The Best Attic Fans of 2022

Stay cool when choosing the right method for ventilating your attic. See our top tips and recommendations ahead, and don't miss our top picks!

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Dec 19, 2021 5:21 PM

BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

The Best Attic Fans Option

Many consider attic insulation safe and effective, but direct sun on your roof can radiate heat into the attic space which promotes moisture and mold growth. Attic fans help to push hot air out while also pulling fresh, cool air in through the vents in your soffit, gables, and ridge.

To find the best attic fan for your needs, make sure the fan is high-quality and fits with your preferences. You might prefer whole-house fans or solar attic fans, but if you don’t want a hole in your roof, there’s an answer for that as well.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Broan Surface Mount Solar Powered Attic Ventilator
  2. BEST VALUE: iLIVING Gable Mount Attic Ventilator Fan
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Natural Light Solar Attic Fan
  4. BEST SOLAR OPTION: iLIVING Solar Roof Attic Exhaust Fan
  5. BEST WHOLE HOUSE FAN: QuietCool 2465 CFM Classic Advanced Whole House Fan
  6. BEST FOR GABLE VENTS: Cool Attic CX1500 Gable Mount Attic Ventilator
  7. BEST WALL-MOUNTED: AC Infinity AIRTITAN T7 Ventilation Fan 

The Best Attic Fans Option

Types of Attic Fans

There are a couple of different fan styles homeowners can use to help control the temperature of their attic space. However, their functions differ somewhat. Depending on your layout, your home may be better suited for one of the following types of fans.

Whole-House Fans

Whole-house fans are installed into the ceiling of the highest point in the finished space—typically in an upstairs hallway. When running, they pull heat and moisture from inside of the house and force it into the attic space. They’re ideal for homeowners who like to open their windows at night, as the cool nighttime air replaces the hot air built up during the day.

The issue with a whole-house fan is that the hot air needs somewhere to go. If your attic isn’t ventilated well, that humid, moist air will build up in the attic space and can cause mold to grow. Therefore, whole-house fans are best suited for homeowners with spacious, open, well-vented attics.

Attic Venting Fans

Attic venting fans serve a different function, removing the hot and moist air from the attic and leaving the space below the attic floor alone. These fans circulate the air within the attic, pulling fresh, cool air from the vents (like the ones in your soffit) and pushing hot air outside.

Attic fans can serve a year-round function. In the summer, you can drastically reduce the temperature in the attic, helping to lengthen the life of the roofing shingles and sheathing.

In colder months, attic fans can help you avoid damage caused by ice dams as well. The fans cool the attic, equalizing the temperature between the attic and outside of the home. This prevents snow from melting on your roof and freezing when it hits the cold gutter.

When installing an attic fan, it’s important to consider how well your attic is sealed off from the rest of the home. If your attic door or hatch is particularly drafty, turning the fan on will pull air-conditioned or heated air through the gaps. You don’t want to be heating or cooling the neighborhood.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Attic Fan

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when choosing an attic fan. You’ll want to understand the different capabilities and functions of models, as well as the material they are constructed from. And most importantly, there are some safety considerations to keep in mind before you set out to install a new attic fan.

Material

Your attic fan must be built from material sturdy enough to survive the excessive heat that can build up in an attic. Cheaper fans with plastic components may begin to fail over time under these conditions. In the winter, plastic often becomes very brittle, making it easy to snap the fan blades under normal use.

Instead, choose a fan with metal construction. The body and the fan should both be constructed of sheet metal and steel, galvanized, or painted if possible. These materials are far more stable than plastic in fluctuating temperatures and hold up well against moisture.

Ease of Use

Attic ventilation does you no good if you find it too much of a hassle to turn on or off. Many whole-house models now come with remote controls, which allow you to turn the fan on from the floor below and customize its settings with the touch of a button.

Attic fans are great for homeowners who want to be able to forget that their fan is there. Most either come with a programmable thermostat or can be wired to one, which will turn the fan on when the attic reaches a set temperature—no need for flipping a switch or monitoring the attic’s temperature yourself.

Safety

One very important aspect to consider when deciding if an attic fan is right for you is safety—particularly around furnaces installed in an attic. An attic fan can create enough draft to blow out a pilot light on a furnace.

