Range Hoods 101
Raise your hand if you’ve ever returned home the day after preparing a particularly smelly dish and you can detect a lingering stink. Maybe it was pan-seared fish or a particularly aromatic curry. Whatever the source, we don’t like this stinky side-effect. The fastest way to “clear the air” is to turn the range hood over your stove or cooktop on during cooking and to leave it on for a few minutes after you've finished. Here is what you need to know in terms of types, features, price ranges, etc.
Types of Vent Hoods
This type of vent hood extends all of the way to the ceiling. They vent directly outside through ductwork in the wall or ceiling. Price range: $500-$3,000 depending on size, exterior finish, airflow and other features.
This type of vent hood mounts to the bottom of a wall cabinet. The ductwork should route outside (more on this below under “Important Considerations”. These vents are as deep as the cabinet under which they are mounted, which is less deep than the cooking surface. As a result, sometimes they do not capture all steam and smoke from the cooking surface. Price range: $150-$1,000 depending on airflow and features. Another option is to purchase a microwave and vent hood combined, which is them called a 'microhood'. The price range for a microhood: $300-$1,000.
This type of vent hood is similar to the wall-chimney design but is not supported by a wall behind. They vent directly outside through ductwork in the ceiling. Island vent hoods should be slightly larger than the cooking surface to capture all steam and smoke because there are no walls to help direct these gases into the device. Price range: $1,000-$4,500 depending on size, exterior finish, airflow and other features.
This type of vent is designed for use on an island or other area where the homeowner either cannot or prefers not to have a hood above the cooking surface. They are designed to pull steam and smoke down through the vent, which typically pops up out of the cooking surface, and through ductwork in the floor. These vent hoods are the least effective. Price range: $300-$1,000 depending on size, exterior finish, airflow and other features.
General Note: Just as the price for hoods varies widely, so will the cost of installation. Expect to pay a minimum of $300 if the ductwork already exists and you are installing an undercabinet model and upwards of $750 if ductwork needs to be installed. Installation of wall-chimney units will also require some drywall or touch-up painting as well.
Airflow- this is the most important feature of the hood. Manufacturers report the airflow of the unit, or how much air is pulled through the vent in a given time period, in cubic feet per minute. The higher the airflow the faster air will be pulled from the cooking surface.
Fan Speed(s) – better quality units have at least two speeds; a higher speed to void the cooking area of steam, smoke, and odor during cooking and a lower speed to continue to draw stinky air from the cooking area once cooking is finished.
Exhaust Timer – this feature allows the user to set a timer that automatically turns the vent hood off after a set amount of time.
Thermostat Control – some undercabinet models have a temperature sensor that will automatically turn the vent on if the cooking surface reaches a certain temperature. The point is to protect the electronics of a microwave, which is typically installed above the hood. However, there is a safety concern with this feature if a fire were to ignite on the cooking surface as the vent would draw more air on the fire essentially fanning the flames.
Duct Vs. Ductless – We advise to always opt for a range hood with duct work that directs the exhaust outside of the home. Ductless units simply redistribute the stink throughout the room by sucking up air around the cooking surface and releasing it back into the room. Yes, ductless units are cheaper but what’s the point of buying a range hood in the first place?