There are a few things to consider when working out which range hood to buy. Cost, efficiency and aesthetics are all important factors. There are so many options available it is hard to know where to start. Deciding which new range hood to buy doesn’t have to create confusion. Make the task more straightforward with the help of our Range Hood Buying Guide.
We’ll cover everything you need to know about choosing the range hood that best matches your needs, including
- Range Hood Mounting Options
- Types of Range Hood
- Grease Filters
- Size Requirements
- Fan Power
- Extra Features
What to Consider Before You Shop for a Range Hood
Before you can even look at range hoods, you need to find out a few things about your kitchen and the space you have to work with. Here are the questions you need to answer:
How big is your stove/space?
Measure the size of your stove as well as the space you’ll have to work with above the stove. Take a note for easy reference. The appliance will need to fit over the entire stove top dimensions.
Are you replacing an existing range hood?
If this is a new installation, you have many options. If you’re replacing an existing appliance, your options for placement and mounting choices may be more limited.
What is above?
Having cupboards on the wall above the cooker will mean you’ll need an under-cabinet range hood. If your cooker is part of an island, you’ll have even more to consider. High or low ceilings mean range hood chimney length requirements will need to be assessed. There needs to be enough space to accommodate the range hood as well as the minimum necessary distance between the cooker top and the range hood.
Extensions are available for higher ceilings, while lower ceilings sometimes require a more bespoke solution. If you’re in a kitchen with rooms above or ceiling access isn’t possible for any other reason, this will affect your options.
Does your kitchen have exhaust fan ductwork?
If you have existing ductwork and you’re not making major layout changes, the cost of a range hood installation is lower. Getting new ductwork installed can be costly. This should be weighed up against the lower installation cost but higher maintenance cost of a ductless range hood system. The choice is not always yours to make. If you’re renting or you can’t make alterations to the structure of the property for whatever reason, you’ll need to choose a ductless, non-vented range hood.
Is your stove gas or electric?
Your stove type will influence your options. Gas cooktops require extra kitchen ventilation and are best suited to ducted range hoods.
Where is your range located?
Where your range hood is placed will affect which type of range hood you choose.
Island range hoods are made to be paired with island range cookers. They have been made to descend from the ceiling when there is no wall to attach to. Some are retractable and only need to be in place directly above the stove when being used. These are an ideal option if your ceiling is higher than usual.
Another option commonly used with island stoves are downdraft ranges. These fit flush with the kitchen work bench and suck the cooking fumes downward and out using built in underfloor ducts.
For even more placement options, it’s worth thinking about a convertible range hood. These can function both vented and non-vented (ducted or non-ducted) and greatly increase placement versatility.
Range Hood Mounting Options
- Wall hoods – when your stove is against a wall, you’ll need a wall hood with a three-sided vent cover. It may or may not have a chimney extension.
- Island hoods – If your stovetop is located on an island, you’ll need an island hood that extends from the ceiling with a chimney.
- Under cabinet hoods – these are recessed under your cabinetry, and may be ducted or ductless.
Types of Range Hoods
Using ducts to the outside of your property a vented (or ducted) range hood removes the cooking fumes, steam, grease, and heat from the air and replaces it with fresh air. This means your kitchen can be kept cleaner. None of the grease and steam can stick to your walls and kitchen surfaces, and so these areas are easier to maintain.
A Non-vented (or ductless) range hood system pulls the air in through a filter then recycles the air back into your kitchen. Without the need for external ducting, the installation is much cheaper than a ventilated system. When choosing a ductless system this should be weighed against the long term cost of regularly replacing filters
Some range hoods, like the Robam A817 model, can be converted from a ducted hood to a recirculation model if necessary. It’s a great choice for a new homeowner who isn’t sure whether ducting is possible, or who has plans for an extensive future remodeling project.
Some range hoods are mounted flush with the cooktop or pop up when needed. These low-profile models pull the cooking air down and out through a ventilation system.
Types of Grease Filters
The type of filter required by your range hood depends on the type of range hood you choose.
