Updated on May 19, 2023
Choose the Right Range Hood for Your Kitchen
Discover range hood models and types of installation. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make your selection.
Ventilation Systems: Extracting or Recirculating
A ducted hood is the best option. However, if it is not possible to install ductwork to draw foul air outside, you will need to turn to a recirculating hood.
Ductless Hoods – Recirculating
This type of hood operates as follows: a charcoal filter cleans foul air, removes most grease particles and odours, then returns the air to the kitchen.
Ductless hoods are simpler to install but are considered less effective than ducted hoods, since they return air back into the kitchen without extracting smoke, heat, or moisture.
Ducted Hoods – Extracting
This type of hood completely eliminates foul air, venting it outside the house through ductwork. These hoods are very popular and are considered the most effective way of meeting ventilation standards as set out in the National Building Code of Canada.
Installing a ducted range hood is more complicated because of the ductwork involved. However, once that is in place, the hood can be installed quickly.
Discover the 5 Main Oven Hood Models
Island Range Hoods
Models with exterior ventilation modules are quieter. Built-in hoods offer high-performance with a ventilation capacity of between 600 and 1200 CFM.
Let’s Not Forget Specialized Kitchen Fan Models
Downdraft range hoods have a ventilation module that’s located on the side or behind the cooking area and level with the cooking surface. These models, practical because they are camouflaged, require an internal or external vent. However, they can be less effective than other types of hoods, since heat and foul air tend to rise, and, in certain cases, ventilation modules are too far away from some cooktop elements.
Slide-Out Range Hoods
These models are installed under a full-size kitchen cabinet with either outside venting or a recirculating charcoal filter.
Range Hood Features and Components to Look Out For
In order to choose the best range hood for your kitchen, it is best to carefully evaluate the size of the environment in which it will be installed. Range hoods are equipped with electric motors chosen according to the air movement it produces. This capacity is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).
This measurement only applies to exterior venting systems. When you calculate capacity, you should take kitchen volume and duct length into consideration:
- Kitchen volume. To calculate the required capacity, multiply the height (H) of the kitchen by its surface area (W x D), which will give you the volume of the room. Multiply this number by 10 and the result is expressed in m3/h. For instance, in a room measuring 15 m2 and 3 m high, a hood with 450m3/h motor power should be installed. The hood should be capable of achieving 10-12 air changes per hour to adequately extract odours and fumes.
- Duct length. A long duct with several 900 elbows requires extra ventilation capacity. The following table will allow you to evaluate minimum capacity requirements according to duct length:
Up to 270
400 or more
Important: If you have an open-concept kitchen, you will need to calculate the total volume.
The width of most range hoods varies between 24"-36". The most popular are 30" models, since their width is appropriate for most electric and gas stoves. Generally, the range hood should overlap the cooking surface by 3” on both sides. This is particularly important for gas ranges.
Depth can vary slightly from one manufacturer to another and from one model to another. Hood depth should generally be calculated to overhang at least a half of the front elements.
Most range hoods are equipped with one or more lights which provide an extra source of lighting in the kitchen. Depending on the model chosen, you may have up to 3 incandescent, fluorescent, or halogen bulbs. Many models include LED lighting, which is specially designed to sustain heat.
Fans are made of plastic or metal and are generally located in the body of the range hood, making them easier to access for cleaning and maintenance, but also noisier.
If you want to eliminate as much noise as possible, you should consider range hoods with fans placed outside the house. For this type of installation, intended solely for external venting hoods, the fan/motor casing is located either in the attic or on the roof. Although a little more complex, this type of installation is much quieter. Motors are equipped with one of 2 types of fans, either:
- a propeller fan, with blades that move the air somewhat like the propeller of a plane; or
- a centrifugal or blower fan, which resembles a hamster wheel, powered by a rotating cylinder with straight blades. This type of fan is more efficient and quieter than the propeller fan.
When noise is a prime consideration, check out models equipped with in-line fans or fans placed outside the home.
The primary role of filters is to capture grease particles before they enter the ducting. Grease represents a potential fire hazard and can also present long-term cleaning problems. Rectangular or circular, filters come in various sizes depending on the hood model. Some models use 2 filters.
- Aluminum filters: Metal mesh filters(or fine mesh filters) are the most widely used. They can be removed easily, washed in the dishwasher, and are therefore reusable. Where they are available, fine-mesh aluminum filters are recommended.
