How to Choose a Best Range Hood

Best Range Hood

Important Features for Your Kitchen

You know, when it comes to a ventilation hood, it is something you can do without… until the first roasted steak. Frankly speaking, I personally overlooked it for a while, until one day I cooked something really flavorful and realized that kitchen odors are not a joke. At this point, you start to realize the importance of a good range hood.

The main purpose of a range hood is obviously dealing with odors. I bet you know it – when you cook a fish or something fatty and the whole house smells with it for three days more. A range hood helps to deal with it.

But it’s not only that. It also draws out all the smoke coming out of something burnt or just fried with high heat. All the fat and fumes that might settle down on furniture and walls flow out through it as well.

Simply put, a range hood makes the kitchen air cleaner and our kitchen time more comfortable. And trust me, you will definitely understand it when you smell your yesterday’s soup while cooking your today’s breakfast.

Hood Types

When it comes to range hoods, there are, so to speak, a bunch of options. Well then, let’s sort it all out.

  1. Under-Cabinet Range Hood – it is the one that hangs over a cooktop and looks in-built into the cabinet. They are quite compact and hidden, which is a perfect match for a small kitchen. However, they have a drawback: they are not as powerful as some other types, and can be less effective for a big culinary war.
  2. In-Built Hood – that handy thing is hidden in a kitchen cabinet and moves out only when used. Their advantage is being almost invisible when not at work. But similar to the under-cabinet models, they may fail to remove too intense odors and fumes.
  3. Island Range Hood – it’s a beauty thing for kitchens with island-positioned cooktops. They’re hanging right above the island, and frankly speaking, they look classy. What’s more, they are powerful and effective. But darn it! They take up so much space and require a quality installation.
  4. Inclined Hood – the one with an inclined design. They are stylish and modern, and more importantly – provide a better view of the working area. But sometimes such a shape is less effective in air exhaustion compared to the traditional models.
  5. Telescopic (Extendible) Hood – what a thing – it looks in-built, but also pulls out. They save kitchen space and work quietly. But as a rule, they’re not the best at power.

As you can see, every type has its own pros and cons. The key is to understand what is more important for you: power, design, size, or something else. Your choice should depend on that.

For example, if your kitchen area is 100 sq ft and the ceilings are 10 ft high, the calculation formula should be: 100 * 10 / 4 = 250 CFM. This will be the optimum rating for your kitchen.

But if you have a gas burner, add 5-10% more to be on the safe side, because gas creates more air and odors to remove.

Important notice for apartment-dwellers: the carrying capacity of a vent duct in your apartment can limit the range hood rating. Usually, this capacity is not more than 120 CFM. So even if your calculated range hood capacity should be 350 CFM, but your vent duct can hardly put through 120 CFM, a super-powered range hood will not give you any advantage. In this case, it’s better to choose a 230-300 CFM range hood.

By the way, most of the modern range hoods have a few operation modes, which allow you to select their power. It is handy to quickly get rid of strong odors or, the other way round, to reduce noise and power consumption when high-power operation is not required.

That is an easy way to calculate the range hood you need. The main thing is to keep in mind your actual conditions without pursuing unnecessary power.

Filtration and Ventilation

When choosing a range hood, one of the main aspects is the filtration and ventilation system. Let’s find out the difference between ducted and ductless range hoods and discuss different filter types.

Ducted and Ductless Range Hoods

  • Ducted range hoods take out all the "dirt" (fumes, fat, odors) outside through a special air duct. This is an effective way to get rid of all unwanted things in the kitchen air. But to install this kind of range hood you need to have a vent, and the installation can be more complicated.
  • Ductless range hoods (recirculating) purify the air with filters and return it to the room. Such models are easier to install as they don’t need a vent duct, but they are less effective in removing odors and may need frequent filter replacement.

Filter Types

  • Fat filters are usually made of metal or synthetic materials and are used to collect fat from the air. Metal filters are washable and reusable, while synthetic ones have to be replaced as they get dirty.
  • Charcoal filters are used in recirculating range hoods to absorb odors. They cannot be washed and require regular replacement, usually once in 3-6 months, depending on the rate of usage.

Filter maintenance – it’s an important aspect of keeping the range hood effective. To avoid poor performance and bad odors, clean or replace filters regularly. If you have a metal fat filter, you can wash it in warm water with a detergent, or even in a dishwasher. Unfortunately, charcoal filters can be only replaced by new ones.

That said, choosing a ducted or ductless filter, as well as the filter type, depends on your personal needs, installation setting, and readiness for regular maintenance.

Noise Level

Let’s speak about another important aspect – the range hood noise level. Frankly speaking, only few people pay attention to it when buying a range hood, but later on, they realize how important it is, especially if you enjoy silence or usually cook at late night.

Noise Level Value

The range hood noise level is usually measured in decibels (dB). The average noise level of most models falls within the range of 40-60 dB. The lower the value, the quieter the range hood works. To compare: a whisper makes about 30 dB, and a regular talk – about 60 dB.

Keep in mind that a high-power range hood can be noisier. So you should find a balance between power and noise level, especially if your kitchen is combined with a dining or living room.

