Custom range hoods can make a tremendous difference to your kitchen space. Not completely sure you know what a range hood is? In layman’s terms, a range hood is a fan enclosed in a canopy. It sits above your stove top and is designed to remove smoke, odor, and steam that occurs when you’re cooking.

In addition to adding some stylish flair, range hoods have numerous other benefits. Your range will also eliminate excess heat (maintaining the temperature balance in your home), offer better kitchen lighting, and improve your home value.

But with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right hood fan. Option paralysis can prevent homeowners from making better, healthier decisions about their kitchen space. With that in mind, it helps to have a thorough understanding of range hoods. Shop for best range hood at Cavaliere.

Stapes to choose the best one for your home. Here’s what you should know:

Understanding Air Filtration

The biggest benefit of a range hood is its ability to keep your air clean. Gases and other potentially toxic pollutants need to be properly filtered out of the kitchen. For instance, when you’re cooking with oil, the combination of grease and smoke can have a hazardous impact on your health if inhaled often.

The fact is, cooking smoke contains particles that pollute the air, which is why many restaurants have changed their range hoods and filtration systems for total safety. And after all, cooking is the biggest contributor to air pollution inside a home.

According to the San Francisco-based American Chemical Society, some of those pollutants can even cause cancer. With an efficient range hood, you can maintain healthy airflow for years to come.

Deciding on the Right Size

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is what size you want your range hood to be. Hoods that are mounted against the wall should be equal to or just slightly larger than your stovetop.

If it’s the latter, it should extend beyond the stovetop equally on both sides—usually it’s around three inches. For instance, if you had a 36-inch stovetop, your range hood might be 42 inches across.

Island mounted range hoods have to be just a bit larger because of the cross breezes that naturally occur in your kitchen. Island hoods should overlap the stovetop by a minimum of three inches on each side, and typically a maximum of six inches depending on your needs.

The bigger your hood’s canopy area is, the better it can trap and vent unwanted heat, grease, odor, and smoke.

Choose Your Mounted Style

After you’ve decided on a size, it’s time to start considering how you’ll mount your range hood. There are four basic types of style mounts: under cabinet, wall mounted, island, and insert.

Under cabinet range hoods:

These are installed above your stove top under an existing cabinet. Your duct work will go out the back of the hood through the wall, or out of the top (hidden by your cabinets).

Wall mounted:

Wall mounted hoods are mounted against the wall, and duct work is hidden behind a chimney.

Downdraft range hood:

This type of hood is hidden behind your stovetop, and appears when in use as a pop-up that pulls steam and smoke horizontally from across the range.

Island range hood:

These hang directly from your ceiling over an island stove.

Insert (liner):

These are mounted to pre-existing range hoods that are already installed in your kitchen. Usually the current custom hoods are made from materials like copper, wood, or stone. The insert (or liner) is installed directly inside of it.

Understanding Ventilation

The primary purpose of a range hood is to offer top-notch ventilation, and it’s important that you understand how this is achieved.

Ideally, you have a setup that allows for ventilation directly through your kitchen in an upwards motion. This way, you have even more options when it comes to the type of blower you’ll be able to use and the level of power it can have.

But sometimes, putting duct work through your kitchen walls and ceilings isn’t possible. For example, if you live on the first floor of a restrictive multi-unit condo or apartment building.

In this case, there’s no direct access to your kitchen ceiling. Because of this, you need a recirculating range hood. Recirculating (also called “ductless”) range hoods pull the air into the hood through a filtration system that removes smoke, vapors, and odors, and recirculates clean air back into your kitchen.

The Filtration System

By now, you understand the basics of a range hood’s filtration system. However, there are multiple types of grease filters you can use.

The two most popular types of grease filters are baffle filters and mesh filters. Baffle filters collect grease in a removable tray. Mesh filters trap grease and need to be cleaned fairly regularly; otherwise, they become loud and ineffective.

Both of these filter types are safe for the dishwasher and easy to clean.

Your Rangehood Power

Various range hoods have different types of power. The bigger your stove, the more power your range hood should have.

The standard measurement for how quickly a range hood can move air is cubic feet per minute (CFM). Electric/induction stovetops require at least 100 CFM for each ten inches of width.

Gas stove tops are a little more complicated, but can be quantified by a simple equation. To determine the type of power you’d need for a gas stovetop, consider your stove’s British Thermal Units (BTU).

A BTU is the measurement of heat output and power in gas stovetops. To better understand this, consider this metric: one BTU equals the amount of heat your stove needs to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree.

Gas burners are typically measured in BTU per hour.

Typically, you can find the amount of BTU for your stove on the back label; you can also research your make and model to find the answer.

To determine how much power your range hood will need, divide your BTU by 100. For example, for a stove with 600,000 BTU, you’d need a range hood with 600 CFM.

Do You Need a Professional Range Hood?

When it comes to power, you also need to think about the type of cooking you’ll be doing. Even with BTU considered, some homeowners prefer professional level hoods (at least 900 CFMs)—which is especially useful for cooking enthusiasts and big families.

If you do own a home, consider professional grade range hoods if:

  • You have a stovetop with a high BTU
  • Tend to fry or grill foods often
  • Enjoy making fishy or spicy foods that emit stronger odors
  • Your hood is positioned more than 36 inches over your rangetop (typically, the bottom of your range hood should be about 28 to 26 inches away from the surface of your range)

However, professional-level hoods need to be ventilated directly from the kitchen, meaning the recirculating hoods you might find in apartment buildings won’t work in this case.

As you shop for your range hood, take each of these factors into consideration.

Although this buying guide serves as a great starting point for your browsing efforts, it’s important that you speak to a professional contractor who can help you narrow your final options.