Few things are more difficult from a home décor perspective than keeping your bathroom looking and feeling nice and fresh. The persistence of humidity and moisture from hot baths and showers can do a lot more harm than merely steam up your mirrors. All that humidity and moisture can seep into your walls and create the perfect climate for mold. You might have the most gleamingly gorgeous bathroom décor in place, but if it’s spotted all over with mold and mildew, you can bet guests will be left wrinkling their noses.
That’s what makes bathroom fans so important.
They are able to clear out all that excess steam, moisture, and humidity, allowing you to enjoy your hot showers without fear of unintentionally creating a mold-inducing nightmare. Even better are bathroom fans with built-in sensors for detecting and removing humidity.
Let’s take a look at why these restroom saviors are so refreshing, which options are dominating the market, and what you should look for when searching for the best bathroom fans for your boudoir.
Why Opt for Humidity-Sensing Bathroom Fans?
Bathroom fans are hardly uncommon. However, most such fans are still operated with a wall switch, which can be highly inconvenient if you forget to flick it on before stepping into the shower. What’s more, you may not think that your bath or shower is giving off too much humidity and moisture, and so you intentionally decide not to turn the fan on, only to find out later how wrong you were when mold starts popping up.
That said, there is also the danger of leaving a bathroom fan running too long. If you turn on your bathroom fan and forget to turn it off, the cost can really start to add up in your electricity bill. What’s more, leaving any fan running for an inordinate amount of time comes with a risk of it overheating. While your bathroom fan is not only to catch fire, you still don’t want to “beat the odds” in the worst possible way by leaving it running and allowing it to overheat.
Bathroom fans with humidity-sensing technology are simply easier, safer, and more efficient.
One of the big reasons why humidity-sensing bathroom fans are a huge improvement over their non-sensor switch-operated counterparts is the fact that many of them can be set to switch on at a certain humidity level. This can prevent it from switching on unnecessarily. In summertime, especially in naturally hot and humid climates, your bathroom is bound to have a bit of humidity no matter what. By presetting your bathroom fan to switch on at a certain humidity level, just as you preset your thermostat to switch on at a certain temperature, you can potentially save a ton of energy and money.
Finally, loudness is always a concern when fans are involved. Evaluating sones and other measurements of loudness are thus essential.
The Top 6 Best Humidity-Sensing Bathroom Fans
Delta is a leading name in the bathroom fan industry, and sure enough, 2/3ths of this list are Delta products. That said, companies like Panasonic and Broan have been able to combat Delta’s status as a market leader with ultra-silent offerings of their own.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best options on the market today.
1. Delta BreezSlim SLM70H 13.1W Exhaust Bath Fan
One of the most important things to consider when selecting a new bathroom fan is the ease with which it can be installed. You don’t want to choose something that’s difficult to install, either due to its design or it being incompatible with your bathroom setup.
Thankfully, the BreezSlim from Delta solves both of these problems, being compatible with most any bathroom setup while being easy to install in its own right. One reason it is so easy to install is its comparatively small size, with the unit measuring 7.5 x 7.25 inches. Its small size also means that you won’t have to worry about a large, obtrusive fan interfering with your bathroom décor scheme.
This unit boasts a range of 70 CFM (cubic feet per minute). That should be enough to service most small bathrooms. At 2 sones, it is by no means silent, but it should still be quiet enough so as not to disturb you while taking a shower. In addition, this is a unit that features a humidity sensor that is preset to a certain humidity range. If you don’t want to worry about programming a sensor yourself, this is yet another point in this unit’s favor as an accessible humidity-sensing bathroom fan.
2. Delta Electronics VFB25ACH Breez Humidity Sensor Exhaust Fan
This bathroom fan from Delta is one of the most powerful on our list, which is surprising since it’s also one of the most silent. That’s a pairing that you don’t often see in any type of fan-powered unit. On the contrary, more powerful fans tend to mean louder machines, while smaller, less powerful units are often those that boast the quietest operational sound levels.
However, the Breez Humidity Sensor Exhaust Fan boasts 80 CFM, good enough to handle a mid-size bathroom with ease. It is able to do so while operating at just 0.3 sones, which for bathroom fans is about as quiet as you can realistically expect. This pairing of power and quiet operation makes this one of the best all-around bathroom fans on our list.
But what about its humidity-sensing powers? You can switch the automatic humidity-sensing mode on and off via a switch, and an LED indicator located underneath the grill allows you to see when the sensor is active. What’s more, the unit varies its fan speed according to the amount of humidity, so you never have to worry about it being overwhelmed or expending more energy than it needs to. On that energy efficient note, this offering by Delta also qualifies for an Energy Star certification, which can in turn make it more cost efficient to run.
3. Delta Breez GBR80H GreenBuilder Exhaust Fan
This bathroom fan from Delta also offers 80 CFM, making it a good choice if you have a mid-range bathroom. It’s a little louder than the Breez Humidity Sensor Exhaust Fan above, but still respectable noisewise, operating at 0.8 sones.
One of the most distinctive and by far impressive elements of this unit is its dual speed control, allowing you to set how fast you want the fan to operate. In addition, this unit allows you to set the humidity level at which you want the unit to switch on and start circulating air out of your bathroom. Even better, the dual speed control means that you can have fans turn on at lower speeds for lower levels of humidity, ensuring that you don’t exert more energy than is necessary in clearing humidity out of your bathroom. Taken together, these features make this unit great for those who want a great deal of control over their humidity-sensing bathroom fans.
