What is a Range Hoods (The Complete Guide)

Range hoods are kitchen appliances that filter out grease, smoke, and other contaminants in your kitchen. Here's everything you need to know.

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Image of a stainless steel wall mount range hood. Source: adobe stock

A range hood is an important part of your kitchen. The range hood is a powerful but often-overlooked item that removes unpleasant aromas and pollutants from the kitchen. And there are many benefits to owning a range hood. But what exactly is a range hood?

This ultimate guide to range hoods will discuss everything there is to know about a rain check.

A range hood is a kitchen appliance that filters grease, smoke, and other unwanted airborne contaminants in your kitchen through a filtering system or outside your home. 

What is a range hood?

Range hoods (also known as oven vent hoods, exhaust hoods, or kitchen hoods) are kitchen appliances that filter grease, smoke, and other unwanted airborne contaminants in your kitchen through a filtering system or to the outside of your home. A range hood is crucial for maintaining the air quality in your home and completing your kitchen design.

Image of a stainless steel wall mount range hood. Source: adobe stock
Image of a stainless steel wall mount range hood. Source: adobe stock

Range hoods are available in various designs and styles, from the small, discrete range hoods that were common in the 1950s to today’s more ubiquitous island range hoods.

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Image of a stainless steel wall mount range hood. Source: adobe stock
My favorite range hood (at the moment):

COSMO COS-63190S Wall Mount Range Hood

What is a range hoods (the complete guide) | 71ddmbmvgwl. Ac sl1500 | range hood homeland
My favorite range hood (at the moment):

COSMO COS-63190S Wall Mount Range Hood

This is one of the best hoods available at this price point. Reasonably strong CFM for the cost, and it has received rave reviews (over 3,800 reviews!). It looks great, and the LED lights provide a pleasant brightness. For the price, its performance and style are outstanding. Highly recommended!

What are range hoods used for?

Range hoods remove heat, grease, steam, orders, and other contaminants from the air in your kitchen by capturing and eliminating them right at the source, leading to a more hygienic home.

How do range hoods work?

Most range hoods operate with only a single motor; some higher-end models have two or three. These blower motors draw in fumes and cooking exhaust from above your cooktop and transport it through ducting and outside your home to the outside (or through charcoal filters with ductless models). 

Range hood power is measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). This is a measurement of how fast air enters or exits your kitchen. All kitchen ventilation systems measure CFM.

Range Hoods are usually powered by a 120-volt outlet or hardwired into the kitchen’s electrical system.

Who needs a range hood?

A range hood can keep your kitchen cleaner for longer, provide a healthier home for you and your family, and potentially add value to your property. Grease, filth, smoke, and other toxins are continually produced in your house while you cook. These will build up your kitchen, resulting in poor indoor air quality. Therefore, every homeowner should invest in a range hood

If you’re renting an apartment or live in a highrise, you may be able to install a ductless hood to receive many of these benefits as well. 

You may also need a range hood if you find yourself needing a little more light while you cook. Their overhead lights will illuminate where you need it the most so you can see what you’re doing more clearly.

Finally, a range hood also looks stunning and can add a lot of flair to your kitchen. An island range hood can make a bold statement, or you can go for a more understated look with an insert hood. In either case, your new kitchen addition will be a great conversation starter!

What are the different ventilation types?

While all range hoods are designed to remove smoke, grease, and other toxins from the air, some are more effective than others. Range hoods have three different ventilation configurations, which include:

  • Ductless (recirculating)
  • Ducted (ventilating)
  • Convertible

Ducted (ventilating)

Range hoods perform best when they vent outside of the home. However, not everyone will be able to duct their hood to the outside. Notably people who live in an apartment or condo. These people cannot install ductwork due to building codes or because they reside in a multi-story complex where ducting to the exterior is prohibited. If you fall under this category, you must select a ductless range hood.

Ducted range hoods connect to the ductwork in your home’s walls or ceiling to exhaust cooking fumes, grease, and odors. Unlike ductless models, these hoods are more effective at removing odors and heat, keeping the kitchen clean and fresh.

Ducted hoods can be expensive because of the ductwork required. Ducted hoods range from $500-$3,500.

Ductless (recirculating)

Ductless range hoods (also called recirculating hoods) do not have any external ventilation system. They capture steam and fumes from the stove, filter out part of the oil, grease, and aromas, and then recirculate the heated air about the kitchen. Many ductless range hoods employ a charcoal or carbon filter. Ductless range hoods can cost about $150 and $1,500.

A ducted range hood may sometimes be converted into a ductless hood with a recirculating kit, usually sold separately. These kits use mesh or carbon filters to filter the air.

Convertible 

A convertible range hood combines ducted and ductless features. It may be ducted or ductless, giving you the best of both worlds. Installed like ducted hoods, they are connected to ducts running through the walls or ceiling, but they additionally contain an air recirculating kit. In inducted mode, the hot air is filtered and recirculated throughout the house. Convertible range hoods cost around $200-$1000.

What are the different types and styles of range hoods?

