The Best Whole-House Fans to Beat the Summer Heat in 2024

AC isn’t the only way to beat the heat. Bring in fresh, cool outside air with the best whole-house fan.

Best Overall

QuietCool CL-1500 Classic Series Whole House Fan on a white background

QuietCool CL-1500 Classic Series Whole House Fan

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Best Bang for the Buck

Cool Attic CX1500 Gable Mount Attic Ventilator on a white background

Cool Attic CX1500 Gable Mount Power Attic Ventilator

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Upgrade Pick

QuietCool ES-4700 Energy Saver Whole House Fan on a white background

QuietCool ES-4700 Energy Saver Whole House Fan

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Central air, window air conditioners, and split AC units aren’t the only ways to keep a home comfortable during hotter weather. For folks who’d prefer a cooling method that draws less on the energy grid and provides a bit more fresh air, the best whole-house fan might be the way to go.

A whole-house fan is installed in the upper level of a home. It draws in the fresh air and ejects the warm, stale air through a vent in the attic. The result is fresher air and more comfortable temperatures indoors while potentially lowering the electric bill (due to running the air conditioner less). 

We recommend the QuietCool CL-1500 Classic Series Whole House Fan as our best overall pick because of its 1,472 to 6,924 cubic feet per minute (CFM) flow of air, remote control, and built-in gravity dampers for keeping pests and insects out. 

Keep reading to learn more about which of the best whole-house fans is a good fit for your home. Plus, check out the product our writers tested themselves.

  1. BEST OVERALL: QuietCool CL-1500 Classic Series Whole House Fan
    ↓ Jump to Review
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Cool Attic CX1500 Gable Mount Power Attic Ventilator
    ↓ Jump to Review
  3. UPGRADE PICK: QuietCool ES-4700 Energy Saver Whole House Fan 
    ↓ Jump to Review
  4. BEST BELT-DRIVE: Cool Attic CX24BD2SPD Belt Drive Whole House Fan
    ↓ Jump to Review
  5. BEST DIRECT-DRIVE: QA-Deluxe Wireless Remote Control Whole House Fan 
    ↓ Jump to Review
  6. BEST WINDOW FAN: Air King 9166F 20-Inch Whole House Window Fan
    ↓ Jump to Review
  7. ALSO CONSIDER: Air Vent Gable Ventilator Attic and Whole House Fan
    ↓ Jump to Review
A whole house fan installed in a living room with a flow of air sweeping through
Photo: amazon

How We Chose the Best Whole-House Fans

Choosing a list of the best whole-house fans wasn’t easy breezy. We wanted to ensure that every fan we suggested could really make a difference by cooling homes. For that reason, we drew upon all of our DIY and home improvement experience, as well as some heating, proper ventilation, and air conditioning experience, to determine the most important features and components a fan should have. We also hands-on tested one of these products to make sure it was up to snuff. 

Once we knew what to look for, we performed extensive product research to compile a list of the best fans we thought would meet our criteria. We then compared these fans’ power, design, and prices to ensure they offered enough value to make our lineup. Those that didn’t were cut, while those that did were given awards based on their strengths. 

Our Top Picks

There is a lot to think about when shopping for the best whole-house fan, but choosing one needn’t be complicated or time-consuming. Those in the market for one of these fans will want to consider the following top picks, which are among the best whole-house fans on the market. Whether hunting for a ducted fan or a more basic model, you’ll be sure to find some good options for everyone among these leading fans for cooling bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and other indoor spaces.

Best Overall

QuietCool CL-1500 Classic Series Whole House Fan

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Ducted
  • CFM: 1,472 to 6,924 
  • Remote control: Yes

What We Like

  • The fan itself is in the attic, on the end of a duct, to help keep noise to a minimum
  • Works for a wide range of homes, including those as small as 750 square feet up to more than 3,000 square feet
  • Duct has built-in gravity dampers to keep pests and animals from entering the home when the fan isn’t in use

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t feature Wi-Fi compatibility to allow for remote operation

DIYers looking to install quiet whole-house ventilation will want to give QuietCool’s CL-1500 whole-house fan serious consideration. This ducted unit places the direct-drive fan in the attic space, which allows the fan to draw cool, fresh air into the home without noise and chatter.

The CL-1500 system is available in several sizes ranging from 1,472 cubic feet per minute (CFM) to 6,924 CFM, which are compatible in homes from 750 square feet to more than 3,000 square feet. (For a more detailed discussion of CFM, read the section Size and CFM that appears below our product reviews.) The finished end of the duct features an attractive vent with built-in gravity dampers, keeping heat and cool air from escaping when the fan is not in use. The CL-1500 includes a remote control that can operate up to 100 feet away from the fan, but it doesn’t come with Wi-Fi support for operation with a cell phone.

