Types of Range Hoods: A Guide to Kitchen Ventilation

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Unsure which hood to buy for your cooktop? Here’s a quick guide to kitchen ventilation options and factors to consider.

Kitchens can get smoky, smelly, and hot. Proper ventilation allows comfortable use of your kitchen, regardless of what’s on the menu. Range hoods are integral to common kitchen ventilation systems. They work to remove smoke, airborne grease, and heat from cooktops. They can also enhance the aesthetic of your space by adding a dramatic focal point.

Types of range hoods include wall canopy, under-cabinet, and island canopy hoods. The best hood for your kitchen will depend on numerous factors, including size, layout, cooking preference, and cost. This guide to the different types of range hoods on the market can help you make an informed decision about which is best for your home.

Types of Range Hoods

There are several types of range hoods, each designed to filter out unwanted heat, smoke, and odors from your kitchen. Here’s a guide to the most common types:

Wall-Mount Canopy Range Hoods

Wall-mount canopy range hoods are installed against the kitchen wall above the cooktop. They are typically large, making them suitable for both residential and commercial kitchens. To capture cooking fumes effectively without damaging the hood, it should be installed 28 to 36 inches above the cooktop.

Under-Cabinet Range Hoods

These hoods are installed under kitchen wall cabinets. They are space-saving, less bulky, and can blend seamlessly into any kitchen design. They use a fan to draw in and filter dirty air, then vent it outside. Some models can recirculate clean air back into the kitchen. Under-cabinet hoods are easy to install and cost-effective, though they may have limited ventilation power and can be noisy. They might not be suitable for larger cooktops.

Chimney or Island Range Hoods

Installed on the ceiling above a kitchen island cooktop, these hoods offer a flexible kitchen design. Ducted island range hoods are more powerful but require complex installation. Ductless models are easier and less expensive to install, though they may not be as effective at removing cooking fumes.

Over-the-Range Hoods or Micro Hoods

These range hoods are built into the microwave and placed above the cooktop. They can be either ducted or ductless. A minimum of 16 inches of vertical space is required between the bottom of the microwave and the cooktop.


Downdrafts are ideal for kitchens that lack upper cabinet or ceiling space. They are integrated into the stove or installed separately and draw smoke and odors downward, venting them through ductwork beneath the floor. Recirculating or ductless kits are also available.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Range Hood

Venting Strength (CFM Rating)

The power of a range hood’s ventilation is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), indicating the volume of air the fan can remove from the kitchen each minute. For every 100 British thermal units (BTU) your cooktop produces, you need 1 CFM. Cooktop manufacturers usually specify the required CFM, but a higher CFM is beneficial, especially if you cook frequently or use high heat.

Venting Options

Range hoods can be ducted, ductless, or convertible. Ducted hoods push air outside through ductwork, while ductless hoods pass air through a filter before recirculating it back into the room. Convertible hoods can operate in either mode, offering flexibility.

Size and Fit

Your range hood should be slightly larger than your cooktop, extending about 3 inches beyond it on each side for optimal coverage and venting.


Ductless range hoods are easier to install and can be a good DIY project. Ducted hoods require professional installation due to the complexity of ductwork.

Filtration System

Mesh filters, made of stacked metal mesh, can be difficult to clean and may deteriorate over 

time. Baffle filters, usually made of higher-quality metals like stainless steel or aluminum, are more durable. Charcoal filters don’t need cleaning but must be replaced every 3 to 6 months or after about 120 hours of cooking.


Range hoods vary widely in price. Basic one-speed recirculating canopy units start at around $50. High-end models, such as artisan-grade copper hoods, can cost up to $6,000. Features influencing price include noise levels, style, material, automatic speed adjustment, and lighting.

Choosing the right range hood involves considering your kitchen’s layout, your cooking habits, and your budget. With the right information, you can find a range hood that not only improves your kitchen’s ventilation but also enhances its overall look.


Choosing the right range hood for your kitchen is essential for maintaining a comfortable and clean cooking environment. With various types available, including wall-mount canopy, under-cabinet, island, over-the-range, and downdraft hoods, you can select one that fits your kitchen layout and cooking habits. Key factors to consider include venting strength (CFM rating), venting options (ducted or ductless), size, installation ease, filtration systems, and cost. By carefully evaluating these aspects, you can find a range hood that not only effectively removes smoke, heat, and odors but also enhances the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen. Whether you’re on a budget or looking for a high-end model, there is a range hood that will meet your needs and preferences, ensuring a pleasant cooking experience.

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