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How to Shop for a Range Hood

by Howie Lee

OTR Microwave capturing steam

If you’re tired of smelling last night's cooking with this morning's breakfast, equipping your kitchen with the proper ventilation is the key to the best air quality in your kitchen. Unlike over-the-range (OTR) microwaves, which mainly serve the purpose of cooking food, hoods are solely designed to handle the contaminants below. 

But how do they work? Let’s start with the basics. The purpose of cooking ventilation is to increase indoor air quality by removing cooking contaminants before they mix in with the rest of the air in the home. Here are the 6 main contaminants to look out for.

These contaminants are the byproducts of cooking, but good ventilation is the solution to removing them from your home. Ventilation can be broken down into 3 components. The hood, blower units, and ducting should be designed to handle the heat produced by the cooking surface.

Thermador Kitchen with wall hoodHood

The canopy or hood is designed to capture the smoke rising from the cooking surface. Think of it as an upside down box being filled. When considering the holding capacity, 12” in height is optimal for most professional style cooking equipment. When possible, a hood should overlap by at least 3” on each side of the cooking surface, as steam expands in volume as it rises. A hood should also project out to the front edge of the front burner, where most cooking takes place.

 

 

Blower units

Blower power is measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. Ideally, you want to match the CFM power with the output of your cooking surface. Here are typical benchmarks:

300 CFM: Acceptable for electric ranges up to 12,000 Watts, or gas ranges up to 30,000 BTUs

600 CFM: Electric ranges up to 24,000 Watts / Gas ranges up to 60,000 BTUs

900 CFM: Ideally for pro-style ranges up to 90,000 BTUs

1200 CFM: Needed for 48” - 60” pro-style ranges up to 120,000 BTUs.

 

Thermador professional 6 burner range w/ griddle

 

Ducting

This is where most mistakes happen. Even though you have the right hood and blowers for the range, inefficient ducting can nullify the force of air moved from the blower. Air will take the path of least resistance, but unlike water with the assistance of gravity, we need to create that path out the home.

Main tips:

  • Never restrict the size of the duct
  • Run run the duct as short and straight as possible
  • Enlarge the duct for longer duct runs
  • Seal all joints with duct tape
  • Maintain 4-5 ft spacing between turns
  • Turns should be smooth and gradual

 

To recap all of this.

Canopy: Choose the correct size

Blower unit(s): Match the number of blowers to the cooking equipment

Ducting: Use the correct size and install properly

 

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