Get the QuietCool CL-1500 whole-house fan at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Bang for the Buck

Cool Attic CX1500 Gable Mount Power Attic Ventilator

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Gable
  • CFM: 1,300
  • Remote control: No, but the thermostat is included

What We Like

  • Affordable price point allows those on a budget to improve indoor air quality
  • Direct-drive motor type is belt-free, so the fan should remain low maintenance for years
  • Has a built-in thermostat that automatically starts and stops the fan as needed

What We Don’t Like

  • It doesn’t have a remote and it doesn’t allow for Wi-Fi control

Shoppers who don’t have a ton to spend on a whole-house fan can get a lot of cool for their cash with this unt. This Cool Attic gable ventilator installs in a gable vent and pushes hot air out of the home or attic, sucking fresh air in through the open windows. Though one air vent fan only draws 1,300 CFM, installing two units on either end of an attic space will bring in quite a bit of fresh air through open windows—and two of these fans is still less expensive than buying a single whole-house fan from most other manufacturers.

As inexpensive as it is, the Gable Mount attic ventilator still offers some desirable features. Its direct-drive motor is low maintenance, so you needn’t worry about changing belts. While it doesn’t have a remote or Wi-Fi, there is a built-in temperature sensor that can be set to turn the fan on automatically, which ensures the home stays cool when the heat rises. 

Get the Cool Attic CX1500 whole-house fan at Amazon.

Upgrade Pick

QuietCool ES-4700 Energy Saver Whole House Fan

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Ducted
  • CFM: 2,304 to 4,195
  • Remote control: Yes

What We Like

  • Brushless motor requires less maintenance over time and runs more efficiently than brushed motors
  • Barometric pressure dampers stay closed when not in use, retaining cooler air
  • Features a wall-mounted remote that can control the fan from up to 100 feet away

What We Don’t Like

  • This model is suitable for homes up to 2,295 square feet, but larger homes will require a larger unit

Sometimes, spending a little extra now saves money in the long run. QuietCool’s ES-4700 might cost more than the company’s other units, but this series’ brushless direct-drive motors are efficient, quiet, and require minimal maintenance.

The QuietCool ES-4700 is a ducted fan unit with a dampened vent for temperature control and comfort. The ES line comes in sizes ranging from 1,434 CFM to 6,878 CFM for cooling homes from 700 square feet to over 3,000 square feet, while the ES-4700 produces 4,195 CFM (2,304 CFM on low) for homes up to 2,295 square feet. This QuietCool unit’s damper system features barometric-pressurized gravity activation to retain heated or cooled air, helping this model improve efficiency even further. It also comes with a wall-mounted remote control that can operate the fan from up to 100 feet away. 

Get the QuietCool ES-4700 whole-house fan at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Belt-Drive

Cool Attic CX24BD2SPD Belt Drive Whole House Fan

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Attic fan
  • CFM: Up to 4,600
  • Remote control: No; has a wall switch but no Wi-Fi

What We Like

  • Features a belt-driven motor to help keep the fan running as quietly as possible
  • Comes with a wall switch and with 2 speed settings; ranges from 3,200 to 4,600 CFM 
  • Capable of cooling homes of up to 3,000 square feet 

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t have a Wi-Fi interface for operating remotely

Those looking for a simple, effective approach to whole-house cooling will want to check out Cool Attic’s CX24BD2SPD two-speed belt-drive fan. This 46-pound model comes in both 24- and 30-inch sizes, which are suitable for homes between 1,800 and 3,000 square feet. With its belt-driven motor and stabilized mount, the fan cools homes quietly. At its top speed, it operates as a 4,600 CFM whole-house fan, and on low, 3,200 CFM. 

Users can choose the amount of airflow by setting the fan to one of two speed settings. While the aluminum and alloy steel Cool Attic doesn’t come with a temperature or timer switch, it does have a wall switch. Keep in mind that the belt will need periodic replacement (depending on the weather and amount of use) and that the fan can grow louder when it starts to wear out.

Get the Cool Attic CX24BD2SPD whole-house fan at Amazon.

Best Direct-Drive

QA-Deluxe Wireless Remote Control Whole House Fan

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Ducted
  • CFM: 3,945 CFM
  • Remote control: Yes, wireless remote controller with timer

What We Like

  • Features a direct-drive motor; allows for low maintenance and quiet operation
  • Louvered grill shuts automatically when the fan isn’t in use so home retains conditioned air
  • The fan is on the end of an insulated duct to further improve its noise reduction

What We Don’t Like

  • It doesn’t have a Wi-Fi interface for smart operation 

Folks shopping for a quality direct-drive fan that will offer low maintenance and very little noise might want to take a look at the QA-Deluxe. This whole-house fan has an efficient direct-drive motor with two speeds, producing up to 3,945 CFM of airflow in homes up to 3,400 square feet.

