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Range Hood Buying Guide

 

 
 
In the kitchen, you want to be greeted with the appetizing smell of cuisine, not uninviting odors of smoke, oil, or caked-on gunk. For stoves that see frequent use, a range hood is an ideal solution because not only do they filter grease, heat, and impurities from the air, they also become a highlight in your kitchen’s decor. When shopping for a range hood, there are three main factors to consider: style, functionality, and ventilation requirements.
 

Range Hood Styles

 
   Wall-Mount  
  There are several styles of range hoods to consider for your kitchen. Wall-mount range hoods attach directly to the wall. They have a decorative flue that mounts flush with the ceiling or cabinets, and is finished on three of the four sides to conceal exhaust piping. Many wall-mount range hoods have telescoping flues to accommodate most ceiling or cabinet heights. These range hoods duct straight up for a roof exhaust, or up, then horizontally for a side exhaust.  
     
   Island  
  Island-mount range hoods are an easy upgrade for your kitchen. These hoods hang from the ceiling directly over an island or peninsula. Many island-mount range hoods have a telescoping flue that is finished on all sides. Ducting is similar to wall-mount, and may be hung higher to avoid obstructing views of the kitchen.  
     
   Under Cabinet  
  Under-cabinet range hoods are best installed against a wall and under a small kitchen cabinet. This versatile range hood may duct out of the back or straight up through the cabinet. These range hoods are great for saving space in the kitchen, while the cabinet above also adds convenient storage.  
     

Materials and Colors

 
   
     
       
           
Choosing a material and color for your range hood is a great way to express your personal style and to create the perfect accent piece for your kitchen. A copper range hood can add a stunning, designer look, while traditional stainless steel range hoods bring a contemporary feel. Range hoods are also available with a black or white powder coat to coordinate with your kitchen.
 

Functionality

 
  Power
CFM, or cubic feet per minute, is a measure of air flow, indicating how much air a fan can ventilate per minute. For example, a 1,000 CFM fan can remove all air from a box that is 10 ft. x 10 ft. x 10 ft. in one minute.

Your range hood should be capable of completely cycling the air in your kitchen every 4 minutes for a total of 15 times per hour. To determine the air flow needed for your kitchen:

• Measure the total cubic feet of your kitchen by multiplying length x width x height. Example: 10 ft. x 15 ft. x 8 ft. = 1200 cubic feet

• Divide the total cubic feet by 4 to get the required CFM rating. Example: 1200 ÷ 4 = 300 CFM
 
     
   
     
It is important to note that gas stovetops, by design, produce more heat than electric stovetops and should be paired with a range hood with a higher CFM. Your CFM needs will also depend on the size of the stovetop and how frequently you cook.

Sound level:
The sound level of your range hood is also an important component to consider. These levels are measured in sones. One sone is roughly equal to the sound of your average running refrigerator. Normal conversations take place at about 4 sones, and light traffic rates are around 8.
 
Features:
Many range hoods feature two or more halogen lights to evenly illuminate the range and provide additional visibility while cooking. Some range hoods offer a dimming feature for the lights, which can be also used as a nightlight for your kitchen.
 

Filtration

 
Range hoods feature several types of filtration such as aluminum, charcoal, or residue cups.
 
   aluminum  
  A popular filter, aluminum mesh, combines durability and dust, grease, and particle-trapping capabilities into one. Many aluminum filters are dishwasher safe and easily removed for cleaning.  
     
   Charcoal  
  Charcoal filters are for recirculating systems, and eliminate chemicals in the air. Known for trapping carbon-based impurities, this type of filter minimizes cooking odor and traps grease. These filters should be replaced annually.  
     
   Residue cups  
  Residue cups collect waste oil and prevent contaminated air from polluting the ventilation system and the kitchen. Ideal for those who use a lot of oil while cooking, residue cups are removable and make for easy cleaning. Grease particles collect on the stainless steel U-shaped baffle channels and drip down into the bottom of the filter. Examine these periodically to ensure that all surfaces and parts are clean. These filters can be easily washed with hot, soapy water.  
     

VENTILATION REQUIREMENTS

 
For the most efficient ventilation, choose a place in your kitchen where the shortest amount of ducting is necessary for proper air flow, and where 90-degree bends are limited to no more than two. The new hood should be at least as wide as the range or cooktop and preferably 3 inches longer on each side. Always read the specified requirements for the proper mounting height.

There are two main types of ventilation:
 
  External:
Contaminated air is vented outside of the home through a series of vertical or horizontal ducts. This is the most ideal ventilation systems as it completely removes irritants from the air. Mounting the range hood to an exterior wall will make the exhaust ducts shorter and more efficient, where island mount range hoods typically require more intricate duct work, making installation more complicated. Exhausts should never be ducted to a basement or attic.
 
     
   
     
Recirculating:
First, air is pulled through a charcoal filter to trap irritants and then it is pushed back into the kitchen. Recirculating ventilation systems are used when it is not possible to duct the air outside the home. It is very important that the filter is changed every few months to be sure that the range hood is functioning efficiently.