The Best Bathroom Extractor Fan – Our Complete Guide

Recently the missus and I decided it was time to redecorate our bathroom. A simple task you might think and normally you’d be right, however when it came to deciding what to replace our old, and frankly grimy extractor fan with, well we had a bit of a disagreement. You see there are many different models available and we couldn’t agree on just which one would be best suited for our bathroom.

She wanted one of those fancy chrome looking ones where as i was only really concerned with it being as quiet as possible when in use. We all have our personal preferences on what makes the best bathroom extractor fan, however with our comparison table below you’ll be able to sort and search by which features are best for you.

NameOverrun TimerDraught ShutterExtraction RatePower UsageDecibelsSFP EfficiencyHumidity SensorPriceRating
Manrose QF100T "Quiet" Extractor Fan with TimerYY21 ltr/s4.8W27 dB0.23-££4.8
Envirovent Silent 100 HT Bathroom Extractor Fan Humidistat & Timer YY26 ltr/s8W26.5 dB0.31Y£££££4.7
Manrose MF100T In-line Fan Timer Extractor MixedFlowY-68 ltr/s25W24 dB0.37-£££££4.7
Manrose 100mm Shower Light/ Extractor FanY-23 ltr/s15W37 dB0.65-£££4.6
Envirovent SIL100T "Silent" Bathroom Extractor FanYY26 ltr/s8W26.5 dB0.31-£££4.5
High Power Inline Loft Mounted Bathroom/Toilet Extractor Fan Kit-Y51 ltr/s33W35 dB0.65-£££££4.4
Silent Extractor Fan with Humidity, Low Noise, Low EnergyYY21 ltr/s5.5W26 dB0.26Y£££4.3
Envirovent Silent 100mm (4") Silver, Adjustable Timer Ultra Quiet FanY-26 ltr/s8W26.5 dB0.31-££££4.3
Vent-Axia Silent Fan - VASF100TYY21 ltr/s6.8W26 dB0.32-££££4.2
Designer Metal Bathroom Extractor Fan with Humidity TimerYY24 ltr/s14W-0.58Y££££4.2

Want to See Even More Fans? Click Here to See Our Full List of Over 20 Fans

  • Overrun Timer Does the fan feature a timer that will turn it off after x minutes.
  • Back-draught Shutter – Important to prevent outside winds blowing back through the fan and into your bathroom, though can also be fitted into the ventilation duct and cost just a few pounds.
  • Decibels – How loud is the unit whilst running?
  • Power Usage – The amount of power consumed
  • Extraction Rate – The volume of air extracted by the unit, expressed in litres per second.
  • SFP Efficiency – A measure of the energy efficiency of a unit, expressed as power consumption divided by extraction rate.
  • Humidity Sensor – Allows the fan to automatically turn on/off when the humidity of your bathroom reaches a certain level.
  • Price – Prices change often depending on special offers etc., and thus we’ve classified prices as follows £ = under £20, ££ = under £30, £££ = under £40, ££££ = under £50, £££££ = £50+
  • Rating – Our overall rating of the fan, taking into account all the above elements.

As you can see the table above there are many different leading manufacturers of bathroom extractor fans each with their own particular take on what makes the best fan. So we’ve tried to include as broad a range as possible in terms of price and features.

One thing they all do have in common is that they’re designed to fit the industry standard 100mm/4 inch ventilation duct size as set out in the Building Regulations – Means of Ventilation (Document F).

What is a Bathroom Extractor Fan?

Simply put an extractor fan is a fan fitted into the bathroom with ducting connecting it to the outside of your property. This allows the fan to draw out the damp air after you’ve finished having a shower or bath. Otherwise this moisture rich air and condensation can be a major cause of structural damp and mould in your property, something that can cost many thousands of £’s to repair if left untreated!

This is why modern building regulations require the fitting of such an extractor fan to properties, however there are many older buildings that do not have such a fan in place. In which case you have three options…

  • A window fan can be the cheapest and easiest option to fit, however it will require some skill with cutting glass in order to fit your chosen fan into place. The downside is that they often have unsightly cables on show.
  • A ducted wall fan is usually the most common option whereby a hole is cut into both the outside wall and the bathroom wall, with the fan sitting at the bathroom wall side and ventilation provided by ducting leading to the outside.
  • Similar to the above, a ceiling bathroom extractor fan can also be used with ducting leading to the outside. These can often give a more aesthetically pleasing finish. However it is worth noting that some fans may not be powerfull enough to open the backdraught shutter when fitted in such a vertical manner.