If this happens, the furnace will empty gas out into the attic. At first, the fan will alleviate most of the danger by forcing the gas outside, but once it shuts off, it’s a different story. Your attic can fill with gas, and then seep into the rest of the home, posing a danger to you and your family.

Whole-house and attic fans are also capable of pulling carbon monoxide back into the home through a damaged flue. Be sure that your flues are in good operating condition, and that your furnace, oven, fireplace, and other appliances that use fuel are ventilating properly.

Venting Requirements

Understanding the venting requirements for the attic fan you choose is important for a few reasons. If you choose an attic fan that requires more ventilation than your attic can offer, it will begin to pull air from inside the conditioned space. This negates whatever energy efficiency you were hoping for. Too much ventilation, and you may find the fan doesn’t work efficiently at removing the hot air from the entire attic.

If your whole-house fan doesn’t have the proper ventilation, it’s not going to work very well either. It’ll fill the attic with hot air, which will stop it from pulling more air into the space through open windows.

Adjustable Thermostat

As mentioned earlier, adjustable thermostats give you the ability to simply set a dial and forget about the fan. When the temperature within the attic reaches a set point, the fan will turn on and start venting the heated air, cooling the attic space.

Likewise, adjustable thermostats will shut the fan off when the temperature drops back below the set temp. They’re not only easy to use, but they also help save you money by not running the fan when it doesn’t need to be on.

Air Volume (CFM) and Square Footage

The higher the CFM (cubic feet per minute), the more airflow a fan can produce. Choose a fan that matches your home or attic’s size for optimal performance. Too high of a CFM and you’ll be spending more money running the fan than you should be. Too low of a CFM and you’ll just be spinning your wheels, with little positive impact on the home.

Not all fans will come with CFM ratings emblazoned on the packaging. Instead, you need to look for the amount of square footage the fan was intended for. This detail is especially important in choosing a whole-house fan.

Noise Level

Ah, noise: the bane of all whole-house fan owners since the dawn of whole-house or plug-in quiet fans. But no longer. Newer, smaller, and more efficient models can run at much quieter levels, keeping the house cool in relative silence.

If you have an older fan installed in your home, switching to a newer whole house fan will provide a noticeable change in noise. The newer models have smaller fans, create less turbulence, and their motors are better tuned than the massive house fans of old.

Our Top Picks

The following products are a collection of the top attic fans for home ventilation. Each of these models excels in its category and will do an excellent job of reducing the issues excessive heat can cause in your attic. Whether you prefer solar attic fans, gable vent fans, or a whole-house model, there’s a product here that will suit your needs.

Best Overall

The Best Attic Fans Option: Broan Surface Mount Solar Powered Attic Ventilator
Photo: amazon.com

The Broan 345SOWW is an excellent option for anyone looking for an attic fan that can be installed easily and left to its own devices. This model has a built-in solar panel, soaking up all of the power it requires to cool your home from the sun’s rays. It’s also attractive and low-profile, meaning you’ll hardly even notice that it’s there.

This model is easy to install. It’s best suited for use with shingled roofs and comes with the appropriate flanges to keep water out. The 537 CFM fan is capable of moving plenty of air through an average-sized attic (roughly 1,200 square feet), which is slightly more than the typical air conditioner.

One thing to consider is that with this model, if the sun’s out, this unit’s fan is running. That’s what you want during hot weather, but you might not want it to run full-speed in lower temperatures. If you’d like the option to shut this unit off in cooler weather, you’ll need to purchase a separate thermostat.

Product Specs 

  • Material: ABS plastic
  • Air Volume (CFM): 537
  • Noise Level: Quiet

Pros

  • 28-watt solar panel
  • 1,200 square feet of coverage
  • Includes flanges for keeping water out
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Separate thermostat for cool temperatures sold separately

Best Value

The Best Attic Fans Option: iLIVING Gable Mount Attic Ventilator Fan
Photo: amazon.com

If you’ve got access to your attic’s gables, iLIVING’s Gable Mount attic fan is a great option for moving some air without cutting a hole in your roof. This model can be installed through the wall and capped on the outside with a vent cover to keep out pests and the weather.

