The kitchen hood is an essential component of any kitchen design.  Food is the heart of the kitchen, and cooking produces odors, moisture, smoke, and grease.  These by-products of the kitchen process must be dealt with or they will affect the air quality of the room, the surrounding kitchen cabinets, and other surfaces.  The hood serves the very practical purpose of ventilating these by-products to keep the kitchen clear while cooking.  Kitchen hoods also complement the style of your room, and in some cases become a style focal point.

Here are 5 question to consider in selecting the ideal range hood:

1.  What are your cooking requirements?

Before you start shopping for range hoods, consider its use.  Will you use your kitchen for the occasional meal or do you expect to cook several times a day?  This, along with the size of your range and whether you use gas or electric, will help determine the fan you need.  Fan power is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), where the higher the CFM the more air it can remove in one minute.

2.  What are the noise levels?

A corollary to the fan power is the noise level produced by your chosen hood, which is measured in “sones” or decibels.  Many fans have different settings, allowing you to vary the fan level (and therefore noise level) depending on your cooking requirements.  The more you spend, the more likely you are to get a better performing and quieter fan.  That said, the best way to get a sense of fan loudness is by trying the different models out in a showroom.

kitchen design with mantel style hood
kitchen design with large mantel hood
3.  What is your available space?

Consider the actual footprint, or “capture area”, where the hood will be located.  The width of the hood should match the range below, and the depth should cover the back burners and at least half of the front burners to be effective.  Make sure you also understand mounting height requirements, which is the distance required between the filter in the hood and the burners below.  This may depend on the style of hood and how powerful the fan is.

The larger the hood, the more obtrusive it will be on the surrounding kitchen cabinets and your own ability to operate around the range (particularly if you are tall).  The size of the hood is also impacted by the style you choose, as a rectangular stainless chimney style takes up a different footprint than a decorative oval shaped hood or a custom hood framed in matching cabinetry.

4.  Will your kitchen support ducted or non-ducted?

Kitchen hoods can either vent the smoke and moisture inside or outside.  The best option is a ducted hood, which vents outside, removing all pollutants from the house.  A non-ducted hood, on the other hand, is typically a more economical option.  In some cases, such as an apartment building, non-ducted may be the only available solution.

5.  What style do you want?

Hoods are available in a wide range of styles that allow them to either blend in neatly with other elements of your kitchen design, or stand out as a design focal point.  For example:

Undercabinet hoods attach to the underside of the cabinet above the range.

kitchen design with undercabinet hood
Wall mounted hoods mount to the wall above the range instead of the cabinets.
kitchen design with wall mounted stainless hood
Ceiling mounted hoods are typically used where the range is located in the island.  In this case, the hood cannot be located by the wall and must extend from the ceiling.
kitchen design with island hood
Other options to consider include downdraft ventilation hoods, ventilation power packs, or wall ventilation fans.

Style options range from a contemporary, low profile hood to a more elaborate, architectural style.  Range hoods are commonly found in stainless steel or with a wood surround to match the cabinetry.  Some hoods incorporate other materials such as glass, copper, or stone, or use a bold color to become a statement piece at the center of the design.

Your kitchen remodeling specialist will help you pull together these elements to find the kitchen hood design that meets all your practical and style requirements.  Visit our kitchen design gallery to see more examples.