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Bathroom Dehumidifier vs Exhaust Fan: What’s Better in 2023?

bathroom dehumidifier vs exhaust fan
Written by Jenny Molin
Last Update: December 2, 2022

Bathrooms often have a lot of condensation and moisture due to being often wet most of the time.

You need a method to dispose of this surplus humidity since high moisture levels can promote the growth of mold and bacteria and potentially cause visible damage.

Exhaust fans and dehumidifiers have significant differences with each being superior at one thing to the other.

But which one to choose in 2023? Let’s find out on today’s Bathroom Dehumidifier vs Exhaust Fan comparison guide.

What Are Exhaust Fans and Bathroom Dehumidifiers

The primary distinction between a dehumidifier and an exhaust fan is how they operate.

An exhaust fan essentially circulates air around your house or basement.

This may be an excellent method to ensure that your house is well-ventilated and that there is a regular flow of fresh air replenishing the old air inside.

They are far less complicated than dehumidifiers and therefore can typically be installed by anybody.

An exhaust fan is an ideal choice if the bathroom is humid while showering.

While running an exhaust fan in the bathroom can cause outdoor air to leak into other sections of your house, this won’t be an issue because you’ll only use it for a few minutes.

Dehumidifiers are far more complicated, and they function by pulling air through the device, where it condenses on cooling rods to remove the humidity.

The air is then released back into the area. This technique does not truly deliver fresh air inside your house because it only dehumidifies the current air.

A dehumidifier should be used in the bathroom if it is constantly humid.

The use of a dehumidifier inside your bathroom will have no negative consequences for the rest of your house.

Bathroom Dehumidifier vs Exhaust Fans: Side-by-Side Comparison

dehumidifier vs exhaust fan

Advantages of Exhaust Fans

1. Light and Compact

Because a bathroom exhaust fan is placed in ceilings or windows, you didn’t have to think about it wasting precious space.

This implies you’ll have more space to stretch out or install additional items in the bathroom, like a heater.

2. Inexpensive

Exhaust fans are inexpensive and simple to install, particularly if you’ve sliding windows.

Simply pull your window up, set the exhaust fan in the opening, and then pull the glass back down to lock it.

Most window exhaust fans include flaps that enable you to completely conceal the openings on the fan’s edges.

3. Simple to Install

Because exhaust fans are quite simple and compact, they can be installed in practically any place without too much difficulty.

If your house does not have an exhaust fan installed when you move there, you may simply add one by purchasing a window device or a traditional tabletop, or even a ground fan.

4. Control Humidity

Mold can develop in your bathrooms due to the frequent steam and humidity and.

Although there are a variety of solutions available that can briefly eliminate these health risks, they often do not address the underlying problem that prevents mold and fungus from coming back and reproducing.

Installing a compact exhaust fan on the walls and ceiling of your bathroom may assist eliminate humidity from the area.

5. Remove Odors

Without getting too specific, a bathroom does not usually smell like flowers.

This may not be a problem for loved ones, but it could be uncomfortable for visitors.

Exhaust fans may aid in the removal of smells and give every person the opportunity to enjoy a comfortable bathroom environment.

6. Removes Smoke and Gas

If the bathroom is in a location where dangerous air pollution might accumulate, consider adding an exhaust fan.

An exhaust fan could be useful if your bathroom is close to the living room, kitchen, or workshop, where people smoke, cook, or operate with dust-producing devices.

7. Removes Heat

In the summer, the temperature rises and accumulates around the ceilings and walls of your bathroom, making the bathroom quite unpleasant to use.

For houses in hotter climates, exhaust fans are excellent heat-removal devices.

They absorb heat under the surface of the roof resulting in a continual flow of cooled air throughout the space.

8. Lower Maintenance Expenses

Because an exhaust fan has no electronic parts, there is little need for maintenance other than a short vacuum occasionally, or upkeep in the form of quality assurance.

An exhaust fan is little more than a rotating disk, and that simplicity provides benefits. They can even be modified to a larger one for a reasonable price.

Disadvantages of Exhaust Fans

1. No Power Over the Humidity

Exhaust fans function by pulling in fresh air from outside.

Therefore, if the external air is humid, there’ll be significant humidity in the area that is ventilated by an exhaust fan.

Exhaust fans are ineffective in humid regions.

Consequently, if your location has significant humidity, you’ll need something more than exhaust fans to regulate humidity.

2. Only Work Under Ideal Circumstances

An exhaust fan is useful if you live in a chilly, humidity-free environment.

Otherwise, it won’t be particularly good at keeping the bathroom fresh and pleasant after a bath or shower.

During the warm and humid periods of the year, a lot of people end up installing a dehumidifier inside their bathrooms regardless.

Advantages of Bathroom Dehumidifiers

1. Great for Controlling Humidity

The majority of bathroom dehumidifiers have a humidity detector and regulator, like a humidistat.

