Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s how profound and insightful her reviews always are.
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may arise during our tests and research.
Last updated: September 12, 2021
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Without proper temperature control, attics can get as hot as 150 degrees. This can result in serious moisture build-up that can damage or largely compromise the quality of your roof or any belongings you have stored in it. A well-ventilated attic is therefore quite detrimental especially if you live in a hot area or during hot summer months. An attic fan comes in handy at removing hot stagnant air from your attic effectively. It also saves you a pretty penny on your air conditioning bill.
Choosing the best attic fan is not the easiest of tasks given there are multiple options on the market. We rounded up a list of the best attic fans to help you make the right choices without much hassle. Our choices were based on a few crucial features like power, type, dimensions, venting capacity, and weight among others. The features determine the overall performance of the fans and their suitability to your attic. If you have a large sized attic, you will need a fan with a high venting capacity and power for proper ventilation.
This ranks top on our list because it is a high-performance fan that installs easily. It is designed to keep your home cool and comfortable without having to cut a hole in your roof. It is perfect for people who can access their attic’s gable as it can be installed through the wall.
The fan is built to stand the test time with a robust galvanized steel housing. Its 3.1-amp motor together with the 14-inch steel propeller provides maximum ventilation for a space of up to 1600 sq ft. For added durability, the motor has been permanently lubricated and thermally protected. You won’t experience any overheating issues when the fan is active for extended periods.
Installing the fan is a breeze as it comes with mounting brackets. You only have to be careful to install it behind shutters to protect it from the rain.
The fan also has a built-in thermostat that you can set to activate and shut-off automatically to control the attic’s temperatures.
What makes it special? The fan is easy to install and can ventilate a wide area efficiently. Its adjustable built-in thermostat makes it one of the best gable mounted attic fans out there.
What cons did we find? The fan doesn’t come with an outside vent cover. Some users have also complained that the adjustable humidistat is not as accurate as advertised.
This is one of the most outstanding premium quality attic fans because of its distinguished high-quality variable-speed ECM motor. When the attic is too hot, it starts at 3000CFM then drops to 1000CFM when the heat dissipates.
The fan boasts a tough steel construction that guarantees you long-lasting performance. It is super easy to install and use given it is a plug and play. All you have to do is insert it into a 120-volt outlet.
With this fan you get to solve more than one problem. You will have the temperature in control as well prevent mold and mildew growth. All this is thanks to its adjustable thermostat and humidistat that work to keep the moisture level in your attic below 60%.
What’s more, the fan features a smart control hub that gives you full control of the unit from your phone. In addition, it includes a fire sense safety shut-off that reduces its chances of getting damaged because of overheating.
What do we love it for? The fan’s variable ECM motor is the bomb. It gives you full control of your attic’s temperature. The adjustable thermostat, humidistat and smart control hub are also a huge plus. Plus, installation is easy breezy thanks to its plug and play compatibility to standard 120volt outlets.
What were we disappointed with? Some users have complained that the fan can be a bit noisy. Also you have to dig deeper into your pockets for the unit.
iPower is a renowned brand that is a famous go-to for many people because of its durable and superior quality products that exceed user expectations. This 12-inch shutter exhaust fan is one of their rare gems designed to remove excess heat, dust, odors and moisture from your home attic or commercial space.
The fan is incredibly lightweight thus easy to install. You can easily add it to a window opening or an opening in the wall together with a thermostat to optimize cooling. Plus it comes fully assembled and ready to install straight out of the box.
It is made with Aluminum for longevity and features automatic gravity shutters that open and close in sync with its operations. Its shutters and blades are corrosion resistant and its enclosed motor is permanently lubricated and thermally protected for durable performance.
What do we love it for? This is an industrial-level attic fan that you can use in any commercial location like a greenhouse, factory or restaurant. It is built to last with robust aluminum and a thermally protected motor. With a 1-year warranty, this is downright the best wall-mount fan that moves a lot of air, prioritizes durability in its design and is super-quiet in its operation.
