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Range hoods look cool, but they serve a purpose, too. They’re responsible for removing aromas, heat, and smoke particles from your kitchen’s air while you cook. They also remove grease which helps keep your kitchen clean.
Choosing a range hood is daunting, though. There are so many on the market, and it’s hard to know which ones are stylish as well as functional. Like most modern appliances, range hoods come in different varieties of mounting styles. They can be mounted under your cabinets or to the wall, or they can have the chimney design. There’s also the option to have a duct or not.
Whatever style you choose, you do need to keep in mind how powerful you want your range hood to be, and that’s where the cubic feet per minute (CFM) ratio comes into play. You don’t need the most powerful one, just a hood powerful enough for your stove.
Here are the best range hoods for your buck.
Best Overall, Wall Mount: Viking RVCH336SS 36-Inch Wall Mount Convertible Chimney Range Hood
What We Love: Easy to install, sleek look, bright halogen lights, optional charcoal air filter
What We Don't Love: Can get too noisy
Although there are range hoods with higher CFM on the market, the Viking range hood wins best overall for striking a balance between sleek design and power. This chimney-style wall-mounted hood offers convertible venting and other features to make your kitchen life easier.
First, this range hood has variable speeds, so you can control how much venting is needed, whether it's a burnt egg or seared scallops. There's a heat sensor that will automatically turn on the hood if the kitchen gets too hot and a delay feature so you can set when the hood should shut off. Viking does offer an optional charcoal filter kit if your air needs better purification. Underneath the easy-to-wipe-down stainless-steel canopy, you'll find dimmable halogen lights.
Users love that its filters are dishwasher safe, and its stainless steel look is timeless. It is available in 14 other colors and finishes if you're looking to match your kitchen decor. Viking offers a 2-year full warranty with a 5-year limited warranty as well.
Mount: Wall-Chimney | Vent: Convertible | CFM: 460 | Dimensions (DxWxH): 24 x 36 x 30 inches
Best Overall, Under Cabinet: Hauslane UC-PS38SS 30-Inch Ducted Stainless Steel Under Cabinet Range Hood
What We Love: Stylish, easy to clean, powerful
What We Don't Love: Humming noise at low settings, can be tricky to install
As opposed to mounting your range hood to the wall, you can mount it underneath your cabinets. Like wall-mounted hoods, these can be ducted or ductless, or convertible if you need.
Hauslane makes a 6-speed under-cabinet range hood that’s sleek and powerful, while still being easy to maintain. The dual motors on this model suck out even the toughest odors and smoke (one online reviewer is a cast-iron skillet enthusiast and loves this range hood). You won't be anxious to suck up grease particles with this since it has an interior steam cleaning function that can dissolve grease inside the hood itself. This helps extend the life and efficiency of the motors since they're not caked with grease.
The baffle filters are dishwasher-safe, and the LED panel is easy to keep clean, too. This does come with a 2-year limited warranty, with a lifetime warranty on the motors.
Mount: Under cabinet | Vent: Ducted | CFM: 525 | Dimensions (DxWxH): 22 x 30 x 8 inches
Best Budget: Cavaliere SV218B2-30 30-Inch Convertible Wall Mount Range Hood
What We Love: Digital panel for easy control, high-power fans
What We Don't Love: Lights have a blue tint, can be loud
Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you can't get a powerful range hood. This Cavaliere hood has 900 CFM and that’s just one of the reasons why the convertible range hood is so popular. It also happens to be stylish in its brushed stainless steel presentation and has a digital panel that allows you to control the lights, fans, and cleaning reminders.
Inside the wall-mounted hood, you'll find its powerful motor is able to vent all the smoke and grease you can cook up at any of its six speeds. When it comes to time to clean, all three 6-layer grease filters are able to be put into the dishwasher while the hood itself just needs a quick wipe down. Should you want to convert to ductless, you simply need to pick up a charcoal filter kit to install. Last but not least, it has two 35-watt lights to help you see what you're cooking.
Mount: Wall-Chimney | Vent: Convertible | CFM: 900 | Dimensions (DxWxH): 19.7 x 30 x 30.2 inches
Related: The Best Electric Ranges
Quietest: Broan-NuTone BCSQ130SS 30-Inch Convertible Undercabinet Range Hood
What We Love: Quiet, easy installation, ADA compliant
What We Don't Love: Only one light setting
If you’re looking for a range hood that’s powerful yet quiet, the Broan-NuTone Glacier is for you. The sleek under cabinet range hood is convertible and offers 375 CFM at its maximum.
Of course, you won't always need the highest speed, but it's the lower one where this hood excels. When you turn on the fan to vent normal cooking smells, the fan will operate at one of the quietest levels around, which means you can leave it on while eating and not have to shout your dinner conversation. That exhaust is also pushed away from your cabinets.
Two open mesh filters help keep grease out of the air and can both be placed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. Best of all, this comes in multiple sizes and finishes, so you can have your entire cooking area match.
Mount: Under cabinet | Vent: Convertible | CFM: 375 | Dimensions (DxWxH): 19.6 x 30 x 6 inches
Best Ductless: Broan-NuTone 413004 30-Inch Ductless Stainless Steel/Black Under Cabinet Range Hood
What We Love: Easy to install, affordable, ADA compliant
What We Don't Love: Fan not as powerful as a vented hood
Ductless hoods recirculate air after it's vented through the filter. Packed with a charcoal filter, the compact ductless range hood from Broan-NuTone fits perfectly under the cabinet for your fume-pulling needs. It's also easy to install since there's no duct to deal with.
