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Range Hood Buying Guide

In any kitchen, the selection of the ventilation equipment is just as important as the selection of the cooking equipment. There are many different factors that contribute to choosing the ventilation that’s right for your kitchen. These can be confusing but they must be considered in order to help you purchase the ideal ventilation to suit your individual needs.

Mounting Type

Wall Mount

Wall Mount

This standard type of ventilation can be mounted to the wall above your cooktop. Wall mount ventilation should overlap your cooktop by about 3" on each side. (For example, if your cooktop is 30", you will need an additional 6" of hood coverage, so you would want a 36" range hood.)

Island Mount

Island Mount

If your kitchen has an island or peninsula counter with a cooktop, this type of ventilation can be mounted to the ceiling directly above it. Island mount ventilation should overlap your cooktop by about 3" to 6" on each side.

Under Cabinet

Under Cabinet

This type of ventilation can be mounted under cabinets your kitchen may have above your cooktop. The cabinet is able to hide the duct work.

Hood Liner

Liner

Liner ventilation can be mounted inside already existent custom hoods in your kitchen. These hoods can be above an island, peninsula, or a cooktop against a wall.

Slide-Out Range Hoods

Slide-Out Range Hoods are excellent options for smaller kitchens.

Venting Type

Ducted

Ducted venting filters any ventilation through ducts externally, or to the outside of your home.

Non-Ducted

Non-ducted venting, also called recirculating or duct free venting, filters any ventilation and directs it internally, or back into your kitchen.

Convertible

This type of ventilation begins as recirculating, but if you purchase an optional kit, you can convert it to external venting. Some of these kits even feature duct free installation.

How is good cooking ventilation achieved?

It is best to duct grease, heat, smoke and odor out of kitchen and outside. If venting outside is not an option or you have no access to duct work, you need a ductless or recirculating hood that traps stuff and then recirculates air back through kitchen.

A ventilation system essentially consists of three components: the hood canopy, the blower system, and the ducting. All three of these components must work together in unison to provide proper ventilation. Any deficiency in one of these three areas may result in the range hood not performing to its full potential.

Before proceeding to the selection of the correct ventilation system, the type of cooking equipment must be determined. The hood canopy, blower system, and ducting should be designed to handle the heat output of the cooking equipment, measured in watts for electric cooking equipment and BTUs for gas cooking equipment.

Hood Canopy

To properly size a hood canopy, four dimensions must be considered:

Holding Capacity - Hoods do not pull or draw, they only collect. Holding capacity is needed to collect cooking vapors so the blower units can vent them to the outside. For standard cooking equipment, under cabinet hoods are appropriate choices. For professional style cooking equipment or barbecue grills, wall mount hoods should be used.

Overlap - Whenever possible, the hood should overlap the cooking equipment by three inches on each side. On island hoods, this recommendation should be considered mandatory.

Projection - The hood should project out to the front edge of the front burners in order to properly capture cooking vapors.

Mounting Height - The hood should be hung at the recommended mounting height to properly capture cooking vapors. Hanging a hood higher than recommended may result in the hood being less efficient. The bottom of the hood should be 28" to 36" above your cooktop, and the average cooktop should be 36" above the floor.

Blower System - How much CFM do you need?

For an Electric Cooktop

If your cooktop is electric, you will need 100 CFM for every 10 inches of cooktop surface.

For a Gas Cooktop

If your cooktop is gas, to determine the CFM you should take its maximum BTU and divide that by 100.

Here are some examples of common blower types:

  • B100 Single Blower (300 CFM) - The B100 Single Blower is appropriate for under cabinet or wall mount hoods for standard electric cooking equipment.
  • B200 Dual Blower (600 CFM) - The B200 Dual Blower is appropriate for under cabinet or wall mount hoods for standard cooking equipment, gas or electric, and some professional style ranges. Additional blowers may be added if needed.
  • T200 Island Dual Blower (600 CFM) - The T200 Island Dual Blower is appropriate for island hoods for standard cooking equipment, gas or electric, and some professional style ranges. Additional blowers may be added if required.
  • T400 Cluster Island Blower (1200 CFM) - The T400 Cluster Island Blower is appropriate for island hoods for larger professional style ranges. Additional blowers may be added if required.

Professional level range hoods should run 900 CFM or greater. These types must vent out of the kitchen. Recirculating hoods cannot handle professional cooking surfaces. If you do a lot of frying or wok cooking, you should consider a professional hood. If you cook a lot of pungent foods, mount range hood outdoors, have a high BTU cooktop, or have ducting that runs over 10 feet with multiple 90 degree bends, you should also consider a professional hood.

Ducting

NEVER restrict the duct size. The single blower unit (B100) requires 6" round duct or equivalent (28 square inches), and the dual blower unit (B200) requires 8" round duct or equivalent (50 square inches). When combining multiple duct runs, the square inch area must reflect the total square inch area of the ducts being combined. The proper method of combining two ducts is shown below.

Do not use flexible or corrugated duct. This type of duct will restrict air flow and reduce performance. Only use smooth galvanized metal ducts.

Make the duct run as short and as straight as possible with as few turns as possible. Avoid sharp angled turns. Instead, use smooth gradual turns such as adjustable elbows or 45-degree turns. Air must not be restricted at the end of duct run. Do not use screen wire or spring-loaded doors on wall louvers or roof jacks. Do not terminate the vent in an attic or chimney. The hood must be ducted to the outdoors..

Other Features to Consider

Feature Things to Consider
Style There are many different styles of ventilation depending on where it is mounted in your kitchen. Chimney style ventilation can be installed against a wall or above an island or peninsula. Downdraft ventilation, a less common option, can also be wall or island mounted. Canopy pro style ventilation is most common for wall mounting, but it is also available for certain island or under cabinet venting. Standard range hoods are available primarily for wall or under cabinet installation. Cabinet inserts are largely for under cabinet installation, but a few models are also wall mounts. There is only one style of ventilation for liner installation under a custom hood.
Filters Baffle filters catch grease in a removable tray. Mesh filters trap grease within the mesh and must be cleaned more frequently. Both of these filter types are dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
ADA Compliant Range Hoods Ensures persons with disabilities can safely and easily operate the range hood.
Quiet Operation The noise level of a range hood is measured in sones on a scale from 1 to 10. The lower the number, the quieter the hood. 1 sone is approximately the same noise level as a refrigerator running.
Color Ventilation comes in a variety of colors. Stainless steel, white, black, bisque, and gray are the most common color choices. Other less common colors that are also available include silver, blue, red, burgundy, and green.
Lighting Many ventilation systems include incandescent or halogen lighting which will better illuminate your cooktop. Bulbs may be included or you may need to purchase them separately.
Chimney Extension An optional chimney extension kit may be purchased if you want chimney style ventilation but you have a kitchen with tall ceilings. Some kits may accommodate ceiling heights of up to 12 feet.