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What is the Best Range Hood? — Top Picks for 2021

By Annie & Oak Farmhouse Sinks August 07, 2021 0 comments

There’s no denying that the kitchen is the heart of every home. However, all the food preps in place can cause an undesirable smell that lingers while you cook. Luckily, the best range hood can make up air requirements that will enhance your kitchen experience. In this post, our cooking experts will test powerful range hood options out there and pick the best of them all. 

Reviews of the Best Range Hoods 

1. Broan-NuTone 413004 Non-Ducted Range Hood - Best Overall

Broan-NuTone 413004 Non-Ducted Range Hood

If you’re looking for an affordable stainless steel hood with a durable construction that will stand the test of time, then Broan-NuTone 413004 Non-Ducted Range Hood is the best option for you. 

Among the many ductless range hoods that our kitchen specialists had tested, we cannot deny the superior versatility of this product thanks to its two-fan speeds motor and grease-charcoal filters. 

Besides proper ventilation, these under-cabinet hoods have an ideal size suited to keep all the smoke away from the kitchen island. It even features control switches for users to adjust fan speeds and lights conveniently.

Pros

  • Durable stainless steel design 
  • More affordable compared to other hoods
  • Integrated with a ductless ventilation system
  • Features an exhaust fan and work lights
  • Replaceable and compatible charcoal filters 
  • More versatile than most range hoods

Cons

  • Light bulbs sold separately
  • Must be installed with utmost care

2. FOTILE JQG7501.E Side-Draft Range Hood - Best Premium Option

FOTILE JQG7501.E Side-Draft Range Hood

The best range hoods in the market don’t always come with a cheap price tag. And our experts proved it when we took a chance to test FOTILE JQG7501.E Side-Draft Range Hood. Despite being more expensive than other versatile range hoods, this product proved its worth with its baffle filters covering a cooking surface ranging up to 6 ft2.

As if that isn’t convincing enough, it runs with dual motors and three-fan speeds that absorb hot air faster and reduce 98% of the odor manifesting from your gas stove. Undeterred by being a more powerful range hood, this kitchen equipment also seems to have a lower noise level than expected. 

Pros

  • Side-draft range hood design 
  • Two LED lights 
  • Operates with dual motors in 58dB noise level
  • Screen lock function to prevent unintended usage
  • Suited for under-cabinet or wall-mounted set-up
  • Wide Fume Inlet that spans evenly

Cons

  • More expensive than other wall-mounted range hood options
  • Requires professional installation services

3. Hauslane Chef Series PS18 Under Cabinet Range Hood - Best Budget Option

Hauslane Chef Series PS18 Under Cabinet Range Hood

Another under-cabinet range hood perfect for kitchen upgrade is Hauslane Chef Series PS18. With its stainless steel construction, rest assured that this budget range hood will fit the contemporary design of your home.

Besides complementing your cooking surface, it also has 3-way venting options that will fit any vented range hood set-up. With its CFM suction power, we assure you that its quality is incomparable to other range hoods. At maximum speed, the noise level of this vent hood only ranges up to 63.8dB. 

On top of that, these top-rated vent hoods have customizable 6-speed settings that allowed us to control the suction and noise level performance during our series of tests.

Pros

  • Convenient and efficient stainless steel baffle filters
  • Dishwasher Safe Baffle Filters and LED lights
  • 6-speed settings for better suction and noise control
  • High CFM suction power than some range hoods
  • Perfect range hood for heavy-duty cooking

Cons

  • Stainless steel construction requires regular cleaning
  • Warranty only applies if the unit is from authorized sellers

4. XtremeAir Ultra Series UL10-U30 Under-Cabinet Hood

XtremeAir Ultra Series UL10-U30 Under-Cabinet Hood

A stainless steel under-cabinet range hood like XtremeAir Ultra Series UL10-U30 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for ducted hoods to blend with your modern home. 

Considering that this hood insert is powered with twin centrifugal motors, its 900 Cubic Feet Per Minute airflow displacement definitely caught us off-guard. 

Although it comes from a brand of the best range hoods, XtremeAir exceeds our expectations upon knowing that they offer a lifetime motor warranty to its customers. Its arc flow construction also features permanent filters that drive oil and grease away from your food preps. 

