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The following guide will take a few minutes to read but covers everything you need to know when choosing a bathroom fan. (When you're done, you can pop back to the bathroom fans page as a bonafide expert!;-)

1. Wiring regulations and Bathroom Zones
2. Switching and Operation Options
3. Size and Extraction Rate
4. Comfort - Noise and Aesthetics
5. Two Fans which cover 95% of all bathroom installations *(NEW)

1. Wiring regulations, bathroom zones and extractor fans

Electricity and water make for a dangerous combination so the UK Electrical Wiring Regulations divide the bathroom into three zones relating to their proximity to water sources. This determines the type of fan you may install in each zone.

Let us first look at the zones: Extractor Fans and Zones

Zone 1 and Zone 2  ​Zone 3 and Outside the Zones

2. Switching and Operation Options

All fans maybe wired into the lighting circuit, so that they turn on and off with your lights, or a separate remote switch, allowing them to be operated independently. Further to that, extractor fans have a range of extra switching options which suit different applications and requirements. Many fans are available in three versions - Basic, Timer and Humidistat, but some ranges also have pull cord and PIR versions.

3. Size and Air Extraction Rate

Domestic bathroom extractor fans come in two sizes: 4 inch /100mm and 6 inch / 150mm. In almost every case a 4 inch bathroom extractor fan will suffice. Six inch fans need only be considered in bathrooms greater than nine metres squared, or where special circumstances require a more powerful fan,…such as bathrooms with no natural ventilation or particularly cold, north facing bathrooms.
Measured in 'Litres per Second' (L/s) or 'Metres Cubed per Hour' (m3/hr), the air extraction rate of a bathroom extractor fan is one of the most important considerations. The Building Regulations stipulate that a bathroom extractor fan must extract at least 15L/s in a standard domestic bathroom. Most 4 inch bathroom extractor fans far exceed this minimum requirement, and nowadays the standard is 85m3/hr. Any bathroom extractor fan with an extraction rate of 90m3/hr or above may be considered powerful.

4. Comfort - Noise and Aesthetics

Typical dB measurements for axial bathroom fans range between 35dB(A) and 45dB(A) with the more powerful centrifugal bathroom fans between 40dB(A) and 55dB(A). In recent years however the trend has moved towards quieter fans and now fans, such as the QT100 discussed earlier, are whisper quiet at 24dB(A)
Remember: you are likely to see this fan everytime you use the bathroom. The money you saved on it when purchasing will soon be forgotten, so don’t install an ugly fan just because it’s cheap. Homeowners are spending more in making their bathrooms beautiful with cool lighting and funky fixtures and fan designs have improved immensely. The old ‘box with grilles’ is slowly being replaced with unobtrusive and subtle ‘tile’ type designs which sit comfortably with any bathroom aesthetic.

5. The Two Best Bathroom Fans Available 

The following two fans cover 95% of all the bathroom installations we specify and supply. Below is a just a very brief description of their basic attributes. If you click 'view item' you will see detailed information and our reviews.

Silent Tornado ST100 - High Power 4 inch Axial Fan
Airflow Quiet Extractor Fan Vital Statistics: 97m3/hr / 26L/s : 25db(A) : 7.5w


- IP45 rated motor, so the fan can be installed in any zone in the bathroom without the need for a separate transformer.
- Most powerful 4inch axial fan on the market @ 97m3/hr 
- Low energy. On full power it uses only 7.5w! 
- Virtually silent. 25db(A)
- The best 4 inch axial fan we have ever tested. Click on the 'view item' buttons on the right to see the full specification and read our review.
Standard Model: ST100B
Timer Model: ST100T
Humidistat Model: ST100HT
Pull Cord Model: ST100PC
PIR Model: ST100PR
Manrose MF100 - Inline 'Mixed Flow' Bathroom Fan
Manrose MF100T Inline Extractor Fan Vital Statistics: 245m3/hr / 68L/s : 24db(A) : 25w

- Installed above the bathroom in the loft or ceiling void.
- With a whopping 245m3/hr extraction rate it's the most powerful 4 inch fan on the market.
- Mounted in the loft above the bathroom, this inline fan can be ducted from directly above the shower or bath. 
- Using only 25w it's very energy efficient.
- Incredibly quiet, particularly so considering its power.
- Extracts steam before it condenses.
- No electrics, impellar or fan casing in the bathroom - just a discreet, flush, circular grille.
Standard Model: MF100S
Timer Version: MF100T

You should have all the info you need to choose your own fan, but if you'd still like some help, then we'd be really pleased to talk to you. Just call us on 0845 683 0503.

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