Range Hood Buying Guide

Range Hood

A range hood or ventilation hood is one of those straight forward appliances designed for a very practical use. They are good at removing heat, odor, humidity and grease from the kitchen environment when cooking. The effectiveness of performance varies from manufacturer and technology incorporated. Even the most basic models are good at air circulation and removing a minimal amount of cooking smoke. However, it really depends on the velocity at which you are cooking. Some cooking techniques like grilling or stir-frying emit a large amount of smoke, grease, and odor at a very rapid pace.

Range hoods have become a very necessary part of the overall design in a kitchen. It is possible to not have a range hood ventilation system installed, but it is not recommended because of all the degradation smoke and grease can generate within a home. A range hood was designed with the intent to provide air circulation in removing smoke while cooking in the kitchen. It is highly recommended to buy a new range hood that fits around the size and performance of your range stove.

The benefit of having a good range hood ventilation system eliminates stuck on odor that cooking causes. Additionally, it also captures grease that is emanated from smoke and steam so it does not get caked onto your kitchen walls or cabinetry. Usually, this process of grease removal from smoke involves a simple chain of events. While you are cooking, food will smoke. Some bits of grease will travel along with the smoke upwards. Range hoods that collect the smoke generated in this way will also collect the grease in their grease traps. Generally, these grease traps hang on the back of the range hood.




A blower in regards to range hoods is installed in a few specific locations with the appliance or duct work. A blower is an additional fan typically located in the range hood or network of ducts. An effective placement of the blower will improve overall airflow and performance of the range hood itself. Now to note, some range hoods may not include blower options as a standard installation and may require it as a separate point of purchase.



This is a typical installation on most, if not all, range hoods. The convenience of a light source over a range provides a higher visibility when cooking. Most range hoods offer the option of an incandescent or similar light bulb socket, but some models may provide the option of LED or Halogen type of lighting.

Timed Operation

Timed Operation

Some range hoods come with this practical feature of an automatic shutoff after a certain amount of time of operation. This is useful for folks who may forget to turn off their ventilation system or just require it to be turned on for a short duration while they tend to other matters.

Fan Speed

Fan Speed

An obvious feature to have, but most basic range hoods offer either a low or high speed setting. Some may offer more than two speed options, but typically it is useful to have varying speeds depending on the type of cooking, as well as, having different speeds for different zones.

Range Hood

Stainless Steel

This is a very common material in today’s market of appliances and consumer goods. Stainless steel is reasonably affordable to produce depending on grade quality. A good range hood will include the use of stainless steel on almost all their components that will be effected by smoke and grease. Typically, the paneling will be stainless steel, as well as, their filters and fan covers for easier cleaning.

Cubic Feet per Minute

A CFM (cubic feet per minute) is the measurement of air circulation in terms of cubic feet per minute. The higher the CFM air circulation, the more noise a range hood will produce.

For example, if a range hood is rated with the performance of 100CFM, it would be able to circulate an area of space of 1-foot x 1-foot x 1-foot = 100 CFM effectively.

It is recommended to use a range hood with a sufficient amount of CFM air circulation corresponding to the performance in BTU a cooking range can output. The general guideline proposed is taking the range BTU and dividing by 100 to for an adequate and effective air circulation for your range hood.

Example: 30,000BTU / 100 = 300CFM



Range hood ventilation systems are another appliance that have a noise rating level. They measure noise levels in sones. Sone is a unit of measurement on how loud sound is perceived.

Purchasing a New Range Hood

Range Hood


Quite expectedly, a range hood with better performance and features will be more expensive. Also, it really depends on the mount option you require as well. Basic offerings in under cabinet mounts run at a lower price point compared to ceiling mount options. One reason being the amount of materials and installation required effects the cost significantly. The differences in price varies greatly with low-end offerings around $50 and high end offerings well over $1000.



It is suggested to have the width of your range hood match with the width of your range, but for more efficiency, allow 3” of leeway. Range hoods come in a large variety of widths ranging from 24” to 66”. Popular sizes come in a 30" -36" option.

Types of Range Hoods

With range hoods, there are typically three designs in how they proceed with air ventilation.



A vented or ducted range hood requires an installation of a duct network to carry out the exhaust of cooking fumes.



A non-vented or duct-free range hood does not require an installation of a duct network and relies on washable and replaceable air filters to capture and cleanse cooking fumes while circulating air around the kitchen.



A combination or convertible range hoods are able to be configured to adapt to either preference.

Mounting Options

There are a three types of mounting options when it comes to range hoods. Depending on the kitchen layout and location of your range, pick the right mount option to suit your needs.


Under Cabinet

This is a common mount option for range hoods. It is designed to fit underneath a cabinet as implied and duct work will be installed through the wall or ceiling and perhaps the cabinet as well.


Wall mount

Another common mounting option. A wall mount range hood affixes to the wall and usually has a decorative chimney on top for the duct work.


Ceiling mount

A ceiling or island mount usually hangs in a central location within a kitchen space.

Accessories and Parts



A fan mechanism that can assist and improve the overall air circulation. This accessory is typically installed in a duct network that may be too long or have too many bends.


Liners and Inserts

Another alternative to a range hood ventilation systems are downdraft ventilation systems for ranges. They are a slim appliance that can slide out from behind a range. They’re ideal for island range installations, but can work against a wall as well. The air flow circulation is drawn downwards and out away. They are a popular alternative to a traditional range hood system and have started gaining some momentum.

Alternatives to a Range Hood


Over The Range Microwave

Over the range microwaves are an alternative to having a range hood. Typically, these microwaves are installed against the wall above a range and will also provide ventilation as well. Generally, most if not all, over the range microwaves will have a heat sensor and will turn on automatically when it detects it is too hot above your cooking range to prevent damage to its circuitry. Usually, even the best ventilating over the range microwaves cannot perform as well as a good range hood ventilation system. It is also not recommended to use OTR microwaves above high performing ranges.


Downdraft Ventilation

Another alternative to a range hood ventilation systems are downdraft ventilation systems for ranges. They are a slim appliance that can slide out from behind a range. They’re ideal for island range installations, but can work against a wall as well. The air flow circulation is drawn downwards and out away. They are a popular alternative to a traditional range hood system and have started gaining some momentum.

Some Practical Advice


Higher CFM will generate a lot of noise. There are premium ventilation systems with quality sound dampening technology and features. If noise is too bothersome for you then consider a range hood with good noise reduction.

Energy Star:

Most range hood ventilation systems do not adhere to energy star regulations. Although, there are options out there that are energy star rated, it does not necessarily mean they are a better product over those without the rating. It only signifies that they follow regulations in energy conservation.:


Range hoods will require some effort of maintenance now and again. They require cleaning of grease traps and fans because grease will build up over time. For an optimal airflow, it is best to routinely have all parts susceptible to grease cleaned. Most range hoods nowadays will offer these parts as dishwasher safe components.


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