What Features Make the Best Bathroom Extractor Fan?

We touched upon some of the factors above but i wanted to go into a little more detail about why we chose these features as being an important indicator of what is the best. After all, extractor fans are here to stay, despite some of the odd ideas that some enterprising souls have came up with.

Overrun Timer – What is an overrun timer you may ask? With good reason too! The short answer is that when wired into your properties electrics it allows the extractor fan to run for a given amount of time even after you have otherwise turned off the lights/shower. What this means is that you can shower, dry off and leave the bathroom and your fan will continue to function. All the time drawing out the damp air and leaving your bathroom condensation free. The length of time the fan will continue to run for after turning off the lights is usually decided whilst installing the fan unit, though some units are adjustable.

Back-draught Shutter – One of the more important features but equally as mystifying. The back draught shutter prevents gusts of wind from outside blowing back through the ducting and into your bathroom. As I’m sure you’ll agree the last thing you want on those cold nights is an icy wind blowing through your extractor fan and into the bathroom whilst you’re trying to have a shave! Definitely a requirement when choosing your best extractor fan. It should be said though that you can also fit a 3rd party shutter into the ventilation duct or the external grill and these cost just a few pounds on average.

Decibels – The lower the better here as you want your fan to run as quietly as possible. Ideally you should be looking for a fan under 30db as anything higher than this could prove to be a distraction whilst running.

Power Usage – With the environment being such an important topic these days, most people are giving extra thought as to how eco friendly their home is. An important aspect of this is power usage, simply put how much energy your extractor fan drains whilst in use. The exact value will differ slightly to that which we have listed due to changes in air pressure in your home. However it can be used as an approximate value to calculate how much the extractor fan will cost to run in your bathroom.

Extraction Rate – One of the most important factors in determining the best bathroom extractor fan is how much damp air it can shift. Higher volumes are ideal, however too high can leave you with negative air pressure in your bathroom. This can feel like a cold chill, which i’m sure you’ll agree is the last thing you want when straight out of the shower! It also plays an important part in the efficiency of your fan…

SFP Efficiency – Ok there is where it gets a bit geeky. Short for Specific Fan Power it is a measure of how energy efficient an extractor fan is. Whilst the actual equation is a little more complex, we’ve simplified it to power consumption divided by extraction rate. The reason for this is that their are factors outside of our control. The important thing to take away is that the lower the SFP figure the more energy efficient the fan is.

Humidity Sensor – As we mentioned above, the humidity sensor is a great little gadget that allows your bathroom fan to turn itself both on and off whenever the relative humidity of the room reaches a certain level. What this means is that your fan is no longer tied to the light switch or a separate pull cord. Instead it’s free to power up only when it’s actually needed, no longer will it come on when you’re just nipping to the toilet or brushing your teeth! As I’m sure you’ll agree this is quite clever and quite a few of the best extractor fans for your bathroom will offer this feature. Definitely one to look out for.

How to Find an Extractor Fan that Best Suits Your Needs

So with such a wealth of information available, how do you find the bathroom extractor fan that best suits your needs? Well if you follow the points below you will be able to make an informed decision from our extractor fan comparison table above!

  1. First off, decide where you want to fix the fan, be it to the wall, the ceiling or your window.
  2. Next decide whether you want a fan with a built in backdraught shutter, or if you will be fixing a separate shutter into the ducting or external grill of your fan.
  3. Now decide if you will require an overrun timer or not. For the most part this will usually be yes as it is a requirement in the building regulations. However there are some cases where this may not be the case.
  4. Now you know what features you want, it’s simply a matter of choosing the extractor fan that most suits your needs. We strongly suggest going for the fan that has the lowest SFP rating and the highest extraction rate.
  5. As with any electrical product, especially those in the bathroom, you should always have the product fitted by a qualified electrician. However if you are qualified yourself then you may find this excellent guide to fitting a bathroom extractor fan from the guys at Homebase usefull, and we also have our own guide for those seeking to install a fan in their bathroom.