Pros

  • Integrated with a dishwasher-safe stainless steel baffle filters
  • Offers a lifetime warranty to range hood motors
  • High-quality stainless steel 
  • Rust-resistant construction
  • Two Universal GU10 base LED lights
  • 3-speed settings with push-button controls

Cons

  • Moderately expensive compared to other ducted hood options
  • Compatible for top venting set-up only

5. Broan-NuTone 413604 Ductless Range Hood

Broan-NuTone 413604 Ductless Range Hood

Hood inserts with a well-vented design and lighting undeniably make your cooking surface an ideal space for handling food — and that’s precisely what Broan-NuTone 413604 brought to us during this product roundup. 

Its ductless hood construction features an effective filtration system that eliminates undesirable smoke and odor. Setting this equipment up your kitchen will be no sweat as it has an ideal size of 36 inches and is engineered with a 2-speed fan for added convenience. 

To top it all up, it also has a replaceable charcoal filter that keeps your cooking area grease-free and fresh. However, keep in mind that these ductless hoods can only be installed with this particular type of filter. 

Pros

  • Affordable under-cabinet mount range hood
  • Convenient control switches for fan speed and lights
  • Engineered with recirculating hood design and grease-charcoal filter
  • Comes in a variety of sizes and colors
  • Can accommodate incandescent bulbs for even lighting

Cons

  • Only for ductless installation with charcoal filter
  • Bulbs for these range hoods are sold separately 

6. ZLINE GL1i-36 Island Mount Range Hood

ZLINE GL1i-36 Island Mount Range Hood

While trying to find suitable range hoods for your kitchen island, our team decided to evaluate the features of the ZLINE GL1i-36 Island Mount Range Hood. Setting aside its moderately expensive price tag, we’re highly impressed how its 4-speed fan control allowed us to set the suitable airflow for our food prep. 

Even at the highest speed setting, this island range hood can maintain relatively low noise levels. With its stainless steel exterior, we can assure you that these island hoods will accompany your cooking adventures for the longest time possible. 

Pros

  • Airflow displacement of ‎760 Cubic Feet Per Minute
  • Best range hoods for a kitchen island with push-button controls
  • Integrated with 4-speed fan control settings
  • Maintains low noise levels at highest speed settings
  • Durable and sturdy island range hood construction

Cons

  • Carbon filters not included in the exhaust hood
  • Moderately expensive compared to other models

7. Cosmo 63175S Wall Mount Kitchen Range Hood

Cosmo 63175S Wall Mount Kitchen Range Hood

If wall-mount range hoods are what you seek for your kitchen ventures, then rest assured that Cosmo 63175S will satisfy your cooking needs. Not only does it provide energy-efficient LED lighting, but these wall-mount ducted range hoods also have easy-to-clean filters designed for easy maintenance and more savings. 

These wall-mount hoods have only 65dB maximum noise levels and 380 CFM airflow vents that direct undesirable smoke outside your house. Designed with cutting-edge technology, you’ll be please to know that this wall-mount kitchen beauty also features digital touch push controls. 

Pros

  • More affordable than most ducted range hoods
  • Only has 65dB maximum noise levels 
  • Efficient 380 CFM airflow settings for a cleaner kitchen
  • Includes easy-to-clean arc-flow and durable filters 
  • Features energy-saving 2-watt LED lighting

Cons

  • Only offers warranties for limited parts of range hoods
  • Requires professional range hood installation

Range Hood Buyer’s Guide

Size and Capacity

Before our kitchen tools enthusiasts talk about picking suitable range hoods, you should check the available space in your cooking area. If you’re just going for a kitchen upgrade and not a complete makeover, you have to make sure that your chosen range hood will fit that specific dimension. 

Keep in mind that your island range hoods must be as wide as your stovetop. Generally, range hoods come in various sizes, from 24 to 42 inches, depending on your needs. If you ask our experts, going for a range hood one size bigger than your cooking area is always a wise decision. 

As you may have already noticed, most range hoods available in the market these days are sized around 30 inches. If you’re not limited with walls in your kitchen space, then larger models may serve your needs better as they tend to have broader coverage to capture all the fumes and smoke away from your food prep. 

Filter

Regardless of design or type, all range hoods use some kind of filter to trap the grease from all your cooking preparations. In this roundup, you’ll notice that most options are equipped with baffle filters. These filters are easier to clean compared to their alternative (mesh filters) but can also be more expensive. 

On the other hand, mesh filters are the relatively cheaper option to consider if you’re tight on budget. However, these hood filters are harder to clean and don’t really last a long time. Although the prior mentioned are sometimes made up of stainless steel, both filters are often sold in an aluminum construction. 