The QA-Deluxe has more features worth noting. The fan sits at the end of an insulated duct to minimize noise, and the other end boasts a louvered grill that shuts when the fan is not in use. It also has a two-speed remote control that allows for wireless adjustments. And it features rubber bushings to reduce noise and vibration even further. Unfortunately, “wireless” does not mean Wi-Fi—there isn’t an app to control this fan from a phone or tablet.

Get the QA-Deluxe whole-house fan at Amazon, The Home Depot, or QA-Deluxe Fans.

Best Window Fan

Air King 9166F 20-Inch Whole House Window Fan

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Window fan
  • CFM: 2,510 to 3,560 CFM
  • Remote control: No remote control or Wi-Fi

What We Like

  • Shroud adapts to fit windows between 27 and 38 inches wide
  • Features a Storm Guard that allows you to keep inclement weather out without removing the fan
  • Can be removed from a window whenever you wants an unobscured view 

What We Don’t Like

  • It doesn’t come with a remote control or Wi-Fi control

Folks shopping for a quality direct-drive fan that will offer low maintenance and very little noise might want to take a look at the QA-Deluxe. This whole-house fan has an efficient direct-drive motor with two speeds, ensuring it operates as a 3,945 CFM whole-house fan in homes up to 3,400 square feet.

The QA-Deluxe has more features worth noting. The fan sits at the end of an insulated duct to minimize noise, and the other end boasts a louvered grill that shuts when the fan is not in use. It also has a two-speed remote control that allows for wireless adjustments. And it features rubber bushings to reduce noise and vibration even further. Unfortunately, “wireless” does not mean Wi-Fi—there isn’t an app to control this fan from a phone or tablet.

What our tester says: Stacey Nash, a Bob Vila writer and product tester, notes in The Best Window Fans that “we can attest to the power of this Air King fan. During testing, there was an unfortunate accident on the stove that left behind some seriously unpleasant odors. We turned this fan on exhaust, and the house was cleared of odors within 10 minutes. It’s heavy and loud but powerful. It was tested in a 2,318-square-foot home, and we could feel cool air moving in almost every room, going beyond the advertised 1,310 square feet.”

Get the Air King whole-house fan at Amazon.

Also Consider

Air Vent Gable Ventilator Attic and Whole House Fan

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Gable fan
  • CFM: 1,050 CFM
  • Remote control: No; it comes with a programmable thermostat

What We Like

  • An affordable method for ejecting hot air from an attic or moving air through the home
  • Features a unique housing design consisting of rings instead of a solid shroud to improve efficiency and airflow
  • Comes with a programmable thermostat that activates the fan when the set temperature is reached

What We Don’t Like

  • It doesn’t come with a set of louvers or a vent; users must purchase their own
  • Doesn’t offer Wi-Fi connectivity or a remote control to adjust the fan remotely

Folks hoping to move air through their homes or simply eject it from their hot attics might find the Air Vent Gable Ventilator an excellent solution. This model features a direct-drive motor that Air Vent states is 30 percent quieter and 35 percent more efficient than comparable fans while also remaining affordable.

This Air Vent fan features a unique design. Rather than sitting within a solid shroud, the fan fits inside a series of rings to allow more airflow with less restriction and improve efficiency. It operates as a 1,050 CFM whole-house fan, making it suitable for attics up to 1,500 square feet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a set of louvers or a vent, so you’ll want to purchase these separately. While it doesn’t include a remote control, there is a programmable thermostat.

Get the Air Vent whole-house fan at Amazon.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Whole-House Fan 

There’s a lot to know about how to choose the best whole-house fan for bedrooms, living rooms, and more, but shoppers shouldn’t lose their cool. The following sections will outline the most important considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a fan to cool an entire home.

Type

There are four main types of whole-house fans, and they differ in several ways. 

  • Standard whole-house fans look a lot like typical box fans or floor fans, but they are installed in the walls or floors of attics or other upper-level rooms. These fans have louvers or insulated dampers that remain closed when the fan is not in use but open to allow the fan to push interior air outside.
  • Ducted whole-house fans have long, insulated ducts with a finished vent on one side and a large fan on the other. The fan is installed in an attic or knee wall, and the duct goes into the finished space to be cooled by the fan. Ducted fans are the quietest fans of the three options because the fan is typically more than 10 feet away from the finished space it cools. 
  • Insulated door whole-house fans are generally designed to be installed in an attic floor. They have heavily insulated doors that remain shut when the fan is off but are open when it’s in use. 
  • Gable fans are designed to be installed in gable-end walls, typically toward the peak where the two roof planes meet. These attic fans are usually simple, direct-drive fans with a thermostat. While they can be rather loud, they are typically effective at pulling air into the home from the lower floors and ejecting hot air from the attic.

