High CFM rating, versatility, durability, easy installation, and high solar panel wattage – these are all features that typify the best solar attic fan.
A solar-powered attic fan will be installed somewhere on the roof. This means it will be exposed to the elements – UV rays from the sun exposure, rain, snow, thunderstorms, and wind, amongst others. For this reason, you should get the right solar attic fan that can withstand harsh weather conditions such as sun exposure, impact, corrosion, and water.
In some cases, a solar attic system can only be used with certain roofing systems. This specificity can be limiting, especially when moving to another house or getting a replacement solar attic fan. Luckily, some products are pretty versatile, so they can be used in various roofing systems.
Top 6 Best Solar Attic Fans Review
1. ECO-WORTHY Solar-powered Attic Fan
Topping our list of the best solar attic fans is the ECO-WORTHY 25W Solar Fan. We chose this solar-powered attic ventilator as the best overall because of its CFM rating, high efficiency, easy installation, versatility, portability, and affordability.
While it is primarily a gable attic fan, it finds uses in other places. You can use it in the shed, on a boat, on an RV, on the roof, in a coop, and in many other places. It appears to be the only solar attic fan on the list with such a broad range.
The ECO-WORTHY has the high CFM rating of any product on the list. It is said to have a venting capacity of up to 1960 CFM, suitable for spaces up to 2000 square feet. The product with the CFM rating closest to this is the Natural Light Solar Fan. Of course, with this level of CFM, you can expect effective air circulation when you install the fan in an attic of the right size.
The fan consumes just about 25 watts of solar power. For this reason, it typically keeps operating even in low lighting conditions and low voltages as 4 v.
While the fan consumes relatively less power, the remote solar panel does not produce so much solar power. It is rated just 30 watts – only the solar panel of the iLIVING HYBRID has lower power output.
Of course, powering the solar attic fans would not be an issue. But you will be getting little to no extra power from the panels. If you plan to get a solar battery for your attic fan, then the absence of extra power might be an issue.
On ease of installation is basically plug-and-play. This is why you can use it in various places without hassle. One thing to note is that you may have to create one before installing this if there is no gable in your solar vent.
As desirable as this product is, it does not feature a thermostat or humidistat, and it does not come with the option to add one. While it comes with a warranty, the manufacturer did not clearly outline the terms of the warranty.
- The fans work even with 4v low voltage, and they are efficient.
- It can be used in many other places besides the attic.
- It’s easy to install – installation comes with the same ease as the Amtrak Solar 50-Watt and the Amtrak Solar 70-Watt.
- It has a high CFM rating – the highest on the list.
- Its operation is not noisy.
- It is relatively inexpensive.
- It does not come with a thermostat or humidistat.
- The warranty terms are unclear.
2. Natural Light Solar Attic Fan
The Natural Light Solar Attic Fan comes with a built-in solar panel and earns the second position on the list because of its high CFM rating, long warranty period, and durability.
This roof-mounted solar attic fan has a CFM rating of 1881 – only better by the ECO-WORTHY. One unit of this solar attic fan would suffice in the attic space of up to 2825 square feet, bringing the attic temperature down efficiently. It should be mentioned that this product is not suitable for flat roofs. This product is best used with roofs whose slope falls between 3/12 and 12/12.
It is made of high-quality materials. The aluminum material confers resistance to water, impact, and corrosion to the product, adding to its overall durability.
This fan cannot work at voltages as low as 4 volts. However, the solar panel produces more solar power.
The solar panel of this small solar attic fan is adjustable within a 45-degree angle. Apart from that, you have the option to get the snap-on thermostat if you need it.
This product comes with a 25-year warranty – about the highest one can get. Only the Amtrak 50-Watt and the Amtrak 70-Watt match this warranty.
- It is durable.
- The warranty period is pretty extensive – the same as the two Amtrak products on the list.
- You get the option to add a thermostat if you want.
- The solar panel is adjustable.
- The CFM rating is quite high
- It is not versatile – you can only use it on steep roofs.
- It is not as efficient as the ECO-WORTHY.
3. iLIVING HYBRID Solar Roof Attic Exhaust Fan
None of the other solar-powered attic fans on this list come close to this product when considering durability. But apart from durability, the iLIVING HYBRID also offers high CFM, a long warranty period, a thermostat, and adjustable solar panels.