Tips to Find Quieter Models

  • Pay attention to specifications. Usually, manufacturers specify the noise level in the item description. If silence matters, look for models with values below 40 dB.
  • Choose range hoods with different speed modes. This will help to adjust the power and, respectively, the noise level depending on your cooking needs.
  • Check reviews and recommendations. Usually, active users share their feedback about the hood noise, and it can be really beneficial for your choice.
  • Check the motor type and quality. Hoods with brushless motors usually work quieter compared to conventional motors.
  • Consider range hoods with an external motor. In some models, the motor can be installed outside the kitchen (for example, in the attic or beside the wall), and it drastically reduces the noise in the kitchen area.

Note that a kitchen shall be not only functional but comfortable as well. If you choose a quiet range hood, you make your kitchen time even more pleasant.

Design and Materials

Now let’s speak about the design and materials of range hoods. It’s not just a kitchen appliance — it’s a part of your interior, so the right choice can significantly change the overall appearance of your kitchen.

How range hood design affects overall appearance

A range hood can be either a special feature or a low-profile element of your kitchen. It all depends on style, color, and shape. For example, an island range hood usually becomes a central element of a design, while in-built models are hidden from the eyes.

If a kitchen follows a certain style (let’s say, modern, minimalistic, or retro), try to choose a range hood in tune with this style. Don’t be afraid to play around with shapes and colors.

Different Materials and Their Advantages

  • Stainless steel – a classic material that fits well into almost any interior. It’s a robust and easy-to-clean material that looks classy. It’s a good choice for people who like simplicity and functionality.
  • Glass is usually used in modern and minimalistic designs. Glass range hoods look light and airy, but they may need a thorough cleaning from marks and stains.
  • Glass & Metal Combined – it’s an excellent choice for people looking for something unique. Such models can be a real jewel of your kitchen.
  • Plastic is a more budget-friendly option offering a wide range of colors and shapes. However, it can be less durable compared to metal and glass.

Keep in mind that choosing the material and design of your range hood is not only about an air-cleaning device but also about a design element that will affect the setting and appearance of your kitchen. Be creative and feel free to express your style in your choice.

Range Hoods with Extra Features and Technologies

Modern range hoods offer a great variety of interesting functions and technologies that can make your kitchen time much easier. Let’s find out what possible features your range hood may have and what is their purpose.

Extra features

  • Remote control – that is a convenience you quickly get used to. You can switch the hood on and off without coming up to it, and it’s especially nice when you’re busy cooking.
  • Air quality sensors switch on the hood automatically when they detect a high amount of smoke or bad odors. It’s not only convenient but also helps to keep the kitchen air fresh.
  • In-built illumination can be really beneficial for cooking. Some range hoods are equipped with LED lights that illuminate the working area well and also save energy.
  • Timers and automatic switch-off allow you to set the hood operation time so that you’ll never have to worry about switching it off manually.

Modern Technology Benefits

  • High Energy Efficiency Newer range hood models are usually equipped with energy-efficient motors and LED lights that allow to save on power costs.
  • Better filtration and ventilation. Modern technologies are better at removing fat, fumes, and odors, making the air at your home cleaner.
  • Easier to use. Extra features like remote control or air quality sensors make the cooking process more pleasant and less troublesome.

Generally, when you choose a range hood pay attention not only to the main functions but also to these extra features. They can make your kitchen more comfortable, functional, and even cozy.

Range Hood Installation Tips: Important Points

While choosing a suitable range hood model is important, it should also be installed correctly. Installing a range hood may look simple, but there are a few details that can drastically affect the performance and ease of use.

Air supply and ventilation

One of the main purposes of the range hood installation is to provide a sufficient supply of fresh air in the room. It is especially important for apartments with multi-layered glass where the natural air inflow can be limited. The lack of fresh air negatively affects the hood performance and can result in poor air balance in the room.

You should also make sure that the range is not blocking existing air vents. If natural ventilation is disrupted, you may be forced to use the hood more often to ventilate the room.

Range Hood Installation Height

The hood installation height relevant to the cooktop is critical for performance. The recommended distance is not more than 30" for gas burners and 25" for electric burners. High installation of a hood will result in reduced performance — that is why in this case it’s better to choose models with wider air intake area.

Air Duct

When installing air ducts avoid excessive length and bends as it can result in loss of power. The commonly known decision is to use a flexible silver corrugated pipe but keep in mind that it can add more noise to the hood operation. Rigid metal or plastic ducts can be a more aesthetic and quiet decision.

Preparation for Installation

Thoroughly check all the dimensions and measure the surfaces according to the manual before installation. This will help to avoid mistakes at installation.

Power Supply Connection

Connecting a range hood to the power supply is usually the easiest step. Many canopy models allow to hide the cord under the interior accessory duct that can be also used to partially hide the duct. It’s necessary to make provision at the design stage for a socket or cord in the upper part of the kitchen.

Correct installation of a range hood guarantees effective and long-term performance. Do not underestimate the importance of the mentioned steps and you will not face any troubles in operation.

The perfect range hood should meet all your requirements, fit into your kitchen design, and provide a comfy space for cooking. If you keep in mind all these aspects, you will be able to make a well-informed choice for satisfying and comfortable kitchen time.

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