What were we disappointed with? The edges of the fan’s mounting frame are dangerously sharp, and so you must take extra caution when doing installation.
Here is another budget friendly option that will effectively equalize temperatures inside and outside your attic. It is carefully designed to help prevent home deterioration caused by weather elements. The powerful attic fan reduces heat build-up in your attic leaving you with a more comfortable space.
The gable mount fan distinguishes itself with a rugged galvanized steel construction. It features 4 fan blades that are precision balanced for great air movement. Their design also minimizes heat distortion and vibration. Therefore it has an incredibly quiet operation.
The fan moves a good amount of air owing to its 1300CFM capability. It is ideal for attics as large as 1850sq ft. Together with the adjustable automatic thermostat, it does a great job of cooling your attic and getting rid of dust and odors.
Moreover, installing the fan is a no-brainer. It comes completely pre-assembled and ready to install. Plus, you won’t need any special tools to get started.
Why are we impressed? If installed correctly, the cool attic fan guarantees you years of efficient cooling in your home’s attic. Because of its galvanized steel construction durability is a solid bet. What’s more, it has an unobtrusive design that will easily blend in with your attic’s interior.
What negatives must you be aware of? If you don’t get the fan’s position correctly during installation, its blades will hit the mounting brackets’ bolts. Plus, some customers complained of increased vibration and noise after a few years of uses.
This is a fantastic multi-purpose option. It is the ultimate solution to all of your cooling and ventilation needs. Other than the attic, you can also use it in the shed, garage or any other place in your home that is prone to weather-induced damages.
The fan is made to last with weather resistant shutters. It is made with super-durable high-grade aluminum that can hold up well to moisture and heat for longer periods without forming rust or getting damaged.
The iLiving fan is small but mighty. It offers unparalleled power and efficiency running on the standard 120 volts at a flash speed of 1070 rotations per minute. The 18-inch blades can ventilate 1736 cubic feet per minute which is enough for an attic as large as 2600sq ft.
Its enclosed motor also adds to its overall longevity as it is permanently lubricated for easy maintenance and corrosion resistance. It is also thermally protected to prevent any heat damages.
Essentially, you can customize your comfort or be in full control of your attic’s temperatures with the fan’s adjustable speed functionality. You can buy the iLiving speed controller which is usually sold separately to achieve full customization of your comfort.
What do we love it for? The fan is perfect for cooling or ventilation in any space in your home. Its durability is a huge plus and it comes ready to install. It is a great option for cutting on home conditioning costs as it removes excess heat and moisture pretty well.
What were we disappointed with? Some users complained that the fan is loud and its installation instructions are not clear enough.
This is one of the best heavy-duty fans you can get for your attic, greenhouse or workshop. It is a high-airflow exhaust fan painstakingly designed to automatically eliminate heat, moisture dust and odor.
The fan comes in a robust galvanized steel build. Its shutters are weather and corrosion resistant and they close automatically when not in use. Its impeller and blades are made with lightweight aluminum and are balanced to reduce vibrations, hence the fan’s whisper silent operation.
The fan distinguishes itself with an LCD display, customizable fan speeds, humidity sensors and remote smart temperatures. These allow you to control the fan’s speeds and airflow according to the existing weather and environmental situation.
Also featured is an inline speed controller that you can use to customize your comfort. You can use it to set the fan’s speed, noise and airflow level.
Another praiseworthy feature is the EC motor which is only controlled electronically with PWM technology that allows it to run smoothly and at low speeds reducing unnecessary noises and heat. It can run on variable voltage controllers and with the 8 speeds, backup memory and power switch it works magic.
Further, the motor is enclosed and permanently lubricated for easy maintenance. It is also rated IP44, thus highly resistant to moisture and dust.
Installing the fan is a breeze. It comes with everything needed to mount it and a clear user manual. Plus, its motor houses dual-bearing balls that allow both vertical and horizontal mounting.