Ductless range hoods also require charcoal filters to clean the air in the kitchen, but unlike baffle, these filters must be replaced depending on how frequently you use your cooking area. If we’re talking about practicality, we would recommend getting baffle filters for your range hood to save more money in the long run.  

CFM

The measurement of power for ducted range hoods is in cubic feet per minute (CFM). To make it short, higher CFM meant that you’re dealing with a more powerful kitchen hood. This calculation gives you an overview of the speed of ventilated air that range hoods can provide. 

To determine the amount of CFM you need for your range hood, you can try diving the BTUs of your cooking area by 100. In terms of this measurement, the general rule of thumb is that range hoods labeled from 300 to 500 CFM are enough to provide decent ventilation in your kitchen. 

Despite being a crucial contributor to the quality of range hoods, keep in mind that there are many factors that affect the performance of this kitchen equipment. 

Sound

It doesn’t matter if you’re purchasing a convertible range hood or a wall hood. This kitchen equipment operates with a motor, so the noise levels it produces can be a significant factor when buying one.

Like any other household activity, cooking requires focus and can often be interrupted by an unnecessary sound. And if it’s coming from your range hood, how annoying could that be?  Manufacturers of range hoods know this dilemma, which is why they made sure that the level of noise in their products doesn’t exceed 65 decibels. 

The thing you should keep in mind is that this feature aligns with the CFM of your chosen range hood. The higher the CFM measurement, the louder sounds it will produce. 

Lighting

Believe it or not, but 85% of information perceived in your brain is from your sense of sight [1]. And because cooking requires an enormous amount of attention to detail, we cannot deny that lighting is a crucial part of finding the best island range hoods in the market.  

There are two types of lighting often integrated with range hoods. The first ones are the energy-saving LED lightings that have an extensive lifespan. These bulbs emit very little energy in the form of infrared heat, which makes them low cost. 

kitchen with black range hood and refrigerator

Another common type of range hood lighting is incandescent bulbs. These lights are produced via heating of the wire filaments to a specific temperature. Compared to LED, this lighting is more affordable and common in the market. Incandescent bulbs also have a higher capability to render different colors but demand higher power requirements and don’t last long.   

If you’re looking for a range hood lighting that will stand the test of time and cost you less in the long run, then it’s best to stick with types of equipment that accommodate LED bulbs. 

Type of Range Hood 

The type of range hood you’ll need for your cooking ventures highly depends on the kitchen layout you currently have at home. If you’re seeking to add an industrial effect to your kitchen, then the best options you can go for are the wall-mounted hoods. These setups are well-suited for big spaces and offer better fume extraction than other types of range hoods. 

Upon shopping in the market, you’ll notice that wall-mount models come in different designs, such as ducted, non-ducted, or convertible range hood options. They’re also constructed with exposed vent stacks and shaped like a chimney. 

Other types that may catch your interest are the downdraft hoods. These ducted hoods have a unique system that pulls the smoke downwards. The fumes go under the floor toward the duct, unlike the typical range hoods in the market. Some cooktops and kitchen islands have this type of hood readily integrated into their system. 

However, because its airflow goes against the dynamics, the effectiveness of this type of range hood can be very limited. 

parts of a range hood

On the other hand, under-cabinet kitchen hoods are as common as wall-mounted ones. These assemblies are more compact in comparison, but they are typically installed below the upper kitchen cabinets. 

If you have limited space, we highly recommend purchasing this. In terms of setup, under-cabinet models often come in ductless designs, which are easier to install compared to other alternatives. 

For a wider kitchen area that’s not hindered by any walls, installing an island mount can be a great idea. As a range hood with its ducted design, users can rest assured that it has a high ventilation capacity and can accommodate bigger spaces.  

However, despite its perks, keep in mind that island-mounted kitchen hoods don't have any walls to support their weight. Therefore, the pressure is directed to the ceiling. Ensure that the bracing is appropriately in place and all the installation requirements for island mount hoods are met to avoid unnecessary accidents. 

underneath a range hood

On top of these range hoods, manufacturers also tend to release professional-grade equipment. So if you’re a highly passionate home cook who has a knack for extensive food prep, you can check out these models, usually equipped with high-quality exhaust systems and impressive operational speed settings.

