The Chef 30" PS18 as it is now known, was formerly the Tatsumaki TA-S18. I’ve not asked customer support if it was a complete take over by another company or whether it was just a re-branding, but all Tatsumaki range hoods are now sold under the Chef name.
I can’t say much about Tatsumaki, as I never really looked into them, but as a company, Chef is splendid at customer support and they are one of the few range hood brands that actually listens to customer feedback on online platforms and makes changes to their products and manuals making both the product and product experience better.
Considering the price range, features and effectiveness of this range hood, this model is featured as one of the best under cabinet hoods on the market and I would definitely recommend it, as long as you’ve got someone to help you with the installation (it weighs 41 lbs). But no range hood is perfect for everyone, so the question you need to be asking yourself is: is this range hood the right choice for MY home? To figure that out, read the rest of the review and decide for yourself.
Overview on the Features
- Dimensions: 29.75” in width, 22” in depth (length) and 6.75” in height. With the addition of the oil tray that kind of overhangs at the back and below the hood the height increases to 7.75”
- This hood weighs in at 41 lbs (high gauge steel construction though!)
- Voltage: 120 V and 60 Hz
- With powerful dual motors, the Chef PS18 can deliver up to 860 CFM of power at six different speed settings.
- If you’re looking for a larger range hood, this model is also available in 36 inches under a different product name: UC-PS18SS-36
- The minimum height of installation above the cooktop for a gas range is 30” and for an electric range the minimum is 24” with the optimum installation height being between 24 - 30”.
- Unfortunately for some of you, this hood cannot be installed as a ductless installation. It must be ducted to the outside, but allows for three different ventilation options. Two vertical venting options from the top of the hood: 6” circular or 10” × 3.25” rectangular or a rear rectangular venting of the same dimensions. The duct adapter is included. If you’re looking for recirculating hoods you may be interested in this page.
- Originally deigned to be installed under a cabinet using four sturdy screws that are supplied, this hood can also be installed directly onto the wall according the their customer support. Note that this feature is not readily available out of the box. You would be guided on how to do this once you contact customer support. You can contact support at: 800-929-0168 or email them at email@example.com before you make a purchase to ensure that you could actually get this done.
- Prior to mid 2018, this hood used to come with Halogen bulbs that could be replaced with LEDs. Now, they come with LED lights with a 2700K color temperature and have no brightness settings. You can just turn it on and off. It is a soft yellowish-white light as seen here.
- At the highest speed setting the hood is said to produce a sound level of 63.8dB, at a medium speed it is 62.3dB and at the lowest speed setting 61.2dB.
- This hood is manufactured in China, under strict quality standards claims the company.
Note: The lights now only turn on and off, this video is from when the hood was still under the Tatsumaki brand, it's mostly the same with some small tweaks.
What Makes It One of the Best?
- The capture area and depth of this range hood together with its suction capabilities ensures that almost all of the grease and fumes emanating from your cook top are captured and exhausted. So if your powerful burners are on the front of your stove, you’ve got nothing to worry about as their exhaust is still going to get out of the house.
- With a maximum suction of 860 CFM and six speed settings you would not find yourself seeking more suction nor would you have to complain about the excess use of power and the additional noise that comes along when you do not absolutely need it.
- It’s the ideal range hood for those of you who cook a lot of greasy food, steaks, Indian, East-Asian or any other cuisine that calls for strong exhaust. Among the reviews I’ve read there was someone who pointed out that their home no more smells like the meal they cooked, a week after they’ve cooked it. Instead, they find that the area in close proximity to their home smells like a restaurant when their burners are on.
- The hood ships with all the parts that you would need for the installation. This is usually the case, but it is important to point this out, because quite a few people were wondering whether the screws sent along would be sufficient to hold the weight of this hood. Home owners and customer service responded saying that there is no need of additional support. If I were you, I would however, make sure that my cabinet was sturdy enough to take on the additional weight.
- Straight out of the box the range hood can only be installed under a cabinet, but customer support says that on calling or writing to them they would be able to guide you with a wall installation. You should know that the hood does not have screw holes at the back, so this mode of installation would need some work on your part. If you’re looking for a wall installation, contact the support department before you make a purchase. The contact details can be found in the specifications above.
- It comes with three venting options, a circular and rectangular vent on the top surface and a rectangular vent at the back of the hood. Both circular and rectangular adapters are provided.
