In the olden days, people cooked with firewood. So their (outdoor) kitchens generated a lot of smoke. But even today’s gas-and-electric cooktops release fumes. It’s not necessarily smoke. It could be steam, effluent from scorched dishes or gases released as food breaks down.
By giving these airborne by-products an outlet, you keep your kitchen cleaner and your food fresher. Range hoods are indoor ‘chimneys’ that guide unwanted scents away from your cooker. They can have ducts or be ductless. How can you tell which one suits you? Let’s look at some ductless options as you pick one for your kitchen?
You don’t always want to turn on the kitchen lights. But if your cooking area is dim or enclosed, you probably spend a lot on light bulbs. The Broan NuTone 413004 can drastically cut down your utility bill. It has incandescent down-lighting to illuminate your cooktop.
And because it’s an under-cabinet range hood, it doesn’t take up excess kitchen space. But it needs at least 18 inches of clearance space above the cooktop, so your cabinet has to be a custom-fit. The hood measures 17.5 inches by 6 inches by 30 inches. It comes with a filter, but you have to buy the 75W bulb yourself. The body of the hood is made of stainless steel.
The 413004 has a fan that runs at two speeds, weighs 10 pounds, and is armed with a 1-year warranty. Its smooth surfaces discourage grease and grime from sticking, and when these residues do coat your range hood, they easily wipe off. The quick-release charcoal filter is dishwasher-friendly. The fan is permanently lubricated to cut down noise and friction.
This overhead under-cabinet recirculating hood is quite ‘handsy’. You’ll touch it a lot, often without looking. The typical scenario is while you’re cooking and you reach up to adjust the fan. Or maybe you want to switch the light on or off. You may be worried about getting grease and food stains on the device, but it’s far more likely you may hurt your fingers on its edges.
This is why the range hood has edges and sides that are mitered and hemmed to avoid accidental cuts and scrapes. This design choice adds to the hood’s aesthetic value as well, giving it a clean, linear, minimalist finish. The stainless steel gives your kitchen a contemporary tone. It’s less susceptible to grime and food spots, and you can quickly wipe it down after use.
Broan NuTone 413004 is a pretty under-cabinet ductless range hood that looks good and works great. Its 2-speed fan is effective against smoke and kitchen smells. Remote control is optional.
Being an under-cabinet model, it saves space.
You can operate it using rocker switches or a remote controller.
Its surfaces and charcoal filter are all accessible for easy cleaning.
The gleaming metal on the ZLine ductless range hood is serene and simple. It gives your kitchen a modern touch and works with most decorative choices. It’s also easy to clean and rarely stains, even with your greasiest dish. While this is a ductless range hood, it does have piping, and this ductwork is easy to connect, even if you’re not the handiest homeowner.
The hood has a 4-speed fan that ranges from 120 CFM to 400 CFM. Use the push button to toggle between fan speeds. This is a wall-mounted recirculating hood, so you don’t have to worry about household ducts. You can install it wherever it’s convenient, though it does need a large enough wall. The hood measures 30 inches by 17.7 inches by 10.5 inches, and it weighs 40 lbs.
The shipping box includes an installation kit with directions and guidelines. It’s a free-standing range hood, so you can mount it on a wall or ceiling, depending on your kitchen layout and cooktop position. At its loudest, the fan emits 41 dB and uses 120 volts. While the carbon filter has to be ordered separately, the hood has a steel baffle filter that’s dishwasher-safe.
The baffle filters are permanent, so while you do need to remove and wash them, they don’t need replacing. The hood also had built-in swivel lights that can be aimed in various directions. And while the vents have to be bought separately, the box includes a 36-inch chimney. For higher ceilings, you can buy a chimney extension of up to 61 inches. This would fit 12.5 feet.
This 19-gauge steel range hood is well suited for ceilings up to 9.5 feet high. But set your budget carefully, as you’ll have to spend extra on crown-molded grates and carbon filter meshes.
Its rivets and grates add aesthetic touches to the hood.
It has convenient push buttons for its fans and lighting.
It pushes 400 CFM at its highest setting.
