There’s nothing like taking a shower after a long and stressful day. However, while it feels restorative to you, a steamy shower has the opposite effect on your bathroom. This is particularly true if your bathroom is small and not properly ventilated – the humidity will encourage the growth of mold and cause structural damage in the form of warped cabinetry, peeling wallpapers, and cracked paint.
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem. All you need to do is buy and install an exhaust fan that was designed to be used in smaller bathrooms. Today’s market offers a plethora of different brands and models, and in this article, I’ll be taking a closer look at the five best models you can get for your money.
- 1 The Best Exhaust Fan for a Small Bathroom
- 2 How Do I Pick the Right Exhaust Fan for My Small Bathroom?
- 3 Reviews of the Best Exhaust Fans for Small Bathrooms
- 4 The Verdict
The Best Exhaust Fan for a Small Bathroom
[amazon link=”B00C2N9CP2″ title=”Delta Electronics SLM50″ /]
- Consumes only 6.4 W – very energy efficient
- 50 CFM fan speed – excellent for smaller bathrooms
- A quiet, long-lasting fan with a DC motor
If you don’t feel like reading through all the reviews, here’s my overall number one pick – BreezSlim SLM50 made by Delta Electronics. Its 50 CFM rating turns it into a fantastic choice for smaller washrooms. Moreover, the unit is also exceptionally quiet, durable, and capable of running for thousands of hours without any hiccups.
How Do I Pick the Right Exhaust Fan for My Small Bathroom?
An ideal exhaust fan for a smaller bathroom needs to be quiet, easy to install and have the right speed sizing in CFM. Before you check out my reviews of the market’s five best devices of this type, have a look at all the important factors you need to keep in mind while shopping for one:
The aforementioned “CFM” stands for “Cubic Feet per Meter”, and it, as you can already guess, measures how fast a particular device of this type can move bathroom air.
No matter how big or small your bathroom is, you should never go with an exhaust fan whose speed is below 50 CFM. This is the minimum recommended ventilation rate and the one that should work very well with smaller bathrooms.
But what’s a small bathroom, exactly? If you have a 50 square feet washroom (7 by 7 feet), a 50 CFM exhaust fan should be more than sufficient for your needs. However, if your bathroom is bigger – between 50 and 100 square feet – it is recommended that you go with an exhaust fan with a matching CFM rating.
In my opinion, it’s safe to go with a 75 CFM exhaust fan if your bathroom’s square footage isn’t over 100. But, since you’re reading this article, I assume your bathroom’s size is at 50 square feet or less. This means that all the models reviewed below should be more than capable of efficiently removing moist air from your bathroom.
The next important criteria to keep in mind is the exhaust fan’s sound level. This is particularly vital if you have a really small bathroom – taking a shower in a bathroom of limited space with a loud exhaust fan is all but a pleasant experience.
The loudness of these appliances is rated in sones. An important thing to keep in mind here is that this measurement isn’t exactly physical – like the decibels – but rather a measurement of loudness perceived by human ears. While this technical definition isn’t really important, knowing the relative scale of sones definitely is.
Generally speaking, the sone rating of bathroom exhaust fans starts at about 0.5 and goes up to 4-5. The appliances of this type that have a sone rating of 4 or 5 are very loud – they can be heard across the hallway and are among the cheapest and oldest exhaust fans available on the market.
Those looking for a genuinely quiet bathroom fan for their small bathroom should go for a model with a sone rating of 1 or lower. Bathroom exhaust fans with a sone rating of 0.3, for example, are so quiet that most folks can’t even hear them while they’re working. That is precisely why such fans typically have indicator lights – these tell you that they’re currently in operation.
For more info, check out our guide on bathroom fan sones.
Ease of Installation
In addition to the factors described above, you may also want to consider the ease of installation. Just like with all other appliances, some bathroom exhaust fans – big or small – are easier to install than others. In fact, the newest devices of this type come accompanied by the so-called installation brackets.
These brackets are adaptable and can be easily attached to the ceiling joists. In other words, you don’t have to install the exhaust fan directly to the ceiling joists but rather onto the brackets, which is much easier.