There are seven types of residential range hoods. While they are all designed to filter the air in your kitchen, they all come with distinct shapes and functionalities

Range hood categories include:

  • Under Cabinet
  • Wall Mount
  • Island
  • Insert
  • Downdraft
  • Microwave (OTR)
  • Professional

Under-cabinet

Under-cabinet range hoods are an excellent choice for folks who have cupboards or cabinet storage over their cooktop because they are hidden from view. These hoods are ideal if you have cabinets or cupboards above your cooktop. They maximize space and keep extra storage while still obtaining the benefits of a vent hood. An under-cabinet range hood can cost anywhere from $200 to $500.

Wall-mount

One of the most common types of range hoods is the wall mount range hood. These hoods are securely installed against a kitchen wall. To trap the most cooking gases and to extend the life of your range hood. Wall-mounted hoods are typically placed on your wall about 28′′-36′′ between the bottom of the hood and the stove cooking surface.

Wall-mounted range hoods come in a variety of shapes. A pyramid chimney style or tapering hood is the most common. Some wall-mounted range hoods are triangular in shape and have flat edges, while some others are pyramid-shaped. These hoods cost around $200 to $500.

Island

Island range hoods serve as a great centerpiece for the room. Island hoods are attached to the ceiling rather than the wall. Island range hoods are available in a variety of designs and styles and have the potential to be the stunning centerpiece of your kitchen. 

Due to being attached to a ceiling, Island hoods require higher CFM to perform as desired. Furthermore, because island hoods are affixed to the ceiling, your ductwork will also go through the ceiling. Some homes may lack the structural clearance or design required to vent via their ceiling.

Check to see whether you can run the necessary ducting from your hood to the outside of your home. Island hoods are more expensive, ranging from $300 to 1200 dollars, and installation might be difficult.

Insert

Cabinet insert hoods are a little different. These hoods have the advantage of being hidden by a custom-made cabinet enclosure, allowing them to blend in with the rest of your kitchen rather than stick out. The enclosures for these hoods can be made of copper, tile, marble, or hand-carved wood.

Inserts are a fantastic option for setting the tone or theme for your kitchen. Whether you are trying for a rustic, old-fashioned aesthetic, a modern and sleek design, or anything in between, the use of an insert allows you complete creative control over the look and feel of your kitchen space. Unfortunately, insert hoods are more expensive than ordinary hoods, costing between $400 and $1,000.

Downdraft

Down-drafts are more contemporary than the others and can be found in many modern homes. These hoods are much smaller than traditional range hoods. Unlike standard hoods, they draw air and fumes down into a vent rather than up. The air then returns to your kitchen. Because the laws of physics dictate that hot air and pollutants rise, down-draft hoods are less effective. 

Some downdraft hoods can be pulled out of the way when not in use. However, these types are not as efficient compared to other range hood modes, which catch cooking gases as they rise. In addition, downdrafts are pricey, ranging from $1,200 to $2,500.

Microwave over-the-range (OTR) combo

While standard countertop ovens waste counter space, microwave range hoods (also called over-the-range) are installed above the stove to conserve this valuable space for use in food preparation or storage.

Most OTR hoods are recirculating. These hoods are convenient as they are two appliances in one but are not very powerful at only 300-400 CFM or less.

Professional grade range hoods

Professional grade range hoods are designed for those who demand the most accurate and efficient hoods. A professional range hood is defined as any vent hood that has a CFM of 900 or higher. This is regarded to have a high CFM output and meets the requirements of a professional-level range hood, according to industry standards.

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What are the components of a range hood?

Range hoods are daily simple and contain only a few components.

Blower

Range hoods are powered by a blower. A single blower is standard on most range hoods. However, multiple blowers are also common. Blowers are made up of a motor, a protective casing, and fan blades. There are three different types of blowers:

  • Local Blowers
  • In-line Blowers
  • External Blowers

All three configurations have their strengths and weaknesses.

Local blowers

Local blowers are by far the most common blower type, built inside the range hood.

In-line Blowers

Inline blowers are located away from the hood but within the home.

If you want to read more about the differences between inline and external blowers, take a look at our article on inline blowers vs external blowers.

External Blowers

Eternal blowers are located outside of the home. Due to the additional cost, external blowers are less common. In addition, inline and external blowers are quieter than local blowers because they are further away from your range hood.

Filters

Every range hood has some sort of filter.

Baffle filters

Stainless steel baffle filters are standard on most range hoods.

Mesh filters

Mesh and baffle filters serve the same purpose but are used differently. Baffle filters are typically made of stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum. This typically makes them easy to clean. Mesh filters, on the other hand, are made of layered metal mesh, making them harder to clean. To enhance your hood’s efficiency, clean or change your filters regularly.

Charcoal filters

Charcoal filters are also very common on ductless hoods. In addition, some range hoods combine charcoal filters with baffle filters for maximum efficiency.

Baffle and mesh filters can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher. However, carbon filters are not dishwasher safe. You should never wash a carbon filter. If your carbon filters need to be replaced, dispose of old ones and replace them with new ones. Charcoal filters should be replaced after 120 hours of cooking or every three to six months.

