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Range hoods are important if you cook at home, especially with a gas cooktop or range. They help vent smoke and fumes that are harmful to your health to improve the air quality in the kitchen. Here we’ll look at how air pollutants affect you, and also check out some of the best range hoods currently available.
Indoor Air Pollutants and Range Hoods
Gas cooktops are preferred for their responsiveness; they’re much faster to heat up and cool down than electric coil elements. But they have some toxic downsides.
Two byproducts of gas burners, carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), are harmful to respiratory systems in large doses, leading to a higher risk of dyspnea, wheezing, and asthma attacks in children and the elderly.
Without proper ventilation, the smoke and fumes produced by cooking will remain stuck inside your kitchen. The risk is greater in modern homes that are tightly insulated.
A series of tests conducted by Brett Singer and his associates at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) showed that, during a typical winter week, CO and NO2 levels in a home with a gas range can exceed national and state ambient air quality limits.
One workaround is to open windows or run exhaust fans. Another is to buy an electric or induction stove, which will cut back on fume emissions but still produce smoke and consume much electricity.
The best option is to install a ventilation hood over the range. These hoods work similarly to exhaust fans but are focused on the cooking area. They help capture smoke and grease while ventilating the air around the cooktop.
Things to Know About Range Hood
There are a few things to keep in mind that should help you filter out the noise and find the one hood that suits you most:
There are three main types of range hoods: ducted, non-ducted, and convertible. They are also categorized by their mounting methods: under-cabinet, wall-mount, and island-mount.
Ducted range hoods work by extracting indoor air pollutants and releasing them outside. They need ventilation connecting the kitchen to the exterior of the house, and the outlet ducts usually run up through the ceiling or the back wall.
Setting up ducts requires money, effort, and possibly a compartment in your upper cabinets; the hoods themselves are also more expensive than non-ducted (or ductless) hoods. However, venting the kitchen is the most effective way to remove harmful agents in the air.
Non-ducted range hoods are hoods that work without ventilation, which means you won’t have to set up ducts or sacrifice cabinet space. They focus on air recirculation instead of extracting the air from the kitchen. They’re also recognizable by their use of charcoal filters.
Non-ducted hoods suck in the fumes and smoke and run them through filters. The air is then released back into the room, so you should open as many doors and windows as you can to further improve the air quality in the kitchen. Ductless hoods are less effective than ducted ones, but they beat having no hood at all.
There are convertible range hoods that allow for both non-ducted and ducted setups. They have discharge outlets for ducting (one goes upwards and one goes through the back wall) but can be easily configured to use charcoal filters if your kitchen is not vented.
The ability to change from ducted to ductless can be useful in cold seasons because running a ducted hood replaces the inside air with outside air. Ductless hoods, however, keep the warmth indoors.
4. Wall Mount
Wall-mount range hoods are ducted hoods with an (adjustable) chimney, making them quite large. These are great for pollutant extraction and preferred for big kitchens.
Setting up a wall mount range hood typically involves removing a cabinet compartment. If your kitchen isn’t designed with one in mind, it may compromise the look and feel of the room. But there are hood covers you can get that hide the ducts and help the appliance blend into your kitchen better.
5. Island Mount
Island-mount hoods work best in spacious kitchens with an island counter. They are ducted hoods but their ventilation capacity is not as efficient as wall-mounts. Smoke and fumes have more freedom to spread since there aren’t any walls around the cooking area. The solution is to just get a bigger hood.
Island mounts also put a lot of pressure on the ceiling since there are no walls to support their weight. That means you should pay more attention to the bracing and make sure that the installation is done correctly.
6. Under Cabinet
Under-cabinet (mount) kitchen hoods are installed under the upper cabinets, right above the cooking range. They are more compact compared with wall-mount and island-mount hoods, therefore more suitable for kitchens with limited space.
Also, they often have a ductless design so their installation is straightforward and normally doesn’t call for professional help.
A downdraft exhaust system is a ducted system. It works by pulling the smoke and fumes downwards under the floor where the ducts run. Its effectiveness is limited because the mechanics go against the natural dynamics of hot air, making the system work harder than an overhead (or updraft) system.
They are usually flush-mounted into the counter, right behind the cooktop. It's one of the very few ventilation options available for kitchen islands. You’ll also see them integrated with a gas cooktop or stove range every now and then.
Range hoods for a home kitchen come in various sizes: 24, 30, 36, and 42 inches. When choosing one, your range hood should be at least as broad as your range. If you have the space, it’s always recommended to go for one size bigger. For example, if you have a 30-inch cooking top then you should get a 36-inch hood.
