Last updated: August 5, 2021

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The bathroom in particular is susceptible to mould infestation, as there is often high humidity there. Ventilation is not always sufficient, especially since not all bathrooms have windows. To prevent this, bathroom ventilators or small room ventilators are the perfect solution.

Find out how you can find the best bathroom fan for your needs in our big bathroom fan test 2021. Whether it is to be operated manually or controlled automatically by motion detector or humidity sensor depends solely on your preferences. Also learn what advantages each type of bathroom fan has over the others. We have compared the options for you to make your purchase decision as easy as possible.


  • If you have a bathroom without windows, the bathroom fan ensures that moisture is removed from the room and the indoor climate is restored. This prevents mould and bad odours.
  • When buying a bathroom fan, you can decide whether you want to control it manually with a remote control or whether you want it to switch on automatically with a moisture sensor or a motion detector.
  • When choosing, it is important to consider criteria such as power, volume, design, diameter and size, and whether it has extra settings such as a switch-on delay, a back-up function and an after-run function.

The Best Bathroom Fan: Our Choices

Buying and Evaluation Criteria for Bathroom Fans

In this section, we would like to introduce you to the aspects that enable you to compare the different bathroom ventilation systems. Based on this, you can evaluate whether a device suits you and your requirements or not.

These criteria make it easier for you to make a decision:

You will find out what these criteria mean in the following.


A decisive factor for choosing the right bathroom fan is the power. This is measured in watts (W) and increases with higher wattage. However, the larger your room, the higher the output should be.

So if you are looking for low power consumption, the power of the fan should be low. However, this must always be seen in relation to the air supply. The higher the air supply, the higher the performance.

With a high output and a high air supply, higher electricity costs are incurred during operation, but the bathroom fan does not have to run as long to dehumidify the room.

You can get bathroom fans from 4 watts up to 40 watts.


Another important criterion when choosing the right bathroom fan is the volume. After all, you don't want to be constantly disturbed by an unpleasant noise in the bathroom. For this reason, manufacturers are trying to make their products quieter and quieter.

Most bathroom fans today are no louder than a whisper

The volume of bathroom fans is measured in decibels (db), with a value of around 30 db being considered quiet. Most newer models are even as low as 25-30 db.

This is comparable to the volume of breathing sounds (25 db) to whispering (30 db).


If your bathroom is designed in a certain style, the design of the bathroom ventilation naturally also plays a major role.

Current bathroom ventilators are available in plastic, for example, but also with glass fronts or metal. If you have decorated your bathroom in a simple style, an inconspicuous white plastic model may fit better into your interior than a silver chrome housing.

On some bathroom fans, you can even see values such as humidity and temperature on a built-in display.

For a very special ambience and great lighting effects, there are also extra built-in lights in some units.

Diameter and size

If you have already installed a built-in ventilation shaft in your bathroom, the size must of course be matched to it.

Most models are available in the common diameters of 80 mm, 100 mm, 120 mm and 150 mm. The larger the diameter, the more air can of course be supplied in the same time.

A larger pipe diameter ensures a faster restoration of the room climate

Once you have determined the right diameter, you only have to think about how big your enclosure can be. In some facilities, a small, inconspicuous fan of, for example, 14 cm x 14 cm x 9 cm (L x W x D) is more suitable, whereas eye-catching metal units should perhaps attract more attention by choosing a large size.

Switch-on delay

The switch-on delay offers you the option of your bathroom fan only switching on after a few minutes. For example, if you have a bathroom fan with a motion detector, you can set it so that you have to be in the bathroom for a minute or two before it switches on.

This has the advantage that it doesn't switch on every time just because you have to get something in the bathroom.

This function can be a very interesting extra, even if you want to buy a bathroom fan with a moisture sensor or motion detector.

Backflow function

Another criterion for buying a particular bathroom fan is the so-called backflow function. If your ventilation shaft does not already have a backflow flap, it makes sense to buy a bathroom fan with this special setting.

