What Type of Range Hood Is Right For Your Kitchen?
Proper ventilation in the kitchen is essential for keeping your cook space clean and helping clear the air of smoke, odor and grease. Range hoods can also double as a style piece and may offer features like LED lighting and quiet ventilation. When it comes to different types of range hoods, you may have more options than you think. For example, choose from subtle undercabinet hoods, statement-making island canopy hoods, dual-purpose microwave hood combinations and more. Read on to learn more about types of range hoods and what to look for when shopping.
Explore 6 kitchen range hood styles
Wall-Mount Canopy Hoods
Wall-mount canopy hoods install into the wall above the range and completely replace over-the-range cabinets. They have a bell-like shape that effectively captures and filters kitchen air. Expect to find a range of powerful venting speeds and a variety of styles to match your kitchen aesthetic.
Wall-mount canopy hoods are available in sizes to match your range below, from compact to extra-wide. For instance, Maytag® wall-mount range hoods offer 24-inch to 36-inch widths. These range hoods can come as back-to-basic models or with the full set of high-end features like LED lighting and perimetric ventilation.
Island Canopy Hoods
Island canopy hoods install in the ceiling and hang over an island range. Since they’re typically near the center of the room, they can contribute to the aesthetics of your kitchen rather than blend in. Island canopy hoods often deliver powerful ventilation along with the latest innovations. Unlike wall-mount canopy hoods, these models are finished on all sides to look good from any angle.
Maytag brand’s island canopy hood delivers advanced features like Glass Edge LED Lighting that senses when your kitchen lights dim and automatically turns on to act as a night-light. The In-Line Smart Blower can be installed as an exhaust motor in the hood or as an in-line blower in the attic of your home for added noise reduction.
These hoods install under an over-the-range cabinet. Their slim design delivers a more built-in look than a canopy hood and allows you to use the cabinets above for storage. Despite their discreet size, they offer a range of venting power and speeds suitable for most meals. Undercabinet hoods typically vent by filtering kitchen air then pushing it back out into the kitchen, a process called recirculation, though external venting may be available.
Since undercabinet hoods should fit snug under and between cabinets, finding the right size for your kitchen is essential. Most Maytag® undercabinet hoods come with the FIT System, which helps reduce measuring, cutting and trim so that your hood is a perfect fit every time.1
Microwave Hood Combinations
Microwave hood combinations do double duty: they cook food while venting smoke and odor coming off the cooking surface below. These two-in-one appliances free up countertop space and let you retain some cabinet storage above the microwave. Like undercabinet hoods, these models typically vent through recirculation.
Not only do these appliances do the work of a microwave and a vent, some even have features similar to those commonly found on ovens. For instance, select Maytag® microwave hoods offer the Dual Crisp feature which combines broiler-like, top-down heat with traditional microwave cooking to deliver oven-like, crispy results.2
Retractable Downdraft Hoods
Retractable downdraft systems are installed into countertops and remain flush with the cooktop surface until needed. When it’s time to cook, these hidden vent hoods rise up around fourteen inches behind the range or cooktop. Downdraft vents are a great solution for kitchen island ventilation. Smoke and odor is vented down into the ductwork beneath the floor, though recirculating kits are often available.
Expect strong venting capabilities from these vent hoods which benefit from their close proximity to the cooking surface. For example, Maytag® retractable downdraft hoods offer a powerful 600 CFM interior blower motor,3 which means they have the capacity to vent a large amount of air out of the kitchen per minute. Learn more about CFMs later in this article.
Range Hood Liners
Range hood liners let you hide ventilation within cabinetry so you can create the look you want. The inner workings are concealed inside custom cabinetry and the liner is simply inserted in the bottom. These hoods typically deliver similar venting strength and features as other types of range hoods.
Some hood liners come with a blower (the part that enables venting) and some don’t. For instance, you can buy this Maytag® hood liner with a blower, or buy an individual blower so you can choose the venting strength you need. Always check to see if a hood liner includes the blower or if it is purchased separately.
Learn more about range hood venting options
After you’ve settled on a type of range hood, you’ll want to make sure it vents the way you want. You have three options: external, recirculating or convertible ventilation. Whatever range hood type you choose, you should be able to find a model with your desired ventilation.
What is a DUCTED range hood?
Ducted range hoods vent externally, which means they push kitchen air out of the house through ductwork in the wall, ceiling or floor. External venting is available in all types of range hoods but is particularly common in canopy and downdraft styles. If your kitchen doesn’t have ductwork installed, it should be an easy job for a professional. Ducted range hoods are often labeled as “vented” in product names and specifications.
What is a ductless range hood?
Ductless range hoods filter kitchen air then push it back out into the kitchen rather than out of the house. This type of range hood is most common in the undercabinet and microwave hood styles, which typically come factory set to recirculate air and will require you to clean the vent filter usually about twice a year. To determine if a hood is ductless, check the ventilation type in the product specifications: it will most likely say “recirculation.”
What is a CONVERTIBLE range hood?
Some hoods allow you to choose which ventilation option you want depending on your kitchen’s ductwork. A convertible range hood can vent externally or via air recirculation. Undercabinet and canopy hoods are the most likely types to be convertible, but keep in mind that kits are available for non-convertible models that make them convertible.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A TYPE OF RANGE HOOD?
SIZE AND FIT
The width of your range hood should always match the width of the cooking surface below for complete coverage and optimal venting. For that reason, standard sizes will match standard range and cooktop sizes of 30 and 36 inches wide, though compact and extra wide sizes are also available.
Venting strength: CFM ratings
Venting power is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). This number represents the amount of air a vent can move in a minute’s time: the higher the number, the stronger the venting power. The CFMs listed in product specifications correlate with the highest speed setting on a range hood. Canopy and downdraft hoods tend to have the highest CFM ratings.
QUIETNESS: DBA RATINGS
Decibels (dBAs) measure the noise level of a range hood: the lower the number, the quieter the hood. There are typically multiple dBAs listed in product specifications that represent different vent speed settings. Some range hoods are built with quietness in mind, like Maytag® Range Hoods with Noise Reduction Technology that use sound insulation and a special chimney design to help cut down on clamor in the kitchen.
HEAT TOLERANCE: BTU RATINGS
If you have a gas range or cooktop, you’ll need to make sure your hood is compatible with the amount of heat it will put off. Electric cook surfaces, on the other hand, will be compatible with any hood. BTU ratings (British Thermal Units) measure the amount of heat a gas burner can create: the higher the number, the hotter the burner. Check product specifications or an owner’s manual to compare BTU ratings for the hood and cook surface below it. The hood should have the same BTU rating or higher.
CAN I INSTALL A RANGE HOOD BY MYSELF?
If you already have the appropriate ductwork in the kitchen, you should be able to install a range hood yourself, though you’ll likely need the help of another person. However, if you find that you need to rewire or move plumbing, it may be beneficial to consult with a professional. Learn how to install a range hood step by step.
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1. Based on typical installation with existing electrical and ventilation connections. Consult a professional installer to ensure your installation complies with code requirements.
2. Degree of crisp will vary depending on food thickness and type.
3. Performance varies based on installation. Resources available at aham.org.