Our Top Choice...
Our pick for the best kitchen exhaust fan is the Broan Sensonic exhaust fan with Bluetooth speaker. This fan does more than just move air through your kitchen, it also can also add some extra ambience to your home.
If you’ve got a range hood in your kitchen, you might be wondering why you would need an exhaust fan as well. While they seem to be very similar, you might be surprised to learn that exhaust fans and range hoods do very distinctly different things in your kitchen. For many chefs having both an exhaust fan and a range hood are a must.
Before we get into our seven top picks for exhaust fans, it might be helpful for us to explain the difference between an exhaust fan and a range hood. To start, your range hood is made to move heat, odors and even grease and moisture from directly over your stove. These appliances generally have a large capacity of air flow, and can be rather noisy. This localized operation is great in many ways, but they don’t do much for moving air through the rest of your kitchen.
That’s where an exhaust fan comes in. These handy items are installed in the ceiling of your kitchen, and their main purpose is to circulate fresh air through your kitchen. Exhaust fans generally have a lower air flow capacity, and if you do your research you can find options that are nearly silent. Exhaust fans are made to keep your kitchen cooler, and are a more energy efficient option when you’re baking or using your oven, and don’t want to run your range hood.
With that said, if you’re in the market for an exhaust fan for your kitchen, you’ll realize quickly that there are a ton of options out there. Some are very simple, some are made to blend into your existing décor, and some have vents that open during use. Some vent to the outside, some are simply made to move air around the room, keeping the environment fresh and free of stale air and odors.
So how do you pick the one that is best? Well we took on that task. We started by researching the most popular products on the market. We read lots of user reviews and started with the highest rated ones. We tested the best options, and after all of that work, we’ve compiled our list of the seven best kitchen exhaust fans. Our handy buying guide will give you all of the product features that we considered in our research. We’ve put it together for you, so you can narrow the choices down to the one that is best for your kitchen.
The Broan Sensonic Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Bluetooth Speaker is our top pick Kitchen Exhaust Fan for a few reasons. It is a quiet exhaust fan that does a good job of moving air around the kitchen. It was easy to install and can be vented outside or not. It’s a versatile product with an affordable price tag.
Here is the list of the best wall and ceiling exhaust fans to buy:
- Best Overall - Broan Sensonic Speaker Fan with Bluetooth, 110 CFM 1.0 Sones
- Runner up - Broan 670 Ventilation Fan, Ceiling or Wall Mount Exhaust Fan, 50 CFM, 3.5 Sones
- Best Bathroom - Delta BreezSlim SLM50 Ventilation Fans, 50 CFM
- Best Large - VES 24" Exhaust Shutter Fan
- Best Controls - AC Infinity AIRLIFT T12, Shutter Exhaust Fan
- Best Durability - iLIVING ILG8SF12V 12-inch Variable Speed Shutter Exhaust Fan
- Best Wall - Broan 508 10-inch Through Wall Exhaust Vent Fan, 270 CFM, 7.0 Sones
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
Top 7 Kitchen Exhaust Fans (2020 Reviews)
1. Best Overall - Broan Sensonic Speaker Fan with Bluetooth, 110 CFM 1.0 Sones
Easy to install and/or replace existing fan
Very low noise and good suction
Covers space up to 105 sq. ft.
It allows audio through most Bluetooth-enabled devices
Speakers stop when fan is off
Light Bulbs sold separately
- Materials: Plastic and galvanized steel
- Size: 10 inch
- Type: Bathroom Exhaust Fan
- Dimensions: 38 x 7.63 x 10.5 inches
- Weight: 11 pounds
This fan did a really nice job of moving air through our kitchen. It wasn’t too noisy, which was nice. It was also really easy to install. It is made for exterior exhaust, which is honestly better than just a recirculating fan, especially for kitchen applications.
We really thought that the idea of a Bluetooth speaker installed in the fan was a nice added extra. This added feature allows you to connect your phone or other Bluetooth enabled device and enjoy your favorite tunes while you cook or entertain.
Why settle for just a basic exhaust fan when you can get a little something extra. Our favorite kitchen exhaust fan, the Broan Sensonic exhaust fan works great as an exhaust fan but also allows you to enjoy your favorite music or audiobooks while you cook.