This indicates that you adjust the humidistat to a specific value.

If the air in your bathroom becomes too humid, the dehumidifier should turn on automatically.

You won’t have to think about the bathroom’s humidity level rising too much because your dehumidifier will switch on before it achieves a certain level.

2. Keeps Moisture Levels at Optimal Values

A dehumidifier in the bathroom allows you to regulate the room’s higher humidity levels and will stop mildew from forming on your furniture, towels, and clothing.

Humidity in your bathroom may damage the grout and plaster, resulting in costly repairs.

3. Simple to Set Up

Dehumidifiers are simple to set up and need little configuration.

Because you won’t have to cut into your ceiling or run electrical cables, they are less expensive to set up and configure than some exhaust fans.

Bathroom dehumidifiers are quite easy to install since all you have to do is remove them out of the package, connect, and switch them on.

4. A Practical Health and Comfort Solution

It’s pointless to build a high-end bathroom equipped with the nicest amenities if humidity levels aren’t controlled. High humidity encourages mold growth.

They can become a cause of major health problems if left uncontrolled. Dehumidifiers constructed for bathrooms can help you address these issues.

5. Helps You Save Money on Your Energy Bills

Because humid air causes your air conditioner to work more, you’ll pay more for electricity.

Placing a dehumidifier, which regulates humidity, will make your system function more effectively and, as a result, lower your energy spending.

6. Prevents Mold and Mildew Growth

Installing a dehumidifier will help you avoid the unpleasant smells caused by mildew and mold growth. That’s not the type of odor you want to greet visitors to your house with.

Dehumidifiers focus on the root of these health risks, preventing them from returning and reproducing.

7. Reduces Cleaning

Because there are no mold or mildew concerns to deal with, as well as low dust concentrations, you won’t have to clean the bathroom as frequently.

8. Prevents Rust and Corrosion

If you have a high-tech bathroom containing electronics, a dehumidifier should assist maintain them in good working order for a longer time.

You don’t have to think about any of your valuable devices or metal components rusting or corroding since humidity levels will be adequately regulated.

Disadvantages of Bathroom Dehumidifiers

1. Expensive

Bathroom dehumidifiers are quite costly when compared to exhaust fans, however, you will hardly have to pay more than $200 for one.

2. Bulkier and bigger

Another appliance that occupies space in a crowded bathroom is a dehumidifier. If you don’t have a lot of space in your bathroom, a dehumidifier is perhaps not the ideal option.

3. Required to Empty a Container or Drain Condensate

Because dehumidifiers absorb moisture from the air, they must dispose of it somewhere. Most dehumidifiers include a container that gathers humidity.

When this container is filled, it must be emptied. The great news is that certain dehumidifiers allow you to set up a permanent drainage system.

This is accomplished by connecting the dehumidifier to a pipe and letting it pour into the sink.

4. Noisy

A dehumidifier may be rather noisy. This isn’t an issue if the dehumidifier is installed in a basement, but if you want to install it in a bedroom or living room, choose a type that claims to be silent enough for those areas.

Which One Is Right for You?

Both the dehumidifier and the exhaust fan are fantastic devices for maintaining your bathroom in good shape.

These two devices handle common bathroom humidity concerns that have an impact on the health, appearance, and performance of the bathroom.

If you had to choose between these 2 types of devices the dehumidifier would be the better option.

It goes a little further in addressing your bathroom’s issues with moisture, air pollutants, and all of the side effects associated with it.


1. Will Bathroom Exhaust Fans Also Dehumidify Air?

Ans. Turning on your bathroom exhaust fan each time you shower will minimize humidity in the air and decrease the necessity for a dehumidifier.

If you’re not using an exhaust fan, or you’ve detected mold despite the use of the exhaust fan, a dehumidifier may be worth considering.

2. Is an Exhaust Fan the Same Thing As a Dehumidifier?

Ans. A dehumidifier operates by actively reducing humidity and then gathering or pumping it away, whereas an exhaust fan circulates air from outside and pushes dry air into your house or basement.

3. What Should I Do if My Bathroom Lacks an Exhaust Fan?

Ans. If you don’t have an exhaust fan in your bathroom, use the windows and doors to allow steam to leave.

Whenever the weather allows, open the windows during your bath or shower and keep them open for 20 minutes once you leave your bathroom.

About the author

Jenny Molin

Interior Design Artist

Hello, I’m Jenny. I’ve been an interior design artist by profession since my B.S. in Interior Design. I’m a minimalist and prefer to save space when choosing fixtures, sinks and fittings. My style tends to make the most out of the least amount of space. The idea behind every interior design project is unique and it reflects personal style, taste and tradition. I’ve learned more when working than I ever did while I was studying in college. I worked in more than 12 hundred households all across the US and got positive feedback. I’ve been working with FaucetsReviewed as one of the founding members and regularly contributing to the site via testing and reviewing various interior fittings and fixtures.

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