Best ductless bathroom exhaust fan

Best Ductless Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Capable of removing foul odors and recirculating the air in the room through the use of activated charcoal filters, the ventless (or ductless) bathroom fans are gaining in popularity with each passing year.

When compared to their ducted counterparts, they are much more compact and easier to install, and are also far less likely to cause drafts in adjacent rooms.

However, with so many different brands and models on today’s market, selecting the right ventless bathroom fan for your needs can be quite challenging.

And that’s precisely where I come in – to help you out, I’ve decided to take a closer look at the best ductless bathroom exhaust fans and assist you in choosing the perfect model for your bathroom.

In this article, I will talk about:

  • The features of the market’s most popular ventless bathroom fans;
  • Why do these appliances use charcoal filters;
  • Why you should consider getting a “through-the-wall” model;

…and more. Let’s dive right into it!


Overview of the Best Ventless Bathroom Fans

ModelBroan-NuTone 682NTPanasonic WhisperWall FV-08WQ1Broan-NuTone 512Broan-NuTone 682
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Sone rating2.
Dimensions7.13” x 3.75” x 7.13”5.56” x 10.25” x 9.43”7.5” x 8” x 8”7.5” x 7.13” x 3.75”
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Best Ventless Bathroom Fan: Broan-NuTone 682NT

Broan Nutone ductless bathroom fan


  • High-performing (and removable) 120V motor
  • The white polymeric grille can be painted
  • Virtually silent in operation – 0.0 Sones
  • Compact & easy to install (snap-in)
  • Budget-friendly

There’s a lot to like about this compact and versatile ventless bathroom fan from Broan-NuTone.

The performance provided by this model is thoroughly impressive, but also virtually silent – the unit is rated at 0.0 Sones.

It sports a snap-in metal housing that makes installation effortless, while its paintable polymeric grille allows for a degree of user customization.

Finally, Broan-NuTone 682NT is inexpensive – you don’t have to reach deep into your pocket to own a genuinely great ventless bathroom fan.

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Reviews of the Best Ventless Bathroom Fans

1. Panasonic WhisperWall FV-08WQ1

Panasonic ductless fan


  • CFM rating: 70
  • Sone rating: 1.1
  • Dimensions: 5.56” x 10.25” x 9.43”

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The very first unit I’ll be taking a look at is not strictly a ventless bathroom fan, but more of a “through-the-wall” model (check out the “What Exactly Are Through-The-Wall Models?” section below the reviews).

Rated at 70 CFM, Panasonic WhisperWall can be installed in bathrooms, garages, bedrooms, closets, and all other medium-sized rooms requiring ventilation.

Since this is a “through-the-wall” model, you won’t need a multi-foot duct for it. It is installed on an exterior wall, which turns it into an excellent option for bathrooms where it’s not possible to install a ceiling-mounted fan.

One really good thing about this appliance is that it’s equipped with a high-quality, permanently-lubricated engine which provides a smooth and quiet (1.1 Sones) operation.

Finally, it sports a hood made out of galvanized steel and has a backdraft damper. There is also a thermal-cutoff device for the user’s safety.


  • Efficient “through-the-wall” operation
  • Permanently-lubricated motor
  • Galvanized steel hood
  • Backdraft damper


  • Expensive

2. Broan-NuTone 512

Broan Nu-Tone 512 fan


  • CFM rating: 90
  • Sone rating: 4.0
  • Dimensions: 7.5” x 8” x 8”

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This particular model is the first of the three Broan-NuTone units included in this roundup, which is a great example of how popular and well-made this company’s bath fans are.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first – this model is not the best choice if you’re looking for a quiet bathroom fan. Rated at 4.0 Sones, it is the loudest unit on my list. For more information on bathroom fan noise levels, read our guide to bathroom exhaust fan sones.

When it comes to advantages, on the other hand, Broan-NuTone 512 is rated at 90 CFM and it’s more than capable of removing excess humidity from a medium-sized bathroom. And, just like the Panasonic model described above, this is also a “through-the-wall” exhaust fan.

At the heart of Broan-NuTone 512 is a permanently-lubricated motor with integrated variable speed control. The grille sports a contemporary design and easily fits with most bathroom décors.

All in all, yet another great product from Broan-NuTone.


  • Thermally protected & permanently lubricated motor
  • Variable speed control
  • Contemporary design
  • Powerful – 90 CFM


  • Noisy

3. Broan-NuTone 682

Broan NuTone 682 fan


  • Voltage: 120
  • Sone rating: 0.0
  • Dimensions: 7.5” x 7.13” x 3.75”

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Next up is yet another Broan-NuTone model – the 682 duct-free bathroom fan. About $10 cheaper than the unit described above, it’s a great option for a small bathroom or half-bath.