Easy installation no tools necessary
Very efficient suction power
Great value to price ratio
Paintable polymeric grilles allow you to change colors
Only covers 45 Square Feet
Not as quiet
- Materials: Galvanized steel housing & polymeric grilles
- Size: 9 inch
- Type: Ceiling or Wall-Mount
- Dimensions: 9 x 9.25 x 3.63 inches
- Weight: 6 pounds
Nutone makes simple, yet reliable exhaust fans for a variety of applications. Our pick for the runner up best kitchen exhaust fan is another vented option that has really good performance.
We thought that this wall mounted appliance from Nutone was almost better than the Broan, but it did seem a little louder than the Broan. This vent fan can exhaust either out the wall or through the ceiling, depending on how your kitchen is arranged.
We did like the fact that you can paint the grilles on this exhaust fan, it can seamlessly incorporate into your existing décor.
3. Best Bathroom - Delta BreezSlim SLM50 Ventilation Fans, 50 CFM
Easy to install and replace existing fan
Long lasting, and energy efficient
Low profile and low noise level
Comes in 4 CFM levels and 2 models
No timer or controls
- Materials: Galvanized steel body
- Size: 4 inch
- Type: Exhaust Bath Fan
- Dimensions: 94 x 7.25 x 7.2 inches
- Weight: 5 pounds
For smaller kitchens it is sometimes more practical and affordable to use a bathroom exhaust fan. Honestly, they work the same and for the price, it can often be more affordable to purchase a bathroom exhaust for a smaller kitchen.
The Delta Electronics was a great option for a small kitchen. With 50 CFMs of air flow it worked really well in the kitchen application. This fan is vented and is really easy to install.
We really liked the slim profile of this fan, and it was really quiet, which was nice. It is a great replacement for an existing fan.
4. Best Large - VES 24-inch Exhaust Shutter Fan
Easy to install, no electrician needed
Durable corrosion and rust resistant aluminum
Three speeds to choose from
Multiple sizes are available
Sometimes the shutters stick and won't close completely
- Materials: Aluminum shutters and blades
- Size: 24-inch
- Type: Wall mount
- Dimensions: 5 x 11 x 24.5 inches
- Weight: 32 pounds
If you are looking for a more commercial grade kitchen exhaust fan, then you’ll want to consider our pick for the best large exhaust fan. The VES 24” exhaust shutter fan is a great option if you need a lot of airflow for a larger space.
This fan can be installed in either a window or can be cut into the wall. It doesn’t have a vented exhaust since it is meant to be installed directly in and exterior wall or window.
This fan was a bit loud, so we don’t think it’s great for residential application. However, it would be great in a commercial kitchen.
5. Best Controls - AC Infinity AIRLIFT T12, Shutter Exhaust Fan
Easy to use programmable controller
Very durable materials
It’s pretty quiet and moves lots of air
Ten speeds, with timer and alarm warning
Would be nice if the thermostat was wireless
- Materials: Galvanized-steel shutters, aluminum blades
- Size: 10-inch
- Type: Wall Mount
- Dimensions: 15 x 15 x 8.8 inches
- Weight: 53 pounds
Another great option if you are looking for a larger sized fan, or one that doesn’t require ducting, is the AC Infinity Airlift shutter exhaust fan. This fan installs in a window or on the outside wall of your home or business, so there’s no need for ducting.
Despite the size and higher CFM rating, this fan was reasonably quiet. It was easy to install and seems to be very durable. We like the black finish of this fan, it looks a bit more attractive, especially if you’re installing in a residential kitchen.
This fan had the nicest controls of all of the fans that we tested. It has a programmable controller that allows you to automatically start the fan based on temperature and humidity. You can focus on cooking, not on the environment you’re working in.
6. Best Durability - iLIVING ILG8SF12V 12-inch Variable Speed Shutter Exhaust Fan
Easy to use and has adjustable speed functionality
Very durable materials prevent corrosive rust
Great power and pretty quiet
Multi-purpose, can be utilized in many areas
No controller included
- Materials: Aluminum Shutters and Steel Frame
- Size: 12 inch
- Type: Shutter mounted
- Dimensions: 75 x 15 x 15 inches
- Weight: 7 pounds
If you need something a bit more heavy duty, then you’ll want to consider the iLiving wall mounted exhaust fan. This exhaust fan installs in the wall of your kitchen, directly to the outdoors, so there is no need for ducting.
While this fan isn’t the fanciest, it is a great performer, and it is really durable. We did find that it had more consistently operating shutters than other similar products. It has a fair amount of air flow and was reasonably quiet.
