How To Pick An Extractor Fan For Your Bathroom

How To Pick An Extractor Fan For Your Bathroom

  2022-07-26         sparksdirect

If you're like most people, you probably don't give much thought to the extractor fan in your bathroom. But if you're considering renovating your bathroom, or just want to make sure your extractor fan is in good working order, it's worth taking a closer look at these handy little appliances. 

In this blog post, we'll take a look at what factors you should consider when choosing an extractor fan for your bathroom and share the types of extractor fans on the market today. So whether you're looking for a new extractor fan or just want to better understand what's available, read on for more information!

What Is An Extractor Fan And What Does It Do?

An extractor fan is a device that helps to remove stale air from a room and circulate fresh air. They are commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens, as these are the rooms where bad smells are most likely to build up. Extractor fans work by drawing air out of the room and into a duct system, through which it is then expelled outdoors. This process helps to prevent odours from lingering in the room, and it also helps to keep the air in the room fresh and free from pollutants. 

In addition to helping to improve indoor air quality, extractor fans can also help to reduce moisture levels in a room, which can prevent mould and mildew from developing. As a result, extractor fans are an essential component of any home that wants to maintain a healthy indoor environment.

Types Of Extractor Fans

How to pick an extractor fan for your bathroom - see the Airflow iCON15, residential intermittent bathroom fan

There are three main types of extractor fans available on the market, each with its own unique set of benefits and for specific locations and uses. The best extractor fan for you will largely depend on the area you install it in, and the volume of moisture that will need to be extracted. 

Inline Extractor Fans

Inline extractor fans are those which sit within the run of ducting, often in the loft space or ceiling void. Because they are less visible, many people believe that they are a better option for installations where long duct runs are necessary or for areas where large amounts of airflow are required, such as in kitchens or large bathrooms. 

Inline extractor fans can provide a much greater extraction rate, making them ideal for locations where serious condensation or mould problems might be an issue. Ultimately, this type of fan can be a great choice for anyone who needs to remove large amounts of moisture from their bathroom quickly and efficiently.

Axial Extractor Fans

Axial extractor fans are designed for installation directly through an external wall, or in the ceiling on a very short duct run. Most people will picture an axial fan when they think of a bathroom extractor fan. However, axial extractor fans tend to be less powerful than inline and centrifugal extractor fans. 

Due to this, they shouldn't be used for situations where ducting will run over 2 metres. But, they should be more than up to the job for a standard-sized family bathroom. So, if you're looking for a dependable and easy-to-install extractor fan, an axial model might be the right choice for you.

Centrifugal Extractor Fans

When it comes to bathroom extractor fans, centrifugal fans are far more powerful than your average axial fan. Centrifugal fans work by drawing air into the fan intake and then extracting it at a 90-degree angle. This allows for greater pressure to be generated, making it ideal for long duct runs. If you have a bathroom with no external walls, a centrifugal fan is your best bet for ensuring proper airflow. 

In addition, centrifugal fans often include more switching and operating options than other types of fans. So if you're looking for a fan that can withstand heavy use and get the job done right, a centrifugal fan is your best bet. 

How To Pick The Right Extractor Fan

The Manrose XF150AP kitchen extractor fan with automatic shutters and pull cord switch

What's the point of having an extractor fan in your bathroom if it's not going to do its job properly? Whether you're looking to replace an old extractor fan or install one for the first time, it's important to choose the right model for your needs. 

However, if you’re short on time and are looking for the top extractor fans collection, take a look at this top-notch collection of Airflow extractor fans that are sure to be the best fit for your bathroom! 

This guide will help you figure out which extractor fan is right for you and what to look for. So, whether your bathroom is plagued by unpleasant odours or just needs some extra ventilation, read on!

Operating Style

When considering which bathroom extractor fan to buy, it's important to think about how you want it to operate. Do you want to turn it on manually, or have it set to turn on automatically when someone enters the room? Some fans have timers, so they'll turn off a set time after the lights. 

Finally, some extractor fans have a Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR) that detects moisture in the air and will turn the fan on and off accordingly. So, operating style is definitely something to consider when making your purchase.

Air Exchange Rate

The air extraction rate is an important factor to consider when looking for the best bathroom extractor fan. This rate is measured in 'Litres per Second' (l/s) or 'Metres Cubed per Hour' (m³/hr) and refers to the amount of air that the fan can remove when operational. 

