Without a range hood, the smoke, odors, and grease produced when cooking will linger in the kitchen, resulting in unpleasant smells and poor air quality. Installing a range hood above the cooktop can help. A range hood draws in cooking grease, moisture, and heat, then either filters and recirculates it or directs it outdoors. The best range hoods improve kitchen ventilation and keep the air clear.
Keep reading to explore the different types of range hoods and their features to find the most suitable unit for the kitchen.
- BEST OVERALL WALL-MOUNT: Cosmo Stainless Steel Wall-Mount Range Hood
- BEST OVERALL UNDER CABINET: Hauslane Chef Series PS18 Under Cabinet Range Hood
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Broan-NuTone Ductless Under Cabinet Range Hood
- UPGRADE PICK: Fotile JQG7501.E 30-Inch Range Hood
- BEST DUCTLESS: Broan-NuTone 41000 Series Under Cabinet Range Hood
- BEST DUCTED: Hauslane Chef Series PS38 Ducted Range Hood
- BEST CONVERTIBLE: Cosmo Under Cabinet Range Hood With Remote
- BEST FOR KITCHEN ISLAND: Cosmo Island Range Hood With Glass Canopy
How We Chose the Best Range Hoods
For those who love to cook, adding an efficient range hood is one of the best upgrades one can make to a kitchen. Kitchens come in all shapes and sizes, and so do range hoods. To suit a variety of kitchen layouts and designs, we chose range hoods from several categories, so shoppers can find an option whether looking for a wall- or ceiling-mounted model. We also included a mix of ducted, ductless, and convertible options to suit different needs. Manufacturers measure the power of their ducted range hoods in cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air exhausted. Simply put, the higher the CFM, the more powerful the range hood.
Through extensive product research and reading consumer reviews, we chose efficient range hoods that are pleasant to use (i.e., reliable and reasonably quiet). We prioritized range hoods from trusted brands and included products at different price points to make sure there’s an option for any kitchen.
Our Top Picks
There’s a range hood available for every type of kitchen, and they’re offered at a wide range of prices. This list offers a variety of choices for a top-notch range hood that suits shoppers’ varying needs and budgets.
This stainless steel wall-mounted range hood from Cosmo Appliances is a great option for people with electric stoves. Although the range hood is sold as a ducted product, shoppers can purchase a filter kit to convert the hood for ductless use. It has three fan speeds. When operating at the highest speed, it has a CFM of 380. Its noise level on low is 45 decibels.
Energy-efficient LED lights help lower the kitchen’s carbon footprint, and its stainless steel design and dishwasher-safe filters make maintenance easy. This wall-mounted range hood is available in 30-inch and 36-inch sizes, giving home cooks with larger cooktops some options.
- Product dimensions: 25.6 to 39.4 inches high (adjustable height) by 30 inches wide by 19.75 inches deep
- Material: Stainless steel
- CFM: 380
- Sleek stainless steel look; great for modern kitchen designs
- Convertible—can be used as ducted or ductless for added versatility
- Baffle filters are permanent and easy to clean; no replacements needed
- Carbon filter kit (for ductless operation) sold separately
Get the Cosmo wall-mounted range hood at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.
Hauslane’s under-cabinet range hood would be well suited to just about any kitchen. With six speed options and a maximum airflow of 860 CFM, this ducted option can handle output from both gas and electric stoves. Despite its high fan strength, however, it has a low sound output, ranging from 1.5 to 7 sones.
This range hood has three exhaust options, with adapters included to fit most vent styles. It’s also fairly low maintenance, boasting a button-free LED control panel that’s easy to wipe clean and dishwasher-safe permanent filters. This model is available in stainless steel, matte black, and matte white finishes, making it the best under-cabinet range hood to complement most kitchens.
- Product dimensions: 8.125 inches tall by 29.75 or 35.75 inches wide by 22 inches deep
- Material: Stainless steel
- CFM: 860
- At its lowest noise level of 1.5 sones, relatively quiet compared to similar models
- Digital LED control panel looks sleek and modern
- Available in 2 sizes and 3 color finishes to suit a range of kitchen styles
- 6 speeds allow greater control of fan power and noise
- Pricey compared to similar options of this size
Get the Hauslane PS18 range hood at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Overstock, or Hauslane.