The extra reach is especially crucial if you’re getting an island-mount hood. Since there isn’t going to be any wall around to limit the air distribution, the broad coverage helps ensure that all the smoke and fumes are captured
The suction capacity of a range hood is typically measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM)— a measurement of airflow velocity. It’s often compared to the heating capacity of a gas cooking surface, which is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU).
A rule of thumb for range hoods is that for every 100 BTU you should have 1 CFM of venting power. So, for example, if you had a gas range totaling 40,000 BTU in cooking power, then you'd want a 400 CFM exhaust hood.
Note: You may need to set up a fresh-air intake system/vent if your place doesn’t have one already.
All range hoods use mesh filters or baffle filters to trap grease. Mesh filters are cheaper in comparison with baffle filters and considerably effective, but it’s tougher to clean and doesn’t last as long. Baffle filters are easier to clean and can be reused for quite some time before you need to replace them.
Both types of filters are usually made of aluminum and advertised as dishwasher-safe (but it’s safer to wash them by hand). Baffle filters are sometimes stainless steel and can be found in more expensive models.
Non-ducted range hoods also use charcoal filters to clean the air before releasing them back to the room. They can’t be reused and should be replaced every 6 to 12 months, depending on how regularly you cook.
Reviews of the Best Range Hoods in 2021
After some time researching what’s available, we think these are some of the top choices for kitchen range hoods.
- Chef PS18 Under Cabinet Range Hood - Best to Buy in 2021
- Fotile JQG7501 Under Cabinet Range Hood - Best High-End Hood
- Z Line KB Wall Mount Range Hood - Best Wall Mount Hood
- Broan Non-Ducted Hood 41000 Series - Best Ductless Range Hood
- Z Line GL1i Island Mount Range Hood - Best Island Hood
- Broan Range Hood F40000 Series - Best Under Cabinet Hood
- Zuhne iChorus 36 Island Hood - Best Mid-Range Island Model
Here are our picks for the Best Range Hoods.
1. Chef PS18 Under Cabinet Range Hood - Best to Buy in 2021
The Chef PS18 is an under-cabinet, ducted range hood that offers a premium build and polished look, touch controls, and plenty of venting power.
Ducted (Best Ventilation)
High Cfm (Peak At 860)
It comes in 30 and 36 inches and is made of stainless steel, which has great impact absorption and corrosion resistance. When running at maximum capacity, the blowers can reach 860 CFM— enough to take care of 86,000 BTU. That’s stronger than four 20,000 BTU burners running at the same time.
The model uses stainless steel baffle filters. They are effective at trapping grease and very durable against chemical or physical damage. You can clean them by hand or you could just put them in the dishwasher.
Under-Cabinet but Vented
Since the hood is a ducted model, installation will involve setting up vents for the kitchen, which will cost you both time and money. However, if the kitchen is already vented, its under-cabinet design will be very easy to mount. Several owners have shared that it took them less than an hour to get the hood up and running.
The discharge configuration includes an upward and a rear outlet. The upward outlet will fit a round adapter that is 6 inches wide or a square adapter that is 3.25 by 10 inches. The rear outlet is only compatible with square adapters.
Instead of physical pushbuttons, the model features a touch screen, with controls for a delay timer, overhead light, fan speed, and a clock. In a way, the touch screen completes the modern aesthetic of the hood.
The Chef PS18 is a premium ducted range hood that offers everything from performance to appearance. With all things considered, it’s the most well-rounded hood that we could find.
The model is covered with a 2-year limited warranty.
2. FOTILE JQG7501 30-Inch Range Hood - Best High-End Hood
The Fotile JQG7501 is a premium piece of appliance. It offers a new design, high-tech features, and a quality build.
Ducted (best ventilation)
The JQG7501 is a ducted, 30-inch under-cabinet range hood (also available in 36 inches) that’ll bring a certain futuristic feel to your kitchen. It has a peculiar design with a 45-degree slanted surface that guides smoke and steam to the inlet opening. The surface is made of tempered glass, which looks great and is easy to clean but doesn’t do well with physical impact.
The hood can operate at three different speeds: 220, 400, and 510 CFM. If the capacity of a burner is lower than 18,000 BTU, then the hood should be able to take care of two or three of them at once.
The JQG7501 features a touch screen that controls lights, a delay shut-off function, and a screen-lock function. The screen lock allows you to clean the surface glass and the control panel screen without accidentally activating the settings.
Additionally, its baffle filters are hidden behind a cover that prevents insects and the likes from entering. The cover is fully automatic, which unfolds by itself and reveals the opening once you turn on the exhaust hood.
