPM-rated, doubling as a 100-watt lamp with a shatter-resistant light diffusing lens to replace your bathroom’s ceiling light. This makes it an excellent choice for people desiring a more integrated appearance with the rest of the decor.
This unit is compact, only needing a 2-Inch x 6-inch minimum construction space. This looks good in smaller homes with smaller rooms, such as a laundry room to eliminate humidity and to remove odors and smoke from kitchens. Durability is also a plus with a galvanized steel construction.
One knock on the unit is that it is not UL-approved for mounting over large water surfaces, such as showers, without being connected to a GFCI-protected branch circuit. Professional installation may be required. Its 1-year warranty is serviceable but below average, with superior options including the Delta BreezSlim’s limited 3-year warranty and the AC Infinity Cloudline’s 2-year warranty.
#7 Tjernland V2D UnderAire Crawlspace Ventilator Fan –WHY WE LIKE IT: This ventilator fan offers basic functionality silver faceplate with adjustable dehumidistat and two exhaust fans for 220 CFM of area coverage. This unit is strictly for crawl space ventilation with limited room, cutting off mold, mildew and other contaminants from reaching your living areas through air vents.
Its galvanized faceplate can be trimmed to fit your air vent’s frame. Colder environments can also benefit from a deactivated thermostat when the fan senses temperatures below 40 degrees to help save on energy costs.
The Tjernland V2D also features a built-in dehumidistat to help control humidity levels by adjusting thermostat temperature, which helps prevent mold-causing excess humidity during long vacations away from home. Its list-worst 51 dB sound level and manufacturer’s warranty could be improved with 1 year of parts and labor coverage.
How We Decided
Find the right ventilation fan could mean the difference between wallowing in mold spores and moist contaminated air and breathing fresh.
In determining which ventilation fan to buy, you should consider the correct airflow rating relative to room size, noise levels, programming features, ventilation methods, and a minimum 1-year warranty. Our evaluation criteria took into account a minimum of 50 CFM to cover the smallest rooms and auxiliary features such as programmable or manual fan speeds and humidity control adjustment for areas with fluctuating high and low temperatures.
Our evaluation also prioritizes ventilation fans with less than or equal to 48 dB noise levels noise levels, which we felt offered tolerable listening for 10 minutes straight without going crazy. Installation should also be quick, taking no more than 1 hour to complete. “Premium” features such as humidistats that shut fans off based on humidity level, lighting, automated timers, and energy efficiencies were also considered.
Product Category Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- Airflow Rating
CFM rating is determined by the square footage, with a recommended 1 CFM per square foot. We recommend units with a minimum CFM of 50, which covers the smallest rooms.
- Noise Level
Measured in dB, our ventilation picks ranged from 28 dB to 48 dB. The lower the decibel levels, the quieter the fan is. For perspective, a 28 dB fan is nearly silent whereas a 48 dB fan fan is equal to the sound of a humming refrigerator.
- Programming features
Some of the more advanced ventilation fans offer a choice of fan speed adjustment, humidistat controls, which are very useful in areas of fluctuating high and low temperatures such as greenhouses or homes in tropical regions. Controls can be either digital like the Infinity Cloudline or manual like the Vivosun 390 CFM fan.
Installation should take no more than 1 hour for a retrofit. Note, new constructions require upwards of a day to complete, involving hole drilling in ceiling, installing a vent, and connecting the fan.
- What is CFM?
Each bag has their own cleaning requirements, but you can never go wrong with using an old toothbrush or rag and gently rubbing the product with a mix of lukewarm water and mild detergent. Keep these things out of the washing machine.
- How do I determine the appropriate vent fan for my room?
As a general rule, 1 CFM should cover 1 square foot, so a 300 CFM-rated vent fan would be appropriate for large bedrooms and master bathrooms. To calculate the square footage of your room, multiply the length times width. For example, a bedroom 17 feet long by 13 feet wide would be 221, so a 250 CFM ventilation fan would be appropriate.
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