Top 5 Whisper Quiet Window Fans: Which Has the Quietest Blow?

I’ve lived in a few homes that didn’t have air con. Aside from lowering the temperature, it becomes really obvious how helpful the simple flow of air from an AC unit is. In my search for a solution that offered more than a normal desk fan, I came across window fans.

Of course, this led me to look for the quietest window fan. In this article, I round up my top picks of the best whisper quiet window fans along with some tips for finding one that suits your needs.

Before jumping into the reviews, let’s look at what we mean by quiet window fan.

How Many Decibels is a Window Fan?

A quiet window fan will operate at 45dB or below. By contrast, a normal window fan would be 50dB and above. For a real-world comparison, a standard refrigerator operates at around 40dB, whereas 50dB is roughly the equivalent of a quiet office.

Generally, you should find window fans are quieter than models such as box fans and maybe even pedestal fans, as the airflow rate is usually lower. To help you understand the available options, here’s a quick table comparing the noise level and airflow rate of different fan types.

I’ve linked my dedicated articles for each fan type in the table below.

Fan TypeNoise Level (dB)Airflow (CFM)Average Power (Watts)
Dual Window Fan40-70400-75040-60
Desk Fan35-5550-25010-40
Ceiling Fan30-702000-900075
Exhaust Fan30-4550-50010-100
Pedestal Fan30-702500-600045-75
Box Fan55-701000-250075
Tower Fan30-45600-140055
Blower Fan65-80300-50090-150
Shop Fan60-853000-11000100-250

Our Top 5

Below are my top picks for the best window fans. Within this fairly broad topic are double and triple fans and exhaust fans. I’ve selected a top pick for each, so it should be easy for you to find what you’re looking for.

1. Top Pick: Vornado 4-Speed Window Fan

  • Dimensions: 5.7 x 26 x 7.2 inches
  • Airflow: 185 CFM (High) – 88 CFM (Low)
  • Noise Level: 45 dB (High) – 32 dB (Low) 
  • Speed settings: 4
  • Thermostat: Yes (Digital display)
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Reversible Airflow: Yes
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Adjustable Extender: 26 to 40″ width
  • Warranty: 5 years

The Vornado 4-Speed Window Fan is my top overall pick for a few reasons. First, its dB level at max speed is 45dB, which is decently quiet. Second, it’s got 4 speed settings, giving you good flexibility over air speed.

However, its max CFM is only 137, which is quite low compared to other models on this list. As such, it’ll only provide a light breeze and will quickly become unnoticeable in larger rooms. Based on my knowledge of CFM ratings, it’ll be best in a room of 125 sq. ft. or below.

It’s generally meant for vertical sliding windows, although this video review shows you can install it vertically, too. You can also check out that video for an example of its noise while operating.

I found, when looking at the inside components, that the airflow is generated not with propeller fans but with a squirrel cage blower, just like in tower fans. So technically, the Vornado is not a window fan but a window blower. 

A downside to this design is that you can’t have intake and exhaust at the same time, like on the Holmes and Bionaire models. But, they’re still reversible and have a heat setting, meaning you don’t lose out on much.

There are 4 speed settings and automatic temperature control. It also comes with foam blocks that you fit around the fan unit when installing. This helps to create a better seal, improving its energy efficiency.

The foam inserts are slightly limiting, though. In my experience, a mix of solid plastic with foam is better, and these foam ones only offer whole-inch fillers. So, if you’re dealing with awkward-sized windows, you might find you have an extra gap. I also found users complaining that the foam inserts leave gaps in the corners between the unit and the insert.

  • Sleek design insulates noise.
  • 4 speed settings and automatic temperature control.
  • Good overall model that ticks lots of boxes.
  • You can’t run intake and exhaust at the same time.
  • Foam insert design could be improved.

2. Top Budget Pick: Holmes Dual 8” Fan

  • Dimensions: 6 x 25.7 x 13.3 inches
  • Airflow: Estimated ~ 460 CFM
  • Noise Level: Estimated ~ 51 dB (High) – 47 dB (Low) 
  • Speed settings: 3
  • Thermostat: Yes (knob)
  • Remote Control: No
  • Reversible Airflow: Yes
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Adjustable Extender: 25 to 35″ width
  • Warranty: 3 years

This quiet window fan from Holmes is designed to find windows 25 to 37”. It features an adjustable screen and clip-on extender to help you get the best fit on your window.