This gable mount attic fan features a sturdy galvanized housing and a 3.1-amp motor that provides ventilation for up to 1,600 square feet of attic space. It also comes with a built-in thermostat that you can set to automatically activate and shut off the fan when the air gets to a certain temperature. For a value-minded shopper, this fan provides a lot of flow for your buck.

Two things to keep in mind about this gable mount attic fan is that it does not come with an outside vent cover, and it requires hardwiring for power.

Product Specs 

  • Material: Galvanized steel
  • Air Volume (CFM): 1,220
  • Noise Level: Moderate

Pros

  • Budget-friendly model
  • 1,600 square feet of coverage
  • Built-in programmable thermostat

Cons

  • Requires hardwiring
  • Vent cover not included

Upgrade Pick

The Best Attic Fans Option: Natural Light Solar Attic Fan
Photo: amazon.com

Natural Light’s Solar Attic Fan may cost more than the other fans on this list, but it comes with some serious chops. This attic fan installs on a shingle roof and uses the 36-watt solar panel to draw its energy from the sun. This model from Natural Light is capable of moving over 1,881 cubic feet of air—an impressive feat for a solar panel-powered fan.

While the amount of air this solar model can move is astounding, it’s another unit that goes full speed anytime the sun is out. You may want to purchase a separate thermostat so you can shut the fan off when it’s not needed, preventing it from burning out prematurely.

Product Specs 

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Air Volume (CFM): 1,881
  • Noise Level: Quiet

Pros

  • 36-watt solar panel
  • 2,825 square feet of coverage
  • Adjustable angle from 0-45 degrees; compatible with 3/12 to 12/12 pitch roofs

Cons

  • Cold-climate thermostat and fire safety switch sold separately
  • Made for shingles roofs only

Best Solar Option

The Best Attic Fans Option: iLIVING Solar Roof Attic Exhaust Fan
Photo: amazon.com

iLIVING clearly has a penchant for developing quality ventilation products, and this solar model is about as good as it gets. This model uses a positionable solar panel that produces enough wattage to produce a massive 1,750 CFM of air movement—more than enough for the average attic space and 4 times the power of a typical air conditioner.

Besides airflow, there are some features that make this model stand out from the crowd. Unlike other solar models, this one comes with a controllable thermostat, so it doesn’t automatically run just because the sun is out. This will drastically increase the usable life of the fan. You can also upgrade it by purchasing a separate 120V adapter, which will allow the fan to run at night—helpful in scorching climates.

Product Specs 

  • Material: Metal
  • Air Volume (CFM): 1,750
  • Noise Level: Moderate

Pros

  • 20-watt solar panel
  • Ip68 waterproof brushless motor
  • Adjustable angles; 0, 15, 30, and 45 degrees
  • Smart thermostat control included

Cons

  • 120V adapter and screen guard sold separately

Best Whole House Fan

The Best Attic Fans Option: QuietCool QC CL-3100 Original Fan
Photo: amazon.com

The QuietCool CL-3100 is a model that does away with the well-known inconveniences of older whole-house fans. This model uses an acoustically-insulated duct to keep noise to a minimum while still moving a lot of air, 3,126 CFM to be exact, enough to pull fresh air through an average-sized home.

The QuietCool installs easily through your ceiling with a duct box that fastens to the ceiling joists. The fan itself is on the far end of the duct, minimizing noise in the living space. Vented into a large attic space, you probably won’t even notice that this fan is running.

This fan doesn’t have any insulated doors that shut when not in use, so it’s possible that warm air will make its way into the attic when you don’t want it to. A custom vent cover may help with this.

Product Specs 

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Air Volume (CFM): 3,126
  • Noise Level: Quiet

Pros

  • Insulated duct and duct box included
  • Built-in damper system
  • Comes with permanent split capacitor motors
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Insulated doors not included; may require custom vent cover

Best for Gable Vents

The Best Attic Fans Option: Cool Attic CX1500 Gable Mount Ventilator
Photo: walmart.com

When you’re mounting a fan in the corner of your gable, you need it to be powerful enough to pull air from across the attic to work properly. This CX1500 model from Cool Attic does just that. It has a built-in adjustable thermostat that, when activated, starts its 1,300 CFM fan, cooling attics of up to 1,850 square feet in a hurry.

