Range Hood Buying Guide

Shopping for Range Hoods can be a daunting task as it's no small investment. This guide will help you decide what is best for your home.

The Best Range Hoods based on Ventillation:

There are three basic options when it comes to a range hood as you can see below:

Ducted Range hoods / Vented Hoods:

Here the hot air and fumes are literally sucked out of your kitchen rather than it being filtered by Charcoal filters and re-circulated. One benefit is that you won’t have to worry about replacing charcoal filters every other month (or year) depending on what you cook and how often you cook. On the other hand if you’ve got heating or cooling at home, getting rid of the warm/cool air is not a good option as it would increase your electric bill. You may be interested in the other options in such cases.

For a range hood with ducts you would need to mount it close to an exterior wall of your kitchen – very similar to a chimney concept, but different at the same time. Of course you could use long passages of vents to get the air out of your kitchen in case it’s not possible to mount on an external wall. But you would need a range hood with a very high CFM in this case.

One of the toughest things to do when it comes to installation of a ducted range hood is the fact that you’re going to have to get the duct work done. If you already have a previous duct system in place – kudos! Most people choose to hire a professional to get the job done. But, there are plenty of videos on YouTube that would be able to help you, if you’re a DIY professional.

Oh and an important point I’d like to make is that you shouldn’t set the exhaust free into the attic. Many people tend to do this as it is easier to vent into the attic than outside. Make sure that the size of the duct matches that of the duct attachment on the range hood you buy. They are usually around 6” to 10”.

Recirculating or Duct Free Range Hoods

Recirculating range hoods are a really good option for people living in apartments where venting outside from the kitchen isn’t an option of if you have a home on rent and cannot get permission to install a duct system. Maybe you have your own house, but don’t want to invest in the ducting. In all these cases you should pick the recirculating type of range hoods.

The air from your kitchen isn’t suctioned and sent out. Instead it just passes through a set of charcoal filters on the range hood where aromas and irritants are trapped and sent back to your kitchen. You need to make sure that you change your charcoal filters whenever you find them clogged or the range hood isn’t performing as well as you’d expect it to. Charcoal Filters aren’t that expensive. Check them out on Amazon. The frequency with which you need to change your charcoal filters ultimately depends on how often you cook and what you cook.

Convertible Range Hoods

I’d say convertible range hoods are the best buy. But, it depends on your personal situation. As you may have already realized, convertible range hoods can work both as ducted and non-ducted hoods. You’re going to need charcoal filters in place when under non-ducted operation.

Why would you need a range hood that works both ways? It ultimately depends on where you live. For instance during the winter months you may use internal heating, you’re not going to want the warm air to be replaced by cool air form outside. During these months your range hood would have to function as a recirculating hood, whereas during the summer months you could operate the machine as a ducted range hood – makes sense doesn’t it?

I'd like to point out that most range hoods fall into this category, as various brands try to cater to a large audience with every model they manufacutre. Models that fall into this category satisfy everyone.

Types of Range Hoods based on Construction and Positioning

There are plenty of options to choose from and therefore the act of picking the best range hood for your home tends to be very complicated and challenging. Let's take a look at your options:

Undercabinet Range Hoods

We usually have cabinets placed in our kitchens in order to store stuff. If you've got a cabinent placed above your cooking range you may need an under cabinet range hood as there is no room for any other model. Under cabinet range hoods are the most sought after. They come in various styles and can be both ducted and ductless. You may be interested in the best selling Under Cabinet Range Hoods or you could take a look at some of the Under Cabinet Range Hoods Reviewed at Kitease.

Wall Mount or Chimney Hoods

These are another popular kind of range hood wherein the flue of the range hood goes right up through the ceiling. They can be ducted and non-ducted. They're beautiful to look at and add to the beauty of your kitchen. However, you should note that if you have any kind of cabinet placed above your range you would need to get rid of it in order to place such a kitchen hood. Kept open on one side which goes against the wall. Check out the best selling Wall Mount Range Hoods or take a look at some of the Wall Mount Hoods reviewed at Kitease

Island Hoods

Island Hoods are basically placed somewhat in the center of your kitchen over your cooking range which isn't placed anywhere near a wall. They hang from the ceiling and function just like a Chimney hood. Closed on all 4 sides. Check out the best selling Island Mount Range Hoods or take a look at some of the Island mount range hoods reviewed on Kitease.

Pro Hoods

Pro Hoods are nothing but just a bigger and more powerful version of undercabinet range hoods that are required for homes with high exhaust needs. These can be either ducted or vent free and come in a variety of shapes. If you're interested you can check them out.

What Does CFM Mean?

CFM - Cubic Feet Per Minute It's basically the amount of air that's passed through your range hood per minute in cubic feet (That's a measure of volume of air).

How do you decide?

Based on what you cook: If you cook food that emits a lot of fumes (Deep fried stuff) then you would need a range hood with a slightly higher CFM than homes that don't fry stuff often. In this case don't settle for a range hood with a CFM lower than 350.

The distance the air needs to move: As already mentioned earlier, if you have a range hood with vented installation you're going to need to make sure that the hood is powerful enough to pump air right through the vents and out of your home.

The Volume you cook: The first point that was stated was based on what you cook.