It has twin fans that are 8” in diameter. The 3 settings are intake, exhaust, or exchange, and you can set the fans to spin in either direction. Being able to control each fan independently gives you great flexibility. 

In terms of airflow, one user measured the airspeed at 7.5mph. For two 8” fans, we can calculate the corresponding airflow which equals 460 CFM. To give you an idea, this airflow would comply with the recommended 8 air changes per hour in a 400 sq ft kitchen. 

Its decibel output ranges from 47dB on low to 51dB. While this does move into the normal noise output for a fan, in my experience, it’s not an unpleasant noise. Plus, it’s a budget model, so you can expect it to not be in the same quality bracket as higher price models.

The motors are water resistant, meaning you can use the fan even when it’s raining. There’s also a thermostat, giving you control over the temperature too. Of course, it won’t get cooler but does get warmer.

Importantly, this twin window fan is easy to use. It plugs into a normal 120V wall outlet and fits vertically or horizontally into the window frame. All the controls are clear, and you can also buy a one-touch thermostat model.

The main downside of this model are that it doesn’t list a CFM rating. However, this similar model from Lasko has a CFM of 560, so we can assume the Holmes model is fairly similar.

  • 2 fans that operate independently.
  • Thermostat for cooler climates.
  • 3 settings on each fan.
  • Can rattle after prolonged use.
  • No remote control.

3. Best Window Fan for Vertical Sliding Windows: Sharper Image Window Fan

  • Dimensions: 6.57 x 23.85 x 6.12 inches
  • Airflow: 127 CFM (High)
  • Noise Level: 52.6 dB (High) – 40.2 dB (Low)
  • Speed settings: 3
  • Thermostat: No
  • Remote Control: No
  • Reversible Airflow: Yes
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Adjustable Extender: 27 to 38″ width
  • Warranty: 2 years

This fan bar from Sharper Image is similar to the Vornado above. They both use a squirrel cage blower, except this one is marginally cheaper and has a slightly lower CFM rating. I’ve picked it as my best option for vertical sliding windows because unlike other window fans like the dual fan models or the Air King window fan, it has a much lower profile.

Its noise output is fairly impressive: 40dB on low and 52dB on high. This is louder than the Vornado but it’s still fairly quiet. On its lowest setting, you won’t really notice it, and it should still provide an acceptable breeze.

In all fairness, the Sharper Image provides a less interesting airflow/dB ratio in comparison with the Vornado. This makes the Vornado a superior product, but it’s also 50% more expensive.

The seal block is modular, meaning you just slot the pieces together to fit the required gap. On the one hand, this makes it easy to install, but on the other, it means you’re restricted if you’re dealing with an awkward-sized window.

There are 3 speed settings, and you can switch between intake and exhaust. Unlike dual fan models, you can’t have both running at the same time, but this isn’t a massive issue.

I feel that although this fan is lacking slightly in airflow, it’s worth it for the lower profile in the window. If high airflow is a priority for you over visibility, I recommend either the Air King or Holmes fans.

  • Low profile allows you to see out the window.
  • Very quiet for a window fan.
  • Pretty easy to set up.
  • Modular extension blocks aren’t as useful as they seem.

4. Best Window Fan for Cooling: Air King 20” Window Fan

  • Dimensions: 26.25 x 11.25 x 26.75 inches
  • Airflow: 3560 CFM (High) – 2510 CFM (Low)
  • Noise Level: 64 dB (High) – 50 dB (Low)
  • Speed settings: 3
  • Thermostat: No
  • Remote Control: No
  • Reversible Airflow: Yes
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Adjustable Extender: 27 to 38″ width
  • Warranty: 1 year

This window fan from Air King has some serious airflow, making it ideal as a quiet high volume window fan. When you’re looking to keep yourself cool in the summer, high airflow is one of the more important things to look for.

This fan has a maximum CFM of 3560, which is very high. Even on its lowest setting, its airflow is 2510, which is impressive. However, this is offset by its higher decibel rating. On low, it’s 50dB and on high it jumps up to 64dB.