Our biggest complaint about this fan is that it isn’t terribly attractive, so it’s probably a better option for a commercial kitchen.
Easy to install or replace existing fan
Pretty energy efficient
The built-in damper minimizes backdrafts
Has paintable polymeric grilles
1-year limited warranty
Not as quiet
- Materials: Plastic
- Size: 10-Inch
- Type: Through Wall
- Dimensions: 25 x 4.50 x 14.25 inches
- Weight: 3 pounds
This smaller sized exhaust fan is made to vent through the wall, instead of the ceiling. It creates 270 CFM of air flow, which is great for most average sized kitchens. It can also be installed in larger bathrooms or utility rooms.
While this fan is smaller, and made for residential applications, we did find that it was a bit on the noisy side. However, it wasn’t really any louder than some range hood fans. We did like that the cover can be painted to match your walls, and it was really simple to install.
Our favorite kitchen exhaust fan was the Broan Sensonic Bathroom Exhaust Fan with Bluetooth Speaker. It was a perfect combination of function and unobtrusive looks. It did a great job of moving air around an average sized kitchen, was quiet and energy efficient. We especially liked that it didn’t require a ton of effort to install, and was up and running quickly.
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice air quality in your home for the delights of your kitchen. If you’ve found that food odors are lingering, or that your kitchen gets really hot and humid when you’re cooking, a kitchen exhaust fan is a great addition to your home. It will make your home’s air quality better, and make your kitchen a comfortable and enjoyable place to be.
How to Choose the Best Kitchen Exhaust Fan
This buying guide is our list of the most useful product features. We found that when considering an exhaust fan, these were the details that made the most difference in quality and performance.
We found that the most durable of the exhaust fans that we tested were made of steel or aluminum. These materials are relatively lightweight and lend to quiet operation, but resist rust and tend to last a longer time than some other materials.
Some of the smaller exhaust fans, and some of the ductless options we did find to have plastic grates or covers. We didn’t see a real problem with the plastic cover, they were still durable and worked fine for the application. However, you may find that over time the plastic cover may discolor, and require replacement. Plastic is also less expensive, so if you’re working on a budget this option may be more practical.
There are two basic types of exhaust fans, vented and ductless. There are pros and cons to both, which you choose really should depend on the particulars of your kitchen and arrangement of your home.
We would say that in most cases, if you can install an exterior vented exhaust fan, this is the idea option. Venting your exhaust fan to the outdoors allows you to pull odors, moisture and heat out of your kitchen. This improves air quality because it removes the suffocating air produced when cooking, and it makes your home a healthier place to be.
However, not all kitchens or homes have the space to install a duct and all of the necessary add-ons that are required with a vented exhaust fan. If this is the case in your home, you’ll be installing a ductless exhaust fan instead. These fans use filters to clean the air that passes through the fan, and then returns cleaned air back to your space. Once upon a time these weren’t terribly effective at improving air quality, however, today’s filter technology is much better at removing moisture, oils, and odors.
Many people also just prefer the ease of a ductless exhaust fan. They are relatively simple to install and can be up and running in just a few hours. Installing a vented option can take multiple days and may require the expertise of an HVAC technician.
Ease of Installation
Speaking of easy installation… We’ve already mentioned that ductless exhaust fans are relatively simple to install. However, if you already have the ducting installed for an existing exhaust fan in your kitchen, installing a new exhaust fan shouldn’t be a major undertaking.
Do look for products that have clear instructions, and come with all of the parts you need. Installing an exhaust fan is a task that most homeowners can do easily with simple tools and a basic understanding of electrical wiring. However, if you aren’t comfortable doing the installation yourself, do enlist the assistance of a professional. This will save you from frustration in the long run.
The size factors that you want to consider are the footprint of the exhaust fan, or how much of the ceiling or wall will it occupy, and the air flow capacity.
From the cosmetic and aesthetic side of installing an exhaust fan in your kitchen, you want to have a fan that does a good job of circulating air, but you don’t want the footprint to be so large that it becomes an eyesore in your home. Many of the kitchen exhaust fans out there today are a nice combination of small footprint and good air flow capacity.
When it comes to air flow capacity, you’ll want to pick a product that has a sufficiently high enough CFM (cubic feet per minute) value to move air efficiently through your kitchen. We found that most kitchen exhaust fans had CFM values in the range of 70 to 250 CFM.