One of the most important kitchen appliances to consider when you’re remodeling or building your kitchen is a range hood, especially if you intend to buy an induction range. Which brings us to today’s topic, i.e. this article is about how to choose the best range hoods for your kitchen.
It’s pretty obvious that the vast majority of kitchens today have a stove, whether we’re talking about an old-school gas operated stove or an electrical variety, hence a range hood is a must have item to add into the mix. Even if you only plan to buy an induction cooktop, a range hood will help a lot with mitigating unpleasant smells and steam from building inside your kitchen.
Also known as vent hood, this type of kitchen appliance will move scents, smoke and various particles out of your kitchen, plus it offers extra lighting to the cooking space, helps with keeping your kitchen cleaner (smoke and steam accumulate over time on your countertops and walls), reduces the risk of monoxide poisoning if you have a gas operated stove/cooktop, and, most importantly, will help with keeping your kitchen cooler during the summer as it also dissipates heat.
How to choose the best range hoods
There are four main types of range hoods, and most shoppers decide on a specific type based on their particular kitchen design. One of the most common types of range hoods is the under cabinet version, an affordable model that is compatible with most kitchen designs.
Under cabinet range hoods are installed under cabinets, hence the name, cost less than other types and they’re pretty easy to install, being also stylish and functional. Some models arrive with ducts included in the retail package, for transporting particles and smoke outside of your kitchen, while ductless versions work by recirculating the air inside your kitchen.
Ductless models are cheaper and easier to install, yet the others are more efficient. Wall mount range hoods can be installed where there are no cabinets over them. Also known as wall mounted chimney, they’re wider on the bottom and the overall design resembles a chimney. Usually speaking, this type of range hood is more expensive than under cabinet models, but if your stove is located without cabinets over it, a wall mounted range hood would make the most sense.
Then there’s the island range hood, designed for stoves installed in an “island”, i.e. this range hood connects to the ceiling via a duct and vents out the smoke. This model is more expensive than others, but sometimes this is the only option, especially in modern kitchens where the stove is located in the middle of the kitchen as part of an island of sorts.
Insert hoods also known as power packs are another option, being affordable and flexible in terms of installation, as they are fairly easy to insert in any space, and finally we have downdraft range hoods, which are the stealthiest model of range hoods, as they connect to ducts beneath the floor.
For all intents and purposes, we’ll concentrate mainly on under cabinet and wall mount range hoods, as they are the most common and most affordable of the bunch. Moving along with our story, here are the main factors to consider in the best range hoods: first, there’s the cost issue, as range hoods can be bought for as little as $100, while higher-end models may end up costing thousands of dollars. Depending on your budget and personal preference, you’ll have to determine which models best for you, but rest assured, as we’ll give you plenty of choices.
Size comes into play, and this metric is closely related to the surface area of your cook top. While we’re at it, check out our article about the best portable induction cooktops, because you never know when you’ll need one. As the general rule of thumb, larger range hoods are more expensive, but they’re also more efficient, provided you have enough space.
Power is also closely related to the range hoods’ efficiency, i.e. the more power it has, the more effective it is. To be more specific, you should look for at least 100 CFM per linear foot of range. Keep in mind that ductless models have filters inside to clean the recirculated air, hence they are not as powerful (hence less efficient) as range hoods that vent the air outside. Moreover, generally speaking, smaller models are less powerful than bigger models.
Design as in aesthetics may be an issue to some, but hardly a deal breaker in our view, as most range hoods look more than adequate provided they’re properly installed. Some range hoods can become quite loud on “full throttle”, i.e. on the highest setting, and noise is one of the most common complaints. Don’t worry; we’ll let you know if that’s an issue with any of the models reviewed.
Ventilation type comes into play if you live in a building with restrictions. For example, if you are not allowed to install a range hood with ducts, you’ll have to settle for a ductless model, so check that out before you buy. Ductless models require more maintenance, as in you’ll have to clean them more frequently and replace the filters.
Fan speeds, ease of installation and features like lights, heat sensors, automatic shutoff and filter indication lights are also important, but then again, we’ll let you know if there is any issue with any of the models reviewed below.
Best Range Hoods
Hauslane Chef Series 30″ PS18 Under Cabinet Range Hood
The Best Ducted Range Hood
Our first pick is the Hauslane Chef Series 30″, formerly known as Tatsumaki TA-S18. If you take into consideration the price tag, effectiveness and features, the Hauslane Chef Series 30″ will quickly emerge as a serious contender for the best under cabinet range hood on the market.
Weighing 41 lbs and measuring 29.75” x 22x 6.75’’, the Hauslane Chef features 2 powerful electric motors and no less than six speed settings, being capable of delivering a whopping 860 CFM of sheer power, which means it’s strong enough for most kitchens out there. By the way, if you’re looking for something bigger, there’s a 36’’ version which is sold under the UC-PS18SS-36 name.