What are its best features? This is a high-performing and energy-efficient fan that will be a real game changer in your home. Its EC motor can save up to 40% of energy like AC motors, so at the end of the day it pays for itself. It is also incredibly quiet and powerful. It moves a lot of air efficiently leaving your attic ventilated and odor or dust-free.
What could be improved? The fan costs a pretty penny
Meet Ken Brown, an industrial-grade multipurpose exhaust fan that is ideal for removing dust, moisture, heat and deadly odors from your home attic, factory, greenhouse or welding room. It is best suited for both residential and commercial spaces.
The 12-inch exhaust fan is durably built with high-grade aluminum shutters and blades that can hold up well to high temperatures and moisture without forming rust or getting damaged.
The shutters are the automatic gravity type that open and close with the operation of the fan. They rotate at an impressive speed of 1650 RPM, ventilating and cooling an area of about 1800 cubic ft every minute.
The fan owes its superior airflow transfer to its powerful enclosed motor that is permanently lubricated for easy maintenance and thermally treated for added longevity.
Even more, the fan runs quietly and nothing is more fulfilling and comfortable than a machine that does its job without making its presence too obvious.
Why are we impressed? Ken Brown’s popularity has been on a steady rise in the past decade. This is because of their high performing products. This exhaust fan is not an exception with its impressive capability of moving a large volume of air to cool and ventilate your attic efficiently.
What negatives must you be aware of? The fan is not well balanced and can be a little shaky during operation. Installing it can also be a piece of work.
Who says you can’t play a game or watch a thriller in the attic this summer? The Air Vent is the prime solution for any attic fan who hates how hot it can get in there at time. it is designed to effectively move air and cool an attic of about 1500sq ft. it will not work efficiently in any space bigger than the recommended size.
The fan will undoubtedly serve you for the longest time if not a lifetime if well installed and maintained. Its blades are made with robust stainless steel for extra sturdiness and corrosion-resistance. Its motor is made of tough metal and its housing is plastic.
The fan is not the easiest to install on the market but it is not back-breaking work. It needs hard wiring. It has a break open hole to accept a screw-nut style electrical wire connection. The fan is designed to be mounted with a self-closing louver in a gable end but it can also be mounted in a near-horizontal position in a roof.
With the adjustable thermostat, you can control the temperatures in your attic as you desire. Its accuracy sets the fan apart and the little to zero vibration makes it a preference to many people who prefer a quiet household.
Why is it special? this is a superbly quiet fan that does a great job getting rid of heat, odors and dust in the attic. It is ideal for attics smaller than 1500sq ft and it is built to hold up to rapid temperature changes and moisture pretty well. What’s more, you won’t spend an arm and a leg on the unit.
What are the flaws? the fan is advertised as a whole fan house yet it isn’t. It can only ventilate an attic with 1500 sq ft or less. Installing it also needs more effort compared to other fans.
Broan is also a popular brand known for top-quality attic fans and the 355BK is one of their flagship models. It is one of the best ventilation attic fans because of its powerful functionality and easy installation. It is just as good as air conditioning in removing the uncomfortable hot blanket of air that forms in the attic.
The fan has a solid 23-gauge galvanized steel housing that has been ribbed for extra strength. Its blades are made of metal for ultra-durability and efficiency. The 14-inch diameter blades are designed for increased air flow for optimum cooling and ventilation of any space of about 1715sq ft.
Unlike many other fans, the 355BK is superbly easy to use thanks to its adjustable, built-in thermostat. It optimally ventilates your attic automatically.
Its rugged motor also adds to its overall longevity. It is thermally protected and permanently lubricated for easy maintenance.
Why did it make our list? With a 1-year warranty, this is one of the best options for achieving a drier and cooler attic. Broan doesn’t compromise on quality and this model doesn’t fall short. It moves a lot of air over a wide area preventing potential heat or moisture damage in your attic.
What is not ideal about it? Several users have complained that the fan’s built-in thermostat is faulty. Also, there are a few complaints that the fan’s plastic dome collapses when exposed to the sun’s heat for long.