With a budget-friendly price and an easy-to-install design, this range hood from Broan-NuTone is an economical choice for most homes. It’s made of rust-resistant steel in a black finish, offering a simple and contemporary look that will suit most kitchens. Two fan speeds, built-in lighting, a washable mesh filter, and an included replaceable charcoal filter make this range hood a basic but effective choice.
To make installation simple, this ductless hood can be hardwired or installed using an optional power cord kit (sold separately). This model measures 30 inches wide, but Broan-NuTone also sells it in 21-, 24-, 36-, and 42-inch widths, as well as in a variety of colors.
- Product dimensions: 6 inches tall by 24 inches wide by 17.5 inches deep
- Material: Steel
- CFM: Unknown
- Highly affordable option compared to other range hood models
- Clean lines and surfaces are easy to clean and maintain
- Simple design makes for an easy installation, even for DIY novices
- Broan-NuTone does not share the CFM for this model
Get the Broan-NuTone range hood insert at Amazon, The Home Depot, or AJ Madison.
Those looking to splurge on a top-of-the-line range hood may want to consider the Fotile JQG7501.E 30-inch range hood. This ducted hood features Fotile’s side-draft design, with a 90-degree automatic opening baffle plate. This plate leads cooking fumes toward the air inlet, allowing the dual-motor range hood to cover an impressive 6 square feet of range space.
This range is large and has a bold and modern design. It can be installed as an under-cabinet range or as a wall-mount range hood for versatile placement. A touch-screen control panel lends itself to its high-end look and makes it easy to control functions such as the three speed settings, LED lighting, time-delay function, and screen lock. Operating at a max of 54.3 decibels, this range hood is also a quiet option.
- Product dimensions: 17.44 to 46.44 inches tall by 29.875 inches wide by 18.25 inches deep
- Material: Stainless steel and tempered glass
- CFM: 850
- Highly effective side-draft design directs airflow and reduces odors
- Supermodern design with an attractive appearance
- Touch-screen control panel looks sleek and minimalist
- Significantly more expensive than other options
- Bulky; not ideal for smaller kitchens with limited cabinet space
Get the Fotile range hood at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Wayfair.
Although ducted range hoods may be more powerful than ductless options, they’re not well suited to every home. This Broan-NuTone model is an excellent choice for renters and those whose stoves are not placed against exterior walls.
This is also the best ductless range hood for those looking for an affordable but effective option. The simple design has two speeds, which function by filtering the air and recirculating it into the kitchen. Available in four color options—stainless steel, black, bisque, and white—it can complement a variety of kitchen styles and decors.
- Product dimensions: 6 inches tall by 30 inches wide by 17.5 inches deep
- Material: Stainless steel
- CFM: Unknown
- Cost-friendly and compact design; great for smaller kitchens
- Includes replaceable charcoal filter, which is often sold separately with other brands
- 4 color options to fit in with most kitchen decors
- Broan-NuTone does not share the CFM for this model
Get the Broan-NuTone 41000 series range hood at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot (in black), or AJ Madison.
A range hood has a pretty dirty job—filtering out smoke, smells, grease, and fumes. The Chef Series range hood from Hauslane takes cleanliness a step further with its innovative auto-steam-cleaning capability. It doesn’t require a water line yet is able to dissolve grease by turning water into steam in order to clean itself.
This ducted under-cabinet range hood is also incredibly powerful, with a CFM of 950. Its fan strength produces a range of 1.5 to 7 sones. It’s also specifically designed to remove smoke and steam from the front burners, which many other models fail to capture. It’s 30 inches wide and features a touch-control panel and sleek, modern design.