The optimal installation height above the cooktop is between 24’’ and 30’’ for an electric range and 30’’ (minimum) for a gas range, so keep that in mind, as well as the fact that you cannot install the Chef PS18 sans ducts; however, you can choose between 3 different ventilation options, with duct adapters included.
Maximum sound level at high speed is 63.8dB, 62.3dB at medium speed and 61.2db at the lowest speed setting, which means noise will hardly become an issue unless you’re hyper sensitive. Just to give you a little bit of context, 63.8db is the equivalent of ambient restaurant noise. Finally, the unit is covered by 2 years manufacturers’ warranty and it’s quite affordable for what it offers.
- Full stainless steel unit, comes with adapters, looks modern, 3-way venting, versatile installation-wise
- Touch-based control panel at the front, easy to clean and to maintain, 860 CFM with time delay and 6 speeds
- Quiet operation, comes with 2 adjustable LED lamps, dishwasher safe baffle filters, good value for money
- Kind of heavy and difficult to install by DIY enthusiasts
Broan-NuTone 413004 Ductless Range Hood Insert with Light
The Best Non Ducted Range Hood
Next in line we have a ductless range hood insert, the Broan-NuTone 413004 respectively, a 30 inch stainless steel unit that retails for less than $100 and features a non-ducted ventilation system and lightning, to help remove odors and smoke and to make your life easier in the kitchen.
The Broan-NuTone 413004 can be described as a budget range hood aimed at condo dwellers, or for people who don’t have the time or the inclination to spend extra money and time for venting the stove. The Broan-NuTone 413004 comes with replaceable charcoal filters that remove most smoke and airborne smells while you cook thanks to its 2 fans that keep air moving as fast as possible.
The range hood insert measures 30 inches wide, 17 inches deep and 6 inches high, which is pretty standard for an under cabinet hood, and comes with a 75 watt bulb protected by a lens to distribute light evenly over the cooking area. Keep in mind that the bulb is not included, which is not very nice on the company’s part, and also there are no spare filters in the retail package.
Operating the Broan-NuTone 413004 is the definition of simplicity, as both the speed fans and the lightbulb are controlled by a primitive rocker-type switch. Unfortunately, the CFM rating is nothing to write home about at 160 CFM, yet it’s relatively decent for a ductless affordable range hood. Minimum height installation above the cooktop is 18 inch, and the recommended height is 24 inch, which again, it’s pretty standard.
- No-nonsense and affordable ductless range hood insert with light and charcoal filters
- Not too loud all things considered, lightweight, exceptionally easy to install and to use
- Modern stainless steel brush finish, good optics, 2 speed fan, versatile
- None considering the price asked
Cosmo COS-QS75 30 in.
The Best Range Hood Under Cabinet
It’s time for another “posh” range hood, and here the Cosmo COS-QS75 comes into play. If we’re debating the best kitchen products, Cosmo is one of the first brands that come to one’s mind, and the same stands true for the COS-QS75. To make it real simple for our readers, the COS-QS75 range hood has an attractive appearance, it’s well designed and relatively compact, hence it’s a great choice if you’re running out of space in your kitchen.
In terms of build quality, Cosmo uses 430 grade, 18-Gauge thickness stainless steel, which means this range hood is as durable as it is good looking. To run the show, you’ll get a high efficiency 500 CFM premium twin centrifugal motors with enough power to suck a golf ball through a garden hose, i.e. you won’t be disappointed by the Cosmo COS-QS75’s real-life capabilities.
Weight may be an issue to some, as the QS75 stands at a respectable 52,9 lbs, yet it measures just 22 x 29.5 x 10 inches; it’s important to mention that this under cabinet range hood is almost as quiet as a mouse (just kidding), operating at 65 dB; moreover, this baby is also very easy (and cheap) to maintain, as it can be converted into a ductless unit via the Carbon Filter Kit (not included in the retail package). In any case, the unit comes with ARC-FLOW Stainless Steel Permanent Filters which are dishwasher safe and extremely durable.
Basically, you can install the Cosmo COS-QS75 in any scenario: ducted or ductless, depending on your particular situation, so yeah, this range hood is hugely versatile. For better visibility at night, you’ll get energy saving 1.5-watt LEDs, and speaking of night, the QS75 features a backlit touchscreen, plus a 4-speed fan. Finally, the range hood comes with 7.5 inch round duct and included dampers.