Last but not least, the microwave range hoods. Because the use of microwaves has been a regular part of our daily routine, brands decided to engineer their microwaves with ventilation functions. Nevertheless, this type of range hood still has less power and capabilities than the ones previously discussed.

Ducted or Ductless Range Hood? 

The two main designs of range hoods are ducted and ductless. The consideration for these types of kitchen equipment often depends on the ventilation you want to have in your kitchen area. 

Ducted kitchen hoods have vents connected to the exterior of your house. Through this design, the indoor fumes and smoke travel upwards to the ceiling or walls and release all pollutants outside. 

If you’re investing in this type of setup, expect increased costs because you’ll need to construct a compartment above your kitchen cabinets. On the bright side, a ducted range hood is highly effective in keeping your cooking area clean.

Another design you’ll encounter when shopping for range hoods is the ductless model. This type of hood doesn’t have ventilation capabilities. That’s why it can be easily installed without the need of adding ducts or cabinet spaces. 

ductless range hood

Instead of driving the air out of the kitchen, ductless kitchen hoods focus more on circulating the air. If you notice, some models with this type of design often make use of charcoal filters. These hoods extract fumes through filters and release clean air back to the kitchen. 

Although this design is also great, it won’t be as effective if you’re often engaged with extensive cooking. Our kitchen equipment specialists still suggest opting for ductless for longer food preparations.

Besides ducted and ductless, convertible range hoods are also available in the market. This type of hood design allows functions of both assemblies mentioned above. Like ducted models, these hoods are connected to discharge outlets outside the kitchen. 

It can also be configured to a ductless setting and use charcoal filters if you don't have a vented kitchen setup. These types of design can especially be helpful through the changing seasons. As you may already know, ductless models are more suitable for keeping the warmth indoors, while ducted models are used for replacing inside airflow with outside airflow.       

Additional Features 

One of the most crucial features of range hoods nowadays is the heat sensor. To keep you comfortable during your cooking process, manufacturers added a function where the range hood automatically turns on upon the detection of heat in the kitchen. 

Contrary to that, there are also features called exhaust timers. Through this function, your range hood will turn off the fan on its own for a certain number of minutes set by the user. Having this feature on your range hood could also enable you to save electricity in the long run. 

And because range hoods are operated with filters, it’ll greatly help if your purchased product features an indicator that lights up when you need to replace it. With this light indicator, the air filtration will not be interrupted and will continue to deliver its standard quality. 

white range hood and green apples

Just like any equipment in most modern homes, a range hood with WiFi capabilities is definitely a game-changer. 

Being able to control your kitchen air filter with a finger touch will give you convenience, especially when you’re a frequent home cook. With your smartphone acting as a remote control, you can adjust the fan speed configurations and level of lighting easily. It also helps if your kitchen hood can digitally be integrated with your current home system. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brand is good for a range hood?  

The brand good for a range hood is Broan NuTone. As an innovator of indoor air quality solutions, this manufacturer continues to provide its customers with ventilation products including quality range hoods, vacuum and fresh air systems, among others. Their kitchen filtration systems are not only affordable but also engineered with a grease-charcoal filter for cleaner air. 

Which range hood filter is best? 

The best range hood filter is the stainless steel baffle filter. If you’re looking for the ones that will last a long time, then this is the best option for you. However, if your hood is non-ducted, you may need to purchase a charcoal filter to allow the recirculation of airflow in your kitchen. 

How many CFM should a range hood have? 

The amount of CFM a range hood should have is around 300 to 500. With this CFM measurement, your range hood will be able to provide enough ventilation to your kitchen, no matter how spacious it is. Nevertheless, the CFM measurement of your kitchen hood isn’t the sole factor affecting its performance. 

What is the quietest range hood?  

The quietest range hood is Cosmo 63175S. Even in the highest fan configurations, this wall-mounted kitchen range hood only has a maximum of 65 decibels noise levels. However, despite this enticing feature, this model also has lower CFM, which indicates the level of ventilation your range hood can provide. 

Our Top Pick For a Range Hood: Broan-NuTone 413004 

Broan-NuTone 413004

 

With different hood inserts available in the market, finding the best range hood can be tricky. However, after our kitchen specialists conducted a series of tests, we’ve come to the conclusion that our top pick for a range hood is Broan-NuTone 413004. 

Along with its cheap price tag, this hood proved its place on this list with its reliable ventilation system and adjustable fan speed configurations. 


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