If this is too loud, consider dropping down to the Air King 16” model. Its decibel rating on low is 47dB, which is a bit more acceptable.

It has 3 fan speed settings and will fit windows 27” to 38” wide and 26.25” high. The height might limit some users, as this is a large opening, even for sash windows. But in my opinion, it’s worth opting for a larger fan like this if it’ll fit in your window.

I think it’s worth noting that it doesn’t have temperature control like the Vornado and Holmes models. While this might sound like a downside for a cooling fan, all the temperature control does on a fan like this is turn it on and off depending on the air temperature. Unlike AC units, the fan itself can’t provide any actual cooling.

  • Large fan diameter has excellent airflow.
  • Adjustable speed and direction settings.
  • Clear decibel ratings.
  • Might be too large for some windows.

5. Quiet Window Exhaust Fan: Bionaire 8.5” Reversible Window Fan

  • Dimensions: 6 x 25.7 x 13.3 inches
  • Airflow: Estimated ~624CFM (High)
  • Noise Level: Estimated ~53 dB (High) – 48 dB (Low)
  • Speed settings: 3
  • Thermostat: Yes (Digital display)
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Reversible Airflow: Yes
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Adjustable Extender: 24 to 37″ width
  • Warranty: 3 years

This quiet window fan from Bionaire is ideal as an exhaust fan. As this implies, an exhaust fan is designed to expel air from a room rather than drawing it in. Whether you’re using this for a smoking room or a kitchen or bathroom, high airflow is preferred.

But one of the good features of a dual window fan (at least this one) is that the fans can run independently. This means you can set one to intake and the other to exhaust. As such, you don’t need to compromise between cool air coming in and warm air going out.

It has a digital temperature gauge, which you can control with the remote. But as I mentioned above, this only determines when the fans switch on and off – it doesn’t provide any actual cooling.

The fans are 8.5” in diameter, providing superior airflow over our budget pick, the Holmes Dual 8” fan for the same price bracket. A bigger fan diameter (8.5” vs 8”) equates to a higher airflow. I chose the Bionaire window fan as my exhaust fan pick because of its higher airflow, but it would also be a good option for a budget window fan or a fan for horizontal sliding windows.

We can estimate the airflow of the Bionaire thanks to airspeed measured by one of the users. The exhaust speed was measured at 9 mph, so the airflow provided by two 8.5” fan corresponds to 624 CFM. To give you an idea, that’s perfectly fine for ventilating a bathroom of 500 sq.ft.

The fans are fitted into sturdy housing, which, I feel, helps to control the noise level. There’s no noise rating listed by the manufacturer. But according to one user’s measurements, the minimum recorded is at 48dB and the max at 53dB. These levels are close to those of the Holmes window fan, which is quieter but also provides less airflow.

It’s designed to fit windows 24” across and comes with a 13” extender, bringing it up to 37”. The extender slides, giving you flexibility depending on the size of your windows.

One minor downside is that it doesn’t list its airflow rate. Some reviewers claim its airflow is a bit weak. But if you’re using it as an exhaust fan, I find this isn’t as important because it’s not there to create a breeze but rather to remove air. For this purpose, a weaker airflow should be fine.

  • LED screen is clear and easy to use.
  • Fits windows 24.5” to 37.5”.
  • Independent fans and 3 speed settings.
  • Airflow might be a bit weak.

When is a Window Fan Worth it?

Opting for a window fan over other cooling methods presents some clear benefits.

Benefits Over Air Con

The most obvious reason to use window fans is as an alternative to window air conditioning. While 75% of US homes are fitted with air con, their energy usage makes them difficult to justify.

The US Department of Energy states that air conditioners account for 6% of all energy usage in the country, totaling around $29 billion a year for the consumer. In short, air con is expensive.

A window fan, however, can cost as little as 5-7 cents a day to run. You’re simply paying for the electricity to power the motor.

Of course, a window fan with temperature settings will use more energy, and so will cost more. Depending on the wattage, it could add an extra 2-45 cents an hour to run. Even so, an electric fan will always be cheaper to run than air con. If temperatures aren’t too sweltering, and all you want is a cool breeze, it’s the better option.

