The range is where you spend time making your family’s meals. Due to the important role it plays in your daily life, the range and the area around it are good places to start when you’re thinking about updating your kitchen. Whether you’re looking to do a complete overhaul or just a few meaningful updates, consider getting a new range hood. This appliance upgrade brings additional functionality and visual appeal to your kitchen.
Why Do You Need a Range Hood?
A range hood has one primary purpose that makes it an integral part of your kitchen: It provides a source of ventilation directly over the place where you cook. As a result, it helps dissipate the scents that come from whatever food you have in your pans and skillets. While a small whiff of garlic sautéing may be appetizing, you don’t want such a strong, distinctive odor to fill your entire house. To help capture and reduce the scents that come from cooking, many hoods also trap splattering grease and prevent it from becoming airborne.
Options Abound for Range Hoods
When shopping for range hoods, you have various options available. Materials, features, and designs vary widely, making it easy to find the style that matches your personal tastes. Whether your kitchen has a modern, traditional, or contemporary look, you can find the right hood to blend in with your existing décor. Expect to find hoods made primarily from stainless steel and copper because these materials are well-suited to withstand the rigors of being located over the range.
You also need to decide which features you want. In terms of fans, you can get rotary or barrel-shaped models with varying degrees of power. Some fans are less noisy, and some offer the option to preset an automatic shut-off time. With built-in heat sensors, the fan speeds up when it detects hotter air. Do you want your hood to include lighting? Hoods come with either incandescent or halogen bulbs. While the options may seem overwhelming, it’s easy to narrow your search and find the ideal hood.
Factors to Consider
As you browse different hoods, think about the size you want. Bigger isn’t always better in many situations, but it is in this case. You want a hood that’s big enough to span the range’s cooking surface. For optimal odor- and smoke-capturing performance, select a hood that’s slightly larger than your range’s footprint.
Think about how powerful you want the fan to be. Fan manufacturers use a standard power measurement: cubic feet per minute (CFM). With a higher CFM, the airflow is quicker, but it doesn’t necessarily translate into better odor removal. Now that you understand hood features and functionality, you can start researching the hoods that are on the market.
Under-Cabinet Range Hoods
Range hoods that fit under your cabinetry are an excellent choice for shoppers looking for a hood that will blend seamlessly with their existing kitchen. Compact and available in various materials and colors, these hoods are a budget-friendly option, though you can find premium models.
Under-cabinet hoods have simple ventilation systems. With ductless hoods, the smoke and odors move through filters and then go back into the kitchen. These venting systems are often the most affordable, but their performance isn’t as effective as other styles.
More effective venting systems either send the smoke and odors through a duct running out of an exterior wall behind the hood or push them through a column concealed in the cabinet. Even though a hood with a column-like venting system may take up some cabinet space with its hardware, it still allows you to retain some above-range cabinetry.
Because storage real estate is so important in the kitchen, under-cabinet range hoods are a good choice for many people. When you shop, you’ll find basic under-cabinet hoods as well as models that have some of the fancier options, such as powerful fans and lighting.
Wall-Mounted Range Hoods
As the name implies, a wall-mounted range hood attaches to the wall above the range. This eye-catching style works with and without cabinets over the range. In some cases, where there’s existing cabinetry, the installer may have to remove some of it to accommodate the hood. With new kitchens and remodel projects, many people choose a wall-mounted range hood with a chimney, which then becomes a focal point of the kitchen. Wall-mounted range hoods with chimneys usually carry air through an exterior wall that’s located behind them.
Though these hoods are available in basic and premium models, expect to pay more for wall-mounted hoods than under-cabinet styles. Wall-mounted hoods tend to have a more purposeful design, making it a part of the kitchen’s aesthetic rather than just a functional accessory. Crown molding, trim, and hoods made of glass are just some of the accents that elevate the visual appeal of some models.
Island-Mounted Range Hoods
If your range sits on an island, you need an island-mounted range hood. Because the island, by definition, isn’t near a wall, these hoods have ventilation systems that exit the kitchen through the ceiling. If your range isn’t located on an island, but it doesn’t sit next to a wall, this style is the best choice for you.
Island-mounted ranges come in various sizes. With this hood style, you usually get more capacity, meaning the hood can handle greater outputs of smoke, odor, and grease. Similar to wall-mounted hoods, the island-mounted style is also available with stylish accents such as glass and crown molding.
Rely on Professional Installation for Optimal Performance
To ensure your range hood achieves optimal performance, make sure it complies with the manufacturer’s recommendations for installation. For most ranges, you want them positioned 18 to 30 inches above the cooktop. At a minimum of 18 inches over the range, the hood will be out of your way. If you install it more than 30 inches above the elements, it may sit too high to do a good job of capturing scents, grease, and steam. If possible, run the vent outdoors to rid your home of unwanted odors.
Regardless of what kind of kitchen improvement you’re doing, make sure you do your homework before shopping for a new range hood. Make the choice that’s right for you based on functionality, the position of your range, and your budget.