If you don’t fancy the high-tech controls, there’s the Fotile JQG7502.G, which is geared with physical buttons, costs less, and has a filter cover that’s always open.
With all of its perks, the Fotile JQG7501 is among the priciest residential vent hoods. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a good unit for those seeking a high-end addition to their kitchen.
The model is covered with a 5-year limited warranty.
3. Z Line KB Wall Mount Range Hood - Best Wall Mount Hood
ZLINE is a popular range hood brand that’s been featured on shows like Top Chef. For a wall mount vent hood, we like the ZLINE KB series.
Ducted (Best Ventilation)
Multiple Size Options
The series offers models ranging from 30 inches to 48 inches wide, which makes it suitable for both residential and commercial kitchens. The models are all made of stainless steel, from the hood to the chimney extension.
The blower’s suction is adjustable, with speeds of 280, 400, 580, and 760 CFM. At the max setting of 760 CFM, the hood can handle up to 75,000 BTUs. That should be able to take care of five burners with 15,000 BTU each.
ZLINE recommends using speeds 1 and 2 for light frying or boiling, 3 for heavy frying or boiling, and 4 for grilling or intensive frying.
All models in the KB series come with aluminum baffle filters that said to be dishwasher-safe but the general rule is don’t put aluminum wares in the dishwasher.
This is a ducted series, so you’ll have to vent your kitchen. There’s no rear outlet and the ducts will have to run up through the ceiling. There’s an included stainless steel chimney that will cover the pipe up. You’ll also get a backdraft damper that prevents outside air from entering through the ducts.
The models feature physical press buttons, a digital display, and LED lights. The power button can be used to activate the 3-minute delayed power-off function by simply pressing and holding the button until the display flashes three times.
The ZLINE KB series is an appealing find. Their solid build and reliable performance should keep any owner happy for a long time.
The series is covered with a 3-year warranty on parts and a lifetime warranty on the motor.
4. Broan Non-Ducted Hood 41000 Series - Best Ductless Range Hood
The economical yet well-made Broan 41000 is a non-ducted, under-cabinet range hood series that delivers consistent performance while costing very little.
No Need For Ducting
Multiple Size Options
Not Good For Heavy Duty
Compact and Effective
They have many size options, from 24 inches to 42 inches. The suction of these units peaks between 160 and 190 CFM— which is quite low but enough for recirculation purposes. They work best when installed no lower than 18 inches or higher than 20 inches from the range top.
These ductless range hoods use aluminum mesh filters to trap grease and charcoal filters to remove odor and pollutants from the air before returning to the room. It’s not ideal compared with ducted extractor hoods, but it beats having fumes up in your face. Remember to open doors and windows if you can.
The mesh filters can be cleaned and reused but only for a limited number of times. You shouldn’t try to reuse the charcoal filters; they should be replaced at least once a year.
No Duct Needed
The series is all under-cabinet mounts so installation is quite simple. Many users have reported that since there was no need for ducting, they were able to set it up in about 40 minutes.
For their price, models from the 41000 series by Broan are good bargains. The series is a suitable choice for small, non-ducted kitchens.
The series is covered with a 1-year limited warranty.
5. Z Line GL1i 36-Inch Island Mount Range Hood - Best Island Hood
We think the ZLINE GL1i is the best island range hood for the combination of value, craftsmanship, and utility.
Ducted (Best Ventilation)
This is a 36-inch stainless steel ducted hood and it’s best for stovetops that are 30 inches or smaller. The extra coverage will help capture everything without the help of a back wall. For larger cooking ranges, ZLINE also has the GL2i, which comes in 42 inches and 48 inches.
The hood can deliver 760 CFM at its maximum suction, sufficient to take care of 76,000 BTU— that’s about 5 regular gas burners and plenty of suction for most uses. You can choose from 4 speeds in total, with the other three yielding 280, 400, and 580 CFM of suction.
Other features of this model include aluminum baffle filters, a digital display, a chimney cover, a backdraft damper, and physical press buttons that control speeds and lights. You can use the 3-minute delayed auto shut-off by holding the power button for a few seconds until the display flashes.
You can also reconfigure the hood to work in a ductless kitchen by inserting compatible charcoal filters from Zline.
The ZLINE GL1i is a solid pick for an island-mount range hood. It’ll bring functional features and an impressive build to the kitchen at a competitive price.
The model is covered with a 3-year warranty on parts and a lifetime warranty on the motor.
6. Broan-NuTone Range Hood F40000 Series - Best Under Cabinet Hood
The Broan F40000 is a classic convertible series that still manages to offer relevant values in this modern market.
