A Guide to Understanding Range Hoods
Because ranges produce a lot of excess heat, from flames to steam to oil residue on food, it is smart to protect any cabinetry, ceiling or electronics that rest above or near it. Too much evaporation can crack a ceiling and cause mold, and it can also damage any above-the-range appliances like microwaves. By finding a good range hood to go above your stovetop, you can protect your kitchen from excess heat and heat damage.
Types of Range Hoods
- Under-cabinet hoods: Mounted under the bottom of a wall cabinet, under-cabinet hoods utilize ductwork in an adjoining wall or ceiling to exhaust smoke and fumes to the outside. Extensions are available in the case of cabinetry that does not extend completely over the depth of the range. It will route excess steam and smoke away from the cabinets and toward the suction end of the range hood. Many under-cabinet range hoods are installed beneath an above-range microwave for convenience.
- Wall-chimney hoods: When there is no cabinetry above a range, wall-chimney hoods work well. They mount with exposed vent stacks on the wall to provide ventilation to the outside.
- Island hoods: Island hoods often look similar to wall-chimney hoods, but they are mounted to and vented through ceiling ductwork. They do not have walls or cabinets alongside them to help funnel fumes, making them ideal for ranges located on a kitchen island.
- Downdraft hoods: In a reverse strategy, downdraft hoods reverse the direction of rising smoke and fumes in an attempt to exhaust them through ducts beneath the floor. While unique, they are not as effective as ceiling and wall hoods, but they can be placed anywhere in a kitchen.
- Ductless hoods: A ductless option is available in all cabinet, wall and island hoods. They redirect steam, heat and smoke away from the stovetop and into the kitchen, rather than ducts. For this reason, its filters can trap oil and grease, requiring regular cleaning.
Important Range Hood Features
- Airflow is a feature that is not necessarily important on a variance scale. More airflow may mean faster ventilation, but it does not guarantee better smoke capture. Many range hoods with modest airflow operate the same as, if not better than, those with higher airflow. For this reason, buyers should not be impressed with devices that flaunt higher airflow.
- The number of fan speeds may seem arbitrary, but it has two benefits. First, the variation in fan strength helps when a range cooking involves excessive steam release or heat. Second, the noise level of high-powered fans can become irritating to users. Having a lower fan speed setting allows for fan use without excessive noise.
- Thermostat control on a range hood involves a built-in temperature sensor that will automatically turn on the range hood fan if the temperature below it gets too. This feature is most common on over-the-range microwaves. While the thermostat controlled fan is convenient for heat control purposes, it is also helpful in protecting the microwave and other surrounding electronics from being damaged.
- Exhaust timers are convenient for range users on a timed schedule. Rather than having to manually turn off the range hood fan after its use is no longer required, an exhaust timer will turn the fan off automatically after a set period of time. This is ideal for range users who step outside while their food is cooking and use timed range settings.
Range Hood Cost
Range hoods prices vary extensively from model to model. While under-cabinet range hoods can cost as low as $200 or even $50, wall-mounted range hoods can cost over $500, and island chimney range hoods can cost upwards of $850. In other words, the cost of your range hood will depend extensively on the layout of your kitchen as well as the location of your range.
Range Hood To-Do List
- Know the location of your range. Obviously, the range hood needs to correlate with the range it's hovering over, so the model range hood you buy should correlate with the range's location.
- Shop different brands. While island and wall-mounted range hoods will cost more than under-counter range hoods, they can still vary in price, from $500 to $1,000. Ask your salesperson what the latest deals are.
- Don't be sucked in by misleading promises. All range hoods operate on a similar suction system. They utilize duck and ventilation techniques to clear your air of excessive heat and moisture. For that reason, if any range hood brand advertises better airflow, for example, be wary of these promises, and don't pay more to benefit from them.