- The model is a plug and play unit, which means that it does not need to be hardwired. With the right skills, you could always strip off the plug and hardwire the unit if necessary.
- Most range hoods in this price range and below do not have an automatic shut-off feature and when they do, they tend to have fixed time shut-off functions. The good thing about this model is the fact that you can set it up to be anywhere between 1 and 15 minutes.
- The hood ships with a backdraft damper which prevents warm air from escaping when not in use and at the same time it prevents insects from getting into your kitchen through the exhaust vent.
- The stainless steel baffle filters are dishwasher friendly. It is suggested that you clean them up every two weeks or sooner depending on their use. The grease and residue capture unit that attaches at the bottom and back of the range hood is also easy to detach and empty, further making clean up a breeze.
Features I Don't like About It
- It’s super heavy! 41lbs on its own is not extremely heavy, but you need to slide it onto the pre-screwed screws and hold it in place while you securely screw it in, this makes it impossible for most to do it on their own. Let’s not forget the amount of room you’ve got to work in. The company does in all fairness say it is a two man job. A few people have reported that they’ve used jacks to hold the hood in place while they screw it in and a few people found it difficult to install even with cabinet and car jacks! It’s not impossible to install and not the hardest installation. An expert at DIY projects would say it’s a moderate. But if you’ve not prepared for it, it can turn out to be an ordeal. I must add that they have made improvements to their installation manual outlining the installation procedure to make it easier for you. One reviewer commented that screwing the rear screws was the hardest part because they were hard to see. Pointing the flashlight on the back metallic surface reflected light the best way to see the screws, rather than pointing the light onto the screw directly.
- Installation would have been a whole lot easier if the company included a mounting plate that the range hood could later be attached onto. You are asked not to disassemble the hood while you set it up, so don’t do this hoping to make it lighter.
- It would have been extremely helpful if they included a template with the screw holes and the upper exhaust. This would not cost more than a dollar or two, let’s be super fancy and say 5 dollars, it’s definitely worth the extra cost if you’re going to help make the installation ten times easier!
- The clock that shows when the hood is not in operation cannot be turned off or made dimmer.
- On operation the control panel makes a beeping sound which can be irritating to some of us. Having an option to turn off these notifications would be nifty.
- The Chef logo is etched onto the front of the range hood, I don’t mind it as it does look good, but this must be pointed out as a con as I’m sure not everyone is indifferent to this.
I Would Buy It If:
- I want to have a ducted range hood.
- I have family or friends who could help me get it installed, or if I have the budget to hire a professional to get the job done.
- I require a powerful exhaust system.
- I would like to have an auto-shut off function.
- Quality customer service is important to me.
Chef 30" PS18: Some FAQs
Can the PS18 be installed ductless?
Unfortunately, you cannot install it ductless. This is good though, why would you want such a powerful range hood for a ductless installation? It’s overkill. If you are interested in ductless hoods, you should check out my reviews on some of the best ductless range hoods on the market.
What are the venting options with the PS18?
There are three venting options: vertical venting with a 6” round adapter or a 10 × 3 1/4” rectangular adapter; rear venting which is just rectangular of the same dimensions.
What is the noise level at different levels of operation?
At the highest speed setting, the sound level is 63.8 dB which is equivalent to a conversation at a restaurant, or the shower. At mid speed it’s 62.3 dB and at the lowest speed setting, it’s 61.2 dB. As you see, there’s no real difference in the sound, but it’s all fairly quiet for a range hood.
Can the Halogen bulbs be replaced by LEDs?
Yes, they can! Use GU10 base LED bulbs. You should wait for tha halogen bulbs to cool down after use before you replace them though. The new products ship with warm color LEDs. Some people do seem to say that their LEDs flicker at the low light setting, maybe you would have to buy dimmable LEDs if this also happens to you. But in all cases, there are no issues at the higher light setting.
How do you adjust the time on the clock?
Adjusting the time is pretty easy. You should do this when the hood is not in operation. Press the on/off option for a while until the hour and minute blinks while the range hood is turned off. The fan speed buttons are used to adjust the hour and minutes. Once done, press the on/off option to lock it in.
Does this model have an auto-clean function?
Nope, there is no auto clean function on the Chef PS18 under cabinet range hood, however the Chef PS38, a model a step higher than this in exhaust capabilities (950 CFM) does have a steam auto-clean function.