Above: A magnificent sculptural range hood makes a big statement in this Sellwood area kitchen.


Range Hoods: The Unsung Heroes of the Kitchen

Refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, microwaves. These appliances get top billing in most kitchens. But another important appliance — the range hood — keeps you comfortable while cooking and can even add a touch of style to your space. Here’s our take on these unsung heroes of the kitchen.

Why do you need a range hood?
Let’s start with the obvious: Range hoods direct heat, steam, smoke, grease, and tiny food particles away from the cooktop, making it more safe and comfortable to cook, and they usually come with lighting to help illuminate the cooking surface. Range hoods also help ventilate the home, which is especially important for loved ones experiencing chronic health conditions — such as asthma — that may be triggered by changes in indoor air quality.

Vented versus non-vented
Range hoods are not all alike. A vented range hood directs heat and smoke out of the house through a duct system. A non-vented range hood — the kind you find built into some microwaves — filters and recirculates air back into the kitchen. While non-vented range hoods do offer some control over grease and odors coming from the cooktop, they are not as effective as vented hoods.

Updraft versus downdraft
Updraft range hoods take in heat as it travels upward, while downdraft range hoods sit beside the cooking surface and suck heat into a duct system under the floor. Downdraft range hoods have an incredibly low profile — most of them retract into a small slot near the cooktop — but because they work against the natural flow of heat and smoke, they are not as effective as updraft hoods.

Types of range hoods
Here are the types of range hoods we see in most homes:

Wall mounted range hood
Wall mount
A wall mounted hood is installed on the wall behind the range. In some cases, sections of cabinets are removed to accommodate a chimney.

Under cabinet range hood

Under cabinet
An under cabinet hood is installed over the range and under cabinets. In some cases, the hood is integrated into the cabinets so the chimney is hidden from view.

Ceiling mount range hood

Ceiling mount
A ceiling mount hood is installed over an island or peninsula cooktop with the chimney going straight up to the ceiling.

Downdraft Range Hood

A downdraft range hood sits beside the cooking surface and pulls air into a duct that runs under the floor. Most downdraft hoods are retractable, allowing them to be put away after each use.

Recessed ceiling mounted range hood

Recessed ceiling mount
This type of hood is installed directly in the ceiling over the range. In some cases, the hood can be mounted flush with the ceiling, giving it a clean look and saving a tremendous amount of space.


Custom range hood

This range hood usually consists of a custom cover built to suit a certain style, function or location. The hood mechanism is inserted into the cover and then placed over the range.

Selecting a range hood
Selecting the right range hood for your home depends on the type of kitchen you have, the type of range you have, and the way you like to cook. For example, if you rarely use your cooktop for anything more than boiling water or reheating a meal, a non-vented range hood might work just fine for you. But if you have a professional range and you do a lot of real-deal cooking each day, you likely want a vented range hood.

Ideally, the range hood should completely cover all of the burners on the range. The fan needs to run at a high enough CFM, or cubic feet per minute, to redirect all of the exhaust coming from your cooktop. Most consumer grade hoods, if carefully paired with the range, have adequate power. However, professional grade range hoods offer more power, more features, and redirect the air with greater precision.

Another important item to consider is how quiet the range hood is. In general, range hoods that vent to the outdoors will be quieter than range hoods that simply recirculate the air.

Other desirable features include adjustable lighting and automatic shut-off.

New England inspired kitchen remodel including large island with seating.

Practical yet stylish
While range hoods are mostly known for their utility, more styles are coming into the marketplace each year — some beautiful enough to become key elements in kitchen design! From soft sculptural forms to bold contemporary models, range hoods literally come in all styles, shapes and sizes. Given the abundance of products to choose from and the technical demands of installation, we recommend working with a designer to select the range hood that will look best — and work best — in your home.

Are you ready to rethink your cooking space, and bring a beautiful new range hood into the mix? Neil Kelly is ready to help. Reach out to us today!