The unit itself is relatively small and lightweight, measuring 10.8 x 10.8 x 6 inches and weighing in at just one pound. As with other Delta models, this unit is Energy Star certified. That, the dual speed control, and ability to set different humidity-sensing presets make this one of the more energy efficient models on our list.
4. Delta BreezSignature Bathroom Exhaust Fan
With the largest unit in this product range being a 130 CFM model, the BreezSignature is easily one of the most powerful bathroom fans on our list. If you have a large, luxurious bathroom and you hate the idea of it either being overrun by moisture and mold or its décor being ruined by an intrusive exhaust fan, this bathroom fan from Delta is for you.
As with other Delta bathroom fans, this unit makes use of a DC brushless motor. These tend to last a long time, contributing to Delta’s reputation for delivering high-quality bathroom fans. The fans operate at a sound level of 2.0 sones, and while that isn’t silent, it is certainly impressive for fans that are capable of ventilating 130 CFM-worth of bathroom space.
This is another example of a bathroom fan that comes with a preset humidity point. On the one hand, that means you cannot enter your own preferred presets, but on the other hand, it’s also convenient if you don’t want to have to do so to take advantage of its humidity-sensing abilities. The unit does not include its own bracket with which to install it, so you’ll need to determine the best means of installation yourself.
As long as you can clear that hurdle, however, this is a potential game changer for those with bathrooms too big to be serviced by less powerful bathroom fans.
5. Panasonic WhisperSense Ventilation Fan
Finally, we get to a non-Delta bathroom fan. This offering by Panasonic comes in several models, the largest being a 110 CFM one that is capable of servicing most medium-sized bathrooms, and can even potentially work with a larger bathroom depending on the layout and placement of the unit.
It is able to do all of that while emitting only 0.3 sones’ worth of noise. Not only is that good enough for one of the softest bathroom fans on this list, it’s doubly impressive given the 110 CFM power level of the unit. That’s about as close as you’re going to get to a bathroom fan being “whisper soft” while still being able to service such a large area, and it definitely helps distinguish this model from Panasonic as one of the all-around standouts on this list.
What’s more, you can program the fans to operate at different speeds, 50, 80, or the full 100 CFM. This allows you a greater degree of control over the loudness of the fans as well as the amount of power you’re using.
Adding to the unit’s overall convenience is the fact that, unlike some other models, it comes with its own installation bracket.
For a unit that’s powerful enough to service large bathrooms while still being whisper-soft, it’s hard to beat this humidity-sensing bathroom fan from Panasonic.
6. Broan QTXE110S Ultra Silent Humidity-Sensing Bath Fan
Last, but not least, this bathroom fan from Broan excels at detecting buildups of moisture. This can be especially valuable given the fact that bathroom fans are often best when installed in or near the ceiling area, which is one of the biggest trouble areas for bathrooms in terms of humidity-induced moisture and mold threats. If you’ve had a problem with moisture seeping into your ceiling, Broan’s bathroom fan may be a good one to consider.
The humidity sensor automatically switches on at a preset humidity level. Even better, this unit comes with an auto shutoff feature which allows you to set a time (anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes) after which point the unit will switch off automatically. This can be incredibly useful for those looking to avoid overheating issues. If you’re someone who often forgets to shut bathroom fans off yourself, or you worry about them overheating, this feature should set you at ease.
This unit is able to boast 110 CFM-worth of speed and power while operating at just 0.7 sones, a reasonable sound level for fans that strong. In addition, the unit comes with 6-inch ducting as well as hanger bars, both of which make installation all the easier.
Bathroom Fan Buyer’s Guide
One of the most challenging things about buying humidity-sensing bathroom sensors is the fact that, to the naked eye, most of them can look more or less the same. That said, there’s a lot of variation that goes on under the hood that distinguishes certain models from one another. Understanding those differences can help ensure that you are getting the bathroom fan that is best suited to your particular wants and needs. Some of the most important factors to keep in mind include:
Type of Sensor
Humidity sensors tend to come in two basic models – adjustable and “set it and forget it.” The former allows for a greater deal of hands-on control, while the latter tends to operate according to a preset turn on point. The latter can be easier to use, as all you have to do is, “set it” by turning on the unit and “forget it” as you go about your business, confident that the bathroom fan will turn on at the promised humidity level. The former is better for those who want a greater degree of control over when their bathroom fans turn on.
Choose a fan that’s too small for your bathroom, and it may be ineffective. Choose one that’s too big, and the noise that can sometimes accompany larger fans’ operation speeds may seem deafening. What’s more, getting a bathroom fan that’s too strong can be wasteful energy-wise. Bathroom fan power and speed is measured by CFM. At 70 and below, you’re good to go for most smaller bathrooms. Between 80 and 110 CFM, you’ll find many good mid-range units. For larger bathrooms, 110 CFM should be the minimum, and for truly large boudoirs, you’re probably looking for something closer to a 130 CFM unit.
As stated, sones are used to measure noise levels for bathroom fans. You should only go as loud as 2 sones – any louder and you risk your bathroom sounding like the inside of an engine turbine whenever you flip the fan on. In reality, however, while 2 sones is acceptable for larger and more powerful fans, ideally you should look for 1.5 sones or below, especially for fans below 100 CFM. Anything less than 1 sone is considered pretty quiet for a bathroom fan.