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Range Hoods and Vents

Range hoods and vents are essential in any kitchen to diffuse cooking smells, hot air and gases from the stove. But besides their functional purpose, venting appliances can be a stylish way to complete the look of your kitchen, from statement-making copper and stainless steel range hoods to simple microwaves with vents. Whatever sort of range hood vent you’re in the market for, consider the following guidelines:

Should I get a ducted or ductless range hood?


The first thing you should determine when shopping for a kitchen hood vent is whether you want it to be ducted for outside ventilation or not. A ducted range hood redirects air through a system of pipes to the outside, while a ductless or recirculating range hood simply filters the air and releases it back into the kitchen. While a ducted vent is more effective in getting rid of hot air and cooking smells, it is also more complicated to install than a ductless model. Professional range hood installation can make the process much easier, but if you decide to install the vent yourself, remember to never direct the piping into your attic or basement.

What type of range hood should I get?


Range hoods come in a variety of styles depending on where they are installed, and whether they are ducted or ductless. Think about the set-up of your kitchen, and which type would work best for your cooking needs.

Under Cabinet Range Hood - If you have a cabinet above your stove, an under cabinet style might be the best option for your kitchen. These vents are installed on the underside of the cabinet and can be ducted or ductless.

Island Range Hood - This venting system is for kitchens with a stovetop on top of an island. Island hood vents hang above the freestanding cooktop and diffuse air through ducting in the ceiling.

Range Hood Insert - If you want to hide your range hood and you have cabinets above your stove, the insert style can be a great option. This type is built into the cabinetry and is hidden behind cabinet doors, with only the bottom venting underneath the cabinet exposed. Hood inserts may or may not be ducted.

Microwave with Vent - While not a true kitchen hood, you can also strategically locate your microwave above your stove, making sure you have a model that includes a vent. Over-the-range microwaves with vents are not as effective at dissipating smells and heat, but they are a good multitasking option. They can be ducted or ductless.

Wall Mount Range Hood - Also called chimney hoods, this style has a flue that releases air upward and outside, for excellent ventilation. Wall mount ranges do take up more space, however, than other models and cannot be installed where there are cabinets. This type can also be installed above an island stovetop.

Downdraft Range Hood - If you want to minimize the appearance of your kitchen vent, the downdraft range is a particularly discreet style. This venting system pops up from the stovetop when needed, and can be hidden away when you’re not cooking. It works by moving fumes through ducting running beneath the floor.

How powerful does my range hood need to be?


Some range hoods are much more heavy duty than others, so think about how often you cook, what kind of cooking you do and what kind of stove you have when choosing the right appliance for your kitchen. One of the most important indicators of a kitchen vent’s power is the CFM, or how much air it moves in cubic feet per minute. A CFM between 300 and 800 will be sufficient for most household stoves, but you can calculate how much power you’ll need by dividing your stove’s BTU’s, or British Thermal Units, by 100. In general, gas stoves will need a more heavy duty range hood than will electric stoves.

Of course, all of the air circulating that kitchen vents accomplish can create a lot of noise. You can compare noise levels by looking at a venting system’s number of sones. Just keep in mind that the more powerful the appliance is, the louder it’s going to be. Size is important too: For optimum circulation, your range hood should be at least as long as your stove, and it’s even better if it hangs about three inches longer on either side.
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