No need for ducting
Simple in Specs
The F40000 comes in all sizes from 24 to 42 inches. They all have two speeds and max out at 160 CFM. In cooking capacity, that’s only about one 15,000 BTU burner or two 8,000 BTU simmering burners. You’ll find them suitable for occasional, light cooking only.
They use aluminum mesh filters and if you want to go for ductless, the charcoal filters are sold separately. The hood can be vented from the top, which takes both square (3.25 by 10 inches) and round (7 inches) ducts, or from the rear, which only takes a square duct.
The hood itself is pretty simple to install, but the venting is usually not as easy. We recommend hiring certified help to do it.
The Broan F40000 series is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for something basic and affordable.
The series is covered with a 1-year limited warranty.
7. Zuhne iChorus 36-Inch Range Hood - Best Mid-Range Island Model
It was surprisingly tough to look for a quality, mid-priced island-mount hood. The Zuhne iChorus 36-inch is one of the few promising choices we could find.
High CFM (peak at 600)
This is a 36-inch, stainless steel, island-mount range hood. It can operate at three different speeds and yield 600 CFM at maximum capacity— meaning the hood can handle four 15,000 BTU burners simultaneously.
This hood features physical press buttons that control the speeds, lights, and an auto-shutoff feature that programs the hood to shut down after 5 minutes. There’s no power button; instead, you turn it on and off with the speed buttons.
The iChorus comes with a chimney duct cover and back-draft damper for your ducted setup. You can go ductless if you want with the charcoal filters that are also included.
The Zuhne iChorus 36 is not terribly strong for its size but it is a solid hood that is built to last.
The hood is covered with a lifetime limited warranty.
Best Range Hoods Comparison Chart
|Yes||860||Under cabinet||2 years|
|Fotile JQG7501||Yes||510||Wall mount||5 years|
|Z Line KB||Yes||760||Wall mount||3 years|
|Broan 41000 Series||No||160||Under cabinet||1 year|
|ZLine GL1i||Convertible||760||Island mount||3 years|
|Broan F40000 Series||Convertible||160||Under cabinet||1 year|
|Zuhne iChorus||Convertible||600||Island mount||Lifetime|
Related post: How to Vent a Range Hood on an Interior Wall
Best Range Hood Brands
There are quite a number of range hood brands because the market is quite competitive. While that doesn't ease the process of picking one, it is the competition that works in your favor— the consumers— when it comes down to the bucks.
Here we've picked out the most promising companies out of dozens of them and given them a thorough check-up:
1. Broan-Nutone Llc
Broan is one of the oldest and biggest names in residential ventilation. Started in 1932, Broan has been considered the leading brand in fresh air facility for a long time. Their products range from whole-house air-quality systems to specific ventilation products like fans or vent hoods.
Range hoods are no doubt one of their most successful franchises. Their best products are ones with simple designs and offer few key features, placing them mainly in the low to the mid-price range.
Chef is a young brand who entered the industry about 15 years ago and their products boast major potential. Although it's not popular, the brand is still one of the few favorites in local home improvement stores in South San Francisco.
Chef’s most known series is their Pro Under Cabinet Hoods. With its contemporary, eye-catching designs and abundant utilities, so far the series has had quite a good run since it was first available a few years ago.
Zline Kitchen and Bath is a family-owned company that is based in Ohio and Nevada, United States, founded by one Andy Zuko. Their products and reputation are built with honesty and commitment.
Zline exhaust hoods are known for their longevity and durability. Loved by home cooks and professional chefs alike, Zline products— wall mount and island mount vent hoods in particular— has appeared many times on Top Chef since 2016
Fotile is a young global company that has been patiently building up its reputation with out-of-the-box thinking. It’s reflected most clearly in their Fotile V Range Hood series, with modern aesthetics and innovative mechanics.
The brand aims the top-end market with costly features in their range hoods. However, the quality of Fotile range hoods is vouched by their much-pleased customers.
Much better known for its sink, Zuhne is not exactly a new name in the kitchen and bath fixture industry. By practicing professional attitude in business, the brand reinforces the existing approval of consumers further and further day by day.
Though fairly new to the range hood scene, Zuhne chimney hoods have reaped a certain amount of success. The company managees to offer quality craftsmanship and attention to details in this unfamiliar appliance category.
A writer and entrepreneur, Luna’s day doesn’t start at the computer keyboard, but in the kitchen. Half of her working hours are spent on mixing ingredients for her recipes. The other half involve working with the tech team to research and test the tools and appliances that promise to make kitchen work effortless and mess-free. From a kitchen knife or water filter to the Instant Pot, if it can help save time and effort for the home cook, Luna and her team are on it. Luna’s extracurricular pastimes include camping, travel, and photography.