These 3 Ultra Quiet Range Hoods Won’t Overpower Your Conversation

Range hoods are often one of the most underutilized pieces of kitchen equipment. We all have them, but many of us rarely use them. And in many cases that’s because they can be so annoyingly loud.

Today, I’ve researched and chosen three of the quietest range hoods around. I’ll break down why they’re great, who they’re for, and if they will be a good fit for your kitchen.

So, while I’ve become somewhat desensitized after standing under the roar of a professional hood for so many years, you shouldn’t have to compete with that kind of blaring noise in your own home.

The Quietest Option: Broan BCDJ130BL 30-Inch Glacier Range Hood

The Quietest Option
BROAN NuTone Glacier Range Hood with Light Exhaust Fan for Under Cabinet, 400 CFM, 30-Inch, Black

The Broan NuTone BCDJ130BL Glacier Range Hood is the quietest range hood there is. It is a great choice for chefs that like quiet while cooking.

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02/18/2024 02:22 pm GMT

The Broan glacier range hood is one of the quietest hoods that you’ll find at any price. And, even if you weren’t concerned about the noise level, this would still be one of the best all around choices available.

This hood can operate at an extremely quiet 0.5 sones, or around 25 decibels. That’s quieter than the hum you get from most refrigerators. Now, that is on the quietest of the hood’s three settings, but it’s an impressive feat nonetheless.

Even as the quietest option on the list, it’s still fairly powerful. It has a max CFM rating of 400, which is plenty of power for many electric cooktops.

This is also a very versatile option that can be installed as a ducted or non-ducted unit. With a ducted installation you get the added bonus of utilizing the dishwasher safe filters. But, if you go ductless, you’ll need to purchase disposable carbon filters.

With this model you also get an easy to read LCD screen. It comes with a filter cleaning reminder, as well as automatic heat detection that will adjust blower speed to maintain proper ventilation.

I’m definitely guilty of only using my hood at home when I know there will be a lot of smoke or grease splatter. But, if I had a whisper quiet hood like the Broan Glacier, I would be using it everytime I cook. 

What we like

  • Incredibly quiet
  • Versatile installation for ducted or ductless kitchens
  • Dishwasher safe filters with filter cleaning reminder

What We don’t

  • Auto shut off timer is limited to 10 minutes
  • DIY installation can be tricky if you’re inexperienced

Quiet And Powerful: Fotile JQG7501.E 30-Inch Range Hood

Quiet And Powerful
Fotile JQG7501.E 30-Inch Range Hood

The FOTILE JQG7501.E 30" Range Hood has a unique side-draft design that not only provides excellent performance but looks great as well. It is also equipped with an elegant touch screen control panel.

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02/18/2024 01:07 pm GMT

The Fotile range hood is a very unique option with a modern design and powerful dual fan blower. And it does it all while remaining quiet enough to have a conversation, listen to music, or simply hear your ingredients sizzling in the pan.

While it can’t claim to be as quiet as the Broan Glacier, it is more than twice as powerful with a CFM rating of 850. And even when operating at the highest of its three settings, this hood still manages to stay under 55 decibels or about 6.5 sones. Which is quieter than most options with this much power.

The unique look and design of the Fotile hood are different from just about any hood on the market. And it will likely become an instant conversation piece in your kitchen. It will look right at home in any contemporary kitchen, but may feel a bit futuristic if the rest of your kitchen is in need of an update.

The hood is angled down towards the back of your range, and the face is covered by a large sheet of tempered glass. When turned on, the top portion of the glass flips open, which is where grease, smoke, and fumes are vented.

The large glass face looks impressive, and even acts as a mirror so you can see into pots and pans from across the room. But, it’s also something that shows grease splatters so you may find yourself wiping it down periodically.

The unit is controlled by a sleek touchscreen, and the large drip tray is very easy to access and remove for cleaning. 

The Fotile hood is impressively powerful without sounding like there’s a jet engine in your kitchen. But, this is only an option for ducted kitchens and it doesn’t come cheap.

What we like

  • Impressively quiet considering its power
  • Unique contemporary design
  • The drip tray is easy to remove and clean

What We don’t

  • Very expensive
  • Only for ducted kitchens
  • Glass face shows grease splatters

Quiet-Ish And Affordable: Broan NuTone 403004 Convertible Range Hood

Broan 40000 Series Two-Speed Ducted Range Hood

The Broan NuTone 403004 Convertible Range Hood is a great choice if you're on a budget, and looking for a ventilation solution that is relatively quiet.

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02/18/2024 12:38 pm GMT

If you’re on a tighter budget, this Broan NuTone range hood is functional and offers a lot of value.

For less than $100 you’ll have to sacrifice a bit of power and accept at least a little bit more noise than with my other picks. But, this model still looks great and is effective for smaller electric ranges.

The single fan blower provides 160 CFM and operates at around 55 decibels, or 6.5 sones. That’s about the same sound level as the Fotile but without nearly as much power.

The design of this Broan NuTone is simple and also lightweight, which makes it one of the easier models to install. And the stainless steel finish is durable, easy to clean, and has a high-end appearance.

This is another “convertible” model that can be installed and connected to an outside venting air duct, or without one. Again, if you go ductless you’ll need to purchase disposable charcoal filters. These will keep the recirculated air in your kitchen clean and odor-free.

While this is a great option that offers a lot of value, it’s best suited for small spaces. Or, for those who don’t do a ton of high heat cooking that produces a lot of smoke and steam.