The attic exhaust is rated IP-68. This means it is resistant to dust, dirt, and water. To be more specific, it can be immersed 1.5 meters underwater for 30 minutes. This level of water resistance is pretty impressive, and no other product on the list comes close.
Furthermore, the product is made of aluminum and steel, while aluminum resists corrosion and water, steel offers some impact resistance.
These solar-powered fans have an attic venting capacity of 1750 CFM. This is bettered only by the ECO-WORTHY and the Natural-Light. One unit offers sufficient air circulation to cool an attic space of 2500 square feet.
Another interesting feature of this product is the adjustable solar panel. It can be rotated within a 45-degree angle. This way, you can expose the solar panel to as much direct sunlight as it can get.
This attic exhaust is fitted with a thermostat that operates between 65- and 130-degrees Fahrenheit. The only other product that comes with a built-in thermostat is the Remington Solar Attic Fan.
This solar vent fan comes with a 15-year warranty. While this is below what the Amtrak products and the Natural Light product offer, it is impressive.
It comes short on versatility; you can only use it as a roof attic fan. Also, the wattage is the lowest on the list. Then again, it uses a polycrystalline solar panel, which is not as efficient as the monocrystalline type.
- It is the most durable product on this list. It resists water, corrosion, and impact.
- Comes with a waterproof brushless motor.
- The attic venting capacity is pretty impressive too.
- The solar panel is adjustable within 45 degrees like the Natural-Light fan.
- It comes with an inbuilt thermostat.
- The warranty period is quite long.
- It is not versatile since it can only be used on roofs.
- The wattage is the lowest of any product on the list.
4. Remington Solar Attic Fan
We included the Remington on our list of best solar attic fans for many reasons. One of such reasons is its many add-on features. Apart from that, it is durable, comes with an adjustable solar panel, is easy to install, and has a high attic venting capacity.
It comes with smart thermostat control and a humidistat. When the temperature rises or falls, the thermostat controls the operation of the solar attic fan automatically. The humidistat also regulates the operation of the fan, depending on how humid the attic is.
Besides the inbuilt thermostat and humidistat, you can also have the option to get a 110v hybrid adapter. This device helps you switch from the PV system to the inverter when solar power production falls or stops.
This attic fan is made of aluminum, steel, and nylon. These high-quality materials offer a combination of impact resistance, corrosion resistance, and water resistance. This way, they ensure the product stays in shape for longer.
Like the Natural-Light and the iLIVING HYBRID, you can rotate the panel of this product within a 45-degree angle. So, you can also ensure it gets as much direct sunlight as possible.
The solar-powered attic fan has a venting capacity of 1750 cubic feet per meter – enough for a 2200 square foot attic. This venting capacity is on par with that of the iLIVING HYBRID. However, the solar fans of the ECO-WORTHY and the Natural-Light Solar Fan do much more.
You can get the Remington in 2 colors: grey and black. There isn’t any significant difference between both choices, except their physical outlook.
Like any solar roof fan on this list, it is not versatile. You can only use it on the roof.
- It comes with an inbuilt thermostat and a humidistat. If you want, you could get the hybrid adapter too.
- It is durable – it offers a high degree of resistance to water, corrosion, and impact.
- Comes with a brushless motor.
- The solar panel is adjustable.
- The venting capacity is topnotch – only bettered by the NaturalLight Solar Fan and the ECO-WORTHY.
- It is not versatile.
5. Amtrak Solar Attic Fan 50-Watt
Next on our list of solar-powered attic fans is the Amtrak Solar Attic Fan 50-Watt. This solar-powered attic ventilator offers a high CFM rating, uncomplicated installation, high 50 Watt solar panel, and a prolonged warranty period. Apart from that, it is pretty versatile, and you can get a free thermostat if you want.
This solar attic fan 50-Watt has a CFM rating of 1760. In contrast, this is lower than what the ECO-WORTHY and the Natural-Light offer, one unit will do enough for the attic ventilation of a 2250 square feet space.
It is easy to install. The wires are easy to connect, and the fan blade is simple to set up.
It comes with a 25-year manufacturer warranty. This is the maximum you can get in the industry. Plus, only the Amtrak 70-Watt and the Natural-Light match up.
The attic fan is a solar gable vent, but it can also be used in garages, greenhouses, RVs, cabins, and many other places. The versatility of the Amtrak is on par with that of the ECO-WORTHY.