Many of its crucial components are sold separately, including its carbon filter and crown-molded bottom vents.
You may worry about constantly touching your range hood with greasy hands. That can’t always be helped. But if the device has a touchscreen, it’ll be more responsive than a manual, analog control panel. This is where the Hauslane Chef PS 18 wins. Its digital display screen is easy to use and you can analyze readouts in milliseconds. Plus, it has an auto-shut-off switch.
This is helpful for dinner dishes. Once you’re done cooking, you can turn off the kitchen lights and let the fan run until it clears the kitchen air. Once it’s done, it will safely switch itself off, guaranteeing you a noise-free, stench-free night. The range hood has energy-saving down-lights for those moments when you only want to illuminate your cooktop. The fan is 61.2 to 63.5 dB.
It’s a useful feature on under-cabinet range hoods because the recessed cabinet can sometimes darken your cooking area. It’s also useful for unobtrusive midnight snacks. You can use the fridge light and hood light to warm your snack without waking your housemates. The range hood has three-way vents on its bottom and back surfaces for improves airflow.
Its fan runs at 6 speeds and the hood is fitted with a baffle filter than can be removed and cleaned in your dishwasher. The hood weighs 41 pounds, and you can use round adapters or rectangular adapters to connect the vents. The body of the hood is stainless steel and the digital display shows the time, which can be a useful cooking guide during extended kitchen sessions.
This under-cabinet range hood is ductless, but you need to be careful with its specs. This because it’s most commonly set up as a ducted unit. If you want to make it a recirculating range hood, you’d have to buy a charcoal filter to supplement the steel baffle. A UC PS16 filter works best. You’ll need to replace it once or twice a year because it accumulates dirt and isn’t reusable.
The LED display on this range hood is easier to keep clean. Yes, it smudges more easily, but there are no buttons where grease can accumulate, and the screen wipes clean in seconds.
It has convenient under-cabinet mounting.
Its fan has 6 speeds topping out at 860 CFM.
It has a digital touch screen control panel.
Its filters are dishwasher-safe for stress-free maintenance.
As a novice buyer, you may begin to think under-cabinet range hoods are always ducted. And it may surprise you because the top of the cabinet is wooden, so it’s not a natural location for an air duct. It turns out quite a number of under-cabinet hoods are ducted, so look carefully to see if it can be converted. The AKDY can be duct-free if you fit a removable carbon filter.
These carbon/charcoal filters aren’t very pricy, and you can order them from any HVAC supplier. Luckily, the AKDY comes with your first set of free carbon filters. Each one lasts about 6 months before it needs replacing. Also, the AKDY ships with two aluminum mesh filters.
This filter needs cleaning every week or two, but it doesn’t need replacement. You can load it in your dishwasher without damaging it. But given the amount of grease and grime that covers it, you may want to take the dishes out first. The range hood also has a suction fan to pull dirty air. The fan has 3 speeds and operates using an 85W motor. The motor is relatively quiet at 55 dB.
It’s not a very fast fan though, reaching a maximum speed of 58 CFM. The bottom of this flat range hood is fitted with a halogen lamp light bar that points down at your cooking area. This light bar uses a single 40W halogen bulb. The range hood is controlled using a series of touch buttons. The range hood is covered by a 3-year warranty and has three vent options.
The AKDY is convertible and versatile. For ducted applications, use the top and back vents. But if you want to use it as a ductless hood, install carbon filters and focus on the vents at the front.
It comes with three free carbon filters.
The 85W motor has 3-speed settings.
It comes in stainless steel that’s painted black or white for added style.
If you want to use it as a ductless unit, you have to order a carbon filter separately.
The sleek looks on this range hood make it a pretty addition to any kitchen. The sides have ‘invisible’ seams. They help retain the hood’s aesthetic appeal, but they also prevent you from hurting your fingers as you clean. The stainless steel body is easy to clean, and it effectively resists rust and corrosion. The hood uses a touch panel with icons for on/off, light, and fans.
