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How to Choose a Range Hood

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

If you’re remodeling your kitchen, you may want to consider purchasing a range hood for your stove. But with so many options available, how do you know which kind is right for your kitchen? This range hood buying guide will help learn how to choose a range hood that perfectly meets your needs.

What is a Range Hood?

Range hoods, also known as vent hoods, pull the smoke, food particles, and moisture out of the air while cooking. They keep your kitchen cleaner and fresher, making them a fantastic investment for those who do a lot of heavy cooking.

Types of Range Hoods

There are several different types and styles of range hoods to meet your specific needs. The different types of range hoods include:

Under-Cabinet Hoods

Under cabinet range hoods are the most common and recognizable type. As the name suggests, they fit underneath cabinets, with ductwork that runs through the cabinet’s bottom to redirect smoke and moisture outside. They generally cover the entire surface area of the stove for maximum effectiveness.

Under-cabinet hoods are an affordable and functional option for average kitchens. While some stylish designs are available, most under-cabinet hood designs are simple to avoid drawing attention to themselves.

Wall-Mount Hoods

Wall-mount hoods are another popular range hood style. Sometimes referred to as “wall-mount chimneys” due to their appearance, this type of range hood covers the surface area of the stove at its base, then narrows as it rises up the wall to give it the classic “chimney” look.

Wall mount range hoods are typically more expensive than under-cabinet range hoods, but many people prefer them for aesthetic reasons. They are also a more functional choice for kitchens that have open wall space above the stove.

Island Hoods

Island hoods are very similar in appearance to wall-mount range hoods, but they are meant to be mounted to the ceiling and away from the wall. In most cases, they fit over a stove installed in an island. The interior ductwork carries smoke and heat out through the ceiling.

Island hoods are a stylish option, great for modern kitchens, and the most obvious choice for island ranges. They are usually more expensive than under-cabinet and wall-mounted hoods, but they are both classy and functional for specific kitchen styles.

Hood Inserts

Hood inserts are just that — they’re inserted into custom-built range hoods. They contain all the functional parts of a range hood but allow you full control over the design and appearance, allowing you to build a one-of-a-kind hood to fit your kitchen style.

Hood inserts are relatively inexpensive, but when paired with the overall cost of building your own range hood, the costs quickly add up. That said, building a customized range hood is a fantastic choice for remodelers or DIYers who want to give their kitchen a completely individual look.

Downdraft Hoods

Downdraft hoods are usually mounted on a countertop next to the stove. Their modern design and technology are perfect for open-concept kitchens or for small kitchens. Downdraft hoods pull smoke, heat, and moisture from the stove and redirect it downward through small pipes in the counters and floors. When you’re not using this type of hood, simply press a button, and it will retract into the countertop.

Downdraft range hoods are often considered less effective than other types of hoods because they force the hot air downward, against its natural tendency to rise. Still, people with small kitchens or island stoves often love them for their convenience and modern look.

Elegant Looking Kitchen Range Hood

Range Hood Buying Guide: How to Pick a Range Hood

So, how do you know which range hood is right for your kitchen?

A lot will depend on the style of your kitchen and your personal stylistic preferences, but there are several factors you should take into account before making your decision.

1. Consider the Range Hood Size

Measure the length and width of your range, as well as the available space above it. You’ll want to select a range that is roughly the same size as your range surface. If the space above has cabinets, you may have to remove or redesign some of them to accommodate for an under-cabinet range hood, but that will depend on the style of the cabinets and the size of the range hood you need.

2. Consider Your Power Requirements

How powerful of a range hood do you need? If you do a lot of frying, or a lot of cooking in general, you will want to have a range hood with a lot of power and effective venting techniques.

Range hood power is described in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. Most range hood types should be rated for at least 100 CFM, and island hoods at least 150 CFM.

3. Check Ventilation Type

Some range hoods are ductless; they act more like an air filter, pulling in the smoke and moisture and then recirculating the air. These hoods are less effective than ducted range hoods, but they are also more inexpensive and easier to install. When selecting a range hood, you should have a good understanding of the ventilation type (ducted or ductless) and the pros and cons of each.

4. Check Noise Levels

All range hoods are loud, but some are quieter than others. If noise is a concern for you, try to find a range hood that is marketed as a quieter model.

5. Pick a Stylish Range Hood

You’ll also want to consider which style would look and function best in your kitchen. If you have an island stove, do you prefer the look of an island hood or a downdraft hood? Would you rather purchase a hood insert and build your own range hood?

Other Factors

Cost, ease of installation, fan speeds, and special features are all other factors to consider. Do your research beforehand; there are a lot of options, and no one can tell you which one is best, but knowing what’s available will help you make an informed decision.


Now that you know how to choose a range hood, you’re ready to consider different options. As you look at different styles and models, you’ll begin to get an idea of how to pick a range hood that will work for you.

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About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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