Our Reviews of The top 5 Best Bathroom Extractor Fans 2015

Here we take a little more in-depth look at our favourites. As you can see from our comparison chart above the top 5 bathroom extractor fans in the UK are as follows…

#1 The Manrose QF100T “Quiet” Extractor Fan with Timer

The Manrose QF100T Quiet Extractor Fan is super quiet and probably the best extractor fan aroundThe QF100T ticks almost every single box in our check-list, it is powerfull, energy efficient, quiet and features both an overrun timer as well as a back draught shutter. Perhaps best of all, it’s pretty damn cheap too all things considered, coming in at around £25 for the fan unit it puts a lot of other extractor fans to shame. But great value for money isn’t just the only bright point about this fan. It offers an impressive 21 litres per second extraction rate with just 4.8 watts of energy consumed, making it by far the most energy efficient fan in the UK.

If i was to pick one fault with the QF100T it would be that it does not have a humidistat as standard, and of course you will also need ducting and and an external grill to complete the installation.


#2 Envirovent Silent 100 HT Bathroom Extractor Fan Humidistat & Timer

The Envirovent Silent 100 HT Bathroom Extractor Fan comes with a humidity sensor built inThis lovely little offering from Envirovent is the only fan in our top 5 that meets every single one of requirements. From timer to shutter and energy efficiency to humidistat, this extractor fan has the lot! In fact it was difficult to put this at #2 and not #1, however at almost double the price of the QF100T this is the only downside to the unit. Otherwise, it’s an exceptional bit of kit and the difference in price can be attributed to the addition of the humidistat. With the fan operating on the humidistat it will automatically turn itself off and on when the relative humidity of the room reaches a certain level.

As with most purely fan units, you will need to buy a length of 4″ ventilation ducting as well as an external grill to fit on the outside of your property.


3# Manrose MF100T In-line Fan Timer Extractor Mixedflow

The Manrose Mf100t In-line Extractor Fan With Timer has exceptional powerAnother offering from the experts at Manrose, the MF100T is unusual in that it is purely an in-line fan. By this, it means it is to be fitted at some point in-between the grill/vent in your bathroom and the grill on the outside of your house. So you will need to purchase both a vent/grill for the interior wall/ceiling of your bathroom and one for the exterior wall. However, the MF100T’s strength lies in its sheer power, offering a massive 50-64 litres per second extraction! You can really kiss goodbye to damp air with this fan, that’s for sure. Additionally, it is great for those cases where your ventilation ducting has to travel quite a distance as opposed to straight through an exterior wall.

As you might expect from such a powerfull fan it does draw quite a bit of energy at 25w however it still offers exceptional energy efficiency with a SPF factor of 0.37 which is more than acceptable in our view.


#4 Manrose 100mm Shower Light / Extractor Fan

The Manrose 100mm Shower Light and Extractor Fan Kit comes complete with everything you will need to install.Yet another offering from the guys at Manrose, and whilst relatively new we can see this one rising through the ranks quickly. The reason is that this is one of the few complete bathroom extractor fan kits available, coming with everything you need in one package. Not only that, but it also features a combined light & vent fixture that can be fixed to your wall or ceiling to provide both lighting and extraction in one unit. As mentioned this is the complete kit, containing vent/light, ducting, in-line fan and exterior grill. All in all the ideal kit to get your started.

One slightly minor criticism would be the energy efficiency of the unit. However when you consider that the unit also comes with inbuilt light it’s not hard to see why it draws more energy than similar units.


#5 Envirovent SIL100T “Silent” Bathroom Extractor Fan

The Envirovent SIL100T Silent Bathroom Extractor Fan may lack the humidity sensor of its big brother, but it is still one of the best fans around.The observant amongst you may have spotted already that this offering is similar to our #2 rated extractor fan. And you’re be right! It is in fact the next model down offering everything the SIL100HT does just without the costly humidistat. It was a tough decision where exactly to rate this offering as there are many other units that offer similar features and functionality. Simply add some 4″ or 100mm ventilation ducting and an external grill and your good to go.

I would thoroughly encourage you to check out our extractor fan comparison above as there are many other fans on offer and i’m sure you can find the best one that perfectly suits your individual needs.


Conclusion

So there you have it, everything you could possibly want to know about the top bathroom extractor fans that the UK has to offer. Hopefully with the help of our reviews & ratings above you will be well positioned to make an informed choice about just which is the best bathroom extractor fan for your very own home.