A range hood is a kitchen appliance that is also known as vent hood or exhaust hood. It is an enclosure that goes above a range, which is where its name comes from.
A vent hood typically has a built-in fan that helps it collect smoke, particles, steam and fumes that appear during cooking. Typically, you can turn the fan on and off. The more powerful the fan, the more noise it makes.
A range hood provides additional ventilation that keeps the air clean and moves the airborne particles away from the food. By doing so it also keeps your walls, ceilings, and countertop surfaces cleaner. This can significantly lower the amount of dirt and grime that would otherwise accumulate in your kitchen over time. In a way, range hoods help you keep your kitchen clean and save the time and effort you’d otherwise put into cleaning and scrubbing.
By collecting the particles, a range hood also prevents food odors from staying in the kitchen or spreading to other rooms of your home.
There are two main types of range hoods: vented and non-vented.
Vented range hoods
These hoods perform their function by moving the air out of the kitchen. This makes vented hoods very effective in getting rid of odors, steam, and humidity. A vented hood must be connected to a vent through which the air and the particles will travel from the kitchen to the outdoors.
Because of this requirement, vented hoods have a lot of limitations as to where you can place them in your kitchen. If you have already installed your range, it may turn out that placing a vented hood above is going to be too expensive or will ruin the design of your kitchen.
Vented hoods are very popular in commercial kitchens, but they are not always the best choice for a home kitchen.
Non-vented range hoods
Non-vented range hoods do not require a connection to a duct. This means that you can install a non-vented range hood almost anywhere in your kitchen, including above the islands that have built-in stoves.
The principle of operation of non-vented hoods is different from how vented range hoods work. A non-vented range hood does not remove the air from the kitchen. It has a built-in filter. The built-in fan sucks the air into the hood. The air goes through filters and then comes back to the kitchen. Essentially, non-vented hoods recirculate and filter the air, but don’t remove it. The filters in non-vented hoods typically have activated charcoal in them.
Activated charcoal is also known as activated carbon. It is a type of processed carbon that has a lot of small pores on its surface. The pores increase the absorption area. Because of this, a gram of activated charcoal has a surface area of more than 32,000 square feet.
Non-vented hoods that use activated charcoal typically have filtration systems with one or two stages.
Many range hoods can function both as vented and non-vented. They are usually called convertible. A hood that has such dual capability can use charcoal filters and circulate the air or you can connect it to a duct and instead of circulating the air in your kitchen it will remove the air. A convertible hood is a great choice because it will work even if you remodel your kitchen and move it to a new location. You can use it as ducted and then switch to non-ducted after a remodel or vice versa.
Range hood functionality
Most range hoods have built-in lighting. Expensive models may have fluorescent, halogen or LED lights while cheaper models use standard light bulbs that are often not included in the package. Typically, a range hood has between one and four lights.
Depending on a model, a range hood may also have various light settings. Hoods with a low light setting are great for use at night.
Automatic on/off switch
Some range hoods turn on automatically if there is excessive heat or smoke. Many hoods have timers that allow you to leave the hood on for a certain amount of time.
Filter life indicators
A filter life indicator will tell you when it’s time to change your filters.
Fan Power or CFM
CFM is an abbreviation for Cubic Feet per Minute. It is also known as airflow. CFM show how much air goes through a fan on its highest speed.
The higher the CFM, the more powerful the fan and the more air it can move. CFM depends on a few things, including the power of the motor in the fan, the angle of the blades and the shape of the blades.
Some range hoods, especially high-end non-vented range hoods, can be very loud when the fan is working at its maximum speed. The level of noise is measured in decibels. The decibel level of 40 is the noise level in a quiet library. Normal human speech has a noise level of about 60 decibels. A freight train makes a noise of about 80 decibels. Jet take-off occurs at about 100 decibels. Make sure to check the decibel level of the range hood you like to verify that it is quiet enough for you.
What range hood is right for you?
There are three main criteria you need to consider when deciding what range hood to get.
Where will you range hood go?
If you have a duct in your kitchen, you could invest in a ducted hood. If you don’t have a range or if you plan to remodel your kitchen at some point in the future and want some flexibility, then a non-vented range hood is a great solution.
How often and how much do you cook?
This will determine how powerful your range hood should be. If you cook a lot, then look for professional grade model with several high-efficiency fans. If you have an island stove, you can get a separate range hood just for that. Some non-vented hoods in this review offer sleek design and have been created specifically for kitchen islands.
What is your budget?
You can get a non-vented range hood for under a hundred dollars and install it by yourself. Professional-grade models retail for as high as several thousand dollars. There is also a variety of makes and models in between, which means that you’ll be able to find a range hood that’s right for you no matter your budget.
Non-vented range hood reviews
Whirlpool UXT4230ADS is a 30-inch convertible range hood, meaning that you can use it as non-vented or vented.
It quickly and efficiently removes odors and smoke due to 225CFM of rear exhaust capacity.