Benefits Over a Standing Fan

The main benefit of a window fan over a standing or desk fan is that it circulates fresh air into a room. This could either be pulling fresh air in or blowing stale air out.

Either way, it improves air circulation along with providing a fresh breeze.

One common reason for choosing a window fan is if you smoke indoors. While this might be a very small group, it helps to pull out stale air. And even smokers don’t really enjoy the smell of stale smoke indoors.

When Wouldn’t a Window Fan be Suitable?

A window fan might not be the best option if you live in a city or area with higher levels of air pollution. After all, sucking in air from outdoors will also bring pollution with it.

In comparison, window air conditioners are fitted with dust filters and some even include HEPA filters. So, if you live in an area with questionable air quality, it might be in your best interests to stick with your air con or consider an air purifier.

Also, a window fan can lead to gaps in your window, allowing bugs in. You can solve this with a screen, but some models don’t offer compatible accessories.

What to Know before Purchasing

Choosing a quiet window fan involves more factors than just noise level. Be sure to consider the following when making your decision.

Type of Fan

Fans fall into 2 categories: intake and exhaust. Intake sucks air in while exhaust blows air out.

Why does this matter? Well, as I mentioned above, there are some situations when you’d rather remove stale air from your home rather than bring cool air in. For example, the temperature in your home might be fine, but the air smells stuffy and stale.

In this situation, you’d be better to remove air rather than introduce cooler air from outdoors.


To accommodate the need for intake and exhaust settings, most fans can reverse their airflow direction. Well, technically they’ll all be reversible, but some are manual.

This means you need to remove it from the window, flip it around, and then put it back. While not a massive issue, it can be inconvenient if you’ve managed a good fit in the frame.

Most whisper quiet window fans come with a button to do this for you. The joy of modern AC motors is that you can reverse the magnetic field easily. In short, you click a button and it goes from intake to exhaust.

So you can switch from drawing air from the outside to drawing air from the inside.

Better yet, some models have two or more fans that operate independently. It means you can set one to intake and one to exhaust, giving you full air exchange.

Noise Level

When we’re looking for the best quiet window fan, noise level is clearly the most important factor. Unfortunately, some won’t provide a specific dB or sone rating.

But there are some things to look out for that’ll indicate a quiet fan:

  • Insulating housing will help to reduce noise level.
  • Build quality is vital. For example, metal housing is better than plastic, and plastic extenders are better than foam ones. We can apply this logic to the fan’s moving components, too, but we often don’t have much control over these.
  • Higher speed settings equal more airflow and more noise.
  • Small fans operate at a higher RPM than large ones to move the same volume of air.
  • Installation also matters. If the fan doesn’t fit properly in the window frame, it could rattle.
  • Worse. Vibration (structure borne noises) can transmit through the window frame, provided you don’t fit decoupling materials.
  • Make sure you choose the right size for your window and that any extenders fit snuggly.


CFM stands for cubic feet per minute, referring to the amount of air a fan can move in a minute. It’s generally related to room size: larger rooms require a higher CFM rating to properly move air in and out.

I recommend looking at a CFM calculator to figure out what kind of airflow you’ll need in your chosen room. Choosing the right CFM boils down to how many times you want to renew the air in a room and the volume (or size) of the room. A rule of thumb is for a bathroom or a kitchen, you’d need to change the volume of air 7-8 times per hour, which is around 1 CFM for 1 sq.ft.

However, there are some other factors that you should consider when working this out.

First, low-profile window fans (such as the Vornado) won’t move as much air as larger-blade fans. Sometimes, it’s worth going for a smaller model if you just want to remove stale air from a room rather than create a breeze.

Second, pulling in fresh air will arguably have a more noticeable effect on the room than circulating existing air with a pedestal fan. As such, you might not need as high a CFM rating.

Standing fan sitting next to a window in replacement for a dedicated quiet window fan


The seal around a window fan is important for ensuring air is moving properly, and to control temperature more effectively. 

An improper seal means the difference of pressure you try to achieve between inside and outside of the window is lost because of small gaps. A small percentage of the air that the window fan pushes into your room is diving into the air gaps instead of circulating in your room.