This is a ventless bathroom fan in the true sense of that term. In other words, it uses an activated charcoal filter – which is replaceable – to recirculate air inside a small bathroom.

One particularly interesting thing about this appliance is that it has a paintable grille, which allows for a degree of user customization. Being able to give the fan a look that’s cohesive with the existing décor is always a big plus in my book.

The permanently-lubricated motor of Broan-NuTone 682 provides completely silent operation and can be snapped in and out for easy cleaning.

Finally, installing this ventless bathroom fan is exceptionally easy. You won’t need any tools – to mount it, all you have to do is to use the unit’s torsion springs.


  • Great for small non-vented locations
  • Paintable polymeric grille
  • Tool-less installation
  • Quiet in operation


  • Somewhat flimsy construction

4. Broan-NuTone 682NT

Broan Nutone ductless bathroom fan


  • Voltage: 120
  • Sone rating: 0.0
  • Dimensions: 7.13” x 3.75” x 7.13”

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This is where we come to the winner, i.e. the best ventless bathroom fan you can get for your money today. Its name is Broan-NuTone 682NT, whose benefits greatly outweigh its only flaw – the fact that its filter is small and needs to be replaced quite often.

As its name suggests, this model is a slightly upgraded version of the model described above. It is just as high-performing and easy to install (it has a snap-in metal housing).

Rated at 0.0 Sones, the unit’s removable engine provides silent operation and works very well when it comes to cleansing and recirculating air. It can be used in bathrooms, kitchens, and garages – or wherever it’s needed the most.

This ventless bathroom fan also sports compact dimensions and has a paintable white polymeric grille. It is also quite affordable and stands as a great option for those on a budget.

Versatile, efficient, and easy to install, it is the best ventless bathroom fan available on today’s market.


  • Efficient & removable 120V motor
  • Paintable polymeric grille
  • Compact dimensions
  • Snap-in installation


  • Small filter – requires frequent replacing

Why Should I Go With a Ductless Bathroom Fan?

Bathroom with a ductless fan

The “regular”, i.e. ducted bathroom exhaust fans are much more commonly used in homes all over the world. However, sometimes a ventless appliance of this type is a better option.

As you already know, the “regular” bathroom exhaust fans work in such a way that they move the excess moisture from the bathroom to the outside.

However, for a homeowner who has a half-bath or a powder room, this regular kind of exhaust fan is not always the most suitable choice.

After all, these rooms aren’t as big as the regular bathrooms, and there’s rarely an excessive amount of moisture in them. For half-baths and powder rooms, unpleasant smells are often a much bigger concern.

In addition, installing a long duct that will move humid air to the exterior is sometimes just not possible. If the only thing you’re looking for is minimal air circulation in your small bathing room, then a ventless bathroom fan is probably your best bet.

Why Do These Appliances Use Charcoal Filters?

Active coal for filters

To cleanse the air of unpleasant odors and smells, these kinds of bathroom fans use the so-called activated charcoal filters.

Having millions of microscopic holes, activated charcoal is an extraordinarily porous substance. As such, it is capable of efficiently dealing with bad smells. The surface of this substance is capable of binding with the molecules of the unpleasant odors wafting inside a bathroom.

What is more, the filters made out of activated charcoal can eliminate various volatile organic compounds, such as benzene.

One home appliance that works in a way that is very similar to that of the ventless bathroom fan is the kitchen range hood. It also uses filters to deal with humid air and various food odors.

Are Ventless Bathroom Fans Efficient?

The ventless bathroom fans are not as efficient as the regular bathroom exhaust fans – there’s no doubt about that. But they can still get the job done.

An important thing to keep in mind here is that, besides the fact that these appliances can remove unpleasant smells, they can also recirculate air. And there’s always some value in that, particularly when it comes to small spaces.

Even though they won’t move the air to the exterior, ventless bathroom fans will recirculate it, and that’s still better than nothing.

Read our post on how to oil a bathroom fan as well.

What Exactly Are “Through-The-Wall” Models?

In the reviews section of this article, I went over a couple of through-the-wall appliances of this type. While these particular models aren’t strictly ventless bathroom fans, they’re similar in construction.

As its name suggests, a “through-the-wall” unit will move excess moisture and unpleasant smells directly through one of the exterior walls to an adjacent room or to the outside.

The direct result of this kind of ventilation is a greatly shortened length of the vent hose – it is typically only a couple of inches long. Obviously, long vent runs or vent elbows are not required here, making the installation of one of these fans as easy as it gets.

And due to the fact that these models are not just recirculating air but actually removing it from the bathroom, they are much more efficient in dealing with unpleasant smells and increasing air quality than the charcoal-using ventless bathroom fans. If you want to go with a through-the-wall model, check out our guide on venting a bathroom fan through a wall.

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