How to Choose a Range Hood For Your Kitchen

Last Updated: 3/05/2024

Author: James Zhao, Sr. Tech Specialist & Alex Park, Product Specialist

Searching through the vast array of range hood options available can be overwhelming, making it difficult to determine which model will best complement your culinary space and meet your needs.

This guide will simplify your decision-making process, ensuring you're well-informed on how to choose a range hood for your kitchen. We'll offer practical advice in making an informed selection, as the choice of your range hood depends on a careful examination of different types, along with essential considerations like size, power, and design.

With a commitment to innovation, quality, and customer satisfaction, FOTILE stands out among kitchen appliance companies with its collection of high-performance range hoods that cater to diverse cooking styles and kitchen designs.

Shop for FOTILE’s collection of range hoods today and experience the benefits of a high-powered yet quiet range hood for your kitchen.

Types of Range Hoods

Exploring the types of range hoods available is a crucial step after deciding you need one for your kitchen. Here, we’ll go over the different categories of range hoods, including those with recirculating and external exhaust systems and different mounting options like wall-mounted, island-mounted, or downdraft hoods.

We'll also touch on specialized types of range hoods, like over-the-range microwaves, under-cabinet hoods, and chimney hoods, guiding you through their unique benefits and suitability for different kitchen setups.

1. Recirculating vs. External Exhaust

Recirculating Range Hoods

Recirculating range hoods are a popular choice for homeowners who want a simple installation process. That’s because this model can be installed without the need to drill an external vent.

By filtering smoke, grease, or particles and recirculating the air throughout the kitchen, recirculating range hoods prevent unwanted airborne materials from billowing inside.

At the same time, these models are oftentimes noisy, cheap, and unfit to handle heavy-duty meals such as Asian or Indian cuisine.

External Exhaust Range Hoods

External exhaust range hoods, or vented range hoods, filter smoke, grease, and airborne particles. Next, these vapors are ventilated outdoors and away from the kitchen.

To see what an external exhaust or vent hood looks like, we invite you to explore our collection of both ducted and ductless range hoods, particularly our EM and JQ series.

2. Wall-Mounted, Island-Mounted, or Downdraft Installations

Wall-mounted FOTILE range hood

Wall-Mounted Range Hoods

Even if you aren’t handy with tools, the wall-mounted installation process for your range hood is relatively straightforward. 

Simply install hooks in the position that you want the range hood. Next, fasten the range hood to the hooks using a series of screws. This is a common installation method for a FOTILE wall-mounted range hood that promotes convenience and accessibility.

Pro Tip
We recommend fastening the range hood to the bottom surface of any adjacent cabinets, if applicable. 

Island range hood

Island Range Hoods

For large kitchens that may have a cooking area on top of an island counter, an island range hood is appropriate. 

During the selection process, we recommend choosing a model that extends beyond the stove itself. For example, you may want to choose a 42 to 48-inch range hood for a 36-inch-wide stove. In turn, you can maximize your grease and smoke absorption. 

Once affixed to the ceiling and hooked in place, these range hoods are ready for operation. Unfortunately, some vapors may pass by your cooking station due to indoor drafts and placement limitations within the open cooking space. 

Downdraft range hood

Downdraft Range Hoods

Downdraft range hoods are positioned next to your stove and use strong suction mechanisms to bring vapors downward. In turn, more room is left for upper cabinet space above your stove. 

At the same time, these range hoods go against the natural upward movement of hot vapors and generally do not work with elevated gas stove burners. They also run the risk of extinguishing gas burner flames or intaking unwanted debris. This model is best used with electric stovetops. 

3. Over-the-Range Microwaves, Under-Cabinet Range Hoods, and Chimney Range Hood Styles

Over-the-range Microwave

Over-the-Range Microwaves

Over-the-range microwaves serve as both a range hood and microwave. Stylistically, these range hoods may help homeowners achieve the unique kitchen aesthetic that they are seeking.  

From a functionality standpoint, however, over-the-range microwaves typically use low-power fans that are insufficient to carry out harmful substances that reduce indoor air quality. Additionally, the weak filters associated with over-the-range microwaves may not be enough to filter out the over 300 harmful substances associated with indoor cooking. 

Under-cabinet Range Hood

Under-Cabinet Range Hoods

For kitchens that include cabinet space above the stove, an under-cabinet range hood may be appropriate.

These models are installed underneath cabinets and are an excellent way to save space. At the same time, under-cabinet range hoods are generally too small to effectively handle large stove-tops with four or more burners.

To combat these limitations, we designed a specialized FOTILE under-cabinet range hood that saves space, includes 45° centrifugal fans, a 90° smoke barrier screen, and an extendable height to cover large stovetops. 

