Do I Need a Range Hood for My Kitchen? Ask Yourself These Questions First

Last Updated: 3/3/2023

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

If you're thinking about remodeling your kitchen or making some upgrades, you may be wondering whether you need a range hood. The answer is yes, a range hood is generally recommended for a kitchen because it provides several benefits, like improving your cooking experience, protecting your health, and keeping your home safe.   

A range hood is a device installed above your cooktop or range that removes smoke, fumes, and pollutants from the air. This creates a cooler, healthier, and safer cooking environment with less mess and fire risk from grease and less mold risk from excess moisture.      

You may have heard that range hoods have these and other benefits, or that in some cases they're even required by building codes. But still, do you really need one?

Certainly, your kitchen is better off with a range hood than without one, but there are also questions to ask yourself before you decide to buy one. In this article, we'll help you decide if a range hood is necessary for your kitchen and if so, how to select one.

When you're ready to shop, check out FOTILE's range hood collection and explore which model may be the best fit for your cooking needs and kitchen aesthetics.

What Are the Benefits of a Range Hood?

If you're reluctant to add a range hood to your kitchen, it's first important to know they have multiple benefits that can enhance your health, safety, and cooking experience.

  • Range hoods improve air quality by filtering smoke, fumes, and other polluted air out of your home.
  • Range hoods keep grease from building up on kitchen surfaces like walls, cabinets, and floors, which can reduce the risk of fire and help keep your family and home safe and kitchen clean.
  • Range hoods help reduce moisture that can contribute to mold and mildew growth on kitchen walls or other surfaces.
  • Range hoods create a cooler and more comfortable cooking environment with fewer odors, better lighting, and less heat and steam.
  • Range hoods can increase your home’s value because they are a desirable feature for modern homebuyers.

Ultimately, the right range hood can add style, safety, and functionality to your kitchen and let you enjoy all of these benefits.

Black under-cabinet range hood absorbing steam from a pot

When is a Range Hood Required by Building Codes?

Building codes vary from state to state, but some local authorities require kitchens to have range hoods. The type of range hood you need may depend on the safety codes you have to follow, including the material of the air ducts, the size of the range hood relative to the cooking surface, and how the air is ventilated to the outside of the property. 

To find out what building codes may impact your needs for a range hood, contact your landlord or local council.

Is Cooking with a Range Hood Safer?

There are several reasons why it's safer to cook with a range hood in your kitchen, including air quality, fire risk, and mold risk.

  • Range hoods improve air quality, which can benefit your health by removing harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide that can be generated by gas stoves. Improved air quality can reduce the risk of respiratory problems and other health risks such as dizziness, nausea, and skin and eye irritation.
  • Range hoods lower the risk of kitchen fires by removing combustible materials from the air, such as grease and smoke.
  • Range hoods help prevent harmful kitchen mold by reducing moisture in the air.

The safety benefits of range hoods are a main reason they're required by some building codes.

What Should I Do If I Don’t Have a Range Hood?

Sometimes, kitchens in apartment complexes and other rental properties may not include range hoods, especially if the buildings are older. If you don't have a range hood, there are precautions you can take to keep yourself safe and your kitchen clean while cooking, including using a window fan, buying an indoor air purifier, and protecting your cabinets from grime with a grease splatter guard. 

If you're unable to install ductwork for a range hood, consider having a ductless recirculating range hood instead. Recirculation hoods are comparatively less expensive and often don’t require professional installation. 

If I Don't Cook That Often, Should I Still Have a Range Hood?

People who cook frequently at home will find a range hood beneficial for keeping their kitchen cleaner and healthier because it reduces grease and filters out airborne pollutants that can lead to respiratory and other health problems. However, even if you only occasionally cook at home, a range hood can still be useful for keeping your kitchen comfortable and well-lit when you do fire up the stove. 

The type of cooking you do also matters. You may not cook often, but if when you do, you cook with a lot of high-heat or oily ingredients, a range hood can help keep your kitchen cooler and cut down on the grease mess.

Not to mention, range hoods are available in attractive designs like stainless steel that can enhance the modern aesthetics of your kitchen and raise your property's resale value.

How to Choose a Range Hood: Step by Step

There are many things to look for when buying a range hood. We’ve outlined a few of the most imporant steps below.

1. Decide Which Type of Range Hood Do You Need

The type of range hood you need depends on how large your stove is and how your kitchen is set up. You may choose between a ducted or ductless (recirculating) model as well as between an under-cabinet, wall-mounted, or island range hood. 

Ducted vs. Ductless Models

There are two main kinds of range hoods, including ducted and ductless models. Ducted range hoods use suction to expel steam, smoke, and airborne pollutants from your kitchen to the outside of the house using a ventilation system. Ductless hoods rely on activated charcoal filters to purify the air and recirculate it back into the kitchen. 

Ducted range hoods are better for high-heat cooking and frequent kitchen use. They are more effective at removing contaminants and are easier to maintain over long periods, as they don’t use replaceable filters. In order to install a ducted hood, you need a larger kitchen with an external-facing wall to allow for proper ventilation.  

Ductless hoods are better for smaller spaces that don’t require extensive renovations, like older homes or rental properties. They are more cost-effective upfront, but need more regular maintenance and aren't as good at removing contaminants from the air. 

Under-Cabinet vs. Wall-Mounted vs. Island Range Hoods

Wall-mounted range hoods attach to the wall above a cooktop or range. They are an appropriate choice when there are no cabinets above the cooking surface.

Under-cabinet range hoods are designed to be installed underneath the cabinetry above a stove or cooktop and tend to have a more compact design than wall-mounted models. (Some range hoods are available as wall-mounted and under-cabinet models.)

Island range hoods are designed to be suspended above the cooking surface on a kitchen island. 

2. Know What Size of Range Hood You Need

The size and depth of your range hood will vary based on the measurements of your stove or cooktop. A good rule to keep in mind regarding range hood size requirements is that your range hood should be at least as wide as your cooking surface and preferably up to 6 inches wider (3 inches on either side). A range hood should also be deep enough to extend from the back of your range to the middle of the front burners. 

3. Determine How Many CFM Your Range Hood Should Have

You might consider a range hood based on how powerful it is. Range hood power is measured by how much air the fan can circulate in a minute, or its cubic feet per minute (CFM). If you have a larger stove range, you’ll likely need a larger range hood.

For gas stoves, we recommend at least 900 CFM, while 600 CFM should be sufficient for induction and electric stovetops. For BBQ grills, a higher CFM of 1,000 or more is usually recommended, as these produce a lot more heat, smoke, and grease. 

4. Learn How to Install the Range Hood

For ducted range hood models, FOTILE typically recommends calling in a professional. However, if you decide to install one yourself, it’s important to take the right steps, including opening a flue hole wide enough, using the right materials for your suspended ceiling, and ensuring your hood isn't installed too low. 

For more information on installing a FOTILE range hood, visit our Range Hood Installation 101 page

If you still have questions, check out our range hood FAQs article for additional information.

About FOTILE Range Hoods

For 26 years, FOTILE has improved the kitchen experience for families by removing harmful fumes with our range hoods, cooktops, and other kitchen appliances. We make premium range hoods for all kitchen styles to ensure that your kitchen is modernized, your air is clean, and your family is healthy.