A range hood is also known as exhaust or kitchen hood and is nothing but a mechanical fan placed above your cooktop or stove. It removes fumes, grease, smoke, heat, combusted hydrocarbons and steam. Range hood filters the harmful or unwanted components from the air so that your kitchen area is safe for you and your family.
Many range hood types even have an external fan to circulate air and mostly suck out the harmful fumes from your kitchen. Another interesting fact to remember is that prolonged inhalation of cooking fumes and combustion products can lead to dyspnea, chronic cough, chest tightness, reduced lung function capacity etc.
These health ailments are more common in females than males, and thus a kitchen hood is essential if you spend a good amount of time in your kitchen cooking food. But buying or investing in a kitchen hood is a daunting task, and we will explore into all the factors that may help you decide what range venting options are best for your home.
Types of Range Hoods – Popular Stove Venting Options
1. Under Cabinet Range Hoods
You can find many new types of range hoods or models, but nothing beats the good old under cabinet range hood that you can find easily in many homes around you. This type of hood is one of the simple and durable.
The under cabinet range hood is located exactly under your cabinet and directly above your cooktop. It takes in all the fumes directly, and the design is as simple as it could be.
They are inexpensive and can be either ductless or ducted. A ducted installation would however require you to have a pre-installed venting network that opens outside your house. This significantly increases the initial cost for this kitchen fixture. This the reason why ductless range hoods have an obviously greater prevalence in domestic kitchens. Their installation is very easy, and some users usually install their hood themselves. The ductless hood is more suitable for vegetarian families or not making food that smokes a lot and on the other hand ducted hood is the better choice for people who like cooking meat or difficult recipes on an everyday basis.
Apart from being an affordable and easy solution for circulation, it is not that effective in filtering the air. If you’re someone with any form of respiratory ailments or allergies, it’s best that you install a small activated carbon air filter in your kitchen to take out potential irritants.
Another con of installing an Under-Cabinet Range Hood is that it requires rigorous cleaning from time to time. You’ve to use warm soapy water to get rid of all the accumulated grime and dirt. Many people prefer their hood material to be stainless steel to prevent rusting and warping. Despite these petty shortcomings, this configuration remains the favorite for US homes. If you’re set on an under cabinet installation but can’t seem to figure out the best one for your specific needs, we’d encourage you to use our under-cabinet range hood selection guide that features some top-of-line yet affordable kitchen vent hoods.
2. Wall Mounted Range Hoods
Wall Mounted Range Hoods are little special as they can also function as under-cabinet hoods. Both these types look outstanding and provide a good solution to ventilation problems of a kitchen.
As the name states, wall-mounted hoods are usually mounted on kitchen walls and may come in different shapes. Most popular hood types under this category are triangular, and pyramid chimney shaped hoods. They are usually located about 25-34″ above your cooktop, and this height difference prolongs the life of the hood.
They typically vent out through the back wall or back of the house and serve pretty decent performance in taking up all the fumes. Some models are so fashionable that they enhance the resale value of your home if you’re planning to move in a few years or so. Top brands including the likes of Broan, Cosmo and Zephyr have aced in combining aesthetics with uncompromising performance in their vent hoods and the exceptional acclamation towards their products backs this statement well. Cosmo range hoods can be found in all three major configurations while Zephyr range hoods don’t seem to tread the same path as far as variety is concerned.
The wall-mounted hood types are usually large, so if you have a very small kitchen, then this hood type isn’t that much of a suitable choice for you as you can either install hood or cabinets in your kitchen. Also, it’s not feasible hood type for kitchens that don’t have their cooking space installed on an exterior wall.
3. Island Mount Range Hoods
If your cooking space is located somewhere around the center of the kitchen, over an island, then this hood type can serve you food performance as well as the outlook of the home. Island mount hoods are best for houses that have enough space for ductwork in the ceiling.
It is not mounted on the wall and requires more CFM in comparison to the other two hood types. But it is slightly more efficient and adds an elegant look to the kitchen.
These are more suitable for houses that have an pre-installed venting network. If you want an island hood, then it’s recommended that you install vents in the process of house construction. The extraction capacity of island hoods is far better than other types because it is built for large open kitchens or island cooktops.
It is always preferred to equip this hood with air exhaust system and air exhaust pipe. Many island hoods start facing mechanical issues due to installation mishaps; therefore, you must follow instructions from manual religiously for a good experience with island hoods. Among others, Golden vantage range hoods are a reliable option if you’re looking for and wall-mount or island-mount installation for your next kitchen upgrade.
4. Downdraft Ventilation Hoods
Unique yet effective solution for kitchen ventilation is downdraft range hood. They are more suitable kitchen with space constraints, or even island cooktops can make great use of it. This type of hood is usually hidden until you need to use it then you can easily switch on the fan and let your hood do the dirty work.
It is located in your cooktop, and it slides out of your range when the designated button is pressed. This hood is a futuristic yet compact solution for ventilation and best for small apartments or cottages.
The installation process is very tricky and requires high precision. Downdraft hoods work great in less space and is only visible when you’re cooking. Since the extraction process is automatic in this hood type, you don’t have to worry about pulling it back after use. There’s an even slicker variant of these downdraft hoods in the market these days that further minimizes the space requirements. Manufactured with an integrated suction vent, downdraft cooktops are arguably the most clever option for contemporary kitchens that don’t smoke a whole lot.
It doesn’t remove all the odours in the kitchen but works more in a localised manner. You won’t get to have a lot of cupboard space if you’re installing downdraft hood in your existing kitchen and it will cost you more than any conventional range hood.
5. Over the Range Microwave Ovens
You don’t need to invest a lot into range hoods if your microwave can take care of cooking as well as ventilation. Over the range microwaves have a small fan at the base of the cabinet that removes all the fumes, gases, spices and unburnt particles from the cooking area of the microwave.
After the smoke and fumes are removed after cooking, the bottom fans vents the air or filter it before releasing it back to your kitchen. What’s great about having an over the range microwave is how convenient it is to cook as well as maintain ventilation.
Now, it is evident that OTR microwaves compare poorly to the high CFM ratings of dedicated range hoods. Which is why, an over range microwave won’t be as effective as a range hood in removing dense kitchen fumes. But, this is rarely seen in household kitchens. For the amount of smoke, fumes and odor an average domestic kitchen produces, a 300 CFM above range microwave is generally sufficient.
Installation of these OTR microwaves might be a bit tricky, and you should check whether you should get a vent and steam or charcoal filter to recycle the air. Both the choices have their disadvantages and advantages, but ultimately the choice is determined by the construction of the house.
A range hood is one of the must-have home appliances and yet very underappreciated in terms of how it ensures your family’s safety. It not only filters and takes away unwanted fumes from your air but also prevent inhalation of uncombusted particles. Having a range hood for home is a necessity, and almost all of these hood types fulfil the main purpose of ventilation.
While downdraft and island hoods are the expensive choices, you can have a good and inexpensive wall mount hood as well. It will offer you multiple benefits including improved air quality, less kitchen odour, comfort, easier cleanup and higher price in case of resale of the house.