Like many ducted range hoods, this 2-speed one comes with filters that can easily be cleaned, or replaced if they get too gunky. To help you see what you're cooking, it does have space for a 75-watt incandescent bulb. Since ductless range hoods don't vent to the outside, they aren't rated for CFM with ducted hoods. A few users report that this hood isn't as powerful as some vented hoods, which might be an issue for heavy-duty cooking.
Mount: Under cabinet | Vent: Non ducted | Dimensions (DxWxH): 17.5 x 30 x 6 inches
Best for Gas Stoves: ZLINE KB-36 36-Inch Wall Mount Range Hood
What We Love: Powerful yet quiet
What We Don't Love: Installation can be tricky
ZLINE makes beautifully designed range hoods that are also on the quiet side, even on the highest setting. A win-win. When you have a gas stove you need a more powerful range hood, especially when you're searing steak, and this one delivers.
This stainless-steel hood comes with four fan speeds to choose from, the highest of which is 400 CFM, but even when cranked up, you can still hold a conversation in the kitchen. There’s a timer feature to turn off the fans should you need it. The baffle filters can be occasionally run through the dishwasher to clean off oils and grease, while compatible charcoal filters are available if you want to go ductless.
Unlike some other models, this features easy-on-the-eyes LED lights to illuminate your stove area. It also features a 3-year warranty on parts with a lifetime warranty on the motor.
Mount: Wall-Chimney | Vent: Convertible | CFM: 400 | Dimensions (DxWxH): 19.7 x 36 x 10.5 inches
Related: The Best Gas Ranges
Best for Kitchen Island: Cosmo 668ICS750 30-Inch Island Mount Range Hood
What We Love: Modern looking, powerful
What We Don't Love: Can be noisy
Your kitchen island is a centerpiece, so it deserves to have an aesthetically pleasing range hood to match. It also needs a powerful range hood to keep the unpleasant particles from floating around the kitchen.
The Cosmo 668ICS750 fits the bill of stylishly modern with a glass visor and powerful with three fan speeds. Capable of reaching 380 CFM, it can handle your largest special-occasion meals or when you accidentally burn the toast. The stainless-steel permanent filters are dishwasher-safe, and it does have the capability to be converted to ductless.
The LED lights are bright and energy-efficient, while the LED panel makes it easy to control the settings and adds to the streamlined look. This also has one of the longest parts warranties at five full years.
Mount: Island | Vent: Ducted | CFM: 380 | Dimensions (DxWxH): 23.6 x 30 x 47 inches
If you're looking for a wall-mount chimney-style range hood, the sleek Viking RVCH336SS 36-Inch Wall Mount Convertible Chimney Range Hood (view at AJ Madison) is easy to install and easy to clean. For those who need an under-cabinet range hood, the powerful Hauslane UC-PS38SS 30-Inch Ducted Stainless Steel Under Cabinet Range Hood (view at Amazon) is a great one to have in your kitchen.
What to Look for When Buying a Range Hood
Range hoods come in different varieties of mounting styles. There are under-cabinet range hoods that are literally mounted under cabinets. They tend to be smaller than other range hoods but also look uniform with the range. If there are no cabinets above the hood, it’s considered a wall-mounted range hood. Within wall-mounted range hoods, it’s important to know that some are ducted, and some are ductless.
Most wall-mounted range hoods come in chimney designs. This means that the air and particles get pulled in and channeled up a shaft that gets expelled outside. For those who prefer sleek kitchens, however, a downdraft range hood might be preferable. A downdraft range hood is integrated into the range. Popular versions include telescopic models which stand a few inches above the range. They are considered inferior range hoods, though, as they can’t effectively clean the air, and they’re expensive.
Ducted, Ductless, or Convertible
Ducted range hoods use ductwork to pull in particles and push them outside of the house. These are effective but costly. Ductless range hoods, on the other hand, recirculate the air using filters. They’re more affordable but do require more maintenance due to the filters. Some range hoods are convertible, which means they can be used with or without ducts, though you might need to purchase a separate filter.
The power of ducted range hoods is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), or how much air is pulled in and exhausted per minute. The higher the CFM, the more powerful the range hood. To figure out what you need for your kitchen, it’s important to figure out the CFM ratio by taking your stove’s BTU and dividing it by 100. For example, if your stove is 22,000 BTU, you’d need a range hood with a minimum of 220 CFM.
How do you clean range hood filters?
Whether your range hood has mesh filters or baffle (stainless steel) filters, you’ll need water and baking soda. Soak the filters in a mixture of warm water, soap, baking soda, and then scrub them clean with a brush. Many of these can also be put into the dishwasher, but you should only do that occasionally. Either way, let them dry completely before placing them back in the hood.
How do you measure for a range hood?
Start by measuring your range. Most people suggest getting a hood that is one size bigger than your range, so if your stove is 30 inches, get a hood that’s 36 inches to ensure that it will catch all the particles floating around while you’re cooking.
You’ll also want to measure the space above your range up to the ceiling so you can see if your desired range safely fits within the space. If you’re installing a range hood above the recommended height, increase CFM. Don’t install your hood too close to the stove, as that is dangerous!
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Lia Picard is a freelance writer whose work appears in the New York Times, Wine Enthusiast, and Food & Wine.
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