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: August 12, 2021
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If you want to control temperatures in your attic, and house one of the ways to go about it is to get a solar attic fan. As such, you have to pick the best solar attic fan out of the many options available.
Our team already researched and reviewed over 20 attic fans. The research helped us conclude that the iLIVING Smart Exhaust Solar Attic Fan is one of the best fans out there, and thus it took the editor’s choice spot. You can see why when you look at the high venting capacity, smart thermostat control, warranty as well as a few other features. Looking at the other nine products listed below could also do you some good. This is because they as well have great features, and they may perform better than the editor’s choice in some areas.
We looked at everything from the power, venting capacity, and the type of fan. These, of course, are the features you look to when trying to figure out if the device would work for your needs. Also, weight, dimensions and other features make it so that you can check the compatibility of the invention to your house and needs. You can find this information in manufacturer and vendor sites just like we did. Nevertheless, it has been collated in the write-up below that consists of a table, buying guide and even in-depth reviews of some of the best solar attic fans in the market.
If you make it a point to study and look into the features of the iLIVING Smart Exhaust Solar Attic Fan, you are bound to be as impressed by the product as we were. The area that the device covers is one of the more impressive ones even against heavy contenders in the list.
Another very impressive feature is the smart thermostat control. Of course, you don’t want to have to control the device manually. This is because it would require trips to and from the attic. However, with the smart thermostat, you can be anywhere inside the house and instantly be able to change the workings of the device.
Of course, the fact that it is a solar-powered device means that you don’t have to worry about rising energy costs. Just make the initial purchase. After that, you can use the machine for as long as possible without a rising energy bill. As at the time of this review, you could get the tool for about 350 dollars, but only if you purchase from Amazon.
Also, given that it comes with a 15-year warranty, you shouldn’t be expecting breakages and device failures after purchase. You can as well adjust the solar panel after installation. This will, of course, ensure that you always get maximum sunlight to power the machine.
Another thing to look into is the brushless motor. The manufacturer made sure that this component was waterproof. After all, the machine is installed on the roof. As such, it will likely come into contact with rain. Being waterproof ensures that you don’t have to worry about water damage in the invention.
With regards to the screen guard and the AC power supply, you should realize that these are optional attachments. You will thus be required to pay more to get them.
What are our favorite features?
Waterproof brushless motor
Adjustable solar panel
Wide area coverage
Smart thermostat control
There are optional attachments that you can as well purchase
What could be better?
Some users have reported that the device is loud in operation
The louvers don’t close automatically when the machine shuts down
Most people choosing the Natural Light 36W Solar Attic Fan would probably do so because of the power. Also, concerning the design, you can draw similarities between this device and its predecessor. Nevertheless, there is a myriad of differences that can be found by looking into the details.
This is a high velocity fan capable of providing air velocity of up to 1628 CFM. While this is a bit less than that of its predecessor, it does end up covering a larger area. This can be attributed to the fact that this device produces more power. Remember that it is self-sufficient and thus doesn’t need to use the electricity in the house.
We advise users to be aware of the type of roof they are installing this device on. As it stands, the purchase is supposed to go onto pitched Fiberglass-Asphalt Shingle roofs. However, the manufacturer does offer other flat-roof mount models should you want one.
When you do get the machine, the solar panel should be flat. Nevertheless, you have the option to adjust it up to a 45-degree angle. As such, you should toggle these settings until you find the sweet spot for maximum sunlight. Of course, if you do this, you will be able to draw the best performance from the machine.
Also, the manufacturer knocks it out of the park with the warranty. You get a full ten years additional coverage as compared to the editor’s choice.
As well if you live in colder climates, you might want to spend a little extra money. This will go towards acquiring the optional snap-on thermostat, which should be a valuable accessory. Of course, this will reduce the amount of work you have to do to operate the device.
The Remington 30W Solar Attic Fan is another product with many benefits under its name. As such, it may be just what you are looking for.
One critical benefit is the coverage area. The tool is capable of covering 2500 sq. ft. and it does this using its 1550 CFM. Also, the 30W solar panel and 24V DC motor are what make this possible.