What we like

  • Very inexpensive
  • Can be installed ducted or ductless
  • The stainless steel finish is durable, easy to clean, and looks great

What We don’t

  • Not powerful enough for large ranges or a lot of high heat cooking
  • The light bulb must be purchased separately

Buyers Guide: Choosing The Quietest range Hood

Noise Level: A Quiet Hood Is More Likely To Get Used

One of the main reasons people don’t use their range hoods is because they can be loud and obnoxious. They can make it hard to have a conversation with anyone in the room or to properly jam out to your favorite tunes.

Range hood noisiness is measured in two ways: decibels and sones. In general, the more powerful the hood the louder it will be. But, duct size and length can also have an impact, with larger ducts providing some noise reduction.

Sones Decibels Sound
010Normal Breathing
.525Broan NuTone Glacier Hood
6.555Fotile & Broan NuTone Hood
9.560Normal Conversation
1970Washing Machine

Choosing a hood that stays under the 60-decibel mark is a good rule of thumb to ensure you won’t have to yell in order to have a conversation while your hood is running.

Selecting The Right Type Of Range Hood For Your Kitchen

There are different types of range hood to accommodate specific kitchen layouts and appearances.

There are hoods specifically for island ranges, hood-microwave combination units, hood inserts, wall mount hoods and under cabinet hoods, just to name a few.

As you look at different models and types, you’ll quickly be able to whittle down which ones will work and be best suited for your style and kitchen layout.

Choosing The Right Size Range Hood

YouTube video

The size of your range hood depends primarily on the size of your range itself. At the very least, your hood should be the same width as the cooktop on your range. That will ensure smoke, steam, and fumes are sucked up and captured by the hood.

If you have the space, a hood that’s a few inches larger than your range on each side can have additional benefits. For instance, if you have a 30-inch range, you may opt for a 36-inch hood.

The larger width will capture more fumes that would otherwise escape into the kitchen. With a wider hood, you may also be able to use a lower fan setting, which will reduce the noise level.

Ducted vs. Ductless vs. Convertible

When choosing a range hood, there are a couple of different venting options: Ducted or Ductless.

Ducted hoods move air from the kitchen and vent them outside. Since this option removes air from the kitchen, it’s more effective at reducing excess moisture that’s produced while cooking.

While it’s not always the case, ducted hoods can operate more efficiently than ductless ones and can also be a bit quieter. The only real drawback is that you must have ductwork that runs outside. And If you don’t already have ducting in place, it can be an expensive addition.

Ductless hoods, on the other hand, filter air and recirculate it into the kitchen. This option relies on charcoal filters to remove the smoke and fumes produced while cooking.

This option is generally easier to install, less expensive, and doesn’t require any ductwork.

The downside is that you’ll need to continue to buy and replace the charcoal filters. And, they don’t always remove as many fumes, smoke, and steam as the ducted versions.

Convertible range hoods have the versatility to be installed ducted or ductless. This can be a good option if you don’t have an outside duct now, but plan on installing one sometime in the future

CFM: What Is It And Why Is It Important?

If you’ve been researching range hoods, there’s no doubt you’ve seen the letters “CFM” in the description of just about every model. This stands for Cubic Feet Per Minute, and it refers to the amount of air the hood is capable of moving. 

So, the higher the CFM, the more powerful the blower. While this isn’t the only factor that determines how effective a hood is, it does play a large role.

For electric stoves, the simplest way to determine how much CFM you need is to multiply the width of your stove (in inches) by 10. So, if you have a 30-inch wide stove, you’ll want a hood with at least 300CFM (30×10=300).

Gas range requirements are a bit different, but all you need to do is divide your stove’s total BTUs by 100.

What To Know About Hood Filters

range hood filter

There are three very common types of filters that you’ll find in most range hoods.

  • Charcoal or Carbon
  • Stainless Steel Baffle
  • Aluminum Mesh

Charcoal filters are only used on ductless hoods, which recirculate air inside. These filters are disposable and fairly inexpensive.

Metal baffle and mesh filters are used in ducted hoods. These must be removed and cleaned every so often in order to keep the hood running smoothly. Many options are dishwasher safe, which makes them easy to maintain.

Range Hood Installation

Each hood is a bit different, but should always come with detailed install instructions. Many options these days also have official installation videos which can make the process a lot easier to understand.

If you’re a handy DIYer you can probably install your own range hood without too much trouble. But, in most cases, you should have someone who can at least hold the hood for you during the mounting process.

My Recommendations

One of the most important aspects of choosing a quiet range hood is making sure you have the right size and a proper installation. That will allow your hood to be more effective at lower fan speeds, which is a great way to keep the noise down.

While the Broan Glacier hood isn’t the least expensive option out there, I think it offers incredible performance for the price. And being able to operate at a hushed 0.5 sones, you won’t even know it’s on.


How Many Sones Is A Quiet Range Hood?

When used at its highest setting, a quiet range hood should be around 6 sones or less.

How Can I Make My Range Hood Quieter?

Choose an appropriately powerful and sized range hood so it is effective at lower fan speeds. 

What Is The Quietest CFM For A Range Hood?

CFM is not a good indicator of how loud a range hood will be. The model, construction of the hood, size of duct,  and location of the blower all have an effect on the noise level of each hood.

About the author

William is a classically trained chef, who spent years cooking in top NYC restaurants before bringing his talents home to Colorado. Now a stay-at-home dad, William has brought his passion for professional cooking home, where he continues to cook and bake for his wife and daughter.

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