If you’re in the middle of a kitchen remodel or planning to update some old appliances to better suit your kitchen layout, one item you shouldn’t neglect is a range hood. Also referred to as a vent hood, it’s oftentimes an overlooked aspect of a kitchen’s functionality and design.
Range hoods come in a variety of materials, configurations, styles, and finishes, and depending on the layout of your cooking space, you’ll have the option to install your hood under your cabinetry or directly above your stove.
Regardless of the range variety you eventually decide on, it must meet your ventilation needs and accomplish what it was equipped to do. If you’re eager for a breath of fresh air, read on to discover the different types of range hoods and the unique features that will make your culinary space stand out.
What Does a Range Hood Do?
Before we get down to brass tacks, let’s briefly discuss the purpose of a range hood. Any ventilation unit is designed to control and disperse smoke, steam, and grease- or oil-related odors out of your kitchen. A range hood collects and transfers these unhealthy vapors to prevent your cooking from fogging up your kitchen.
A ventilation system does its part to improve the air quality in your home, but it also plays a role in preserving the beauty and structure of your walls, backsplash, and kitchen cabinets. Deciding how you want your hood to be vented and how you want to disperse unwanted vapors depends on the structure of your kitchen, the size of your range or cooktop, and your personal preferences.
We think you’re ready to blow off some steam, so let’s examine some of the most popular vent hood varieties.
Wall-Mounted Range Hood
A wall-mounted range hood is a ventilation system that is attached to the wall directly above your cooking area. If you currently have a cabinet in this space above the stove, it can be removed to make room for this variety of vent hood.
They are also known as chimney hoods because the structure used for ventilation resembles a household chimney, serving as a design element that adds a stylish and distinctive look to any kitchen space. This model of range hood vents smoke and odors from your kitchen to the outdoors through an exterior wall behind the appliance.
One of our best-sellers is part of the official Albert Lee custom hood series. This 30-inch chimney wall hood (RH00630BS) comes equipped with three-speed touch controls, LED light strips, a 6-inch round duct, and a 600-CFM blower.
Under-Cabinet Range Hood
The under-cabinet range hood is a popular choice in many modern kitchen designs due to its compact design and attractive structure. As the name would suggest, this variety of range hood is installed underneath cabinets located directly above the cooktop.
An under-cabinet vent hood can be ducted or ductless, providing a flexible option for your kitchen. If you take the ducted route, this means your hood will filter dirty air and recycle it back into your kitchen. If you prefer a ductless model, an exhaust fan will recirculate your kitchen air through specialized filters instead of ductwork. These filters help to trap grease and dirt, and neutralize odors while the air vents back into the kitchen. This can be a more effective method, but it does require more space during installation.
This KitchenAid Convertible Under-Cabinet Hood (UXT5530AAS) is designed to work with smaller cooking appliances, combining a sleek design with efficient ventilation power. It features a high-performance 400-CFM blower, three-speed settings, and dual halogen work surface lighting.
Island Range Hood
An island range hood is an incredibly adaptable and versatile option if you hope to enhance your kitchen island. It resembles a wall-mounted hood in terms of design, but an island range hood is located above your cooktop and suspended from the ceiling.
Instead of a duct that hides behind the hood, the ceiling duct vents all polluted air and odors out of your kitchen to the airspace outside your home. It's important to take accurate measurements and refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure you will have plenty of clearance for installation. Not all hoods will have the proper clearance to properly vent through the ceiling.
The Bosch 500 Series Canopy Chimney Hood (HCB56651UC) absorbs odors with charcoal filters, features a blower that will automatically turn on at high speed if excessive heat is sensed in the control area, an LCD screen with cleaning reminders, and a built-in control timer.
Downdraft Range Hood
The downdraft range hood is your ideal model if you’re searching for a discrete ventilation system. If you have a kitchen with limited overhead space, a downdraft hood tucks away at the back of your cooktop until you’re ready to use it again. This offers a clean, unobtrusive look to complement your kitchen layout and the rest of your appliances.
Unlike many other range hoods that extract fumes toward the ceiling, downdraft hoods pull any rising smoke or steam downward and away from your cooking area, venting it through the ducts underneath the floor.
A popular model is the 36-inch downdraft ventilation unit from Wolf (DD36). This model lowers into your countertop when not in use to provide clear sightlines in your kitchen. It comes with a wired remote control that can be used up to nine feet away, and an indicator lets you know when it's time to clean the filters which are dishwasher safe.
An insert hood or a cabinet insert hood provides a customized approach for a modern kitchen design. It can be installed within the cabinetry above the stove or cooktop. It comes with the standard range hood features such as blowers, speed controls, and lighting systems, but does not come with a fully functional ventilation system like other range hood varieties.
An insert hood is best used as the anchor for a custom-designed hood because it has the skeleton and all the base features you would need for a proper ventilation appliance. This direction also allows you to design a vent system that seamlessly matches the layout of your culinary space.
The Amana Custom Hood Liner (UVL6036JSS) features a hidden ventilation system mounted to the inside of the custom vent cover (which can be made of metal, wood, plaster, or tile), offering a uniquely streamlined look. It also offers you a choice of motors for different levels of ventilation power.
Now that you know about the types of range hoods and what they have to offer, you might still have some questions regarding range hood sizes and distinct differences from model-to-model. As a brief recap, here are some of our most frequently asked questions when it comes to vent hoods.
1. What is the difference between an island range hood vs a wall-mount range hood?
As mentioned previously, an island range hood is not mounted against the wall. Island hoods are located on the ceiling and require a more powerful blower to maximize efficiency and blow unwanted air out of your kitchen.
2. What is the difference between a range hood insert vs an under-cabinet hood?
An under-cabinet hood is a full-service ventilation system located under your kitchen cabinets. An insert is a customizable piece with a fan, lights, and control panel in it, but it won’t come with full ventilation capabilities.
3. What are the different range hood sizes?
They vary depending on the model and installation requirements, but the two most common sizes are 30 and 36 inches. For optimal venting performance, a hood should be installed 20 to 24 inches away from an electric cooktop and 24 to 30 inches from a gas cooktop.
4. Do I need a 30- or 36-inch range hood?
Many factors that can determine range hood size. Consider the mounting location, filters, height, size of your cooking appliance, the duct system, and the CFMs. Hoods should extend three to six inches past the cooktop, so keep this in mind for a frame of reference.
Remember, if you’re renovating your kitchen, the range hood is just as important as any other appliance. A system that keeps the air in your kitchen free of odors, smoke, and cooking remnants will help you maintain a pleasant environment that will carry throughout your home. With the number of brands, styles, and installation options, there are no limitations. This small addition can change the landscape of your kitchen and make a big difference in the success of your home design and the functionality of your cooking space.
If you’re ready to invest in a new range hood, Albert Lee offers the most diverse selection of sustainable range hood brands and models, along with our own line of custom hoods. You can even find plenty of range hood blowers and range hood accessories to go with your new ventilation system. To see for yourself, visit one of our 6 retail locations in the greater Seattle area, or shop online today!