- Product dimensions: 8.2 inches tall by 29.7 inches wide by 22.9 inches deep
- Material: Stainless steel
- CFM: 950
- Auto-cleaning mode makes for easy maintenance; great for frequent use
- Powerful suction suitable for most cooking uses
- Quiet operation with minimum of 1.5 sones
- Quite pricey considering its size and compared to similar models
Get the Hauslane PS38 range hood at Amazon, The Home Depot, Wayfair, Overstock, or Hauslane.
A luxurious look and convertible design make this range hood from Cosmo Appliances a worthy contender for the kitchen. The under-cabinet stainless steel hood has a sleek LED display panel to give it a modern flair. Its simple curved edges make for a cleaner look compared to other bulkier models, while still offering impressive ventilation in both the ducted and ductless configurations.
This range hood uses heavy-duty stainless steel filters to filter grease and cooking fumes from the air. These filters are permanent and washable, and they can be supplemented with an optional carbon filter (sold separately) when using the ductless configuration to help remove odors. An additional convenience with this Cosmo range hood is that it comes with a remote control, allowing users to turn off the fan and light from a distance.
- Product dimensions: 10 inches tall by 29.5 inches wide by 22 inches deep
- Material: Stainless steel
- CFM: 500
- Ultramodern look; looks great in a stainless steel kitchen
- Uses baffle filters; easy to remove, clean, and maintain
- Convertible to both ducted and ductless kitchen setups
- Carbon filter for ductless configuration is sold separately
Get the Cosmo Appliances under cabinet range hood at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Wayfair.
If the range isn’t situated against a wall, the Cosmo Appliances island mount range hood is worth a look. This range hood attaches to the ceiling, making it well suited to kitchens with ranges installed in a kitchen island or peninsula. With a suction of 380 CFM, it’s powerful enough to be compatible with most electric cooktops. It can be converted for ductless use with the purchase of a filter kit, making this range hood a versatile pick.
At 30 inches wide, this island range hood includes energy-efficient LED lights and dishwasher-safe permanent stainless steel filters. It features three speeds, with the highest speed having a sound level as low as 45 decibels.
- Product dimensions: 30.75 to 47 inches tall (adjustable height) by 29.2 inches wide by 23.6 inches deep
- Material: Stainless steel and tempered glass
- CFM: 380
- Ceiling-mount installation; looks great in tall rooms
- Convertible, providing more flexible installation options
- Easy-to-clean baffle filters; purchase of replacement filters not required
- Airflow may not be strong enough for gas stoves
Get the Cosmo Appliances Island range hood at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Wayfair.
What to Consider When Choosing a Range Hood
Before choosing a range hood for the kitchen, consider these key factors. Though shoppers might assume that all range hoods work the same way, several characteristics can affect their functionality. Keep reading to learn about some of the most important qualities to keep in mind when shopping for the best range hood.
There are several styles of range hoods available. The best range hood for a specific shopper depends on their needs and their kitchen’s layout. Wall-mount, under-cabinet, kitchen island, and microwave range hoods are the most common.
- Wall-mount range hoods are installed above the stove in place of cabinetry. Though they are typically ducted, ductless and convertible models are also available. They have a chimneylike shape and exposed vent stacks, which lend an industrial look to the kitchen.
- Under-cabinet range hoods are installed on the underside of the upper cabinetry. They can be either ducted or ductless. In ducted models, air is taken in and exhausted through vents in the adjoining wall or directed toward vents in the ceiling.
- Kitchen island range hoods are installed above kitchen island cooktops or peninsulas and vented through the kitchen’s ceiling. It is recommended that island mount hoods be at least 6 inches wider than the stovetop for proper ventilation because they lack cabinets on either side to aid in directing air toward the hood.
- Microwave range hoods can be either ducted or ductless, and they are typically less powerful than stand-alone units. Nearly all over-the-range microwaves come equipped with ventilation capabilities.
There are some other types of range hoods to consider, including inserts, downdraft, and professional-grade units:
- Range hood inserts, which are sometimes referred to as power packs, are used when designing custom kitchens. These hoods can be installed within cabinetry and are meant to blend in with surrounding appliances.