Solar Panel Wattage
The 50-Watt solar panel produces enough solar power and is bettered only by Amtrak 70-Watt fan. With that level of power, you can be sure that the fan will always get enough solar energy for its operation – even with all the potential power losses.
While this product does not come with a built-in thermostat, you can get an optional snap-on thermostat for free. This way, the operation of the fan is regulated, depending on the temperature of the attic. We should also add that Amtrak is relatively inexpensive, and you could consider it if you are on a budget.
Without a doubt, it is packed with quality features. But the solar panels are not adjustable. However, you can fit them with mounting brackets to achieve this.
- It has the second-highest solar panel wattage of the solar attic fans on this list.
- High venting capacity for effectively pushing warm air out of the attic.
- It comes with a 25-year warranty period.
- Easy to install.
- It is pretty versatile.
- You could get a free thermostat.
- The solar panels are not adjustable.
6. Amtrak Solar Attic Fan 70-Watt
Last on our solar attic fan reviews is Amtrak Solar Attic Fan 70-Watt. This product offers the highest wattage. But apart from that, the fan is easy to install, it has a high CFM rating, it can be used in various places, and it has long warranty coverage.
The top feature of this product is its 70-watt solar panels – the highest in the review. Only the Amtrak 50-Watt comes close to it. With such power output, you are assured of an intense performance from your attic fan.
Installing this solar attic fan is pretty straightforward. As long as there is a hole in your gable, you can assemble the parts and do the installation yourself.
It is a solar gable vent that can also be used in the garage, greenhouse, or RV.
While the manufacturer did not specify the CFM of this product, they specified that it could properly ventilate a 2250-square feet attic. So, we estimate that the CFM should be around 1750-1900 CFM. This estimation puts the venting capacity of this product at the top of the list.
Lastly, the warranty coverage for this product lasts for 25 years – that is as much as you can get for this type of product.
While the quality of this product is undeniable, it comes with a panel that cannot be adjusted. But all hope is not lost as you can get mounting brackets for this purpose.
- High solar panel wattage – top on the list.
- Uncomplicated installation.
- It can be used in other places besides a gable.
- It has a high venting capacity.
- The warranty coverage lasts for a long time.
- The solar panel is not adjustable.
CFM rating is the venting capacity of an attic fan. It describes the volume of hot air the fan can push out per unit area of the attic. Generally, an effective solar attic fan will come with a high CFM rating. However, the CFM rating is not all that matters. The size of the attic matters too.
If the CFM rating of your attic fan is too much for your attic size, it may just create negative pressure zones within the space. The negative pressure zones, in turn, may pull in cool attic air from your living area. Consequently, the running cost of your air conditioners may rise. So, while a high CFM rating is good, it should not be too much for the attic, or your electricity bill will shoot up.
Solar Panel Wattage
Solar-powered fans depend on the power generated by solar cells to operate. Solar panel wattage defines how much solar power the PV panel of the fan generates. The higher the wattage of the product, the more power it offers for the operation of the fan.
Some solar fans are only effective in steep roofing systems, while other solar attic fans work for flat and steep roofing systems. It goes without saying, but the better option for both flat and steep roofs is the product that works for both flat and steep roofs.
Apart from that, certain solar attic fans can be used in other places besides the roof. So, if you plan on using yours in other places, opt for these types.
Since solar attic fans are typically installed on the roof, they are exposed to dust, rain, sun, and other harsh conditions. If you choose a product with low durability, you may have to replace it sooner than you think. The harsh conditions will be sure to weaken the integrity of the fan’s structure very fast. Therefore, opt for a durable fan. Look out for products with IP ratings of 65-68. Also, avoid products made of plastic & other materials with little resistance to impact.
Thermostat and Humidistat
Not all solar attic fans come with a thermostat and humidistat. However, having these features is an added advantage. A thermostat will prevent your solar vent from overheating, and it will also turn the fan on/off, depending on the attic temperature.
Like a thermostat, a humidistat will also regulate the fan’s operation, depending on the humidity of the attic.
Flexible Solar Panel Bracket
A flexible solar panel bracket is vital to ensuring that PV panels are exposed to maximum direct sunlight.
A flexible solar panel would be adjustable over a wide-angle (typically 45 degrees). This way, you can tilt the panels into a position that lets them get enough UV light.