- Baffle filters: These commercial-style filters are made of stainless steel and placed inside the casing. More durable than aluminum filters, they cover the entire surface under the hood and can be washed in the dishwasher.
- Charcoal filters: Charcoal filters and charcoal filter modules are used for ductless hoods. They eliminate cooking odours and capture grease. They are mainly modules that are inserted in the hood; they are rarely interchangeable between hood models, except perhaps between models from the same manufacturer. They cannot be washed and must be replaced regularly.
The hood body houses the various elements included in the hood, such as the filters, fan, and motor.
Other Range Hood Features to Consider
ENERGY STAR-certified range hoods use up to 70% less energy than a non-certified appliance. It’s a great way to lower your electricity bill while reducing your environmental impact!
Some hoods feature electronic touch controls for automatic shutoff functions and heat sensors that automatically increase fan speed and sound an alarm if things get too hot. For example, the Heat SentryTM detector automatically adjusts the ventilation setting if the heat detected from the stovetop is too high.
Certain models are equipped with an electronic sensor which will automatically activate the hood when smoke is detected. The intensity of the smoke in the air determines the suction power of the hood which will also turn off automatically.
Hoods with perimeter suction have recently come on the market; originally developed for commercial purposes, they capture peripheral odours and smoke very effectively.
Install Your New Range Hood
Once the ventilation ducts are in place, installing the range hood is relatively simple. The height from stove varies according to the type of cooktop, suction and exhaust capacity, and the type of unit. As a general rule, the closer the hood is to the cooking surface, the more effective the suction and evacuation of foul air will be.
Lower-performing hoods should be installed 18"-24" from the cooktop.
Average-performing hoods should be installed 24"-30" from the cooktop.
Top-performing and commercial-type hoods should be positioned 30"-36" from the cooktop.
These are general guidelines and will vary according to individual manufacturers. Be sure to read the instructions carefully.
A few tips:
- The location of the exhaust opening may vary from one manufacturer to another.
- The circumference of the ducting must be the same or greater than that of the connection located on the hood.
- A range hood should be installed a minimum of 20" above an electric unit and 30" above a gas range. For optimum efficiency, the distance between the cooking surface and hood should not exceed 30".
- Make the ductwork run as short and as straight as possible and with as few turns as possible. When this is not possible, remember that 45° angles allow for better air circulation than 90° angles. Don’t forget to terminate with a roof cap or wall cap.
- With 6" round ducting, install a transition piece and seal joints with 2" duct tape. The wall duct should be prepared for the adaptor that should be inserted easily into the duct.
- Never terminate venting into an attic. Excess moisture will damage wood structures and drywall. Furthermore, expelled cooking grease can create a fire hazard and will attract unwanted insects.
- Always use rigid steel ducts. Flexible duct pipes and corrugated metal are more prone to grease buildup, which can present a fire hazard.
Whatever installation method you choose, it is generally wise to consult an electrician. If you decide to do the installation yourself and to connect the range hood to an existing electrical circuit, remember the 15-amp rule, whereby the total load on any circuit breaker may not exceed 15 amps. If the range hood’s additional amperage plus existing elements (other appliances, lights, etc.) totals more than 15 amps, you’ll need to wire it into an empty breaker slot in the main panel.
The optimum amperage (light and fan speed settings) will be indicated on a label attached to the hood. The National Building Code of Canada requires that you install a junction box at every wire junction.
Remember that all electrical installations in Quebec must be carried out by a master electrician and member of the Corporation des maîtres électriciens du Québec (CMEQ).
Did You Know?
Range Hood Maintenance Tips
Before purchasing, run your hand lightly on the underside of the hood to make sure there are no rough or sharp edges that could cause injuries when you’re cleaning. Grease and soot accumulate in the filters, on the underside of the hood, and on ducts. If you let filters become obstructed, their effectiveness will be compromised.
Maintenance should be carried out as follows:
- Soak aluminum mesh filters in soapy water or put them in the dishwasher to break down accumulated grease.
- Clean all surfaces with a mild dish soap at least once a month.
- Replace charcoal filters 2-4 times per year depending on how often the hood is used.
- Clean the fan blades. In many centrifugal fan models, these easy-to-remove blades can be put in the dishwasher.
For more information on proper ventilation, see our guide 10 Tips for Ventilation and Air Conditioning.
Still having a hard time choosing? When you see a model you like, scroll down to the Reviews section. You will be able to read the comments of our other customers!