Once a homeowner decides on the type of fan that’s best for their needs, the next decision is whether to get a direct-drive or belt-drive fan. Direct-drive fans have motors mounted directly to the fan blade (somewhat similar to a ceiling fan or box fan). Belt-driven fans are standard whole house fans that have separate motors, with belts connecting the motors to the fans. Direct-drive fans are typically the most energy efficient, but belt-driven fans are quieter.

Size and CFM

Whole-house fans are available in different sizes and airflow ratings, and it’s important to choose one that will work for your home. Installing a small fan in a large house won’t pull cooler air into the space effectively, and installing a large fan in a small home might feel like living in a wind tunnel.

In their product literature, most manufacturers will indicate the size of the home for which their fans are suitable. They might also list the CFM, which describes the volume of air that the fan can move. The square footage of the living space determines the CFM a fan should have:

  • 2,000 CFM whole-house fans are suitable for smaller homes and apartments under 1,000 square feet.
  • 3,000 CFM whole-house fans are suitable for homes around 1,500 square feet.
  • 4,000 CFM whole-house fans are best for homes around 2,000 square feet.
  • 5,000 CFM whole-house fans work for homes with 2,500 square feet of living space.
  • For homes over 3,000 square feet, a 6,000 to 7,000 CFM whole-house fan will do the trick.

Noise Level

Fresh air is wonderful, but a constant, loud hum or chatter from a whole-house fan can be disruptive. For those who are sensitive to noise, some fans are better choices than others.

The quietest whole-house fan option is the ducted type—by a long shot. Because the actual fan is on the end of a long duct and installed in a separate space, home occupants will hear very little noise. These are quieter than standard window fans.

The second-quietest option is a belt-driven standard model. The belt dampens much of the chatter and vibration, as long as the belt is in good working condition.

Remote Control and Additional Features

Whole-house fans are convenient, but some are easier to use than others. Many models have built-in timers or temperature switches that can be programmed to turn on automatically. Others have convenient remote controls. 

Some fans have Wi-Fi connectivity so that they can be controlled via a smartphone app. With these fans, you don’t even have to be home to ensure the temperature in the house is comfortable. You can adjust fan speed, timers, and other settings directly from your phone.

If the whole-house fan chosen is not W-iFi enabled, there’s a work-around: Simply install a WiFi-enabled switch to control the fan and provide remote connectivity. While these switches might not provide the same functionality as a specific app, a simple on/off switch you can control from anywhere can make a world of difference when it comes to comfort.

FAQs

Despite all of the information presented here on the best whole-house fan, there may still be questions about how they work. Read on for answers to some of the most common questions about whole-house fans.

Q. How energy efficient are whole house fans?

The best whole-house fans are reportedly 50 to 90 percent more efficient than most central air conditioners, which means that users can reduce their cooling costs by up to 90 percent each month.

Q. Are whole-house fans effective at cooling?

They’re effective at cooling when the exterior temperature is lower than the temperature inside the home. The airflow these fans create can make a space much more comfortable, even if it doesn’t lower the temperature inside very much.

Q. How much CFM do I need for a whole-house fan?

It depends on the size of the home and its design, but some general guidelines are:
2,000 CFM for homes under 1,000 square feet
3,000 CFM for 1,500 square feet
4,000 CFM for 2,000 square feet
5,000 CFM for 2,500 square feet 
6,000 to 7,000 CFM for homes more than 3,000 square feet

Q. Can I run a whole-house fan all night?

Yes. During hotter months, nighttime is actually the best time to run a whole-house fan. You can also install a timer or a Wi-Fi switch if you’d prefer to schedule when the fan runs.

Q. What’s the best way to control your whole-house fan? 

Some WiFi-enabled fans are available, but many come with simple remote controls. If you’d prefer to operate a non-app-controlled fan via your smartphone, you can install a WiFi-enabled switch.

Q. How do I maintain my whole-house fan?

Direct-drive motors don’t require much maintenance—just ensure that the fan is clean and unobstructed. Belt-driven fans will require new belts every few years, depending on usage. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for specifics on your model.

Q. How long will my whole-house fan last?

An attic or whole-house fan is a very simple design, and users can expect to get around 15 years of use from a fan before having to replace it. 

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Tom Scalisi

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Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer, author, and blogger with a passion for building. Whether it’s a DIY project or an entire website, Tom loves creating something from the ground up, stepping back, and admiring a job well done.

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