- Solid, durable and modern design, easy to clean and to maintain, remote control feature available
- Powerful twin-motors with 500 CFM airflow, optional carbon filter kit for ductless installation
- 4-speed fans, fits perfectly under the kitchen cabinet, 5 years limited warranty
- Nothing we can think of
Winflo 30″ 400 CFM Convertible Wall Mount Range Hood
The Best Convertible Wall Mounted Range Hood
Here comes an affordable 400 CFM convertible wall mount range hood from Winflo. The 30’’ range hood is manufactured from high quality stainless steel and retails for less than $200, arriving with dishwasher-safe aluminum mesh filters for removing grease and smoke from your kitchen.
Basically, this means life-time care-free maintenance, and that’s great if you’re not ready to spend more money in the near future. Moreover, the range hood has twin LED lights, a centrifugal motor capable of 400 CFM, which is respectable, low noise operation and 3 level fan speed.
For easy installation, the range hood comes with all sorts of mounting hardware, and its telescoping/adjustable chimney can fit 7.5-8.5 Ft. ceilings. Just like the previously reviewed unit, the Winflo is convertible, i.e. it can be used as a recirculating range hood via charcoal filters, or vented out, everything backed by a 3 year warranty.
- Dependable, 3 year warranty, stainless-steel body, easy to clean and to maintain
- 400 CFM, 3 speed fan levels, easy to operate, comes with dishwasher safe aluminum mesh filters
- Convertible, i.e. you can use it in both ducted and non-ducted installation scenarios, super easy to install
- None really at this price
Cosmo COS-5MU36 36 in.
The Best Range Hood For Gas Stoves
Here comes another Cosmo range hood, a cheaper one this time; enter the 36 in. COS-5MU36 under cabinet range hood, featuring an eye catching design in brushed 430 grade high quality stainless steel, with built-in economical LED lights and aluminum mesh filters (dishwasher safe), to capture all the unpleasant smells, grease and oils from your kitchen.
The Cosmo COS-5MU36 range hood is very simple to use and to install, featuring basic push button controls for no-nonsense daily operations and 3 fan speeds. It’s worth mentioning that at 200 CFM the Cosmo COS-5MU36 is not a suction monster by any metrics, yet it’s powerful enough to get the job done.
The benefit of having a 200 CFM range hood is that it’s super quiet (56dB max) and there are 3 fan speeds to choose from; the mesh filter is capable of superior multi-layer filtration , while the slim profile of the range hood fits under most cabinets and saves space. Finally, this is a convertible range hood, as it can be installed for ductless operation via an Optional Carbon Filter Kit.
- Affordable, easy to use and to install, superior design for top/back/ductless venting
- Quiet and efficient, comes with durable and reusable aluminum mesh filters
- Industry leading 5 year warranty, amazing value for money, 5-button controls
- Relatively weak fan for “heavy duty” cooking
Cavaliere 30″ 860 CFM Convertible Wall Mount Range Hood
The Best Wall Mounted Range Hood
Last but not least, we present you with the 30″ 860 CFM Convertible Wall Mount Range Hood in Brushed Stainless Steel from Cavaliere. If you want a strong and stylish wall-mounted range hood that can be used in kitchens with 12ft ceilings, this is the appliance you were looking for.
Even if it’s a bit more expensive than others, the Cavaliere is the real deal, as it features an immensely powerful centrifugal motor rated at a whopping 860 CFM, which is capable of keeping your kitchen clean and fumes-free regardless of what you’re “overcooking”.
All jokes aside, this Cavaliere range hood is designed to literally take over your kitchen environment, and keep it safe and clean due to its incredible suction power, helped by state of the art touch-controls and 4-speed electronic fans. Needless to say, this range hood is convertible, and it can be easily installed on recirculating mode (ductless) or with external venting.
Despite its sheer power, the Cavaliere is not extremely noisy at 67 dB (depending on fan speed), but not as quiet as some of its counterparts. Basically, if you want a whisper quiet range hood, look somewhere else.
- Well designed, incredibly powerful, sucks up all smoke and food smell with ease
- The perfect addition to any kitchen, great quality and features for the price asked, relatively quiet for what it is
- Ductless installation with high quality charcoal filters, easy to clean, works and looks great
- A bit noisy at max speed
It’s a foregone conclusion, provided you got this far into the article, that range hoods are must-have kitchen appliances “in the current year”, even if some high-end models are not very easy to install, nor especially cheap.
However, if you’re building a modern kitchen from scratch, picking the best range hood for a given budget should rank high on your priorities’ list.
If you’ll end up picking any of the models listed above, you’ll benefit from less cleaning after cooking, a smell-free kitchen and, most importantly, you’ll be able to cook all year-round with the windows closed and your fire alarm muted.
Bottom line, investing in a high quality range hood is a worthwhile endeavor especially if you’re using your kitchen for cooking, because after all’s said and done, that’s the point of having a kitchen in the first place, right?