Types Of Range Hoods

Range hoods are an incredibly important but often overlooked piece of kitchen equipment. And understanding the different types of range hoods and how they’ll work with your kitchen layout is the first step in choosing the right one.

Today, we’ll go over and break down the 5 basic types of range hood. So whether you’re building, remodeling, updating, or upgrading, we’ll help find the best solution for you.

Types Of Range Hood

Under Cabinet Range Hood

best under cabinet range hood - buyers guide

Under-cabinet range hoods are designed to fit directly under any cabinets or cupboards that are above your range.

There are a few different options when it comes to under cabinet hoods. Ductless models can be mounted directly under a cabinet as the most simple “plug-and-play” option. The only thing you’ll need is an outlet or hardwire nearby. 

Ducted models also mount directly under your cabinets, but you’ll need to ensure there is ductwork in place so that the hood can vent outside your home. This option offers better ventilation performance, but you may have to sacrifice a little cabinet space for the duct itself.

Microwave-hood combos are the last option that also falls under this category. These are microwaves that mount above your range that also feature a built-in fan and vent.

While this option can save you a bit of counter space, the actual ventilation that they provide is often not as good as a dedicated range hood. Not to mention, placing your microwave directly at eye level can turn it into an unwanted focal point in your kitchen.

Wall Mount Range Hood

best wall mount range hood

If you have an open wall above your range, a wall mount hood is likely the best option. These mount directly to the wall above your cooktop and can add a very professional look to your kitchen.

In most cases, wall mount hoods will feature a stainless steel chimney that extends up the wall above the hood. This is a way to hide ductwork but it also creates a more finished and high-end look.

Even if you go with a ductless wall mount hood, most options will still feature a chimney purely for aesthetic purposes. 

Island Range Hood

big kitchen with an island

For kitchens where the range is built into an island, you’ll likely want an island range hood that doesn’t require a wall or cabinets to mount to. Instead, these models mount directly to the ceiling and hang down above your cooktop.

Most island range hoods will feature a stainless steel chimney that runs from the hood itself, all the way up to the ceiling. Similar to wall mount hoods, the chimney is there for looks and as a way to enclose any ductwork if it’s a model that vents outside.

Island range hoods are not mounted against a wall like most of the other options. That means they are exposed to air on all sides, which may require more CFM in order to best keep your kitchen air clean.   

Depending on your island size and layout, you may also want to think about the hood’s controls. If you have a smaller island, you could go with a hood that has controls on both sides. That will give you the flexibility to cook and adjust ventilation from either side of your range.

Downdraft Range Hood

types of range hoods

A downdraft range hood is another option that can work well with an island range, but they definitely come with some limitations.

One of the best things about downdraft ventilation is the sleek and minimalist design. Many options are retractable so that they can be completely out of sight when not in use. 

And if you’re working with an island cooktop, that can keep the kitchen looking and feeling larger and more open than with a traditional island range hood hanging down in the middle of the room.

If it were all about looks, downdraft ventilation would be a big winner. Unfortunately, their performance is often lacking compared to hoods that hang above the stove.

Since smoke, steam, and other fumes naturally rise, a lot of that contaminated air can easily escape into the room before it’s captured by the downdraft hood located at the back of the range. And this is doubly true whenever you’re cooking on the burners located at the front of the stove.

Range Hood Insert

range hood insert

Range hood inserts are designed to fit directly into custom cabinets or a custom hood shell. When inserts are installed they are generally recessed so that they are hidden from view.

This option gives you the ultimate control over the look and feel of your kitchen, while still getting great ventilation. It’s one of the best choices if you already have a decorative hood exterior in place, or if you simply don’t like the industrial look of a stainless steel hood.

One of the keys to working with range hood inserts is getting your measurements exactly right. You’ll need to make sure the depth, width, and height of the insert will fit correctly into your custom cabinet or hood surround.

Ducted vs. Ductless Range Hoods

No matter what type of hood is right for you, you’ll also need to decide between ducted or ductless models. Here’s a brief rundown of the differences.

The very basic difference is that ducted hoods are connected to an outside vent so that they can suck up contaminated air and send it outside.

Ductless hoods on the other hand are not connected to an outside vent. Instead, they work by “cleaning” contaminated air with a charcoal filter before recirculating it back into the kitchen.

In general, ducted range hoods are more efficient and effective at keeping your kitchen air clean. The one big downside is that the ductwork can be very expensive to install if it’s not already in place.

Since ductless models aren’t connected to any type of outside vent, they have the benefit of being easily installed in any kitchen, or anywhere in the house for that matter.

For more on the subject, check out our article explaining how ductless range hoods work and when they might be a good fit.

Choosing The Best Hood For Your Kitchen

types of range hoods

When deciding what type of range hood is right for you there may seem like an overwhelming number of choices. Luckily, the layout of your kitchen will make a lot of the decisions for you. 

If there are cabinets above your stove, an under-cabinet hood is probably the way to go. Nothing but open space above your range? Then wall mount is the answer. And if you’re cooking on an island, you guessed it, island range hood it is.

Now, once you’ve narrowed that down, head on over to our range hood buying guide. There you’ll find every type of hood along with specific model recommendations. Plus everything you need to know about power, size, and noise level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Really Need A Range Hood In My Kitchen?

A range hood is an essential piece of kitchen equipment. A hood will help keep the air you breathe clean, reduce odors from cooking, and keep the surfaces in your home clean.

What’s The Difference Between Ducted And Ductless Range Hoods?

Ducted range hoods suck up air and send it outside through a duct and vent. Ductless range hoods use charcoal filters to clean air before recirculating it back into the kitchen.

What Size Range Hood Do I Need?

A range hood should be at least as wide as your cooktop. But for the best results, it should be 6-inches wider than your cooktop. The overhang on each side will help capture and remove more smoke and other fumes.

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.