Last updated: April 20, 2021 at 12:59 pm
There’s nothing worse than getting up in the middle of the night, switching the light on, and a loud in-your-face extractor fan starts whirring away. Your bathroom should be quiet, peaceful and quite often, and escape from a noisy house.
For this reason:
We’ve reviewed our 4 favourite silent bathroom extractor fans, and explained our reasoning why a silent fan is a must have in any peaceful bathroom. We’ve also detailed what each fan is “best for” depending what you’re after. There’s no such thing as a completely silent fan, but a low enough dB level should hardly be noticeable.
- 1 Extractor Fan Summary
- 2 Features of a Perfect Silent Extractor Fan
- 3 4 Best Silent Bathroom Extractor Fans – Full Reviews
- 4 Why You Might Need a Quiet Extractor Fan
- 5 Conclusion
Extractor Fan Summary
Below is a summary of our favourite silent extractor fans. Click on each to jump to the full review.
|No.||Brand & Model||dB level||Quiet Score|
|1||Xpelair – C4HTS Silent Extractor Fan with Timer||20||5/5|
|2||Envirovent – SIL100T Quiet Extractor Fan||26.5||4/5|
|3||Awenta – Extractor Fan (Various Colours)||26||4/5|
|4||STERR – Black Bathroom Extractor Fan||27||4/5|
Features of a Perfect Silent Extractor Fan
Although we’re looking at silent extractors, it doesn’t change the fact that many of the features will be the same for any extractor.
✔ Decibel Level (dB)
A standard bathroom extractor fan makes in the range of 35 dB of sound. This is not particularly loud, but it can seem much louder because you’re in an enclosed space. A silent fan operates at such a low volume it is practically inaudible. There are two main types; intermittent extractor fans, which produce 14 dB, and continuous ventilation fans, which only make 10 dB. To illustrate how quiet this is, someone whispering 5 feet away produces around 20 dB. Any fan that creates under 30 dB of sound when in use can be considered silent/quiet.
If you want further reassurance, you can also look for fans with accreditation from the Noise Abatement Society. These products will be marked with the Quiet Mark, which is given to the manufacturers of the most silent products produced around the world.
✔ Air Extraction Volume
Building regulations require that a domestic bathroom fan must extract a minimum of 15 litres per second. However, almost all extractors on the market exceed this and average 21-25 litres per second. There are even some models that go as high as 68 litres per second.
How much extraction you’ll need depends on how large your bathroom is, how well it’s already ventilated, and how many people will be using it. As extractor fans don’t use a massive amount of power, it’s best to go for the most powerful one available within your budget.
Extractors come in two sizes: 100mm/4 inches and 150mm/6 inches. In most cases, the 4-inch fan will remove moist air well enough to keep the bathroom smelling fresh and be less susceptible to mould. The only reasons you would need to consider a 6-inch extractor fan is if:
- You have an especially large bathroom which is nine metres square or more
- Your bathroom is on the inside of the building and so has no windows at all. This is more common in flats
- You have a large number of people living in your house, and you all shower in the morning.
- Your bathroom is very cold and/or gets very little sunlight
It’s a good idea to look for a fan with an overrun timer. This means it will continue to run for a set period after you switch it off. In most cases, you won’t stay in your bathroom long enough for it to have removed all the humid air before you switch off the extractor.
An overrun timer gives it time to complete the job. You can set how long it runs for when the fan is installed, but most models offer settings from 30 seconds to 30 minutes. If you’re going to use this feature, it makes sense to leave it running for as long as possible to make sure it removes as much humidity as possible.
✔ Humidity Sensor
If you’re concerned anyone in your home might forget to turn on the extractor, then definitely consider getting a model that includes a humidity sensor. The sensor will detect if the bathroom’s humidity exceeds a certain level and automatically switch on the fan.
This could be a good combo with the overrun timer; if there’s still a lot of moisture, even after the overrun, the humidity sensor will activate and complete the job. Do be aware, though, that the sensor won’t work as well if it’s dirty. Wipe it down every couple of months to ensure it works as intended.
✔ Back-Draught Shutter
A back-draught shutter is fitted to the fan on the outside wall outlet. It’s there to prevent draughts from coming into your bathroom and making it chilly. This is one feature where the answer is different when considering a silent extractor.
Unless your vent is on an extremely sheltered part of your house, then it’s better to leave this off. Wind will cause the shutter to rattle, making it less worthwhile to have a silent extractor if you’re going to be plagued by an annoying rattling sound. If you think any wind at all will catch the shutter, then leave it off.
4 Best Silent Bathroom Extractor Fans – Full Reviews
Best Quiet Option With the Lowest dB Level
- How quiet: 20 dB
- Colour: White
- Timer: Yes
- Size: 100mm (4″)
The Xpelair C4HTS is a terrific extractor fan choice, coming in at 20 dB. Advertised at 16 dB we believe it’s closer to 20 dB, which is still the quietest we’ve tested.
This model comes in four variations, each with different extras like a Timer, Pull Cord and Humidistat. The variation with a Timer and Humidistat is the most expensive option, but one well worth looking into.