Charcoal or Fabric
Range hoods that recirculate air and release it back into the room require a charcoal or fabric filter. Fabric filters are rarer.
Ducted range hoods usually use metal filters or baffle filters that are easily cleaned and maintained. Some are even dishwasher safe.
Range Hood Features to Consider
If you’re buying a range hood for a new home or an extensive kitchen remodel, you usually have more options. You can work with your kitchen contractor to choose size, placement, and design details.
If you’re replacing an existing hood, you’re limited in placement, style, and size. The size of your space, what’s above where your range hood will be placed, and whether you have existing ductwork will all play into your decision. Here are range hood options and features to consider:
Whether or not you have ductwork determines whether you can have an exhaust fan system that vents outside or a ductless recirculation system that pulls smoke and particulates through a carbon filter and releases it back into the kitchen.
The size of your range hood should match the size of your cooking surface and oven. The most popular size for four-burner residential stoves is 30 inches, but they do come in a variety of bigger and smaller sizes.
Sone (Noise factor)
The noise made by a fan depends on how its power. The faster it rotates, the louder it gets. Since conversation takes place at about 4 sone, a range hood with a variable speed fan that measures 1 – 4 sone allows normal conversation. Quality range hoods are designed to offer maximum power with minimum noise level.
Power (Cubic feet per minute – CFM)
CFM refers to the amount of air the fan is capable of capturing per minute. The higher the CFM, the more air is drawn in, and the cleaner your air is kept. Here’s how to figure the CFM you need.
Your range hood will have built in lights to help you see what’s cooking. It’s worth checking to make sure the light bulbs are readily available and easy to change.
Range hoods with timers can be programmed to shut off on schedule after the cooking is done.
Variable speed fan
Changing the fan speed allows you to choose how much fan power – and noise – you need. Low speed for warming food, high speed for cooking that results in a lot of steam or splatter, like cooking pasta or deep frying.
Controls (digital, remote control, push-button or dial)
Older range hood fans featured simple push-button or dial operations. Today’s have a digital control panel and offer tons of operating options.
Ease of cleaning
Most modern range hoods are designed to come apart easily for cleaning. Before you choose a range hood, make sure you understand how the pieces come apart and fit together for cleaning.
Some range hoods are designed with an extended chimney, either for aesthetic purposes or to hang over an island. The chimney feature conceals ductwork used to remove kitchen exhaust for exterior venting. While range hoods with a chimney extension take up more room in your kitchen, they certainly create major visual impact.
Range Hood Maintenance
Range hoods last a long time and require very little maintenance as long as they are kept clean and free of grease.
How often do filters need to be changed?
Not all range hood filters need to be replaced. In fact, most are easy to clean. The exception is range hoods that clean and recycle air through a carbon filter or fabric baffle. If you have a ductless unit that recirculates air, check your owner’s manual for tips on how often the filter should be changed.
What additional maintenance is recommended?
We recommend that you clean your range hood and range hood filter once a month.
Warranty / Quality
A quality appliance should have a warranty to back it up. Robam offers a 5 year limited warranty on parts for our range hoods and a lifetime warranty on the motor. Your range hood should be designed to last a long time. Make sure the manufacturer offers a high level of confidence in the form of a good warranty.
Brand / Awards
With any major appliance purchase, you want to choose a brand you can trust. Robam has been in business since the 70s and is the brand of choice in over 50 million kitchens around the world. Their range hoods have won multiple awards for powerful, quiet operation, including red dot, iF product design award, and a 2019 Guinness World Record for range hood sales.
Matching your decor
You may want a stylish range hood design that complements your decor by making a statement or matching your existing dishwasher and oven (stainless steel is a popular choice), or you may want a low-profile unit to be camouflaged by your cabinetry or a matching facade. The choice is yours!
Last Word on Buying A Range Hood
Once you determine the size and type of range hood you need to fit your kitchen and your space, compare features carefully. Range hoods are an important part of your kitchen and last a long time. The right choice will be quiet, powerful, and capable of cleaning contaminants out of your air and lowering the heat in the kitchen, even over a long day of holiday cooking.