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Attic Ventilation Fans vs Ridge Vents: Comparison Guide

Don’t have proper ventilation installed in your house? Well, your frustration is very much understandable. 

An uninsulated filled house with pollutants can be very harmful to your health. This will even harm your home due to moisture imbalance. Hence you need to choose an appropriate ventilation system. 

Which should you choose between the attic ventilation fan vs ridge vents?

Ridge vents are much cheaper and more durable than attic fans. They’re more cost and energy-efficient. But they can’t ensure proper ventilation always. Hence, an attic fan is the best option for larger and congested spaces. But there are more factors to consider. 

This was just the gist of the whole thing. Let’s dive into the head-to-head comparison of these two-

Why Is Ventilation So Important? 

Ventilation ensures the moisture balance of a house. It also passes out smoke created by pellet stoves or fireplaces. Besides, they control the airflow and ensure the house removes indoor odor and pollutants.

Without ventilation, airborne viruses and diseases could transmit easily. 

Your house also becomes prone to mold attacks due to the lack of moisture control. The wall and fabric get damaged, leading to a ruined house. 

Ventilation must be installed if you’ve got an HVAC system. It is also essential to get the right size for the vent.

Quick Comparison Between Attic Ventilation Fans And Ridge Vents 

Both the ventilation systems – the attic ventilation fans and the ridge vents are suitable for this purpose. Yet they have some differences as well. 

Here is a table containing a quick comparison between these two-

Attic Ventilation Fans Ridge Vents 
Better for large attics that have poor ventilation systems by defaultRidge vents are good if there’s suitable intake venting 
Uses electricity to force air out of the attic Exhausts the indoor air of the attic using the natural air exhaustion 
Active venting mechanism It works in a passive mechanism 
Attic fans last up to 15 years if taken care of properlyRidge vents can last for a lifetime

Even though they have these distinctions, they also have many similarities, just like the differences between twin clutch and twin hammer. They still have a lot in common. 

Here’s an in-depth discussion about these two types.  

Head to Head Between Attic Fan and Ridge Vent

We’ve already got a primary idea about the attic fan and ridge vents. We’ll dive into the details. 

We’ve added a pointwise comparison between these two-

Location Preference and Installation 

Whether you should install an attic fan or ridge vent solely depends on the location. It’s best for larger attic spaces 1000 square feet or more. If you have a congested attic, you should go for a fan too. 

A ridge vent works best in a smaller space (less than 1000 square feet). It’s also good for places where the intake ventilation is good. 

You might even need to install some soffit vents for the best outcome. On the other hand, the attic fan itself can work just fine. 

The way we must check the location compatibility before installing the ductwork vent. We must consider it in this case as well. 

Cost And Energy Efficiency 

You must consider the efficiency of a home appliance before installing it. So, in terms of cost-efficiency, ridge vents are more efficient. 

They cost much less than attic fans. The installation charge of the attic fan is a bit higher than the ridge vent. 

But when your attic space can’t be adequately ventilated through ridge vents. You shouldn’t go for it. It’ll eventually end up costing you a lot.

In such cases, installing an attic fan with a higher installation cost is much wiser. Even though ridge vents don’t require energy to run, it doesn’t always serve your purpose correctly. So installing it isn’t wise in those cases. 

You can use solar-controlled attic fans, which are very energy-efficient. They won’t cost the energy charge, but you’ll get the same services. 

Ever heard about solar attic ventilation fans before? You might not, and that’s quite normal. Hence you may worry about choosing a good solar attic fan for you. 

Don’t worry about this. We’ve got our best picks here only for you-

Product 1
Product 2

Just grab one from this list; you won’t regret it. 

Ventilation Mechanism 

Ridge vents work in a passive mechanism. They exhaust the indoor air of the attic outside. They’re generally set on the top of the roof. 

The air gets hotter and lighter, and eventually, they get higher. Then the air gets exhausted by the vent. They can’t work correctly without baffles (that direct the air out of the vent). 

On the flip side, attic fans kind of forcefully drive the air out. They use energy (solar or electricity) to do it. This is called an active mechanism. 


Ridge vents are more durable. They can run for a lifetime. But attic ventilation fans can last up to 15 years or around with proper care. 

A tip: Don’t only focus on durability when considering a ventilation method. Try to view it alongside their other characteristics. 

Which Ventilation Is for You?

If your attic isn’t tightly packed, you can work fine with a ridge vent. But if it is, go for the attic fan. 

Consider the durability and installation charge alongside cost-efficiency. Calculate the long-term expenditure before finalizing.

But don’t install both without expert advice. Putting these two very close may deteriorate the attic ventilation quality. It can even reverse the natural airflow. So, be careful about this.

That was all about the differences between these two types. I hope it’ll help you make the best decision. 


Do ridge vents work without soffit vents?

Answers: Even though ridge vents can work just fine without soffit vents. But a combination of ridge vents with soffit vents is more efficient. They can clear out the air of the attic faster. 

Do ridge vents leak?

Answers: If installed appropriately and with proper care, it shouldn’t leak. Faulty installation can result in leaky ridge vents, though. Wrong-sized nails or defective sealant can cause the same event. 

What temperature should my attic fan thermostat be set at?

Answers: Attic fans have a thermostat with it that controls them. So the homeowner must set it to a specific temperature at which it’ll turn itself off. It’ll turn itself on when the temperature balance changes. The optimum temperature suggested by most specialists is 110-110 degrees Fahrenheit. 

End Note 

I hope this clears your understanding about attic ventilation fans vs ridge vents

Consider the pros and cons of both of them before finalizing. Then pick according to your house’s needs. 

Choose wisely!