The fan has 2 speeds that you can adjust with push button controls to meet your needs. There is also an incandescent task light that illuminated the cooktop. A hidden vent offers a modern look. Stainless steel finish makes the appliance look very stylish.
This range hood can be installed by one person. It weighs just 17 pounds and is 4.94 inches high, 29.94 inches wide and 18.63 inches deep.
It is a great product for you if you want performance at a very low price. The only disadvantage this hood has is that you can see all the bolts and screws from underneath it because there is no undercover.
Air King AD1306
Air King AD1306 is a non-vented under cabinet hood. It is 30 inches wide and 6 inches high. The weight is 14.1 pounds.
The device is made of 23 gauge cold rolled steel and comes in black color.
It has a combination of grease and charcoal odor filter. The fan has the efficiency of 180CFM and 2 speeds.
This non-vented hood has a cook top light with two brightness settings and 60 watts of power.
The warranty for this appliance is 1 year.
AKDY AK-RH0126 is a European-style 36-inch wide range hood designed specifically for kitchen islands. It is made of high-quality stainless steel and has 4 LED light bars and a LED touch-sensitive control panel.
AKDY AK-RH0126 is a convertible range hood and can be ducted or non-vented. Carbon filters for non-vented installation are sold separately.
The fan of this device is rated at 400CFM and has three speeds. The noise level at 400CFM is only 65 decibels. The fan effectively recirculates or removes nasty odors and cooking byproducts. The baffle filters and dishwasher friendly.
The dimensions of this range hood are 35.25 inches wide, 19.7 inches long and 47.75 inches tall. The size of the duct is 6 inches.
The warranty for parts is three years.
NXR RH4801 is a 48-inch wide professional style range hood. It is made of stainless steel, including the baffles. It features a 1,200CFM fan that will match the power of high-end kitchen ranges. The fan comes with an ultra-quiet motor. It has 4 speeds that you can control using an electronic panel with an auto shut-off feature.
This range hood also has high-powered lights that can light up a surface of a large range.
NXR RH4801 has baffle filters that are dishwasher safe, allowing you to keep your range hood looking clean and sleek with the help of your dishwasher.
This device comes with a 2-year limited warranty. Its dimensions are 24 inches deep by 18 inches tall by 48 inches wide.
KitchenAid KXU8030YSS is a 30-inch convertible range hood. It comes in stainless steel color. This appliance has a powerful 600CFM motor that will do a great job with most 30 and 36-inch ranges and keep your kitchen clean and fresh.
The range hood has an under-the-cabinet design and a hidden slide control with a light switch and fan speed selector.
KitchenAid KXU8030YSS has dishwasher-safe baffle filters made of metal.
The design of the appliance increases filtration by increasing the length of the air path and captures more odors, grease, and steam.
This range hood has two 50-Watt halogen lights for increased visibility. There is an automatic on switch that turns the vent on when excess heat is present.
The unit comes with a 1-year warranty. It is 23 inches deep, 10 inches tall and 30 inches wide. The width of the duct is 3.25 inches.
NuTone RL6200 is an inexpensive non-vented 30-inch wide range hood. It comes in white color and has a power-coated durable finish that is also easy to clean.
This non-vented range hood has a two-speed fan and an exclusive Microtek filtration system. There are a permanently lubricated motor and a blade made of polymer.
The appliance uses one 75-Watt bulb that is sold separately. NuTone RL6200 is mitered for safety on both sides and the bottom.
There is a one-year limited warranty. The product is 17.5 inches deep, 6 inches high and 30 inches wide. The grease filter is removable. AC cord is not included and you will need to purchase one separately.
Bosch HCP30651UC is a convertible wall-mounted range hood. It comes in stainless steel color and is 30 inches wide. There is an electronic control with an LCD display and a 600CFM internal fan with 4 speeds.
This range hood has dishwasher-safe aluminum mesh filters. It can be connected to a duct, but it also has a recirculation option.
There is a 1-year limited warranty for both parts and labor. The duct is round, 8 inches in diameter. The dimensions of the unit are 19.6875 inches deep, 28.25 inches high and 30 inches wide. The device is not Energy Star certified. The only disadvantage of this model is that it can get very loud at the highest speed setting.
Frigidaire RH36PC60GS is a convertible 36-inch wide range hood. Its color is stainless steel.
This appliance has a very sleek and modern design. It has halogen lighting with 4 lights and LCD electronic controls with an array of options and settings, including a kitchen timer and fan speed selector. This range hood also has built-in sensors that turn the device on automatically if there’s heat or smoke.
Stainless steel filters are dishwasher safe. The fans have 600CFM of performance and four speeds.
The dimensions of this hood are 25.19 inches deep, 28 inches high and 35.875 inches wide. There are a 1-year limited labor warranty and 3-year limited parts warranty from the manufacturer.
A range hood is a very important kitchen appliance. It keeps the air in your kitchen clean, it helps you keep the kitchen clean and it removes unwanted particles away from your food. This guide reviews a variety of range hoods for every kitchen and every budget.