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Range Hood Buying Guide



This guide will tell you everything you need to know about shopping for a range hood, also known as a vent hood. Learn the basics to determining which hood is right for your cooking range. Range hoods are essential in keeping air circulated properly while you cook, reducing grease and cooking odors in your kitchen.


What To Look For In A Range Hood

Range Hood Let's face it, while there is nothing better than the smell of delicious food while it's cooking on your cooktop, no one wants that aroma sticking around for very long after the meal is done. A quality vent hood will not only filter out the smells from cooking, but also excess grease, moisture heat and smoke as well. Vent hoods are available in a variety of styles, including over the range and telescoping down draft models to fit any need and any kitchen style.

While shopping for a new vent hood can be confusing with all of the styles and features available, having an understanding of what is available can help make your decision much easier. Take a moment to read our vent hood buying guide to learn about some important things to look for when shopping for new kitchen ventilation.

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What Are CFMs?

When shopping for a vent hood, one of the most important considerations to make is the amount of air that the hood will vent from the cooking area. CFM, or cubic feet per minute, is the measurement used to determine how powerful a vent hood is. The amount of recommended CFMs you need depend largely on the size of your range as well as the fuel source. The CFM recommendations from the Home Ventilating Institute are as follows:
  • Electric Cooktops - 40 CFM for each linear foot of your electric cooktop. For example, if you have a 48 inch range, or 4 feet, you will need a minimum of 160 CFM of ventilation.
  • Gas Cooktops - Gas cooktops are a little bit different. The standard estimate for gas cooktops is 1 CFM per 100 BTUs of output the cooktop produces. The example would be - for a 15,000 BTU cooktop you would divide the BTUs by 100 or 150 and that should be your minimum CFM.
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Vent Hood Systems

Vent hoods use two different systems for venting contaminated air from the cooking area. Both systems use fans to pull the air into the hood - rotary and centrifugal. Centrifugal fans are better equipped for duct systems because they are are more powerful and can push the contaminated air to the outside of your home. Range Hood
Duct Style - Duct style vent hood systems, which are also known as external ventilation, vents the air to the outside through duct systems which must be installed if they are not already existing. Duct style vent hoods are usually more efficient than other systems but can be complicated if the duct system is not existing as well as expensive.
Recirculating Range Hood
Recirculating - Unlike duct style vent hoods, recirculating vent hoods utilize filters to clean the contaminated air before returning it back to your kitchen. While recirculating vent hoods are less expensive, you will incur the recurring cost of replacement filters to help ensure top performance.
* Along with separate systems, vent hoods are available that offer convertible ventilation systems which allows you to choose between external and filter ventilation depending on what you are cooking.

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Vent Hood Styles

  • Wall Mount - Wall mount vent hoods are a great choice for cooktops and ranges that are set against a wall in your home.
  • Island Mount - Island mount vent hoods are a great option for either wall set ranges or island cooktops and offer a very sleek, stylish design element for your kitchen.
  • Down Draft - Telescoping down draft vents are the perfect choice for consumers who do not want their vent hood showing while not cooking and are activated with the touch of a button.
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Sizing Your Vent Hood

Vent hoods are available in a variety of styles to meet not only your ventilation needs but also you style. Another important consideration to make when purchasing a vent hood, however, is the size. Sizing your vent hood, whether it is a wall mount, island, or telescoping down draft model is fairly easy. Vent hoods are available in a wide array of sizes and you should chose a vent hood that is at least as wide as the cooktop you are cooking on.

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Vent Hood Features

  • Quiet Operation - Depending on the CFM rating, vent hoods can be quite loud to operate. Some vent hoods, however, are designed with insulation to help dampen the noise the vent hood produces.
  • Hood Lights - A common feature on wall mount vent hoods, hood lights provide extra lighting, which can make it easier to cook.
  • One Touch Operation - Available on down draft vent units, one touch operation telescopes the vent hood from the hidden to the operable position with the touch of a button.
  • Variable Speed Fan - Variable speed fans can use manual operation and even heat sensors to speed up and slow down the vent hood fan as needed.
  • Electronic Controls - Electronic controls make for easy operation of the vent hood, offering convenient one touch controls along with on and off presets.
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