Range Hood Buying Guide: Tips for Purchasing a Range Hood

Range Hood Ventilation
When replacing or installing a range hood, take note of the size, shape and mounting type before purchasing online. The new hood should be at least as wide as the range or cooktop (you may oversize the hood if you would like more coverage). The most common widths are 30 and 36 inches. For optimal performance, safety and comfort, we recommend installing your range hood between 24 and 30 inches from the cooking surface. A minimum of 24” distance is required by law from any combustible material such as a gas cooktop.

The most important decision you’ll make about the hood purchase is how to duct your hood. There are two options for exhaust:


You can duct the hood to the outside, which is highly recommended, to completely remove steam, smoke and smell. If your range hood mounts to an exterior wall, the exhaust ducts will be shorter and therefore more efficient. If your range hood mounts to an interior wall or island, keep in mind the longer distance that the air needs to travel, the more power it will require. Proper installation of ductwork is crucial to the efficiency and overall performance of any range hood. While many people hire a professional to install their ductwork, you can purchase materials and accessories to do it yourself. Exhaust should never be ducted to an attic or basement. Make sure the size of the duct is the same as the duct attachment at the hood. Always read the manufacturer’s specifications carefully.

Non-vented, Duct-free or Recirculated

This type of exhaust means that the air is pulled through a charcoal filter to trap irritants and flows back into the kitchen. This option increased noise levels and decreases suction ability. We DO NOT recommend the recirculating option, unless there is no other option available.

Types of Range Hoods

There are many types of range hoods as listed below:

Under-Cabinet Hoods

This type of range hood is mounted underneath a cabinet, and can be secured to the wall for additional stability. The under-cabinet range hoods are available in a variety of sizes, with 6”, 8”, or 10” duct options.

Wall-Mount Hoods or Chimney Style

These range hoods mount to the wall and have an adjustable chimney cover (or flue) to cover the ducting above. Additional holes can be made through the back of the unit for extra security if desired. We recommend using a backing in the wall for support before proceeding with the installation. Some wall-mount range hoods have the option to vent directly through the back (please see our section on back-venting for more information).

Island Hoods

Island range hoods are suspended from the ceiling over an island in the kitchen. We recommend over-sizing island range hood when purchasing for your kitchen because there are no walls to guide the steam (Example: 36” Island Hood for a 30” cooktop). Many styles are available, such as glass, t-shaped, and pyramid-shaped.

Downdraft Hoods

These hoods are hidden in the cooktop and pop up when in use to pull the steam and smoke horizontally across the range. We DO NOT recommend using this type of range hood. It is not efficient.

Insert or Built-In Hoods

Built-in or Insert range hoods are hidden in the cabinets. This type of range hood installation requires the cabinets to be built for the specific dimensions of the selected range hood. These hoods are a great option for a minimalistic kitchen looks and feel. There are many options available. Some insert range hoods are deeper than others and have larger blowers with a larger duct. We recommend speaking to a professional before selecting your duct size and range hood. If your cabinets are already built, you will need to have a custom liner built by your contractor or project manager.


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