This is the ultimate choice for anyone who loves a good bang for their bucks. The Vivosun fan is a multipurpose fan designed to boost airflow and remove dust, exhaust and bad odors from your home attic, HVAC units, basements and workshops. It is also a perfect choice for controlling hot and humid conditions in grow rooms or tents.
On top of its unmatched versatility, the inline duct fan has a rugged build that is tight and precise to eliminate rattling. The tight construction also minimizes wear and tear giving the unit a long life.
Moreover, the fan is engineered for optimal ventilation with less noise. Its blades are well-balanced for maximum air supply and ventilation of exhaust air. It owes its whisper silent operation to the permanently lubricated motor that runs smoothly and requires no maintenance.
Another thing you will love about this fan is that it is super easy to install and energy efficient. Its lightweight build also makes installation a no-brainer.
What makes it special? At its price point, it is almost impossible to find such a sturdy, energy efficient fan that installs easily. It is a great choice for a small attic space as it moves a decent amount of air. Its permanently lubricated motor are a huge bonus.
What cons did we find? Some customers have complained that the ventilating capacity is not as advertised. Another popular complaint is its slightly noisy operation. It is not the quietest fan out there.
Things to Consider
Before you set out to buy and install an attic fan, there are some crucial aspects and parameters that you must consider for you to make the most of your investment. You must understand the capabilities and functionality of different models as well as some safety considerations. This section has some helpful tips that will help you make the right choices from knowing what an attic fan really is and why you need to invest in one to the features you must consider.
What is an attic fan?
An attic fan is a fan specially designed to remove hot and moist air from the attic. It circulates air within the attic by pulling cool and fresh air from the vents and pushing hot moist air outside. It can either be roof or gable mounted. An attic fan is often confused with a whole house fan which is also installed in the attic to effectively ventilate the entire house.
There are multiple models of attic fans available on the market with different features, capabilities and functionality.
Why invest in an attic fan?
Owning an attic fan comes with a lot of pros including:
An attic fan can be used the entire year. During summer it comes in handy at ventilating and cooling the attic. This reduces heat and moisture build-up which lengthens the life of your stored belongings (If you have any) as well as the roofing shingles and sheathing.
During winter or cold season, an attic fan does a great job prevent ice-dam induced damages. It cools the attic to equalize the indoor temperature to the one outside. This prevents snow melting or freezing on your roof whenever it hits the gutter.
Attic fans use less electricity compared to air conditioners. They use just a fraction of what ACs consume. They also eliminate the need of using an AC thus reducing the cost of your monthly utility bills.
Features to consider when choosing the best attic fan
These are the key features that any good attic fan must possess:
There are 2 main types of attic fans according to installation: gable and roof. Gable mount fans are easier to install especially for people who are afraid of heights. They also look neater from the outside compared to roof mounts.
As for wiring, the most common method is hard wiring. You can get an electrician to hardwire the fan into the main supply of your home. If there is a socket in your attic, you can choose to plug in. If you are eco-conscious you can opt for solar energy. An electrician would help you fit the fan properly as well as ground it to prevent it from being struck by lightning.
To get the correct venting capacity for your attic, you must know the actual size of your attic space. Most manufacturers indicate on the fan the amount of space it can effectively cool down. For instance, ‘can cool attics up to 1500sq ft’ is an indication that it will only move air to cool and ventilate an attic of 1500sq ft or less.
To get your attic’s measurement, you can multiply the length by the width.
This refers to Cubic Feet per Minute or the amount of air moved in a span of 60 seconds. A fan with a higher CFM rating produces more airflow. For optimal performance, choose a fan that matches the size of your attic. A very high CFM will increase your monthly power bills while a very low CFM will just be spinning wheel without any credible impact.
If the fan doesn’t come with the CFM rating, you can easily check its ventilating capacity or the amount of square footage it is intended for.
Dimensions and weight
Ensure you choose a fan that suits the size of your attic. You don’t want a fan that takes up all the space in your attic. Plus, the lighter the fan, the easier it is to install.