- Downdraft range hoods provide discreet ventilation and a clean look to the kitchen. These hoods pull the smoke or steam down and away from the cooking area, then vent it through ducts underneath the floor. Since downdraft hoods tuck in at the back of the cooktop when not in use, they’re suitable for kitchens with limited overhead space.
- Professional-grade range hoods are suitable for the avid home cook who wants restaurant-quality ventilation in the kitchen. They typically feature powerful exhaust fans that expel air at high speeds.
Ducted vs. Ductless
The primary decision shoppers need to make when purchasing a range hood is whether they want a ducted or ductless model.
- Ducted (or vented) range hoods draw in air particles from the kitchen and vent them outdoors through ductwork. They are effective at venting smoke and odors but require the installation of ducts and are not compatible with every kitchen layout.
- Ductless (or recirculating) range hoods filter and then circulate air back into the home. Although they are less effective at eliminating smoke and cooking odors, they are much easier to install. They have filters that need to be regularly cleaned and changed to maintain their efficacy. Ductless hoods are typically available at much lower price points than ducted units.
- Convertible range hoods can be used either with or without ducts, providing a versatile option that suits some buyers. They often require purchase of a recirculating kit that converts a ducted hood into a ductless hood.
Installation of ductless range hoods is relatively simple and usually doesn’t necessitate hiring a professional. Most people do, however, choose to hire a contractor to put in ducted hoods because they require a more complex installation process. Ducted models have vents at either the top or back, facilitating different styles of installation.
Hood size is an important factor to keep in mind because unless shoppers are completely redesigning their kitchen, their range hood will have to fit within specific dimensions. Generally speaking, a range hood should be at least as wide as the cooktop.
The standard width of a kitchen range is 30 inches, and therefore most vent hoods on the market also measure 30 inches wide. Though this size works for most kitchens, those with larger ranges or custom-designed kitchens may prefer bigger models.
Manufacturers measure the power of their ducted range hoods in cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air exhausted. Simply put, the higher the CFM, the more powerful the range hood. One way that experts recommend to establish the CFM needed in a range hood is to divide the British thermal units (BTUs) of the stovetop by 100. For instance, if a range has an output of 30,000 BTUs, look for a range hood with a CFM of 300. As a general rule, range hoods with CFMs between 300 and 500 will provide adequate ventilation for most kitchens.
Although CFM measures the speed at which air is ventilated, it doesn’t necessarily qualify how effectively it is removed or redistributed. So though CFM is important, it’s not the only factor worth considering.
A range hood filter is essential for trapping grease, smoke, odors, and other contaminants. Made of metal or charcoal, vent hood filters help reduce air pollutants in the kitchen. The filter is especially important in ductless vent hoods for proper air recirculation. The most common filters include baffle filters, mesh filters, and charcoal filters.
- Baffle filters are highly efficient filters made of interlocking, three-sided baffles that are excellent for trapping grease as air flows through. They often are made from stainless steel and are durable, easy to clean, and attractive. Baffle filters tend to be better at trapping grease but are also more expensive than mesh filters.
- Mesh filters generally are made of aluminum, manufactured into multiple layers of mesh. The layers of mesh trap grease and other contaminants when the range hood is switched on. Mesh filters are less durable but also less pricey.
- Charcoal filters are usually used in addition to a baffle or mesh filter to trap contaminants and neutralize odors. They are most common in ductless range hoods since these range hoods recirculate the air. For those converting a ducted hood to a ductless version, compatible charcoal filters can be added to improve odor control.
Most range hoods feature between one and six fan speeds. A model with at least two speeds is ideal; this allows users to choose a faster speed while cooking and a slower speed for continued ventilation afterward. Although some manufacturers tout several speed options, it’s not really necessary to have more than three.
Most range hoods come equipped with additional features. Depending on the model, the unit may feature one or more of the following:
- Range hoods equipped with built-in smoke alarms enhance kitchen safety.
- Exhaust timers automatically turn off the fan after a certain number of minutes.
- Temperature sensors turn on the range hood’s fan automatically when they detect heat.