Controls

A control panel is included with every range hood. Some of the most common control panels are stainless. Therefore, you push the buttons. Twist knob controls can sometimes be found on older range hoods. Elegant LED touch panels are common on modern high-end range hoods. Common items on a control pad include on/off switch, lighting, heat lamps, blower speed, clock settings, and more.

Circuit board

This is essentially the brains of your range hood and can be found inside the hood body. It is a necessary component, as it allows all of the controls and lights to work. It is rare that the circuit board malfunctions, So you won’t need to pay much attention to this part of your vent hood.

Lights

Lights are available in the form of LED or Halogen lights. Most modern hoods use LED lights. Some even feature heat lamps. These are quite useful. Once you’re done cooking, you can keep your food warm and ready to serve while you wrap up in the kitchen.

Halogens and LEDs will last a long time – LEDs, in particular, will last years. But even then, your lights may burn out occasionally. If this is the case, replacing them is easy!

Chimney covers

Not all range hoods will have or require this component. Chimney covers conceal the inner workings of your range hood or allow the range hood to extend higher towards the ceiling if necessary. Chimney covers are often telescopic, meaning they are adjustable. Because of this, they typically come in one to two pieces; a lower and a top piece.

Range hoods come in various colors, styles, and finishes, providing you with plenty of options. With so many styles to choose from, selecting a hood that matches the rest of your kitchen is simple.

Range hood style options

  • Pyramid
  • Cylindrical
  • Curved top
  • Flat top

How to install a range hood?

If you want to install a ducted range hood, it must be connected to ductwork and vents outside the home. This usually involves cutting right through outside the home, although it can also involve running ducts throughout the house. More duct length means more installation work. The cost varies based on the amount of ducting and its route. It may emerge directly from the wall or ascend via the ceiling. Installing a range hood with ductwork typically costs $300-900.

Ductless hoods are easy to install because no wall holes are required. Installing a ductless range hood can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours. However, you should factor in the costs of patching the wall or cabinets where the old hood was installed. 

  • Check out our ducted range hood installation guide if you are installing a ducted hood.
  • Check out our ductless range hood installation guide if you are installing a ductless hood.

Should I install a range hood myself or hire a contractor?

While it may seem easy, we do not recommend installing a range hood alone. This is (at least) a two-person job. Range hoods can be installed by various experts, including electricians and contractors. However, installing a range hood can be tricky, so we recommend choosing a contractor who has done it before.

Although electricians may be required to assist with wiring, most range hoods come with extension cords that can be plugged in and turned on. If you need help finding a contractor, check out our guide on choosing a contractor to install your range hood. You can also take a look at the video below to get a better idea of how to select a contractor.

A video called How To Hire A Good Contractor by Home RenoVision DIY.

Check out this great video from Appliance Educator that covers all there is to know about range hoods.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about range hoods.

How much do range hoods cost?

The cost of a hood varies based on its size and kind. The average range hood can vary between $200 and $3200. A concealed cabinet hood with new ducts and a custom cover costs roughly $1,539.

What size do range hoods come in?

Range Hoods are available in 24″, 30″, 36″, 42″, 48″, 54″, and 60″. The most popular wall hoods are 36″.

How do you clean range hood filters?

Most hoods are simple to clean. However, using the wrong grease cleaner can ruin the finish on a range hood. To avoid this, always use a manufacturer-approved cleanser.

Baffle filters are typically stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum. This typically makes them easy to clean. Mesh filters, on the other hand, are made of layered metal mesh, making them harder to clean. Fortunately, they can both be washed in the dishwasher. To enhance your hood’s efficiency, clean or change your filters regularly.

Carbon filters are not dishwasher safe. Therefore, you should never wash a carbon filter. If your carbon filters need to be replaced, dispose of old ones and replace them with new ones. Charcoal filters should be replaced after 120 hours of cooking or every three to six months.

Ducted hoods should also have their ducts professionally cleaned every few years to prevent grease and particle buildup—this costs around $150. You should also replace the charcoal filter in ductless hoods.

Conclusion

Range hoods are a critical part of any kitchen setup. A good range hood will keep your kitchen clean and safe, all while adding class to your living space.

In this post, we covered everything you need to know about range hoods, including how they function, cost, and much more. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • A range hood is a common kitchen appliance that filters smoke and grease.
  • Every home needs a range hood in the kitchen.
  • They come in various styles, including wall-mounted, island, and undercabinet.
  • Range hoods come in ducted or undetected configurations.
  • Ducted hoods are much more effective than ductless hoods.
  • Residential hoods cost between $200 and $3,200.
  • Kitchen hoods should be installed by a professional or contractor.

So, are you ready to buy a range hood? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below (I read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on kitchen ventilation. Thanks for reading, and stay safe.

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Image Of Roger Harris
Written by Roger Harris, Staff Writer

Hey there! My name is Roger, and I've been selling range hoods for over six years. I now run this blog all about range hoods and kitchen ventilation! If you're looking for a new range hood for your kitchen, this is the place for you.

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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