Keep in mind that the installation process can be impacted by many other things. Don’t forget to carefully inspect your model before mounting it and always refer to the installation manual. Also, in order to avoid mold and moisture issues, keep in mind that exhaust ducts need to terminate outdoors.
Reviews of the Best Exhaust Fans for Small Bathrooms
So, here are the results of my research – the reviews of the market’s best exhaust fans designed for smaller bathrooms. These high-quality, top-rated appliances are more than capable of keeping any bathroom of smaller size well-ventilated and free of moisture. This makes them great bathroom upgrades. Each model has a rating of 50 CFM, which is, as stated above, ideal for the not-so-roomy washrooms.
Delta Electronics BreezSlim SLM50 Exhaust Fan
- Mounting type: Wall mount
- Fan Speed: 50 CFM
- Sones: 1.0
[amazon fields=”B00C2N9CP2″ value=”button” button_text=”Check Price on Amazon”]
Rated at 50 CFM, this Delta Electronics exhaust fan is an ideal choice for smaller bathrooms. What is more, it’s a genuinely inexpensive option – great for those on a budget.
The BreezSlim SLM50 is a DC-powered model with fantastic energy efficiency, which is precisely why it bears an Energy Star certification. One particularly great thing about it is that it was tested to run continuously for tens of thousands of hours without any issues.
Furthermore, this exhaust fan has a very slim profile. Obviously, this is yet another thing that turns it into an excellent choice for smaller washrooms, but it also makes the installation process much easier. Installing BreezSlim SLM50 into your existing wall or ceiling is effortless – great for retrofit installations.
Finally, this exhaust fan is very quiet, as it has a sound level rating of 1 sone. The unit consumes 6.4 W and 8.9 CFM per W. In my opinion, Delta Electronics also makes the best bathroom exhaust fan with a Bluetooth speaker.
- Quiet experience (1 sone)
- Slim profile allows easy installation & replacement
- The fan speed of 50 CFM is great for small bathrooms
- Not the best air sealing around the ceiling
Homewerks 7140-50 Exhaust Fan
- Mounting type: Wall mount
- Fan Speed: 50 CFM
- Sones: 1.5
[amazon fields=”B07WQ5RZNT” value=”button” button_text=”Check Price on Amazon”]
Here we have yet another high-quality appliance of this type that stands as one of the market’s best options for smaller bathrooms – the 7140-50 Exhaust Fan made by Homewerks.
Just like the model described above, this one also has a fan speed rating of 50 CFM. It goes without saying, but this turns it into an excellent option for bathrooms whose square footage isn’t over 50.
It should also be mentioned that the 7140-50 is a very quiet unit that you can barely hear when it’s in operation. That’s because it has a sound level rating of just 1.5 sones.
The main material used in the manufacture of this model is galvanized steel. This allows it to easily resist corrosion that occurs so often in the fixtures and appliances whose place is in the bathroom. Finally, the unit’s motor was designed for continuous operation.
- Body made out of galvanized steel
- Very quiet: 1.5-sone sound level rating
- Sufficiently powerful for small bathrooms (50 CFM)
- Short power wires
Air King BFQ50 Snap-In Exhaust Fan
- Mounting type: Snap in
- Fan Speed: 50 CFM
- Sones: 0.5
[amazon fields=”B001R2LE4G” value=”button” button_text=”Check Price on Amazon”]
The next small-bathroom exhaust fan on my list is the Air King BFQ50, which is, just like the models described above, rated at 50 CFM. What is more, this is an Energy Star-rated unit – excellent energy efficiency is guaranteed.
One of this model’s main selling points is, as its name suggests, the unique “snap-in” installation system. Its job is to make the whole process of installation as quick and easy as possible, and I can confirm that this feature works just as advertised.
Quietness is yet another of this model’s notable advantages. Rated at just 0.5 sones, this exhaust fan is very quiet and provides an almost completely silent operation. If you’re looking for a genuinely quiet small-bathroom exhaust fan, this model is one of your best options.