- Range hoods equipped with LED lights will save energy and require replacing less frequently.
- “Change filter” indicator lights let users know when the filter needs to be switched.
- Wi-Fi capability lets users control their range hood with a smartphone or smart home system.
Material and Aesthetic
Range hoods can act as a visual centerpiece in the kitchen, with a variety of materials and finishes available. The hood can either stand out or blend in with the cabinetry and fixtures, depending on which style is chosen. Note that while light-colored range hoods show dirt more easily, they work well with cabinetry and appliances with similar shades.
- Stainless steel is a popular choice for range hoods because it’s long lasting, easy to clean, and requires little maintenance. A stainless steel hood will also match many other kitchen appliances, utensils, and stainless steel cookware.
- Copper has an elegant look that is warm but also modern. It’s an excellent choice for contemporary-, industrial-, or farmhouse-style kitchens.
- Tempered-glass range hoods are sleek and minimalist. Since they’re transparent, they allow the range hood to blend seamlessly into kitchen design.
- Zinc has a silvery finish that is soft and visually striking. This distinctive material is also durable and blends well into most kitchens.
- Bronze range hoods are more durable than copper and are highly resistant to corrosion. Bronze offers a rustic touch and is ideal for cozy kitchens.
- Nickel silver is another common finish in modern kitchens; if shoppers want to match nickel hardware, consider a nickel silver range hood. Nickel silver range hoods are a classic choice for the kitchen.
- Wood range hoods have a timeless-looking finish, ideal for traditional kitchens. If opting for wood, choose a high-quality and well-protected wood range hood to prevent any moisture damage over the years.
The level of noise a range hood produces is typically measured in sones. The sound a refrigerator makes is approximately 1 sone, while 4 sones is the level of an average conversation. Some manufacturers instead measure the sound output of their range hoods in decibels.
Anything under 65 decibels (or 13 sones) should be a tolerable level of noise while cooking. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that a more powerful range hood with a higher CFM tends to be louder.
If you still have questions about how to choose the best range hood for your home, the following answers to some of the more frequently asked questions may help.
Q. What should I look for in a range hood?
First, decide whether a ducted or ductless range hood is most suitable for your kitchen. If shopping for a ducted range hood, look for one that has a CFM of at least 300 to ensure optimal air circulation.
Q. What is the best CFM for a range hood?
A CFM of at least 300 is suitable for most kitchens with electric ranges, while a CFM of at least 800 is preferable for those with gas stoves.
Q. What is the best height for a range hood?
A range hood should be installed so that there are 18 to 30 inches between the stovetop and the bottom of the range hood. The manufacturer will stipulate the ideal height for each specific range hood in the instruction manual.
Q. What is a convertible range hood?
A convertible range hood is a vented range hood that can be adapted to recirculate air rather than venting it to the outdoors.
Q. Can you use a ductless range hood with a gas stove?
Gas stoves require more powerful range hoods because of their high energy output, but a high-quality ductless option can be sufficient if the ducted variety is not an option.
Q. Can a range hood be vented through the wall?
Yes, a range hood can be vented through the wall. In fact, venting through the wall is a common method of exhausting the air from a range hood to the exterior of a building. Here are a few things to consider when venting a range hood through the wall:
- Ductwork: You’ll need to install ductwork that runs from the range hood to the exterior wall. The duct should be made of a suitable material such as galvanized steel or aluminum, and it should have a diameter that matches the outlet size of the range hood.
- Location: Choose a suitable location on the wall for the vent. It should be positioned in a way that allows for efficient airflow and minimal obstruction. Ideally, it should be located close to the range hood for optimal performance.
- Exterior vent: Install a wall cap or an exterior vent cover to prevent pests, debris, and weather elements from entering the ductwork. The vent cover should have a damper or a backdraft preventer to ensure that air only flows in one direction, from the range hood to the outside.
- Building codes: Check your local building codes and regulations regarding range hood venting. There may be specific requirements or restrictions that you need to comply with, such as minimum distances from windows or other ventilation openings.
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