On the surface, ductless hood models seem easier to install, lower maintenance, and work as a great space saver, but do they work well as their ducted counterparts? To really answer this question, we must first understand how a ductless range hood works, which is what our experts will shed light on today.
What are Ductless/Recirculating/Non-Vented Range Hoods?
A ductless range hood is an appliance in your kitchen responsible for effective ventilation of grease, fumes, and more. It’s also referred to as a recirculating range hood because it does not feature a duct (hence the term ductless) that filters the air outside.
Instead, recirculating range hoods filter and clean the kitchen air and recirculate it within the space. Yes, they are more versatile in terms of installation and take up less space, but what other benefits do ductless hoods offer?
How Do They Work?
How does a ductless range hood work if it doesn’t actually remove the polluted air? Our engineering team says they use filters. The ductless range hood sucks in the dirty air which makes its way through charcoal filters or carbon filters within mesh filters or baffle filters.
The elements within these filters activate to remove harmful particles such as carbon monoxide and other cooking odors and then circulate the air back out. Are ductless range hoods safe if they don’t vent out the air? Our team says with effective filters, they are very safe.
Why Change of Filters is Crucial
Now that you know the filters are largely responsible for the air cleanliness, you can imagine that changing them in a timely manner is vital to make the most of your duct hoods. You will notice less and less efficiency if you allow the activated charcoal filter to go for months without maintenance.
Our chefs along with our engineering team suggest switching out your carbon or charcoal filters every 1 to 3 months. The difference in length depends on your cooking style. Greasy or Asian cooking, which is more flavorful, will often require filter replacement sooner than later. However, if you usually partake in light cooking, then your ductless hood filter can be changed every 3 months.
How Does it Compare to Ducted Range Hoods?
Just by analyzing how a ductless hood vs a ducted range hood works, most people can tell that ducted hoods are better for maintaining indoor air quality. Why? It’s because they actually remove the poor quality air from your kitchen rather than just attempt to clean it.
A charcoal filter  will only do so much, whereas removing the poor air via ducts and exhaust vents will prove to be much more effective. While our team of culinary experts do prefer a vented range hood, we completely understand that this type of installation may not always be feasible.
For example, your choice between ducted and ductless hoods is made for you if you live in a condo. There is no way to physically filter the air unless you are willing to pump it into your neighbor’s home.
The placement of your kitchen may make it impossible to vent ducted hoods outside, which also makes a ductless range hood your only option.
What to Look For in Ductless Range Hoods
Even though a ducted hood is more effective, you can still get a powerful hood in a ductless model if you know what to look for.
The size and placement of your ductless range hood should be your top consideration. The poor air quality will not get filtered if your range hood doesn’t fit! Our team says the ideal size for a range hood is one that is wide enough to cover all the burners.
There are units that can be a ductless hood or a ducted range hood depending on the placement. Do you need an under-cabinet or a wall mount? Do you need an island range? These are all questions you should ask before investing in a new product.
You definitely want a high CFM (cubic feet per minute), which is the rating used to measure how much air your range hood can move in 60 seconds. The higher the number, the more effective your range hood will be.
The range should also be sturdy, usually made from heavy-gauge stainless steel, and have special features that make it easy to use. If you don’t mind the most basic design then that’s fine, but our team says a touch screen with a digital display will go a long way.
Another thing to consider is energy efficiency. A range hood does more than neutralize strong cooking odors, it will also trap dirt and grease as air passes through its filters, but it should also illuminate your cooktop with low-energy LED lights.
Are ductless range hoods worth it?
Yes, ductless range hoods are worth it if you do not have the space or if the layout and design of your home makes it impossible to vent the air directly outside. Ductless hoods can be just as powerful as ducted models and come with smart features as well such as auto shut off and touch controls.
How does a ductless range hood work? It relies on filters, which effectively remove harmful particles to purify the air in your kitchen once again. Users are strongly recommended to switch out the filters every 1 to 3 months depending on the type of cooking and how often they cook.