Bathroom extraction fans are designed to move air out the room and be effective in eliminating condensation and odors from the area in a short amount of time. What makes one fan superior to another is based on consumer perceptions, price and desired features.
Sone and CFM Rating
The best bathroom fan is one that does the job of moving air out of the room without sounding like a jet engine. Some models claim to be whisper quiet based on a measure of sound called sone. An exhaust fan with a rating of 1 sone will emit less noise during operation than a fan with a higher sone number. A CFM rating indicates the capacity of the unit to exchange the air in the room eight times per hour to prevent condensation buildup. To determine the right fan for the room you must measure the room's length, width and height and multiply the numbers to get the bathroom's volume. Divide the volume by 7.5. The resulting number is the appropriate CFM rating for the fan.
The Broan 110 has a sone rating of 0.7 and 100 CFMs. It was priced under $150 as of March 2011. This is a basic fan that is extremely quiet and well suited for a medium to large bathroom. The Panasonic FV-05VF2 is rated at 50 CFMs and is an option for a small powder room that is limited in installation space. It was priced at $130 in 2011. The Broan 655 was priced under $80 with a sone rating of 4 and 70 CFMs. The built-in heater and light included with this unit are found in more expensive units.
A fan with a quiet operation and additional features costs more but provides additional lighting, a heating element and a built-in timer. NuTone model #QTXEN110S priced at $225 has a rating of 100 CFMs and a sone rating of 0.7. It has a built-in sensor to detect humidity and an adjustable timer. The Broan QTRE100S sone's rating is 1.5. It is rated for 100 CFMs and priced at $175. It has a built-in humidity detector and a 20-minute automatic shut-off timer.
Home improvement stores sell bathroom fans that perform well but lack in style. Special designs can be obtained online from reputable manufacturers who have created fans to resemble elegant light fixtures. Hunter bathroom fans discreetely hide function and add style to the space. The fans have a low sone rating and range from 50 to 110 CFMs. The price range is $80 to $250. These are the best bathroom fans for customers looking for function and style.
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