Everything You Need to Know About Range Hoods

Overn range hood

Range hoods can be a quick, affordable way to hip up a kitchen on a budget, but with so many models and styles, they’re not always easy to parse through. There are so many questions. What’s the best brand for your wallet? What’s a downdraft range hood? We heard your queries ringing across the internet and decided to create the ultimate guide to selecting and maintaining a range hood.

Do I even need a range hood in my kitchen?

Not necessarily. If you cook often in your home (think 3 to 4 times a week or more), then you’re going to want a recirculating hood to keep grease particles from accumulating on kitchen surfaces, and also take care of smoke in case of a botched baking job.

What kind of range hoods are out there?

Options, options, options. You’ll find that when you’re seeking out new range hoods, there are tons of ways to categorize the available products. The first thing to consider is the way the hood is vented:

Ducted or Vented Hoods: These hoods are ideal, because they vent to the outside, meaning smoke, grease, and odors are drawn away from your kitchen’s interior.
Non-vented, Duct-free, or Recirculated: These hoods, on the other hand, use a filter to collect cooking byproducts up and out of the oven area.
Convertible: Convertible hoods can be installed as ducted or duct-free. There are also some differences in model. Here are some of the most commonly installed models:

      • Under-cabinet Hoods: The most common type of range hood, under-cabinet hoods fit below a cabinet above the stove range.
      • Wall-Mount Hoods: Wall-mount hoods are designed much like under-cabinet hoods, but they are attached to the wall instead of to the underside of a cabinet.
      • Island Hoods: Island hoods are suspended over a cooktop on a kitchen island.
      • Downdraft Hoods: Downdraft hoods fit into the counter next to a cooktop.

What materials are available?

A range hood can be a real statement piece in your kitchen, and there are about as many models as there are aesthetics. Both the material and the design of the hood will affect your kitchen’s overall look. A distressed copper hood with curved sides adds a vintage look, while an angular stainless steel model or glass hood is perfect for a sleek, contemporary kitchen. 

What type of ventilation system is most affordable?

The true answer is, it’s complicated. Unless you’re planning a major kitchen renovation, including a new stove, the location of your oven will limit the model of hood you can buy, because you’ll need to place it according to what makes sense for your layout. However, when it comes to ducted versus duct-free, duct-free has a much cheaper installation overhead—you won’t have to have a professional called in for the duct work. On the other hand, in a duct-free unit you’ll need to change the filters every 3 to 6 months, especially if you cook frequently in your home. That’s a $15 to $30 expense 2 to 4 times a year, which can add up. If you have the money to invest in a ducted system now (approximately $500 to $1000 for the hood, labor, and duct work) then it can really pay off, especially considering that it’s a better ventilation system.

What type of hood is the most affordable?

Like most things, hoods will be cheaper if they come without extra bells and whistles. Models with features like multiple fan speeds, thermostat controls, and exhaust timers will bring up the cost of the hood. Brand also plays a part: affordable companies include NuTone, G.E., Kenmore, and Whirlpool, which will run you between $80 to $200 dollars for the hood.

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