What to Consider Before Installing a Solar-Powered Roof Fan
Some solar attic fans are installed in the roof, while some are installed in gables. A gable vent is pretty easy to install if there is an existing gable. But if there isn’t one, you will need a carpenter for the installation process. Getting gable solar attic fans installed may raise the total cost of installation above what you will spend on roof-mounted solar fans.
Unlike gable-mounted attic fans, you have to create a new space for them on the roof when installing roof-mounted attic fans.
Apart from the above, you may want to opt for a roof-mounted solar fan instead of a gable type if you have a pitched or flat roof.
If your home is not exposed to driving rain, you may get a gable vent alongside your solar attic fan. The gable vent will serve as exhaust while it synergizes with the attic fan to remove hot air.
While gable-mounted fans might be effective alongside attic fans when used as an exhaust, they will do little as an intake vent. A gable vent would typically be on the same level as the attic fan, so it will not bring in significant amounts of cooler air. Hence, the ineffectiveness.
The roof’s slope is written in twelfths, with 1/12 being very shallow and 12/12 steep. The steeper the slope of the roof of your attic is, the more venting power you will need to get hot air out.
Attic size is typically presented in square feet. It goes without saying, but a larger attic will need a more powerful solar attic fan than a small attic. You can make up for a powerful fan by getting multiple solar fans to make up for it.
The Position to Install the Solar Attic Fan
The position is very vital. Remember, the device will be running on solar energy. Therefore, the solar panel that comes with it has to get enough exposure to direct sunlight. If the panel does not get enough sunlight, the operation will be shortened.
In many cases, solar attic fans are best installed in a south-facing wall or roof slope. Being in the northern hemisphere, most of the sunlight in the US comes from the south.
How Many Solar-powered Attic Fans Do I Need?
The number of fans you need for your attic depends on the slope of your roof and the size of your attic.
A quick way to determine the number you need is to calculate the size of your attic in cubic feet. To do this, multiply the length, width, and height of the attic.
Once you know the size of your attic in cubic feet, divide it by 0.7. The result is the minimum cubic feet per meter (CFM) your attic needs for a proper ventilation system. You can overestimate this value by 15% if you have a dark roof or 20% if you have a steep roof.
Once you know the minimum CFM for your attic and you know the CFM of the fan you intend to buy, you can calculate how many fans you need.
For instance, if the CFM rating of the fan you intend to buy is 800 and the minimum CFM of your attic is 2400, you need at least 3 attic fans.
Alternatively, you may calculate the size of your fan in square feet. Then using this value and the slope of your roof, you can determine the number of fans you need based on the table below:
The table above is based on a 20-watt solar attic fan working under regular conditions.
From the table, you will observe that larger attics with steeper roofs require more solar attic fans than smaller attics with shallow roofs.
Is Solar or Electric Attic Fan Better?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. The better option of the two depends on the factors you prioritize.
If your utility bills are going through the roof, then we reckon you would love solar attic fans more than the electric types. Since solar fans are powered by sunlight, they will not contribute to your energy costs. However, electric attic fans will.
With the right ventilation, you can reduce moisture during the winter and reduce the cost of the air conditioning system in your home.
When considering getting either of them, electric fans are generally cheaper than solar attic fans. However, you may get as much as a 26% reduction on the total cost through the federal solar tax credits.
Then there is the relatively long warranty period that comes with solar attic fans. A solar attic fan can come with a warranty period of up to 25 years. But electric attic fans, on the other hand, typically have a warranty period of a year.
With a solar-powered attic fan, you need sufficient UV light from the sun for operation. Of course, the sun does not shine for long periods in every region. So, if you are in an area that does not get enough sunlight, a solar-powered attic fan may not be reliable.
An electric attic fan, on the other hand, can function without sunlight.
In general, the CFM rating of electric attic fans is higher than that of solar attic fans.
The best solar attic fans for you will have a venting capacity corresponding to the size of your attic. These roof-mounted attic fans will come with solar attic fan panels that produce a lot of power. It will also be resistant to harsh weather conditions, have favorable warranty coverage, and come with a thermostat & humidistat. Every product selected on this list meets up with most, if not all, of the said requirements.
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Yes, attic fans do help because they reduce those crippling high temperature levels that have your whole house feeling warm. Attic fans reduce your house’s average cooling temperature by more than 20 percent, extend the useful life of your roof, and increase your comfort level in the home. There are many benefits of choosing an attic fan.
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