What’s the difference between cheap solar powered roof vents from your local hardware store, and a quality solar powered ventilator unit from Solatube Australia?

  1. Size of the unit and fan blade
  2. Quality of panel
  3. Size of the motor
  4. Roof flashing type
  5. Warranty period
  6. Testing methods

Size of the unit and fan blade

When comparing roof ventilation systems the first thing that can be seen is the size of the unit. In most instances larger size units perform better – simply because they tend to accommodate larger components and allow greater airflow. However it is a combination of all components that maximises performance. For example, some brands incorporate a large Wattage panel however the motor and fan diameter are small and limit performance. On the other hand, efficient quality motors that drive larger fans will result in significantly higher performances. The images below show multiple 10 watt panel products, two of which (centre and left) are available off the shelf from your typical hardware chain. These measure no more than 30cm across compared to the Solatube Roof ventilator (right) measuring 50cm in diameter. Further below in the bottom view, are images of the undersides which show the size of fan blades. While all products offer the same solar panel ‘watts’ -the performance is significantly different with the Solatube ventilator generating 3-7 times the airflow of the other two units.

*Top View

*Bottom View


Quality of panel.

This can have a significant impact on the performance of a product due to the panel’s efficiency, degradation rate, and warranty length. Unfortunately this is always directly tied to cost, and while some brands offer 30, 40, and 50 watt panel products, their performance can often be very similar to lower wattage panels of a higher quality.

Size of the motor

The images below show a side-by-side comparison of the motor. The size of the motor plays a big part in its efficiency and performance, and on top of the overall build quality, also on longevity. Motors on solar vents are often the only components with reduced warranty periods itemised in the terms and conditions of the warranty.

Roof flashing type

One of the main reasons Solatube Australia do not sell ventilation products through hardware change is because of the varied options for customizing flashings to suit roof profiles. Buying a solar roof ventilator from a hardware chain means you are receiving a flashing or roof component that is a flat metal or plastic sheet that is expected to fit all roof profiles. Unfortunately these type of flashings are the main culprits for leaks. While often undetected on roof ventilation products as they do not penetrate to the ceiling, these water leaks do cause mould and other issues in the roof space.

Warranty period

Warranty is the easiest way to understand the quality of a product. While many companies are offering 10, 15 or 20 year warranties on housings and solar panels, the motor is always excluded from these terms. Solatube Australia provide Australia’s best warranty on the motor at five years.

4 thoughts on “What’s the difference between cheap solar powered roof vents from your local hardware store, and a quality solar powered ventilator unit from Solatube Australia?

  1. Im interested in solar powered roof ventilation fan. I have a 7.5deg pitch colorbond roof of about 220sqmt. How many eave vents do I need and how many fans? Will one be enough? Price and where to purchase please.

    1. Hi Les,

      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). If you type in your postcode to this link it will provide the Premier Dealer in your area to arrange a quotation. https://solatube.com.au/solatube-premier-dealers/

  2. I am thinking of installing one in a coverted garage granny flat to spull hot air out directly from a ceiling vent. \Also does the fan let cool air in when stationary say at night ( in winter? )

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