The fan itself has three speeds and a maximum CFM of 412. For light, the hood uses 2 LED lights that each have 49 individual bulb chips for extra illumination. It’s a large wall-mounted range hood that measures 30 inches by 28 inches by 20 inches, and the hood weighs 35.1 lbs. The chimney is adjustable, and it’s a two-piece unit with carbon filters included.
To support the charcoal carbon filters, the hood has a pair of aluminum mesh filters that are dishwasher-safe. These micro-cell grease filters have to be cleaned roughly twice a month since they clog quite easily. The hood has a 12-month warranty and a medium motor of 48 t0 58 dB. It’s mounted to the ceiling via flexible aluminum ducts that are included in the shipping box.
This pretty range hood has rounded edges and unseen seams that boost beauty and function. With over three times as many bulbs as competing brands, these hoods are extra-bright as well.
It’s made of 304 stainless steel with no visible seams.
Many convertible range hoods need a special kit to switch then from ducted to ductless. The Zuhne can make that switch in seconds. All you have to do is adjust the chimney height. Visually, the range hood is brushed to match the rest of your kitchen appliances. The hood is then coated in satin to make it scratch-proof and extend its lifespan.
But aesthetics aside, this hood is made of stainless steel – the ultra-premium variety made by Posco. The sides have no seams and this smooth finish prevents any particles from getting stuck in the non-existent folds. It also helps in keeping the metal waterproof, corrosion-free, and rust-resistant. The hood has push buttons on the front to control light, fan speed, and timing.
These buttons are soft-touch and are mounted on a blue backlit panel. The hood uses baffle filters and is fitted with high-lumen lights loaded with LED chips. The shipping box comes with a comprehensive installation kit including duct extensions, adapters, anti-black-flow valves, baffles, and a two-piece chimney. The baffles can be cleaned in a dishwasher and the hood.
The Zuhne’s centrifugal 3-speed fan is soundproofed to keep the hood quiet. The twin LED bulbs are 3W each, so they offer added brightness while conserving electricity. This product is eco-friendly. It’s completely lead-free with no toxic components and comes with charcoal filters. Its CFM is 450 and its fans are noise-controlled to emit a reasonable 48 dB at their loudest.
This gorgeous ductless hood looks better as it ages, thanks to its seamless, satin-brushed stainless steel exterior. The steel is 1.2mm thick and it has a 5-year seller’s warranty on parts.
Its lights are twice as bright as competing brands.
The hood can convert from ducted to ductless in seconds.
It weighs 30.6 pounds and is ideal for 8 to 9-foot ceilings.
The touch panel buttons sometimes get stuck, especially if your fingers are wet. Also, you may need to make some technical (sizing) modifications during installation.
Are you one of the few people that read instruction manuals? When you buy the Winflo, you may have to. It uses a digital control panel that should be intuitive. But one glance at the icons will have you reaching for translations. Once you figure out the directions, you’ll be happy with your range hood. It measures 29.3 by 18.9 inches, and its height adjusts from 29 to 40 inches.
The whole range hood is made of stainless steel, except for the black glass strip that houses the digital touch panel. At the bottom of the range hood, there are two stainless steel baffles that can safely be cleaned on a dishwasher. You’ll need to toss them in suds every two weeks or so to get rid of surface build-up. The range hood also has two LED down-lights that are 2W each.
The fan in your Winflo has three speeds and a suction setting of 450 CFM. It’s a 25-lb wall-mounted range hood and its noise levels range from 58 dB at its slowest to 65 dB at its highest speed setting. It has a timer with a 60-second delay on its automatic shut-off setting. The seller offers a 3-year warranty on parts. Winflo can set up as both a ducted or ductless range hood.
This versatile range hood can be tweaked to fit a ceiling of 7.5 to 8.5 feet. It has strong suction and isn’t too loud. Its baffles snap off in seconds are dishwasher safe for bi-weekly cleaning.
Its 3-speed motors manage to stay below 65 dB.
It’s easy to operate via an LED touchscreen.
Its baffles can be safely cleaned in a dishwasher.
The digital controls are a little tough to figure out.
The term ‘range hood’ is a strange one. ‘Range’ refers to your cooktop, and a hood usually hangs over your range. It might have a fan to suck waste gases and aerosolized food particles from your cooking area. Your hood can be ducted or duct-free depending on your needs and preferences. So how do you decide on the best ductless range hood for your kitchen? Let’s find out!