Window fans come with extenders to make them fit varying sizes of windows. However, you might need some extra equipment to create a tight seal.

Some options for this include weatherstripping, which you can stick around the edge of the fan itself. Alternatively, you could look for a window air conditioner seal kit, if you’re dealing with a larger fan. Some bigger brands might sell their own seal kits, too.

Window Size and Type

All window fans will be suitable for use in sash or sliding windows. Their standard setup is horizontal.

But some are fine to be used vertically. These are designed for windows that open horizontally, such as hinged or sliding sash.

Make sure you check carefully before purchasing that the fan is compatible with the type of windows in your home.

Equally, window size is important. Most window fans are around 4” wide and come with a clip-on extender. You might even be able to buy further extenders to make them even wider.

Just measure your window before purchasing and you’ll be fine.


Safety is always an important feature when buying something like a silent window fan. Blades spin pretty fast and can cause injury if someone sticks their fingers in.

At the very least, a fan should have a blade cover. A screen will provide greater security for the window and will also prevent bugs from getting into the house.


Window fans generally plug into a mains power socket and, by extension, run on 120V power. This is a given, but when we’re discussing power, it’s more important to look at power consumption. By this, we mean how much you can expect it’ll cost to run your window fan.

Fans that merely blow air use very little power, which we measure in watts. For example, the Vornado is rated at 25W, while the Air King (the most powerful on this list), is rated at 115W.

But what does this mean in real terms? We work out energy price using cents per kWh (kilowatt hour). This is the amount of energy an appliance uses, in kilowatts, per hour. We then multiply this by the cost of a kWh from an energy provider to get a rough cost.

Let’s use the Air King as our example, as it’ll be the most expensive. Using Rapid Tables to calculate it, the cost of running the Air King all day is $0.33, which is nearly $10 a week. On the other hand, the Vornado fan would cost a miniscule $0.07 a day to run.

As you can see, this really isn’t expensive. Although Energy Star ratings exist for other types of fans – such as ceiling fans and ventilation fans – it’s not worth it for window fans. The energy consumption of window fans is so low that we can’t really make them much cheaper to run!

Extra Features

There are a few extra features worth mentioning that you’ll find on a silent window fan. These are:

Remote control

This speaks for itself. Having a remote control means you don’t need to get up to change the settings or turn the fan on or off.

Temperature settings

Some fans include a heating element, which can be helpful for bringing in warm, fresh air. But, this won’t be much more energy-efficient than running a heater, as electric heating coils are expensive to run.

LED screen

Again, not a massive bonus, but having a small screen is helpful for displaying things like temperature and speed settings.


Is a window fan better than a floor fan?

A window fan is better than a floor fan if you want to bring in outside (potentially cooler) air. Another advantage is that most models have an exhaust function, allowing you to remove warm, stale air from your room. On the other hand, a floor fan will only circulate air that’s already in the room.

What is the difference between a ventilation fan and an exhaust fan?

A ventilation fan and an exhaust fan are essentially opposite things. Ventilation fans draw in air from outside to ventilate a space, whereas exhaust fans push out hot air from inside. This air may contain smoke or steam or simply be stale. However, most window fans have both ventilation and exhaust functions. 

Can I put an exhaust fan in a window?

You can absolutely put an exhaust fan in a window, as many models have this function built in. For large-scale applications, commercial, wall-mounted exhaust fans will be better. But for domestic use, such as kitchens and bathrooms, a window exhaust fan will be absolutely fine.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has given you everything you need to know about the best quiet window fans.

Mine is the Vornado 4-Speed Window Fan because it’s easy to use, quiet and has great airflow. What’s more, it’s at a very reasonable price point. But if you’re on a budget, the Holmes Dual 8” Fan will be fine. While it’s lacking some features, it’ll still do the job.

What are your thoughts on the benefits of window fans and noise levels? Have you been using your fan as a source of white noise to cover distracting sounds? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Picture of Ludovic
Ludovic is a Mechanical Engineer and Founder of ZenSoundproof. For 7 years, he designed parts for aircraft engines. The last 2 years, he's been designing consumer electronics. Very ear sensitive, his background helps him use soundproofing techniques or look for low-noise appliances for his home. You'll also often find him meditating since his travel to India.

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