How to Choose Ductless Range Hoods

A ductless range hood, also called a recirculating range hood, is one that does not exhaust air outdoors through a duct. Instead, this type of hood draws air through a filter before circulating it back into the room. The filter is intended to remove as much of the smoke, steam, oil, and odor as possible from the air. Ductless range hoods are suited for remodeling projects where ductwork is not already installed. They can also be more environmentally friendly in the right climate, as conditioned or heated air is not being exhausted outdoors. To choose ductless range hoods that are right for you, assess them in several areas, including price, aesthetics, functionality, and noise level.


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    Assess your budget. Your budget will constrain the level of functionality and appearance you can expect from a range hood. The primary budgetary factor of a range hood is usually its aesthetic. Slick, contemporary stainless steel hoods typically sell for a much higher price than other models. Allocate your range hood budget based on the money spent on your other appliances. You may not want to pair a professional-grade, stainless steel range with a cheap plastic hood, for example.
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    Choose between a charcoal filter and an aluminum filter. Ductless range hoods either pass air through a charcoal or aluminum mesh filter. Charcoal filters perform far better in removing all manner of particulates, oils, and odors. However, they cannot easily be cleaned and must be periodically replaced. Aluminum mesh filters do not filter oils or odors very well, but they can be easily washed in soap and water.
    • The type of cooking you do should dictate which type of filter you buy. If you cook frequently, especially using oils at high temperatures, a charcoal filter is best. If you cook infrequently or usually cook using low-grease methods like boiling or poaching, an aluminum filter will be adequate.
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    Evaluate your aesthetic preferences. Ductless range hoods, just like their ducted counterparts, come in a variety of different styles. You can find them in stainless steel, white, black, and colored finishes. If you are attempting to match the hood to your existing range, check the manufacturer's website to see if they produce a matching model.
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    Evaluate your desired airflow rate. The rate at which range hoods cycle air is usually measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. Your ideal CFM rating will depend on your kitchen size, but this rating is much more important for ducted hoods that actually exhaust air. The true effectiveness of a ductless range hood will be largely determined by its filter quality, not how much air it moves. Nevertheless, a higher CFM rating indicates a more powerful hood.
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    Assess the noise level of the ductless range hood. All range hoods generate noise, as they must utilize powerful fans to move the air. This noise level is generally reported in "sones," a unit of perceived loudness. The loudest sone rating appropriate for home use is about 4. Higher sone numbers indicate louder levels of volume.


  • Many cabinet-mounted microwaves contain integrated ductless range hoods. If you are planning a whole kitchen remodel, or simply want a new microwave, consider this option for a more streamlined approach.
  • You should also assess the additional features of a range hood. Integrated lighting, timers, and multiple speed settings all improve functionality.
  • Some municipalities have building codes that regulate the installation of ductless hoods. They may be prohibited in some areas due to their inefficacy, while ducted hoods may be prohibited in others due to their environmental impact.

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Categories: Home Improvements and Repairs | Sustainable Living