Last Updated: 2/20/2023
Author: James Zhao, Sr. Tech Specialist & Alex Park, Product Specialist
Range hoods are essential kitchen appliances that remove smoke, grease, steam, and odors from your kitchen as you cook. They have several benefits, including helping cool down your home and removing polluted air from the kitchen, which creates a more comfortable and enjoyable cooking environment.
Range hoods come in a variety of materials, designs, and sizes. It’s important that you install a range hood that is large enough for your cooktop to optimally remove smoke and odors from your kitchen. In this article, we’ll explain which size range hood you need.
The range hood you choose will depend on the width and depth of your cooktop, as well as how much space you have in your kitchen.
Your range hood doesn’t have to be the same depth as your stovetop, but it should be deep enough to adequately cover all of your burners.
Your range hood should be placed close enough to your cooktop to adequately capture particles in the air, but far enough away that it won’t be damaged or warped by heat or get in the way while you cook.
If you have an electric stovetop, most manufacturers suggest a minimum clearance of 24” between the stovetop and the range hood. Since gas stoves produce more smoke and heat, at least 27” of clearance is required between a gas cooktop and your range hood.
Depending on the layout of your kitchen and your personal preferences, there are a few styles of range hoods that you can choose from.
Wall-mount range hoods are a popular choice for homeowners that have the space in their kitchens for them. Most wall-mounted range hoods are ducted through air vents to force pollutants outside, while others filter and recirculate cleaned air back into your kitchen.
If you have cabinetry above your stovetop, wall-mounted range hoods won’t be an option for you. Luckily, under-cabinet hoods were created for this exact purpose; they are mounted right under your cabinets. These hoods also come in ducted and non-ducted models and are typically smaller and easier to install than wall-mounted range hoods.
When looking for an under-cabinet range hood, it’s important to consider its size. Your hood needs to be short enough to provide adequate clearance, and it can’t be any wider than the cabinet it’s being mounted to. The standard widths of under-cabinet hoods are 30” and 36”, but smaller and larger hoods exist to accommodate different kitchen layouts. (Learn more about the pros and cons of under-cabinet hoods.)
There are a few other range hood options that exist for different kitchen styles. Island range hoods are similar to wall-mounted hoods in that they are typically vented to the outside, but they are suspended from your ceiling above island cooktops.
Retractable downdraft vents are another popular alternative. They pull air downward to either vent it outside or recirculate it, and are usually attached directly to the cooktop, making them a great option for smaller kitchens. However, downdraft vents aren’t as effective as overhead range hoods and allow more pollutants to escape into the air.
If you have a microwave mounted above your stovetop, it is likely that it has a combination range hood installed. These hoods are small and typically use fans and charcoal filters to vent and recirculate clean air back into your kitchen.
Finally, range hood inserts are customizable pieces that are installed in wall-mount hoods to optimize them, and often include more powerful fans, lights, and a control panel.
When choosing a range hood for your kitchen, it is important to consider the design, how often you cook, and the size of your stovetop to guarantee that your range hood can perform to the best of its ability.
Whether you’d prefer a ducted or ductless range hood will depend on if the air can be ventilated outside your home or not.
Ducted range hoods are connected to an air duct and vent dirty air right to the outside of your home. Ductless hoods, on the other hand, don’t remove air. Instead, they use filters to clean the air and recirculate it back into your kitchen. Some ducted hoods can be made ductless with a recirculation kit.
Ducted hoods are more effective at removing pollutants, but they aren’t always an option, especially if your kitchen doesn’t have a wall that faces the outside or you live in an apartment complex and can’t add ductwork.
For ducted hoods, it's important that the air vents don’t exceed a certain length. Straight-run vents should not be longer than 30’, vents with one elbow or curve shouldn’t exceed 25’, and vents with two elbows shouldn’t be longer than 20’.
If your vents are too long, even the most powerful fans won’t be able to adequately push dirty air outside. This can create a backdraft, negating the entire purpose of your range hood.
Your range hood will need to fall within certain measurements to effectively remove smoke, steam, and cooking odors from your kitchen. The following steps explain how to measure for a new hood.
If you are opting for a wall-mounted range hood, you’ll need to measure the distance between the cabinets on either side of your cooktop to make sure that your range hood will fit between them.
You’ll need to install your range hood anywhere between 24” and 36” above your cooking surface, depending on the size of your cooktop and whether you have a gas or electric range. Installing a range hood above 36” from the cooktop will decrease its ventilation capabilities and allow pollutants to escape into the air.
Measure the depth of your cooktop from front to back. Your range hood doesn’t have to be the exact depth as your cooktop, but it should be deep enough to cover all of your burners.
While choosing the right size for your range hood is the most important factor in optimizing your cooking experience, there are a few other components to consider before making your purchase.
The power of your range hood’s fan is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). A more powerful fan will be able to ventilate more cubic feet of air per minute, giving it a higher CFM rating.
A good rule of thumb is that for every 10,000 BTUs of your gas stovetop, your range hood fan should be able to expel 100 cubic feet of air per minute. So, a stove with 60,000 BTUs would need a 600 CFM range hood to effectively remove smoke and odors. For electric ranges, multiply the width of your cooktop by 10 to find the right CFM.
For most kitchens, a minimum CFM power of 600 is recommended. However, this will vary depending on the size, style, and BTUs of your cooktop, as well as how often you perform high-heat cooking in your kitchen.
Depending on the size and quality of your range hood, the fans can be quite noisy when turned on. Average range hoods operate between 6 and 10 sones (53-61 decibels). A normal conversation is around 8 sones, so most range hood sound levels are nothing more than a minor inconvenience.
If noise levels are really important to you, some high-end range hoods offer quiet fans at just 1 sone that are barely noticeable while you cook.
Range hoods come in a number of unique designs. Aside from choosing between a wall-mount hood and an under-cabinet hood or island hood, you will have the option to pick from a number of materials, colors, and styles that will either help your range hood seamlessly integrate with your other appliances or become an eye-catching focal point in your kitchen.
FOTILE has been creating industry-leading range hoods and other kitchen appliances for 26 years. We are the #1 choice for range hoods, dishwashers, cooktops, and more for more than 30 million families globally. Shop our range hoods today to find the perfect range hood for your home, from our smallest 24” model to our 42” island design.