The "Giga-Coaster" Difference
When I was a kid, I used to love to ride the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island in New York. The thing was an ancient, rickety mess, and while I can still bring back the feel of every hill, what I remember best about “the big momma” of Coney Island was her sound.
The Cyclone had a distinctive, clattering roar that made you feel as if your teeth were about to fall out. There was a scary, loose quality to that noise, deafening, and somehow ancient.
It sounded sort of like a cheap bathroom fan.
Kidding aside, the analogy is actually pretty good. The design difference between a lower-end bathroom vent fan and a better one is about equal to the distance between the 1927 wooden Cyclone and Fury 325, a new ride that’s part of a sub-genre of “giga coasters” meaning it “breaks the 300-foot height threshold.” The Fury 325 clocks in at 95-miles per hour, making it one of the five fastest coasters in the country.
So, which retrofit vent fan is equivalent to a giga-coaster? Without a doubt, it’s Panasonic’s WhisperFit EZ. The fan is insanely quiet (hence the “Whisper” part of its name) and engineered with the simplicity and precision of a high-end German car.
Every detail that a remodeler might want has been taken into account. For starters, there’s its size. The designers—who I’m thinking must have field experience—cleverly came up with a way to house the entire unit in a 5-5/8” can. This makes it easily workable for an install in any 2X6 or larger construction.
Next is the bracket with its articulating joints, a cool innovation that makes for an easier, more flexible install. There's also a duct adapter which allows you to use any existing duct whether its 4” or 3". Both of these features greatly simplify the job. The duct adapter comes standard with every fan, so you don’t have to get up on the ladder, start the install and say, “Oh drat! This duct is the wrong size.” (Because remodelers are so well known for saying, “drat.”)
Another useful feature is the speed selector. Called the Pick-A-Flow, it lets you choose 80 or 110 CFM with a single flip of a switch. This convenient benefit is available in the models that have a light as well as the ones that don’t. There’s also a model with a motion sensor that turns on the fan automatically when someone walks into the room.
Panasonic’s WhisperFit EZ exceeds ENERGY STAR requirements.