Are you in the middle of a kitchen remodel and inundated with options, choices, and decisions that must be made? Your range hood can seem like one of the smaller choices you need to make, but this appliance shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated. A range hood has many benefits and choosing the perfect one for your needs and style can create a focal point in your room as well as help your family have a healthier home. Choosing a kitchen range hood involves considering various factors to ensure your selection meets your needs for functionality, aesthetics, and performance. Here are some best practices to help you select the right range hood for your kitchen:
Determine Ventilation Needs
The first thing you should do when deciding on a new kitchen range hood is consider your ventilation needs. Consider your cooking habits and the type of dishes you frequently prepare. If your cooking results in strong odors and heavy smoke, you’ll need a more powerful hood. If you fry frequently, you may also need more ventilation.
When determining your ventilation needs, focus on the cubic feet per minute (CFM) rating of the hood. CFM measures the hood’s airflow capacity. As a general guideline, aim for a minimum of 100 CFM per linear foot of cooking surface. A higher CFM is necessary for more intense cooking.
Understand Types of Range Hoods
You should also take the time to learn more about the different types of kitchen range hoods. Which type you need can be determined by factors such as the size of your kitchen, the standard set by your neighborhood and style of home, and your own personal preferences. In addition, not all styles of hood are available in all ventilation options. If you require a lot of ventilation, make sure that the style you choose can cope with your needs.
- Wall-Mounted Hoods: These are attached to the wall above your range or cooktop. They come in various designs and sizes.
- Island Hoods: If your range is situated on an island, an island hood is designed to hang from the ceiling.
- Under-Cabinet Hoods: These are installed beneath kitchen cabinets, which is suitable if you have limited space.
- Downdraft Hoods: These retract into your countertop when not in use and rise during cooking, pulling air downward.
Consider Ventilation Options
Next, you should consider how your hood will be ventilated. There are two main options. Most experts recommend installing a ducted (or vented) hood if possible. These expel air and fumes outside through ductwork, effectively removing odors, smoke, and heat. This is especially important for those with gas stoves, as these can produce dangerous gases. A well-made, properly installed ducted range hood can help keep the air in your home safer.
The other option is to install a ductless (or recirculating) hood. This type of ventilation system uses filters to clean the air and recirculate it back into the kitchen. These hoods don’t actually remove air and fumes from the home, so they are less effective at eliminating smoke and heat. They also cannot remove any dangerous gases. However, in many situations, they are effective at reducing odors and they are more flexible in installation. If your home doesn’t easily allow for the installation of new ducts you may need to use a ductless hood.
Consider Noise Level
You should also consider the noise each hood produces. Range hoods can make varying levels of noise and families have varying levels of tolerance for noise. Look for models with lower sones (a measurement of noise level) if noise is a concern for you or if you are easily irritated by background noise such as loud fans.
Choose the Right Style
This is the most fun part of choosing a range hood. Picking out a design and style that you enjoy and that fits well in your home is exciting and you can finally start picturing the piece in place over your stove. When choosing a hood, remember that the range hood should complement your kitchen’s aesthetics. Choose a design that matches your kitchen’s overall theme, whether modern, traditional, industrial, or another style. You should also consider the value and condition of your home and neighborhood. If a large, expensive range hood is normal for your style of home, having a cheaper option may actually decrease the value of your home when you are ready to sell.
Check for Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is becoming an important aspect of appliance purchases as people become more concerned about global warming and seek to reduce their energy bills. It makes sense to take the time to consider this factor. Look for hoods with energy-efficient features such as LED lighting and variable fan speeds to reduce energy consumption, especially if you plan to use your hood frequently.
Quality and Brand Reputation
A range hood is an expensive and valuable addition to your kitchen, and once installed, will become a permanent fixture. Make sure you research brands and find a high-quality, reliable company to purchase your hood from. If you invest in a reputable brand known for producing durable and high-performance range hoods you will have less risk of faulty parts and you will enjoy a better warranty and better customer service.
Consider Controls and Features
Range hoods come with various control options, including push buttons, touch controls, or even smartphone app integration. Some hoods feature additional functions like timers, auto-shutoff, and heat sensors. While it is not essential to the range hood’s function, make sure that you are happy with the controls on your model before you purchase it.
Installation and Maintenance
Consider ease of installation, especially if you’re doing it yourself. Some hoods may require professional installation. Make sure that the model you are considering will fit in the space over your range by carefully measuring and re-measuring. Talk to your contractor or salesman to find out if the measurements are exact and how much larger your opening needs to be in order for the model to fit properly.
Also, consider maintenance needs in the future. Check the accessibility of filters for cleaning or replacement, and consider how easy the hood is to access and clean. Stove splatters can be hard to remove, so inspect the hood to make sure there are no tiny parts or crevices that will be impossible to clean.
Range hoods can be purchased at a huge range of prices, and some can get very expensive. This is why you should set a budget for your range hood purchase and stick to it. Keep in mind that higher-quality and more feature-rich models may come with a higher price tag, but over time quality often pays for itself in a longer lifespan and reduced maintenance and repair bills.
There is no one best range hood for each person. The best one for you depends on your specific cooking habits, kitchen layout, and personal preferences. Take your time to research and compare different options before making a decision, and make sure the model you choose is the right one for you and your kitchen by double-checking each item on this list.