Extractor Fans


Extractor Fan Buying Guide

Extractor fans are an essential kitchen addition and are extremely useful in windowless bathrooms or those that lack proper ventilation. The following is a guide to both kitchen and bathroom extractor fans so you can ensure you pick the right extractor fan for your needs.

Kitchen extractor fans

The majority of kitchen extractor fans can be set to recirculate or extract air, both of which have their pros and cons:


Extraction works by removing cooking odours and steam from your kitchen whilst cooking is taking place.

  • Removes odours, smoke and other contaminants from the room
  • Filters don’t need to be regularly replaced so cheaper to run
  • High airflow rate due to no charcoal filter in front of motor
  • Kitchen may not have space/facilities for extraction. For example, no space for ducting
  • Installation and ducting requires initial outlay


Air is drawn in and filtered through activated charcoal to remove smoke and odours before being released back into the room.

  • Ideal for installation where an exterior wall can’t be reached
  • Cheaper to install as no ducting required
  • Can recirculate moisture and heat back into the room
  • Charcoal filter needs to be replaced once a year
  • Airflow rate is decreased as filter is placed in front of motor


Extractor fans are generally considered to be more effective than recirculation filters, but can only be used if you have room for ducting to reach outside. You’ll need to purchase ducting separately with most extractors which can be done through the manufacturer or you can buy generic ducting from a DIY store.

Some extractors offer the choice of using 120mm or 150mm ducting and a larger diameter will offer a greater airflow rate which will make your extractor run more efficiently. Rigid ducting also provides better air flow than flexible ducting. The extraction rate you need can be calculated by multiplying the volume of your kitchen in cubic metres by 12. This is because it is recommended to have twelve changes of air every hour for the best results.

Noise levels

Extractor fans can be notoriously noisy and unfortunately the more powerful and effective they are the noisier they tend to be. One way to combat this problem is to turn your extractor on full just before you start cooking. This will allow the air to start circulating and you can then turn your extractor down to a lower setting as you cook.

The essentials

Whatever type of kitchen extractor you use it’s essential that the extractor hood is placed at least 50cm above an electric hob or 65cm above a gas hob but always check the manufacturer’s guidelines before you fit your extractor fan.

Bathroom extractor fans

Extractor fans for bathrooms are ideal if your bathroom doesn’t have a window or has poor ventilation as they extract steam caused by hot water and prevent damp patches or mould forming in your bathroom, as well as getting rid of nasty smells.

There are lots of different types of bathroom extractor to choose from including timer operated fans, low energy fans, low voltage fans and slimline fans. The fan you choose will depend on a number of factors such as the size of your bathroom.

Important considerations when choosing a bathroom extractor fan

There are a number of things that need to be taken into account when choosing a bathroom fan including wiring regulations, size, air extraction rate and noise.

Wiring regulations

Depending on where you intend to install your extractor fan you will need to choose from one of two voltages. Mains voltage fans can only be used at a certain distance from your bath whereas an extra low voltage fan can be used anywhere in your bathroom. If you’re in any doubt about the right fan for you then consult an electrician.

Extractor size

Bathroom extractor fans are available with a four inch or a six inch diameter. In the majority of bathrooms four inches is ideal unless your bathroom is larger than three metres squared or your bathroom is very cold with very poor ventilation or is north facing.

Extraction rate

The air extraction rate is measured in L/s or litres per second or m3/hr which is metres cubed per hour. In any standard bathroom regulations state that an extractor fan should extract at least 15 L/s which is a figure which the majority of 4 inch bathroom fans exceed.

Noise levels

The noise level created by bathroom fans can range from 35 to 45dB depending on the fan size and how powerful it is. Centrifugal fans normally create 40 to 55dB of noise but are usually housed within an attic so they are better insulated and further away making them seem a lot quieter.

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