The air flow when the unit is switched on opens the flap and the moist air can escape. When the unit is switched off, the flap is in contact again and closes the connection to the outside.

This has three main advantages:

  1. no cold air can flow from outside into the room
  2. Vermin cannot enter your bathroom through the vent
  3. unpleasant odours are prevented from flowing back into the room

The backflow function is already built into some units, but can often also be purchased as an accessory.

Run-on function

If your bathroom fan is coupled via a motion detector or the light switch, the run-on function offers another advantage.

As a rule, not all moisture has been removed from the room by the time you have finished showering or doing your business. However, since you leave the room afterwards, the fan would then switch off automatically.

By setting the run-on time, you control how long the ventilation continues to run after you have left the bathroom. You do not have to return to switch off the bathroom fan after a few minutes.

In the case of a fan with a humidity sensor, a check is made after the set run-on time to see whether the humidity level has gone down far enough, otherwise it runs again for the duration of the set run-on time.

What types of Bathroom Fans are there and which is the right one for me?

If you want to install a bathroom fan in your bathroom, there are three types of products you can choose from:

type advantages disadvantages
Bathroom fan with remote control freedom of choice due to manual control, adjustable humidity sensor subjective feeling of humidity, remote control can be damaged by humidity
Bathroom fan with humidity sensor automatic control and checking of humidity higher price and settings cannot be changed afterwards
Bathroom fan with motion sensor automatic reaction to movement also switches on during a short stay, during which no humidity is generated at all

If you would like to learn more about the features of these three types of products, we have summarised the most important things about them for you here.

Bathroom fan with remote control

Bathroom fan with remote control

The remote control allows you to control your bathroom fan manually. You can switch it on and off from anywhere in the bathroom without having to flick a switch.

  • manual control
  • safe mains disconnection
  • humidity sensor can be adjusted
  • durability due to humidity in the room
  • subjective setting

If you feel that it is still a little too humid in the room, you can simply switch it on again at the touch of a button. This guarantees a safe disconnection from the mains. You can also change the settings of the humidity sensor quickly and easily, but this is always based on your own feeling and you cannot really be sure whether the room has already been dehumidified.

The remote control is usually quite small and handy and the functions are largely self-explanatory. However, it is questionable whether electrical devices such as remote controls are so useful in damp rooms and how long they last.

So technically, the device has no differences to the other bathroom fans, it removes the humidity from the room and provides fresh air.

Bathroom fan with humidity sensor

Bathroom fan with humidity sensor

If you choose a bathroom fan with a humidity sensor, you have an automatic solution as opposed to one with a remote control.

  • automatic control
  • humidity value individually presettable
  • permanent humidity check
  • Settings cannot be changed afterwards
  • higher price

Especially in a bathroom without windows, this solution makes a lot of sense because mould can be prevented. We usually misjudge whether there is still moisture in the room and would otherwise switch off the bathroom fan manually long ago, but with the sensor it only switches off at a certain threshold value.

The bathroom fan switches on automatically as soon as a certain value is exceeded. This makes sense, as the subjective feeling often does not correctly assess the humidity and mould can then form after some time.

One disadvantage is that you can’t change the settings afterwards because the sensor is built into the bathroom fan. This type of bathroom fan is usually a little more expensive.

Bathroom fan with motion detector

Bathroom fan with motion detector

The bathroom fan with motion detector only switches on when you enter the bathroom. When you leave, it switches off again accordingly. So everything happens automatically and you don’t have to worry about anything.

So it can’t happen that you forget to switch on the bathroom fan before taking a shower, for example, because your movement in the bathroom is sufficient.

  • automatic control
  • switches on by movement
  • also switches on during short stays
  • also switches off when humidity is still high but you leave the room

Make sure, however, that the range is large enough for your bathroom, otherwise it will no longer detect your movement if you move too far away.

Don’t forget, however, that it really does switch on every time you enter the bathroom, even if you’re just fetching something or washing your hands. But it also turns off again when the moisture is not yet out but you have left the room.

