Best Bathroom Extractor Fans Buying Guide
With so many bathroom extractor fans on the market, finding the right one for your needs and budget can be challenging. Here are the three most important features to consider as you search for your perfect unit.
Air Extraction Rate
According to building regulations, the ventilation requirements for a domestic bathroom are at least 15 litres per second or 54 cubic metres per hour. Thankfully, most extractor fans available on the market exceed this level, including all of the units on our top list. However, it's not enough to simply pick out a random unit, because exactly how much moisture extraction you'll need in your bathroom depends on a few factors. These include the size of your bathroom and how many people use it on a regular basis, as well as whether it has an openable window.
Speaking of bathroom sizes, it's important to get an extractor fan that is of the right size for your bathroom. Thankfully, you don't have to think too much about this detail because extractor fans come in two sizes only: 4 inches or 100 mm, and 6 inches or 150 mm. For most people's needs, a 4-inch extractor fan is more than enough. So, unless you have a particularly large bathroom (0ver 9 square meters), or your bathroom has no windows at all and multiple people use it frequently, a 4-inch extractor is all you need.
Noise (Decibel) Rating
A typical decibel (dB) rating for an axial extractor fan ranges between 35 dB and 45 dB. Centrifugal fans tend to be somewhat noisier, producing sound in the range of 40 dB and 55 dB. Neither fan produces extremely loud sounds, however, since bathroom fans are used in smaller and enclosed spaces, they can seem much louder. For this reason, if you want a quiet or at least low noise extractor, it's best to go for units with low dB ratings (basically, the lower the better). This said, if you normally don't take long and relaxing baths but quick showers instead, the dB rating may not be that important to you. In that case, it may be better to save your money and stick to cheaper fans that produce average noise levels.
Extra features to consider:
- Timer. If you know your bathroom tends to remain somewhat steamy after you've taken a bath or a shower (typical of no-window bathrooms), we recommend getting a unit with an over-run timer. This feature will allow the fan to continue running for a set period after you switch it off.
- Humidity Sensor. If you or your family members sometimes forget to turn on the extractor when taking a shower, go for a model with a humidity sensor. This feature will detect when the bathroom's humidity levels exceed a certain level, automatically switching on the fan.
- Backdraught Shutter. A back draught shutter prevents outside air from coming into your bathroom when the fan is switched off. So, if you find that your bathroom tends to get chilly, you might want to look for this feature.
Finally, before making any purchase decision, we recommend checking out a few extractor fan reviews online. Other people's experiences - whether good or bad - can tell you a lot about bathroom fans you're interested in getting, including how efficient and quiet (or noisy) they are in real life.
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Extractor fans are available in many shapes and models, but they all fall into one of these three categories: axial, centrifugal and inline fans.
- Axial Fans: the least powerful of the three fan types but also typically easier to install and quieter, axial fans connect directly through an external bathroom wall, so they shouldn't be ducted more than 2-3 metres. While the least powerful, axial extractor fans are more than enough for most situations.
- Centrifugal Fans: designed to move air long distances, centrifugal fans should be used for bathrooms that are not close to an external wall (over 1.5 m). Often installed on a ceiling, this type of fan is quite powerful but also noisier than a typical axial fan.
- Inline Fans: designed for extra long distances (up to 50 m), an inline extractor fan should be used in bathrooms that don't have direct access to an outside wall. This is the most powerful exhaust fan but because it's mounted inline (meaning inside or connected to ducting), it is not particularly noisy.
For quiet but efficient everyday use, the Xpelair C4TS Contour Extractor Fan is a great buy. With a two-speed fan setting and Ghost Air Movement technology that delivers a near-silent operation, this bathroom extractor fan offers excellent value for money. As a bonus, it has a sleek and modern design that complements most bathrooms. Truly the best bathroom fan