How to Choose an Extractor Fan

extractor fan

Whether renovating your kitchen, upgrading your bathroom, or improving indoor air quality, selecting the right extractor fan is crucial. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the essential factors to consider, from size and power to installation and noise levels. Say goodbye to lingering odours, excess moisture, and stale air as we help you navigate the world of extractor fans and make an informed decision that suits your needs. Let’s dive in and discover how to create a healthier and more comfortable living environment with the ideal extractor fan.

What is an Extractor Fan?

An extractor fan, often called an exhaust fan or ventilation fan, is vital in maintaining indoor air quality and promoting a healthy living environment. It’s a mechanical device designed to remove stale air, odours, moisture, and potentially harmful pollutants from enclosed spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms, and utility rooms. Extractor fans operate by drawing in the air from the room and expelling it outdoors or through a dedicated ventilation system. Excess humidity can cause mould and mildew growth, so it’s essential to eliminate it, along with cooking fumes and airborne particles that can harm indoor air quality. Extractor fans come in various types, including wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, inline, and ducted models, each tailored to specific needs and installation requirements. Whether seeking to eliminate kitchen odours, reduce bathroom moisture, or enhance overall air circulation, choosing the right extractor fan is essential for maintaining a fresh, healthy, and comfortable living space.

Bathroom Extractor Fan

A bathroom extractor fan is a ventilation device explicitly designed for use in bathrooms to improve indoor air quality and remove excess moisture, odours, and airborne pollutants. These fans are crucial in maintaining a healthy and comfortable bathroom environment. When you shower or bathe, moisture accumulates in the air, leading to mould and mildew growth if not properly managed. Bathroom extractor fans help mitigate these issues by expelling the damp air outside and replacing it with fresh, dry air from the surrounding space.

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Typically, a bathroom extractor fan is installed on the ceiling or wall and operates automatically when triggered by a humidity sensor or a manual switch. It draws in the moist or odorous air from the bathroom, passes it through the fan, and then exhausts it outside through a duct or vent. Some models may include additional features like built-in lighting or heating elements.
Choosing the proper bathroom extractor fan involves considering the fan’s size, noise level, extraction rate, and installation requirements to ensure adequate moisture control and odour removal, creating a more pleasant and healthy bathroom environment.

Ducted Extractor Fans

A ducted extractor fan is a specialized ventilation system that removes stale air, odours, moisture, and pollutants from enclosed spaces like kitchens and bathrooms. Unlike some other extractor fans, which filter and recirculate air back into the room, ducted extractor fans operate by channelling the unwanted air outside through a network of ducts or pipes. This process ensures that the extracted air is entirely expelled from the building, preventing it from re-entering the living space.
Ducted extractor fans have three primary components: the fan unit, ductwork system, and an external vent or grille. Normally, the fan unit is placed in the room where ventilation is required. It takes in the air through a grille or hood, and then the extracted air is carried through concealed ducts within walls or ceilings before being expelled outside through an external vent or grille.
Ducted extractor fans are particularly effective at removing excess humidity generated during cooking or showering and eliminating cooking odours and airborne particles. They help maintain optimal indoor air quality and prevent mould and mildew growth. When choosing a ducted extractor fan, it’s essential to consider factors such as fan size, duct configuration, and the location of the external vent to ensure efficient and reliable ventilation for your space.

Non-Ducted Extractor Fans

A non-ducted extractor fan, also known as a recirculating or ductless extractor fan, is a type of ventilation system commonly used in kitchens and other enclosed spaces. Unlike ducted extractor fans that expel air outside, non-ducted extractor fans recirculate the air within the same room after filtering it. These fans typically consist of a fan unit, a set of filters, and an exhaust grille.
When the non-ducted extractor fan is turned on, it draws in the air from the kitchen or designated area through a grille or hood. This air is passed through one or more filters designed to capture and remove grease, smoke, odours, and airborne particles. Once filtered, the cleaned air is released back into the room.
Non-ducted extractor fans are easier to install compared to their ducted counterparts since they do not require complex ductwork leading outside. However, they could be more efficient at removing moisture and pollutants from the environment, as they merely filter and recirculate the air. They are suitable for spaces where installing ducts is challenging or not impossible, but they may need to be more effective in eliminating odours or preventing humidity buildup. Regular filter maintenance ensures the fan operates at its best and maintains indoor air quality.

Wall-Mounted Extractor Fans

A wall-mounted extractor fan is a ventilation device commonly used to remove stale air, odours, moisture, and pollutants from indoor spaces, particularly kitchens and bathrooms. As the name suggests, these fans are installed directly on a wall and are an effective solution when ceiling installation isn’t practical or preferred.
Wall-mounted extractor fans consist of a fan unit mounted on an exterior wall, often near a source of moisture or odours, such as a stove or a bathroom. They draw in the unwanted air from the room through a grille or hood, then expel it outdoors through a duct or vent, effectively improving indoor air quality.
These fans come in various sizes and extraction rates to accommodate room sizes and ventilation needs. Some models also offer variable speed settings and timers to optimize their operation. Wall-mounted extractor fans are relatively easy to install and maintain, making them a popular choice for homeowners seeking to enhance ventilation in specific areas of their homes while preventing issues like mould growth and lingering odours.

Stand Alone Extractor Fan

A stand-alone extractor fan, often called a portable or freestanding extractor fan, is a self-contained ventilation device that can be placed in various locations within a room without needing permanent installation. Unlike wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted extractor fans, which are fixed in place, stand-alone extractor fans are versatile and can be easily moved to target specific areas or provide temporary ventilation.
These fans typically comprise a housing unit containing a fan and a filter. When powered on, they draw in air from their surroundings, filter it to remove impurities, and then expel the cleaned air back into the room. Stand-alone extractor fans are particularly useful when permanent ventilation solutions are impractical or unnecessary, such as in small kitchens, hobby rooms, workshops, or during specific tasks like painting or cooking with strong odours.
These fans are compact, easy to use, and require minimal installation or modification to the room, making them a convenient choice for improving indoor air quality and maintaining a comfortable environment in various settings.


In conclusion, extractor fans are essential to maintaining a healthy, comfortable living environment. These devices come in various types, from ducted to non-ducted, wall-mounted to stand-alone, each tailored to specific needs and installation requirements. Whether battling excess moisture, cooking odours, or simply seeking to improve indoor air quality, selecting the right extractor fan is crucial.
To recap, ducted extractor fans efficiently expel air outside, preventing issues like mould growth, while non-ducted fans filter and recirculate air within the room. Wall-mounted extractor fans are excellent when ceiling installation isn’t practical, and stand-alone fans offer portability and versatility.
No matter which type you choose, remember that regular maintenance is key to keeping your extractor fan operating at its best. By mastering the world of extractor fans, you’ll create a healthier living space and enjoy the benefits of fresher air and a more pleasant atmosphere in your home. So, make an informed decision to transform your living space into a more comfortable and enjoyable haven.

Important: in case you are not sure how to install an extractor fan, call your local electrician


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