The Xpelair offers two speeds depending on how powerful you’d like it to be. This will vary on bathrooms size, and will have an effect on noise level. The slower the fan needs to work, the quieter it will be. The timer can range from 30 seconds – 30 minutes, again this setting will depend on how hard you need the fan to work.
Two speed options are available of 15 and 21 litres per second. 15 is the lowest extractors fans should be, so you have the option of increasing to 21 if you need more power or have a bigger bathroom.
- Quietest option at 20 dB
- Fit in well with most bathrooms
- Optional extras of Humidistat and Timer
- Two speed options
- Only available in white
- Tested at a slightly higher dB level than advertised (16 dB)
- Harder to install than counterparts
- Lower extraction rate than the Envirovent
Best for Standard Bathrooms
- How quiet: 26.5 dB
- Colour: White
- Timer: Yes
- Size: 100mm
The Envirovent SIL100T is probably the best overall extractor fan choice for a standard bathroom. Coming in white only, it should suit most bathrooms, but leaves it slightly limited when dealing with bathrooms of different colours.
An automatic timer can be adjusted from 1-30 minutes to suit your needs, but also can be automatically determined by how long the fan has been on. If you notice condensation after the fan is in use, it’s a good idea to extend the timer for longer. The rate of 96 cubic metres is more than enough to keep condensation in check for standard bathrooms.
A PIR motion sensor starts the fan if you move within 4 metres, so for my smallish bathroom it is always on. Can be a pro or a con depending how you see it.
As standard, the Envirovent has an extraction rate of 26 litres per second which is substantially more than the Xpelair above – this is the reason the latter is slightly quieter.
- Best overall fan choice
- Recognised brand
- Louder than others on our list
- Only available in white
Best Option With Various Colour Options
- How quiet: 26 dB
- Colour: Various
- Timer: No
- Size: 100mm
Available in seven different colours, the Awenta offers an affordable option with features you’d expect. Modern looking, this extractor fan fits in well with newly renovated rooms or extensions.
Recorded at 26 dB, it’s on par with the Envirovent and louder than the Awenta, although the Awenta offers extraction of less litres per second. So, if you have a bigger bathroom or condensation is a problem, it might be better you go for a slightly louder model that has more power.
This is the cheapest fan we’ve tested, and it holds up well against the competition. Granted, it has less features than others (no timer or PIR) so if those are essential then this isn’t the fan for you.
- Lots of colour choices
- Affordable – cheapest on our list
- No timer or PIR motion sensor
- Quality may affect longevity
Best Black Option
- How quiet: 27 dB
- Colour: Black
- Timer: Yes
- Size: 100mm
A very tidy option, the STERR offers a sleek black design and a dB level of 27. Five variations are available which we think is a bit excessive. These variations include LED lights, Timer, PIR motion and a glass front. Excessive options (in our opinion) creates unnecessary confusion about what to go for.
We feel others on our list are slightly more powerful and do the job better, but if a black extractor fan is what you’re after then this is a great, quiet option.
The LED is white and reflects off the fan well, especially if you go for a glass front. The PIR motion sensor and Timer are good, although are upgrades and don’t come with the cheapest model.
- Best quiet black choice
- Optional upgrades if wanted
- Can be installed at any angle
- Quieter options available
- Too many variations, creates confusion
- We still prefer white options for a bathroom
Why You Might Need a Quiet Extractor Fan
The first and most obvious reason is if you have young children. Babies and toddlers tend to be early risers, so you may only have time to shower or have a relaxing bath in the evenings when they’ve gone to bed. If your bathroom extractor fan is old or noisy, it could wake your baby up. A silent fan removes this worry.
Depending on the schedule of other members of the household, it could also wake you up. If you have a spouse or flat mate that works late shifts and likes to shower when they get in at night, then a noisy fan running at all hours could disturb your sleep. It could also cause another problem depending on where your bathroom is in relation to your neighbour’s property. If your fan is loud and near their bedroom, it may also disturb them, leading to potential friction. This could be a particular issue if their sleep schedule is different to yours, e.g. if one of you works nights.
Even if your fan doesn’t wake anyone, it might simply be an annoying sound. If you’re unwinding in the bath after a long day, the last thing you want is the drone of the extractor fan running. You do have the option of turning it off, but if you allow moisture to build up for a long time, the fan may struggle to get rid of it all by the time you turn it on. If your fan has a humidity sensor, you may not be able to turn it off which could ruin your chance at a peaceful soak.
Until you have one, it’s hard to explain the difference a silent bathroom extractor fan will make. It sounds silly, but removing unnecessary noise really does make a difference, especially when trying to unwind from a hard day.
Each extractor fan in our list is best for a different purpose. The Xpelair C4HTS is by far the quietest coming in at an incredible 20 dB (although advertised at 16 dB). Slightly harder to install than the other three, make sure you read the instructions carefully.
The Envirovent SIL100T is a great all-round option and the most well-known brand. Reliable and well-built, this fan is easy to install and will work without you noticing it too much.
The Awenta offers a great option for a variety for colour choices, whereas the STERR is the best black option we’ve found. Whatever bathroom extractor fan you choose, make sure it’s right for your bathroom and it can be easily installed.