Chimney Range Hood

Chimney Range Hood

Chimney range hoods feature a classic, bold styling that’s built for maximum performance, making them some of the best range hoods for gas stoves with four or more burners. The large motors, robust filters, and powerful fans associated with chimney range hoods are what make them a popular choice in world-class kitchens. 

As an example, our FOTILE Perimeter Vent Series uses the chimney range hood style and includes the first-ever automatically adjusting range hood (our EMG9030 model), utilizing infrared sensors to detect vapor volumes and adjust accordingly.

Sizing Considerations

The optimal range hood size depends on your kitchen space, stove width, and overhead space. While most North American kitchens have 30-inch-wide range hoods, larger kitchens with 42-inch-wide or greater stoves may require an island range hood or commercial model. 

6 Key Performance Considerations

Below are the top 6 performance indicators and range hood inserts you should keep in mind when you choose a range hood for your kitchen.

1. Airflow

If you’ve been shopping for a range hood recently, you may have noticed the CFM (cubic feet per minute) metric advertised online. This is a 60-second laboratory test to determine the airflow of a range hood. 

Unfortunately, these metrics are conducted in labs using IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) unit measurements that are converted to CFM units. While the measurements may be true in a lab, they are unlikely to perform at the same level in a household setting. In turn, we recommend taking most CFM measurements with a grain of salt. 

To promote accuracy, our FOTILE range hoods have been using HVI (Home Ventilation Institute) measurements since 2016. Combined with rigorous filtration methods, uniquely large smoke screens, and powerful motors, even Asian or Indian cuisine orders don’t stand a chance in your kitchen. 

Air flow in a FOTILE range hood

2. Coverage Area

The size of your range hood is key. Our recommendation is to select a large enough range hood to cover the entire area of your stove, including the edges. 

As cooking vapors rise, they disperse. This is especially prevalent after 23 inches above the stove. In turn, each of our FOTILE side range hoods is designed with this 23-inch “golden distance” in mind. 

6ft squared coverage area of a FOTILE range hood

3. Fan Speed

The best range hoods include multiple speed settings. That’s because different vapors have varying thickness levels. By selecting the right fan speed, you can maximize filtration while promoting cleaner air. 

With four different speed settings, our newest FOTILE range hood can handle soup vapors (low speed), small or light dishes (intermittent speeds), and heavy frying (highest speed). With a two-minute delayed shutoff mode, this model also extracts lingering fumes. 

Quick Stir-Fry Mode Fan Speed on a FOTILE range hood

[JQG7505 Range Hood ]

4. Cleaning and Maintenance

Although certain range hoods on the market today advertise themselves as “self-cleaning,” these models are subject to reduced performance from neglect and accumulate sticky areas and stains over time. 

Ultimately, you should choose a range hood that includes easy cleaning accessibility. That’s why at FOTILE, our range hoods are designed with internal and external cleaning in mind. 

We invite you to explore our range hood cleaning guidance to learn more.  

Person removing the filter from a FOTILE range hood

5. Noise Output

Unfortunately, the motors and fans inside your range hood may create loud ambient noise. In turn, you may be subject to difficult-to-hear conversations in the kitchen and hearing loss over time.  

For this reason, we designed an ultra-quiet FOTILE range hood that uses dual DC motors to operate at noise levels as low as 39dB. That’s the typical volume level of a library. 

Dual DC motors for a FOTILE range hood

6. Price

If you’re wondering how much a range hood costs, here’s the answer: it depends! Modern range hoods can range from $40 to over $2,000 depending on their quality and build. 

With range hoods, you truly get what you pay for.

Here’s what you can expect for each price range:

  • $40 to $200: Basic range hood models, no external exhaust
  • $200 to $400: Stainless steel models with button controls and LED lights, not suitable for heavy frying
  • $400 to $700: High-power range hoods with average noise levels, traditional designs, and sufficient power for Asian or Indian cuisine 
  • $700 to $2000 or more: State-of-the-art range hoods, such as FOTILE, designed with usability, filtration, power, longevity, and cleaning in mind and ideal for any dish  

Discover the FOTILE Advantage

With over 200 US-based store locations and a service network with over 3,500 on-site technicians throughout over 50 cities nationwide, FOTILE has a reputation centered on sustained excellence. With on-site installations, a five-year limited warranty that includes labor and accessories for two years, and a lifetime motor warranty, our FOTILE range hoods put homeowners first.  

We invite you to read our warranty policy and browse our collection of range hoods for sale to discover why homeowners nationwide trust FOTILE for integrity-driven pre-sale consultations and exceptional products that redefine the modern cooking experience.  

Thank you for reading and be sure to explore our FOTILE website for exceptional pricing on state-of-the-art range hoods and appliances.