Updated February 28, 2019 by Jeff Newburgh

The 9 Best Range Hoods

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When preparing large meals, the presence of steam, smoke, and other airborne contaminants is inevitable. You can help to remove these substances from the kitchen and ensure proper airflow at all times using one of these dependable range hoods. Available in many shapes, sizes, and styles, their powerful fans and filtration will keep your cooking environment smelling clean and fresh. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best range hood on Amazon.

9. Broan Glacier

8. Cosmo Under Cabinet

7. Zuhne Ventus

6. Cavaliere Island

5. Proline PLJW 185

4. Kitchen Bath Collection

3. Air King Granada

2. Klarstein Preciosa

1. ZLine Designer Series

Clearing The Kitchen Air

The range hood doesn't deny people this social experience, but it does remove potentially unpleasant, lingering odors.

Anyone who loves to prepare delicious feasts from the comforts of a modern kitchen knows that airflow is important. There is no denying that certain smells evoke feelings of nostalgia and memories of simpler times from one's past. The smell of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, for example, brings me back to my childhood days of watching mom bake up a storm in the kitchen. While these fond memories are associated with wonderful smells, there are certain airborne pollutants that don't need to be left hovering in the kitchen over a stovetop. In such situations, a range hood is a necessary appliance for the removal of excessive airborne grease and other contaminants.

Also known as an exhaust hood, the range hood is a kitchen appliance often made from stainless steel and installed above the perimeter of a cooking surface. The appliance consists of several components: a canopy or capture panel, built to contain rising gases emanating from a stovetop; integrated lighting, which gives you extra visibility on the cooking surface; an electric fan, used to draw in airborne contaminants and ventilate the surrounding area; and one or more grease filters, designed to collect the airborne food particles and prevent their accumulation inside the range hood. All of these components serve to protect your kitchen against potential wall and cabinet damage caused by rising steam or grease in the air. Depending on the design and the shape of your kitchen, a range hood can be ceiling-mounted, wall-mounted, or even installed under cabinets.

As fumes rise from a cooking surface, the range hood collects and funnels them to its center where the electric fan resides. The fan's job is to draw in these fumes and direct them using one of two possible configurations: ducted or ductless. With a ducted configuration, the fan collects the airborne particles and directs them away from the kitchen to the outdoors using the home's main duct and pipe system. With a ductless configuration, dirty air is passed through an activated carbon or charcoal filter, cleaned, and finally recirculated back into the kitchen. Whether you use a ducted or ductless range hood depends on the placement of your cooktop and the overall construction of your home. In many commercial kitchens, for example, a ducted range hood is often favored due to its overall efficiency for the removal of smoke. It's also important to note that some range hoods are convertible for both ducted and ductless operation, depending on your needs.

So, why even bother installing a range hood in the first place? The appliance minimizes the buildup of strong odors that could otherwise permeate the rest of your home without a proper ventilation system. Besides the annoyance of strong odors, keeping the air as clean as possible remains beneficial to the homeowner who suffers from severe allergies. Now, there's certainly nothing wrong with picking up on the gentle wafting smells of a wonderful turkey dinner in the oven. In fact, that experience transcends celebrations and holidays. Food brings people together in unique ways with many social implications. The range hood doesn't deny people this social experience, but it does remove potentially unpleasant, lingering odors. It also provides a budding chef with the freedom to experiment with different cuisines. So, the next time you want to try that new tilapia recipe, rest assured that your range hood is on the job. Although you can't expect this appliance to convert that leftover fish smell to the essence of freshly-baked apple pie with cinnamon cloves, it will help to clear the air nevertheless.

Efficiency And Versatility Are Key

One of the most important decisions to make when investing in a range hood is the type that will work best for your kitchen setup. Knowing the layout of your home and where your appliances are installed will direct you to the appropriate choice. For example, if your cooktop is an island in the middle of the kitchen, a ceiling-mounted range hood is a logical choice. However, if your layout requires air filtration and recirculation, then definitely opt for a powerful ductless unit.

Range hoods are also constructed from many materials besides steel, including copper, bronze, and even heat-resistant plastics among others.

Pay close to attention to the functionality of the hood's internal blower fan. If you anticipate a lot of heavy cooking, the fan should be powerful enough to move between 350 and 600 cubic feet of air per minute. Multiple speed settings are beneficial when preparing various foods that need plenty of air suction to remove their strong odors from your cooking environment.

Consider the type and number of integrated lights for your range hood. Lighting options often include incandescent, fluorescent, halogen or LED bulbs.

Range hoods are also constructed from many materials besides steel, including copper, bronze, and even heat-resistant plastics among others. That said, you should consider how well your hood blends in with the decor of your kitchen and its ability to withstand the rigors of heavy cooking.

Other features to keep in mind include: automatic shutoff, designed to turn the blower fan off after a preset length of time; integrated heat sensors, which automatically adjust your fan speed depending on the surrounding air temperature; and built-in filter indicators to alert you when the time comes to change them.

A Brief History Of Range Hoods

New York resident Theodore R. N. Gerdes applied for one of the first range hood patents as early as 1926. While he acknowledged the existence of the appliance before this date, Gerdes identified and sought to correct a common flaw with its design, which was its lack of an integrated fan to capture escaping smoke.

Founded in 1933, the Vent-A-Hood Company is largely credited as the first manufacturer of domestic range hoods.

Further refinements to the appliance continued well into the 1950s, including patents for cooling its top and sides as well as the development of replaceable filters.

Today's range hoods incorporate many of these early patents. They represent the evolution of both form and function for keeping air clean with stylish designs to complement most any modern kitchen decor.

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Jeff Newburgh
Last updated on February 28, 2019 by Jeff Newburgh

Jeff is a dedicated writer and communications professional from San Francisco with a bachelor of arts in anthropology from UC Berkeley. He began his career in computer consulting and later branched out into customer service. Jeff focuses on making complex topics easy to understand. With over 10 years' experience in research, his relentless curiosity fuels a love of writing and learning how things work, and has helped to build expertise in categories such as heavy-duty power tools and computer equipment. Jeff's passion for animals affords him a strong understanding of pet products, including dog houses, beds, and grain-free foods. When he's not writing, he prefers spending time with his family and three dogs, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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