If that doesn’t impress you, then you should note the weight of the device. As compared to other devices that have similar dimensions, this is one of the lighter devices on the market.
The lightweight nature of the tool may have the added advantage of making it easy to install. Also, the mount of the device adds to the ease of installation. All you would have to do is follow installation instructions, and you would be good to go in no time at all.
Durability is also another selling factor of this piece of equipment. It has a steel body that is made more robust by the addition of powder coating. As such, rust will likely not affect the integrity of the device for a long time to come.
Warranty is another area where the manufacturer gets top marks. Once you buy this product, you get a limited lifetime warranty, and this may serve as a significant incentive for people to buy it.
If you are also looking for a quiet machine, the Remington 30W Solar Attic Fan could be a top pick. This is made possible by the poly-vinyl fan blades. The built-in humidistat and thermostat are as well other factors that may make this device purchase worthy.
Why are we impressed?
Easy to install
Limited lifetime warranty
Wide area coverage
High power production
What negatives must you be aware of?
Most users only have positive things to say about the device
The natural light manufacturer seems to be putting out several high-quality attic fans into the market. As such, in addition to the premium pick, you also get the Natural Light 24W Solar Attic Fan as well.
The coverage area of the device is quite impressive. At 2100 sq. ft. you should be able to use this device effectively for a larger residence. It is as well important to note that a lot of the components of the machine are made from high-quality materials. This goes quite a long way in ensuring that you get as much use from the device as you possibly can without worrying about wear and tear.
You also see that the design is quite similar to that of its predecessor by the same manufacturer. Consequently, the installation should be just as easy. Another benefit that the two devices hold in common is the 25-year warranty. This gives the impression that such a warranty is a common theme for most of Natural light’s attic fans.
The device doesn’t ship with a thermostat. Nevertheless, you can choose to purchase this accessory and attach it to the device. Doing this should make the use of the invention a lot easier.
Also, if you are going to do the installation, you are probably going to appreciate that it ships with all installation hardware. Nevertheless, if you are not confident in your DIY ability, you should look for a professional to do the installation for you.
Why did it make our list?
Large coverage area and impressive air velocity
No wiring required
Quiet in operation
What is not ideal about it?
The fact that it does not ship with a thermostat may be a deterrent to some
The Natural light manufacturer also diversifies its portfolio by giving us the 12W Solar Attic Fan. As such, it is not the most powerful attic fan and is thus better suited to smaller residences. Nevertheless, for such a low power device, it does cover a relatively large area.
It is a bit lighter than some of its predecessors on the list despite having rather solid construction. Also, given that it is made of heavy-duty aluminum, you can tell that the innards of the device are well protected.
In addition to the aluminum construction, you also find that the product is powder-coated. As such, it will be resistant to scratching, fading and chipping. As a result, the aluminum will be safe from moisture that may lead to corrosion of the device.
As we have already seen, the 25-year warranty is present in a lot of the manufacturer’s devices and is seen in this model as well. You should, therefore, not be worried about damage and repairs.
A thermostat is as well excluded from the initial purchase. You can get it alongside a fire safety switch by adding to the 342 dollars needed for this device.
The HQST 15W Solar Powered Attic Fan is of the roof-mounted variation and quite the bulky machine. As you can see mentioned above, the panel produces about 15W of power, which is enough to power the device.
Also, seeing as though this is a roof-mounted device, you can see that it is similar in outlook to the Broan 345SOWW Solar Powered Attic Ventilator that also features on our list. Both of these devices feature low profiles.
If you thus find other roof-mounted attic fans to be an eye-sore, this should provide you with a suitable alternative. Nevertheless, the adjustable solar panel should come to your aid should you feel that the unit isn’t getting enough sunlight.
Also, you have the IP68 waterproof brushless motor. It is well protected from weather elements and as such rain won’t be cause for worry. To add on to the benefits of the device, buyers can get an optional snap-on thermostat.
When looking for a solar attic fan, a device that is barely visible is not something you will see with a lot of options. Nevertheless, the Broan 345SOWW Solar Powered Attic Ventilator does fit the description of a low profile device. As such, it will be well hidden on your roof while still performing up to standard.