Other features worth mentioning are the HVI certification, a 4” duct collar that provides draft protection, as well as the 5-year limited warranty. Overall, a great choice for anyone’s money.
Check out our picks for the best bathroom exhaust fan as well.
- 50 CFM – suitable for smaller bathrooms
- Almost completely silent operation
- Quick & easy snap-in installation
- Mostly plastic parts
Delta Electronics BreezIntegrity ITG50LED Exhaust Fan
- Mounting type: Ceiling or wall mount
- Fan Speed: 50 CFM
- Sones: 0.7
[amazon fields=”B011KCOK2K” value=”button” button_text=”Check Price on Amazon”]
Here we have yet another great small-bathroom exhaust fan made by Delta Electronics. Its name is BreezIntegrity ITG50LED and it sports the same 50 CFM rating as all other fans I reviewed in this roundup.
One of the best things about this particular exhaust fan is that it’s equipped with a brushless DC motor. Not only does this guarantee quiet operation, but it also considerably extends the unit’s lifespan.
Another excellent feature is the integrated soft start. This is yet another thing that turns BreezIntegrity ITG50LED into a very durable exhaust fan, as it increases bearings’ life. In the case of an abnormally locked impeller, this feature will also automatically power off the entire appliance.
And when it comes to safety features such as the one described above, another one worth mentioning is the thermal cut-off switch. As its name suggests, its role is to turn off the fan if it becomes too hot and, in that way, prevent a fire hazard from occurring. There is also a dimmable LED light – always a big plus in my book!
If you are considering getting a fan with a light, check out my post on the best bathroom exhaust fans with light and heater.
- Durable brushless DC motor
- Lots of safety features
- Dimmable LED light
- Not the quietest exhaust fan
Panasonic WhisperValue FV-0510VS1 Exhaust Fan
- Mounting type: Ceiling or wall mount
- Fan Speed: 50 to 100 CFM
- Sones: 1
[amazon fields=”B06W2LB17J” value=”button” button_text=”Check Price on Amazon”]
Out of all brands mentioned in this roundup, Panasonic is probably the most famous one. Their WhisperValue exhaust fan is a fantastic addition to any bathroom of a smaller size.
The main selling point of this particular model is the fact that it can operate at different fan speeds. The lowest one – 50 CFM – is perfect for smaller bathrooms, which is precisely why I consider WhisperValue to be a worthy contender for the title of the best small-bathroom exhaust fan. However, you can change the unit’s fan speed to 80 or even 100 CFM with a simple flip of a switch. Quite convenient, wouldn’t you say?
Another great thing about WhisperValue FV-0510VS1 is its slim profile, as well as the fact that it’s exceptionally easy to install. This Panasonic exhaust fan fits in 2×4 ceiling joints and that deserves special words of praise. Also, a Flex Z-Fast bracket is included in the package.
Finally, the model is powered by an ECM motor, which is extremely durable and very quiet. Overall, Panasonic WhisperValue is a great choice for folks with smaller bathrooms as it offers quiet and powerful ventilation without wasting too much energy. If you like this one, you may also like our top pick for the best Panasonic bathroom fan as well.
- Powerful but quiet ECM motor
- One of the slimmest profiles on the market
- Three different fan speeds
- A slight delay in turning on
As I already mentioned, every model reviewed in this article deserves its spot among the market’s best exhaust fans for small bathrooms. However, one of them still managed to stand above the rest with its simple yet amazing design – [amazon link=”B00C2N9CP2″ title=”Delta Electronics BreezSlim SLM50″ /]. Do know that Panasonic also makes the best bathroom fan with a humidity sensor.
While I contemplated choosing the Panasonic unit as the winner, I ultimately went with Delta Electronic’s model instead, and for a couple of good reasons. This exhaust fan costs significantly less than Panasonic’s offering while providing outstanding performance, using as little energy as possible, and being genuinely quiet in operation. A perfect choice for anyone’s small bathroom!
Check out our post on the best flushing toilets as well.