Solved! What is a Convertible Range Hood?

Keep the kitchen air clear—and your options open—with a convertible range hood.

By Savannah Sher | Published Nov 29, 2021 9:49 AM

what is a convertible range hood

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Q: I’m looking to upgrade a kitchen range hood but the options on the market are pretty overwhelming. What’s the difference between ducted and ductless models and what is a convertible range hood?

A: Range hoods are an essential component for every indoor kitchen, ensuring that smoke, fumes, and cooking oil don’t linger in the air after you’ve finished cooking. They are typically positioned on top of a stove and achieve better quality in one of two ways: by filtering and recirculating the air or redirecting it out of your home.

When shopping for a range hood, you’ll find both ducted and ductless options as well as convertible range hoods that offer both ducted and ductless functionality. Keep reading to learn more about what is a convertible range hood and the important factors to consider while searching for the best option.

Range hoods help to remove fumes and odors from the kitchen through an air duct or filtered recirculation.

what is a convertible range hood

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One of the most important decisions that shoppers make when purchasing an oven range hood is whether to opt for a ducted or ductless option.

Ducted range hoods pull in air and expel it to the outdoors. They may also be referred to as vented range hoods. Ducted models tend to be quieter because their fans can be located in the ductwork rather than in the hood itself. While they’re undoubtedly the most effective option available, they’re trickier to install because they require a system of ductwork that leads outdoors—which doesn’t necessarily work for every kitchen layout.

Ductless range hoods—also known as recirculating range hoods—feature a suction fan that pulls in air from the kitchen and runs it through a filter before recirculating it back into the room. These filters are typically made from charcoal and effectively trap grease and odor particles. While they’re certainly better than nothing, ductless range hoods can’t compete with ducted models when it comes to performance. They’re typically found in rental units and kitchens where installing a ducted model isn’t possible.

A convertible range hood can be adapted for either ducted or ductless installation.

what is a convertible range hood

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Convertible range hoods are versatile appliances that can function either with a duct system or without. They come equipped with fans and the necessary hookups to attach them to a ventilation system but they also feature charcoal filters for ductless operation. Generally speaking, they are sold as ducted hoods and can be adapted for ductless operation using a conversion kit that is sold separately.

When shopping for a range hood, consider the mounting style, hood size, and fan power, which is typically measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). High-quality residential range hoods typically feature CFMs of between 300 to 500.

There are a number of excellent range hood options on the market, and a recommended pick for a convertible option is the ZLINE 36″ Convertible Vent Wall Mount Range Hood, which is made from stainless steel, features high-quality baffle filters, and moves 400 cubic feet of air per minute.

Our Recommendation: ZLINE 36″ Convertible Vent Wall Mount Range Hood – Get at The Home Depot for $471.80

Convertible range hoods can come with additional costs. 

Cost can be a factor when deciding which type of range hood is best for a kitchen. While convertible range hoods are certainly convenient, they may end up being pricier than standard ducted or ductless models.

Some range hoods are marketed as being convertible and seem like a good value at first, but the cost of the conversion kits must be factored in as they often need to be purchased separately. When using the range hood as an air circulator, users will need to purchase charcoal filters that need to be replaced regularly. It’s important to check the costs of these extra components before deciding on a range hood that seems to fit a budget.

Convertible range hoods offer more flexibility for future kitchen projects. 

If you have a kitchen renovation product in your future, but need to replace your range hood now, a convertible model is an excellent option. They’re a great choice if you don’t currently have ductwork leading out from your kitchen but plan to install some at a later date.

A convertible model allows you to use the kitchen range hood as a recirculating filter system until eventually switching to a more powerful vented system. The range hood vent will also work well if you move your stove to an interior wall where installing a ventilation system isn’t possible.

Often convertible range hoods have more style options than standard ductless versions.

what is a convertible range hood

Photo: istockphoto.com

Range hoods come in several different styles, with wall-mounted and under-cabinet options being the most popular. Wall-mounted range hoods are installed directly on a wall, and tend to be ducted. Under-cabinet models are best if you’re short on space, because they simply attach to the underside of your kitchen’s upper cabinets. Many under-cabinet models are ductless, so they’re easy to install without hiring a professional.

Ductless range hoods tend to be pretty simple in appearance, whereas ducted models are often showstopping pieces that lend a visually compelling aesthetic to a kitchen. If style is a priority, shoppers can purchase a ducted option with a convertible kit in order to attain its high-end appearance for the kitchen exhaust hood—even if it’s not actually connected to any kitchen vent.