The body of the machine is made from rugged ABS housing. It should thus prove to be durable enough to give a couple of years of use.
Unfortunately, the warranty doesn’t compare well to that of other options on our list. This is because most of the device is covered for six years, while the motor only has two years of coverage.
Concerning the fan, you see five aluminum blades in the construction of the machine. Also, the fan diameter totals around 12”. As you have probably realized by now, this device is not for big houses unless of course, you install more than one unit.
You should also take note of the large gauze screen. It is made from aluminum and thus should last a long time. The main reason why this component is included is to keep bugs and other small creatures out of the fan.
Buyers should as well find this tool relatively easy to install.
What are its best features?
Easy to install
Low profile design
Has an aluminum gauze to keep out insects
What could be improved?
Venting capacity is low
Warranty is also not as good as that offered by most competitors
The ECO-WORTHY 25W Solar Powered Attic Ventilator is probably one of the top two gable-mount options to come into our list. If you are unfamiliar with a gable, it is a triangle-shaped part of a wall that features at the end of a ridged roof.
You should thus check to see if you have a gable before committing to this purchase.
You may have to cut and drill a hole in the wall for the installation to work. As such, you shouldn’t try to do it on your own if you don’t have the knowhow. Consequently, you may need to look for skilled labor.
If you do install this on the gable-end of your attic, it should be able to cover most of the space in the attic. This is regardless of whether the space is large or small.
The vent fan also comes with an 8-inch solar cable. Couple that with a 16-feet cable that comes with the solar panel and you have very long reach. This may help you with the installation of the device.
Another benefit of this set of equipment is that it doesn’t have to be installed in your home. Given that it is lightweight and features a foldable solar panel, you can also take it on your outdoor adventures.
What makes it stand out?
Covers a large area
The whole package is portable
Offers a wide range of installation options apart from the home
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Installation may be a hassle
Some users have mentioned that the fan motor stops working after some time
Potential users should also be impressed by the QuietCool 40W Solar Powered Attic Fan. This is an 18 lbs. machine that produces 1486 CFM. As such, the venting capacity is quite impressive.
It is also a gable-mounted piece of equipment. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of this device is its power efficiency. After all, not many options, even on this list can claim 40W power levels. It also uses a power-efficient DC motor to run the fan.
Once installed, the solar panel should allow for up to 60-degree adjustments. This means you can get the optimum positioning for direct sunlight. The result is, of course, more power and efficiency from the device.
Also, you get a few valuable accessories with the purchase. The preset thermostat is one of them in addition to the AC/DC inverter. Also, the 15-year warranty is another major positive for the device.
What are our favorite features?
High power levels
Wide area coverage
Comes with a few useful accessories
Adjustable solar panel
What could be better?
As compared to other gable-mount devices, this tool is quite expensive
Also, not many people have used the device; hence it may be difficult to tell the tool’s negative attributes
The Amtrak SAFD30 Solar Attic Fan is another gable-mount device to feature on this top ten list. The venting capacity is something to write home about due to the total area of coverage that it provides.
Another impressive statistic is the overall weight of the package. At just 12 lbs. it seems this is the lightest machine on today’s list. You will also love that it comes with quick connect wires. This should make the whole process of installation more straightforward.
The fan motor is as well protected from overheating. This feature should go a long way into ensuring that you can use the fan for longer. Also, you see that there is 14” fan housing in the design of this product. On the other hand, the fan size is 10”.
The efficiency of the fan has also been praised as being enough to open louvers. As such, you can see that most of the components of the device are high-quality. In addition to that, you get 15” of extra wire and brackets so that the installation can go a lot easier.
If this isn’t enough to talk you into buying the device, then maybe the free optional thermostat might do the trick. Nevertheless, it is highly unlikely that you will go wrong with this product.
What makes it stand out?
Free optional thermostat
Thermal protected fan motor
Wide area coverage
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
There is no warranty
Some users mentioned that it could get quite loud
Also, when the panel is not in direct sunlight, you can get dismal performance from the device
Things to Consider
You probably don’t want to waste your money on the purchase you make. As such, it would help if you had all the required information before making your choice. This is where the buying guide below comes in to bail you out rather than letting you do all the heavy lifting.
