Buying Guide: How To Choose A Vent Hood
Are you in the market for a new vent hood? As with most major appliances, choosing the right vent hood for your kitchen will depend on more than just style and finish. Use this basic guide to help you find a vent hood suited just for you.
Ducted Vs. Ductless
A ventilation system works by using a fan to sucking up contaminants caused by cooking, filtering it, and then exhausting it back into the air. Vent hoods with ducts work by moving air through a line of ductwork that leads to outside. Alternatively, ductless vent hoods don’t have ductwork and work by filtering the air and pushing it back into the kitchen. If your existing kitchen doesn’t have any ductwork, you can either choose a ductless vent hood or choose to have ductwork added.
Choosing A Style
Once you have determined whether your vent hood needs to be ducted or ductless, you can now choose the style. The style you choose will first be determined by the location of your cooktop. For example, if your cooktop is located against a wall, an island vent hood will not work, or if you have cabinets above your cooktop, a canopy hood is not a good option.
Select Correct CFMs
How powerfully your vent hood will be able to exhaust air is measured in CFMs, aka cubic feet per minute. The amount of CFMs you will need relies in part on the size of your cooktop, such as how many burners you plan on using at once, and where your cooktop is located in the kitchen. A basic formula is calculation 100 CFM per linear foot for a wall hood and 150 CFM per linear foot for an island hood. For example, the same 30” range that needs a wall hood rated at 250 CFM would require a 375 CFM island hood. If you tend to cook large meals and use a lot of burners at once, it’s best to go with a higher CFM.
As with most appliances today, many vent hoods come with convenient features to make your kitchen life easier. Some features include LED lighting to illuminate your cooktop, fan speeds, exhaust timer, remote control, decibels, fan speeds, and more. In general, it’s a safe choice to go with at least 2 fan speeds so you can adjust the power as needed.
Another option for ventilation is an over-the-range microwave. These hanging microwaves include a light and fan underneath and can even be ducted as needed. While this option usually requires specific upper cabinets to fit such an appliance, many manufacturers have developed slim microwaves that can fit in the place of an existing vent hood. It should be noted that OTR microwaves generally do not have the same CFMs and vent hoods and usually cover less area with a common depth of 16 inches instead of the standard 24 inches.