Buying Guide

Best Range Hoods for Your Kitchen

What is a Range Hood?
A stainless steel wall-mounted range hood installed in a kitchen with a marble-toned wall.

Range hoods are simply kitchen exhaust fans. These kitchen ventilation systems are installed over your stove to draw unpleasant air through a filter and disperse it.

Some varieties vent smells and hot air outside to remove it from the kitchen. Other types recirculate the kitchen atmosphere and therefore take longer to clear the air.

Because they are placed over cooking ranges – often in prominent display – the best range hoods can provide as much style as functionality in a kitchen.

Range Hood Ventilation types
Ducted - Range Hoods
Ductless - Range Hoods
Convertible - Range Hoods
Description Unpleasant air is vented outside of the house through a series of vertical or horizontal ducts. A filter system is used to clean air before circulating it back into house. Convertible range hoods can be configured for external ducts or utilized for recirculation.
Other Considerations Ducted range hoods are often considered to the best range hoods for efficiently removing unwanted aroma in the kitchen. Because the vent must open to the home’s exterior, installation is more complicated if ductwork is not already in place. The best hoods for kitchens without a passage to the outside are known as ductless range hoods. This variety is often found in apartment homes or other situations where venting through the exterior is not an option. Filters must be cleaned or changed regularly to ensure high-quality performance. Does not require ducting, and therefor easier to install. If using filters in either application, be sure to change or clean them regularly for best performance. Choose to vent externally when possible for a higher level of effectiveness.
Range Hood Mounting Types
A wall-mounted range hood and an island range hood.

Finding the best hood vent for your situation primarily depends on the layout of your kitchen and how it will be mounted above your cooking surface. When shopping for a new range hood, remember that the unit needs to be at least as wide as your cooktop.

Before you buy any range hood, make sure you have the right amount of space needed for it. Any hood you consider should be at least as wide as the cooking surface it will be installed above. Ideally, look for a kitchen hood that is wider than your stove or cooktop. When installed, the bottom edge of the hood will be about 30-inches from the top of your range. 

  • Undercabinet range hoods mount to the bottom of a wall cabinet and is perhaps the most common method of mounting. If it is a ducted range hood, the vent is often routed through the upper cabinet. Ductless models keep the upper cabinet free for storage.
  • Wall-mounted range hoods are attached to a wall, where there are no cabinets above the stove. This type is wide at the bottom and gradually narrows before venting outdoors.
  • Island range hoods, or ceiling-mount range hoods, are mounted to and vented through ductwork in the ceiling. This type model has become increasingly popular for home remodels where a stove or cooktop is built into the kitchen’s island or peninsula.
Range Hood Features
A stainless steel under-the-cabinet range hood installed in a kitchen with wooden cabinets.

All types of range hoods are measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM) units to indicate the strength of the appliance. A higher CFM rating moves more air through the hood vent. In general, the higher the CFM, the better. 

The type of fan inside of the range hood can be a rotary fan with attached blades that is similar to a common box fan, or a centrifugal fan that is shaped like a barrel or a wheel. Centrifugal fans are often more powerful and better suited for longer ducts.

Exhausting air is its primary function but there are other considerations and features to look at when shopping for the best kitchen hood for your home:

  • Quiet range hoods can be less noisy, even when the exhaust fan is operating at its highest speed. The noise level of a range hood is measured in “sones.” The louder the range hood, the higher the sone rating.
  • Heat sensors on some models automatically turn the unit on when the range hood senses high heat.
  • A filter monitor with indicator lights lets you know when it’s time to change the filter.
  • Some models have self-cleaning or filterless operation.
  • An exhaust timer is a convenient feature that turns off the fan after a set period of time.
  • Lights make it easier to see what you are cooking. Night lights under the hood provide soft illumination when walking into the kitchen.
  • Electronic touch controls offer precise operation and the ability to preset on and off times.
  • Variable-Speed Fan with Heat Sensors: Fans speed up to handle more heat. Most range hoods have at least two fan speeds, high and low. In variable-speed fans, sensors automatically increase speed or sound alarm when things get too hot. 
Range Hood Finishes
A copper range hood is mounted on a brick wall in a kitchen.

A range hood is a functional part of kitchen. It can also be a stylish element in the room’s overall decor.

Range hoods are available in a variety of eye-catching materials. You can select an easy-to-clean stainless steel range hood to match your appliances. Choose a copper hood vent for an elegant statement. With a broad variety of colors and finishes to pick from, you can easily find the best range hood to complement your cabinetry and the rest of your kitchen.

Maintenance and Installation Tips
A ceiling-mounted range hood is installed over a cooktop on a kitchen island.

For houses that already have ductwork in place, make sure to get a replacement range hood that has a compatible design. For new construction, determine whether vertical or horizontal positioning will be more efficient.

Remember that exhaust from a ducted range hood must be vented outside of the house and not into a crawl space or attic.

  • Models that can accommodate either round or rectangular ductwork provide greater installation versatility.
  • Gas ranges usually require a range hood with a higher CFM rate than electric stovetops.
  • Wash or replace range hood filters regularly as needed. You can wash aluminum mess filters in your dishwasher as frequently as once a month. Charcoal filters aren't washable and should be replaced according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Deep-frying and frequent cooking may require you to clean or replace filters more frequently.
  • Wipe down range hood surfaces after use with warm water and mild soap, or follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.

Find the best hood vent for your kitchen by selecting one that has enough power to help eliminate unwanted odors, smoke and heat when cooking. And choose a range hood that fits the physical space as well as the style and finish that matches your decor. Shop online and pick up in store for free. Need range hood parts fast? Order before noon for convenient scheduled same-day delivery.