What is a solar attic fan?
Attic fans are mainly used to regulate temperatures in the attic by exhausting hot air. For this part of the house, such devices may be better than, for example, window fans. Of course, the warm air that is removed from the building is then replaced by its cool counterpart. This also goes a long way in regulating the overall temperature of the building.
As such, a solar attic fan is the same type of fan. The only difference is that it is powered by solar energy. Some of them even come with thermostats. As such, they can start expelling hot air from the attic as soon as a specific temperature is reached.
Benefits of solar attic fans
The reason why you are buying the solar fan in the first place is likely because of the benefits that the device can provide.
One example is that your home cooling system needs to put in less work when an attic fan is working. Since these devices are powered by solar energy, you will end up having to pay less in energy costs.
Also, continuous heat in the attic can often damage asphalt shingles over time. As such, if you prevent heat from building up in your attic, you add to the life of your roof.
Another thing to note is that proper ventilation can eliminate moisture damage, such as rust. Also, most solar attic fans are quiet. Even when they aren’t quiet, the fact that they are installed near the roof means that users can’t hear them in operation.
Features to consider when choosing a solar attic fan
You as well want the best value in the tool that you end up buying. As such, you need to know of the benefits of each model you consider. Consequently, the only way to accurately gauge this is to know about the various features to expect.
Most of these features are listed above, and the only thing left is for you to understand them a little better. Consequently, the explanations given below should be quite helpful in that regard.
There are three main installation types with regard to solar attic fans. You have roof and gable-mounting, which are the two most popular options. You also have curb-mount installations that are less common than their counterparts.
Nevertheless, you should have a firm idea of where you want to put the fan even before you start looking at your options. If you want it on your roof, the curb-mount and roof mount options are ideal. However, there are options such as the Natural Light 24W Solar Attic Fan that stick out like a sore thumb. Others are more understated.
You should thus determine which of the two you would rather have in the early stages of research. This will eliminate some options and leave you with only a few products to choose from. That makes it easier to decide on a model to buy.
Also, gable-installation is often done on the inside of the attic. Consequently, the structures won’t stick out like their roof-mount counterparts. However, the solar panels still need to be placed outside so they can get sunlight.
Another thing to think about is who is going to do the installation of the device? If you are going to contract a professional, you may not need to worry about the installation type. Nevertheless, if you plan to put the device up yourself, you are better off sticking to something you are familiar with.
The venting capacity is also a considerable part of the purchase decision. You first want a device that can cover your whole attic. Of course, attics come in different sizes and are often directly proportional to the size of the house. As such, if you have a huge house, you probably want a device that has a broader coverage area.
Also, you often find the capabilities of the solar attic fan to be proportional to the size and weight. As such, most of the powerful attic fans are also quite bulky.
However, in an ideal world, you would get a compact device that can cater to all your needs. However, seeing as though this is not possible, you can look for the best viable option.
Nevertheless, you will likely have to sacrifice one for the other. You either pick a small device that is not powerful or a powerful device that is bulky.
Solar power capacity
The solar power capacity of the tool will as well be quite influential in how the device performs when put to task. As such, you will find that the tools that can hold the most power also tend to be more efficient with their ventilation duties.
The sun’s position as well differs at different times of the day. Also, you are bound to notice a change in the sun’s trajectory every few months.
This is brought about by the earth’s rotation as well as the revolution around the sun. As such, you have to realize that for you to draw optimum performance from the device, direct sunlight is a must.
Nevertheless, you can’t change the sun’s position. What you can do is change the position of the solar panel so that it gets maximum sunlight. However, not all solar attic fans allow for tilt adjustment. You should thus check all potential purchases for this feature if you deem it essential.
You can also not fail to take note of the make-up of the fan. One of the critical areas to look into is the number of blades included. This will likely influence the ability of the tool for better or worse.
Five blades or less seems to be the sweet spot for most of these devices. This is because the motor doesn’t drag as much with fewer blades. Consequently, you find that the rotations of the fan are faster.
Also, the material make-up of these blades may be crucial. You want a fan that is durable and long-lasting. Blade size can as well be a significant determinant in the functionality of the tool. This is where longer blades tend to be more effective at moving air.