However, do keep in mind that larger fans run well at a lower speed thus consuming less energy. They also tend to be quieter than the smaller models.
You want to go with an attic fan with less wattage if you intend to save on energy. An attic fan that draws over 200 watts like the AC Infinity AIRLIFT S12 is less energy efficient compared to one that draws as little as 42 watts like the Vivosun FBA 331101.
The fan blades of an attic fan should be made of high-quality material and precision balanced for great air movement. Their design should also aim at minimizing heat distortion and vibration. With reduced vibration, quiet operation is a solid bet. Another thing worth noting is; the more the fan blades, the quieter the fan. The flip side to this is that the multiple blades drag down the fan’s motor and slow it down resulting in less air circulation.
If you live in a hot area, then you will need to run your attic fan throughout the day. If the attic fan is going to be running throughout then you want it to have a quiet operation. Luckily, the newer attic fan models come with motors that are better tuned to create less turbulence. They can efficiently keep the attic cool in relative silence.
Ensure you get an attic fan made with superior quality materials that can withstand the moisture and high heat that builds up in the attic. Metal construction is the best. Sheet metal or galvanized steel are more durable and can hold up well to fluctuating temperatures.
Avoid cheaper fans with plastic components as plastic gets very brittle in the cold season. The fan’s blades may begin to snap and fail after a couple of uses forcing you to acquire a new one or incur repair costs.
Just like any other appliance, an attic fan can have manufacturing faults that may affect its functionality. Therefore, it is wise to choose a model that comes with a generous warranty backing. Some manufacturers offer up to 15 years warranty cover while others offer a mere 1-year warranty on parts and service. The longer the warranty the better as it speaks volumes about the product’s quality and in case you encounter any trouble you can save some pocket change that you could otherwise spend on repairs or a replacement.
Safety of use
This is one crucial aspect as attic fans can be dangerous. You must consider if the fan is safe to use in your attic especially if you have a furnace in an attic. An attic fan is capable of creating adequate draft that can blow out a pilot light on a furnace. Should this happen, the furnace will release gas into the attic. The fan will work to get rid of this gas by pushing it outside but, in case it shuts off or stops functioning, the gas will seep into the rest of your home posing danger to you and your family.
Similarly, an attic fan can pull carbon monoxide back into the home through a damaged flue. You can avoid this by ensuring your flue is in a good condition and that your furnace, fireplace, oven or any appliance that uses fuel is well-ventilated.
This allows you to be in full control of your attic’s temperature according to the existing weather conditions. You can set the desired temperature and forget the fan then change the settings when the weather changes.
Further, some attics feature the on/off switches for controlling their operations. Others like Broan 355BK use an adjustable thermostat to kick in when the temperatures rise to a certain level in the attic then go off when the attic is optimally cooled and ventilated.
Attic fans can malfunction and cause a fire especially when they overheat. Therefore, ensure you choose an attic fan that has a thermally protected motor. Also, when installed near a furnace, fireplace or any appliance that uses fuel, it can pull carbon monoxide back into your home if you have a damaged flue. The carbon monoxide can be harmful to you and your family members if not alleviated.
Attic fans are more energy efficient than air conditioners. They also eliminate the need of using an AC, thus cutting a huge chunk of your monthly utility bills.
There’s more to choosing the best attic fan other than just going through all the options that saturate the market. This guide has great quick tips that will help you gain buyer’s confidence and choose the best fan for optimum ventilation of your attic. You can as well choose to go with any of the top-quality fans on our list.
Our top choice was the Iliving ILG8G14-12T. The fan has a robust galvanized steel construction and can move a lot of air. It is lightweight, thus easy to install and with the button control, super-easy to use. Our premium choice is the QuietCool AFG SMT ES-3.0. It is hands down the best industrial-grade fans that you can use in your home attic or in any large commercial space. Its exceptional venting capacity and 15-year warranty went unmatched.