There’s no denying that having the right ventilation in your house or commercial property is important. But how do you go about choosing the right ventilation system? How do you know you’re getting the best results for your money?

Fortunately, in today’s article, we’ll be discussing the difference between solar roof vents vs. whirlybirds and which one is better for you. Continue reading to find out more about these two ventilation methods, which one is better, and how you get the best ventilation all year round.

What is the Difference Between Solar Roof Vents vs. Whirlybirds?

A solar roof vent is a vent powered by the sun making it a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option. It will help extract hot air from your roof cavity in order to keep the rest of your house cool. A roof vent is an ideal option during the hotter months of the year when the heat is unbearable in your home.

On the other hand, a whirlybird relies on the wind to extract the heat from your home. It’s environmentally friendly but its design means that when there’s no wind, the heat won’t be extracted from your house. Of course, it’s also budget-friendly but it can be completely ineffective at times.

Here is a breakdown of similarities and the differences when comparing the two systems:


Both systems are reasonably easy to maintain, therefore it will be more beneficial to look at the results that each of the systems would provide for your space.

Aesthetics and Home Value

A whirlybird will stick out on your rooftop while a solar roof vent has a much flatter design, so it won’t stick out and affect your home’s rooftop aesthetics. If the look of your house is important to you then a solar vent is likely the best option for you. It’s important to note that a lot of people are also going solar as it also adds to your home’s value.


Some people may be concerned with the amount of airflow a whirlybird can provide. Installing a whirlybird doesn’t guarantee that your home will have regulated temperatures, while a solar vent does. The solar operation of the roof vents mean that it will keep working consistently to regulate temperatures.

A typical 250mm diameter wind vent product (whirlybird) is quite inefficient and will typically move 85-100m³ of air per hour. Having 1-4 wind vents will still impact your home, but to achieve good ventilation results you need at three air changes per hour (five is even better). Based on that calculation, most homes would need 6-8 wind vents, while a single Solar Star system will exceed that level of ventilation even on a cloudy day.

Which is Better – A Solar Roof Vent or Whirlybird?

There’s no denying that both ventilation systems can do the job however, you want to make sure that you’re getting value for money.

As already stated, with a whirlybird you would have to rely on the wind to work the system – cost free, but inconsistent.

On the other hand, a solar roof vent can consistently work even with only a bit of sunlight, which is guaranteed no matter the weather conditions. You wouldn’t have to worry about getting hot during high temperatures or cold during winter as a solar roof vent will regulate the temperature in your home on any day.

Our recommendation? Choose a solar roof ventilation system. Solatube’s Solar Star roof ventilation system has a high-performing, solar power design that is easy to install. Quickly installs with no wiring, assembly or mess. Say goodbye to uncomfortable summers and freezing cold winters with a unit that takes less than an hour to install!

The Solar Star RM1200 is equivalent to 10+ wind vents / whirlybirds and the Solar StarRM1600 is equivalent to 15+ wind vents/whirly birds. Suppress heat build up and battle moisture, the solar star is the ideal roof ventilation solution that keeps you cool!

In terms of value for money, the cost of installing three quality wind vents approximately equates to the installation of one Solar Star.

Here is a demonstration of the Solar Star compared to a common whirlybird.

Our Solar Star comes with a 5 year warranty on solar panel and motor and 10 year warranty on all other parts and outperforms ordinary wind vents!

Whirlybird vs Solar Powered Solar Star

Why Correct Ventilation is Important

Why is it so important to pick the right system? Correct ventilation is important for the following reasons:

  1. If your house changes temperatures drastically with heat or cold air trapped inside of your roof cavity, mould can start to grow. This is extremely dangerous for everyone in your home because it can cause lung problems or breathing issues. Additionally, mould will ruin the integrity of your roof’s structure.
  2. You will end up spending more money using your cooling systems in order to offset the temperature problems, resulting in increased electricity bills.
  3. Proper ventilation improves comfort. You may not even realise how much of a difference there will be with the right ventilation until you install the correct ventilation system. The correct ventilation system will remove heat trapped in your roof cavity to optimise the temperature in your home.

For more information on solar roof vents and solar skylights, contact Solatube today for a free quote! Have the best living space possible with the right ventilation system.

10 thoughts on “The Effectiveness of Solar Roof Vents vs. Whirlybirds

  1. Michael Beckitt

    How much would it cost for 1 unit (solar ventilation) to be installed in Virginia Qld?

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Michael,

      There are two Solar Star models available. Your local dealer will be able to recommend the appropriate model based on the specifications of your home e.g. double or single storey, building footprint, roof type etc. Generally a single RM-1600 is sufficient on the majority of homes, while the V-AERO is more suitable for smaller homes and roof spaces or where the property has a bushfire attack rating (optional ember guards available, larger homes within bushfire zones may require multiple V-AERO units). Brisbane Skylights will be able to provide pricing, they can be contacted on 3245 5548.

  2. Rakesh

    Hi, My house is under construction but I forgot to select sarking. Now, roof is done and now to put sarking is costly exercise.
    Now, in that case if use Solar roof vent, do you think it will help to reduce heat generation in my roof?

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Rakesh,

      Limiting heat transfer from the roof to the home involves a number of elements, but adequate roof ventilation definitely plays an important part. The Solar Star will remove hot air trapped in the roof at a much faster rate, and will replace this with cooler outside air. The rate at which this happens will vary depending on the size of your roof space and the number of Solar Star vents installed (we recommend aiming for a minimum of 5 air exchanges per hour – consult your local Solatube dealership to help you calculate this for your home). Removing hot air will also take the heat load off the ceiling insulation, and the added ventilation will limit moisture build-up in the roof which also helps to prolong the life and performance of insulation.

  3. please contact me regarding supply and installation in Manl NSW

  4. Kathryn Favish

    I’d like to connect with someone to ask about these. Mt Nathan Qld.

  5. DEB

    I am building in Calderwood NSW and would like a quote on a solar vent and a skylight please.

    1. Ruth Buckley

      Hi Deb,

      We have passed your inquiry onto Basic Maintenance who service your area, they can be contacted on 0414 359 700 Rob Henge.

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