Typically people tend to position their bedrooms on the top floor of the house. Consequently, it can be challenging to sleep if you hear a constant hum from the device. Other activities such as studying or even watching TV may be hindered by the noise coming from your fan if it is loud enough.
To avoid this hassle, you can opt to purchase a device that is noiseless in operation.
The Natural Light 12W Solar Attic Fan comes with a heavy-duty aluminum body that is meant to protect the motor and fan. The body is as well powder coated to prevent it from rusting. Consequently, the lifespan of the machine is significantly increased.
You would as well benefit from checking the material composition of the tool you are about to buy. This will tell you how long you should expect the machine to last. A rule of thumb is that you should always go for devices with more robust materials and construction.
The Remington 30W Solar Attic Fan undoubtedly provides the best warranty since it allows for lifetime coverage. Some other devices, such as the editor’s choice, also do quite well with the 15-year coverage.
As a buyer, the more extended the warranty, the more you are protected from potential damage as well as any manufacturer defects. Also, manufacturers may use the warranty to show you just how much faith they have in their products.
As such, if a manufacturer gives you a 10-year warranty, it means that they have run their tests and determined that the product should last longer than that while still in good quality.
Safety is another area that you want to pay attention to with your purchase. You can see that the Amtrak SAFD30 Solar Attic Fan has a thermal protected motor. As a result, if you buy this tool, you will know that your device is less likely to overheat.
This as well gives you some assurance that you can depend on the machine to take on a lot of work without getting damaged.
Another safety feature you can find is the fire safety switch, which you can get with the natural light devices. While it does come at an extra cost, you would do well to spend the money as both you and your gear are more protected.
If also you come across some extra features such as a waterproof motor, do not hesitate to include them in your buying criteria. This is especially true if they add value to a particular product and add to its functionality.
Most of the solar attic fans available in the market do not work at night. This is because they actively work to keep the temperature of your attic low enough during the day. Of course, it does this even when the sun is high up in the sky.
Consequently, there is little to no heat in the attic at night. As such, it doesn’t make sense for the device to work at night. Also, let’s not forget that these devices are solar-powered. As such, without the sun at night, it can be quite hard to power the fan.
Nevertheless, some manufacturers opt to include AC adapters in their devices. This makes it so that the machine can run on electricity from the house. If you must use the tool at night, you should consider purchasing a device that allows for an AC connection.
The Amtrak SAFD30 Solar Attic Fan does ship with a wire, and as such, you cannot rule out their inclusion. Nevertheless, you have to note that these are two devices that are meant to work as one. You have the solar panel and the fan that both work together towards a specific goal.
Other solar attic fans come as one unit and, as such, do not need any additional wires. One example of that is the HQST 15W Solar Powered Attic Fan. As such, your preferences and prejudices decide the product you end up picking and purchasing.
Some users can install a solar attic fan without so much as breaking a sweat. However, there are a few critical factors you need to look at before you even attempt this. First, what type of attic fan have you purchased?
As described above, the main options include roof-mounted, gable-mounted and curb mounted. Consequently, you should have enough information and skill to be able to do the installation without damaging any other structure. After all, you may be trying to save some money by doing the installation and end up losing more.
Veteran DIYers will likely have all the tools required and even a bit of experience. They should thus have no problems doing the installation themselves. However, you would be wrong to assume that installation is a simple task, especially if you have never done it before.
We, of course, have our favorite picks from the devices we selected to feature on the list. Among them, you have the editor’s choice since it seems to come with such a wide variety of benefits. The smart thermostat, screen guard and IP68 rating are just a few reasons why this device should be a priority purchase for you as well.
Nevertheless, if you find yourself unimpressed by the tool, you can switch it up for the Natural Light 36W Solar Attic Fan. This tool performs quite well at drawing power from the sun. It also comes with an adjustable solar panel. Users may as well love the fact that it comes with a 25-year warranty.
Nevertheless, you don’t have to follow that trend. You can chart your path and buy any one of the ten products in the list above. After all, they have all been proven to be high-quality pieces of equipment.