Building regulations state that a fan must be able to extract a minimum of 15L/s in a standard domestic bathroom, so most models will have this covered. However, for larger or well-used bathrooms, a higher extraction rate might be necessary.

Fixed Vs Gravity Grilles

Fixed grilles are attached to the wall or ceiling and do not move. This makes them quieter than gravity grilles, which have slats that open and close during the extraction process. However, because they are not constantly moving, air can sometimes seep through the slots in a fixed grille. 

Gravity grilles, on the other hand, are designed to prevent backdrafts when not in use. But because they are constantly moving, they can be noisier than fixed grilles—especially if they are located beneath a bedroom window. 

So which is the best type of bathroom extractor fan for you? It depends on your needs and preferences. If you want a quiet fan, go for a fixed grille. But if you're more concerned about preventing backdrafts, then a gravity grille might be a better choice.

Decibel Level

You might not realise it, but some extractor fans can be pretty noisy. This can definitely be an issue, especially if the noise is loud enough to disturb your neighbours. Or, if you have children and tend to shower after their bedtimes. 

Additionally, if you are susceptible to noise yourself, then you know how big of an inconvenience this can be. But did you know that there are many low-noise models available? In fact, most manufacturers provide a decibel level so that you have an idea of how noisy the unit is. 

The Best Place To Put An Extractor Fan

Envirovent Silent 100 Design bathroom fan with ajudstable timer - quiet and stylish bathroom/toilet fan

The ideal place for your bathroom extractor fan depends on your specific type of fan and the bathroom zones it is compatible with. Read on to get an idea about the different bathroom zones in the UK and which type of bathroom fan to place there. 

Zone 0

Zone 0 is the area inside a bath, basin, or shower. Any electrical fittings or appliances used in this zone must be low voltage (12 volts or less) and fully protected against partial or complete immersion in water. This means they have an IPX7 rating or higher. So, when choosing an extractor fan for your bathroom, be sure to check the ratings of the fans that are safe for Zone 0.

Zone 1 And Zone 2

Zone 1 and zone 2 are critical areas in a bathroom where water-resistant fittings are essential to avoid any possible damage. Any fittings used in zone 1 and zone 2 of a bathroom must be rated IPx4 or higher, which means they can withstand water spray from all directions. This includes the area above the bathtub or shower. 

There are two types of bathroom fans that can be used in Zones 1 and 2. The first type is a SELV fan, which uses a transformer to reduce the voltage from 240v to 12v. These types of fans are safe to use in these zones. The second type of fan that can be used in these zones is any fan that has an IP45 rating. This means that the motor and all other electrical parts are resistant to jets of water from all angles. Both types of fans are safe to use in these zones and will provide adequate ventilation for your bathroom.

Zone 3 And Outside

Zone 3 is considered to be a safe distance from the principal sources of water, so any extractor fan, regardless of voltage or IP rating, may be installed here. Inline fans are one option and these are installed in the loft space above the bathroom. 

They are connected to the bathroom via a length of ducting, and the fan itself is housed remotely, outside of the zonal area. This means that inline fans are also suitable for extracting from any bathroom zone. 

Best Extractor Fan Size

The size of an extractor fan is important to consider because it will determine the airflow and efficiency of the unit. Most extractor fans come in a standard 4-inch size, which is appropriate for smaller rooms. However, some models offer a 6-inch variant for larger rooms or kitchens. Axial fans may also come in 5-inch versions, while inline fans can be found in sizes up to 8 inches. 

When it comes to extractor fans, size definitely matters. The main difference between all the different sizes is the extraction rate - the larger the fan blade, the more powerful the fan. If you have a large room, you'll need a bigger fan to get the job done right. So when you're choosing an extractor fan for your home, make sure you pick one that's the right size for the job.


Extractor fans are a must-have for any bathroom. Not only do they keep your bathroom smelling fresh, but they also help to keep the moisture levels down. In this blog post, we’ve outlined the different types of extractor fans and how to pick the right one for your needs. 

We’ve also provided some tips on where to put it and what size you need. If you have any questions or want more information, don’t hesitate to contact us. We have a wide selection of extractor fans available and would be happy to help you find the perfect one for your home.