7 Things To Consider When Buying A Range Hood

Are you thinking about buying a range hood for your kitchen? From range hood size, CFM, and ductwork to your cooking habits and personal preferences, there’s a lot to consider.

You’ll find all the answers you need right here. Here are seven of the most important things to consider when buying a range hood.

1. Know Your Kitchen

Where is your kitchen range?

The type of range hood you require is primarily determined by the placement of your kitchen range.

There are several options available depending on your kitchen setup:

  • If your range is positioned against a wall, a wall mount range hood is suitable.
  • For ranges located beneath cabinets, an under cabinet range hood is the ideal choice.
  • Kitchen islands often require island range hoods.
  • Custom cabinetry or hood installations call for range hood inserts.
  • Outdoor kitchen ranges necessitate outdoor range hoods.

Additionally, there are professional hoods, which are high-powered kitchen fans moving 900 CFM or more, and artisan hoods, custom-built to complement your kitchen. Most custom and professional models are designed as wall or island hoods.

What is the height of your ceiling?

The height of your ceiling is an important factor to consider when selecting a range hood.

If you have a standard 8′ or 9′ ceiling, most wall and island range hoods come with chimneys designed to fit these heights. However, for taller ceilings, you may require a chimney extension. These extensions are additional accessories that cover your ductwork and accommodate higher ceilings.

Do you have room to mount the hood?

Ensure you have sufficient space in your kitchen to mount the hood according to recommended guidelines. For indoor kitchens, the hood should typically be mounted between 28 and 36 inches away from the cooktop surface. Outdoor kitchens require a bit more clearance, with hoods typically mounted between 36 and 42 inches from the cooking surface to effectively vent smoke and grease from the grill.

Is this hood for an indoor or outdoor kitchen?

When selecting a range hood, determine whether it’s intended for indoor or outdoor use. Outdoor hoods are constructed from durable, weather-resistant materials to withstand exposure to the elements and the intense heat from grills. Proline’s outdoor hoods, for example, are crafted from robust 304 stainless steel, renowned for its heat and weather resistance.

Conversely, indoor hoods feature materials like 430 stainless steel, which may not be suitable for outdoor environments. For more insights into outdoor range hoods, refer to our article ‘Why do I need an outdoor range hood?’

2. Range Hood CFM

Ensuring that your range hood’s CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) is suitable for your cooking needs is crucial for optimal performance and satisfaction. Purchasing a hood with insufficient power can lead to disappointment, as you may find it inadequate for effectively ventilating your kitchen.

How large is your cooktop?

The size of your cooktop and your cooking habits play a significant role in determining the appropriate CFM for your range hood. Larger cooktops, especially those with higher BTU (British Thermal Units) ratings or wattage, require more powerful hoods to effectively remove smoke, grease, and odors. If you frequently cook Asian cuisine, fried foods, or dishes with high grease content, opt for a hood with a higher CFM rating to accommodate the increased ventilation needs.

How often do you cook? Do you like to cook Asian food, greasy food, or fried food?

The type of cooktop you have also influences the CFM requirement for your range hood. Gas ranges, measured in BTUs, typically necessitate higher CFM ratings compared to electric ranges. To determine the minimum CFM for a gas range hood, divide the total BTUs of your cooktop by 100. For electric ranges, simply multiply the width of your range by 10 to determine the minimum CFM required for adequate ventilation.

How powerful is your cooktop? Is it gas or electric?

For instance, let’s consider a gas cooktop measuring 48 inches with six burners and a griddle. The small burners produce 8,000 BTUs each, while the large burners generate 12,000 BTUs each. With three of each burner type and a griddle outputting 20,000 BTUs, the total BTU output is 80,000. Following the rule of thumb of 100 CFM for every 10,000 BTUs, a minimum of 800 CFM would be required for effective ventilation over this gas cooktop.

3. Range Hood Size

For indoor kitchens, it’s advisable to choose a range hood that is three inches wider than your range on each side. This additional width ensures optimal coverage and efficient capture of smoke and fumes generated during cooking.

In outdoor kitchens, it’s recommended to select a hood that is at least six inches wider than your grill on each side. For instance, if you have a 36-inch grill, your hood should ideally measure at least 48 inches in width.

4. Noise Level

The noise level of your hood, often measured in sones, can be a crucial consideration. Are you more inclined towards prioritizing power or minimizing noise? While there’s often a trade-off between the two, a high-quality range hood, even if powerful, shouldn’t produce unbearable noise.

If you’re particular about the specific decibel levels of your range hood, you might want to explore the difference between sones and decibels further. Additionally, many customers find it beneficial to run their range hood on lower speeds to reduce noise levels. There are also other techniques you can employ to make your range hood quieter, which you can explore further.

It’s essential to remember that quality plays a significant role. A lower CFM doesn’t necessarily translate to lower noise levels. The efficiency of the motor and the quality of materials and manufacturing processes also influence noise output. Therefore, when shopping for a range hood, consider these factors to ensure you find one that meets your requirements for both performance and noise levels.

5. Exhaust Type – Vented & Non-Vented

There are two primary ventilation setups for range hoods: vented, or ducted systems, and non-vented, or ductless systems. Vented systems utilize ducting to direct air away from the kitchen and outside the home.

For vented range hoods, there are various venting options to consider. You can opt to vent your hood either horizontally or vertically. Island hoods typically require vertical venting. However, wall-mounted and under-cabinet hoods offer the flexibility of horizontal venting through a wall or vertical venting through the ceiling.

In contrast, non-vented systems, also known as ductless systems, operate without ductwork. Instead, these hoods draw air through charcoal filters before recirculating it back into the home. Depending on the specific model, you can use either a recirculating kit or charcoal filters for this type of hood.

While ductless or recirculating hoods may not be as efficient at eliminating fumes and odors from your home compared to vented systems, they can serve as a viable option, especially in apartments or locations where installing ductwork is not feasible.

6. Installation Time and Cost

In addition to selecting the hood itself, understanding the installation process and associated costs is crucial.

Many homeowners find that they can tackle the installation themselves with the help of instructional resources available online. Websites often provide helpful videos and guides for DIY installation.

7. Budget

Regardless of how thorough your research is, your purchase decision ultimately hinges on your budget. Various factors contribute to the overall cost of a range hood:

Quality: Higher-quality hoods typically come with a higher price tag due to superior materials and more efficient motors. Buying directly from manufacturers like Proline can often result in cost savings by avoiding retail markups.

Material: Outdoor hoods, crafted from durable, weather-resistant materials, tend to be more expensive.

Size: Larger hoods generally come with higher price points.

Power: Hoods with greater power capabilities often command higher prices.

Type of Hood: Island and outdoor range hoods are typically pricier compared to wall-mounted and under-cabinet options. Under-cabinet hoods are often the most budget-friendly choice.

Investing in a higher-quality hood can yield long-term savings by reducing the need for frequent replacement parts. Cheaper, lower-quality hoods may require replacement sooner, resulting in additional expenses.

Moreover, consider potential installation costs if you opt to hire a professional for the job.

James M. Mitchell

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