Homeowners will appreciate that this fan can be installed through an exterior wall instead of a hole in the roof. It’s also constructed of sturdy galvanized steel, so it should be durable against moisture for a long time.

This is another model that requires an electrician to run power to its location, which is something you may want to consider when factoring cost.

Product Specs 

  • Material: Galvanized steel
  • Air Volume (CFM): 1,300
  • Noise Level: Moderate

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Over 1,850 square feet of coverage
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Requires electrical connection
  • Minimum 600 sq. in net free air intake vent area required

Best Wall-Mounted

The Best Attic Fans Option: AC Infinity AIRTITAN T7 Ventilation Fan
Photo: amazon.com

If you have a partially finished attic, but still want help controlling excessive heat, this AC Infinity AIRTITAN T7 fan might fit the bill. This model is small enough to fit over an air conditioning and heating vent, but can also be vented outside, running at a programmed temperature range. It only moves 240 cubic feet of air per minute, but this is suitable for smaller spaces in your home.

The AC Infinity AIRTITAN T7 offers a lot in the way of programming. Not only are temperature controls available, but you can also program alarms, timers, and even an economy mode. The dual fans are also quiet, making them hardly noticeable as the fan battles your attic’s temperature.

This unit has to be vented through the wall, and won’t fit most gables, but its compact size means that it should fit between wall studs without issue.

Product Specs 

  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Air Volume (CFM): 240
  • Noise Level: Moderate

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • Programmable temperature range and air flow
  • Runs for over 67,000 hours
  • Fits over air conditioning vent or installed outdoors

Cons

  • Suitable for small crawl spaces or basements

Our Verdict

The right attic fan for you primarily depends on the size of your space and the type of fan you are looking for. One of the best solar-powered attic fans available is the Broan Surface attic fan which comes with a 28-watt solar panel, built-in waterproof flanges, and enough power to ventilate a 1,200 square foot space with its 537 CFM. This pick definitely cannot compete with an air conditioning system, but is best suited for smaller attics or crawl spaces.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a gable-mounted fan, the iLIVING attic fan has a sturdy, galvanized steel construction, a 1,220 CFM rating that can ventilate a 1,600 square foot space, and a programmable thermostat for larger attics and spaces.

How We Chose the Best Attic Fans

Choosing the right attic fan can be difficult with so many sizes, power source options, constructions, and special features included. Many of today’s attic fans come with solar-powered or electrical designs for your personal preference, most of which are made with galvanized steel, aluminum, or plastic constructions. Since many are roof-mounted attic fans, some come with built-in flanges to prevent moisture and leaks.

Size is also something to consider as most roof-mounted attic fans can fit into a pre-cut hole in the roof, while others may require a new or bigger hole to be cut. Many of the above solar-powered roof-mounted attic fans also automatically turn on when the sun is out, while other electrical options run at their programmed times. Though both come with programmable thermostats, the ample amount of solar-powered picks listed above may require another thermostat for cooler temperatures.

CFM and square footages covered is also important when choosing an attic fan, as such the options above are made for small or large spaces with 537 to 3,126 CFM ratings. Finally, most of these picks run at silent or very quiet noise levels so you will hardly even know they are there.

FAQs

Most attic fan manufacturers have excellent customer support teams, so if you have questions about the specific models on this list, you might want to give the company a call. If you’re still not entirely sure how an attic fan or whole-house fan works, or if you have other general questions about attic fans, here are some answers to FAQs that might help.

Q: How does an attic fan work?

An attic fan works by exchanging the hot air in your attic space for fresh air pulled through the vents. This will help to avoid premature damage to the shingles or mold building up in moist, hot attics.

Q: How do you install an attic fan?

You install an attic fan through the roof and flashed under the shingles. Gable fans are installed at the very top of your gable-end walls and vented through the walls outside. Whole-house fans require cutting through the finished ceiling on the highest floor of your home and ventilating outside.

While it’s possible for a DIYer to wire these fans, it’s best to call an electrician for the job.

Q: Can you replace the attic fan motor?

You can, but the reality is models with accessible fans are usually pretty affordable to replace entirely. If you do want to replace the motor, bring it to an electrical shop and they should be able to match you up with a new one. If not, they may be able to rebuild the one you have.