Guide: Frequently asked Questions about Bathroom Fans answered in detail

What is a bathroom fan and what alternatives are there?

A bathroom fan is an exhaust fan that blows humid air out of the room and replaces it with dry air. It serves to keep the room climate stable.

It is important that the bathroom fan is always connected to a ventilation shaft so that the air really flows outside and does not simply circulate in the flat.

Especially in the bathroom, the room with the most moisture, it is important to direct the moist air outside. Otherwise mould can quickly form.


Small rooms without windows are particularly susceptible to mould growth. A bathroom fan is the ideal solution for this.
(Image source: Francesca Tosolini /

An alternative would be a dehumidifier, which causes the water in the air to condense and thus lowers the humidity. The best alternative, however, is a window. But since not all bathrooms have windows, the bathroom fan is a good system to balance the indoor climate.

What does a bathroom fan cost?

There is a wide price range between the individual bathroom fans. The cheapest ones start at just under 15 euros and can go up to 250 euros.

It all depends on what functions you want and what is most important to you. If it is important to you that the volume is pleasant, that the bathroom fan can be controlled by a humidity sensor and that it has a run-on function, this can cost you more than if you buy a fan that you can control manually.

Type Price
Simple bathroom fan with switch from approx. 15 to 30 euros
Bathroom fan with humidity sensor from approx. 35 to 60 euros
Bathroom fan with motion sensor from approx. 35 to 160 euros
Bathroom fan with run-on function from 35 euros

If you are reasonably tech-savvy, you can certainly install your bathroom fan yourself. If you have it installed by a plumber, however, you will have to reckon with additional costs.

What power should a bathroom fan have?

Depending on the size and type of room, a different output is required. You can use this formula to determine the output:

Circulation capacity of the fan (m³/h) = room size (m³) * number of air changes per hour

In the area of bathroom ventilation, the air exchange rate is between seven and nine times per hour. For a 10 m² bathroom and a height of 2.5 metres, the bathroom fan should therefore have a circulation rate / air supply of between 175 m³/h and 225 m³/h.

If the air supply of the bathroom fan is below the calculated value, it must run longer to exchange the room air, if the value is higher, then shorter.


Depending on the size of your bathroom, the bathroom fan must have a different air supply.
(Image source: Solomon Rodgers /

How can I connect the bathroom fan?

If your bathroom already has an opening for an exhaust or ventilation pipe, or if you are replacing an old appliance, you can easily install the new bathroom fan yourself.

  1. Switch off the fuses: Make sure to switch off the power before you start.
  2. Dismantle the grille and remove the fan: Unscrew the grille and then pull out the old fan.
  3. Install the new fan: If the fan is the same size, you can install it immediately. To do this, insert the new fan into the back of the old one. There you will find the connection block where the electrical cables are located. When the bathroom fan snaps into the back wall, it is automatically connected to the electricity.
  4. Attach the extractor grille: Screw everything in place and then turn the power back on to test the bath fan.

Don't forget that there are differences between bathroom fans that come on when the light switch is activated and those that react to the moisture content, for example.

If the ventilation shaft is not yet in place, work on the masonry is necessary, which it is better not to do yourself as a layman. In principle, however, it is of course possible to install the bathroom fan at a later date.

How do I clean my bathroom fan?

You should clean your bathroom fan every few months, otherwise the air supply will be restricted.

However, cleaning is quite simple and should not pose any problems:

  1. Remove the cover: First remove the cover of the ventilation. This is usually fastened with screws or a click connection.
  2. Clean it: Wipe the fan with a damp cloth. If there is coarse dirt, you can also vacuum out the ventilation first.
  3. Wash the filter: You can now remove the filter and wash it.
  4. Close the cover: Replace everything and put the cover back on.

It is best to check every few months whether cleaning is necessary. If the filter becomes porous or old, you should replace it.

Image source: photovs/

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