Ducted and Ductless
First, let’s get clear on what these terms mean. A hood with a duct leads water out of the kitchen. It’s like a mini kitchen chimney. So it needs to exit the kitchen and send your kitchen fumes outdoors. This needs special vents and pipes inside your ceiling and walls, especially in a multistory home. Ducted range hoods are more common in commercial kitchens and hotels.
Ductless hoods can sometimes look like their ducted siblings. But instead of sending used air outside, they recycle the fumes and release them back into the kitchen. It cleans your kitchen fumes, extracting moisture, particulate scent, and other undesirable particles. This means ductless hoods are frequently fitted with carbon filters and charcoal additives.
Ductless hoods have filters. This keeps your kitchen cleaner. Ordinarily, soot, food spills, and hot oil fumes settle on the surfaces of your wall and cooktop. Ductless range hoods can suck these up through their fans, leaving your kitchen less grimy. However, these filters accumulate dirt, so they need servicing to remove residual build-up. Pick a model that lessens your labor.
Ideally, you want a ductless hood that can survive 6 months to a year between cleaning sessions. You also want one with an easily accessible filter. If it can slide out, you won’t have to dismantle your entire hood on cleaning day. If the filter is self-cleaning or suited for DIY maintenance, you could save a lot of money. Otherwise, budget for an external service team at least twice a year.
Hoods that are duct-free are not as good at getting rid of kitchen moisture. Yes, the carbon filters will soak up some of your kitchen liquids, but they’re not absolute. Meaning your kitchen stays more humid and the humidity leads to more germ build-up. That said, if you buy a range hood with a powerful fan, it will suck up more of the liquid, and other contaminants too.
But the more powerful the fan, the louder it will be, and the more electricity it will use up. So consider this as you shop. If you plan to run the fan after dinner, it may disrupt sleeping household members. You can also buy a ductless range hood with a built-in timer. Set it to turn on when the house is empty. Plus, if it runs for a fixed time, there’s less power wastage.
Ducted range hoods need outdoor access, so it’s tricky installing them in apartments. Even in single-family houses, you have to position the range hood next to a window, chimney, or air vent. Ductless range hoods offer the most versatility, but are less effective in naturally humid regions – they make a bad problem worse! On the other hand, how big is your kitchen?
If you don’t have much wiggle room, you should buy an under-cabinet range hood. It can tuck inside a cupboard or under your countertop. This can be a lifesaver if you’re living in close quarters. Plus, the counter can also help you keep the kitchen cool. This lowers the load on your range hood since it dissipates excess heat as well as smoke, smells, and kitchen fumes.
We’ve just mentioned under-cabinet range hoods. But these devices can also be installed on a wall or suspended off the ceiling. So if you have a mounting preference, it should be part of your shopping selection. The type of filter will also affect installation. If it’s ductless, it needs a filter.
These range hoods are sometimes called recirculating range hoods because they push filtered air back into the kitchen. So recirculating hoods require a filter, and you can decide whether you want charcoal, carbon, baffle, or mesh. Or you may opt for a ducted range hood that has no filters at all. These are rarely installed in homes though unless you cook for fifty people daily.
The third type of range hood is installed above your kitchen island. So if your cooktop is centrally located, you probably need this type of range hood, whether it’s ducted or duct-free. In such cases, the height of the island could affect the dimensions of your range hood.
These are seemingly minor factors but they can make a huge difference. For example, you could buy a range hood with a thermostat. It can speed up or slow down the fan when the kitchen gets too hot. Or you could buy a hood with down-lighting if your kitchen has small windows or dark walls. This can be helpful if you mostly run your hood fans at night. The down-lights save power.
We’ve already mentioned noise levels, but you can choose a faster fan or a quieter one, depending on your priorities. Check the CFM (cubic feet per minute) to see how much air gets filtered within a given duration. You can also buy a range hood that has dampers and mutes to limit the noise your fan emits. Sometimes, you can even pick a hood with aesthetic add-ons.